SUMMER SPLENDOR

Take all your insecurities, tie them with a bow, put them away… banished. This is summer. June, the time for harvesting rose petals, lavender, and making strawberry jam.

The table fills with summer’s splendor from my little gardens. Gifts for friends at our monthly gathering today. A rose cutting from a friend grew into a giant tree bush that explodes with red roses in June.

On lap one in the meadow, basket in hand, each day blossoms are plucked filling my basket with petals. The scent intoxicates. The stash is added to daily, and one chore is reaching in, scooping the petals, moving them around to dry thoroughly. Now there is enough for five large stuffed sachets to add to friend’s gift bags, and one for me!

Next, lavender. That scent too fills the dining room, the oil left on my fingers as each swatch is bowed with a purple ribbon, goes to my core satisfyingly. Remember? These are the things you love. Somehow I’d gotten away from just living, just being, sucking the sap out of each day.

And the jam. Samuel’s strawberries are prolific, giving us basket after basket each day. What to do with all these strawberries, the freezer already filled with them? Jam. Jars and jars never ending as the bubbling berries also fill the house with the sweet scent of summer. One jar each to a friend, their gift bags complete.

   

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The Call of the Loon

As the canoe paddle dipped into the lake, the loon called hauntingly. There was trepidation about going for our annual camping trip in the Adirondacks, though our trips are only three nights as opposed to 7 during all those years raising our boys. And aren’t you supposed to listen to those internal whispering’s?

And we seem to draw the worst camping neighbors from hell having to call the camp office to get them to shush after quiet hours. Or the lone drunken man who the camp office called the police for. Then the campers who decided to leave at 1 AM shining their truck lights  directly into our little pop-up while packing up noisily.

But this year peace, if you don’t count the car doors slamming at 11 PM, or the mosquito population which hampered sitting outside greatly. Except one night. For whatever reason, mother of the earth gave us a break. We peered at the campfire well into the evening unperturbed by the atrocious monsters after the sun set with its glorious array of colors, salmon, rose, and aqua.

It was a successful trip despite the ride home where an over-sized Mac truck got pissed off at us when we merged back onto the highway after gassing up. He should have gotten over but must have braked instead. To retaliate he used his 10 ton vehicle to take revenge pulling  close in front of us just long enough to scare the socks off me, then out again on his merry way.

That is why highways don’t impress me. People. Hotheads driving murderous weapons. He could have killed us, and all the drivers around us. 

It is good to come home. Summer finally has arrived and floating in the pool has begun. Round and round looking at the clouds, one like a cat ready to pounce. Round and round go my thoughts well into the night unable to sleep. Finally my thoughts died down and sleep came.

The grooves in the record of me began their taunting so very young. The constant replay hears a new voice, the she who is really me, not the thoughts of a child alone, traumatized, and left to herself, blaming herself for the rest of her life for what others had done. Carrying the secret shameful burden of everyone. Those that did it, and those that did nothing to help. 

The burden has been heavy, and the boulders are still being lifted. Others in the origin family do not speak of it as it’s embarrassing. That means I’m embarrassing. The two do not connect inside me. It is embarrassing to talk about so don’t, but to heal that is what was needed.

People say they care in speech only. Hide, and you are loved and accepted. Be yourself and be alone. I want to  live  long enough to feel free of the origin family’s grip on me. To speak clearly and loudly to what was done. This is what happened. This is who I am. This is how I survived. I want to lift the shroud that is so suffocating and just be me. And in the process say, Fuck you. You didn’t help then, and you don’t help now. 

No one possesses the courage and depth to stand beside me. Not one.

 

SHE RISES

Sometimes the most fear filled confusing periods are right before great change. But hanging onto to the boat in tumultuous waves without a life jacket feels so scary. Lost at sea.

Then homecoming, when the scent of the candle is noticed. Before it was in the warmer all day without the ability to absorb its aroma. Being apart from my body happens often. Being away from my center, a place that I’m only beginning to know and get comfortable with, feels more and more unbearable.

But home. Home where there is a place for me in all my seeming weirdness, where every person is unique, special and needed, every single one.

All my traits others don’t like are accepted because that is how I survive. And all my survival tools are admired, not scorned and hated. But I can cast off those that helped but now hurt. That is the battle raging, and the gap is closing. So close. So close.

From great despair, torn down to ash, she rises, over and over again…

FAMILY

Tenderly, like rocking a child, cuddle the little girl left alone terrorized by those she loved. You forgot how it was, how it is now, because others groomed you to. Be like it never happened because the shame of those that did those things to you, and the others doing nothing to stop it, or help in any way, is too uncomfortable for so called family— then, and now.

So alone I am. But do not abandon myself. The loneliness comes because no one stands witness to what happened. The story goes that others have so many other hurts, so how can I just think of myself? More honestly, they want family, even if those remaining are holey, not holy, but full of holes like a tattered old shirt blowing in the wind.

My gut pulls for family too. It always will. But just get on with life which is one I created of great beauty. I do so much better being apart from it, yet like a moth to flame still try.

Traveling This Life

Rhubarb from a friend. Jam, my favorite canning job!

Trying to canoe with Samuel is like trying to lasso water. There is no synchronicity as he does his own thing. But on this journey in a new part of the canal going against the light current, it’d be nice to work together. He tries, but doesn’t pay attention for longer than a paddle or two.

Laying my oar down, enjoying the bright sunny day, exasperation moves through me with the breeze while pondering the life we’ve had. We put each other through so much, he with my rage that had nothing to do with him, and his quietness masking anger coming back ten-fold passive aggressively. It is interesting that two such diverse temperaments stayed loyal for over 40 years. 

Though we have our spats, we’ve also learned not to stew over them. Soon we are back to enjoying the moment. That progress is noted on this perfectly brilliant day with azure skies painted with emerald green trees exploding with thickly sweet scented blossoming locusts wafting their aroma down upon us..

In a few weeks we go on our first camping trip to the mountains for three nights. Part of the fun is the anticipation, and readying for the trip; campfires, loons on the lake, sandy beach swimming — and to try my patience, more canoeing…

Worthy to Heal

 

Rattling the cages of childhood, truths keep falling out. Tidbits of wisdom about what really occurred. Forced by shame to go on as if nothing happened made life oppressive in just about every way. Loneliness honed itself into a sharp, cloying, empty, bottomless pit devouring me for decades to come.

 Terror and trauma held into my little girl’s body changed me in ways I will never have as my own again. But I have me now. I am learning so much that my mother never wanted me to. Her ways were to just go on, the opposite of what was needed to heal.

Expecting me to be how she wanted me to be, how other little girls and young women were, caused a desperate need to fulfill her dreams. That yearning for acceptance and love broke down what was left inside even further. Who I was became lost beneath the façade of normalcy.

It is easier for family to go on without the shame of sexual abuse known, so the child abused takes it on. This damage follows a person for life. The toll to my body, mind, emotional well-being, and nervous system is severe.

The ‘tortured colon’ describe by my gastroenterologist? Which meant a tortuously painful colonoscopy until the anatomy of my colon became known. The constrictions and curvatures may have developed as a child by holding muscles in the pelvic area tight as a defense against further onslaught. It certainly was the reason for my skinny kid frame to become bloated and overweight, though that didn’t keep them off either.

And now, with peaceful lulls in my days and sleep filled nights… why are they suddenly disturbed by negative thoughts and insomnia? Because a brain broken by trauma held in unprocessed is incapable of sustaining happiness for long periods.

Knowing that gives me hope, because I can self-talk myself into believing that like every other woman sexually abused as a child, I do deserve happiness and peace. Happiness is peace; peace from negative thoughts, buzzing anxiety, a too fast paced life, and most of all blessed sleep.

These are basics that every child coming out of childhood deserves, human rights for all but that many don’t receive or develop. Beliefs forced onto a child form the personality. Shame, badness, and feelings of abnormality become cemented into the personality of a child suffering sexual attacks by those she loves.

Left to fend for myself caused irreparable damage. Self attacking traits carved in to me are a challenge to shift requiring a belief that I’m worthy along with the fortitude and persistence to take it on. 

 

 

 

 

JOY

People have always been fearsome. How could they not be when childhood was fraught with brothers who held me down, manipulated, lied, and broke trust so completely it never comes again? The snakes, bees, and killer bird are much more easily dealt with on this little plot of land called home.

And it is more home than ever was, because in it an internal home has also been found. Luckily the feeling of wholeness that others take for granted has occurred in me. First, writing the book, where the child in me let loose like a steam pot exploding.

Each week a chapter arose, one week joy, the next, severe pain. And most weeks included tears sliding down my cheeks sometimes in rivers. Sometimes needing a choking rain, but always healing in ways the word was meant to be.

Others in the origin family will interact with me, but only if the game of secrets is played, and only on their turf or in groups. The insanity of this brings upheavals of anguish, the mental confusion bringing only pain.

No one wants to know me as me. And I get it. We each have our own hell and cannot hear the other’s or let it in. Yet the façade of invisibility won’t wear on me anymore. It’s not that I want to talk about the past, just not be chained from it as it relates to my life now.

But you don’t want to know me, just own me, control me, and have me be a puppet. No. The craziness of this tips me over and I can’t have it. No.

People scare me, even those that call themselves family. There is a piece missing in me that has been lost forever. And these souls needy of their own take advantage of the hole. That is how it is.

So take joy in the life created, and know it is OK. You don’t have to fix what is not fixable. It is OK. You are OK, in fact beautiful.