Mysterious Exciting World

A week of confusion and turmoil finally calming me back to my soul with input from friends, my son, and a friend far away, never meeting her in person but closer to me than anyone I know. And… Mother Nature, restorative, curative, and finally after several days of resting my tired mind, the energy arises to go out and be with her.

The walks bringing me back to myself. How easily the split occurs. With the origin people, that group one is born to with ties like tentacles, the gag order reduces me to robot like living. Home again among friends who accept me as I am with no hidden past, there are also no hidden agendas to shut me up.

Nature cradles me in beauty, the meadow filled with buttercups, daisies soon to join them. Carp in the creek as big as sharks nibble on the banks of the water, their gigantic sleek bodies twisting above. The breeze blows the leaves with a soft rustle above me. Slowly I move back into my body, soul, mind, spirit, and emotions, claiming them, feeling them, becoming one once again.

The day opens not depressingly as it did all week, but with wonder, mystery, and excitement. What pleasures await? What other goals can be achieved, realized for the first time in years? Because as freedom inside myself grows, freedom from the chains of childhood and the forced silence, talents, abilities, special qualities, and magic to achieve goals and become who I really am increases tenfold, blossoming like the flowers around me.

What else lies inside waiting to be discovered, nurtured, and developed? Like stoking the tiny spark into constant flame, that little kernel of self-love is still there. Sometimes I must hack down the brush and heavy foliage to find it, that harsh critic blocking me all the way. Persistence pays off, patience helps too.

But there it is, a spark to coddle into flame warming my entire being with friendship to self. To feel all that is there without judgement or denial. To investigate the wounds still needing care and release. To allow the wise voice to take precedence and try not to allow the willful child to run things again.

That part yearns for the loving family she never had. Another part riles things up when success is prevalent. My job in that group of people that some call family was to fail. Be bad, do bad, carry their burdens. And no wonder my life was spent not wanting to live.

That is no more. Success reigns. Peace sustains. All that I need, I have.

The Kernel of Self-Love

You need to accept that this craving for family will always be there. That the fantasy you create in your mind is much better in all ways, certainly healthier.

In my minds creation they are the people you wish them to be, the ones you adored in childhood because you didn’t know better.

Feeling pulled down, locked in, inauthentic, pleasing, pleasing, pleasing, freedom lost. My body became sick, all organs affected, heart, colon, nervous system, a betrayal of myself and all that is believed in.  

And you know, you must know that this pull is for life, and that you’ll reach out again. Try not to. Keep the life you’ve built. Life is hard enough sorting out the moments quietly trying to feel each one.

The trip has been arduous, the oasis found only after a life-time of work. And that work continues and needn’t be hampered, even damaged by the wants of others.

The pressure has been great. But relenting to it brought illness, dis-ease, and toxicity as if drinking poison … freezing my body to the core- spirit, mind, and emotions.  

Just because another wants, doesn’t mean you have to give. The work done, untied as if it never happened. Stop giving up yourself for the needs and wants of another.

That little kernel of self-love, that warm glow you’ve begun to foster needs your full attention towards Y-O-U. It’s OK to love you… with tenderness, softness, kindness, gentleness, and lots of cuddling. Yes, you can hug yourself!

MOTHER’S DAY

From Cory- delivered to my door the day of…

Why has it taken so long to love life, being alive, and to feel freedom possibly for the first time in 68 years? Wounds that don’t air fester. They develop pus, gangrene, and worsen, sometimes a body part needs hacking off, or death occurs.

Pretend you care, but you insist, ‘don’t tell.’ One cannot heal from trauma when the trauma is vaulted in tightly. When air, light and the hope of healing is withheld. Wound after wound, does it matter after a while, or does each wound compound upon the other?

And that’s what families do, pretend… victimizing the victim. So much healing yet to do. To go deep to find the black rot still there, evident in the way others still are allowed to take advantage of me. Because feeling poorly about one self does that.

And though some light of self-love is beginning to grow in my core, there are more doors to open and windows to rise. Corners well-hidden where parts still hide, cowering in fear of what others would think if they knew… more importantly what my thoughts are of myself.

The forgiving of self for past perceived crimes, even if only a child, still fester. Because what’s done in childhood came along like a fungus affecting all relationships negatively, like pus oozing out.

The only thing that would bring me back to the hell my life was, would be to become a better mother. To have my sons forgive my mistakes which were many and sorrowful. When asking forgiveness for my transgressions they say they have none to forgive.

They do even if they don’t know it. And isn’t that true of most childhoods, that we must heal some of the damage well meaning parents inflict? But most importantly it is powerful and relevant to be better now, and for me to forgive me. Bring light to the dark pockets still existing. Dig deep, see the truth with acceptance, tolerance, kindness and love. Let the newly found love for self grow.

From Shane– along with a happy dinner of chicken pot pies…

SPRING

Photos by Patricia

Spring moves along at its beautiful pace while wishing for more warmth along the way. But enjoy the ride because once the heat hits you’ll be wishing for cooler days. Perplexed at why this spring was so upsetting to sleep issues, it has settled down.

Since returning from Cory’s, sleep has been consistent, deep, and lengthy. A blessing. Gratitude pours forth and energy abounds. Walks in the sunshine, or on a misty morning are miraculous in their splendor.  

Each day new glorious with more growth than the day before. Blossoms everywhere! Just as it feels like something quite new blossoms internally. A shift of enormous magnitude that no one but me knows or notices.

The weights of the world once carried like boulders upon my shoulders have melted away, especially the ones linked to the origin family where every interaction was something I’ve done wrong if not pleasing, placating, or in agreement with what another wants or is pushing for.

Freedom and peace come from self-care, nurturing myself in a way never taught. Those are the roses growing inside of me, as bountiful as the explosion of spring…

GROWTH

Cory’s Photo

Who will comfort you when you are sad… you will. Who will rock you when you are upset… you will. Who will love you when you feel unloved …you will.

For most of my life the leaning for needs to be met was to others having no center of my own, but the help was short-lived and unfulfilling. The hunt for love was the pot at the end of the rainbow, not really there because it did not exist outside myself. It had to be found internally.

And how could that happen when raised to hate myself? Where no compassion could be found, only cruelty and wishes raining down upon a little girl that she would just dispose of herself. Then everyone else could be happy.

Happy because if I didn’t exist, you don’t need to feel bad about what you did. And the rest who stood by and suffered me to silence could feel less guilty too. So many knew of my incestual jail and did nothing out of their own shame; brothers, aunts, my mom. Nothing. The message though- SILENCE.

In learning about the true person inside myself, and giving me my own permission to live free, happy, and whole, riches abound free to absorb lightening my soul from darkness, making life genuine, full, and exquisite even with the painful times which we all bear.

LOVE

PHOTO BY PATRICIA

Settling down to the memory of yesterday, accepting an ‘off’ day with hopes of moving back towards the center. It is disappointingly excruciatingly hard to cope with old habits that emerge when up in the night- EATING.

It’s OK. You will keep moving towards your goals. You can expect glitches and falling back to old patterns all along the way. Accept that.

“I’ve done so well. I’ve been trying so hard,” I lament to Samuel, after he had cleaned up my mess from middle of the night foraging. I was too tired from a double dose of medication to clean up crumbs or put away peanut butter and jelly.

Each day the calorie counter on-line is pulled out. Every morsel entering my mouth is tracked to the exact calorie. And exercise, all my body can handle until hitting a wall. Then? Sit down or fall down. A bad night comes without really knowing why except my body takes off out of my control and sleep evades me.

This time it it might simply be not telling a friend I can’t do a video call on an afternoon when so much exercise was done in the morning. My body has limits due to so much abuse throughout childhood. Being present with a friend takes energy, energy I did not have when trying to talk to her. She’s not evil, just ignorant. And when rested I can let her foibles slide off me, just as she must allow my character flaws to exist with acceptance.

Feeling sorry for myself after laying there hours in bed, I got up and went to the living room. Hating the old ways but doing them anyway I ate. This is the pattern that began at age 8 after the first attack. Eat then throw-up because my then thin little kid body couldn’t take the excess food. It can now, but not without equal amounts of self-hate.

Yet over the course of many months pounds have slowly dropped, twenty so far. Because something changed, I changed. I can’t tell you why, how, or what, but something deep and internal that won’t allow night time follies to dissuade my journey to wholeness and health.

Friend Within

When people go back to their usual daily socializing, whether parties, work, or just hanging out, feelings of being a misfit or outcast will take hold once again. Oddly, this past year made me feel like one of a whole, as everybody had to stay away from everybody, much how my life already had been erected.

When severely traumatized as a child by those who you trust and love, it leaves in its wake a belief that no one can be trusted. What evil are they up to?

Those beliefs haven’t wavered. The only way to stay safe is not to interact with evil others. OK, maybe not evil, yet people are capable of evil… all of us. This I know.

Over the years my loneliness drove me to seek some connections, maybe not the best or most healthy ones, but at least something to hold on to and keep. While at the same time learning boundaries, even with those called friends. Because anyone will take advantage of you if you let them.

And I was taught to be ever willing to be your doormat. When silenced over such horrific trauma, I learnt I didn’t matter; not my needs, wants, or hopes. Yet I persisted to meet all of those, and it has taken decades to begin to fulfill them.

But becoming a gregarious people person is not going to happen. What will happen is much of same. While others begin to take up their past lives interacting daily, my life still remains quite solitary. You could say lonely, but no, most of the time, no.

The relationships I have deepen and grow as I do. And you don’t need crowds of friends. One or two will do. And mostly the need is found home right inside me. That is where the best friendship lay. Cultivating that has begun to fill me where once only ragged tatters blew.

YOU’RE OK

PHOTO by Patricia

Temps drop 20 degrees, wind howls so furiously the chairs on the porch walk across the floor. Knowing exercise is needed, the cold keeps me in not even wanting to go down to the cold basement for indoor movement on the elliptical.

Nestled back on the recliner with the afghan pulled up snuggly, thoughts of it being OK to take time off from the exercise regime require focus and repetition. You’re OK, you’re OK, you’re OK. A few days off doesn’t make you bad.

It doesn’t take much to disrupt the newly found self-esteem. Too often the harsh critical voice is running the show out of habit without even being aware of the cold, oppressive input. A little bit of warmth is constantly sought because the life-long habit of self- contempt takes precedence without a constant beam of clarity on what’s being told to myself.

Once breaking through the ice of habit, warm waters are found, so rich and luxurious. To swim in these waters for  the first time in my life, even if just moments at a time, brings calm with a new sense of being where joy warms my soul with aliveness. The essence of life, being there for each moment fully.  

COVID 15

Like a duck out of water, early trauma made me feel different from everyone, a searing differentness that was real. Trauma unprocessed is broken glass. No amount of glue makes it like it once was.

When others ate out of hunger, my hunger was of the soul, searching for love never finding any… especially inside myself. Eating blotted out unspeakable pain. By replacing anguish with food, numbness and self-hate increased.

Every bite since the age of 8 came with a dose of guilt. Blaming myself for using it as a survival tool wasn’t the answer, though it took till just recently to realize just that. Even by adolescence diet groups became part of my life. Being overweight was never the problem. It was a symptom of unhealed wounds covered up by enforced silence. The only outlet provided was eating. It was what my mother wanted, that is until she didn’t.

When others gained weight, like during basic training after joining the Army, my jeans began to droop down my hips after weeks of meager meals in the mess hall. Other girls filled their trays with gravy topped potatoes, meat, breads, and cake with ice cream. Mine had plain meat and vegetables with lots of hot crappy coffee to wash it down and fill me up.

Then scurrying out early, leaving the laughing young women behind. Back in the paint peeling barracks no snacks were available to ease the voracious soul hunger. The necessary discipline needed was only at brief intervals three times a day. Weight melted away.

It is not dropping off quickly now, but it is dropping after meticulous talks with myself about who I really am, what I have desperately wanted since childhood, and what I truly deserve to be happy inside myself where it counts. When even in the worst of times, a place internally welcomes with kind, loving, acceptance.  

The Covid 15 talked about, similar to the freshman 15 for those first semesters at college, are the opposite for me once again. 15 pounds are gone! This time the way forward is much different that the millions of other attempts at weight loss. Success comes not by white knuckling it, but by loving myself even with failures, which are many. Loving myself back onto the path by judging that all of me is OK even in the midst of failure.

When thin, because there were times at a healthy weight, feeling shitty prevailed. The gastric stapling butchering my stomach and intestines years ago after my mother’s urging to have it done did not cure the emptiness in my soul, or heal the ragged wounds. In hopes of becoming normal, because in my mind slim=normal, feelings of not being normal kept wearily on.

Decades later, dangerous, and extremely painful internal bleeding occurred over the course of many months. Finally an ambulance was called because I couldn’t stand up. Hospitalization was required for several days.

Reasons why were not known till after discharge when a surgeon specializing in gastric stapling identified the cause of the bleed. The surgeon of long ago is responsible. The on-going risk of bleeding at the surgical site is managed with a daily dose of a high potent antacid taken permanently.

It’s not about weight and never was. It is about liking, then loving myself, a daily struggle, and my most important work. The messages of being different, bad, unlovable, incapable, and not normal, like dark swirls cemented in a piece of granite, are here to stay. Chipping away at these harsh voices is not always easy or successful. But chip away I do, with small, wondrous achievements along the way.

Happiness, or failure, all lies within. No matter what happened way back when, it is in my grasp to decide what messages to give myself. Easier when rested, about impossible when not. But over time, when the source of my being is tapped, comforted, and accepted, great things happen. Maybe not ‘great’ in that I’m saving the world, but in saving myself.

1976

Caring for Self

PHOTO BY PATRICIA

When the coffers are empty, what do you have to give? Learning to care for self is not only necessary, it is generous because helping oneself, caring for oneself, taking time to be tolerant of one’s shortcomings while also working on them.. these are all steps to abundance and giving.

You cannot give from an empty well. Only in searching deep is the gold found. Only then can it be shared with others, after first finding it. And that has taken decades.

You’re a good person, echoed through the years by those really knowing me and the struggles of self-worth tearing me down. Words needed to keep going, but not felt.

It is OK to feel good about oneself. It is not a badge of honor to walk around feeling bad so that others in the family can feel good. It seemed my destiny to carry the burdens of others. Why else then be born into a family where so much pathetic waste of human life be bred?

Because if a child is not nurtured, loved, and cherished, the child can become corrupt- do things that can’t be undone, then have to life with it, as well as the sister that they chose to abuse. A death sentence for both.

Because if you don’t die physically, you die in other ways, and some are permanent. I cannot get back brothers who chose to sexually attack ever again. Once you chose to attack me you no longer are a brother.

And no one else is ever fully trusted again. Makes for a lonely life. Except that in the work of re-building a life from the ashes up comes great beauty in the form of sons, a gentle loyal husband, and grand-children who love fully without evil intent or maleficence.

A life rattled and broken becomes my life owned by me. Fragile, easily stolen by outside forces, yet able to come home again to find peace within. That takes work and attention. It is not selfish to care for oneself. It is the highest form of generosity.