CANDYBAR DAY

Sometimes a girl just needs chocolate. If the candy is made with fat free condensed milk, graham crust with just a little margarine, and unsweetened organic coconut, is that considered healthy? Magic bars magically feel good, the molten chocolate swirling my brain chemicals with happy vibes.

After the orgy, just sitting, all day sitting, my body hardly moving, I began to feel better. But it’s so off the mark of should dos, and the critic had to be shut up- yammering away at ‘should and should nots.’

Sometimes it’s not laps around the meadow that cures, but stillness. As summer collapses around me, kissing the pool good-by after Samuel covers it for the season, and all the windows are shut to the cold shutting out the sounds of crickets, birds, and other wildlife, the silence plummets me down to depths I’d forgotten.

Just hardly months ago my being was used to dullness and the down mood of winter. And a friend reminded me of its coziness. It is good to have friends. But it is in me that the will must be found to face every day, because some days it isn’t there as if, not another?

Weak, vulnerable, fallen off the precipice of sunlight and joy into darkness so suddenly, the will of finding that light in other ways almost completely escapes me.

Stillness, not moving, enjoying the rapture of chocolate, all things social norms encourage one NOT to do, as busyness, productiveness, and ‘eating your greens,’ are the goals… quietness ensconcing my most inner being brings me back in to myself- back home.

MILD SYMPTOMS

Maybe Samuel brought Covid home from the coffee shop but was asymptomatic. Maybe it’s just sinuses, but with a fever? No one likes being sick, but for me there’s a fear with it that feels scarier than feeling ill.

Spending a good portion of life not being in my body, when it goes awry- that is scary. Unfamiliar with it in healthier times, when off-kilter the territory becomes even more foreign.

When running from yourself, it isn’t possible to care for yourself. Being disconnected how could it?

But these last weeks, especially when night after night a routine of good sleep has developed, and each morning time is spent just being, staying, and not running, a connection with all elements of myself brings a wholeness unfounded.  

With it an ability to care for each aging part which needs more attention than ever before. It is not easy to keep an old car running, spare parts, tune-ups, grease, all sorts of attentive focus.

But when chaos and anxiety fill up my tank, that’s all there is. When peace replaces the foaming buzz, miracles blossom, the miracle of well-being, and feeling there is a place for me here now.

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.

LIVE

Patricia’s photo

It is such a new extraordinary experience to take my own needs into consideration, after first allowing myself to recognize all that really made me who I am.

Not running away, but running to my core. The pull to connect with the three remaining brothers is strong, even coming up in last night’s dream. Upon waking, sipping coffee, the thought- call and make a plan to get together.

But no. My own needs are real and every time this occurs my entire system goes awry. The sister they see isn’t me, the grown woman, aging, wiser, more in control of the impulsiveness that leads to self-destruction. And the anxiety erupting when playing the part they require is destructive… every time.

My mother, now gone 13 years, instilled such a guilt in me; that’s not nice, you should be ashamed of yourself, and on it goes if ever advocating for myself. The guilt in not keeping connected continues strong due to her life-long manipulative, persuasive, intrusive, pressures to keep the ‘so called’ family intact, niggling at my insides like Medusa’s head. But this time my choice is for equanimity, the centeredness coming from attending to my needs of body, mind, and spirit.

Her expectations demanded that I love the very monsters who attacked me, their wives, and the ones who didn’t but colluded in the lie that nothing happened because it was, and still is, more comfortable to do so.

And that is the rub. My love needs to be from afar, because there is love when feeling safe from treachery of lies and pretense. They don’t visit on their own, but together, when the force of more can get away with treating me as was done in the past, like dust in the wind. They each know they are welcome to visit, but don’t. Or only together. Too scary on your own? Then you must deal with the me that is real?

She couldn’t let her daughter tell the truth, she had to silence me. And she did until after her death. That is when I began to live.  Each moment is precious. ‘We shall never pass this again.’

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.

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.

TRIBE

The rosy dawn breaks as the golden light dips onto the treetops like molten gold erupting in a spray of color. The cat chases the hummingbird off the feeder dashing over as if to catch it, her only form of hunting through the screen on the back porch, through her fantasies.

But at least she gets to try. They say indoor cats have a longer life. Hopefully ‘they’ are right. My fantasy of a tribe to claim as my own continues, yet the reality learned once again is that the ‘family’ or origin is not a safe place, nor ever was.

Yet my attempts at reaching out don’t stop, causing pain from acknowledging that being wanted comes with the stamp of dutiful sister hushed by critical inuendoes and other manipulations, disturbing my peace, then dwelling on them for days after foiled tries blaming the uncomfortable interactions on my own failure to connect.

Like (or unlike) Ayla in CLAN OF THE CAVE BEARS, as a child she was torn from her tribe in a quake ending up with a tribe not of her own and was treated as such. They thought her ugly.

Though born into my real tribe, it wasn’t long before becoming one that wasn’t really a family at all, not in the real sense where love, safety, acceptance, and authenticity abound.  

Finding a real tribe has taken time, but is found; my husband, sons, grandchildren and friends, and most importantly a start at feeling at home within.

Or like Dorothy in Oz, “and it’s that if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”

MENTAL ILLNESS

Mental illness? Who wants that? No one. It still has a bad rap, yet mine needs tending to. Not with chains, cells, straight- jackets, or hypodermics, but with care, love, and attention.

Anxiety, depression, and PTSD are in the medical textbook of psychiatric diagnoses. Sounds shitty. It is shitty. Worse though is feeling ashamed of being different, one more nail in the coffin from childhood after sexually abused, but feeling to blame because no one intervened to tell me otherwise.

The feelings that grew and solidified out of that are a challenge every day. My head may know all the words; not to blame, be your own best friend, blah, blah, blah. Feelings of badness, dirtiness, abnormality, (that list is extensive) grew cementing in my core as each year passed.

Reversing core beliefs, silencing the haranguing critic, learning to show myself kindness or beginning to even like myself? Challenging. Being burdened even more by feeling ashamed for what wasn’t my doing which has created needs different from many around me calls for special care and attention… not self scorn or denial of the facts. Or even glossing over them for another’s comfort. Learning how to love myself transforms each day into a more joyful one, but only with will, empathy, patience, acceptance, and perseverance.

I’ll get there, I’m getting there, trying to hear that softer voice that says it’s OK to take medication that helps. It’s not only OK, but imperative to slow down earlier in the day than most need to because (like last night) cleaning the house at 8PM activates an exhausted adrenal network tired from decades of overstimulation due to reacting as if every tiny thing was life threatening. So? Wide awake at the usual bedtime.

It’s OK you had to cancel out of camping with my son and family this upcoming week due to sleep issues worsening each year, yet longing to be there instead of their friends who kindly took our site when I had to face the fact of being unable to handle it. My younger brother dearly wants us to visit his new house on the lake and stay as long as we like. The prospect of following through, though we keep saying we will, are non-existent. We won’t, I can’t.

Or maybe needing medication once again last night was over some other tiny thing, something as simple as fretting over a comment on a fellow blogger’s site fearing I upset them– or horrors— make them not like me. Struggling with liking myself, it is about unbearable when others don’t, at least those I care about. I am learning not to be hurt by those I don’t. That’s a huge accomplishment.

It doesn’t take much to set off a system tripped onto high power since the age of eight after the first attack. My body is so drained any little thing sets it off.

Kindness, love, and acceptance. I’ll work on that…

TRANSFORMATION

Exhaustion makes me weary. Sometimes growth can do that. Especially with a body worn out by years of hyper-alertness from repressed trauma causing startle responses daily with the accompanying adrenaline shooting cortisol through my veins draining my body from energy permanently.

And growth is challenging. Kicking the critic out comes with kick-back from her, rising up to torture more aggressively beating me ragged. Could it be that fearing the worst causes it?

After a night with no sleep at all, a fear if going without medication, when Samuel awoke all thoughts of keeping my misery to myself dissolved.

“I didn’t sleep at all,” adding, “I was awake after you came to bed, and stayed in bed till 2. I couldn’t lay there anymore!”

He was quiet, though a sigh escaped noticed by a slump in his shoulders on exhale. And a soft whisper from my soul which went unheeded and did not penetrate, if this happened to my him, much compassion would flow from me. But for myself I felt quite the opposite.

The tears squeezed out, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I so different, so weird?”

And that theme went on, the tiredness embalming me further. Feeling sick, I retreated to the bedroom pulling the shades and curtains, the kitty looked at me wondering what I was up to.

Yanking the blankets down from the neatly made bed, knowing sleep would never comes in the day, but also knowing that rest was required, I dragged myself under the covers turning on the TV.

Louise Hay? My interest was piqued. I’ve used her quotes several times without ever knowing anything else about her. Sometimes the universe, mother god, takes time to intervene… just for me.

“Look in the mirror and tell yourself, I love you. I really love you,” she said.

After the short segment about her work, the self-hate and self-criticizing thoughts which blamed me for sleep issues were completely transformed.

Going back out on the patio, the warm sun kissed and hugged me all over, my bathrobe absorbing it all along with other sweet sensations that weren’t penetrating when in self-hate mode.

The quiet day after the reversal of thoughts about self sent me meandering down to the creek, gathering a basket of rose petals on the way. Then out front to cut peonies to refill the vase with fresh flowers. And again, out to Samuel’s climbing roses for another sweet display. My hands scoop the petals in the basket, moving them so that would dry without molding, but also for the aroma to swell.

Something in me is fighting back, kicking me black and blue, not allowing for this new freedom and growth. But when a process begins, there’s no turning back. A soul knows where to go if you let it.

Thank you Samuel