The Punisher

Life became an all-out war against myself. I made it that way when turning each day into a pass or fail day depending on the scale, just as my family had done. Lose weight, you are normal. The punisher took over, always ready to take on the job with glee; chastising, criticizing, stealing the joy out of life.

Take back the moment, which means dwelling on now, not the size of my body, and what a failure I am. Days became dark. The usual depression combated by working at positive self-talk deepened without knowing why.

Eating patterns developed in childhood to survive came on stronger manifesting into all that mattered. Life is so much more than about that.

None of the usual summertime pleasures were enjoyable, but robotically completed instead. All of my psyche turned on me, like it had much of my life. The only way these past few years that life became joyful was remembering that it is not the size of my body that matters, but the being inside it.

Yes, the body matters, but so does treating myself lovingly, which includes understanding why my food habits are such, not hating myself for them. Softness simply destroyed, gone, lost, and out the window.

I want the life back that says I am good inside my soul, no matter the outside trappings. To feel good about who I am, what I do, and what I say. Confront the beast that tells me otherwise, because that loud echoing from my past— the family I came from who taught me to be silent, meant eating to stuff it.  

How quickly I became lost. Interactions lately with each of them has poked the ‘beast.’ She arrived frothing with self-hatred stealing my joy.

I don’t know the answers, only that it is my life to love and I will.

 

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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…

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.

 

WORTH

Thoughts swirling about this and that, all about others and how they feel, what they might think. The old ways grab at me pecking away. Then the voice of reason which abandoned me all those years of suffering over others that came with feelings of wrongness and badness in every encounter and situation.

You have a right to feel your feelings, but first you must find them. After a childhood where my body was not mine, and certainly not my feelings or anything else, at this late stage of my life the search goes on. Centering into my core by meditation is not just helpful, it is necessity. Otherwise I go blithering off the stratosphere, thinking I’m grounded but being anything but.

You have a right to feel your own unique feelings and own them. Be brave and live your life. It is easy to sink into another’s perceptions because I had none— no center, no core, no me. There is a me, and there is beauty there. Go there, find her, be her.

The Beast

lilac-photo by Patricia

There will always be a voracious emptiness waiting for sustenance like a ravenous dog chained. Unleash it and worse fate awaits. It won’t go away but must be quieted each day, especially at night when the dark yawns ahead with the day’s worries rolling downhill like an out of control boulder.

From age eight food tamed the beast, but food made me wake nights throwing up. It still does, so does the urge to stuff in food to erase the badness that grew in me like tarry fungus.

In the night, waking, turning over wondering is this a night when sleep won’t return? A softness arose so unusual. What if it is OK to feel OK? My insides loosened as if a snake uncoiled becoming soft like rippled water. Sleep came.  

Though chilly once again after a day of opening all windows, the sun shines brilliant. My brow furrowed with thought, the softness came again. What if it is OK to feel OK?

It is as if my life has been burdened with secrets kept for the family forcing me hostage. And though each link has been slowly broken, the skin scarred from the cold, hard steel can’t feel the air around it now, only the remembrance of my job in the family.

Be still, be quiet, don’t talk, and don’t have needs. Your body is not your own, not your mind, spirit or emotions…nothing is.  You must hold it in. It takes a lot of my drug of choice to keep all that in.

To become free of patterns gagging me since age eight takes doing exactly the opposite which requires a quiet strength of character laced with courage. And it takes time, because for that long a disconnection to my body occurred. It is fearsome to be connected to it. So connection, like connecting to the present moment, is like dipping a toe into water to see how it feels.

To begin the process of connecting to my body, while at the same time allowing happier feelings to take root, allows the wild beast, always absent of love, to finally feel soft, whole and warm at my center. To open up that core so vigorously guarded, even from myself, is to trust and be vulnerable. Maybe I am safe enough to finally dare go there.  

FRIENDS

Tinted, like looking at the world with dark glasses. When the growth of a personality is embedded with feelings of ‘badness,’ feeling abnormal, even dirty, it separates a being from others in so many ways… emotionally, spiritually, and intimately. Closeness is feared.

Anxiety arises. Any interaction with another human makes it pop like hot mercury. Though much of that has lessened, anxiety and the customary feeling of wrongness, or badness, are still issues dealt with daily. 

Living in a bubble is not my desire, but my needs require an environment that includes a great deal of solitude that is steadily familiar. Upsets in equilibrium interfere with my health setting off a reaction that is out of my control. But outings are still pleasurable.

A friendly gathering offered a place to really talk. Later at home the harsh voice began banging, “You monopolized the conversation. Can’t you see what they have been going through?”

Then a softer voice quietly budged in, “Give yourself a break. It’s OK to share. It doesn’t mean you aren’t aware of their struggles or pain, or that you don’t care. Let yourself off the hook. Think of the supportive things that were said, like, you are a good friend. Remember that?”

Remember that.

FREEDOM

To live a life with invisible chains. To begin to experience freedom. To invest energy into the ones that matter, rather than everything else that doesn’t, but once used to seem to be all that mattered in order to survive. And that would be keeping the secrets of my mother.

It was never something that could be put into words because I was not cognizant of it, only that I needed her love. And instinct knew the trade was silence for love. Secrets sat like a beast inside me in the therapy chair.

It dwelt inside me since age eight, what each had done. The beast ate from the inside out. I was a silent mass of snakes, each one let out slowly; long, slimy, and treacherously reptilian. A brother once loved who attacked, but don’t tell.

How does one live curdled from within? Insides so confused not one sentence could leave my lips that made sense because the feelings were so twisted in order to appease the family. I grew to appease others, the being created unknown to anyone, most of all me.

Even now daily reminders are needed to allow my internal self to relax, and move in a way that is freer, calmer, and in my best interests. Ways that allow for healthy patterns of existence that others might take for granted, be it a more relaxed mind, eating in a way that is connected to my body, enjoying movement, and respecting my body’s needs without fear. 

The life sentence of rage that took all joy finally over in my fifties when writing the truth of what they had done bubbled up each week, and with it joy because the suppression of one thing suppressed the other. Healing. The truth like a soothing balm. The key was my mother’s death ten years ago this month, a loss mourned more than any other thus far.

Finally the freedom to be, tasted for the very first time, a continuing journey to explore as my true self becoms known.