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.  

The Cosmos Within

This ‘becoming’ of a new person, or the real woman within unknown to me till recently, takes time, a lifetime, and then some.

When responses, sensitivities, and guidance come from the soul, out of the head, and arising from that ethereal part of me without bones, sinews, or blood, the floaty misty presence that’s invisible is more powerful and wise than thought, and magical, miraculous, mystical moments occur.

Moments stretched into a way of living. Once the dust settles after torn in savage pieces due to C-PTSD (which visits regularly), a solidness internally can be leaned on, used, and best guided by. A mythical place that is real and has always been there, but parts were too shattered to connect.

People speak of the soul, what is that? Something floating around after we die? Or can it be a place that isn’t a place but an oasis of changing clouds that swirls within offering the heavens one dreams of a child?

Go there, be blessed with the uniqueness of you. Because like a snowflake, we are all different, unfathomable, and infinitely precious as every countless star.

Do not put your face in the pillow at night and have dark thoughts consume you, you are better than that- so much more.

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

PEACEFUL SADNESS

Feelings of happy with sad mix like cake batter. Tears squeeze out against my better judgement, while a quiet stillness resides internally.

Tranquility. That’s the happy, my usual modus operando is anxiety. To deny the sadness is to deny authenticity.

Making room for sadness alongside peace with compassionate acceptance while acknowledging the spinning thoughts spilling out of my brain is the job of day.

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.

The Soul of Compassion

The morning starts slow, later than usual due a restless night. A soft voice came, that soul voice going unheeded too much of the time, it’s OK, this happens. And eventually sleep surprisingly came without aids or getting up in the middle of the night.

Maybe it is because too much of the day prior was spend outside myself, an occurrence that so easily happens, riding on the current of buzzing from an anxious spirit. Though seemingly calm, my insides often are in turmoil, and if the pot is stirred even oh, so delicately, the turmoil spins into a tornado of negative thoughts.

But this was on the edge of it, the soft voice talking me down, that soft voice of compassion laced with reason, the new part, compassion and self-kindness. Cultivating those is heaven here on earth.

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.

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…