ACCEPTANCE

photo by patricia

I fought it, raged against it, but there it was, I was abused. No amount of wishing changing it. Look at her, I want to be her, happy, trusting, loved. The pain, the cruel pain of not wanting to be me followed me everywhere, every minute.

I fanaticized what being ‘her’ was like. And ‘her’ was any girl, adolescent, or woman who looked free of burden. Why me? And the burden became heavier every time I asked.

How could I slow down enough to settle into what is if I couldn’t talk about IT? Familial sexual abuse isn’t light-hearted banter. You can say, “I was mugged on the street and my purse was taken!” And receive comfort and sympathy in return. But you can’t say, “I was raped in my bedroom by my brother!” (or father, uncle, family friend, etc.)

I wrote my book and each word, each chapter, lifted the burden out of a space so deep it was hard to find. It doesn’t matter if anyone reads it. I told my story, I spoke my truth. I am not hiding. And during that process I accepted what is. I was born to a family who hurt me so completely it changed me. I no longer run from that or wish for something else.

At times I’m still wistful when I watch a young woman full of trust and many friends and wonder what that’s like. But it’s not all consuming or constant like it once was. Having many friends does not mean they are close friends. And you only need one. And the one friend I’m learning to check in the most with… is me.

The Vital Truth

today’s blooms

If the adults around the child sexually abused turn toward her at the time of the attack(s), allowing expression, offering love, protection and sympathy, the child can move forward without the strictures of self-blame.

In most cases, or the majority of them, because it is a family member who has attacked the child, the shame of the family silences the child. In their silence, and shaming her to remain silent, she takes it in. Shame becomes part of her. Her personality is formed around that black boulder embedded deeply in her psyche… and there to stay.

As an adult I can go to therapy and hear the words, “you are not bad.” So intellectually that fact is known, but not felt. In my core I learned otherwise. Shame is the bedrock of my being.

“I am bad, it is my fault, because of me this thing happened…” always my first response in every situation even those that have nothing to do with me. I will find a way back to what I could have done that would have prevented a negative outcome.

Raymond, a previous therapist, called it ‘personalization.’ I call it a life-long albatross to lift up daily and throw out.. A child can survive the attacks. It is what comes after that kills. No intervention comes.

A child can heal and move forward if helps comes. Everyone in the family can. 

The attacks in childhood leave me with a lifetime of work challenging that very damaging concept.

Go to the Light

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There is a part of me craving for family of origin. I dream of them, including Tom. Night after night ‘family’ enters my dreams, the wanting, the craving, the good parts of the past. Stories are concocted in the dreamworld that mimic my needs, stories that bring love and closeness. The yearning goes beyond my control into sub-consciousness. 

They interact with Tom, the abuser, more than with me in the real world. Two sister’s-in-law have acknowledged my pain, but none of ‘them.’

And they won’t. I am kept at arm’s length for a purpose, to shut me down and out. Niceties are shown to prove tolerance, a show of kindness, but no realness, no talking.

It is hitting a wall repeatedly because the wanting of family will exist till death. But my head hurts from the bruising. Go to the light. Live your life with those who want to live it with you.

The positive energy is not found from those who shut you down but those that bring light. Flagging self-esteem inside drives me to those who negate me. If you accept me, then I am alright and have finally made it. Step away from the black hole of a dark endless pit,

go to the light…

let go

FROZEN

photos by son, Cory

I need people yet being around too many freezes me. I pull in, become numb from stress and it can take days to unwind and find my way back to myself. Even those closest to me; sons, daughter’s-in-law and grand-children. Taking them one at a time? No problem. All at once?

Love having everyone together because it is rare, yet…the stress of wanting it all to go perfectly caused stiffness that speaks in my shoulders, tendons like taut piano wires.

“I feel frozen,” I tell a dear friend, one who also suffered childhood sexual abuse traumas.

“I’m like that too after being around a lot of people,” she confides, and a burden drops from me like water falling off rock. Having feelings validated and understood is priceless, like my friend.

As the freeze begins to melt the tears come like soft rain, each drop bringing me back to myself, the land, the butterflies, the dappled light at my feet from the leaves overhead, the singsong of birds chanting lively along with the croaking of tree frogs and the tractor in the distance.

Though I love my family, keeping up with 30 year old’s is exhausting. But it is worth it and all did go perfectly, even walking the glen on hike after hike. Just give me a few more days of grass, breeze, quietness, and rest…

The Lake

Our little creek has swollen with the rains…

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Decaf works best for me, yet spiking it with caffeine seems to make it taste better. Yesterday the spiking was too heavy and the day got away from me. No way to find the wholeness continually searched for. What could have been a peaceful day was fraught with separateness unable to enter the dwelling of my body and stay there. My mind buzzed…all from a small amount of added caffeine. 

Doing what I do best, beating myself up, I bow my head over my burning hand on the counter and wept. I wept for the stupidity of pulling the crock pot over to the sink still plugged in. The hot bean liquid splashed all over my hand. And finally wept for the bag of chips I ate the day before and wanted to confess about but couldn’t till then, “All 6 ounces Samuel. I ate the whole bag!” 

He cleans up the mess and says, “So what.” 

Holding my hand under cold water, I watch as he eats out of his bag of chips. “I love this salsa,” he says, grabbing more chips.

We had shopped together, an unusual occurrence due to my extreme impatience. I knew better than buying myself chips, albeit baked, but thought skeptically that I could eat just small amounts at a time. He grabbed his bag of tortilla chips.

“No!” I said, when he pointed to the peanut butter stuffed pretzels. I cannot have junk around. I eat it!

Going over to the table I pick up his bag and look at the ounces. 12. He had eaten half a bag, same as me, but he wasn’t smashing his face in the cement like I had been doing. 

All the talk of self-love, self-compassion, self-forgiveness…where does it go? Every time I make a mistake, or mistakes, it comes smashing down, and it stays. 

“There’s always tomorrow,” he says. 

“And I’ll make more mistakes tomorrow!” I retort. 

Yet this morning I feel calm as the sun rises warming my face through the window. This part of me that is so hard on myself is staying. I need others who help me come out from the mire when I’m stuck, and luckily I have them…

my birthday surprise from Samuel

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SUNRISE

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I have tried to train myself to different hours, going to bed later to wake later but it doesn’t work. I’m asleep by 10 pm awake at 5 am. That’s OK since much beauty awakens in the early morning and I thrive on it. It allows for much needed alone time since Samuel has retired. Even the best of mates need space… 

I await the grand-children and my son and daughter-in-law for egg dyeing and quiche later this morning… 

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