Be In Every Moment

photo by Patricia

The cold comes to New York, sweeping across the state like white tundra hurling mountains of frosted snow. Looking out at the swaying trees briskly bending in the wind, I shiver unconsciously. Though braving the below zero temps to dig off over a foot of snow from the sidewalk the day before, this day is too bitter.

Not exercising brings restlessness, but time in the studio quiets me, working and dreaming of spring when these latest mosaics will be planted in gardens not already adorned with glittery pieces dancing with light beams in the sunshine.

There is a feeling of well-being in springtime and summer that cannot be fathomed during wintery days in the usual way, just basking in sunlight. But other past-times can be explored. Looking for the light in other ways includes coffee laced with cocoa, puzzles while watching a favorite movie, coming to the present moment while the slinky cat stretches her long body down my legs until they go numb and I must move her… and on the list goes; simple pleasures, sweet pleasures.

Upon waking the reminder of the work that must continually be done goes home to my center. Don’t run from feelings, go deeper into them, and into my body. Do not let fear keep you from what is real, and what is you. Unprocessed traumas from so long ago manifested itself into every moment making each one feel like a crisis constantly looms.

One of my jobs is to quell the ever present anxiety erupting from childhood where terror festered inside becoming a constant beast to bear embedded into my wiring. Breathe, let the shoulders soften, allow relaxation into the body down through the calves to your toes.  

You’re OK. You always have been, you just don’t know it.

 

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Peace and Panic

photo by Patricia

Are these the templates I’m built from? Is there no release from it other than dreaming of being someone else?

Like layers of phyllo dough compressed within my personality, they are there for life. You must accept it, deal with it, and have some compassion.

Some changes have softened the edges, but the core is solid unwilling to be undone. Those hands on me when so young, those eyes of others when trying to tell what was done, being so alone since age 8 with an aloneness indescribable, cements into a life constantly challenging.

1:30 AM, up, no sleep. During the following day, what is that at the periphery of my consciousness? A sliver of panic. But why? Another night, awake at 3 AM. Unsure of the why of this, day three sleep returns to normal.

Maybe I have to describe myself as having a disease. Is PTSD a disease? I think of it as an after-effect of trauma, not a disease. Whatever it’s called, I have it. And panic can find me even at home in the safety of my nest. Even if the trauma is over 50 years past. Even if no longer having to be a part of the work force where daily stress ground me down because others felt so dangerous to be around. Even when I cannot figure out why.

Panic and sleeplessness come. A few days of peace, a few days of panic. 

 

Would You Be Me?

Exhaustion runs deep, into my core, my blood, bones, every atom of my being. I am tired. Even with enough sleep, I am tired. Winter’s weariness? Failures of self?

“It hard being me,” I lament to a friend, and whisper out-loud to the gods. It is hard being me, and I’m tired of it.

My thoughts tend to believe the worst every time, and that tendency consumes me in winter. Bleakness of soul matches the frigid temps. The havoc of this engulfs me in ways that wreck relationships. Others there willing to love, offering warmth and real caring, are shoved away brusquely. My best feature is turning away from you coldly.

Is that all there is left from childhood? Taking my trust, only coldness remains. I need you to keep away from me. Aloof, yet needy. It is so tiring being me. Dreaming of being someone else consumes me once again.

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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. 

You Are Alright

photo by Patricia

Feeling lost and alone is not uncommon, you’re not alone. And especially during this holiday so jammed packed with memories, melancholy and feeling as if something is missing because it always has been missing. That is punctuated particularly sharply as all the supposed good cheer is spread around.

And there is cheer in my soul where there once resided only a void, a chasm so split no reckoning took place. Over time some of the writhing pain was allowed expression; writing out all the deep dark secrets my family didn’t want told, the hurling of journals full of anguish and rage into the ceremonial fire, years and years of meditation where moments of being present while feeling safe were experienced while the constant anxiety ebbed even for just those few moments, a mother dying whose hold on me locked in all those secrets to protect her other children…the abusers, one event after another opened the channels from head to heart, from a robotic life to one more fulfilling because wholeness and self-acceptance had begun.

Yet there it still lives, the disbelief that others could truly like me, even love me. Wanting it, yet pushing it away due to the danger of it. Wanting it yet unable to accept because love of self is still only just blossoming.

Stringing days together where being in the moment is doable for longer periods, along with success at healthy pursuits of good nutrition, exercise, appropriate sleep, and the constant challenge of negative thoughts replacing them with positive ones based in reality…then?

Something, too often the something is unknown, disrupts sleep, eating, exercise, and thoughts. Anxiety rules. Where did all the calm wisdom and self-acceptance go?

Start again. There are countless ‘start agains.’ Even my little life where I’ve cultivated a safe place is invaded by others I care about, and who care for me. The ones I love become the enemy, digging up wounds that never seem to heal. One moment warmth, the next, you are up to something and dangerous.

Easy, easy, my mantra in the night waking up with my heart beating against the pillow. You are alright, you are alright, you are alright.

Every one of us must face this aloneness. You are not alone. Many wake in the night with the same. Many face their days with the same. Pull in the threads of the universe and connect. You are not alone.

A Day Off

Glands swell slightly on both sides of my jaw. When that happens stress has played a part in it. This is a sign to take a day off. Don’t go and do, then do some more. Even exercise has the possibility of aggravating it. My immune system has taken a hit over the years because traumas muted in childhood caused PSTD issues undiagnosed, and never talked about.

Without the early intervention so necessary to cope with the traumas sustained after brothers attacked me sexually, I didn’t learn that I deserved care and attention for those horrific experiences, nor the everlasting challenges they imposed upon me.

I didn’t know the condition was real and needed medical, psychological and socially appropriate attention. What I saw was that others breezed through things that caused me severe distress, unease, and a tendency to freeze up.

Feelings of safety are still an issue which is the reason for a slow-paced more isolated life than my friends. They engage in many groups; church, chorale, community groups, and many other social activities that even the thought of tire me, though a  wisp of a wish to be more like them crops up repeatedly.

So I puttered around the house even though going out for trip to the mall and a movie enticed me. My body needed a day off due to my glands popping out, along with a slightly sore throat. The challenges even a quiet life presents sometimes takes a great deal energy, even if not physical.

To make changes in my behavior and outlook on things causes a grand shift from the past stressing all systems with the work needed to focus on my goal and stick to it. That raging child is ever present and too often ignored. 

No, you will not react like you have in the past. Yet to some extent I did anyway. Hurt is hurt. Not being able to express it, makes it come out in other ways despite my efforts to suppress it. Will change ever occur?

Expression is necessary. After a life of suppression it is vital for a soul unburdened craving peace. Yet others cope with it differently, and therein lies the rub. The way another close family member works their way around expression causes my way to be null and void.

My way is outright. Let’s get it on the table and deal with it. When that doesn’t happen, my feelings leak out eventually in other ways not so admirable. Then I feel like a failure.

Will this ever change? When dealing with close family members who operate this way, and probably always will, it is not their changes to expect, only mine. I keep working at with what feels like little success.

Trauma Unprocessed

photo by Patricia

Trauma unprocessed remains. It is like it happened yesterday, or just now. When the family around demands silence after your body, psyche and mind have been ravaged… you do not heal. Do you ever?

For me, no. Progress, some peace, and letting go of shame, all enormous events that have made my past decade a brighter one, but still fraught with periods of doubt and ever present PTSD issues. Those will not go away. When trauma is buried it remains as alive and damaging as it did when it happened.

When those in the family who demanded such silence befriend the eldest who perpetrated sexual abuse, then worse, psychological abuse, it seals in the trauma adding an aloneness so great, so powerful, a life is spent with an agonizing loneliness that is hardly describable.

These same ‘innocent’ brothers now want to include me in their little group, and I want to belong so badly I acquiesced. At night my jaw clenched so strongly it ached for days before realizing that being part of this group can only cause disappointment and falsehood; a women pretending with a fake smile. No good can come of that.

I gather the parts that have scattered, once again assembling the whole. The parts scatter easily, and sometimes, like this time, more brutally. It will never be the whole that was intended early on, but it can, and is, a new whole that looks and feels beautiful.