FRIENDS

One night of almost agony, forcing myself to stay in bed, rolling from one side to the other. Hours go by, and some sleep came though it didn’t feel like much and yesterday was low key due to tiredness.

But not that awful grogginess that happens when the sleep aid is used. Calling a friend, asking for sleep pointers after a terrible winter of sleep issues, she has great ideas that I’d heard before but didn’t think would work for me.

One, she never gets out of bed. That sounds like good behavior because a pattern was set up that made things harder. Another tip, when not getting back to sleep she turns on the radio to the news station and puts it on a timer. (so one was ordered coming soon)

She thoroughly knew what I talking about when waking to use the bathroom then thoughts invading about every little thing that has gone wrong, and whatever else a woken up busy mind might do.

A news channel might help to get my mind off things that can’t be changed onto things other than me! It is so good to hear her voice, as calling any friend has been abandoned for much of these past few years when needed the most.

And now that masks are off, plans are made to have lunch with another friend. Oh, how these things have been missed!

OWNING MY LIFE

Like most issues, to speak up about my own beliefs, opinions, or feelings is gruelingly difficult. Taught to keep mum about atrocities against me, even little issues tend to stay inside me.

A friend who is religious, Christian like the other four in our women’s group, is overly so. The Lord this, the Lord that. I respect her beliefs and do not scorn them, in fact am sometimes a bit envious of the strength it seems to provide her and others.

It doesn’t for me. At a very young age that collapsed and as with most things shame about that eroded me even more. Now in my sixties the right to claim my own spirituality slowly rises. If it were to have a face it would be feminine.

Yet it is more a belief that we are all connected throughout the planet no matter what we believe. In writing back to her as she once again speaks of god as HE, my response gently outlines my views.

In this life what is there if we cannot be who we are? If it is sometimes a ball of worries and anxiety, then that is me at that time. If my beliefs encompass something different that yours, can you respect them as I do you yours?

In this life, before it’s over, the craving and wholeness comes from owning who I am. It feels risky, scary, and often impossible, but is worth the exploration and effort.

CHRISTMAS PARTY

The winds howled and trying to sleep was of no use without a sleep aid, though later the next day when asked, my friends all replied that, yes, they slept great as if the wind sounds comforted them.

No, not me. That feeling of being so different sunk in deep once again along with the knowledge that the challenges faced daily are colossally more than they can ever understand. Yes, a solid group of friends, but the one who became the closest passed away several years ago. The privilege of knowing her, the best friend of my life, lasted only 5 years.

But it gave me a gift of knowing that the rift felt between myself and most others isn’t me, it is the unusual experiences of my childhood which were extraordinarily traumatic. Sue was also raped as a child, pulled off the street by a stranger.

And she willingly shared her experience when first meeting her, something I had not yet been able to do though eventually she would learn a brief outline of the overall facts. My attacker wasn’t a stranger, it was family. The taboo of talking about what happens in a family is still not something acknowledged or talked about. It has been that way for centuries.

But her family unfortunately handled it the very same. NO TALKING ABOUT IT, as if it never happened. These are missionary’s, you know, the ones who go about saving the world. What about saving your child?

By not allowing her to express such a trauma over and over until processed, and not providing help in the form of therapy too, Sue was cursed to live the same sort of life as me.

Going about pasting a smile on, and acting as if nothing is wrong, when anxiety internally threatens to break you in half or splinter you into a thousand shattered pieces. The cortisol bursts are exhausting. Your world spinning out of control in situations where there’s people, which is just about every situation unless you are at home.

So, Sue knew me to my core, without my ever supplying details of any kind, and without us talking about it. We just knew, and love flowed between us freely like warm swirling air enveloping our souls as one.

Waking after the storm, it was as black as the night before when having to light candles. No coffee? Starting the patio grill, upon it was placed a large kettle with water and coffee grounds. Walking the meadow in the early morning light, checking it after each round, finally the brew looked ready.

After 5 laps the kettle came in to be poured through the coffee filter and, Voila! Cowboy coffee! Samuel was surprised. It almost seemed that the planned gathering of friends might have to be cancelled, because how can glue guns be heated up with no electricity? But it came back on, and our party was a great success.

I do miss my friend Sue. That very special bond we shared, and that closeness found nowhere else.

CHRISTMAS FUN

After glittering my own grapevine wreath, it seemed only fair to offer the same prep work to my women friends coming Sunday. Oh, what a project, with glittery floors tramped around leaving sparkles all over the house!

Wiping a few off my eyelids, it is with satisfactory pleasure because crafting of any kind brings peace and warmth. And each wreath is glittered with loving thoughts about the friend it is for and how much delight she will have decorating it.

And hopefully she will know just how much she means to me, the making of the wreath after collecting the vines, twirling the vines in the light rain because moisture is needed to manipulate them. Then, more pleasure than work, walking among the pines we planted to collect pinecones, the branches softly brushing my arm as if to say, ‘hello friend.’

And the extensive time and mess! Glue dripping all over the table in globs after painting it on thick so the glitter will stick, then a clear overcoat so that they won’t have glitter all over their own houses. The area around the stove where they dried still sparkling from glitter remnants.

Such fun readying for Christmas, maybe more fun than the event itself.

Friends Are Family

Preparations for an upcoming gathering of women friends includes the offering of grapevine wreaths to decorate that were made earlier when cutting down the vines so that they are trimmed for next year’s growth. Pinecones from trees we planted were gathered, dried, then sparkled as if snowy.

Unable to stop myself, mine is decorated which frees me up to help others if needed. This gathering of women friends over the years has sustained me in so many ways.

Without the taboo of talking about my real life, and without the stigma that seals my lips and makes me phony so that you will be comfortable, I can be myself. I can also accept real love and caring from those whose own self-worth isn’t caught up with the secrets of the past.

I can be who I am, and who I could ever be with their loving encouragement, daring to test my wings then fly.

They know what happened to me and don’t keep me silent about it. Which means no push to want to. It’s only when you silence me that I want and need to speak. It’s only when you deny my truth that truth needs to be told.

Family are friends, friends became family.

Choose Your Path

Just because someone wants to get close, befriend me, or keep in touch, doesn’t force me to do so in return. For a long time, decades, anyone wanting those things could easily have them. It felt like luck anyone would.

But as my being grew, deepened, and reverberated with the effects of associating with those that didn’t have my best interests, only their own, my choices began to at least make it into the questioning arena.

Is this person trustworthy? Too many times that answer was no, yet once in a relationship, my way of ending it was often harsh and abrupt.

Social amenities are not my forte. Secluding myself from a scary world left me lacking social tact. People don’t talk truth or are forefront with their chatter. You must read between the lines, not my specialty.

Get to the point, because my brain is already too busy, and tell the truth, something hardly ever done.

How are you? Just great, when really you feel like shit. What’s the point of asking? Even closer relationships can be like that, which isn’t close. The deeper connections, if one is lucky to have them, are rare, precious, and linger in one’s heart a lifetime even after they are gone from this world.

I cherish them and hold them dear.

Mysterious Exciting World

A week of confusion and turmoil finally calming me back to my soul with input from friends, my son, and a friend far away, never meeting her in person but closer to me than anyone I know. And… Mother Nature, restorative, curative, and finally after several days of resting my tired mind, the energy arises to go out and be with her.

The walks bringing me back to myself. How easily the split occurs. With the origin people, that group one is born to with ties like tentacles, the gag order reduces me to robot like living. Home again among friends who accept me as I am with no hidden past, there are also no hidden agendas to shut me up.

Nature cradles me in beauty, the meadow filled with buttercups, daisies soon to join them. Carp in the creek as big as sharks nibble on the banks of the water, their gigantic sleek bodies twisting above. The breeze blows the leaves with a soft rustle above me. Slowly I move back into my body, soul, mind, spirit, and emotions, claiming them, feeling them, becoming one once again.

The day opens not depressingly as it did all week, but with wonder, mystery, and excitement. What pleasures await? What other goals can be achieved, realized for the first time in years? Because as freedom inside myself grows, freedom from the chains of childhood and the forced silence, talents, abilities, special qualities, and magic to achieve goals and become who I really am increases tenfold, blossoming like the flowers around me.

What else lies inside waiting to be discovered, nurtured, and developed? Like stoking the tiny spark into constant flame, that little kernel of self-love is still there. Sometimes I must hack down the brush and heavy foliage to find it, that harsh critic blocking me all the way. Persistence pays off, patience helps too.

But there it is, a spark to coddle into flame warming my entire being with friendship to self. To feel all that is there without judgement or denial. To investigate the wounds still needing care and release. To allow the wise voice to take precedence and try not to allow the willful child to run things again.

That part yearns for the loving family she never had. Another part riles things up when success is prevalent. My job in that group of people that some call family was to fail. Be bad, do bad, carry their burdens. And no wonder my life was spent not wanting to live.

That is no more. Success reigns. Peace sustains. All that I need, I have.

Friends Are Family

My beautiful grand-daughter Cindy….

Hearing the ding of emails coming in, taking a breath, a sigh of relief calms me knowing that any emails coming from the culprits of those in the so called origin family will be diverted to junk mail.

I’ll never see them or know emails are there unless I look. And mostly there won’t be any. No one interacts much unless wanting something, which is rare. But it’s a necessary step right now to feel safe, find my freedom again, and be at peace.

The emails come from friends, those few that are real family, trusted and supportive in a honest way, not in ways that serve only them. And in they come, reliable, loving, and filling the ragged holes that the origin family ravaged with their fake interest and hollow words.

Friends, the family made after years of work, commenting on the video and photos of my 8 year old grand-daughter in a huge dance competition where she recently took first place among all the area dance studio’s participants.

Oh to see her whole, loving, and complete, the age when I was first attacked. An age where the longing for ballet classes was not to be because food used to survive the traumas put too many pounds on to my little kid frame.

She’s a winner to us regardless of any wins, her grace and beauty overflowing. Tears fill my eyes while watching, and joy sent sparklers of shivers down my legs to my toes….

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MARILYN

And so death gets in the way of the idyllic life just as expected. A friend all the way back to childhood has died. Though she moved from the area almost 30 years ago, you do not forgot someone so dearly loved.

She owned a small horse ranch up the country road from me as a young girl, horse lover age, about 12 or 13. All summer long I’d bike up to help her train young horses, leading them in their bosal bit-less bridle behind me and the sturdy older horse she had me saddle up.

Eventually she gave me the older horse with the condition of never selling it. That when the horse could no longer stay with me I give him back. What a miracle for a young girl. Miracle upon miracle Marilyn gave me.

Sweating in the summer sun, as hoof falls clopped on the dirt roads, we went around the countryside on horseback. Waking her with scrambled eggs and toast, as she slept late after her night job, we went out to feed the horses and muck out the stalls. Candy, another friend from down the road often was with us.

The scent of straw and horses thrilled me, the work all pleasure as Marilyn’s presence was witty, trustworthy, and loving.  We kept in touch, once she came back to visit which was when the above photo was taken, now hanging in my hallway. Though I’ve been overweight since age 8, she never was. But in the photo she towers above me…my strong tree.

Of all my friends, I was the chosen to help her train. For a young girl so severely damaged by what was happening in my home, Marilyn instilled a sense of dignity in my soul, purpose to my life… and hope. Though numb the first 24 hours after hearing of her death, some tears do fall in my quiet moments. My dear friend, my tall tree. I love you Marilyn and you are missed.

BIRTHDAY

Birthday gift from friend…

A friend dropped by, masked up, on my birthday with a gift surprising me. Though she lives down the road, I’ve not seen her except virtually for over a year. It is so heartening to be with a friend finally even if half of her face was hidden from me. Soon, by next month, all five or our little group will be fully immune and we plan to re-start our monthly tea gathering complete with chatter, cards, snacks, laugher and dessert.

Another friend calls and sends a digital birthday card. My son’s both send lovely birthday gifts, outdoor garden solar lighting which delights me once the sun sets and the gardens light up. One went so far to have flowers delivered to my door, a gigantic bouquet that needed two vases. My husband, short on words, but deeper on feelings, expresses them in cards and didn’t fall short this year either, finding one on the table upon waking.

Those that matter love me. Often birthdays bring a recognition of not being cared for. But that perception is much more about the emptiness inside than reality. Letting the love of others in has not been possible. I can think I’m loved, but never feel it. (too dangerous)

It is also not possible to allow love in and settle in with warm feelings if inside myself lies a desert, a dry wasteland where love is thought of not felt. But that is evolving as the internal depths open like a garden sprouting beginning to flower. Where inside there are welcoming arms to enfold me and love offers warmth, compassion, and gentle waters to rock in.

A birthday becomes a reaffirmation of self, knowing ones worth, or learning to. All else is icing on the cake, and what gooey, yummy, deliciously satisfying a way to top the beginnings of self-love and appreciation.