After rage fizzled out a great sadness filled in, what was, and what could have been. Grief permeated every muscle, fiber and bone of my being, the authenticity of it flowed from every pore even as I went about other more pleasurable past-times.
“You seem sad,” a fellow writer commented at one our gatherings.
A small group of us met weekly after the writing class came to a close. We gathered at a coffee shop to share our work and hear critiques over cups of fresh brew. My book continued to erupt chapter by chapter, week after week. With the writing classes, the writing group, and finally an editor, the quality of the book’s contents grew into a finished product.
The sadness remained afterwards these past seven years, sadness that had been a searing rage. Then it lifted. A peace flows where sadness was. The bite from the apple of self-liking led to wanting more.
When the voices come each day that say ‘you’re bad, worthless, nothing,’ there is a pause then a soft voice interjecting the truth. You are worthy, a person to be proud of, a whole human being of worth and substance who has weathered a great storm with grace, dignity and kindness. Be proud of who you are and what you’ve overcome.
The rage hid all these things from myself, yet there was no other way. This was my path. To go back no other path would be found to try again. Those boys did not mean to hurt me. They lusted after their needs and in those very human drives hurt me in ways life-long.
My path had to take this long, perilous, agonizing, and terrifying, it had to be so.
New kitten Christy is not allowed outdoors, but this one is! The tile found at the local home improvement store is marbled slightly with a soft grey and the white worked as the perfect background for the black.
photo by Patricia
It is stressful to speak up, stressful for me but also the person who read my feelings via email where they could be outlined thoroughly. Perhaps a simple conversation would have been better.
Samuel says, “Grow a thicker skin.”
But Samuel never has been one to speak up about anything which is why some things continue that should not. There are some who take advantage of a person especially when they have no one to back them up. And since there is no extended family that supports me, and Samuel is the way Samuel is, it is easy to be at the receiving end of another’s hurtful vindictiveness throughout the years.
My heart feels as if it is being squeezed. Taking note, effort goes to relaxing it by doing the things that bring peace. Puzzles help my anxiety to calm. While walking the meadow the memory of Samuel’s words come back. A thicker skin? It is not the first time hearing that from another.
It’s like a badly burned body. The healed skin is paper thin. Samuel, what do you know, as the thought of how much strength it has taken to get this far rises up. Would you have managed so well?
“You’re weak,” I say.
“I’m wise,” he responds.
Maybe it is a bit of both.
The perpetual dance of being hurt and deciding when to speak up and when not to will continue. But there are times to speak. It saddens me to hear a loved one’s voice sounding sad because of what was written.
Voicing my feelings still seems wrong and foreign because I was taught not to. Though done with gentleness, the hurt to another because of my words is what clenches my heart and makes me wonder, was it worth it?
photo by Patricia
Tripping over a ball during an evening game of Kick the Can, my arm broke, both bones at the left wrist. General anesthesia was given and since dinner had been eaten only hours prior my body vomited then aspirated it almost killing me. Fourth grade, about the end of Chet’s terrorizing me. I could have died. Several days were spent in the intensive care unit unconscious for part of them.
These thoughts come back as my grand-son’s cast on the same arm came off. I could have died, and the thought feels soothing. So much easier if I had. What is the reason for living through all that followed? The struggles, angst and challenges.
You have sons given to the world who are such bright, giving men. That thought does not change my mind’s scenario of how much easier it would have been if I’d just slipped away.
photo by Patricia
The feeling of differentness so acute as a child suffering sexual attacks by my siblings arises sharply at times. Many feelings from then still linger, stabbing into my present life. Unprocessed traumas and all the feelings with them didn’t dissipate but grew with me.
Yet no gentleness exists. It is a habit to beat myself up when today’s issues erupt emotion from childhood wounds. There is no conscious link to them. That is changing. There are reasons sleep is interrupted. Wounds untended in childhood along with a stolen voice caused an inseparable rift within; deep wounds and no way to them. I am mute to the world and mute to my soul.
Wounds fester and when touched with present hurts the pain expands exponentially. It is like placing an already burnt arm on a hot stove. The present slides away as the psyche escapes elsewhere. If a person is talking, what is said is not heard.
Self-loathing because the feeling of differentness is so acute is not what the wounded child needs. And she exists within me and will always be there. She needs what you did not receive then. Since there was only one urgent unspoken rule to not speak of it, there is no one to emulate a pattern of how to be gentle with myself.
It is a new road with little to go on except the times my mother extended gentleness in adulthood. There were moments when she tried, maybe to make up for the past.
photo by Patricia
Some relationships spin the same old way no matter how much effort is put into change. Haunts from the past infect today. Little hurts inflame old unprocessed trauma. Sleep will not come, or upon waking in the night will not return.
A small infraction causing hurt by a loved one sets off the alarms yet it is ringing unaware until nighttime when tiredness setting in meets adrenaline.
You loser, you weirdo, you bad mother, wife, friend, and the bashing goes on. Feelings have overridden behaving in a way to feel proud of. Or shadows of them because the behavior has improved but no credit is given for the strides made. The mind goes off far down the painful road of self-loathing, and I feel lost. Help me, in the night the prayer is murmured.
This has been a usual occurrence for years but the last months a healthy sleep pattern has developed. My belief is that has much to do maturing hence feeling more at peace with myself. To lose it and not know why upsets all routines and body systems, but also most painful, must somehow be my fault. Is it? Or is it unprocessed trauma which goes beyond my conscious choice or control?
Wake and start again. May your first thought be, “Forgive. Be gentle. How gentle, loving and accepting can you be toward yourself today after the sins you think you committed yesterday?” And are they such sins? Or is your humanness still not allowed in your own mind.
photo by Patricia
The path to the core becomes tangled, blocked by memories, though the soul goes there to hide. So one resides in a place that can’t be found. No way in, no way out.
She peeks out at times. Maybe there is someone to trust, who takes her hand and guides her. Even so, the world is tough and into hiding she goes.
It may never be safe to come fully out. Maybe only in solitude does she find her soul, a safe haven to breathe, connect and become who she was meant to be.
It is these roots that save her. The very place she runs from, the memories which are a part of her history locked deep below. The same place where she hides.
Coming out she looks below and runs. Yet that is where the strength comes from and has kept her here all along. It is in what she suffered that makes her strong and who she is. It is her history that makes her beautiful.