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.

Naomi Judd

Thoughts dwell on Naomi Judd. We lost one of us, one of the little girls sexually abused. Though she came forward in an interview with Robin Roberts, did people still shun her as they seem to do because hearing about such things is repugnant to them?

I could sense her anxiety watching the interview, the wringing of hands that shook though she tried to hide them, the maddening back and forth of the smile we are forced to portray then the real wrenching pain of unhealed parts ripped to shreds as a child… and no one comes.

Back and forth, the smile, the paralyzing agony depressing her being so much she took her own life. That could be me.

My body does not cope with the decades of hypervigilance- daily adrenalin rushes with cortisol bursts over a tiny insignificant sound, or someone coming up behind me, even my child or husband. That happens even now.

We lost one of our own, and the sorrow cannot be wiped away. Someone needs to talk about it. People need to listen. This is happening to our little girls. Boys too, but little girls far more, we just hear about boys more.

Do a TED talk? Do a youtube? People don’t want to listen, but they must. Isn’t it time to protect our children? Who protected Naomi? She seemed so happy through the years with that smile.

Performing. There is so much performing, as families insist on keeping it quiet, and the child performs. But a body can’t hold out forever and the agony must be released be it too much eating, shopping, drinking, drugging, marrying someone to beat you, or dying.

It is hard road, and I am saddened that this woman has died because her sadness caused it to be so.  

The Origin Group

Had two brothers from the city down for potato waffles. No coincidence that come nightfall I ate too much right before bed and had a rougher night than usual. I should not, and usually don’t, eat right before bed as my tummy can’t digest well lying down.

And if I felt I needed to, a smaller snack would have been fine. But no, two big fat peanut butter sandwiches and a whole glass of milk! OMG I never eat that much even in daytime. Seemed perfectly reasonable at the time. Oh, how old habits rise up to sink me!

It is perplexing to feel love for them yet find it very tough to be around them. They did not touch me in bad ways. But in families the victim is supposed to act like nothing happened and I was a great actress for my entire life.

So, it’s hard to be around them because all along they’ve been friendly with the last one still living who did abuse me- then spent his life trying to cut me down because of it.  Little snide cut-downs hardly noticed by others but still making a vision of me in them that makes for treatment that says, ‘I’m not worthy.’

There are those that commit crimes, then those that stand by and do nothing. Which is worse? Both feel equally cruel to me.

I hope the dichotomous feelings that always seem to occur when interacting with origin members wears off quickly and I don’t do it again for a long, long while. I seem much happier without doing so.

There is one more factor- this time it felt more right than wrong. That offensives committed when my mother was failing were forgiven. I was able to feel love for a few moments during an embrace. Love and warmth.

Most of the visit I had to remind myself to breathe, relax, and let go, because trust is not felt fully. And considering our ages, they are in their 70’s, if trust is lacking that makes spending much time together uncomfortable.

And how do you trust others who choose a relationship with an abuser? That is not something I know how to do, or want to do. It makes for waves of discomfort after they leave, confusion, and a sense of sadness at the loss of ‘family’ all over again. But now? Acceptance takes out the sting and softens the sadness.

The Origin Group of Toxicity

Once again it is time to let go of origin family, that group of people I was unfortunate to be born into. The pressure on me over the last few years to interact with them has worked, because I am pliable if you keep at me.

Don had his wife work on me the most. Don wants to have his chief role of family leader once again but does it through her. And she is a prickly kind of animal, not one I’ve ever been able to be close to, and felt guilty about as if that’s my fault. (as usual)

And that has been what has occurred. I’m at fault. She has talked about me to the two other brothers because I didn’t serve the promised apple pie. Samuel and I ate the apple pie, but when they came with sidekick Seth, I presented a perfect grape pie from our own grapes. Making a grape pie takes much more work. Not enough for her.

Over the next months I heard about not making the promised apple pie at least three times. She’d email about it, say it at the next get-together, and yet again another time. More of a shock, while setting down the gorgeous perfectly made pie with Don, Seth, her, and Samuel at my table, Seth smirks saying, ‘not apple!’

Stunned at the rudeness, my reply was, ‘how many people have you told?’

Rolling over letting myself be kicked, the official doormat. The thing I do is is what you need, not what I need. Where once feeling left out as they made this new little group, but then relenting, I became a plastic replica of who I used to be… a robotic pleaser. I need to stay OUT. They keep digging at my insides making them bleed all over again.

Seth would only have said that because she must have complained to him about not saving the promised apple pie. And she must have extolled my failure of a human being to my younger brother up north too. Both Seth and Stevie have made her apple tortes and pies. To make up for my shortcomings? This is true sickness, making me oh so sick too. If what lies below a certain flavor dessert is a hurt over broken promises, talk to ME, not everybody else. But that’s what they all do.

Each time the absurd complaint was aired I rolled over as my face was smashed in her shit, once even by email several weeks ago. After that latest complaint I email back, ‘I do owe you an apple pie.’ Really? Why would I continue with this idiocy, even cruelty?

Virginia, why not just say ‘thank you?’ How the fuck did this become a thing about me to yet again blow out what little self-esteem I’ve begun to muster? My work on all healthy things has slowed greatly ever since caving to the pressure to be part of their little dysfunctional sick, sick, group.

But this is how it goes in the origin mess. Even though the worst member, Tom, who sexually attacked me when home on Christmas break from college when I just a little child, now lives out west, Virginia, Don’s wife, the apple pie demander, has taken up where Tom left off chipping away at me, talking to others about me, bringing me down. Some people don’t like to see others fly. All about an apple pie? This is why I’m bad?

And I let her, rolling over each time being kicked. No wonder my weight loss has stalled ever since relenting to Don needing me to become part of their little group. Being bad and being fat go together. Self-punishment for being wrong- but not knowing why, just that my existence is wrong.  

My standings in this so called family are as shitty as always. They gang up having all the control. I am the lowest of scum you can kick whenever you want. That’s the awful message souring my soul that has only just begun to learn brightness, lightness, and freedom. Freedom has gone. The bonds hold me tight. Their demands are everywhere.

It is time to start fresh. Live my life with those who truly care for me. Not like Mom whose love came only when I kept quiet and pretended to love her sons who cruelly attacked me but never said sorry.

Sorry? I’m sorry I can’t be strong enough to stay away. But today is a new day.

LEARNING TO LOVE

While meditating tears fell. Then again later while walking, and that’s ok. It is healthy for whatever that might be suppressed to come up. But curiosity into my own feelings craves the answer to why. That takes digging deeper.

So much of my life has been lived all on my own no matter how many people surround me. And by alone, not even with myself. Real wholeness only began in my fifties when my mother died, and the truth erupted out of me chapter by chapter into what became a published book. It was finally possible because she wasn’t there anymore and the deal ‘love for silence’ no longer existed.

Most of the time my being was cast aside by myself because that is what was learned in childhood when my body was ripped by terror and abuse by those loved and trusted. The real horror was after when NO ONE, no one helped the little child who was me.

While walking as a sob erupted the wise voice said, more healing, another layer. What about the child? Pictures on the beach show a skinny blondie kid with a lollipop building sandcastles.

Come little child. Yet? Something’s missing. That little girl wasn’t in need. Her world hadn’t yet been shattered. Daddy had not yet fallen dead on the floor in front of us. His sons were still ruled with a strict, sometimes violent hand. The skinny little girl still trusted and loved, her world was safe. It is the fat little girl all stuffed into herself that is in desperate need of love, comfort, and by god, medical help.

Come. It’s not easy loving a fat child. I’ve hated her all my life.

But come to me now, envisioning my arms open to her, giving the embrace she never received when needing it so much.

I was forced to portray love for the attackers and to protect myself because the lecture from mother outlined that. Instead of the love so desperately needed there was blame in the directive to come tell her if anything happened again. It did.

An eight year old cannot protect herself, nor 9, 10, or 11. So of course the horrors continued.

Little fat girl, come, I love you. All that terror stuffed inside you. Come.

Hole in the Floor

Negative thoughts about myself cave in devouring me as much as I devour whatever foods I can find in the middle of night. The next day a tear falls in pity for the ever present ghosts from the past interfering with a peaceful sleep filled life.

The ravages of chronic PTSD are here to stay no matter how hard the effort is to sway them from their path, rooted within without a cure.  That could have been cured had shame not made the family embarrassed to seek help for me, the victim injured so critically had it been a physical injury someone would have had to sop up the torrents of blood. Someone would have HAD to help!

Once the tsunami of sleeplessness passes, it is back to basics; persuade my negative tendencies about blaming myself for just about every little thing that doesn’t seem right, and when in that mode, every little thing seems wrong, and work on countering those beliefs.

Really? Are you as bad as that devil on your shoulder says you are? This badness, kicked to the curb over and over, comes seeping back in because it became part of my being at age 8. And it is fall after all, the time when mood plummets no matter how hard you don’t want it to. So acceptance is also a work in progress.

No one came to tell me otherwise, I was left alone except the attacks. My childhood beliefs about being bad cemented into my self-view as an adult. It is daily work, constant work sometimes. Back to happier moments of being OK to be me…

SAFE

Safe, feeling safer from those who do damage, the silent ones imposing silence on me. There is no way to have family of origin be part of my life. And though knowing this there continues to be a craving for it. But peace has been restored along with healthy sleep habits. Peace and freedom, something lost when interacting with those that muzzle me. Or consort with Tom.

The people who love me, who truly love me, don’t do that, and have nothing to do with the devil. Tom’s face, something about it. I see it in those that lie like Bill Cosby. Deceit on faces look similar.

The morning comes with peace filling me from the inside out as the golden globe rises above the hill. All is quiet. Oh how these mornings are cherished. A bird here or there tweets a hello as crickets in abundance still dance creating a happy drone.

Peace, hope, and love fill me once again…chasing away the terror of telling my truth which origin families do anything not to hear. And freedom. Freedom to feel my hand, notice the whiff of apple scent from the warmer, to be in my body as a whole person for more moments than not when focusing on it.

To remember, don’t go fast, slow down so all parts stay together. And know you are OK, not the problem origin family makes you out to be. You are OK, you are strong, beautiful and loving. And you have a right to be here.

(Seth’s email was permanently deleted before reading it as his defensiveness would hurt me drastically, and he has hurt me enough- I am safe from it.)

TOM vs CUOMO

Summer came with struggles that didn’t have to happen, but, there’s always a but, BUT, maybe growth that occurs because of it is needed.

Seeing those who profess being ‘family’ has caused a great deal of pain, confusion, and what feels like going backwards… not just a step, but back to childhood. The 68 year old turned right back into the pleasing doormat.

How can a person handle cravings for the poisonous family she was brought into, trying to be part of it after feeling pressured to do so, then be caused even more damage than what occurred coming out of it? So much put into growth… gone in an instant. First saying NO to Stevie, and the ensuing guilt for not being there for my little brother, my needs taking precedence. (miracles can happen!)

Seth- inviting him to camp at my favorite place, but catering to him, making all the food, becoming the slave of my youth at $2 an hour, jumping up to do whatever he asked back then; iron a shirt, get something for him to eat, etc. But it added to my stash being saved up for my pony so I didn’t care. But I care now. I care not to become his maid nor anyone’s. I care to have the freedom to be the woman I’ve grown into, not the pleasing doormat he requires.

Cuomo. As a resident of New York, (up in the boonies, not New York City) his handling of the virus and ability to come along and calm down my wild anxiety as the deadly invading virus crept closer and closer to our area, will never be forgotten. My gratitude extends to him always. My sadness at losing his outstanding, extraordinary capable work ethics and ability profound.

But I always wondered why he didn’t seem to date, divorced a beautiful, accomplished wife, (or she him), and didn’t have a steady committed relationship. So many women (more his age) chirped in tweets during his daily briefings that they’d love to date this late middle-aged attractive man.

But he didn’t have time. He threw all he had into his work excelling at it. From reports it seems he copped a feel along the way with very young women who were his daughters’ age. The ones that worked for him, looked up him as a father figure and mentor. Creepy. Like Tom, my eldest sibling. There’s power in that too.

I always felt uncomfortable about how much he reminded me of Tom, even looking similar. Both accomplished, though Tom is now retired, and was a lawyer at a prestigious firm. Yet in the dark corners lurked a lack of character, a dark character that neither are aware of? Not possible. You can’t be that smart and not know. It’s no longer possible to love either one of them.

They both lack the ability to be fully honest with themselves. I wouldn’t want to live with holes in my soul like that. I have holes. I flutter in the breeze like a tattered kite, but their rips of blemish are not mine. My rips come from not seeing my good, but I’m working on that.

You can have character, and not. Each has character with their work, but sadly, and criminally, fail elsewhere. Would I take advantage of my little sister, creeping in at night to suck at her vagina while she sleeps, then spend the rest of her life making her feel like the worst outcast that ever existed?

Would I become a world class state leader then take advantage of my adoring employees, copping a feel, kissing, or making off color jokes? I not only hope not, I wouldn’t.

Know Thyself

What was known all along still is interesting to me, that others who have never been met in person are closer to me than my own family. It is my sense that those called ‘family’ not only commit to silence about the traumas I suffered, collude in the silence and protection of those that chose to commit crimes on their little sister, but also find ways to keep distance from me even if chatting in person face to face.

And even those that are close, like friends, Samuel, and sons, don’t know, really know, how wounding the silence is. But on-line with those who have suffered the same silence, collusion, and conspiracy… respite, understanding, and acceptance is found.

Not just acceptance from others, but learning to accept myself. Growing up with the traumas suppressed as is typical in families where sexual abuse occurs by one of their own to one of their own, compassion for myself was and still is too often non-existent.

Non-existent too when around family who brings up a name of an abuser, whether accidentally, or thoughtlessly, or as a way to say to me that you will say whatever you want even if it hurts me. It rams like a punch to the gut causing instant dissociation needing force to choose between leaving now to that place of another dimension or stay in the present. 

It has taken over a week to find my way back to my core where compassion, self-understanding and confidence flows. That is the favored place, not zoned out to that ether place of safety used to shield myself from unwelcome hands as a little girl, then becoming a habit well into later life. 

Sons are not supposed to be one’s personal therapist, but my sons have been, especially Cory. Each grew centered, connections complete without fracture. Wanting that desperately, it drew me close as if they were the adults and I the child. Perhaps their wholeness would drift into me. 

It isn’t supposed to be that way. Yet they both grew whole, something I sought but instead was lost in a life of fog, confusion, and anxiety. Cory has forgiven my needy ways, assuring me it helped make him a more compassionate adult. But he was put in the adult role too often in my need for assistance to stay afloat.

Gratefulness has begun to flow back melting the numbness of a careless remark. Sons so special despite growing up with a fractured mother. On-line friends, and blogging are magical; getting feelings out, sorting through them, which greatly helps to understand myself and the world around me. A way to finally speak what never could be spoken.

 

The Cure

Eerily quiet and unusually dark at my accustomed waking time, the silence is unnerving. Where have the birds gone? My guess is many have left for warmer climates already. They surely arrive here earlier in the spring than most people realize, as early as February’s end.

The feelings of loneliness this usually brings is not as deep or as painful. There is an energy occurring that wasn’t present during all the years of restless sleep when waking at all kinds of hours, staying awake watching TV.

Good sleep means more energy. It also means a brighter outlook on things with a happier mood, happy which equates to more peaceful. The magic cure seems to lie in the pot oil begun after visiting Cory last fall in a state where the oil is legal.

After choking on  smoking the pot also purchased, then hallucinating afterwards freaking out, needing my grown son to talk me down, it was the oil that was more fitting for me. The pot these days is nothing like my college days because it is way more powerful.

The oil seems to have cured much of what ails me. Not a total cure, but toning it all down and still there to manage. What a blessing, and all in this innocuous little plant. It probably wouldn’t have done all it can do earlier in my life because there was just too much to overcome. 

But after years of therapy and living through the worst, it was the little bit needed to send me over to the side of peace. Still the work goes on. It does not offer immediate self-esteem. Nor does it remove anxiety, an issue worked on daily.

But it does help with sleep a great deal along with the tendency for repetitive negative thinking. But discipline is needed to keep countering those voices which sometimes thrash me down unequivocally.

All the tools that help are needed, and this is one of many. But this addition after all these years is an amazing balm to my overworked systems. Though it works for me, it is not a recipe for everyone. We each find our own ways through our own hell’s.