Day Trip

And so the day opens dark, cool, and crisp with thoughts of the winter to come and how to handle it. The winds and rains have ended, calm remains.

Looking out at the steady rain all through the day yesterday, is it possible to still walk? But winds kept me in, restless and bored. There is curative power in fresh air and Mother Nature, the natural healer.

The sun is supposed to peek out so it is a good day for a trip to the falls which ought to be engorged. And though warm nights have kept the trees from turning to colors, now they are beginning and it’s time for a day trip and exploring.

Trail Cam Photos

Wild pears, YUM!

IT’S OK

A mantra throughout the day, you’re OK, you’re OK, you’re OK. Someone once said, ‘maybe someday you won’t have to do that,’ me taking it as another bad thing needing to be changed. But what’s wrong with supportive self-talk, especially when my being is so supercharged with anxiety?

Those are needed words to calm myself. That is one of the problems with people, often giving more credence to a complete stranger than to myself.

Getting to know myself is a full-time job. It is a good thing to finally have the time to do so. Waking when Samuel came to bed in the quiet of a dark night, he was soon lightly snoring while my senses came sharply alert, every sound magnified.

No way is getting up an option, it is happening too much, so not this time. Thoughts of growing up flashed through my mind of years after the horror of abuse; dumpy houses with dangerous heating systems barely containing all the people living there.

Yet more dangerous than even that fire hazard was living with abusers but not being able to voice the terror or even recognize it. Sexual abuse within families is often forced back down the throat of victims and she lives with it contained…. akin to keeping lethal snakes in a box squirming inside her.

So an imaginary person was believed to be living in the attic. I was in tenth grade, yet couldn’t understand the real terrors were brothers living in that little box house half underground, the house as buried as my feelings and memories.

Life has always been hard, and these memories are not going away needing airing. So lying there they ran through my mind, but then came happy times during the terror; my motorcycle, bright red and new, bought with savings from the restaurant working as a salad girl. After school firing it up ripping through the meadow across the road. And the two fluffy chickens kept as pets in the shed. Somehow through it all sanity remained amidst the horrific anxiety.

Not sure why these memories run through my mind in the stillness of night, but gratefulness fills me that Samuel lies by my side. Taming anxiety in the daytime through breathe and paying attention to each moment helps me stay in bed until calmness and sleep returns.

It’s OK, it’s OK, it’s OK…

FALL INTO FALL

Amends were made to the three brothers pressing me to join in explaining why it’s not possible for me do so. Now they are placed beyond daily thoughts so much because the ones who really are interested in me and my life are my real family, Samuel, sons, grand-children, a sister-in-law, and friends.

These brothers act as if they are caring, but aren’t interested enough to answer emails or interact in a way other than what serves their own needs. OK. My situation has been put forth plainly without their decades of gagging me. That took enormous effort. Maybe once again going forward can occur without so much angst.

The ups and downs of being drawn to the fire of origin family… all it’s memories, the secrets forced on me to keep, the ravages of expecting me to be someone I’m not (pleasing doormat), getting burned, cooling off, then doing it all over again, over and over… well, maybe sufficient mental beatings have occurred to stop doing that. It is challenging enough to keep my sanity.

My mood dropped like a rock, forgetting how severely the change of season affects me. The warmer mornings called me onto the porch to watch the sun rise, rather than hunkering down under the full spectrum lights to improve mood. So that has begun again.

The usual meditation routine went by the wayside for months after years of hardly missing it, but that too is needed and room must be made for it once again. And the pot oil, no wonder sleep wouldn’t come.

When sleep issues arose the dose kept going up and up, doubling over time. No wonder my head felt manic with thoughts. Too much causes problems instead of curing them. Backing down to a modest does has helped a great deal.

And the simple work of being with me begins again. How hard it is to be in my body and be OK. To not run. To breathe, and be OK.

HONOR THY TRUTH

To boldly go where no man has gone before… (thank you Star Trek) yes, breathe, go inward, don’t be afraid, traveling through layers and layers built up over decades. Move through walls guarding my interior like fortresses built out of fear ignorant of my own truth. It is only when you relax the herculean sinews straining to keep you out of yourself that suddenly you arrive at your core.

Galaxies of resistance can be battled by a single breath. And then? The miracle of knowing who you are, what you want, what you need to do, and who you need to address.

Armor is melted by the breath.

Resistance is too.

And so you find love and all the things you’ve been searching for…. Knowledge of the why’s for your actions which confuse you, tending to ask others why you do what you do.

How would they know? You know, but you have to be brave enough to look. It isn’t all bad in there. There are things to do to make amends.

There is also beauty in my truth. You must honor that too, perhaps the hardest things to do… to honor one’s own beauty.

Hole in the Floor

Negative thoughts about myself cave in devouring me as much as I devour whatever foods I can find in the middle of night. The next day a tear falls in pity for the ever present ghosts from the past interfering with a peaceful sleep filled life.

The ravages of chronic PTSD are here to stay no matter how hard the effort is to sway them from their path, rooted within without a cure.  That could have been cured had shame not made the family embarrassed to seek help for me, the victim injured so critically had it been a physical injury someone would have had to sop up the torrents of blood. Someone would have HAD to help!

Once the tsunami of sleeplessness passes, it is back to basics; persuade my negative tendencies about blaming myself for just about every little thing that doesn’t seem right, and when in that mode, every little thing seems wrong, and work on countering those beliefs.

Really? Are you as bad as that devil on your shoulder says you are? This badness, kicked to the curb over and over, comes seeping back in because it became part of my being at age 8. And it is fall after all, the time when mood plummets no matter how hard you don’t want it to. So acceptance is also a work in progress.

No one came to tell me otherwise, I was left alone except the attacks. My childhood beliefs about being bad cemented into my self-view as an adult. It is daily work, constant work sometimes. Back to happier moments of being OK to be me…

FOCUS

SLOW, slow down. For life it’s been fast, moving ahead of my body- like two separate entities. Staying as one, after a lifetime of division, takes focus. My body cradled my spirit, yet my spirit has been flying off somewhere, often not knowing where.

There is that safe dreamland where much of me spent. You talk to me? I’m not there. I could pretend to be, yet most time was spent in that safe place others call disassociation. I call it zoning out.

With the very first meditative session presence began. Wanting more of being in this body that has carried me all these years, meant more meditation, years of it. But with the addition of marijuana oil came a whole new definition of presence. Not fleeting but with staying power.

That gift, suggested by my younger loving son, has offered a world where sleep is possible. My arthritic knees and other joints don’t ache. Anxiety is kept at a minimum as long as my days are unfettered with worry or too much stimulation out there in the fast paced ruckus.

The gliding, graceful heron takes me with her as she swoops for fish in the creek. The orange of the butterfly shines in the sunlight as she flutters by as if following me while crunching over hickory nuts in the hedge-row. The squirrels have been busy because most are just shells, the meat already having been buried.

Days can move from one to the next with grace and beauty, but it does take focus on slowing my ever busy mind down, and focusing on being in my body. My mantra still works, it’s OK, it’s OK. You’re OK, you’re OK, you’re OK…

A gift from a friend.

Wise Moves

It was a wise move to delete Seth’s response without reading it. Then I’m able to proceed with what I need to say unencumbered by negative, hurtful, angry, defensive responses which were what came from him after sending a link to my book. I wrote the following to him this morning:

I wish good things for you. There is a sweetness about you I have always loved. We share the same passion for nature and animals which touched me and made me smile so many times via emails. And you uplifted me when I was down, which was a lot.

Yet in spring an email was sent to Tom with our photo at the Mill after camping. It was only this past year that I finally asked both Don and Stevie not to add me to emails he was on. I didn’t think I had to ask you.

But after the criticism about writing the book detailing horrific abuse, the realization hit that your shame about what others in the family had done outweighed my need to finally have a life I wanted to live.

That you didn’t answer my email for a very long time? I was the victim, not you. For much of my life I’d lament to Samuel that I didn’t want to live. He finally told me how hard it was to hear that. So I changed it to, I wish I had never been born.

It wasn’t until after Mom died that I finally faced the truth and let it up. Before then I couldn’t destroy her fantasy family with the truth we both knew to be true. With it came the joys of childhood too. One chapter horror, the next one joyful. Because when one is suppressed so is the other.

I am not ashamed of writing the book. And you should applaud me for the courage in doing so. But it seems you want a fantasy sister. One who didn’t go through such horrors.

But in seeing only what you can handle, you deny the existence of who I really am, and the strength it took to get here.

I don’t want to give up the sweetness we shared, but I also cannot pretend to be this fake ‘Sis’ you seem to see me as.

You were there for me as much as you could be throughout life, uplifting me with humor and positivity. I am thankful for that. I don’t need anything from you anymore except to see me as I really am which includes the horrors you seem to need to pretend didn’t happen. As if hearing about it is harder than my going through it.

I’ve grown to see just what exceptional qualities lie inside of me. Something I’ve never seen or experienced before.   

JOYFUL CHILD-LIKE ABANDON

The wind through my hair, legs pumping round and round, tires crunching over the fallen leaves along the trail by the water.

“This is so much fun!” I exclaim to Samuel more than once, adding, “I feel joy!”

The sun dappling the path, warming my back in the open spaces, a deer skittering across still with its spots. A bike ride after a few good nights of sleep was just the tonic to bring joy, happy memories of childhood rekindled, of which there were some.

In those days, our country road had little traffic so we had free reign, riding our bikes all day everywhere in the neighborhood unperturbed by parental restraint. She was at work. We could hike the hills too exploring the ponds, cow paths, and trails, with no one to say we couldn’t.

Of course, having no adult monitoring the home also had horrific consequences for me- but interspersed between the horror was joyful abandon. Joyful memories didn’t come up out of me until the horrors came too. (writing the book after my mother died 12 years ago)

Samuel and I decided to shorten the usual 1 ½ hour ride to less than an hour so our butts wouldn’t hurt. Now it is fun and not so much work. I want to do it again and again!

SAFE

Safe, feeling safer from those who do damage, the silent ones imposing silence on me. There is no way to have family of origin be part of my life. And though knowing this there continues to be a craving for it. But peace has been restored along with healthy sleep habits. Peace and freedom, something lost when interacting with those that muzzle me. Or consort with Tom.

The people who love me, who truly love me, don’t do that, and have nothing to do with the devil. Tom’s face, something about it. I see it in those that lie like Bill Cosby. Deceit on faces look similar.

The morning comes with peace filling me from the inside out as the golden globe rises above the hill. All is quiet. Oh how these mornings are cherished. A bird here or there tweets a hello as crickets in abundance still dance creating a happy drone.

Peace, hope, and love fill me once again…chasing away the terror of telling my truth which origin families do anything not to hear. And freedom. Freedom to feel my hand, notice the whiff of apple scent from the warmer, to be in my body as a whole person for more moments than not when focusing on it.

To remember, don’t go fast, slow down so all parts stay together. And know you are OK, not the problem origin family makes you out to be. You are OK, you are strong, beautiful and loving. And you have a right to be here.

(Seth’s email was permanently deleted before reading it as his defensiveness would hurt me drastically, and he has hurt me enough- I am safe from it.)