photos by patricia
Guilt? Who needs it? I suffer from it a lot, but am learning to forgive myself, even if I’ve done nothing more than not know how to be ‘my own best friend’. I’m hard on myself. I learned this only because others pointed it out over the years repeatedly. After hearing it enough, I began to believe there was something to it.
I had to forgive myself for the abusive sexual attacks against me by 4 siblings when only a child of 8 and the next few years after. A tremendous amount of guilt and shame invaded my entire being which only intensified as I grew and my thoughts about myself worsened.
In my 20’s, 30’s, up to my 50’s, rage ruled. Behind every interaction rage had to be contained, rage at myself and rage at the world and all the people in it. I was a pressure cooker with the tightest lid around. I appeared nice, sweet and passive but inside it boiled. I do not like looking back at my life and how all feelings had to be contained.
Writing chapters of who, how and why allowed the pain behind the rage to come up and the tears of healing flowed. As I let the rage and hate go for what they’d done, I needed to forgive me too, for whatever I thought I’d done…even if it was only that I’d been so cruel to myself, yet kind towards others.
Hate and rage began to loosen its grip during my daily half hour meditation. When I began to find myself and feel my center, nothing else mattered. Being present instead of zoning out began to feel safe and happened more often.
Have I forgiven them? I believe some things are unforgivable. Being sexually attacked as a child is one of them. The best I can say is I let the rage go and let myself off the hook too- and maybe I have forgiven. That doesn’t mean I want to be around people I’m still afraid of.
The most valuable forgiveness was and continues to be… towards myself…
photo by patricia
I fought it, raged against it, but there it was, I was abused. No amount of wishing changing it. Look at her, I want to be her, happy, trusting, loved. The pain, the cruel pain of not wanting to be me followed me everywhere, every minute.
I fanaticized what being ‘her’ was like. And ‘her’ was any girl, adolescent, or woman who looked free of burden. Why me? And the burden became heavier every time I asked.
How could I slow down enough to settle into what is if I couldn’t talk about IT? Familial sexual abuse isn’t light-hearted banter. You can say, “I was mugged on the street and my purse was taken!” And receive comfort and sympathy in return. But you can’t say, “I was raped in my bedroom by my brother!” (or father, uncle, family friend, etc.)
I wrote my book and each word, each chapter, lifted the burden out of a space so deep it was hard to find. It doesn’t matter if anyone reads it. I told my story, I spoke my truth. I am not hiding. And during that process I accepted what is. I was born to a family who hurt me so completely it changed me. I no longer run from that or wish for something else.
At times I’m still wistful when I watch a young woman full of trust and many friends and wonder what that’s like. But it’s not all consuming or constant like it once was. Having many friends does not mean they are close friends. And you only need one. And the one friend I’m learning to check in the most with… is me.
I might not even know why. But if I settle into myself, sometimes tears fall. I let them. Better out than in. Tears wash. Saline solution is used to cleanse wounds. I used to hold them in, without knowing I did or why. Maybe I spun too fast to cry, away from myself.
But sometimes now when I feel the most settled, tears come. That’s ok. Maybe it’s because of what I gave up to move on. Or maybe it’s because life continues to offer new challenges.
A fellow writer told me once there was a sadness about me. That’s ok too. It’s ok to be however I am. Joy and love cause me to cry. The beauty is slowing the whirl to settle into me; the center, the soul, the spirit.
And whatever I find, I am just glad to be there, in me, the pieces together, even if the edges are rough, and where the pieces healed, bumpy.
Yes, I’m sad to have given up the pretense of ‘family’, those people born from the same mother as me. But I had to. I survived. And in the process, found me…
I’ve looked for a very long time-
Note: post from first month of blogging- August 2014
“There go all the good people,” mom said, a bitter triteness in her voice as we drove by the church on Sunday.
Quietly gazing out the window as a teen, my longing to be one of them made me stare believing that we were not. Going to church made you good. But I already knew I was not at age 8.
I still feel it to my core and work daily to grow from a place of shame to a connectedness within where truth, beauty and peace lay waiting. That means letting go of all ties to the origin group I was born into. To others it is called family. To me it is toxic, pulling me down with wishes that only wound me further.
It is time to move on…
A rosy glow descended buffered by excess food. The peace sustained possessed holes, that of disliking oneself. When my head hits the pillow or my eyes open in the morning, the first feelings of self-despising thoughts are habitually comforting in their discomfort.
Reining in the part inside that craves filling the easy way, numbing by food, remains a constant job that takes daily effort. How easily that is forgotten. Does any addict stop working at it? Day by day, sometimes minute by minute, one has to talk down the anxieties, worries and fears that life may bring.
Numbing it out means numbing out feelings. Well yes, that’s the point. Yet a robot life isn’t much of one. Harshness towards self causes harshness towards others. Open, and allow what is there to shimmer and be shared…
Try not to be afraid of this changing thing called life, never knowing what happens second to second. The what if’s won’t stop. Relax into the moment.
Feed your soul with a food that fills all the cracks; stopping to inhale the sweet scent of the blossoms, tidying the kitchen and preparing a wholesome meal from the garden grilled to perfection over charcoal, or soaking in the sun as it rises over the trees.
Find ways to fill one’s soul in ways that bring meaning to each day, memories to fall asleep to, and adventures to look forward to when waking…
A worm for baby nesting above me in the wisteria vine…
photos by patricia