FOOD or FEELINGS?

So eerily quiet this morning even the birds aren’t talking and a queasy feeling surfs my stomach. Crickets hardly peep, not a sound, barely a movement of leaves at first until a soft breeze moves in. Perhaps the animals instinctively feel what the news last night warned of, the possibility of tornadoes.

At least the day was not faced with dread. The full spectrum lights, a return to a diligent mediation practice, the push off the couch to walk, and a drastic reduction in marijuana oil for sleep issues are all helping.

In order to treat myself with respect, which mean not gagging down feelings with food, my doctors have gotten a mouthful out of me after not speaking a peep for years. My primary responded by finally paying attention to me and my needs.

We discussed my use of pot oil and for the first time heard from her that just a few drops are needed. My dose kept going up and up thinking that helped, but it backfired causing more sleep issues, and an exorbitant increase in anxiety rather than decreasing it.

The cardio Doc has yet to respond to my personal letter to him after his nurse wouldn’t answer a simple medical question because my choice was to cancel an appointment due to the pandemic. ‘You haven’t been here, make an appointment,’ her note coldly read in the on-line chart after my question was posed.

Really? I have to come in and spend 50 bucks to know whether to continue taking a baby aspirin each day? Reports are saying there’s a bleeding risk as we age.

After going there for many years you can’t answer a benign generic question? The only reason for several decades of cardio appointments was not due to need or directed by my primary care doctor. It was out of fear that I’d fall dead just like my father who lay there at my feet at age 8.

Oh, the years of unneeded EKG’s, STRESS TESTS, EHCHO’s and yearly visits out of terror I might succumb to what my father fell victim to. And doctors, even the best ones, will gladly do it to keep their revenue going. This one too because he did say in my father’s case it had more to do with his smoking.

Yet he continued to oblige my need to ease my mind each year. That could be looked at as a positive then, but no longer, the pandemic making me reassess just how many appointments are needed each year. Unless a heart event actually occurs, NOT HIM! To hold back medical advice is cause to go elsewhere if a heart event ever occurs. Unconscionable. I’m sure they have their own spin on it, but so do I.

In me lies the need to finally advocate for my needs though with many stops and pitfalls along the way because my training was to stay disturbingly quiet about my needs. Traumas, too many to count, were forced to stay within me causing my skinny kid frame to burgeon dramatically into an obese one shortly after the first sexual attack by a loved one, also at age 8.

To keep family secrets throughout my life took a LOT of food. I want a healthy life. That means NO MORE SECRETS. That means speaking up for my needs even if different from your expectations or beliefs, and doing so even when terrified of the outcome. Who is this new me? Or maybe it’s discovering the me always there waiting for one special person to be on my side… me.

GO DEEP

When depression hits you like a sledgehammer, and tears fall for no apparent reason though memories erupt plaguing my internal peace, and all looks dismal…just be with it. Go deeper.

Remembering the readings of the meditators that say look at your flaws and shortcomings without judgement, just be curious, but accepting of all you see.

With my tendency of feeling badness, what else might be uncovered? But what if it is goodness so sweet it is like miles of chocolates oozing with caramel? That what lays hidden from me are qualities of great depth, wisdom, clarity, beauty, and vast oceans of compassion?

FALL INTO FALL

Amends were made to the three brothers pressing me to join in explaining why it’s not possible for me do so. Now they are placed beyond daily thoughts so much because the ones who really are interested in me and my life are my real family, Samuel, sons, grand-children, a sister-in-law, and friends.

These brothers act as if they are caring, but aren’t interested enough to answer emails or interact in a way other than what serves their own needs. OK. My situation has been put forth plainly without their decades of gagging me. That took enormous effort. Maybe once again going forward can occur without so much angst.

The ups and downs of being drawn to the fire of origin family… all it’s memories, the secrets forced on me to keep, the ravages of expecting me to be someone I’m not (pleasing doormat), getting burned, cooling off, then doing it all over again, over and over… well, maybe sufficient mental beatings have occurred to stop doing that. It is challenging enough to keep my sanity.

My mood dropped like a rock, forgetting how severely the change of season affects me. The warmer mornings called me onto the porch to watch the sun rise, rather than hunkering down under the full spectrum lights to improve mood. So that has begun again.

The usual meditation routine went by the wayside for months after years of hardly missing it, but that too is needed and room must be made for it once again. And the pot oil, no wonder sleep wouldn’t come.

When sleep issues arose the dose kept going up and up, doubling over time. No wonder my head felt manic with thoughts. Too much causes problems instead of curing them. Backing down to a modest does has helped a great deal.

And the simple work of being with me begins again. How hard it is to be in my body and be OK. To not run. To breathe, and be OK.

HONOR THY TRUTH

To boldly go where no man has gone before… (thank you Star Trek) yes, breathe, go inward, don’t be afraid, traveling through layers and layers built up over decades. Move through walls guarding my interior like fortresses built out of fear ignorant of my own truth. It is only when you relax the herculean sinews straining to keep you out of yourself that suddenly you arrive at your core.

Galaxies of resistance can be battled by a single breath. And then? The miracle of knowing who you are, what you want, what you need to do, and who you need to address.

Armor is melted by the breath.

Resistance is too.

And so you find love and all the things you’ve been searching for…. Knowledge of the why’s for your actions which confuse you, tending to ask others why you do what you do.

How would they know? You know, but you have to be brave enough to look. It isn’t all bad in there. There are things to do to make amends.

There is also beauty in my truth. You must honor that too, perhaps the hardest things to do… to honor one’s own beauty.

SAFE

Safe, feeling safer from those who do damage, the silent ones imposing silence on me. There is no way to have family of origin be part of my life. And though knowing this there continues to be a craving for it. But peace has been restored along with healthy sleep habits. Peace and freedom, something lost when interacting with those that muzzle me. Or consort with Tom.

The people who love me, who truly love me, don’t do that, and have nothing to do with the devil. Tom’s face, something about it. I see it in those that lie like Bill Cosby. Deceit on faces look similar.

The morning comes with peace filling me from the inside out as the golden globe rises above the hill. All is quiet. Oh how these mornings are cherished. A bird here or there tweets a hello as crickets in abundance still dance creating a happy drone.

Peace, hope, and love fill me once again…chasing away the terror of telling my truth which origin families do anything not to hear. And freedom. Freedom to feel my hand, notice the whiff of apple scent from the warmer, to be in my body as a whole person for more moments than not when focusing on it.

To remember, don’t go fast, slow down so all parts stay together. And know you are OK, not the problem origin family makes you out to be. You are OK, you are strong, beautiful and loving. And you have a right to be here.

(Seth’s email was permanently deleted before reading it as his defensiveness would hurt me drastically, and he has hurt me enough- I am safe from it.)

PEACE and CHAOS

Feelings of joy burst forth from me. Sleep came like a baby night after night. Feeling so good an email was sent to Don, his wife, Seth and his wife, inviting them all for pie. What?

And that night no sleep. A double dose of sleep medication was needed. The next morning, believing this is the only way for my soul to speak (sleeplessness), an email was sent to both brothers about the feelings being wrestled with all summer and before.

Don’s response was warm, kind and thoughtful, though no comment about his continued interactions with Tom. Seth’s in in my mailbox with fear of reading it. When he criticized me for writing the book and wouldn’t answer me, it sent me to the hospital thinking I was having a heart attack. That is how vulnerable telling the truth makes me.

Why do you consort with the devil who did so much damage to me? That is what runs though my mind. I am a fractured person, shying away from them as they make an unlikely friendship between themselves, along with Stevie and Tom, then suddenly a happy email with an invite?

Because, that’s what happens when you grow with horror but are forced to pretend calm and love towards attackers appearing as brothers. It does make a broken person, or a split one. Half of me wanting a family that gets together for a pie party, the other half who lives in reality.

Instead of beating myself up for the email invite, which has brought much pain during a wonderful week of sunshine and peace, maybe it is just one more leap of growth- growth, truth and authenticity. It is exhausting and one of the hardest hurdles accomplished taking 6 decades for words to come that no one wants to hear.

My soul feels ragged, like the pieces that fit so smoothly just a few days ago, now don’t. With time, and loving kindness towards self, wholeness and peace will be restored.

TREASURED MOMENTS

Sweat a cold, starve a fever? Not sure how it goes, but walking brings on a good sweat, more than usual especially on this cooler day…but it feels good. We all caught the little one’s cold, Samuel, Cory, and me. Minor, yet not.

Each day brings me closer to full health, along with feelings of peaceful joy. Meeting the challenges of traveling paid off greatly. Being with my son and family instills warm, loving memories that fill me up.

The summer was spent with too much focus on food and exercise— getting NO WHERE. At one point feeling so encouraged and proud of myself, but then at that exact point it all just stopped. My weight stayed the same, forgetting all about the part where weight is not to be the focus. My body could be super slim yet feelings of self-hate could easily take precedence.

This is about learning to love and offer kindness to myself, not easy for me. When the focus is off food, and instead put on working towards self-kindness, miracles happen. Staying in my body, also not easy for me, helps with awareness of fullness and physical hunger… much like it’s supposed to be.

The normal feelings hunger and fullness, along with my skinny kid body frame, changed at the age of eight. Eating, or over-eating, kept me alive and going along like others, numbing the horror of what lay beneath. It takes a good deal of food to stuff down excruciating trauma buried beneath. No one helped or offered loving support. Food became support, and love from the end of mother’s spoon who loved to cook and pushed food like a drug dealer. Food numbed it all, but also continued the cycle of self-hate that child sexual abuse brings into a child’s psyche. A child feels to blame.

This journey is on-going, the path taking me to places of wonder, joy, and contentment amidst all other painful aspects of living which are many and most suffer day to day. It is easier digested if there’s also joy. And joy has returned with warm memories of our visit opening my heart. The knowledge of grand-children growing up even if we are not here to see it helps me accept the cycle of my own life. Life goes on… and each moment counts.

HOME

And so we are home from the 5 hour journey to Cory’s in the neighboring state. My eyes mist wishing to live closer, but Cory always had his own path and it seemed to take him away from home starting with his college years. He really never came back.

But oh, how satisfying to see him fathering his two little ones. (With one more to come in December) Oh how my two sons make such devoted fathers! They are better parents than me, also better people.

But it’s good to be home, home where kitty nestles in my lap, the wild look in her eyes from being alone slowly dissolving as the afternoon wore on. Though someone comes daily to feed and play with her, she really misses us, and I miss her too.

There is something so satisfying to have a cat curl up happy with my touch and closeness. At least one live being is allowed closeness with me. But also, the touch on my son’s shoulder, the warm embrace upon arriving, and again while leaving which made me weep… it will be months before that happens again.

We live a strange life in this go, go, go world. Where once families spread out on the same road for their entire lives, it is rare for children to stay in their growing up town once reaching adulthood. Jobs, college, etc.- these things make moving necessary.

Now home with warm memories and a congratulatory pat on my own back for taking on the challenge of traveling. And at Cory’s it feels like home away from home, so I’m able to sleep and advocate for my needs.

And my needs are particular. If sleep came through the night, than in the mornings my energy is at its best. By the afternoon I tend to retreat to our apartment for silence and rest. I wish it didn’t have to be so, but I’m learning to respect what a lifetime of adrenaline bursts daily and repeatedly have done to my body, so tired out from the feelings of crisis at any moment.

He knows me better than anybody, and is loyal, loving, and kind. No Mom could ask for more. Though he’d like a more energetic Mom to help with the kids, and would prefer I didn’t have such struggles, he is glad Samuel is there to tag along holding the one-year old while he does tasks he cannot do with that duty. And Samuel likes it too!

PEACEFUL GRATITUDE

A gentle, peaceful way to start the day, sipping fresh brewed rich dark coffee on the screened porch, centering in on feelings hoping to reach my core without slants, twists or turns. But often that is a no go, hyped up on something else besides calm and peace, disconnected from myself.

One day to the next can be so different. Yesterday’s realization that fall’s downward mood is already invading, but then the surprise of a subsequent ability to find solace inside, because the granite yielded to kindness. Today? Different feelings.

As the mother and white spotted baby deer nibbled grass in the early morning misted meadow, feelings come that rise above self, encompassing more than just that. An expansion. Opening to it, peace fills me, comforting my often chaotic interior, and with those gracious feelings…gratitude.

A RETURN TO FREEDOM

The sweet taste of freedom rises once again after losing it for weeks to guilt, duty, and being attached to thoughts of failing, not only with moving closer to Stevie, but also Don and Seth. Some lessons are learned slowly and only after much pain. Just because they all formed what seems like a group of family, then pressured me to join in, doesn’t mean forcing myself to become a part of it… though attempt after attempt was made.

Freedom. Freedom to make choices based on the truth of my existence which confines my ability to do what others do so easily; travel, enjoy parties or groups of people, go to doctors without effort or fear, the list is long. Yet the limits mostly don’t feel like limits unless it interferes with helping someone deeply cared about like Stevie.

But who has been there for me? Certainly not even myself. It is time to take care of my many needs instead of pretending they don’t exist. If you can’t handle that, you are not meant to be close to me. And just how many relationships can be handled, or even are needed?

Concentrating on the ones most close, my husband, kids, grand-kids, and a few friends, takes enough energy and is worth the work bringing joy ten-fold.

That cannot be said for those professing to be ‘family.’ As much work as was put forward to be a part of what they have formed, it is full of holes spinning me into freefall with no one to catch me.

Choices. The soft voice rising up says, ‘You can do this. You have the answers, and can figure things out.’ Better to continue on the path to freedom, wholeness and health, even if that means a continued barrier between me and dysfunction.