Freedom and Joy

A favorite photo, though the wings are tattered, it still flies. 

Something once stolen gently coming back. A life. My life. So often the director in my head that drives so diligently can take me places not meant to be at. That voice took over where ‘they’ left off, the family of origin that hushed me because silencing me was more important than my having a life. For them.

Even now, almost 60 years later, those chains hold me hostage. Sifting through the brainwashed thoughts and feelings to find my authentic ones takes love, care and attention. Each day uncover the person, still a child, held down suffocating.  You don’t unwrap the claws of brothers by harassing her, directing her onward in a fugue unconnected to her and all other bodily systems.

You guide her out of the black abyss by gently pulling her up from the mire.

Samuel is hacking and coughing. More sick than I’ve seen him. And my throat is scratchy accompanied by a slight cough and drippyness. Do you drive yourself to do the usual? Or allow rest with extra vitamin C to hopefully ward off what he has.

Once accomplishing the goal of quieting that harsh, mean, and unconnected voice that always hovers demanding super human goals, a feeling of freedom washes up from the deep crevasses of my soul. The freedom of prying those hands off me, and the subsequent family requirement of holding it all in for their own selfish needs. A freedom of uncovering the authentic me coming to the present with all senses noticing the full feeling of being.

You have suffered. You as much as anyone deserve happiness and peace. When awake in the middle having to take the despised medicine to help relieve the ever present anxiety that exists in my life, though often groggy the next day, something else occurs.

This calm given by medication slows everything down. A realization occurs that this must be what it feels like for most others. A calm that doesn’t exist for me. My mind and body live beyond the moment racing ahead. It takes a gentler, caring voice to remind myself to slow down and be in the moment. Feel the dish in your hand as you rinse the soap off the silky smooth coolness of the silver metal. Why race ahead, where are you going?

Right now is what matters. As more daylight returns hope like a soft breeze wafting up from my heart, brings a feeling of freedom along with an ability to be in the moment and feel joy.

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Dissociation and Its Many Forms

photo by Patricia

Not wanting to settle into the grief that winter brings, I finally do. Running from my center is my normal. Coming to center takes work, and a wanting to. Why would I want to go there if it hurts?

In the air wafts the scent of lavender and balsam from the hand-made sachets filled with my own lavender. The balsam was collected on various trips to the Adirondacks when we visit the shops.

The scent is always present, but I’m not

It’s only in coming to the present that its full gifts are revealed, not just grief, fear or sadness, but so much more, even if only the simple gift of nature’s earthy scented bounty.

After a week of limpy wimpy staying indoors due to sub-zero temperatures and wind, I finally ventured out to sunshine and cold crisp snow. Attaching snowshoes while indoors made slipping my feet into them so much easier.

Around and around the meadow, each lap becoming easier as my lazy heart woke up, pumping it a way needed every day but neglected. My happy heart lifted my mood, and every other system enlivened with health too.

Escaping from the present is not always conscious. I can slip in and out of my ‘safe place’ at will, though sometimes it happens automatically. But there are other ways of escaping, eating is one of them, bringing the numbness craved since childhood when the tactic of overeating to escape arose in order to survive the unsurvivable.

The backlash of this once valuable tool needs constant confrontation as to the efficacy of its use now, and mostly, kindness, compassion, and care.

 

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.”

PEACE

photo by Patricia – JEWELS

Words tend to tumble easily when struggles wear me down, or PTSD rears its ugly head. The stretches of peace in-between are appreciated with relief. Sleep occurs like clock-work, fall asleep by 10, wake at 6. Eating is under control, not perfect, but near. Exercise is implemented, along with meditation for half an hour, and 20 minutes under the full-spectrum lights needed to combat winter depression.

During the lull of peaceful times writing feels less emergent, yet deserves attention equally. When peace reigns, and well-being fills me, this equilibrium and stability is a sacred place honored.

The Skin Horse

The cataract in one eye is becoming hazy causing a slight dizziness while walking. My ears ring as hearing dims. Joints ache, and age spots appear on my hands, just like my mother’s.

You are old, but you are loved. The thought rose while my boots crunched the frosty ground while an emptiness so wild in my stomach made me stop, bend, look up and finally cry.  Cory’s leaving left me displaced from my life, the dimming of it hard to accept. Depending on children so much to fill one up can’t be the healthiest way to go about one’s life.

What is wrong with me? Where is that settled, steady voice guiding me through my days? Where is that sweet groove experienced before his visit? Three days past his leaving the void begins to dissipate, and the familiarity once felt for the presence of my own being begins to own my internal space once again.

All my decisions to make the pain leave really didn’t magically work like a wand on my head saying there, all better. It took time. Time and attending to self and my needs. The voids in my life are many. Like a sealed bottle with a tight cork, not many people are allowed in.

Those I’d like to have in are held at bay without the ability to trust, like the three siblings who didn’t touch me sexually as a child. Though I blame myself for not allowing closeness, niggling beneath the usual self-blame is a rational voice declaring, ‘Maybe they don’t want to be to close to you fearing what each might hear. Maybe each of the brothers have their own ways of controlling the relationship and keeping you at bay.’ That feels more accurate and less harsh, yet the void remains.

And there have been many friends along the way lost due to my inability to speak up, have boundaries, and accept warmth. The turmoil inside swirling would ignite and blow them away— along with the friendship. I have learned to keep some these past few decades late in life, and maybe these are the ones worth keeping. But the very closest has been lost due to her death. I’m not out and about among others enough to find another one like that so close where we’d talk, email, and visit regularly. That void is great. How to remedy that?

My spirit felt bleak while walking under steely grey skies. Sunshine in this area rarely peeks out during winter. Negative thoughts need once again to be strictly challenged, like that harsh voice saying, ‘Your life is boring.’

Is it? No, I love my life, it suits me. The outdoors helped revive me. Then an outing in the car. By day’s end that void, still lingering, caused more food in than a body needs, but the old emotional needs are met. Feel stuffed, and no other feeling can be felt.

Adequate sleep in the night makes me wake this morning to try again to stay in my body, which includes waiting for real physical hunger. Emotional hunger will never be filled that way.

You are older now, but you are loved.

 

 

ONE

photo by Patricia

Connectedness to my inner being so elusive grounds me like a deep rooted tree when it finds me. Adequate sleep is essential, also elusive. Having guests, my son, his wife, and our precious grand-daughter, would usually mean so much anxiety that sleep wouldn’t come. Except for one night, the night after my other son and family also spent the day, blessed sleep has given me adequate energy to enjoy their visit.

Deep rooted anxiety from the unprocessed PTSD in childhood from the sexual attacks by beloved brothers has stolen much of life. Parts of me, like busy electrons, spin around never connecting. It is only the past several years where being in my body while feeling safe has occurred— first only moments, then longer.

The gratefulness felt for having what most others take for granted fills me with blessedness and peace; wholeness, connectedness and feeling rooted in my being where the filigree of electrons intertwine into one is a quiet internal joy unparalleled.