Sleep?

The 2 AM dance in my head occurs. If only the use of the bathroom wasn’t needed, because returning to sleep afterwards is often hard work. No, you will not get up. Stay. And a long time later sleep did come, but not till my brain calmed down and went over every painful experience it ever had.

I don’t think of this shit in the daytime, why does it feast on my brain at night? Hushing the harsh voice that blames me for not disciplining my mind, the knowledge that parts of my brain are broken from the unprocessed repeated traumas of my youth, brings some balm to at least that aspect of my nightly troubles, but the thoughts continue to swirl. 

That included thinking about abusive siblings who feel as close now as they ever did. In the thick of darkness these thoughts invade, even though for a good portion of my adult life another ‘family’ was built from ground up that had nothing to do with blood.

To love those that hurt me so much? To hate those that hurt me so much? But the hate is gone. The rage is gone. In its place is sadness. Sadness that each of them lived with what they did, and grew in a family that drove them to it.

The love and closeness of blood family does not dissipate like a poof of air at the end of a wand. Family is family. This was mine… sadly. And yet while these rabid thoughts played out, a hint of something else flickered… the awareness of the light of my own soul. In the dark, while trying to sleep, a spark of truth.

My tired brain, awake like an hot wire frantically whipping wildly in the road during a storm, won’t stop and move onto other mundane matters until it had its ride. Eventually fitful sleep comes.  But this new awakening of what lies beneath holds promise of growth, light, and ever-lasting life.  

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The War Within

In The Adirondacks- photo by son, Cory

The scales have jumped so high in a manner of weeks, I can’t comprehend the numbers. My weight had stabilized for a long period of time, not up or down, but also not at the optimal weight. The trade-off was that the driven feeling to eat without true hunger had dimmed. More success at positivity had occurred, because it never has been about weight or food.

It is about issues of self-hate, solidified into my personality at age 8, or then on. So why this sudden period of extreme, rapid weight gain, which scares me? Negative thoughts, and poor self-esteem are not successfully being managed. The hunger is for that, not for food.

The food that comforts, cause so much more pain and self-hate. Yet my mother’s spoon of food that kept coming as a child, is the same spoon being plowed into my mouth now.

I must gain control, discipline, and most all, love how I am right now. This poor body which has taken the hit over and over again. My mind, spirit, and soul, so damaged from one brother, then the next, terrifying me, holding me down, telling me about love, then doing disgusting things to my body that I did not want and abhorred.

I cannot go back and kill them. And they are already dead. I can take responsibility now, and work harder at challenging thoughts that bind me into a black box of self-blame, self-hate, and negativity.

There is freedom in giving others the benefit of doubt. There is freedom in trusting that I am good, do good, and all those thoughts otherwise are a fallacy. Cast them out. Continue the work.

In the thick of winter this is truly a challenge, a war within. That I deserve what others naturally possess.

Tiny Miracle

photo by Patricia

Though the drudgery of winter is wearing, walking continues to bring a modicum of relief. By lap three the joints are loosened, muscles are warmed, and a boost to the spirit occurs. Additional rewards include resting creek-side. The silence in winter is deafening.

Where are my feathered friends, leaving me, wanting to follow? As my heartbeat calms, the dullness of bare trees does not improve mood. Then, there on my coat cuff, one lone, perfectly shaped snowflake.

Lifting my arm closer, pondering its miracle, as if an angel has spoken, “This is for you. Be aware of the beauty hidden among ugliness. This is hope.”

Keep the Peace

photo by Patricia

How to keep the peace? Luxuriating in this period of deep, long winter sleeps, then? No falling asleep. I could feel it. I could feel the restlessness in my brain traveling to emotions with the chorus of warning bells clanging louder as the time sleep should have come— not coming.

A call from a loved one earlier in the day set the string of past memories in motion. Not one to let go of hurts, they pile up inside embedded into the already existing quagmire of brokenness.

Much effort has gone into reducing that ball of red-hot pain, cooling it, down-sizing it to manageable proportions. It has shrunk from molten lava…rage, to earth’s crust, mostly cool except for sporadic eruptions. When flaring, even a simple phone call ignites pain churning the unhealed turmoil. The bell dinging wouldn’t be soothed.  

Just take what you need, don’t wait till midnight or 1 AM. Resigned to taking medication sleep came within the hour.

How to keep others from interfering with internal peace? Go deeper, or be less attached? The answer always lies within if you possess the courage to look. This is yet another FOG, another fucking opportunity for growth. 

 

Winter Solstice

There’s a change. There is hope in my heart, a surge of life bursting forth with the coming of spring. Yes it is January, but the days grow long, a minute a day. After 5pm there is still light. The sun moving back our way casts crimson clouds on the horizon swimming in maroons, pinks, and turquoise.

No wonder since September each month became harder, November drowning me in sleeplessness and negativity, December, a time for celebration but having to put on the power switch to see it through. Then, slowly, relief.

Dec. 21st was the shortest day. It makes sense the struggle to stay afloat began to lift in the weeks after. An uplift. Hope. A happy feeling powering me to join an exercise class for those my age, then going!

Brain chemicals adjust to the longer days, starving for the light, soaking it in. Consistent use of full spectrum lights may have helped somewhat, but not like this. A feeling of well-being craved during the shorter days begins to fill me with a wholeness that satisfies grounding my being.  

The Eating Monster

Any tiny thing upsets the delicate ritual of falling to sleep. If a sleep aid is used too often self-discipline is replaced by self-pity driving me to the kitchen to eat in a way that began at age eight. The next day feelings of self-hate either drive the eating more or cause a snap back to reality with care towards health and love of self.

This latest detour from self-care lasted too long. Christmas gifts arriving, Challah bread, chocolates, cheese and sausages, all things not usually consumed, instigated the binge, along with sleepiness in the day due to the night-time medication used to induce sleep.

Eating to escape the present. The hate for self hinges on eating patterns developed early on to survive the un-survivable. That excuse doesn’t fly now but the pattern used to escape the now is still used like a knee-jerk reaction. 

The pattern takes me from the present to a place that soothes yet causes such severe pain how can it be useful? What is it you really need? What is it that is bothering you. Do you need to cry, even if you don’t know why? Do you feel sad, even if you have so much, and others tell you not to?

Concentrate on the present moment no matter what it holds. What was once a survival tool now causes harm. Remember the work of loving yourself.  Work on what it is you need so desperately by being present, keeping still, and asking the questions. Stay. Be.  .

  

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.

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