SHE RISES

Sometimes the most fear filled confusing periods are right before great change. But hanging onto to the boat in tumultuous waves without a life jacket feels so scary. Lost at sea.

Then homecoming, when the scent of the candle is noticed. Before it was in the warmer all day without the ability to absorb its aroma. Being apart from my body happens often. Being away from my center, a place that I’m only beginning to know and get comfortable with, feels more and more unbearable.

But home. Home where there is a place for me in all my seeming weirdness, where every person is unique, special and needed, every single one.

All my traits others don’t like are accepted because that is how I survive. And all my survival tools are admired, not scorned and hated. But I can cast off those that helped but now hurt. That is the battle raging, and the gap is closing. So close. So close.

From great despair, torn down to ash, she rises, over and over again…

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The Punisher

Life became an all-out war against myself. I made it that way when turning each day into a pass or fail day depending on the scale, just as my family had done. Lose weight, you are normal. The punisher took over, always ready to take on the job with glee; chastising, criticizing, stealing the joy out of life.

Take back the moment, which means dwelling on now, not the size of my body, and what a failure I am. Days became dark. The usual depression combated by working at positive self-talk deepened without knowing why.

Eating patterns developed in childhood to survive came on stronger manifesting into all that mattered. Life is so much more than about that.

None of the usual summertime pleasures were enjoyable, but robotically completed instead. All of my psyche turned on me, like it had much of my life. The only way these past few years that life became joyful was remembering that it is not the size of my body that matters, but the being inside it.

Yes, the body matters, but so does treating myself lovingly, which includes understanding why my food habits are such, not hating myself for them. Softness simply destroyed, gone, lost, and out the window.

I want the life back that says I am good inside my soul, no matter the outside trappings. To feel good about who I am, what I do, and what I say. Confront the beast that tells me otherwise, because that loud echoing from my past— the family I came from who taught me to be silent, meant eating to stuff it.  

How quickly I became lost. Interactions lately with each of them has poked the ‘beast.’ She arrived frothing with self-hatred stealing my joy.

I don’t know the answers, only that it is my life to love and I will.

 

E-mail to Non-Abusive Brother

photo by Patricia

The fact that I have to describe a sibling as abusive or non-abusive is what causes perpetual sadness and low grade depression in my life as a continual way of being. This brother, Don, was once like a father, as ours died when at age 8. We have become estranged since my mother’s passing ten years ago, but I have done my best to overcome the distance without much success.

Those in the family origin do not talk about important issues, so this email will be a shocker. Yet for me, it is imperative to be real.  

Dear Don,

As much as it would be nice to visit for coffee, the drive is difficult. So often you welcome me, yet you are the one who drove around the country for fun, and drives as a part-time job. Driving doesn’t affect you like it does me especially when it includes city traffic. I often wonder why you don’t make the drive here just to have a cup of coffee, or walk to the water to sit awhile. Though you came once with the boys, and another to take me to lunch in Williamsburg, and a few picnics including Samuel’s retirement party, just stopping by to chat is not a time I ever remember happening.

I have lost count of the times I’ve been up your way just for that reason. I have missed some picnics where Tom was also included. I reached a point where that became untenable. I also prefer getting together with others one to one rather than groups, but it isn’t reciprocated.

The road goes two ways. I’m sorry you can’t find your way here. I would love that but it seems it just won’t be. Shane has been too busy to have us for lunch which would be close to you, so I thought I’d just come anyway. Yet it is a challenge, and not easy for me though I can do it if necessary. I just wonder why you can’t or won’t.

I think of you often. I took the fall basket that I didn’t get around to delivering, and repackaged it into a birthday gift which probably won’t find its way to you house either. Day to day life is a challenge. Sleep is a challenge. Adding other challenges is hard. Even appointments are hard upsetting the routine of day to day, and the comfort and safety of home.

The traumas in childhood left lasting damage. I know you don’t want me to talk about it. A long while back you were upset with me relaying how much Penny went through, so why don’t I just get over it. So I won’t say more. And I won’t complain for that very reason either. I don’t need you to solve my problems like I once did.

I stopped after you  said that just once you’d like me to call without it being a problem. I get it. You have your own stuff, and going to you was inappropriate. I just wish you would have said so, not dismissed my challenges by comparing them to Penny’s and how well she does despite them. What is worse than repressed memories of rape?  I remember everything else done by three other siblings which is bad enough, including your buddy Tom. But what Danny did still remains repressed, though I know it was violent, and was rape. That is what causes so much terror in my life even now.

The other daily challenge is the intense feelings of badness that grew in me from age 8 becoming part of my personality. I work on self-esteem issues daily because I grew up feeling bad, that I don’t have a right to even be here or have a life.

This was meant to simply be a note to let you know I’d love to visit with you, but come here on occasion too?

Patricia

A System Corrupted

A feeling of satisfaction fills me when seeing the clock read after 7 this morning. The tossing and turning during the night was met with determination to let my soul know that the badness feelings descending upon it are habit, not truths.

You are OK. You are GOOD. And on went the soft voice of reality chasing the childhood demons away who have latched on since the sexual attacks were suffered. It is this damage that is the hardest of all that was taken.

It is tiring facing this each day, confronting the negativity that grew as my body grew. When a child is forced into silence over traumas that need airing, it is not the trauma causing the damage but this imposed tomb where feelings implode all on her own, the snakes wriggling outward with no place to go.

So much damage. Now my life is picking up pieces and gently placing them close to where they used to fit. And the work is tiring. Not only must the negative voice need taming, but depression is present each day, each moment of every day. Doing things to relieve that heaviness feels good, and walking is the best cure.

Yesterday it was little things piling up. No wonder it was hard to get back to sleep after using the bathroom. Samuel’s brother visited, the one who also raped a sister in high-school. And instead of joining them, I stayed relaxed playing games on the tablet near-by only occasionally joining in. No phony acting on my part.

Samuel and I had lunch after meeting an attorney for estate planning. That brings up thoughts of what the future holds, always close to my thoughts anyway. How would I manage on my own? I don’t believe I would.

Lunch was greasy, over-priced, and priced incorrectly. When confronting the manager about the mistake she reacted stupidly with stubbornness. No success.

None of these occurrences are earth shattering, yet my delicate system reacts and stays enervated in ways that are not healthy. Others rudeness, ignorance and insensitivities  through the years was usually put upon my own shoulders, and by me.

To have changed much of this is a miracle, lessening the load greatly. Unfair things still get to me sticking like burrs during the rest of day into the night. Padding along the meadow after forcing myself out after a busy morning brought relief.

A light sweat erupted furthering the feelings of satisfaction and delight. Buttercups fill the meadow with daisies beginning to pop out. The grasses, taller than me, wave and dance in the breeze while leaves rustle a soothing cadence.. This simplicity is what brings me peace.

 

 

FAMILY

Tenderly, like rocking a child, cuddle the little girl left alone terrorized by those she loved. You forgot how it was, how it is now, because others groomed you to. Be like it never happened because the shame of those that did those things to you, and the others doing nothing to stop it, or help in any way, is too uncomfortable for so called family— then, and now.

So alone I am. But do not abandon myself. The loneliness comes because no one stands witness to what happened. The story goes that others have so many other hurts, so how can I just think of myself? More honestly, they want family, even if those remaining are holey, not holy, but full of holes like a tattered old shirt blowing in the wind.

My gut pulls for family too. It always will. But just get on with life which is one I created of great beauty. I do so much better being apart from it, yet like a moth to flame still try.

Worthy to Heal

 

Rattling the cages of childhood, truths keep falling out. Tidbits of wisdom about what really occurred. Forced by shame to go on as if nothing happened made life oppressive in just about every way. Loneliness honed itself into a sharp, cloying, empty, bottomless pit devouring me for decades to come.

 Terror and trauma held into my little girl’s body changed me in ways I will never have as my own again. But I have me now. I am learning so much that my mother never wanted me to. Her ways were to just go on, the opposite of what was needed to heal.

Expecting me to be how she wanted me to be, how other little girls and young women were, caused a desperate need to fulfill her dreams. That yearning for acceptance and love broke down what was left inside even further. Who I was became lost beneath the façade of normalcy.

It is easier for family to go on without the shame of sexual abuse known, so the child abused takes it on. This damage follows a person for life. The toll to my body, mind, emotional well-being, and nervous system is severe.

The ‘tortured colon’ describe by my gastroenterologist? Which meant a tortuously painful colonoscopy until the anatomy of my colon became known. The constrictions and curvatures may have developed as a child by holding muscles in the pelvic area tight as a defense against further onslaught. It certainly was the reason for my skinny kid frame to become bloated and overweight, though that didn’t keep them off either.

And now, with peaceful lulls in my days and sleep filled nights… why are they suddenly disturbed by negative thoughts and insomnia? Because a brain broken by trauma held in unprocessed is incapable of sustaining happiness for long periods.

Knowing that gives me hope, because I can self-talk myself into believing that like every other woman sexually abused as a child, I do deserve happiness and peace. Happiness is peace; peace from negative thoughts, buzzing anxiety, a too fast paced life, and most of all blessed sleep.

These are basics that every child coming out of childhood deserves, human rights for all but that many don’t receive or develop. Beliefs forced onto a child form the personality. Shame, badness, and feelings of abnormality become cemented into the personality of a child suffering sexual attacks by those she loves.

Left to fend for myself caused irreparable damage. Self attacking traits carved in to me are a challenge to shift requiring a belief that I’m worthy along with the fortitude and persistence to take it on. 

 

 

 

 

TERROR

A queasiness comes and goes. Covering one eye with my hand, like a pirate with a patch, my vision improves. The left cataract has progressed a great deal this year, making the idea of going through with the removal procedure more imminent.

The self- advocacy and extra considerations needed exhaust me. The level of sedation my body requires in order not to fight off anyone getting near me, is a deeper sedation than what most need, and deeper than what my eye doctor uses at his clinic where the surgeries are performed.

I would need to be at a hospital, which means meeting another doctor who does them there. My doctor has agreed to this, but it still means going to the city several times, first to meet with the new doctor, then the anesthesiologist, and on and on.

But to see clearly afterwards might make this worthwhile. It is the same reflexive reaction as with killer bird. While Samuel drifts around the yard unaware, or unperturbed about an animal droning down on him, my body goes into fight or flight. All sensors take off before my mind fully grasps the concept of what is happening.

And so it is with medical interventions. My body prepares for a fight for its life. And this will not go away as long as the memory of what Danny did stays repressed, which it probably will. If it hasn’t become safe for it to surface at age 66, then it won’t.  Every time anyone comes close, the shadow of the memory also does, and with it terror.

It takes a great amount of courage to seek care, dental or medical. If taken step by step carefully, by treating myself as gentle and compassionately as if it were another going through this, then I can do this…