PAPER DOLL

Though summer brings oppressive heat, walks bring peace to a mind working on over-drive. Before breakfast the heat and humidity is tolerable, even pleasant until the sun comes full up. So many thoughts bombarding into each other on a day when feeling scattered too.

How to come together? Time alone by the water— birds, raccoons, turtles, frogs, carps as big as sharks, and the water weasel, all keeping me company. It is OK to stay where safety is found, the decision to cancel so many plans repeatedly questioned.

No, we are not being too extreme. Others seem to be taking risks we’d rather not take. We are being cautious. Camping next week with Shane… no, nor any camping. A trip to Cory’s in Massachusetts’s…no. We don’t care to deal with public restrooms, or any other possible source of contamination.

And finally peace over these things. It is the right and safest decision for us. Whatever is needed is right here, it always has been. There is also relief at not having to travel. It always took its toll on my fragile nervous system, depleted after a life of excess cortisol coursing through my body unnecessarily. My startle response raced into fight or flight many times daily. My body still does it, though years of meditation have helped calm it down.  

There are wounds still needing attending to. Trust is not something regained, but maybe in increments. Samuel and others aren’t out to get me, a belief cemented into my views since childhood when learning just what human beings are capable of. That belief won’t completely change, but some cracks open up letting in light during rare moments of peace and safety.

Chet spent a good deal of time figuring when he could get at me, and that expectation, that others are trying to do evil, will last. It made an indelible imprint, a deep wound to attend to… a crumpled paper doll needing gentle care.

Quarter Back or Openness?

Waking, shoulders tense against the day. While sipping coffee on the porch, squelching the tendency to move, the message to self—stay. Go deeper. Go into the body.

Go from the shoulders, which hold a defensive position from habit, as fighting my way through life has been, or seemed necessary, and instead relax into my body.

With a sigh, the rest of my body is felt, wholeness occurs which isn’t all in my head and shoulders. It is in every pore and sinew, it is in that space with no name that dwells between the muscle, bone or blood.

The songbirds sing sweet melodies as the rock fountain gently gurgles brook-like waterfalls, and I am complete.

The Tooth

“How are you?” asks the dentist.

“I am two people,” I reply, and the air was still, adding before she was able to figure out what to say next, “a terrified child, and a person who asked you for help knowing you are competent to do it.”

“I’m sorry you went through all that,” she replied, and the two of them went to work.

The process of getting the lost filling repaired took about an hour, but the rest of the day felt wasted. Too tired from the medication needed to calm my flight of flight response meant resting afterwards. I even fell asleep for a lengthy nap which is a rarity. But still, this time was different.

Rather than a rumbling terror each day prior, my message to myself, or more precisely to the terrified child within, was, I’ll take care of it. It’s only a tooth to be fixed.

And compared to the terror of what’s floating in the air these days, tooth problems do seem minor. Yet my PTSD symptoms worsening with age won’t go away because I tell them to. Medication was still needed.

Though seemingly a wasted day, it was not. It was of great achievement. The hunk of filling came out about when the pandemic hit. My tongue has slipped over the rough edged gap ever since not chewing on that side.

The owner of the office assured me that the they dispel a spray in-between patients, and I’d be first in anyway. But I wish the two working on me didn’t chat back and forth while only 6 inches from my face. Stick to what is needed to be said about the process, not senseless chatter.

In normal times unrelated chatter soothes, but now caused worry. They had on masks and eye gear, but no shields. How do I know if their breathing and talking wasn’t getting on me lying there with my mouth open? It seemed very wrong for both patient and provider.

But it’s done, I did it!

Freedom and Safety

Waking in the night a breeze of fear passes through me. All the people called ‘family’ were put in the block sender list yesterday to feel safe. But what of the love felt for each of them? The love is from an immature girl, remaining a girl all through my 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s, only beginning to mature in the last decade… a slow and painful process. 

And with maturity comes the realization that lies are not OK. Interacting with each of them, always on their terms, is not OK. Pretending is not OK. Being buddies with an abuser, aligning with him against me, is not OK. Pretending he didn’t slink up in the night to abuse me… is not OK.

By not talking about the crimes committed against me make the crimes loom larger. Lying awake in the night remembering. The confused mixture of pleasure and confusion as a little girl, still sleepy laying there at the end of couch with my little brother asleep at the other end.

Tommy’s head between my legs— waking to the soft pleasure but not understanding. The next morning, and all the years after, the brother I loved so much with admiration and trust, turned his hate upon me. I was a reminder of his crime. His fear of exposure compounding the punishment that would defeat me for decades. That leaves me fighting for a life even now. 

On little shoulders that would take even more trauma, some so violent that remembering isn’t safe to this day. My psyche protects me from it still.

I am blocking emails that never come unless someone dies or wants something. No one dares to get close, reality might set in. But what of my reality?

Attachments cause deep pain. My preference is to attach to the land and mother nature who soothes, bringing smiles of joy as the chipmunks play, or a flower blooms .

Attach to my children, and their children. To Samuel, who I’m learning to trust for the very first time in over 40 years of marriage. Trust for a friend whom I’ve finally learned to erect boundaries with, a miraculous feat… trust that will reach out only so far because she will slam me down if I let her. 

That is enough to be challenged with. The origin family carries baggage with heavy requirements I have no energy to meet. (Yet agree to anyway when pressured.) So take away the temptation. 

After trying repeatedly to develop relationships individually with no takers, it became apparent that groups were only what was wanted— herd immunity. My need for safety equates to detaching. Craving freedom that was lost when feeling forced by pressured guilt to do something I did not want to do paralleling my formative years. Freedom and safety come home. 

What Broke

photo by Patricia

Re-entering my body has taken days. To notice and absorb the scent of the candle in the warmer, to check internally understanding the depth of tiredness that descends each day, acknowledge it, and attend to it. Then do things accordingly at the pace that meets my energy without splitting.

My being feels like a walking injury that must be cared for, and who else but me? Yet for much of life that me was buzzing around my body disconnected not wanting connection. Living that way causes dis-ease. People take time to care for themselves.

I was taught not to. To ignore traumatic injuries, to stuff them down because no one comes to help. The ever-lasting loud message is STAY SILENT.  That equates to a life of disrepair spent chaotically and desperately craving healthiness. It isn’t possible to make healthy what was severely broken. Some pieces cemented back together became stronger. Others break over and over again cracking at the joints. There is no fix. 

What is possible is to tend to my needs, which also requires staying present, another affliction caused by leaving my body at age eight and thereafter. The energy required for the task can be draining calling for great care and attention. Slow is the pace, long is the way, wonder and joy are found in the ‘moment.’ 

As the lines on my hands are noticed. As the birds sing across the meadow to each other. As the sun rises full and bright with rosy wisps of clouds in the purply turquoise sky.

There are pressures adding to the already pendulous weight of living that make caring for oneself harder but more necessary. Pleasure awaits in this moment of time, simple pleasure that money can’t buy.

CONNECT

Some day’s anxiety rolls deep like thunder strumming beneath the current of my everyday life. A walk with meditative time by creek dispels it temporarily, soothing mother holding me in her loving arms. Some days pulling up the blanket of depression is so temping but the lure is resisted— move, do something healing; cook a nice meal, bake a bunny cake, exercise, cuddle with my purring kitty, or pick a spring bouquet.

Each day new feelings, a different feeling. It’s OK, telling myself that whatever is there, feel it. It may be scary, but there’s other things. A connection with all the parts is living wholly. Separating, my tendency, means ratcheting up anxiety, or deepening into depression, or worse. Many things develop when disconnected from my body.

Yes, I am scared. Sometimes more than others. I am fearful, and at times it overwhelms. If this, if that, on and on. Before trotting off to insanity, remember… courage. It is the time for courage. I have what it takes to stay connected within myself. And I need not be afraid to go there.

These are the talks by the creek that I have with myself, and it helps. It helps greatly.

photo (and cake) by Patricia

DOOFUS

The doofus in power using it to control, lie, manipulate, and corrupt, even fooled the evening news anchor into saying he was using his power to order factories to produce ventilators. He hasn’t (and won’t until it is too late.)

The facts are hard to find out of a mouth of a liar, but my experience with liars goes deeper than Lester Holt’s. My upbringing was in a group of liars all making sure that the truth of my deepest traumas remain locked inside of my little girl body even as it grew into womanhood… even now.

Lie to keep others comfortable even if it means being untrue to myself, never knowing myself which would allow for self-compassion and self-love.

It has taken decades to begin that miracle, one that would usually thrive from a nurturing childhood. The two eldest siblings expect as much, abhorred when or if the truth is ever spoken.

My interaction with both, though they live in the city nearby, is nil. Comfort is not found in liars. And when Trumpy opens his mouth he is lying. Like a teenager, as Dr. Phil said.

“Do you know when a teenager is lying?” he asks, adding, “When they open their mouths.

He is so good at it even Lester got it wrong.

Cuomo says that we are in a war and that ventilators are our missiles. Yet the doofus Trumpy lacks the character to do what needs to be done. We need them in masses with a direct order to produce them,  and then using that power to direct where they go. Yet he doesn’t bother, choosing instead to let companies do it voluntarily.

Lies, lies, lies. He gives the impression that tens of thousands are on their way. They are not. He washes his hands of anything that might interfere with his businesses once he is no longer president. His needs, his money, his everything. 

The Donald scathingly rips up the best reporters when they ask a question he does not like. This is America. Did anyone tell him that?

Please god get rid of this dangerous doofus.

FULLNESS

Ups and downs, but overall an underlying contentment unfounded in my life-time. The years since moving from our other home where our two boys grew up has been a time of great growth and movement towards a peaceful interior.

Rocky, chaotic, and injected with withering anxiety at times, peace comes coupled with joyous gratitude. The cat cries for her food while grinding coffee beans. Placing the plate down she nibbles gratified.

Settling down by the fire with a cup of the dark brew, a feeling of well-being permeates while gently rocking. So much to be joyful about, a home, a partner, two sons bringing a special worth to those around them, and my cat now curled up next to me playing with the string tied to the arm of the chair. 

This is life. There is no waiting for more, or the next thing. This is it, and is savored, each moment, every day as if birthed anew. The snow gently falls through the rising sun and I am complete.