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.

Friend Within

When people go back to their usual daily socializing, whether parties, work, or just hanging out, feelings of being a misfit or outcast will take hold once again. Oddly, this past year made me feel like one of a whole, as everybody had to stay away from everybody, much how my life already had been erected.

When severely traumatized as a child by those who you trust and love, it leaves in its wake a belief that no one can be trusted. What evil are they up to?

Those beliefs haven’t wavered. The only way to stay safe is not to interact with evil others. OK, maybe not evil, yet people are capable of evil… all of us. This I know.

Over the years my loneliness drove me to seek some connections, maybe not the best or most healthy ones, but at least something to hold on to and keep. While at the same time learning boundaries, even with those called friends. Because anyone will take advantage of you if you let them.

And I was taught to be ever willing to be your doormat. When silenced over such horrific trauma, I learnt I didn’t matter; not my needs, wants, or hopes. Yet I persisted to meet all of those, and it has taken decades to begin to fulfill them.

But becoming a gregarious people person is not going to happen. What will happen is much of same. While others begin to take up their past lives interacting daily, my life still remains quite solitary. You could say lonely, but no, most of the time, no.

The relationships I have deepen and grow as I do. And you don’t need crowds of friends. One or two will do. And mostly the need is found home right inside me. That is where the best friendship lay. Cultivating that has begun to fill me where once only ragged tatters blew.

FAMILY

Almost 7 PM, and the tablet dung once, no loud beeping because the volume is down later in the day while playing games. Checking to see what the ding was finding it to be another attempt at a group video chat set up by Stevie with Don and Seth.

Closing the tablet quickly immediately relieved not to have heard the usual chirping which normally signals a happy video chat with our grand-daughter. No way could joining work. Stevie’s first attempt a few days ago jinxed sleep that night requiring a sleep aid. It set off internal alarm bells that no amount of self-talk calmed…danger, danger, danger.

There is yearning for family coupled with the inability to feel part of it even when invited. Musings as to why this sets off internal alarms are cloudy, but the soul’s need for safety won out even if my brain can’t reason why. Some clarity came. When others stand by silently while another hurts you, they are as culpable as the villain doing the damage.

All stood silently by while Tom degraded me in any way he felt like it, whenever he wanted throughout my life. Even in my fifties while everyone gathered at my table in an attempt to let bygones be gone, eating my food and drinking my coffee, slurs against me were made. Tom, looking up from his nose stuck in the paper, castigated my ineptness at buying this house with a realtor who was cutting corners in illegal ways.

Sneering, Tom commented on my stupidity snidely to Stevie openly in front of everyone, as if I were not there. Once again degrading me, and as usual, no one said a thing to support me. Stevie had stepped in to take over the mess and coordinate another realtor with the company to handle the rest of the sale.

Tom’s continual efforts to devalue me seemed to be a fun pastime for him. He is unashamed to exhibit his contempt. Instead of feeling badly for what he did to me as a child, he choose to cut me down. He’s an expert at it. Hacking at my character through the years broke me as much or more than than anything else.

There is nothing wrong with not knowing the intricacies of buying and selling a home since we did it only once forty years ago. Feelings of badness, wrongness, and being cast out, the feelings Tom continually injected into my days since the age of 8, were coupled this time with simmering rage. This would be the last effort at reconciliation.

This wasteland has been my life since Tom sexually abused me as a child until cutting off contact. The snide remarks, the sneering, the dirtiness of him spreading malevolence everywhere, in every family member who never spoke up yet continued their loyalty to him. It parallels the maliciousness in politics today, the two characters of Tom and the Donald so similar in vileness.

It’s not OK. I don’t need the rest of you now. Being in a group setting is toxic for me. One on one, OK. And loving from afar, because there is still love for all three, and great love stems from below when I feel safe to feel it, from afar, not in person or facetime. They feel as dangerous to me as the abusers.

So yearning continues for what won’t be. Instead I gather my friends who always feel safe and support me in ways family never could. Walking the meadow some grape vines are picked up from the pile Samuel left after trimming them.

While enjoying the outdoors even though drab, muddy, and bitterly cold, light brightens my footsteps while thinking of friends, twisting the grape vines into a wreath with each lap. Going out again later, another wreath was made as if walking with each friend holding her hand. The nicely made circle was held tightly after being formed imagining my friend right next to me as we laughed, shared, and enjoyed each other’s company.

A wreath, the circle of friendship, made for all four to be delivered with their craft kits for Sunday’s video chat, our monthly tradition for over 15 years. Safe family in friendship.   

TRUTH

Woe is me. Never before have sleep issues been so astoundingly bad, chronic yes, but so much sleep being deprived over a short period makes for despair. If only the answer to why, then there could be a solution.

But it has taken days into weeks. Perhaps this batch of medical marijuana oil isn’t as potent, or had nothing in it at all? Yet that stuff is highly regulated so goes through rigorous testing even if this prescription is lighter in color than the last.

Then what? Well, my consumption of news. Of course. So a moratorium on news is in order for the next few months. A lover of movies where I can be close to people without the burn will be my replacement.

No more listening to reports of the thousands of deaths to come in the next two months because no one will be at the helm of the country to lead us out of this until January 20th.

No more tears rolling down my face watching health care workers desperately ask that we all wear masks because they are drained from caring for the sick. Or tears when the news hones in on particular family members describing their loss of a loved one— making those tens of thousands dead real not just numbers. No more dread in the pit of my belly while falling into a vortex, a void with no end.

I must regain my equilibrium because going on like this will truly make me crazy. It does not help when two brothers call on Thanksgiving Day, first Don, then Stevie, my one younger brother. Seeing who the first call was from on the answering machine made me hesitate, but not for longer than a moment.

Trying to be cheerful and upbeat, prattling on happily wanting to believe they do care. But later in bed restlessness makes sleep impossible.

They go on as usual emailing the group omitting me because I have asked not to be included if Tom is. How hard is it to email a little note just for me? Too hard I guess. It is easier to pretend I don’t exist, but give a pity call on a holiday to make themselves feel better.

That hurts deeply… craving family just as anybody does. But after any interchange it takes days to reclaim equilibrium. Don, a once beloved brother, is the most recent culprit sending a group email including both me and Tom.

How could you be so disconnected from the truth, my truth, and yours too? Your brother, who you interact with, even standing with against me, abused me in a horrible way, then spent the rest of my life punishing me for it.

So Tom responds to the group which means there sits an email with Tom’s name on it in my mail. That brought him and all the memories right home inside me where they swirled curdling and souring the peaceful life I’ve built…stealing it.

On Thanksgiving Day for the first time in my life I spoke up to Don, but even over the phone it brought bubbles of fear foaming up from my stomach.

“I’d rather not be included in emails like that. What he did was horrible and I’d rather not be reminded of it,” I said, hands shaking.

“No problem,” Don said blithely, the goes on, “I didn’t think of it.

He continues on, no apology, no nothing. But a while after the call was done my hands were still shaking. I held them to me noticing the upset which caused vibrations throughout my body. I broke the taboo. It only took 60 years. To be clamped down this way for most of my life has stolen so much.

To not be free. To not live fully, honestly, openly? Like wrapped tight in a rug unable to breathe, the only parts escaping are fake, here to please you, but not me, the real me.

I still search for her. She is truly special. I am special. Courageous. And worthy.

They don’t know. They never will because each is too afraid to ask, too afraid of the truth. And it doesn’t matter. I know. And when I forget, I have friends here to remind me of just who I am. This safe place has saved me.

sent to me by a very dear friend…

Know Thyself

What was known all along still is interesting to me, that others who have never been met in person are closer to me than my own family. It is my sense that those called ‘family’ not only commit to silence about the traumas I suffered, collude in the silence and protection of those that chose to commit crimes on their little sister, but also find ways to keep distance from me even if chatting in person face to face.

And even those that are close, like friends, Samuel, and sons, don’t know, really know, how wounding the silence is. But on-line with those who have suffered the same silence, collusion, and conspiracy… respite, understanding, and acceptance is found.

Not just acceptance from others, but learning to accept myself. Growing up with the traumas suppressed as is typical in families where sexual abuse occurs by one of their own to one of their own, compassion for myself was and still is too often non-existent.

Non-existent too when around family who brings up a name of an abuser, whether accidentally, or thoughtlessly, or as a way to say to me that you will say whatever you want even if it hurts me. It rams like a punch to the gut causing instant dissociation needing force to choose between leaving now to that place of another dimension or stay in the present. 

It has taken over a week to find my way back to my core where compassion, self-understanding and confidence flows. That is the favored place, not zoned out to that ether place of safety used to shield myself from unwelcome hands as a little girl, then becoming a habit well into later life. 

Sons are not supposed to be one’s personal therapist, but my sons have been, especially Cory. Each grew centered, connections complete without fracture. Wanting that desperately, it drew me close as if they were the adults and I the child. Perhaps their wholeness would drift into me. 

It isn’t supposed to be that way. Yet they both grew whole, something I sought but instead was lost in a life of fog, confusion, and anxiety. Cory has forgiven my needy ways, assuring me it helped make him a more compassionate adult. But he was put in the adult role too often in my need for assistance to stay afloat.

Gratefulness has begun to flow back melting the numbness of a careless remark. Sons so special despite growing up with a fractured mother. On-line friends, and blogging are magical; getting feelings out, sorting through them, which greatly helps to understand myself and the world around me. A way to finally speak what never could be spoken.

 

TRAUMATIC

photo by Patricia

There will come a time when looking back, what is happening now will be less traumatic. Living through it is traumatic. My escape is eating, eating so much nothing else can be thought of except that. Eating fear works but with a toll, self-loathing. 

It eats me up with no room for escape making everything worse and harder, even sleep. Waking, or not falling asleep, with an urgency close at hand, the emergency is internal adding to the external chaos.

What I do matters. If actions are used that are self-destructive such as over-eating, dread increases, even if unconsciously. My body knows it isn’t able to remain stable if fed incorrectly or too much. No wonder sleep evaded me. The threat to life was me.

Living through this is traumatic. While walking the meadow on a sunny morning, spring renewing herself with green adornments growing daily, my thoughts uncovered a truth. Even without the virus’s taunts of death and sickness looming every moment, my life has been much like that anyway.

Threats to life were everywhere, in every person, around every corner, my hyper-vigilance since the eight only compounding as each year passed. This additional threat topples me over the edge even while trying to act nonchalant about it.

Whether alcohol, shopping, food, or drugs, SOMETHING needs to take me away from the truth of so much suffering. Yet that isn’t the answer. Taking a stand does. Stand up in the middle of it. Do what can be done to be healthy.

A friend calls, the first in the last many weeks, and we spend time together on the phone as if we were together. My friendships are precarious due my issues of trust, or lack of it, compounded with the inability to speak up for myself causing great anger when taken advantage of.

Yet some friendships have endured and are so needed right now. They are fresh air compared to any interaction with the origin family whose own baggage interferes with any chance of closeness.

A failed zoom meeting will be tried again with our little group of five who have met consistently each month for many years. We are all less capable with these digital things than our grown children who are adept at computers and their workings.

Time was again spent in my studio after being absent from it for many months. Rolling out clay to be baked in the kiln, music playing gently in the background while the cat hunched on the shelf curiously looking down at me as incense burned… my hands worked with satisfaction.

All things nurturing are so precious right now…

PRAYERS

The living room in disarray while Samuel continues painting doesn’t help calm the disquiet revolving inside. Even the cat raced around throughout the day like a mini-Road Runner from the cartoon, her antics matching my feelings.

After emailing friends about bowing out of our gatherings the next two months, a feeling of abandonment coupled with loneliness lay bare like a dry field; even though it was my choice, and being at home is where most of my time is spent anyway.

The thought of imposed isolation felt suffocating as if jailed. Then prayers, thoughts of others, feelings for those world-wide also experiencing fear and uncertainty. Families in our area scramble for day-care because all schools were closed over the weekend until further notice. These same families must work which means continued risk of exposure out in public.

My friends, and many others, continue socializing including church services today. That is foolhardy. Services can be conducted safely on-line. Why wait for someone to test positive in our direct area to shut down? By then it is too late.

Prayers. Prayers to the health care workers, keep them safe. Prayers for our officials making decisions… may they be guided with wisdom. Prayers to those with compromised immune systems, and the elderly (which includes me), but especially those with other health problems. Prayers for those hospitalized because loved ones cannot visit. May they find comfort. Prayers for us all world-wide.