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.

FEARS

Samuel’s photo of last night’s lunar eclipse

Fear walks with me, even in a life insulated from too much stimulation protecting my worn-out system after a life of debilitating anxiety depleting my adrenal glands. Fear is with me at all times, though the gauge wanders from extreme to lower levels, it rides with me always, my periscope scanning the perimeter unless zoning out. (my term for dissociation)

Constantly on the ready during nature walks for disaster- though my blood curdling screams over snakes has diminished, if startled by one a yelp erupts as well as a flutter of my heart, probably not good for a heart to jolt with too many of those.

Then there are tick checks after finding one on my back one day. Out in the early morn, the fog as thick as the dew, using the spreader, a great amount of insect repellant granules are dispersed all along the 2-acre path. That ought to keep them off, along with tick spray on my socks and pants.

Now, keep the mockingbirds away from my walking area and patio, as one summer they continually attacked once their babies broke free from the eggs… torpedoing my head ready to peck out my eyes. That was terrorizing lasting too many weeks into precious summer time.

Too often forgetting how my system is on auto-ready for terror, and how much a drain that is, it is kinder and more compassionate to accept how it is, and why, then be gentle with myself acknowledging the reality of my existence.

There is damage left behind by those professing to love me. Comparing myself to others who breeze through life is not helpful either. PTSD unprocessed does damage that for me is lifelong. Learning as a child that home is not safe, what, where, and who is?

Joy outweighs it all …

Harder Days

Everything about me is a secret, unless you are one of the rare few who know me well, or unless you are a blogger where the freedom to be real is relished. Going to my center uncensored has given the gift of growth, acceptance, and the beginning kernels of self-love.

All the gunk interwoven in my belly, so much of it knotted in rejection of self, going against my own at every turn. Thoughts beating me down.

A common thread woven in childhood when those so close and trusted attacked. A thread of self-blame turning into a noose, a rope becoming so thick can it ever be unraveled?

Some days it is hard to get out of bed to greet the day, pushing myself up with that hardened serious feeling that took hold at age 8 in order to survive. Burdens of self-brutality too much to face.

Needing love, yet not finding any within, looking for it from mother long dead now, though she loved her other 7 sons too and that fact made her love for me tainted, poisonous, and twisted with deadly consequences.  

It is within where love needs planting, where needed the most. As the earth softens for growth, so too does my internal world. When making mistakes, which humans tend to do, let that old hatred for self go when raising its monstrous head.

Add the rich loamy soil of love, warmth, and tenderness instead and see what sprouts. It is hard, sometimes laborious work, just like meeting the day when not wanting to. But it will be OK, and so are you.

TAKE HOLD

Control the beast. The beast takes many forms; doubt, fear, insecurity, ungroundedness, an inability to trust or love, and the roots of self-criticism grown in childhood tangled so deeply it cannot be cut out only confronted daily.

Is it that simple, that all this time the adult just needed to take the reins not allowing the troubled willful child to have her will? But no, each path has many signs leading to the wrong places, maybe because fully feeling how wrong something is one learns what is right.

I won’t live long enough to get it all right. But the biggest secret hidden from myself all this time is that when others have said through the years, ‘you’re too hard on yourself,’ that it is a truth unrevealed to me. My head heard it, thought about it, but the critic kept on banging.

But when taking hold of the beasts causing worry, disruption, and chaos- choking them not by asphyxiation but with love, gentleness, kindness, and warmth… a soft place inside, an oasis opens inviting me in. The gnarly roots of self-criticism disintegrate making room for new growth of another kind.

HEALTH

When my body changes and unwellness sets in, fear come with it. Even a slight change causes concern making me fearful. So that voice of comfort was needed. It’s ok, it’s ok. Probably just one day of side effects, a feeling of a 24-hour bug after the fourth Covid shot; slight headache through the night and the next day body aches, even a loss of appetite, not a common occurrence for someone who eats their feelings.

Why not after the first three vaccines? It could be that in facing all that lies inside with equanimity and compassion, my parts, spirit, mind, emotions, and psyche, have come together as one. There’s more awareness of bodily workings. In touch, like most others around me whose connections come naturally not having trauma tear them away from it.

The rip came at age 8. The repeated smashing shatterings making it about impossible to ever reclaim what is mine. The incessant craving haranguing ever since to come back inside me, yet the flurry of me remained suspended above and about spinning, always spinning.

A relief this morning waking to the feeling that my body is back to status quo. Good health is the number one of riches. But when health faulters, the other comparable wealth is the voice of reason, comfort, and compassion.

REST

Getting off the night-time medication has helped greatly, last night making 5 nights in a row, though that one was harder. And probably due to the Covid Booster we had earlier in the day doing things to my body, like a slight headache, a very minor uptick in body temperature along with all over unwellness.

Changes in my body scare me. The soft gentle voice was needed to soothe me. You can do it, it’s OK. Over and over till sleep came, a bit fit full, but it came.

Samuel wanted to go the store after for a few things but one outing was enough for me. After having my own time to myself, this block of time elsewhere caused a need to come home and rest.

Away, those criticisms about laziness or not accomplishing. Yes, more could have been done, like going out walking or meditating. How energy sucking is that? Instead, my choice was to just vegetate, bring in the scattered parts and try to be in the moment.

It was hard not to zone out yesterday. Just that outing, with a shot in the arm and questions of how safe this fourth one will be, was an overload for my tired-out system. Resting was the best choice. Give yourself some credit, even a pat on the back.

SLEEP HYGIENE

PHOTO BY PATRICIA

And so, a hard night comes again, sooner than wanted, and it was so temping to go back to old habits. But I feel good about staying, and some sleep came long after Samuel’s regular breathing. Not enough, but some, and that was nightmarish.

My mind just takes a leap into worry. And with such a busy mind, the body lays in purgatory, needing sleep but not having it.

But this morning, no grogginess, and there’s a feeling of success in that a choice was made and stuck to even though very hard. Kitty curls up next to me by the fire, and a glimpse of rose meets the darkened skies.

It will be a quiet day. Friday was the last hard night, then Saturday and Sunday- good, solid sleep, hearing one part of me say, ‘OK, you paid for your shortcomings with enough suffering, now you can sleep.’

Is this really a form of self-punishment? And for what? Two days in a row of good sleep is an improvement. Perhaps with continued work on good sleep hygiene that period will become longer and longer.

PTSD

Finally making it to one of our women friends monthly gathering after missing a few due to sickness and the brutal sleep issues cropping up again this winter, and trying to make light of my sleep problems, I said, “There are worse things.”

One of them said, “Yes, like Ukraine.”

Going along with the flow of conversation didn’t mean agreement with her. My thoughts after coming home, do you, or have you ever had problems with sleep? I’ve asked her before and she sleeps as well as Samuel, so in her reply there was little compassion. And really, it is inside my own self where the compassion must lie.

It would be comforting to believe that this new monster raising its head, this taking off with worries in the middle of the night, meant something soul shifting to a better plane of existence, but it probably is just that in taking away food to quell the anxiety beast, sleep becomes disrupted by the excess anxiety always ready to sting.

My belief it that my childhood has caused a fractured core no amount of anything will cure. Samuel sleeps. I am awake. My friend’s husband is dealing with a bout of cancer. Well, yes, that is worse. He looks pale and has been through so much. So, there are worse things.

THE PEARL

As winter drudges on, some excitement please! Yet each moment offers that just by breathing, coming into my body fully, and enjoying the sensation instead of the flying off onto a perch somewhere. Traumas early on make this especially hard. Some don’t make it, dying by their own hand intentionally, or by doing harmful things to oneself to escape. My escape since age 8 has been food. Take that away and the anxiety beast grows eating me alive.

Exercise, meditation, full-spectrum lights… aren’t enough to tame the anxiety beast, the beast that dwarfs all special character traits with shame, feelings of badness to the core, and hiding. To eat when hungry comes with much soul searching, learning about respect for, wait for it, here it come, me. And that is excruciatingly challenging because to respect myself is causal.

Approaching such a miracle 60 years after the first attack when the core of my being became buried, coming out to the sunshine, also demands others to do the same. That part of it feels unnatural, yet it is what most others do without much thought or effort. For me it takes herculean effort.

That means loved ones are no longer allowed to tramp on me burying me further, which has been the status quo. Even those that profess love and loyalty will take if allowed. And when feeling so less than, please take to make up for my badness. But in the process of becoming comes much pain, shedding the ugly finding beauty.

The pearl lies within.

FRACTURES

Waking at 2-ish, staying there with thoughts about failed relationships with brothers who have reached out, my mind flickers from one sad event to another. STOP. And calm comes but not sleep.

Up by 3AM sipping coffee as if it is later with kitty beside me… what is time anyway? Don’t pay attention to it. Pay attention to my body, and no way was it going back to sleep.

Since my habit is to go to sleep early perhaps this tendency to wake extra early is just how it is, especially in winter when my thoughts are as grey as the weather.

In normal mode, instead of woe is me mode, the coffee is enjoyed, then out to the kitchen for clean-up, and a loaf of banana bread for the oven with the aroma of sweet bread wafting through the air.

I don’t know why I can’t be close to these other three brothers, but there it is. I wish I’d stop thinking, even obsessing about it. The family fractures run deep. I have a hard time being close to anybody as doubt blurs all vision, trust, or faith. The fractures in me won’t be mended. I must live with them.