SHE RISES

And then stillness. The waves subside and calm prevails. But for how long? Is it my mind observing how peaceful things have been stirring it up causing havoc just for variety? Or is it years of suppressing trauma, unprocessed at the time of the events due to the type of trauma; childhood sexual abuse.

Because no family will , (rarely) take that child and hold her in their arms lovingly. Or give her the medical and psychological intervention necessary to heal and have a life. Want a life.

How many times has the wish come for it all to be over? How many more times will I wish it? 

A child sexually abused is cast out. Not out in the middle of the road, naked, alone and cold. But inside, naked alone and cold…still with the monsters, and now the collusive family who wants her kept quiet.

There she shivers, from cold. From terror. From aloneness.

From there she must grow. Her body does even if she wishes not to. She must traverse all the steps of life that others climb, but her journey is always naked, alone and cold. No one to help, because she was trained not to ask, not to talk.

She is mute. Alone. Naked but no one sees. Reactive to every stimulus, because PTSD does that, makes every nerve on edge for what’s to come.

There are too many challenges making one wish not to be here. For it all to be over.

But she is a warrior. Each one a warrior, the ones that don’t make it too. No one knows this, not even her. But someday she does. One day she rises yet again, knocked down over and over, she rises, tries again, and begins to see, feel, and know that inside her resides courage, beauty, and strength.

She blooms into a powerful woman, a beautiful soul that shines from within radiating outward onto a aged face that sparkles with peace, knowledge, and depth.  

 

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TRAVELS

The lonely theme, or ‘left out’ feeling so entrenched into my being is questioned then explained. It is no wonder that feeling crops up time after time, even when what lies beneath is peace and ease at how things are now.

With 8 kids and two parents busy with so many, the feeling of lack runs through me. Not lack of basic needs, but emotional ones. Adding to that the badness that grew inside my being from the sexual attacks after Dad’s death, the abandonment of death added to the list of traumas.

What is most needed now, is what I can give to the little girl abandoned. What the adult me can do. When these themes run through me it is time to be gentle, loving and kind. Not thwart the goodness but dissolve into it like falling onto a cloud.

Each piece can be extracted and studied, the losses, one by one. There were many. Though others may not appreciate my worth, because looking from the outside you cannot see, I know, and I can.

As the day opens with the red-gold sun pouring over the far trees as misty fog swirls over the field, it feels like a beginning, each day a new start to the adventures beyond, and more acutely the adventures within.

Captive of the Negative Brain

It’s the PTSD. Remember that? The thing that you spent most of your life not acknowledging because nobody else ever did. (which would have made it real, and more importantly would have brought intervention with the possibility of recovery) Laying my head down the thought comes, will I get to sleep tonight? Never a good sign. It is as if I’ve already made up my ever restless mind. 

PTSD made living so unbearable, wearing my body down over the years as I tried to keep up with others, so much that the effects became life-long. It literally broke something in the brain, and all the pathways to it. Negative thoughts  take hold choking me. There is science behind it, but don’t ask me to explain, or do a research paper. (I have enough to worry about) The neural pathways are funky, even the slightest disturbance fires them up.

That’s what happens when trauma goes unprocessed. My family, and most family’s, sure as hell won’t give credence to sexual abuse occurring within their midst. Intervention is crucial at the time of the trauma(s). Will it ever be? Will sexual abuse to a child by a family member, or friend of the family, or even the camp counselor ever be talked about openly? So that the child can process the trauma?

I know I would have needed to talk about it, all of it, over and over again. Just like my grand-son after the terrific car crash where his baby sister and mother were beside him as the  lights swirled, and the ambulance paramedics  loaded them all onto stretchers. 

He spent many visits with me in the garage and on the driveway putting up bright orange emergency cones, and turning on the red flashing lights Samuel had installed on his battery operated jeep. The story started with Mommy holding up her hurt arm, and his sister crying. But over time he became the paramedic saving everyone. The hero mastering the situation that threatened his psych now healed. He went on to other things, the crash no longer holding his mind, memory or nervous system hostage to the terror. . 

That is the intervention needed but never comes, a safe accepting environment where the trauma, like any other trauma, can be worked through with care, love and patience.  

That must change for our little girls (boys) to survive. The dirty details others are uncomfortable listening to need to be spoken. Only in hearing the evil things done to little ones will change occur. It is happening in your family, behind the closed door bedroom where the children are ‘exploring’ but it goes too far because one of them already knows more that they should, or in the tent out in the backyard, the tree-house at the neighbor’s, at Auntie Peg’s when Uncle George is home, at Scouts, camp, or anyplace when you are not watching, noticing, and intervening.

It could be as simple as saying, ‘OK you two, find another game to play,’ with a smile, not a look of horror on your face. Or keep the door open,  don’t allow long periods of time out in the cute little playhouse where nobody’s watching. Watch. Kids explore. And too often older kids, even young children, have learned too early what feels good ‘down there’ and act out for more on other children who don’t yet know.

Having sexual feelings awakened at too young an age causes it to expand to other children quickly. It isn’t always an adult, adolescent, or teen. It can be a child of the same age as your own child who had it done to them, and now knows about the powerful feelings that feel so good more is naturally wanted. 

Waking in the night, or unable to fall asleep without a sleep aid isn’t always about something wrong, something that needs changing, or something that needs paying attention to. Often everything is in its place, and my life is being lived in alignment with my beliefs and principles.

Nothing is wrong; everything is wrong. It is unprocessed trauma that damaged my systems permanently. It is PTSD, my little beast that won’t be tamed. My mind turns on the negatives which become louder in the darkness, rolling through like thunder, activating the system that has been on the edge since age 8.

The courage for family’s to intervene when Uncle Joe, Daddy, or even sometimes Mommy   sexually abuses a child at the time it occurs, saves her, and offers a road to complete healing. That is yet to come for most families who allow their shame to cause destruction to their daughters(sons). It just doesn’t happen, not yet. Not until we are brave enough to stand up and say this happens, and at a rate you don’t want to know about, which is why it happens. 

Recently I woke up dreaming of Tom. We were close by each other and seemingly alright, but I clearly remember thinking, He doesn’t know how badly he hurt me. He never asked, nor ever asked to be forgiven. No one did. The other three are dead. I don’t know about Chet’s two friends who also attacked me, having such fun while I suffered silently. 

I am 66. I still need to speak of what was done. I never had a chance to. And I may not live long enough to process it all and be done with it because the damage still causes suffering. I will do what I need to do until it is done. I want it to be done now, but wanting is not reality,  and denying what is doesn’t work. The damage is irreversible. Due to diligence, courage, strength and miracles, periods of graceful joy occur, then inevitably tumble into times that are not. 

The Call of the Loon

As the canoe paddle dipped into the lake, the loon called hauntingly. There was trepidation about going for our annual camping trip in the Adirondacks, though our trips are only three nights as opposed to 7 during all those years raising our boys. And aren’t you supposed to listen to those internal whispering’s?

And we seem to draw the worst camping neighbors from hell having to call the camp office to get them to shush after quiet hours. Or the lone drunken man who the camp office called the police for. Then the campers who decided to leave at 1 AM shining their truck lights  directly into our little pop-up while packing up noisily.

But this year peace, if you don’t count the car doors slamming at 11 PM, or the mosquito population which hampered sitting outside greatly. Except one night. For whatever reason, mother of the earth gave us a break. We peered at the campfire well into the evening unperturbed by the atrocious monsters after the sun set with its glorious array of colors, salmon, rose, and aqua.

It was a successful trip despite the ride home where an over-sized Mac truck got pissed off at us when we merged back onto the highway after gassing up. He should have gotten over but must have braked instead. To retaliate he used his 10 ton vehicle to take revenge pulling  close in front of us just long enough to scare the socks off me, then out again on his merry way.

That is why highways don’t impress me. People. Hotheads driving murderous weapons. He could have killed us, and all the drivers around us. 

It is good to come home. Summer finally has arrived and floating in the pool has begun. Round and round looking at the clouds, one like a cat ready to pounce. Round and round go my thoughts well into the night unable to sleep. Finally my thoughts died down and sleep came.

The grooves in the record of me began their taunting so very young. The constant replay hears a new voice, the she who is really me, not the thoughts of a child alone, traumatized, and left to herself, blaming herself for the rest of her life for what others had done. Carrying the secret shameful burden of everyone. Those that did it, and those that did nothing to help. 

The burden has been heavy, and the boulders are still being lifted. Others in the origin family do not speak of it as it’s embarrassing. That means I’m embarrassing. The two do not connect inside me. It is embarrassing to talk about so don’t, but to heal that is what was needed.

People say they care in speech only. Hide, and you are loved and accepted. Be yourself and be alone. I want to  live  long enough to feel free of the origin family’s grip on me. To speak clearly and loudly to what was done. This is what happened. This is who I am. This is how I survived. I want to lift the shroud that is so suffocating and just be me. And in the process say, Fuck you. You didn’t help then, and you don’t help now. 

No one possesses the courage and depth to stand beside me. Not one.

 

SHE RISES

Sometimes the most fear filled confusing periods are right before great change. But hanging onto to the boat in tumultuous waves without a life jacket feels so scary. Lost at sea.

Then homecoming, when the scent of the candle is noticed. Before it was in the warmer all day without the ability to absorb its aroma. Being apart from my body happens often. Being away from my center, a place that I’m only beginning to know and get comfortable with, feels more and more unbearable.

But home. Home where there is a place for me in all my seeming weirdness, where every person is unique, special and needed, every single one.

All my traits others don’t like are accepted because that is how I survive. And all my survival tools are admired, not scorned and hated. But I can cast off those that helped but now hurt. That is the battle raging, and the gap is closing. So close. So close.

From great despair, torn down to ash, she rises, over and over again…

Losses

Rains gently falling begins to pour, and mild contentment after upheaval settles in. The hardest beast to tame has retreated into her cave waiting to emerge with the least little provocation. On a good day, the head (with fangs) is always poking out ready to strike.

It is an unusual summer, not summer really, but a very long spring. Losses pile up as if the winter dregs never left. The usual burst of joy diminished without knowing why. Perhaps it is trying to interact with brothers who I always thought I could relate to because they were the only ones who never touched me evilly.  

But in trying, rooms opened yawing with need never met, not for them, and definitely not for me. My guess is that they able to make a family with three of them, and their wives, because they know how to live on the crust of the bread without consuming the soft interior. I cannot do that anymore. I cannot be invisible, nor a doormat to use then wipe your feet on.

Part of life is always loss, living with both the joy of breath, and the sorrow of loss. My prayer to my son and dear wife who suffer the sorrow of losing their son before ever being born. To have to birth a baby already passed at 6 months is a grief to bear, but how to?

Through tears, I bend over the strawberry patch in the warm sun. It is hard to be sad while picking strawberries. The strain of bending causes sweat to drip into my eyes,  each swipe of the wetness  satisfying. Numbness thaws into grief. Stating to Samuel how much I hate weeding, I find myself down on the grass at the gardens edge digging dirt with a feeling of connection that had been missing. Working out grief in the earth is pastime known well, and it is good to get back to it. 

But today is quiet with rainfall and reflection. 

 

FAMILY

Tenderly, like rocking a child, cuddle the little girl left alone terrorized by those she loved. You forgot how it was, how it is now, because others groomed you to. Be like it never happened because the shame of those that did those things to you, and the others doing nothing to stop it, or help in any way, is too uncomfortable for so called family— then, and now.

So alone I am. But do not abandon myself. The loneliness comes because no one stands witness to what happened. The story goes that others have so many other hurts, so how can I just think of myself? More honestly, they want family, even if those remaining are holey, not holy, but full of holes like a tattered old shirt blowing in the wind.

My gut pulls for family too. It always will. But just get on with life which is one I created of great beauty. I do so much better being apart from it, yet like a moth to flame still try.