Sorting out the mess inside me, a soft quiet voice is heard. This time the ability to listen and heed its wisdom is realized. What if the goal of becoming whole, or connecting to my core, isn’t about becoming something different? Something better? Becoming anything else at all?
The insecurities, the negative critic, all the haphazard ways of doing things due to anxiety and the brokenness that comes with repressed trauma over decades… what if that is loved?
What if love is turned inward to the mess which includes beauty too even amidst the mess? That the messiness is beauty because it is the real me? What if I loved myself anyway?
“Maybe you are taking too much,” Samuel said while we sit on the patio with morning coffee.
The night before, for no apparent reason, sleep evaded me. Instead, every situation not working out how I’d like going back to almost birth invaded my consciousness. My head swam with negativity about everything I did being WRONG!
After such a fine day, Samuel’s answer makes sense.
“Maybe it’s the weight loss,” I said, adding, “I’ve lost quite a bit so maybe I need much less.”
“Yeah, maybe, take half, or take it earlier,” Samuel responded.
A quiet man, it was surprising during the silence interrupted only by birdsongs while sipping coffee that he piped up with his thoughts.
“So which?” I asked, “Earlier, or less?”
“I don’t know,” he said, and of course, how could he know what I should do?
But like much of my life, scattered insides makes me look for answers elsewhere, in people who seemed to have a wholeness that was not shattered. That has become less of a need, but lately has cropped up while hounding Samuel for decisions for every simple thing. God, Samuel?
He rides the fence on all things, maybe his favorite answer. Getting an opinion from him is like milking blood from a stone. So, what is going on? The dosage, or maybe I’m at a crossroads where a leap to growth awaits, or both.
Permission to reach a healthy weight is in question. As if I haven’t a right to feel good, but must carry the burdens of an unhappy family. To let go means chucking all that was learned about myself, that perhaps I really am a worthwhile person? The critic says otherwise.
The critic is overbearingly powerful, a conglomeration of all those in the origin group I was born into. And others who knew of the abuse and did nothing, like my Aunt down the road who was also the school nurse.
Back then there wasn’t a law requiring that those who care for children report abuse. But I sometimes wonder if it would have helped or made things worse. Would I have been removed from the home, or would the offenders have gone to a detention center? But either way, a different message would have been relayed, that I mattered. Or perhaps the family would then blame me for it all. I feel like that anyway.
I’ll try half the dose and stick with it till my body adjusts, which might mean more late nights and the dreaded sleep aid which leaves me groggy the next day. Perhaps the need to question that critic who loudly bangs in my head needs more aggressive work.
When you’re hit by a Mack truck and no one comes to help, no medical attention given, and no therapy to address the symptoms of so much trauma as a child, it makes PTSD and all its challenges a permanent fixture in my life. The message learned— I don’t matter.
That’s how a child perceives it which never changed through the years, because the message of keeping silent stayed. The most horrible, tragic, splintering, shattering traumas sustained as a child… forbidden to be let out of me. It does take a lot of food to lock it down.
Anyone in that group of people I had the misfortune to be born unto would tell you different. You’d be told of their kindnesses, their care, but it came with the price of silence. With the death sentence of pretending I wasn’t who I was, but a mere puppet or shell of a human being…. not me.
So easily a soul becomes lost though nothing seemed to have changed externally to cause it. The mind can be a terrible place, full of things to sway one back to the past, not a good place for my mind to be or stay.
And the critic? The critic is so used to being the boss, she also hogs the stage beating at me until nothing is left of the person created who is liked and feels full with self-esteem.
Coming back to center takes a bit of work, but mostly time. Grass by the creek moves gently with the breeze relaxing me with birdsongs pacifying my spirit while remembrances of all the times Mother Nature held me when my real mother didn’t have the time or willingness.
Thinking of her, my real mother, gone now for 12 years. And why now? Perhaps it is that a friend from childhood has died, one of two friends who loved me so thoroughly that my own mother’s love paled in comparison.
To know a dear loved one is gone from this world leaves a hole. To look at origin family members to fill it is like drinking poison. Only because they are no longer on pedestals, but are real humans with as many foibles as me or more.
At least so many years of therapy helped with my sanity. Thinking that duty calls for me to help if possible, it is much more feasible that each of them seek their own therapy. It is not my responsibility, nor is it healthy. Keeping my own sanity when falling into the pit of depression is enough of a job.
And it does call, and too often. A movie, a dream, anything brings back the past and sometimes with a boom, whacking me down, a machete of memories that takes much will to pull out of. A thicket of the past too easily tangling me to become mired in.
Mucking out of that quicksand to the present, to the moment, to the beauty around me that yesterday looked so bleak. All in one’s mind, a tricky place that takes will to direct and adjust the direction as to how I want to live— in the present with gratitude, peace, and love.
Find ‘her’, the person you’ve worked so hard to build, give ‘her’ all the love, care, and gentleness you never were able to give ‘her’ before. It is OK to love you. Only then can you truly love others.
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.
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!
As others congregate more, those feelings of differentness creep in. Feelings that began long ago in childhood when the blame of being attacked fell squarely on me. Or so my child’s mind believed as my mother sat across from me in my bedroom.
“Tell me anything that happens again,” she said, hot tears falling like a river down my cheeks.
No hugs of reassurance that it would never happen again. That responsibility was now on me, a child not wanting such horrors but now told it’s on you to stop it from further happening. Not possible in that prison where Chet took what he wanted when he wanted it.
From that moment the casket closed. Whoever I had been, would be, could be, was forever changed and damaged, living alone no matter how many people were around me.
But freedom. Freedom at last. The chains removed, the ball cast away. And not by their choices, the choices of the origin family that I keep the burden and secrets. But by regurgitating the truth by which I had been forced to live even into my fifties.
What’s left of origin family are three brothers who did not touch me that way. Three out of seven. And where once I thought I could love them because they had not sacrificed my well-being for their own lust, they are part of the conspiracy of silence.
Those that stand by and do nothing, no matter what the crime, are as guilty as those that commit it. Maybe more so.
I hate them. Pondering this thought while out walking the realization stuck that the hate was for the situation, prisoning the one hurt so I will not talk about it even if that means using rejection, criticism, or any psychological method possible to control me. That’s what’s hated. Love and hate, much like the relationship with my mother, now 12 years gone. More growth occurred after her death than in all the years of my life.
With her gone, so too what little love I’d ever known. But with conditions— silence. Love those that attacked you. Or pretend to, make it look like you do. Never said aloud, but very much implied even as a little girl.
Not until her death did the truth erupt. Week by week, healing chapters of my life unfolded, tears washing my grief as words like swords found their way up and out. Tar gone from inside me.
The tarry horror or what they’d done kept in all those years for the comfort of others. I began to matter. But it still took longer to begin to love myself for the first time; little sparkles of softness never felt before. A warm place internally when the going gets rough. A soft place to fall. A place that welcomes offering solace, not just for everyone else, but finally, also, for me.
Where I’m looked upon kindly, with open arms, seeing the little girl, young women, and adult honestly, with new appreciation and truth. Not the lies told by every member of the origin family, pretending to care, but really finding ways to keep me down. A toxic paradox impossible to dissect unless connected to one’s soul.
A place unknown to me until recent years. That place speaks from other than the head or mind. It is a gut feeling without words, and it says, STAY AWAY. You call the shots. They do NOT. No longer a buoy toppling in wild waves that you can shove about whenever you feel like it or need something. I get a to say if, when, where, or NO. What I need. What I want. Shocking the shit out of any one of them.
Their strands of cobwebby material do not break. Become entwined and you’re dead figuratively. It is freedom that thrills me. My own thinking, being here now, giving up worrying as much as possible, and allowing it to be OK to be alive and be happy.
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.
A friend dropped by, masked up, on my birthday with a gift surprising me. Though she lives down the road, I’ve not seen her except virtually for over a year. It is so heartening to be with a friend finally even if half of her face was hidden from me. Soon, by next month, all five or our little group will be fully immune and we plan to re-start our monthly tea gathering complete with chatter, cards, snacks, laugher and dessert.
Another friend calls and sends a digital birthday card. My son’s both send lovely birthday gifts, outdoor garden solar lighting which delights me once the sun sets and the gardens light up. One went so far to have flowers delivered to my door, a gigantic bouquet that needed two vases. My husband, short on words, but deeper on feelings, expresses them in cards and didn’t fall short this year either, finding one on the table upon waking.
Those that matter love me. Often birthdays bring a recognition of not being cared for. But that perception is much more about the emptiness inside than reality. Letting the love of others in has not been possible. I can think I’m loved, but never feel it. (too dangerous)
It is also not possible to allow love in and settle in with warm feelings if inside myself lies a desert, a dry wasteland where love is thought of not felt. But that is evolving as the internal depths open like a garden sprouting beginning to flower. Where inside there are welcoming arms to enfold me and love offers warmth, compassion, and gentle waters to rock in.
A birthday becomes a reaffirmation of self, knowing ones worth, or learning to. All else is icing on the cake, and what gooey, yummy, deliciously satisfying a way to top the beginnings of self-love and appreciation.
Soon we take a trip to see our grand-son who will be one year old later in April. We’ve only known him via the on-line camera, though that has brought much joy, warmth, and laughter. He is almost ready to walk his first steps. We have spent many happy hours with his older sister, now 4. She excitedly counts the days until we come warming my heart with golden love.
Running out of wrapping makes for creativity. Slapping some poster paint on the box of stuffed unicorns for them both looked really chintzy, more was needed. Sparkles! Yes… after that why not painted words in pink and purple with a little more added glitz?
The project took way more time than planned, but it was fun as most crafts are. And now she’ll have a box to treasure and keep. Though it’s the baby’s birthday, she likes hers surprises from Nana too. And I don’t disappoint.
The morning starts thoughtfully wondering at the shear disappearance from myself. Where have the good thoughts gone, the gentleness inside, the warm place to fall? Abandoned, cold, empty. And why?
Because when sleep issues arrive over a too long period of time, the blame falls all on me. I’m too tired to fight the bully who shows up full force. One day good sleep leading to good eating, exercise, and maybe not enough enough beneficial emotional work. Because the next night not falling asleep. Somehow my body and mind split over the day without being aware of why.
Or is it just seasonal due to no fault of my own? Of course it is, the change of seasons messes with brain chemicals making them whacko. Whatever the reason, the kind gentleness learned, albeit a tiny taste of what might be even more possible, is GONE.
That is what will sustain, an interior to depend on. That is where the healing becomes more than just a word. My belief continues that if sleep is not blessed upon me, I must not deserve it or have done something bad or not right.
That makes no sense. It is habit not reality. March into April has been volatile, ups, downs, and moments of calm. As the sun rises pouring onto my face through the blowing wind and paned glass, breathe into the moment, and into my body even if the feelings scare me. Go there, be there, observe, listen, learn, and accept. Once the season settles down so will I. In the meantime, gentle kindness…
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.