You Are Not Alone

There is a place inside called home. A place you can rely on. A place to go when scared, and everyday I’m scared. Scared of living? Or dying? Or not fully living, and becoming all I can be?

You are the container; the plant, the soil, the root, and you can blossom. You need air, sustenance, and sunshine. That is all you need. Sometimes it is fulfilling to breeze against others, but sometimes that only causes further damage.

The branches of pines, like fingers brushing my arm walking by, caress a hello, greeting me with snow-tipped arms. There, you are not alone, your friends touch their cold pointy tips with a warm embrace. A smile erupts while passing by… each one brushing a light hello.

                                                                 web photo 

 

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The Great Outdoors

 

‘Practice what you preach,’ words chastising in my head while dragging my body to the door pulling on snow pants, a brightly colored coat so the hunters won’t shoot me, then a hat, scarf and gloves. It is like walking through water getting to the door, my mood making me sluggish but also with the knowledge that this is the time when exercise is most needed and helpful.

Once opening the door to the frosty air my mood refreshed instantly with uplift. Though my body took the laps slowly, my heart happily pumped as aches eased with the movement. It is essential, even in winter, to keep moving. Mother brings such pleasure, peace and ease, her tranquility a healing balm every time.

The last lap earns a rest in the Adirondack chair. The latest melt has caused the creek to rise. In the distance my ears discern the rushing of water over the beaver dam not far away. Various prints in the light snow paint trails of rabbit, squirrel and deer activity crisscrossing like delicate embroidery.

Feeling full, satisfied and plied with more vigor, I tramp back puffing uphill to the house. The cat awaits my return, curled up high on the closet shelf in the mitten box where she can keep an eye on me lap after lap. Winter weariness needs to be attacked every day, but is so worth the work… Sometimes the relief is immediate, other times it takes a while.

 

Alone yet Connected

You are alone, and you are connected to the universe and all living things. It doesn’t feel that way sometimes. During darkness the aloneness is all there is. Sometimes, day, after day, after day. The thought that feelings come and go does not comfort nor help to brush away the hellish hole.

Then glimmer, by glimmer, hope returns as the body heals the latest health or emotional upheaval. Like coming out of battle, weary, mud-stained, and weak, strength slowly returns rejuvenating the spirit to its proper norm.

The stars were aligned. Sleep slowly was restored and the coughing cleared. I took up my sister-in-law’s offer to attend the little gathering yesterday which had bloomed to a few more family members from long ago; one who I embraced warmly, the other with a cool hello.

Brothers were barely embraced, it was enough to attend.

“What is wrong?” one asked after a brief, lackluster hug of hello walking on after.

I ignored him.

“That was hardly a hug!” another one said, pulling me close for another one that I barely responded to.

I kept connected to my insides without parts flying from me, which would be my usual course. Instead of giving everything away to others, I kept myself.  

What do you expect, I thought, and walked on toward the door without acknowledging his comment. You- who cannot email, call, or visit? You- who I don’t hear a word from for over a year, but you interact frequently with the others?

I owe nothing. I did not look at them directly. You will not invade my interior and hurt me more than you already have. I was there, that was enough. You don’t want to know me, you don’t see me, nor want to. You can’t have the fake me you seem to want.

You want the pretend me who nods, smiles and says nothing. I stayed aloof, yet connected within. Nothing would change anyway. Each would still clique together and talk about how queerly I acted, or something else other than anything real, and I’d still be alone.

A good deed was accomplished, maybe not to your liking, but to mine. 

Growth doesn’t occur in chaos, it comes in the quiet places. I am alone, yet connected to every living thing.

 

Moments of Love

Like a fist shut tight, or a bud unwilling to open to the elements, my heart is a cavern to explore, but when hurting boulders are in the way. Holding in feelings stresses the heart as surely as medical conditions do. More tears were needed, the wound was not fully washed, let them flow.

Resistance to this is incredibly high. I don’t see Samuel cry, except once or twice in his life. Others, if they do cry, hide it. Avoiding tears comes first bringing with it a closed heart  putting my health at risk due to the grasp clenched around it. I need to own my feelings, and let them out. Only then can reaching out to others feel full and authentic.  

This morning while stroking my cat, after an evening prior with grand-kids at an outdoor Christmas festival, the warmth of love opened. After the long shut-down, the glimmer was brief— but real. Those children love me as they wrapped their arms around me saying, “Na Na, Na Na.”  The ice that made me cold began to melt. 

Loving openly does come easily, if at all, but more readily with children and animals. The lesson learned very early was to protect what was left, because if that was taken too there would nothing left, nothing to live for, no meaning in life… no me.

I accept that I am like this, very cold unless feeling safe. Others may not, nor understand, but there are those who do stick by me through it all, and those are the ones safe to love… sometimes. The love is always there, but too risky to feel except in some moments. I treasure those moments, they make it all worthwhile.

Freedom

How to really concentrate on my goals, what will work for me, what will be healthy, and what behaviors matter so that when I wake in the night it is not to worry about the bad decisions that have been made.

Moving my body after a few weeks of illness makes all systems run more smoothly including my mental workings. Exercise is a great boost in all ways. When the most reluctance is there due to inclement weather, or a very low mood, that is when the uplift gained is most needed. Everything looks and feels much brighter. I feel stronger.

There is a way to resist turning to food to numb my feelings. I know this, yet the pattern is of a life-time, since the age of 8 when I’d eat to the point of waking in the night to vomit.

Feel the feelings? Not so easy when traumatized as a child, and forced in other ways besides the sexual abuse by brothers; forced to keep such terrific trauma inside my little body and psyche because the family needed to maintain their reputation. Unprocessed trauma changed me adding burdens that may never reverse. Who I was is not who I became.

The freedom, lightness, and gaiety of childhood innocence was taken in an instant. Seriousness took its place. Life is a serious business where danger is in every moment. 

The life-long repercussions are many. I took it upon myself to be the bad one. To put it on family would mean giving up the only home and family I knew. These messages of self-hate solidified as the years went by.

The family, whether consciously or not, found my silence and meekness preferable because their need for a good reputation grew with me. Others feared my voice as I matured. Manipulations to silence me became more seedy and fierce, yet never anything I could name or discern.

Feelings of always being on the outside intensified as years passed. I craved deeply to be part of something that really never was… a family safe, with real closeness and connections. That craving never truly leaves, it is compartmentalized, put in a little room somewhere deep inside. I learn to live as an only child. This fantasy soothes.

Being a part of this group is not helpful or healthy. It is my choice not to play a demure, pleasing, good sister who is brainless with no mouth. It is my path to walk free without hindrance— without your shackles which tie me down. The guilty feelings of following my own path recede with time. 

 

 

 

GENTLENESS

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.