FOREVER BETRAYED

Tears couldn’t be stopped. All over a ten dollar purchase on Amazon. That’s all it takes sometimes, a manipulation, a break in trust, doing something different than what’s promised, and it all falls down. Suddenly before you is an 8 year old child.

Head in hands weeping, “It feels like when Chet threw the gum down the hall,” I said to Samuel, adding, “I don’t trust anyone, no one. Everything was taken.”

And the wound bleeds every time someone picks at the scab by lying even if it was an honest mistake. If you don’t do what you say, if you take my money for one thing then do something else with it leaving me without what was promised… whether it’s ten dollars or ten thousand, the feeling is the same.

Betrayed. Betrayal shattering me into a million pieces as a child and throughout life as each incidence of dishonesty forces the original trauma to the forefront.

Samuel says, “Of course. I can see how it reminds you of the past. No one likes being scammed.”

And he may finally understand. When my rage at him ended, which really was almost always rage at the abusers, a new beginning began. A relationship more peaceful, tolerant, and knowledgeable of each other’s pain. It has taken a life-time to get here.

Instead of the journey being somber as it always has been in order to survive, it can be joyful and more peaceful. The tsunami of betrayal hits without warning disturbing sleep causing the need for a sleep aid. The day after feels wasted and unproductive because recovery requires stillness. A wasted day? Illness needs care, quiet, and rest.

Chronic PTSD remains because at the time of the original traumas no help was provided for processing it. Accepting that these days happen and allowing for recovery by supplying the love and care I would devote to another isn’t a waste of time, it is courage. Roaring waves roll in uninvited engulfing me by surprise every time. Wanting control but having none. Waves threatening to drown, yet there lies hope.

In the hurting lay the bastion once protective but now interfering with healing, the inability to trust. The most important person to trust is myself, from there it will flow. A new day, a new start, a jockeying of parts settling back to where they belong.  

PIGS OF DESTRUCTION

Unease builds as we approach what should be a joyous event at the capitol. But due to one with evil intent, the occasion is already marked with blood, desecration, and unbridled hatred towards America by Americans. Traitors, eviler than any other terrorists around the world, these white losers, these hate mongers, make me sick to my stomach.

Violence invades my dreams, tossing and turning throughout the night, concerned for courageous leaders I’ve grown to love and respect. The leaders of good and worth who will lead us out of this hell into the light. I pray for their safety as these pigs cause death and mayhem.

All that is good now threatened by white men who have not found a life of decency. So they find prominence by killing their fellow Americans. Pigs of destruction, that is your obituary.

EVIL BE GONE

Keep the light. Usually the day after Christmas the decorations and tree come down having had enough of them, and anxious to begin anew fresh. But this year the light and gaiety is so needed. So up it stays until Inauguration Day.

Gentle Christmas guitar music plays quietly while writing by the fire. That is still enjoyed which is unusual too. The spirit of the season is held onto for a while longer; the magic, giving, and love, all so desperately clung to. What’s happening all around is locked away, not to touch my interior in order to remain sane.

The death count rising, the vaccine process at a snail’s pace, while the supposed leader of the country golf’s and tweets. He acts like he cares that Americans get more in the stimulus checks. But he’s dastardly scheming how to line his pockets in every way possible, for as long as possible…. probably for the next 4 years as long as suckers and losers keep sending money.

Because as soon as he asked for more money in the stimulus checks, a letter went out to his supporters; skinheads, bigots, the mafia rich, low-life’s, and those lacking depth, character, and intelligence. And they stupidly send money. Millions. And more millions.

He is smiling all the way to the bank, and doesn’t care if you receive more money that would allow you to feed your children. GO HOME, and take all your swindling criminal associates with you. They are everywhere, in the Post-Office, Pentagon, Justice Department, just everywhere. People followed Hitler too.

There is no institution that animal hasn’t dirtied. His claim to notoriety is doing damage, destruction, wreaking havoc, and creating hate. That is what he excels at, doing evil masked with sneering totally false goodness that others are blind to.

We don’t realize the depth of his manipulative vindictiveness, because as much as you think you know how low he can go, he goes lower. No person with an iota of honesty can comprehend the pits of nasty evil he is so good at.

As much as I know what others are capable of, learning it at 8 years old continuing on throughout my childhood, he is far beyond even those manipulations and cruelty.

He is the epitome of evil brilliance as he has fooled us all. And so I block it out, looking away from the TV when his ugly face comes on. (ugly from what’s inside him) Blocking out the thousands dying each day in order not to cry.

Blocking out the rage, because my heart can’t take it. Blocking out the evil until Biden takes the stage praying for his health and strength. Goodness shall prevail, but the damage done is severe.

Be ME

Oddly, this past summer was perhaps the best summer of my life, even while the pandemic raged on. Maybe its coincidence, or maybe it’s knowing that most folks feel as restricted as much of my life was. That comforted in that now there was a link between me and other people.

Though unsure what the reason, it just might be that over the decades I’ve worked my ass off trying to heal and recover what’s mine. It’s not possible to gain back all that was lost. The little girl I was is no longer, and that happened early on.

But it is possible to feel happy, be at peace, and welcome joy. But it has taken a lifetime and the courage of a lion, or a pride of them. To go against family? Because that is the tension and kickback that occurs when speaking truths.

When breaking the silence in any way? Because society doesn’t want to know either. But for me it took repeated telling of a story no one wanted to hear. Over and over again the details rang out that as a child were held in. Once the dam burst no one could quiet me, no one ever should have.

Freedom to be just me.

Back to Basics

It was a terrible mistake that took days to recover from, both from the loud banging critic inside me as to why do such a thing, and a body that lived life with too many cortisol bursts over and over every day for decades.

Draining, life before the scourge was exhausting. Going out among people threatening. So why, when the threat of life or death is real, go out among others?

Thinking it would be different, that the trails would offer space. That the natural swimming area would be safe. No, that was my first mistake. Others walked by without masks. Kids came onto the little bridge only a few feet wide going right by us with no adult making them wait until we got off.

The sirens inside me took off and only now, days later, has the world felt safe again. All those people at the swimming glen area, where the beauty usually relaxes to my core, this time heightened my already taxed system into extreme alert.

The campground itself lied, that sets my body off too. Lying and manipulation causes great fear and rage even now, though the traumas of youth were 60 years ago. In trying to keep the population down, they weren’t letting campers onto sites until the end of the day. Never in 30 years has that happened. Just be honest.

But no, they lie saying no one had left the sites yet. Since Samuel didn’t want to leave, and my fear of angering him made me stay, he suggested we go look at our site. It was all cleaned and ready. We set up feeling like rebels but all the while my internal cravings were wishing for home.

Most of my retaliation has been against myself. Why can’t my life be like others who seem to breeze through this more easily? My voices need taming. While walking, energy is given to allow more compassion for myself. You didn’t know. Of course it’s hard. People on a good day threaten my safety. You didn’t realize that being so close to others would set you off. 

The next breath- that hateful voice, You should have known.

Meditation, which seemed last on my ‘to do list’ needs center-stage. That brings me back ‘home.’ All the daily work that usually is done needs to be returned to; paying attention to each moment without running from it, going slow at my own pace, just be present. Notice the minute happenings that excite. Yet they become lost in the shuffle of doing, then soaring PTSD symptoms that resist being calmed.

Home is more than a place of safety. It is also a place inside oneself that welcomes with as much safety as the exterior home accepting my being with love, compassion, and open arms… my daily work. 

 

Bestow Love not Hate

photo by Patricia

An unease invades the morning reverie. Perhaps it is the lack of sunshine hiding behind thick clouds on a balmy morning still warm from yesterday’s heat. Perhaps it is a change in me. Day after day of an upset stomach the realization surfaces that my body is telling me something. But what, so disconnected from it that I really don’t know. 

Connect. That doesn’t come naturally, though it must have in my first 8 years before the attacks began. A skinny kid with long blonde hair, happy on a beach before my father died, Then all went tragic and crazy.

Boom, like lightening, weight came on and stayed on for the next fifty years keeping me safe, hiding me, making me someone other than who I was meant to be.

Trust is the most grievous loss, gone forever. What kinds of relationships sustain without trust? None. The daily feat is picking up pieces of shattered me trying to trust enough to get close… husband, son, or friend. 

The timidity to speak up about likes, dislikes, to put forth anything looking like a boundary, gone. Boundaries obliterated when even my body was not my own. When unmarked boundaries are crossed and my mouth stays mute, then grudges, resentments, and hate howl. 

Oh that anger, not allowed either. It takes a lot of food to suppress anger. Over the years anger began to  erupt naturally on rare occasions expressed in the moment, naturally, freeing and normal. Taught to stay quiet this was miraculous even in its rarity. 

And with a quiet muted mouth, my body grew large screaming unhappiness, terror and pain. Nobody listened. It was one more thing to hate about myself.

But what if I listened to its cues? What if love was bestowed not hate? With no map, no direction, no permission, could I do it? Over and over I try, and fail. But what if?

 

Rage and Dissociation

Making brittle knowing an overweight body should not be consuming a cup of sugar, I made it anyway. This morning the rest was thrown out. The day begins with a super moon setting in the west, unable to capture it on the camera without electric lines through the shot. What a beautiful orb to wake to.

Going to sleep with the birds, means waking with them too. Sleep wondrously came despite consuming the toxic sugar. These blips off the path of health are not positive ones, but one must keep trying, and today is a new day.

Keeping connected is another anomaly searched for, tried for, and not at all 100%, but much more than years ago when coming to the present was a goal to have. It began with a therapist saying, “Just show up!”

My take on his words were that pulling myself out of the dissociative mist was enough. I was enough. At the time dissociation wasn’t a familiar word, but I spent a lot of time there, off in Patricia la la land.

It wasn’t until blogging when other survivors talked about it that I learned my disconnection from the present had a name. When learning how to meditate 20 years ago, staying present and feeling safe began to occur. From there it began.

It is in the present that Mother Nature heals me, daily walks in the meadow topped off with meditative time spent creek-side. The respite brightens my mood which on some days of late falls into a depressive state where anger flares into rage over political persons who have become something else besides human. Tamping down feelings adds to the sadness. Expressing feelings brings equanimity back once again.

“Samuel, for decades I lived with rage. It fizzled out during the years lived here. But I feel it again punching at the television with rage,” I said as he bent over the gardens pulling weeds.

“Mike said that too,” Samuel said, adding, “He wishes Trump would get the virus.”

“I do too,” I answered emphatically. “I wish he would get it and drop dead this minute!” Samuel nods his head accepting how his wife and friend feels, but a man too gentle to wish that.

There, it was said. Wishing a person dead doesn’t cause them to die. It is a place for rage to go. Not a real wish, but a fire to burn it in, the smoke trailing up taking my rage with it. I may need more of these fires…

 

BREAKING THE PEACE

Creek side

“What, you took my trees and shoved them in the hedgerow?” storming out, I slammed the door. 

A friend dropped off three tulip trees by the shed where they sat till Samuel could plant them. As usual there was divisiveness about where to put them. He went out to do the chore never asking me where I wanted them. 

In the house doing dishes making dinner, the thought occurred repeatedly that I should go out to stand my ground knowing he would choose awful places. 

“You put them in the hedgerow with no room to grow?” I asked, the unwanted anger bubbling up.

“I can cut back the bushes,” he said.

Then I really exploded, not wanting to, the usual camaraderie a more pleasant choice. Yet my body and some other part took hold. This was from my past. All that was taken from me… not yours to take, the rage burning internally for most of my life.

“I’m changing them,” I retort.

“You can,” he said, unperturbed.

Clearing after the morning rains, it was a sunny crisp afternoon. My upheaval in mood was not the Buddha-like behavior I’d hoped to achieve. But realizing where it came from brought forth compassion, rather than self-loathing for breaking the peace.

Pondering my blow-up which had been unplanned, one thing was different. There was no rage as in decades past. Rage that curdled my insides with hate and vengeance believing the slights and hurt were done intentionally. Being my partner, Samuel has survived many bouts of volcanic blow-up that weren’t really about him.

He is just bull-headed with his own stuff. Yes, he should have asked. Plant them for me if you like, but ask where I want them.

I dug them out and put them in a place where they will stand proud, growing with air, light, and space. Much like what I have needed.

No we didn’t talk the rest of the night. But I wasn’t enraged, just offended. There’s a spark of life left in me after all. Yes, I could have handled it much more gracefully, but I understand why I didn’t –allowing space for my flaws.

DEMONS

Finally, after many complaints about pain in various areas of my mouth, and after many suggestions of needing a mouth guard by the dentist, one was purchased last year. And the mysterious aches went away. If only I knew. If only I’d paid heed to the suggestions.

But a mouth guard? Samuel needed one but he ground his teeth in the night so loudly I could hear it. But I didn’t grind my teeth. It wasn’t until the hygienist used the word clench did I begin to think a mouth guard might be appropriate for me.

Clench my jaw? That might be a possibility as I must face many demons in my sleep, slaying them one by one, over and over again.

“Can I breathe with one in? Will I choke?” I ask her fearfully.

 The dentist replied, “I have never heard of that. There are many on the market that are inexpensive. Try one. If you have trouble we can fit you with one here.”

So I did, warming it in the microwave as the directions outlined, then fitting it to the top teeth. It fits perfectly, stays in, no choking or other irritant, and voila, no more mysterious pains.

Little had I known. I wish I had known years ago before the first gum surgery when the unskilled dentist took the tissue down severely because he wasn’t a specialist, but wanted my business and the money.

Then the next, a specialist.

During the procedure she said, “Oops. That’s OK,” knifing through to the upper sinus cavity having to put mesh there as a protector between the two places.

Oops?

Then yet another surgery where the new periodontist was up on modern procedures using cadaver tissue to regenerate new growth. Unfortunately that was also at the same time the area’s tissue bank faced charges of collecting uncertified tissue putting patients at great risk. Was mine OK? Turns out it was OK. 

It was the next procedure that made me decide no matter how many teeth fall out, no more surgeries. My terror was so great that on that way there I kept popping Xanax. She had to give oxygen during the surgery, later telling my husband I should have a breathing apparatus for snoring.

No, I don’t need one of those. I need you to stop digging around in my gums with your knife. I could have killed myself with those little white pills used out of terror for going through a procedure where she did not answer questions, and shouldn’t have been doing it anyway. In her haste she proceeded, and I let her.

All those terrifying experiences could have been avoided with a mouth guard long ago. Of course monsters appear when I sleep. What happened as a child is being reenacted, this time  I am victor. My strength is all powerful.

My greatest soul need has been to smash their filthy hands off me. To be the power. To smash their faces away that were so close I couldn’t breathe or ever feel comfortable with closeness  again. In my dreams I fearlessly conquer.  What I couldn’t do then, I do now. 

 

PEACE

Looking at my son’s face over lunch in the city with Samuel at my side, I am feeling my age. His face is no longer young, more tired. Yet he is passionate about his work, family, and life. Both sons are.

Time moves on, days go by. My eyes mist at so many lost due to anxiety ruling the moments, dissociating from my body to escape pain. No comfort found in either place. No one, no place felt safe.

Pleasure is absorbed now, being in the now, not getting tangled in little things, except when I do; Samuel adds a three dollar tip to the cashier after lunch, a self-serve place.

“Are you crazy?” I said, looking at the receipt when we returned home.

“It came up on the receipt, so I added a tip, and they are service people” he said, then after a thoughtful pause, “It was a lot though.”

“We go to the counter, get our own drinks, and do everything ourselves,” I said, adding, “If it came up can I have all your bank account, would you give that?”

Exasperated, immediately my body went into overdrive thinking of every little thing he already does to annoy me, knowing at the same time that this has been my way of life, not liking, not trusting, not letting go…wanting to stop it, but stuck with being me.

Usually 5 PM is a time I am too tired to walk, but was drawn out to the meadow as the last of the sun’s rays dappled the mix of colors with gold like a kiss goodnight. Lap after lap calmed me, sitting by the creek after the last lap until the sun began to set behind the clouds.  

All this man does and you’re going to be mad about a 3 dollar tip? (The place Shane chose was already way over-priced for soup and salad- I could feed an office building full of people for what we paid, and by the way, no one tipped me when I was a cashier)

When coming back inside I felt more myself. I become so easily crazed over nothing. But there is often more behind it; like his driving the entire way to the city in the passing lane blocking us between the guardrail and traffic with no way out. The feeling of pressure in my gut over-rode the enjoyment of fall foliage.

How many times have I told him how that makes me feel? He means no harm. That message in my head is an improvement from the years of rage towards him when feeling discounted or not thought of.

He means no harm, yet he also does not take into account how hard this aspect of my life is. PTSD, and the ramifications. Instead of patiently teaching him about it, I’d not talk.

This day was no different, though short-lived. The walk out in nature cured me. I was able to return to cordiality.

It is expected that we will both annoy each other at times. Taking time alone, soothing what feels ragged, helps to reclaim the person I can and want to be, finding gratitude and peace once again.