photos by Patricia
Sleep comes night after night and the days feel so much more satisfying and happy. This tranquil period is cherished. Walking early before the unusual 90 degree heat descends, the stillness feels like a dream world. The only sounds are locusts and crickets, the chorus heightening as each day becomes hotter.
The fullness of being with such peace is cherished. The only intrusions are my negative thoughts but that is looked on as a lesson in self-discipline. Some are dissuaded but others just run through and out.
Each morning a thick pink fog burns off as the cool night warms with the morning sun. After the red ball rises and warmth trickles in, all windows are shut tight to the hot day. At suppertime they are opened and box fans suck in the chilly night air. By morning the thick quilt has been pulled up to our noses.
The once yellowy meadow dried and purple erupted in clumps. By the creek vast stillness sinks in deep as a long breath escapes while leaning back in the chair. Two enormous carp vie for the sweet grass where the water has overflowed due the beaver’s business at readying for winter by reinforcing the dam.
This sweet reprise can’t last, but while here is wholly appreciated.
Operating on fear is inauthentic. Responding with a fear based reaction to achieve a need does the opposite. It cycles more fear. A need for calm responsiveness presents itself as the person inside develops, or rather makes herself known.
Reacting rather than responding thoughtfully causes further drifting from self, a place newly found that is hard to stay in. Negative thoughts, especially those around abandonment and self-worth make me run. Running takes its form in many ways; pleasing, eating, even despondence about not fitting in.
Fit in with self. Do what is healthy and good for you even when the urge is to do the opposite. At day’s end the satisfaction of doing what is needed for the body, mind and soul encourages peace within. And also does much to ensure a good night of sleep which is greatly restorative promoting health on all levels.
Do what you need to do for you…if it means by mid-day you are tired and need rest, do so in spite of the voices clamoring inside saying you are lazy. You count, you matter, and you’re worth it.
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.
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.
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…
Samuel and I celebrate 39 years of marriage today. There were times when it could have ended but we stuck it through and I am glad we did.
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…