photo by Patricia
The feeling of differentness so acute as a child suffering sexual attacks by my siblings arises sharply at times. Many feelings from then still linger, stabbing into my present life. Unprocessed traumas and all the feelings with them didn’t dissipate but grew with me.
Yet no gentleness exists. It is a habit to beat myself up when today’s issues erupt emotion from childhood wounds. There is no conscious link to them. That is changing. There are reasons sleep is interrupted. Wounds untended in childhood along with a stolen voice caused an inseparable rift within; deep wounds and no way to them. I am mute to the world and mute to my soul.
Wounds fester and when touched with present hurts the pain expands exponentially. It is like placing an already burnt arm on a hot stove. The present slides away as the psyche escapes elsewhere. If a person is talking, what is said is not heard.
Self-loathing because the feeling of differentness is so acute is not what the wounded child needs. And she exists within me and will always be there. She needs what you did not receive then. Since there was only one urgent unspoken rule to not speak of it, there is no one to emulate a pattern of how to be gentle with myself.
It is a new road with little to go on except the times my mother extended gentleness in adulthood. There were moments when she tried, maybe to make up for the past.
photo by Patricia
Some relationships spin the same old way no matter how much effort is put into change. Haunts from the past infect today. Little hurts inflame old unprocessed trauma. Sleep will not come, or upon waking in the night will not return.
A small infraction causing hurt by a loved one sets off the alarms yet it is ringing unaware until nighttime when tiredness setting in meets adrenaline.
You loser, you weirdo, you bad mother, wife, friend, and the bashing goes on. Feelings have overridden behaving in a way to feel proud of. Or shadows of them because the behavior has improved but no credit is given for the strides made. The mind goes off far down the painful road of self-loathing, and I feel lost. Help me, in the night the prayer is murmured.
This has been a usual occurrence for years but the last months a healthy sleep pattern has developed. My belief is that has much to do maturing hence feeling more at peace with myself. To lose it and not know why upsets all routines and body systems, but also most painful, must somehow be my fault. Is it? Or is it unprocessed trauma which goes beyond my conscious choice or control?
Wake and start again. May your first thought be, “Forgive. Be gentle. How gentle, loving and accepting can you be toward yourself today after the sins you think you committed yesterday?” And are they such sins? Or is your humanness still not allowed in your own mind.
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.
photos by Patricia
The road is long, hard and lonely. All that one knows needs discarding, most painful those loved, the people making up the herd one is born into. Playing a part as if one of them, once touched in evil ways a child is alone.
Even those that were innocent of wrong touch became complicit in the silence adding to the restrictions placed on the child. The embarrassment of anyone knowing becomes paramount to the child’s survival.
This does not change with time but rather locks down securely. Freedom it is not found within family, not mine. Stepping out into the world asking for help is terrifying and there are “lions, tigers, and bears” along the way. It takes courage unparalleled. How does she keep going?
The crimes of childhood sexual abuse are many layered, the depth of fractures reaching one’s core. And the core closes in defense. No more can be risked because what is left needs preservation. So how to negotiate the outside world if one cannot navigate one’s own soul?
There is in each of us a wealth to discover of untapped resources. But how to dig through the layers of injury to find the treasures? It wasn’t until middle-age when the filth left behind by others began to break away. Feeling clean arose from deep within. My life had stopped at the age of eight. Who I was went underground. Who you knew was not me.
There were periods of success and finishing what was started, but more often any hopes, dreams, goals or even a small simple project was left unfinished. Darkness and pain mired my body and mind in turmoil and self-hate.
Working with mosaics brings satisfaction on many levels. Sometimes the jagged pieces cut my fingers and reminds me how like the shards I am; warm and beautiful sometimes, prickly, cold and sharp other times. And the broken pieces, not usually cut carefully but pounded with a hammer, come together in wholeness with a unique presence not found when scattered.
It gives me hope. It feels good to finish what was started, from rolling out the clay, glazing it, firing the tiles, and then hammering the tile into pieces. The design phase allows a conduit from the soul outward, a route heavily blocked since childhood- the iron doors too thick to penetrate either in or out.
As the sun splays through the window upon my shoulder, reminding myself to breathe as muscles relax on the exhale, incense burning and music softly playing in the background, the process of coming together is happening with broken tiles, but also, most satisfying, with me.
This is my life, putting back the pieces…
What lies beneath?
photo by Patricia
When floundering the answers come from others because their lives look so calm and together. For a soul shattered this symbiotic interaction became necessary. To lean on Samuel feels like defeat. With head in hands, feeling as if there is no other recourse, my grief is expressed.
Feelings floating out there, out of me, brings lightness to my being as if a cloud of foul vapors has been exhaled. He offers a few words of support and that is all that is needed. I know my way ‘home’ even if veering from the path for a while.
In times of confusion reaching out feels like the only way to regain balance, and that’s OK. To live on my path means finding my own way back.
A life lived with pieces spinning is no life. It is robotic, all parts separated from each other and each working as single entities. Once moments of wholeness are experienced, the cracking and spinning that occurs with various life events are more poignantly painful and uncomfortable because the sweetness of feeling whole has spun away.
Come home to yourself… as many times as needed, you can find your way back.
As my legs turn to the side of the bed and my feet touch the floor, the first thought on this New Year’s Day is how caring and gentle can I be towards myself? The goal is to show the same kindness to myself that I extend to my grand-children, sons and animals. The thought makes rising from the soft warm bed hopeful.
Cory left yesterday and the usual desolation felt was instead gratitude and relief. He has a beautiful wife, a cherub of baby girl, a good job, and a life. What more could a mother want for her son? Yet also relief from the stress that changes of routine cause within my body. We gathered Saturday with my other son and family here for our Christmas celebration. That night my system had become so overwhelmed a double dose of sleeping aid was needed.
Lamenting to Samuel as Cory was packing up tears came unbidden, “Why can’t I be like everybody else?”
It is so fucking upsetting that having my loved ones around would affect me this way. This morning the house is neat, all the Christmas crap is put away, and feelings of settledness return but along with it a wistfulness for what was.
A feeling of nostalgia rumbles in my tummy missing my son who lives so far away. The kitten stretches herself across my lap as we rock by the fire and she seems more settled too as routines become more predictable.