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.

MIRACLES

Many times a post is written in the early morning well intended then later in the day the intentions fall and goals washed away with the buzzing in my body coming from years of separation from it.

But yesterday the intent stayed, and so too did my mind, body, psyche, emotions, and spirit. It took repeated focus, remember, go slow, breathe, stay.

Push, push, push, and by some afternoons a sickness in my aging body that cannot cope with too much. My evil brain attacks telling other systems to do more, otherwise you are not worthwhile.

Yet the truth is that slowing down, letting all aspects of my being have the time to come along meshing as one, is of worth, is caring, loving, and respectful.

Since sexual attacks to my being in childhood, the shattering meant that parts were locked in cells separately, other than in my body. Being in my body was too dangerous, so too being in the present moment.

It has taken years to be present. First for relished moments while meditating, then longer as years go by. Then, even more challenging, being in my body, a work in progress, but wondrous when succeeding and feeling safe at the same time.

A miracle still exploring. Is it safe?

Thank you mother earth for this morning’s miracle, a morning walk before the sun rises yielding thick wisps of fog off the creek creating a curtain with shadows of trees behind the mysterious shimmering wall decorated with sunbeams….

CONFIDENCE VS ANXIETY

Learning to love myself with all my spots and beauty also means moving away from another loved and close to in order to protect my being. Interactions that felt loving are feeling more harmful than helpful or loving.

It may be no fault to either parties, but just is.

It is imperative to protect my internal peace and when there is upset due to certain interactions that are necessary but can be limited if by choice, then I must choose limiting the interactions.

This step forward advocating for my own needs feels like foreign territory, unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Me? Take care of me? Even if it means closing down some interactions that till now occurred daily?

Is that really the right choice, or is it one more irrational choice that seems right but is oh so wrong? The lack of confidence in running my own life causes anxiety to erupt. Will you run it for me?

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.

The DRAGON BEAST

When sleep won’t come, my soul is upset because my life is not being lived in accordance with it. To go deeper, the rooms must be cleaned. The dragon of unrest rises fuming fire larger than the largest dinosaur. Of course, sleep won’t come. But what is wrong? The wrong goes on for years, the wrong of my childhood where learning my being was not worth advocating for.

My mother gave me a book in college, “How to Be Your Own Best Friend.”

Mom, really? You require me as a child to be silent about tragedies to my body, mind, psyche, and all aspects of my internal being, then ask that I be my own best friend? Learning that my worth didn’t matter caused that to be about impossible because 60 years later the beast of self-hate still scrapes and claws from within eating me while alive.

Looking at grand-babies, I wonder, why have them if their lives will be so hard? Because my life has been that treacherous, and terrifying.

This past month has been brutal, and probably not coincidental that the extreme sleeplessness is happening at same time I advocate for what is right and in alignment with my soul- seeing my grand-daughter. Which also means fighting with my son Shane over it.

Because of mistakes with him while growing up, doing anything that might add stress to his life now has been out of the question. Which then translates to feeling cut from his family because they are so busy. Some day when we are gone, and that day moves closer and closer as we age, he might regret not taking the time, or seeing to it at least that we have time with his children.

Advocating for what is right, speaking up, has caused the rift inside of me to begin coming back as a whole. Advocating for myself causes an explosion internally poking the massive dragon breathing fire, keeping me awake to watch the flames feeling them burn. From the ashes may I rise.

GRACE

Though feelings of failure filled with bleakness consume me, what might be occurring is growth, a dive deeper into authenticity which comes with fighting for what is right even if with loved ones.

That is a new fertile jungle, the thickets of guilt over consequentially hurting a loved one so that my needs are heard, respected, and met. Mother of this earth, please guide me, not with machetes, or scythes to clear the way, but to find my way forward with grace.

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.

TRIPS

No can do anymore…

As my body heals, so too my mind, calming with the flow of a quiet daily life. Exercise is slowly incorporated into my day, with two short gentle stints on the elliptical, the outdoors still too much to tackle. Maybe today a venture out into the cold and snow to see how far my boots sink in it, snowshoes or boots?

That trek has been put off because my tendency is to overdue. A body as sick as mine was needs rest, but each day there are noticeable improvements.

A week’s camping trip was cancelled for this summer with my son, Shane, and family. Getting caught up in the excitement of the moment when reserving our spots in the favored Adirondack Park, knowledge that my body is unable to sleep in our camper was in denial.

The ravages of a lifetime of PTSD have tired it out now needing respect, care, and love. New places, and a tiny camper mean taking a sleep aid every night or lying there staring at the roof all night listening to Samuel snore.

Our usual week long camping trip since the boys were very little was shortened to 3 days for the last several years, but even that is just too much. The necessary sleep aid makes me so groggy the following day. It takes great effort to paste on a smile even though the time with grand-kids is so cherished. Shane knows a family they happily camped with before to take our place. Relief fills the ragged sad places that remind me of all that was taken and so deeply damaged.

There is a trip planned to Cory’s in the spring to see the new baby. That takes a lot out of me just to get there because it’s highways for 5 hours. Drained upon arrival, once there we are hosted in the den which has a kitchenette, bedroom, and its own bathroom. After getting tired out from playing with the grandkids, going to a quiet place to be on my own till the morning gives the respite needed to calm my internal being, and to SLEEP.

It is fun to plan summer trips in the dead of winter, and one camping night at my absolute favorite place is still in store for us, the glens made naturally by glaciers and not far away. One night I can do!

Can do!

that’s me!

OWNING MY LIFE

Like most issues, to speak up about my own beliefs, opinions, or feelings is gruelingly difficult. Taught to keep mum about atrocities against me, even little issues tend to stay inside me.

A friend who is religious, Christian like the other four in our women’s group, is overly so. The Lord this, the Lord that. I respect her beliefs and do not scorn them, in fact am sometimes a bit envious of the strength it seems to provide her and others.

It doesn’t for me. At a very young age that collapsed and as with most things shame about that eroded me even more. Now in my sixties the right to claim my own spirituality slowly rises. If it were to have a face it would be feminine.

Yet it is more a belief that we are all connected throughout the planet no matter what we believe. In writing back to her as she once again speaks of god as HE, my response gently outlines my views.

In this life what is there if we cannot be who we are? If it is sometimes a ball of worries and anxiety, then that is me at that time. If my beliefs encompass something different that yours, can you respect them as I do you yours?

In this life, before it’s over, the craving and wholeness comes from owning who I am. It feels risky, scary, and often impossible, but is worth the exploration and effort.

My Best Friend is Me

Like a monkey swinging tree to tree, so are my emotions when sleep evades me, and this past week has been so very tough. Do I do things purposely to upset myself, unable to allow peace and happiness? That sounds absurd, yet why then invite Don and his wife for New Years Day dinner after all those pie reminders… having the gall to serve grape instead of apple.

And then adding to my email to Don that I’d make the promised apple pie if he let me know soon enough. Well, no answer from either of them despite two email invites. Nothing.

The reasoning in my head isn’t about them, it’s about my being a jerk, and not enough of a person for someone to bother to answer me. That is what has been keeping me up unable to sleep.

Is it wintertime causing this upheaval in reasoning and lack of control over keeping to healthy relationships, and healthy people? Is it my continuing hope to relate to the origin group because it is my doing or undoing that makes it a success or failure, and at my death bed I’d have regrets for not joining in? (yes)

But I know the answers. I know it is unhealthy. And it is also unhealthy to beat myself up over it. Start fresh. Start again. Find long periods of peaceful living without this part of me upsetting all that is gratifying. Be assertive. SAY NO, that thought a wonderous revelation. Can I really?

Again, and again like a moth to flame…