WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS

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No more. I can’t do it. I need to celebrate or grieve on my own. Stay in my body. Feel my feelings. Grieve clean.

Going to these things where there’s others from the group of people I was born unto, makes me freeze, become rigid, as if I cannot even move. I don’t remember a wedding when I relaxed and enjoyed it. My body takes a hit. My body cannot do it anymore. Repeated bursts of cortisol over time due to excessive anxiety has taken its toll.

I don’t know the name of what I have and don’t want to know. Not yet. If or when I do, I probably will have bottles of medicine to feel obliged to take. As long as my legs keep working, I’ll keep going. But I cannot overdo. When I do, which doesn’t take much, my legs stop working, give out, become weak, and I require rest. It’s much better to pace myself. Do my bits around the house, and five easy meadow laps. Then I’ve had it.

My biggest concern seems to be, “What will others think.” Or, “Who will come for me if I lose a child or husband?” But I don’t think it works like that. People have a right to grieve how they need to. 

I know I cannot take it. Not my mind, my emotions or my body. Another young person has died, a nephew. A niece two years ago. That I went to. I cannot do it again. Samuel went without me. I wondered as I meandered the meadow, “Am I being selfish?”

I know the answer. Self-caring, not selfish. I care. I cry. Yet I cannot face a church full of people coming out of my solitary life into a swarm of black. I lose the grief, and become a mass of confusion and pain. Grief over a life that could have been. I want to grieve clean, just for the mother who lost her son. The young wife. The two brothers.

So I walk the meadow and let the tears fall. Again. As they have all week. I grieve fully on my own, my own way. I don’t feel guilt. I know my limits, understand them, and give myself space and as much peace as possible, because excessive stress on an already comprised system causes more damage.

Samuel returns and says the church was full of people and I know I’ve done the right thing for me, for the first time. 

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INNER DWELLING

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“carry the burdens of others” Telling Heavy Secrets writes in her comment of an excellent and excruciating blog. The ‘family’ causing the anguish, the same ones who extinguish a child’s light, continue to keep dark the horrors of her childhood throughout her adult life.

In their selfish need to maintain their own innocence, and the pretense of a family not riddled with the sadistic crimes of incest on an innocent little girl, they are completely willing to sacrifice that child’s life, her entire life.

Their continued lies darken her, and everything about her. If she tells the truth, they perpetuate their lies about their crimes and their persecution of her intensifies and escalates. They gather together against her. The truths she has to tell to save her own life… to live.

It is excruciating that when victimized so tortuously as a child, and the loved ones who are responsible, re-victimize their daughter again so grievously, so totally in adulthood, eradicating her; villainize the child now woman, reject the truth and her along with it, and abandon her for telling it.

Keep the lies, the viciousness of our crimes against you, just swallow it, pretend, wither and die…and we will love you.

Tell the truth? Stand up so you can live, not wither and die, become visible?

We disown you. We perpetuate lies about you, your sanity, intelligence, your worth as a person. You have none, less than none. We sacrifice you, and your life to protect ours. You are cast out, shunned, and on your own. Persecuted. 

That permeates everything I do, each connection and relationship I have. How is what the other person is going through my fault, because my first feeling is that I am somehow at fault.

If I was happier, brighter, lighter, less serious, freer, more forgiving, less aware of undertones and motives, more aware of undertones and motives but able to make less of others faults, more there for them, hadn’t failed them in some way, wasn’t required to work so hard on my own needs daily, which far surmount what I make of them, or what the other person, or any person can really understand…including myself.

if I spoke up at the moment, better, or at all, if I was able to be assertive for my own needs without feeling ashamed or wrong for taking care of myself in the ways that are necessary and needed for a full and happy life, and if I held my head up high while doing it, without suffering guilt, regret or shame for caring for my own needs first…

I see others do it and it’s no big deal. They just say what they like and don’t like, what they need, and are respected for it. I go underground and it festers, disliking myself for holding it in, feeling stepped on, a doormat, then I just separate from the offending person who I initially liked, because they have stomped all over me.

And everybody does or will take advantage of you if you let them, even and especially those we care most about and are closest to. My ability to speak up has been severely impaired, non-existent- and is the one thing unchanged and damaged even now over 50 years later.

Yes I have made improvements. Maybe not in the moment, although sometimes, but later when I see and feel how my actual inner person feels and acts, my true nature.

 …I’m sure I can think of many more reasons why I’m the fault for every angst, hurt feeling, disappoint, sadness, or every other negative, painful feeling or experience of another…, just give me a second.

And these tendencies cause such grief, angst and mostly hatred towards myself. It’s me who allows it. Though Samuel hears me rant and rave about how the other person has offended and disrespected me, it’s me who I am most angry at.

And that is where the love and compassion starts. Of course I am like that. It’s ingrained into the bedrock of my being. How could it be otherwise. With so much that was expected for me to stuff down into my little child’s body– love them. The ones who torture and terrify me. Love them. We are a happy family.

The expectations of carrying the grief and burdens of all of them went into a little girls’s psyche and body. Those same balls and chains, securely soldered in childhood, remain fused permanently– all through adolescence, early adulthood, middle age and now later in life, the same issues remain.

It’s how I handle them within me that I have the power to change. Rage at me? Or love me.

Sometimes I still rage. I became incensed over an issue yesterday. I had to take something to go to sleep. And try again today, calmer, more loving…more accepting…towards myself. (and my friend who caused it)

Yes, of course I’m like that. Though the change I’d like to see and have has not occurred, that’s not because I haven’t worked strenuously and for a very long time to change it. I have worked so so very hard at it. So it’s not from lack of trying.

I can work to ease up on myself. “OK, you did NOT speak up.”

I did not tell my friend that her 130 lb. dog who kept jumping on me, slobbering his tongue over me, then really scaring me as he stood there barking at me, to

“Please! Put your dog back in the kennel when he had been laying quietly! I beg you!”

All this occurred at my visit with her for tea and petit fours yesterday after my morning with my grand-daughter-fun, but exhausting. And my friend requires that I visit late in the day, when my energy has already been depleted. Most of the visit with my friend was taken up with her interacting with that horse of a dog that wouldn’t mind her, didn’t pay any attention to her, and dragged her around, not her him. Knowing she had no control over him really scared me.

So I could not get to sleep last night over such a minor issue that would have easily been remedied had I spoken up. Or better yet, hadn’t gone, because in addition to a shoulder than I cannot use these past few weeks, there’s been another death of a young person, a nephew, just over the weekend.

I did tell her quietly a few times, even possibly THREE times, that her dog scared me. But she seemed more interested in the dog than me. And I allowed it.

So this morning I start again to understand what I do, and why I put others needs before mine. And in doing so, realizing once again where it began, I’m able to slowly allow some compassion to seep back in–for me, for her.

Not easy, yet that’s the beauty. That’s where it counts. That’s where it has always counted, within. 

Let the whirligigs whirl. I can remain calm and resolute. I can, I just have to keep working at it.

DEAR MOTHER

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Dear Mother,

I’ll call you mother now that you’re dead. You always wanted me to, like you did your mother. Mom was enough. Even that was often hard.

You could have scooped me up into your arms and said, “I’m so sorry for what Chet has done. My poor darling.”

Held me, loved me, rocked me, and the tears that came would not be shame but those that heal. You buried me with that lecture that you said wasn’t a lecture, wasn’t blame.

Oh yes, it was.

Every time I tried to talk to you, you became highly emotional, dramatic. And when I said ‘stop being dramatic’, your drama intensified, making it all about you. Every time…….    I gave up. We never made it to, “I’m sorry.”

It was always a kind of yelling out, “Of course I’m sorry.” More like I’m being chastised once again.

And when Tom wanted to talk, his first words were about how young he was.

Why is it when the subject of the crimes I was terrorized by was approached, others want forgiveness and leniency before even apologizing, asking for forgiveness, or showing any remorse at all? I blamed me. Because of my rage, my inability to forgive.

no.

It’s not that. It’s your weakness … and his, and the others who knew and did nothing.

You didn’t protect me. And when I needed your love, you blamed me. 

Hold me. Rock me. Tell me it will never happen again.

It did.

I’M SORRY

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Who, in the group of people I was born unto,

Has said, “I’m sorry.”

No one.

So a wound that would heal with “I love you, and I’m sorry,”

Festers, and like gangrene grows.

If only someone, anyone, had said,

“I’m sorry.”

But no one came. I was left alone, and couldn’t, didn’t heal.

Until time wore on. Rage spun its course.

I found a way to peace

All on my own…

SHE

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Listen to Her. Deep, still, quiet. She knows.

Not the should’s and shouldn’ts,

Do’s and Don’ts,

But what you need to do.

Yes, movement is good,

Except when it’s not.

Years of doing, pushing, overdoing,

On an already comprised system

Caused damage.

Don’t do the shoulds, what others have mapped,

Do what you need, and know,

If you listen,

to Her, that is me, down there,

in the heart of my soul, my spirit.

She needs rest?

Provide rest.

SECRET GARDEN

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A fellow blogger used the words “Hold on. I’m holding on.” And it struck a cord. This song helped me as I powered through ‘stuff’ with my cell-phone therapist, Matt. And to give him his due, he did help me. Our chorale sang several songs from the musical “Secret Garden.” I was deeply touched by it and bought the movie version which I still love. 

I thank Lynne for reminding me of the beauty and strength of this song which brought tears all over again as I searched the web trying to find it for her. This version touched me more than the theatrical versions. Her voice is pure though she has taped it in her home alone with her kitty. I include the lyrics, as important. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgziO0ghAA0

HOLD ON

What you’ve got to do is finish
What you have begun!
I don’t know just how
But it’s not over till you’ve won.

When you see the storm is coming
See the lightning part the skies
It’s too late to run
There’s terror in your eyes
What you do then is remember
This old thing you heard me say
“It’s the storm, not you
That’s bound to blow away”

Hold on
Hold on to someone standing by
Hold on
Don’t even ask how long or why?
Child, hold on to what you know is true
Hold on till you get through
Child, oh child
Hold on

When you feel your heart is poundin’
Fear a devil’s at your door
There’s no place to hide
You’re frozen to the floor
What you do then is you force yourself
To wake up, and just say
“It’s this dream, not me
That’s bound to go away”

Hold on
Hold on, the night will soon be by
Hold on
Until there’s nothing left to try
Child, hold on, there’s angels on their way
Hold on and hear them say
“Child, oh child!”

And it doesn’t even matter
If the danger and the doom
Come from up above or down below
Or just come flying at you from across the room

When you see a man who’s raging
And he’s jealous and he fears
That you’ve walked through walls
He’s hid behind for years
What you do then
Is you tell yourself to wait it out
And say “It’s this day, not me
That’s bound to go away”

Child, oh hold on
It’s this day, not you
That’s bound to go away

MONARCH

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I’m not fond of black. Yet the monarch’s deep orange comes alive inside its borders. As I grout the dark black over the rubies and bright diamonds of the new butterfly, I again feel my work aligning with life; the light and the dark, broken, shattered, yet the shards put together stronger than the original, and just as beautiful,  bumpy in spots but adding character and depth.

And the black, tarry thick grout, or filth of abuse, covering the brilliance, does not make the jewels dirty or bad or wrong, or have no right to be here. It only covers it. What’s underneath still radiates. The tar wipes off. I may have to dig, and scrape, and wipe and shine…pick, and poke, and not give up… but underneath lies beauty, shimmering beauty.

While applying the black grout, the sun splashes on my shoulder, kitty sprawls on the floor in the pool of light, and music softy plays in the background. My body relaxes into the project. I can no longer see the diamonds, rubies and glittery jewels, but I know they are there beneath the grime. Dirt wipes off of glass and shiny objects. It cannot adhere.

In the studio I feel whole, at ease, peaceful. I can feel my entire body and like being in it, and being, and being me.