BEING WITH ME

Shifting internal dialogue has taken decades, many, many years of therapy, but of late the resolution to a life of forever feeling bad has taken a turn towards lightness by being with myself in nature- the woods, the land, and me.

And it’s fleeting, as tomorrow my writing may be pain filled and down. But there are moments that have stretched into days where my internal world is gentle, loving, encouraging, and accepting of ME.

And it is more than a kinder voice, it is feeling wholly accepting of myself, more than OK, but that I too am a good person.

Raymond asks one day, “Good? That you are a good person?”, a psychiatrist who knew what he was doing, though pushing me into a career because I had the intelligence to do it might have been more about his being successful than me.

Though glad to have succeeded at such a feat because it paid for both sons education at a prestigious college and set them both on a burgeoning career in the technology field where they still work, the years it took me to accomplish it stressed my already overloaded nervous system.

Daily cortisol bursts from each challenge and the ever present fear of people caused my body to develop a syndrome of fatigue that cannot be repaired. It was worth it to see them thrive now, even if I don’t, not in that way, but in my own quiet way; learning to be with me and be OK, a place always run from before that I now inhabit fully.

Fractured, now whole, perhaps a bit bumpy, but whole.

It has always been about goodness, that I wasn’t, I was bad, abnormal, bad, bad, bad. The revelation that I am of good heart, as human as any with mistakes, flaws, and quirks? That it is more than just words? All new.

Every minute alive is one minute gone. Getting older one begins to realize that, that this moment is precious and living it feeling bad because I’ve been habituated to feel that way doesn’t have to be. I am learning otherwise, I am learning the truth.

The rabbits, soggy ground, icy earth, birds, and running water of the creek have taught me that. That being with me is the best place to be.  

Love of Life

Photo by Cory (my younger son)

Each day there is a job to do, work on self-esteem. Though possible to improve on that front, the core of my being already formed is staying that way.

You cannot cut into the layers of a tree and remove its inner ring without killing the tree.

I am who I am, who was formed during childhood, with beliefs about myself that became embedded into my personality.

So, each day takes focus, work, and effort to counteract the life-threatening critical voice which thrives so dramatically inside me. To tell it, I do deserve life, equality, pleasure, and happiness, even amid all the other struggles and pain that life brings to each of us.  

EVERY PRECIOUS MOMENT

A walk in the meadow-1/19/2011

The things once done, are no more, deal with that. My body won’t tolerate it. Yet in its place there is so much wisdom, peace, safety, and calm.

Every precious moment matters, the feel of my hand with the long slender bones beneath, the stretch of toes waking up tendons and muscles all the way up my calves, the scent of balsam filling the house using candle warmers in every room, and taking time to be with the cat as she turns herself into a contented warm pretzel by the fire.

No, after a life of draining cortisol rushing through my bloodstream daily, often several times daily, my body is depleted and can take no more. Yet my tendency is to push, push, push, fearing that even my best friend Samuel will see me sludging on the couch as if a lazy good for nothing human, but really it is the ever-present critic within that bites and sucks the life out of me.

Rest, rest, and more rest. It takes a great deal of time to connect to my body and care for it; eyes that dry easily especially after the cataract surgeries needing the humidifier filled daily. And drops in them a few times each day especially when the heat is running. Exercises on the chair with the rope and pulley to unlock a shoulder that once was badly impinged. Taking medicines, supplements, and vitamins morning and night, and oh so much to keep an aging body going.

All good things as once our lives didn’t last this long. But for one who left their little body at the age of eight, staying in it long enough to feel what it needs takes focus, calm, and a great gentleness for self.

That does not sound so hard, but a devasting critic took over at a young age when brothers sexually abused my little body and no one came to help, but much worse it could not be talked about and the blame, shame, and crimes were taken in as mine. Growing to love myself does not come easily.

It is a life-time work. Can I go with Shane and his family tomorrow night at the little Christmas festival around the block at the park where trees are decorated from area businesses outdoors to vote on, and Santa comes with candy canes, hot cocoa, and cookies?

Well, yes, if I don’t care about my sleep habits, so no, because it takes all evening to keep my whirlwind psyche calm. To get excited, even happily, means looking at 2AM in the morning wondering if sleep will ever come.

It is difficult accepting my limitation especially when comparing them to others. How do you explain to anyone who hasn’t gone through it or lives it how even happy gatherings cause angst, tiredness, and PTSD rockets to go off? When it occurs, and it does with even tiny things, a great need for rest and quiet comes with it, and sometimes recovery takes days. Solitude is my refuge. When once being alone felt like a knife was cutting from the inside out, it now offers a healing balm.

When able to care for myself as deserved and needed, and feeling strong enough to challenge that critic which will not happen when overwhelmed or tired, so many gifts slowly return- gratefulness, love, warmth, appreciation, well-being, and cherishing every little moment. Quiet and rest is the magic that brings me back to life…

1/11/2009 by Patricia

HEALING

Minute by minute, moment by moment, time passes. But each one is precious, sensing the depth in every one, or drowning it out with worry? Much time is wasted on the later, then remembering.

There isn’t much time left. Finally, after decades of chaos and self-hating, there is a shift of major occurrence. Instead of the critic flying free treating myself like some kind of fluke needing beatings, bad treatment, chastising, or bullying, there is an opening to how it feels when coming out of childhood with self-love.

Becoming gentle, kind, and patient to myself takes focus after a life doing the opposite, living off the voices in my head from the traumas in childhood being discounted, denied, and ignored completely. A child takes that and blames herself making life unlivable.

Go slow, take care of the hurts, whether physical or of the soul, and spend the time needed to do so. It is OK to love life, and myself.

PERSEVERE

The birds take longer to wake as the sun takes longer to rise. Already fall approaches with the shorter days darkening my interior. Yet there is hope, that the new being born out of old skin is a happier one, translating to more peaceful and self-loving.

After so many months, even years of late, working daily at self-esteem, questioning that awful critic arising from the gag order ‘family’ imposed; imposed to keep their secrets of what their own had done.

What does that do to a child traumatized? She takes it into herself as her doing, her BADNESS, her being not having the rights to even be born.

The traumas, then more heaped upon already broken shoulders. Yet these years have become the very best. Respecting my limits, my brokenness, my tragedies with grace- as the continual walking in nature brings a curative effect.

Not giving up, but pushing forward, yet also leaning to do so more slowly, carefully, with patience that is not yet forthcoming with ease, but coming. The well springs open with love, peace, and wonder at every moment of life and well-being.

JUST DO IT!

‘Just do it.’ (thank you Nike) Choosing to say no to someone and yes to my own needs was difficult. Already packed after agreeing to a visit to my younger brother’s new lake house, one where I’ve never been and am unlikely to visit due to PTSD issues, my email went out this morning:

Stevie,

Spirit is willing, body is not. Not sleeping last two nights, and chest is tight with real concerns over the many challenges of taking a trip. Can’t be anywhere but home, and near familiar medical services too. My body can become very ill overnight. Last time over a red pepper flake. Sick for two weeks needing an antibiotic. Also, long car rides are hard and scare me.

But more so, my being is not home inside myself unless home. I become disconnected easily.

I want to so much, my bags are already packed, pills for morning and night and other stuff to keep it running right.

Did this to Shane too. Booked a week in the woods and had to bow out.

I must accept my limitations with a little grace. Just can’t do what comes so easily for others. A life of cortisol bursts, and adrenaline rushes over simply someone coming up behind me causes a blood curdling scream to escape my lips taking a long while for my body to calm down. That drains a body over time, and mine is such.

I am content, and happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. So I am OK. But I cannot take this on no matter how much I want to. It is just too much. It’s only been about three weeks now where there’s been better sleep. Upsetting the new miracle of good sleep on most nights is too risky.

Samuel wants to come despite knowing how hard it is for me. It is hard for others to understand. But I need to take care of my body.

Love you,

Patricia

My body unwound, shoulders relaxed, and the vice on my chest let go. So hard to meet my own needs over his. His deep pain is so raw and evident drawing me to meet them. His loneliness as vast as mine once was. His interest in me is having warm bodies around to admire him.

Can’t. Really can’t. Just do it, care for my own needs over another’s.

WHOLE

Like a tattered flay blowing every which way, some pieces up, some down, some sideways, but nothing altogether as one. And still my parts desperately scrape towards coming together as that feeling of bursting into tidbits, tiny fragments of dust into the stratosphere,— hits like a bomb.

Then a soft wise voice says, you can do this. You have the ability to make choices, keep them, and care for yourself.

A security entered like warm water rushing in soothing my ragged interior, and sleep came.  

DIVINE

James Webb Telescopic Image

It is a different life, a different view, a different ability to follow through with my goals of rising above the negative thinking plaguing me since childhood when adequate sleep prevails. What a miracle.

The lagging self-esteem, believing since the traumatic abuse that it was my fault, and that my very being was ‘bad’, is a daily challenge to confront, that nagging critic banging loudly over the whispers from my soul saying something different.

That all beings born are great and special, plants, animals, and people… that includes me, unique, glorious, and divine, as infinite as the universe.

Are You Who They Say?

Perceiving how others see me, doesn’t mean that’s who resides within. It is my own understanding of myself that matters- that is true and authentic. If others can’t bother to take the time to really know me, it is their loss. And not many do.

But the ones that do? Are close for life no matter how far away in the physical realm, they remain close in soul. Time on the land and with myself has offered a view into how others see me.

The problem that arises from that is taking that perception as the truth. Looking deeper within, the slights they perceive don’t exist. The being internally is far better than that. But the habit for decades is to see the truth how others see it who are not out for my best interests, though say they are.

So easy to believe the worst of myself. Much harder to see the beauty, grace, and honesty. There are true friends who have tried to tell me that, choosing instead not to see it, longing for acceptance in places where it never comes. But the only place that matters is within.

Don’t you see? Look, and you shall see the truth, the beauty, grace, and honesty. A lifetime of living like a dinghy on rough waters, rocking to and fro, seeing myself as others do, others that are looking out for their own needs, not mine.

It is a new adventure to look at the truth like a flower in my hand and inspect the uniqueness in all its flawed splendor.

The Journey

Feeling bones, my body thinner, scared, a few pounds easily were put back on. Feeling safer, it is easier to control my eating. Becoming smaller comes with threats of success and a great urge to numb out with food.

Of course there is a link, but I haven’t figured it out yet, or all the way through. The urge to eat when not hungry, a typical day for me since age 8, fades when a softer, kinder voice is heard and felt.

Though happening for periods of time creating success with weight loss as a secondary plus, sustaining kind thoughts of myself takes primary focus. That is the goal, food and weight are symptoms of the self-hate developing in childhood falling in-line only when kindness to self steps in.

The voice whispers positive things about myself that are allowed into me. That is challenging to sustain after living most of my life otherwise. Much of that grew as I grew pleasing the origin family, living by implied rules if wanting to remain a part of it… toxic as it was and still is- what’s left of it.

What grew with the ugliness of repeated sexual attacks by supposed loving brothers with nowhere to talk about it, and no one to help or stop it, was a life of unprocessed trauma, chronic, embedded, PTSD, with a critic inside me louder than anything else—a life of punishing myself for having been abused.

Hate myself, blame myself, eat, eat, eat, both to numb out the hate and to comfort myself from the internal nasty word beatings, that voice in my head that came from ‘family’, but became mine. No, it was not spoken aloud, but the messages were imprinted into my soul because no one talked of the tragedies that befell me, nor stopped it. The imposed silence, and the implications of blame I felt entombed me.

A miracle occurs when a more honest view of myself is heard, one that can look at mistakes and flaws kindlier, but much harder, and more importantly, looks at the positive qualities, feels them, believes them, and taking them in as my own.

When that miracle happens, the overpowering urge to eat when not hungry dissipates because my soul is being filled, finally filled.