GRANDAUGHTER FUN

She spent the night and as always we had such fun: making valentines full of glitter, doing puzzles together, talking, laughing, and the time went so fast. Before having to leave she said (to my delight), “I’m sad to go.”

“Well, how about next time I have a craft waiting for us to do?”, I asked.

She smiled and said, “Flowers!”

The very next morning my search came up with two great ideas, hyacinths and peonies.

And our glittery Valentine’s fun…

ALONE IN NATURE

Winter can kick me down the stairs of negative and repetitive thinking. It is so hard to stay afloat wondering how those around me tolerate it, like Samuel for starters, but my sons too.

They do. Love is like that. And with learning to love, staying open, a fullness towards myself offers the same for others.

The process of learning to love myself, that I am worthy of love, is life-long, as my insides clammed up tightly at 8 years old. There was no one to love or trust except my cat or other non-human animals.

Time alone in nature offers the safety needed to feel love. Even around those loved it is difficult, either in person, via email, or by video. But alone, out in the meadow, without other’s inconsistencies or my raging self-doubt over interactions I blame myself for, love abounds filling me up satisfyingly.

This insulated life is not of my choosing. Shattered at age 8 and continually broken from then on, caused fractures so deep they remain life-long. Quiet and solitude heal. Acceptance means picking up the pieces and making a life of my own choosing, even if seemingly different or odd to others.

It is my life, and can be made magical by working to stop the negative yammering constantly in my head. (and hanging up more fairy lights to welcome me on dark morning walks) Easy, no, possible? Yes. Each time that voice starts berating me, blaming me, think of it as a challenge. With persistence, gentleness, and patience, healing and growth occur.

BEING WITH ME

Shifting internal dialogue has taken decades, many, many years of therapy, but of late the resolution to a life of forever feeling bad has taken a turn towards lightness by being with myself in nature- the woods, the land, and me.

And it’s fleeting, as tomorrow my writing may be pain filled and down. But there are moments that have stretched into days where my internal world is gentle, loving, encouraging, and accepting of ME.

And it is more than a kinder voice, it is feeling wholly accepting of myself, more than OK, but that I too am a good person.

Raymond asks one day, “Good? That you are a good person?”, a psychiatrist who knew what he was doing, though pushing me into a career because I had the intelligence to do it might have been more about his being successful than me.

Though glad to have succeeded at such a feat because it paid for both sons education at a prestigious college and set them both on a burgeoning career in the technology field where they still work, the years it took me to accomplish it stressed my already overloaded nervous system.

Daily cortisol bursts from each challenge and the ever present fear of people caused my body to develop a syndrome of fatigue that cannot be repaired. It was worth it to see them thrive now, even if I don’t, not in that way, but in my own quiet way; learning to be with me and be OK, a place always run from before that I now inhabit fully.

Fractured, now whole, perhaps a bit bumpy, but whole.

It has always been about goodness, that I wasn’t, I was bad, abnormal, bad, bad, bad. The revelation that I am of good heart, as human as any with mistakes, flaws, and quirks? That it is more than just words? All new.

Every minute alive is one minute gone. Getting older one begins to realize that, that this moment is precious and living it feeling bad because I’ve been habituated to feel that way doesn’t have to be. I am learning otherwise, I am learning the truth.

The rabbits, soggy ground, icy earth, birds, and running water of the creek have taught me that. That being with me is the best place to be.  

MAGICAL FUN

PHOTOS BY PATRICIA

Though winter takes a substantial chunk out of my already serious minded self, causing a mild depression to color my world more darkly, there is still fun and magic to be had. One only has to make it.

A walk by moonlight, then a fire, all while darkness slowly turns to dawn. The warmth of the fire soothing, sparks flying as an air current oxygenates it brightly.

Then a call from our son after he drops off his eldest at Middle School, a daily pleasure looked forward to with the phone by my side, making sure I’m back inside to catch it by 7AM.

The other son usually video chats at the same time, bringing us both to the island at their house in a neighboring state while the grand-kids, one 6, one 2, and one 1, all eat breakfast. The eldest granddaughter usually is in charge of us through the tablet.

A wonderful start to our days!

SPRING?

Sitting on the frond porch late in the day with a sleeveless dress warm in the sun. Is it spring? A gaggle of geese fly by squawking loudly in unison.

Peacefulness fills me up. This luscious break is ever so precious amid the winter depression that dampens my spirit.

But this year a discovery to uplift me, venturing outside in the pre-dawn. That pleasure is usually missed in winter due to dark days which now have turned the corner and each day is longer and brighter- out in the meadow before the birds wake, walking as I do in summertime but without the sun.

Our joys often need founding by ourselves. What brings joy? Scrapbooking is another way to fill my heart with warmth, gathering both sons photos filling books for the grandkids with captions as some are just learning to read.

Bright colored cardstock with fancily trimmed pictures done so easily with scissors that cut them that way, glued onto paper embellished with stickers and other eye-captivating, meaningful additions.

The kids cherish my gifts, one grand-son only 2 having a shelf special for Nana’s books. This pleasures my heart as much as his, and gives the kid in me childish things to do with a grown-up twist satisfying both parts of me.

In winter especially, it is a time to seek out the things I love to do and do them. Quiet past-times, uneventful for some, fill me up contentedly.

RAIN/BLIZZARD?

A rare night of sleeping through, what wonders, then the usual rolling around back and forth. You’d think me a rowboat on waves.

The rain before Christmas is odd, with a drop from the 40’s to one-digit numbers by nightfall with a coming blizzard.

Warm and cozy by the fire I’ll be with visions of sugarplums dancing in my head.

Frosty Morning Walk

After the first ten minutes of removing my glove to take photos, that had to stop because my fingers were freezing in such frigid temps.

“Did you know the animals talk to me?” I asked my grand-daughter one day.

She smiled in response while I added, “They do. The birds hop along tree to tree all the way down to the creek. And the bunnies stop, sitting still, letting me close, wondering why is this fairy nymph up so early.”

The magic of the meadow is curative, mystical, and wonderous.

LIARS, MANIPULATORS, DECEIVERS

Very often the weak character of others instills great doubt in me because my tendency is to blame myself. And the hurt coming with being blamed (by me) goes deep as if my insides might crack.

Since beginning the journey of learning to love and accept myself, with it comes a wiser eye to the truth. Others who do not like my truth or my need to tell it, seek revenge in the form of niceties that sound so sweet yet cut to the bone.

That is the social norm; don’t yell, don’t tell the truth, cover it up with lies, but do harm anyway and don’t get caught.

People closest to me do the most harm, and go to the greatest lengths to conceal what they do. Flower it with lies that sound believable but aren’t true. There is no way to confront such brilliant masqueraders.

I despise liars, manipulators, and vengeful people disguising themselves as something other that. And no wonder considering what was learned early in childhood.

Tom, who spent his life putting me down so skillfully that even intelligent people in the group of people I was unfortunate to be born into (origin family) didn’t realize they too began treating me badly because of the light cast on me. Tom made it OK.

And Chet who threw the pack of Wrigley’s Chicklets down the hall, “Get it, if you get there first you can have it.”

I did, it was empty, then he plowed into me dragging me down the hall to my mother’s bed half-way suffocating me as he yanked down my pants rubbing his penis up and down on me then ejaculating.

Who would like being lied to after that? Deceived? Manipulated? And everyone does it to some extent, but some are masters at it.

My quiet life suits me. People ARE dangerous.

JOY

Each day challenges: old haunts, familiar yet unhealthy ways of being, habits ritualized over the years- habits of thinking that put me in a negative light, all that I touch, think of, and do is perceived as bad or wrong.  

There has been no crime committed, yet in my mind I am the crime, a disturbed self-portrait painted by familial sexual abuse at an early age.

So, each day begins anew with self-talk, much needed self-talk. Friends have given a helping hand over the years but could take me only so far.

The real change, the real challenge, is what’s inside, and discovering self-esteem for myself. What others have given has saved me many times, pulled me up from drowning, live-saving, yet temporary.

It is a new and delicious way of viewing myself, the world, and my place in it… that I deserve joy and happiness.

Not from what I’ve done or will do, but by being me.  

Life is not easy, it is hard, yet there is joy, there is light, but it must be found both inside and outside myself.