TRANSITION

photo by Patricia

As the criticizer comes crashing down, coming to a head as the joy of spring meets the depression of winter, I choose gratitude and to look upon my life as one of success; not the critic’s choice… a stain of regret and failure. What a see-saw time of emotion, which is indicative of much of my life; two opposing events, emotions, or ways of looking at things.

Love and hate. Joy and sorrow. How to make room for both in one being, and feeling them, one then the other, or both at once. I loved my mother, and hated her. Sometimes moments of appreciation occur for a life lived with persistence and hard work, but then a bat towards myself about failed relationships, regrets and what if’s.

My heart feels as if physically wrapped in barbs ready to break free or be punctured. A prayer to the universe, Please let go of the wires , Release the strictures, let my heart pump freely.  

Joy and hope burst forth when sprouts rise from the brown earth, joy that suppressed itself all through the difficult winter keeping my flagging spirit up enough to face each day. With more light comes an appetite for pleasures, wanting to do more, see more, be with others more.

The critic needs knocking down, and the soft voice of acceptance reminding me of successes wants voice, and must be given room to speak with an amplifier to hear the whispers of truth.

Yes mistakes were made, be prepared to make more, but look at all you have, and all you have done. As daylight lengthens, so does my ability to see things more beautiful. Food tastes better, scents are noticed more deeply, and stunted feelings open up to possibilities.

 

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Intimate Friend

Waking in the dark, first thoughts gather in my belly as a feeling of want, a yearning for a close woman friend. A loss that has been there for a very long time. One who knows. One who has suffered deeply, yet the time spent together isn’t about the long gone past, but dealing with now. A relationship of depth.

This closeness is now found only on-line. With those I can’t hug, sit and have tea with, or go for a walk with. An emptiness yawns open with the loss of my friend who died, and the one who moved to another state. We still email occasionally, checking in on each other, but it’s not the same as sitting with her around the warm stove, or down by the creek.

Friends don’t arrive by stork. One must seek them out by going into the world, a place still found to be inhospitable. Solace is found more easily at home where a safer world opens wide at the end of my finger-tips on the keyboard to all countries.

Though grateful for that in all ways, still, a need unfilled calls out in the quiet moments before dawn dispels the shadows of want with light.

 

DANGER

 

It was a mistake. To attend that group called ‘family.’ It wasn’t coincidence that after gathering in December my body grew heavier by many pounds in only a few weeks. I beat myself up for the gain. Perhaps the opposite was needed. Perhaps my soul craved safety, and in that group there is none.

Though none of the three ever touched me sexually, they befriended the ones who did. So did I. It was the charade played along with to have a family, no matter how fucked up the ‘family’ was.

And this is how it has always been. Even now that 3 abusers are dead, and the other one left town, there is still no place for me in that group of three. It is a sad loss, one I cannot fully accept. And one I still might attempt to be part of. But if I do it only causes illness that corrupts my body and soul.

As much as I crave those connections, they kill anything in me that says, NO. NO I am not the person you thought you knew, that you can mold into whatever you want by using criticism, ostracizing, or abandonment. No, I am not a puppet.

The years of abuse made a hostage of me in many ways I don’t understand, and cannot fight. I am tired of fighting. I want my quiet life that makes me happy, and it seems happiest without you.

When no one stands in solidarity, they are not safe, and no one ever did. Until you do, stay away. And it is too late anyway…

The Skin Horse

The cataract in one eye is becoming hazy causing a slight dizziness while walking. My ears ring as hearing dims. Joints ache, and age spots appear on my hands, just like my mother’s.

You are old, but you are loved. The thought rose while my boots crunched the frosty ground while an emptiness so wild in my stomach made me stop, bend, look up and finally cry.  Cory’s leaving left me displaced from my life, the dimming of it hard to accept. Depending on children so much to fill one up can’t be the healthiest way to go about one’s life.

What is wrong with me? Where is that settled, steady voice guiding me through my days? Where is that sweet groove experienced before his visit? Three days past his leaving the void begins to dissipate, and the familiarity once felt for the presence of my own being begins to own my internal space once again.

All my decisions to make the pain leave really didn’t magically work like a wand on my head saying there, all better. It took time. Time and attending to self and my needs. The voids in my life are many. Like a sealed bottle with a tight cork, not many people are allowed in.

Those I’d like to have in are held at bay without the ability to trust, like the three siblings who didn’t touch me sexually as a child. Though I blame myself for not allowing closeness, niggling beneath the usual self-blame is a rational voice declaring, ‘Maybe they don’t want to be to close to you fearing what each might hear. Maybe each of the brothers have their own ways of controlling the relationship and keeping you at bay.’ That feels more accurate and less harsh, yet the void remains.

And there have been many friends along the way lost due to my inability to speak up, have boundaries, and accept warmth. The turmoil inside swirling would ignite and blow them away— along with the friendship. I have learned to keep some these past few decades late in life, and maybe these are the ones worth keeping. But the very closest has been lost due to her death. I’m not out and about among others enough to find another one like that so close where we’d talk, email, and visit regularly. That void is great. How to remedy that?

My spirit felt bleak while walking under steely grey skies. Sunshine in this area rarely peeks out during winter. Negative thoughts need once again to be strictly challenged, like that harsh voice saying, ‘Your life is boring.’

Is it? No, I love my life, it suits me. The outdoors helped revive me. Then an outing in the car. By day’s end that void, still lingering, caused more food in than a body needs, but the old emotional needs are met. Feel stuffed, and no other feeling can be felt.

Adequate sleep in the night makes me wake this morning to try again to stay in my body, which includes waiting for real physical hunger. Emotional hunger will never be filled that way.

You are older now, but you are loved.

 

 

You Are Alright

photo by Patricia

Feeling lost and alone is not uncommon, you’re not alone. And especially during this holiday so jammed packed with memories, melancholy and feeling as if something is missing because it always has been missing. That is punctuated particularly sharply as all the supposed good cheer is spread around.

And there is cheer in my soul where there once resided only a void, a chasm so split no reckoning took place. Over time some of the writhing pain was allowed expression; writing out all the deep dark secrets my family didn’t want told, the hurling of journals full of anguish and rage into the ceremonial fire, years and years of meditation where moments of being present while feeling safe were experienced while the constant anxiety ebbed even for just those few moments, a mother dying whose hold on me locked in all those secrets to protect her other children…the abusers, one event after another opened the channels from head to heart, from a robotic life to one more fulfilling because wholeness and self-acceptance had begun.

Yet there it still lives, the disbelief that others could truly like me, even love me. Wanting it, yet pushing it away due to the danger of it. Wanting it yet unable to accept because love of self is still only just blossoming.

Stringing days together where being in the moment is doable for longer periods, along with success at healthy pursuits of good nutrition, exercise, appropriate sleep, and the constant challenge of negative thoughts replacing them with positive ones based in reality…then?

Something, too often the something is unknown, disrupts sleep, eating, exercise, and thoughts. Anxiety rules. Where did all the calm wisdom and self-acceptance go?

Start again. There are countless ‘start agains.’ Even my little life where I’ve cultivated a safe place is invaded by others I care about, and who care for me. The ones I love become the enemy, digging up wounds that never seem to heal. One moment warmth, the next, you are up to something and dangerous.

Easy, easy, my mantra in the night waking up with my heart beating against the pillow. You are alright, you are alright, you are alright.

Every one of us must face this aloneness. You are not alone. Many wake in the night with the same. Many face their days with the same. Pull in the threads of the universe and connect. You are not alone.

FRIENDS

 

Mary, Ruthie, Patricia (me), Chris

Rosalie at the camera

The warm glow of friendship settles in softening the ragged places. It wasn’t easy, reaching out, trying, and then trying again. Over 15 years ago, joining the chorale frightened me thoroughly. As a person traumatized, my little home was my sanctuary, the TV my only real friends.

TV people can’t hurt you. Yet a part of me yearned for more, and that part drove me to take enormous risks. My knees shook at concerts so badly the kind person next to me almost had to prop me up. The world was a terrifying place, yet others moved through it with ease. Why couldn’t I?

Over time the fear lessened, the ice melted. Reaching out, I asked others to join a group to meet each month for crafts or cards. No, no, and no thank you. It was best that they said no as they weren’t a good fit anyway. Persistent in nature, my asking led to friends who are loyal, kind, and have enjoyed each other’s company month after month, year after year.

WHOLENESS

photo by Patricia

The path to the core becomes tangled, blocked by memories, though the soul goes there to hide. So one resides in a place that can’t be found. No way in, no way out.

She peeks out at times. Maybe there is someone to trust, who takes her hand and guides her. Even so, the world is tough and into hiding she goes.

It may never be safe to come fully out. Maybe only in solitude does she find her soul, a safe haven to breathe, connect and become who she was meant to be.

It is these roots that save her. The very place she runs from, the memories which are a part of her history locked deep below. The same place where she hides.

Coming out she looks below and runs. Yet that is where the strength comes from and has kept her here all along. It is in what she suffered that makes her strong and who she is. It is her history that makes her beautiful.