resilient

I Actually Did You A Favor

You fought, you pleaded with me to shut up. Oh I wouldn’t shut it. Not for a hot second. You created this mess. All of you. Perpetuated it by keeping the lid on, simmering, bubbling. Me poised to explode. Abuse years, haunting memories, flashbacks and dirty tricks making their way to the surface. Into the now. My mouth too small of a space for this hot garbage baggage to escape. It came through my pores, my guts, out of my eyes. Violently it breached the walls I had erected to keep the silence with you. For you. About you.

I wanted to save you. All 5 of my sisters. I would physically carry you if I could. Come with, I begged. I tried to wake you, slap that cool-aide pitcher out of your hand. Jesus Christ. You were abused too, I saw them, I saw you. How dare you deny this? It wasn’t your fault. It was just the way it was. Generational. My best efforts to save others were received like “attacks, attempts to ruin the family or make problems”.

Even in my dreams, I was unsuccessful. You were frozen. I would escape, door left open, and no-one followed. You stayed. I pleaded. I escaped. You dug in harder. How I wanted to remove the dark cloth from your eyes. Rip and tear and claw until you saw. Scream like the wounded animal that I was…until you connected – with something. With reality.

Torturous to want something sooo out of my control. Yet, I kept on. Pain and anguish were frequent dinner guests. A plate and seat were saved. I wanted someone to board the reality bus. Empty bus then, empty now. Oh, how delicious it would have been to have someone stand beside me. To honor OUR truth, OUR breaking up with dysfunction, OUR naming the insidious virus. Divorcing the dead from our life.

As children, our leader wanted us distracted. Our perfect saccharine sweet smiles. Pretty pin curls and dresses. Manners and obedience and black paten leather. Exceptional family. Got us so much outside attention. Stroked her gross ego. Believable. The world believed the picture. We were not allowed to question. blindly pleasing, serving. Resistance just a dream. Beautiful little liars, all of us.

Remembering all of this. Remembering all of the ways we had to leave ourselves. All of what we were forced to give up in order to belong, to have somewhere to live, food and some semblance of safety….

I walked away. Cutting the frayed cords, split ends. I was tired of hemorrhaging on those who drank my blood out of both sides of their mouth. I decided my life was worth saving, worth better. Donned with the ole oxygen mask, I stepped new steps out into the world. Lonely, edgy steps. Only taking small sips of life at first, barely looking back at the owned, the victims, perpetrators, the voiceless.

I actually did you a favor. Free from the reminders that my face brings. Free from the sting of my authenticity. Free to believe the beautifully creative fairytale you tell of your past. The fabricated loveliness of the overcrowded vacant house we were raised in.

I am no longer the one who ruined this amazing family unit. I am no longer the lost sheep. I am no longer cause of chaos and making poor, defenseless mother sad. Gag. I am no longer trying to pry you from your completely functional, well adjusted existence. I have no desire to wake you. You are completely correct, my energy, my desire to transform and re-parent, and evolve, and open my heart, and see and hear and feel – that is all for ME. I won’t waste any of that on you. My bad.

As a courtesy, I will leave you alone. You all function way better in a slumber. No matter how delicious, I will not remind you of the atrocities. We can leave them where you’ve buried them. How dare I devote any portion of my life and love to those who think I’m trying to ruin theirs? I will even tuck you in with soft, fuzzy blankets. Sleep well. Sleep well.

trust

Trust This

What is trust I ask. Show me trust.

I trust that I will see beauty.

I trust that I will reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Then trust must be hope but with a little force applied. A self-assuredness. A smugness. A belief? I think _____, therefore, It probably, most likely, sure-thing, will happen?! Maybe trust, with a sprinkle of tentativeness, or doubt? 

Trust  – a surrender of sorts, laying down arms with a goal in mind. Even a soft goal, a cushy, mushy wanting, served with a side of lazer beam attainment. This. This must be trust.

Or we can think of how we trust in other humans. Well, which humans? The ones I knew, certainly trust-me-nots. Then there’s trust in known humans vs. strangers? Is there a difference? I trust not.  

I wanted to trust. To believe in the words as they dripped out of your mouth. Tumbling like meaningless wilted petals, landing just short of reality. They were so pretty though, those words. I was a machine, trying to digest them. An initial smoothness followed by poison. I was a hopeful little blossom, full of wish and happy. Like a dog at the junkyard, nameless, I waded in garbage looking for scraps to nourish my wanting soul. Only your version of truth. Crafty fabrications that slipped past my ineffective, weakened little girl defences. 

With crooked, bony, witch fingers your stories poked, prodded and pried your way into my fabric. Shredding, tearing any semblance of sanity from my life bubble. Quietly, relentlessly grooming me to trust your insanity. I clearly remember the conflict and internal frustration. Homeless frustration. She cared about me, she loved me, she believed me, she protected me, right? Right?  What I knew and felt, my truth had to be forfeited, stuffed deeply inside or (the worst) denied by me. Truth choked out then molded and transformed into something “a little more pleasant” or “that looked more appropriate” or “wasn’t so angry”…..aka a foreign substance. Just for being truth. Then she served it up as a “suitable” side dish on a pretty, delicate lunch plate with edible borage and nasturtiums. Here, dear, this non-reality entree is more digestible now.  


Like it was my job, I turned my back on myself, to honor you dear Mother. To honor that which held me down. I stopped trying to correct the denial of truth. I stopped trusting my gut as my thinking was flawed and only brought misery (vomit).  I joined forces with the sleeping, the walking dead. The carbon copy siblings. The smiling, performing idiots. She seemed to be pleased with them. Fuck it. Congagulations to me! You won Mother. I swallowed the glass and hid all the bloody evidence. Just to honor you. Just to have a Mother. I played the fucking game. Of survival. You crafted me into a beautifully obedient servant. Hand delivered to my abusers. Circle of thrust. Excellent job. I no longer tried to be understood, I no longer shared my opinion, I no longer challenged or tried, or fought, or lived.

At 12 years old, the years had steamrolled me to a 70 lb flat stanley frame. Starved for truth, integrity. I was. Everything that was real, stuffed, crammed. Every thought, body sensation, feeling… I stuffed it, crammed it down sideways. Crushed, jammed, damned. Fuck my intuition. It was pure trickery, you were right. I had no rights to my own wisdom, it was flawed, extreme, exaggerated, outrageous, too this or that. And it’s got to be true, my Mother told me so. I was living as if I was alive. I had learned how to pretend and was pretty fucking good at it. I wasn’t worthy of my own wisdom. My own life. The beast within was growing tired, restless. Fantasies arriving. Hope. Something I could hold onto that was real. Maybe I could be someone. Someone outside of your knowing. Someone free with no surrendering or merging to your drum beat. Maybe I wouldn’t have to give myself up so I could have a Mother. Maybe I could hold onto my own diamond wisdom and not have it replaced by a cubic zirconia, then told it was still a diamond.

Trust was about to be redefined. The beginning of the end. Trusting my inner wisdom…

awareness · challenge · resilient

Your Crazy’s Showing (part 2)

The search continued. It had to. Can’t ALL be so unaware, so aloof, disinterested, re-victimizing…could they? Even if you suck at what you do you STILL have experience. They said they had experience with childhood trauma. Hmmm. With limited awareness and clarity with your own process, how can we expect you to properly assist another person on their healing path? Having been exposed to these well meaners compounded my lack of faith in humanatee. A big fat sea-cow in an ocean of disdain. 

Confirming my, “I am irreparable” notion, all due to people not doing their “work”. My expression of graphic truth touching their darkness resulting in their shut down, perilalysis, or disASSociation. Say, for instance you’re in a restaurant. The person next to you clutches their chest in pain, maybe a heart attack. You want to help but as you rise from your chair YOUR chest also begins to hurt, you go into a full-blown panic attack, rendering you useless to the other person. -A simplistic depiction of countertransference. Trauma triggering trauma. Emotional entanglement/meshing/merging/fusing with the client, which negatively impacts a therapist’s ability to lead. 

Enter Paul, my next psychoterrorist. A charming Victorian third floor office. Beautifully decorated. He came highly recommended with much experience in the area of abuse and women’s issues. Finally! This would be IT.  Fingers and toes crossed. Paul, a bald, middle-aged and deeply baritone voiced gentleman, welcomed me, with open harms, to his practice. We began. Small talk. About where I’d been. And his experience with clients of my gripe. Lol. Nice enough.

Writing feverishly…enter the million dollar question.What brings you here… I got into it, hard. Haven’t I wasted enough time with the other do-gooders? He began smiling, like I was telling him a joke and he was anticipating the punchline. He added some “yes, go on” and “oh, really?” scripts every client expected from a paid listener. “Tell me more” and “Tell me again” with what sma-hack-ed of enjoyment and entertainment on his creased face. Like I had just delivered some juicy gossip. “That is fascinating” and “Are you sure this happened”? Actually escaped from his jagged smile. Any minute now, I expectorated him to pop up and put a bag of popcorn in the microwave. His affect clearly needed a tune up. 

Shifting in his comfy seat, I got a peak of his legal pad – he had drawn a CAT!! Silly me, I thought I was saying something worthy of recording. Thought he might be taking notes. I felt completely deflated, invisible and devalued. If THAT wasn’t rea-dick-a-less enough …nearing the end of the session, I offered some disgustingly graphic trauma piece as a last bitch effort to get some authentic reaction. (Which I am incredibly good at – thanks Mom). For what seemed like a minute, his mouth dropped down and gaped open, eyes wide. His body, except for his neck, froze. He slowly turned his mannequin head to the right and stared out the window for a very uncomfortable miNUT. So, remember the THIRD FLOOR thing? Nothing out there except sky, lots of sky guy. I actually got up and looked too, his stare was that intense. Dude, there’s nothing out the window, nothing. He sat, lifeless, no blinking, no swallowing. Nothing. And just like that, he returned from his long strange flip. T-why-light groan. Holy weirdness. Another disaster. 

So this tiny little blurb about a Sexual Abuse Support Group caught my I. Beyond excited. All women in the group. Perfect. Group of 5. Harold introduced me to the group and all of the women shared a blurb. Very lovely women. I was the youngest member. All very charmed by Harold, giggling when he spoke. A dandy guy. Harold offered his  background. He expressed his special brand of wisdumb, “After all, men are idiots. We should cut off all their penises and ship them to a deserted island”. God’s honest truth! His exact words. Later that night, Harold offered more creep… “Yeah, you know, I touched my sister and it wasn’t a big deal, so there’s nothing wrong with that” AYFKM? He looked around nervously to see how he was being received. Eyes bouncing from one participant to the hexed. Harold, poised on the edge of nervous laughter and arrested exhale. He excused himself, apparent worry broke out amongst the group mates. Come to think of it, Harold excused himself at least 5 times during the 2 hour group – just adding to an already bizarre situation. 

In his absence, I questioned the other women, asking how long they’d been a member. The responses were between 2 years and 7 years. What?  After that night, I never returned. But Harold wasn’t done tryin to work me into his gig, his magic act. He wouldn’t let go. He sent me a letter, “You need this group, this will help you. You really need to return for support”. THIS is straight up cray-cray. Of course, no response from me. Another month went by and he sent me another postcard, reminding me of the group ”you should be here” Now I was pissed. I wrote him back. “How dare you try and take advantage of the most tender, most vulnerable population by insinuating that I could not make it without you” “You call yourself a therapist? You are basically pushing your agenda onto me and scolding me for not complying” “That’s abusive” “I put a boundary and you are not honoring that”. I should have reported him but I would have been cast as just another crazy patient. 

The final crazy encounter, with a physician, occurred when I was seen for a panic attack visit in 2000. I was new to the panic world and, just like everyone else, was convinced that it was something else. Anxiety couldn’t possibly make me feel like I was gunna die…. So this well-meaning, lovely Indian Physician listened to me as I talked about my long history of anxiety stemming from a dark childhood. When I told her about my abusers, her “helpful advice” was the following. “Why didn’t you punch them? or tell them that you didn’t want that to happen to you? You have to tell them” 

Ok Dr., like it’s as easy as telling them to hold the onions on your burger at McDonald’s. Excuse me, yeah, no onions please, ok, thank-you. I so desperately wanted to live in her world where all you have to do is tell someone to stop and they do. Wow, whammo, why didn’t I think of that. Holy mind fuck. Blame the abused. Thanks a bunch. LOL

Kinda hard when your abuse began when you were pre-verbal. Maybe you were older and when you said no, it was the same as yes. I don’t really think a 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, 10-year-old girl is any strength match to male teens and adults, hmmm, you? What a bizarre suggestion (punch them). Most likely our first abusers are family members or friends of the family or someone entrusted with our care. We rely on them for safety, a roof, food in our bellies and love. When you are reared to believe your privates/body belongs to others – where does the protest fit in there? The trickery, convincing and games fuck a child’s mind. 

Is it the responsibility of a child to keep her/him self safe? That’s an awful lot of burden to shoulder. A tiny little girl. A Dr. offering “help” sprinkled with the nasty energy of blame– I  should have done something, I should have stopped it, I should have protected myself and ultimately, I could have done something but I didn’t ………………. Today I would tell her that she’s got a lot of clean up to do on herself. Her nasty is showing. And that my little girl knows I’ll protect her. 

Let’s do our inner work DO THE INNER WORK. So we all can be there for each other. Without our fear or anger or frustration or judgement coming at the person and overshadowing our HELP we intend to give. So we may hold each other/clients/patients in the way they truly deserve – in love, compassion and understanding. If nothing else, at the very least, validate how hard it must have been for that person to grow up in that atmosphere. So very powerful. Validate, listen. 

Maybe some of this…”Wow, I’m so sorry. That must have been really hard for you. You must be so sad. What can I do to help you? You are so strong. You are doing amazing seeing all you’ve been through. Do you have someone to talk to/confide in? Would you like me to refer you to someone who knows more about this? You must have been so scared. Do you feel safe now?”

human condition · resilient

Your Crazy’s Showing (part 1)

ALL Psychologists are NOT equipped to handle clients with childhood trauma. Period. It takes a wise, awakened individual with the cultivated ability to 1) bear witness to a client’s inner world and 2) gracefully navigate back out, leaving the client with more than they went in with. Skill, deep INNER excavation. But more importantly, the awareness of being in WAY over your head (beyond your supports) as a therapist/counselor. 

A variety of scenarios keep psychologists, counselors, social workers from doing the best they are able, for this vulnerable population. As a client, myself, I remember the early days of my healing. I was just happy to have someone listen. A human witness to my sadness and anger. All psychologists are created equal, right? LOL.

Are there specific sexual abuse training modules for professionals in the counseling gig? Even continuing education classes for veteran professionals? I’d like to teach…“How to build a self” “Making sense of body memories”, “Dealing with frozen”, “How  my darkness impacts my clients” – hey, just for starters – Anything I can do to assist them in wreckognizing their own process. 

No cleaning and your home will be really dirty for your guests. How bout a food/drink container? Would you serve them from a dirty vessel? No, you’d make sure it was washed and scrubbed, the lighting in the room was adequate, not too cool or hot and that they felt supported and safe on the furniture. When in the helping world, overlooking your own energetic invitation to healing is the issue. I don’t think any provider woke up this morning thinking – who can I fuck up today? Who’s trauma can I add too? Who can I re-victimize this afternoon? 

Sound harsh? I am VERY hard on this profession. Having had some shocking experiences as client, I hope for better for humanity. I know the desperate search for relief. Anxiety, terror, depression, eating disorder, strange body symptoms, etc.. just to be met with blame, bizarre ideas, dismissal, odd reactions, endless scripts of ridiculous meds, feeling minimized as you bear your soul… The healing road is not without its potholes, sunday drivers, construction sites and engine failure. For sure.

My first therapist was a sweet middle-aged woman. I was bursting at the seams with my new realization of my abuse and I know a bit unusual, but I wanted everyone to know. First meeting. She seemed like a good enough listener. My expectations were low as I was just looking for some validation. After the 4th session, she thought it might be a good idea to inform me about her speciality…counselor to the abusers, the rapists, torturers, sexual deviants. Nice. Wait, what? But my starved – for someone to listen – self rationalized that SHE was the professional, after all, I’m a basket case, why would my opinion count here?

She continued, adding that they didn’t mean it and were usually good people. AYFKM? Floored, I felt powerless to question or protest or talk about how offended I was by her lack of judgement. Defending the behavior that has ruined my childhood… What’s next? Maybe I should just pity my abusers because they probably didn’t MEAN IT? Ewe WTF   So the young me just smiled and felt lucky to have such a professional therapist. Next session  we met in her new office. Much nicer. Maybe a new start. We could start over and I could pretend. Pretend she was a good therapist. 

Seated next to the window next to hanging and tallish plants, the sun streamed through the window onto her. We began. I felt an incredible emotional pressure coming forth. A torrent mix of anger and sadness surfacing. Years of tears, streaming. She was nodding and smiling, which I barely noticed, given how distraught I was. With a lap full of tissues, I looked up to see her reaction to what I was sharing and she was asleep. Head sagged down towards her chest and all. Shot through the heart and you’re to blame, you give therapists a bad name.Purging deepest secrets, finding my voice, in front of a witness and the fucker is asleep. Bored, disinterested, great. Never returned. Even my vulnerable, unassuming, naive, young self knew that she was a couple of sandwiches shy of a picnic. Purposefully unconschushed? Checked out? No words. Good thing I wasn’t suicidal. 

This is serious business. Again, If. You. Do. Not. Know. What. You. Are. Doing – Please, please do not gear your services towards the childhood trauma crowd. This hurts, deeply. At this rate, I might as well pay my neighbor, or my son’s busdriver or the nice lady at the deli counter – to be my therapist. .

I wish this were the extent of my pho-therapist encounters…not so much. My second therapist was a male, young guy, very professional. Little bowtie. Precious. Came with great recommendation. Yes! Finally, he’ll help. Can’t wait. First session, nice office, spacious. PROMISING. We began discussing why I was there. I told him what my childhood was like. 15 minutes in, he interrupts me, “Why aren’t you crying?” “What you’re telling me is very sad, yet you do not cry” We talked a little more and then he asked again. This went on 2 more times.

Today I might say – Listen, PAL…if I was in touch with my f-ing emotions, I probably would not need to be sitting with your critical ass!  But like a good little soldier, again, I say nothing, he’s the professional. So bought and paid for – I am so abnormal and wrong, I can’t even cry when I’m supposed to. Hmmmmm, yes, where DID I put all that sadness anyway?…Great, add that to the list of my dysfunction. Also, how much of what I said was heard as he was super focused on my dry eyes.

Second session (cause I’m young, impressionable, an idiot, desperate, feel like I’m REALLY A LOSER cause I can’t even cry like everyone else can, nice). Here, on the plaid couch. Cold words swirly twirling, “Why don’t you cry” in my head, they are fighting. I reached down and pinched the shit out of my inner thigh, so very hard that it made me cry. A little bloody, bruised, Ahhhhh, success – now he will be satisfied and we can move on from that -less than- bullshit. No joke, I was crying and when I went in. He was pleased. Impressed. Good-night. Never returned. 

So, getting paid to make people feel bad/wrong, less than, insane. My pinch myself move was my FU. My I’ll show you – even if it means I have to show my crazy. Skills. Get some. And throw in some compassion too. For the human condition. My walking-mess self, why on earth would someone, a professional yet, highlight just my resistance to deep emotional expression, frozen-ness and disassociation without telling me that these ARE COMPLETELY NORMAL SIDE EFFECTS OF BEING TRAUMATIZED??? Skills sir, knowledge, the self-awareness, the scare-with-all to feel the terror rise in you (as therapist) rendering you useless and even retraumatizing your client. This was not a safe place for me. Sweet Jesus, if I cried too much would that have been a prob too? 

A mystery as to why I kept going, kept looking for a terrorist, I mean therapist. It didn’t seem as though anyone could actually help me. But I didn’t give up. I couldn’t give up on myself. I felt so hyper-aware, so fragile, emotional, angry, anxious and in dissociation most of the time. Try some medicine, I heard. My well meaning gyno, set me up with a Dr. Ruth Westheimer type of little Austrian Psychiatrist. Barely visible over her enormous desk and feet on a milk crate underneath. She sounded like a female Arnold Schwarzenegger. LOL  She proceeded to tell me I had a mood disorder. Be Careerful. Docs love to pin crazy diagnoses on the many faces of trauma. Like 24 years of pent up trauma aint gunna look cray cray when the cage is cracked open? Jesus, I think one would fit into at least 7 different psychological disorders. Better off pulling that shit out of a hat. Don’t believe the garbage, find someone who tells you how WELL you are – despite how they tried to ruin you. MMMMMMMM, feel better already. 

She added that I should take this drug – name escapes me, maybe topomax? … is used with epileptic patients to decrease the activity between the brain hemispheres – insert gasp – like a young, compliant, obedient woman, I took the shit.Enter – “Well, they’re the professionals” This vile substance stole my processing. No sustained attention, comprehension – shot. She switched me to something that kept me up for 4 nights straight (Celexa?) If i didn’t feel like dying before, well now that’s a consideration. I told her I wouldn’t be coming back to her again. Like she was my grandmother and I just told her that her cookies sucked. She retaliated with some mumbled comment about how hellish Menopause was going to be for me (completely unprompted since I was 32 at the time) and I might have a breakdown! God’s honest truth. 

Ok, so now I’m 53, no breakdown (I think haha) and no menopause yet… she’s prob not alive today, so damn I can’t go visit her and have a chat. LOL  Education people, education. Skills. Compassion. Self awareness. Self work. 

I had every reason to shut up and stop searching for validation, a better life and normalcy. I surely was not going to let my abusers “win” My spirit would not allow that to happen. A full life was waiting for me, I HAD to put in the work. Surprisingly, I still had hope, faith in humanity that kept me asking around for therapists and physicians who claimed to be “good with trauma survivors”… Little did I know, I was about to meet a brand new breed of CRAZies. The ill and triggered trying to therapize the ill and triggered – not a good scenario. To be continued…

compassion

Thoughts On Compassion

Portrait by A Fish Named Karen 2012

Compassion is having the capacity to hold, and the wisdom to allow, deep love to flow from your mature heart space as an energetic offering, to a recipient/situation.

Compassion is not subject to permission, boundaries or reception.
It’s a private, organic offering/agreement between your higher self and ancient, wise mother heart.

I see compassion as two chambers of the same heart. One holding and honoring what WAS and the other holding and honoring what IS. Right and wrong, good and bad don’t exist, there is space and acceptance for all of it.

Compassion is having room for the entirety of an experience and seeing the inherent beauty, anyways.

Compassion is when you realize that caring deeply about others does not mean you have to surrender or negate some part of yourself.

Compassion is our loving acceptance of shades of gray in the human condition.

Compassion is a process by which you gaze, with eyes of softness, on those who could use holding, through their pain and struggle, especially when they can’t/won’t help themselves – regardless of their “deserving it”.

Compassion is standing onshore, looking into the eyes of pain in another, and remaining separate (without jumping in after them/merging with them in their pain) and loving them from dry land.

Compassion is realized, offered and received when the path to heart wisdom has been significantly cleared of the debris of trauma.

abuse · resilient

Some Deaths Have a Life of Their Own

“Shut the door”, “Don’t let her leave” Scurrying. Frantic. Sisters. Tall, dark, blond, petite, squatty, thin, round. All shapes and attitudes. These were my 5 besties. My clothes borrowing, fist fighting, room sharing, pinky swear – sisters. Through bad and worse still, we had a bond. A loose one with frayed strings and dry rotted fabric, but we had one. A bond of secrecy you form when your leader is a bat-shit crazy devouring control freak. In a humid August minute, the fabric unravelled just the way no-one could have predicted. In both a horrifying and glorious purge fest – our fragile lives would never be the same. I purposefully held all the cards, balls and dice. I walked into that house 5ft 3in and needed to watch my head on the way out. Literally, there was soon to be a bounty on it, specifically my mouth.

The power of truth colliding with audible gasps and frantic bickering. mmmmmm. The glorious sounds of human reaction. Just looking for a little validation, that’s all. Crickets. Crickets prob get more validation from their families of origin. Truth didn’t exist. Truth meant that someone might have notice reality. And reality, fully realized, would have you retreating into the safe corner of your psyche and summoning an alter persona to return to the front lines in your place. Our Mother had the corner on ‘Truth” we weren’t allowed to consider our own, or think for ourselves. Bathed in, Clothed in and Fed HER version of truth Fucking our little minds. Pretending to be content and satisfied, hiding our shaking bones. Smiling was always allowed. Perfect smiles, perfect little girl heads, what a great Momma we must have! Beautiful religious family. Beauty queens – couple of pageant winners. UGH

Truth could be held in the corners of a smile. My truth always took a considerable amount of tension to keep it contained in the corners. Today there was no smiling. In Miriam’s living room…I was pregnant with Truth. Water breaking all over, suddenly releasing long held accounts of trauma, in waves of relief. Our brothers sexually abused me. With this “news” (eye roll) each sister fired their own brand of pebbles, stones and boulders. Public stoning style. Yelling in disbelief, anger and terror. Mostly hurtful shit, meant to shut me down. Most protecting our brothers. “You can’t tell anyone”, “They’ll kill themselves”, “They’ll get a divorce”, “You can’t leave”. “Don’t tell Mom”. “You never were into family anyway”… Not one pinch of validation or comfort, support or empathy. Not even a hint of human compassion or solace. Why was I surprised? I felt compelled to add, “but you, and you, and you were abused also” was met with rage and shock. The FACT that each of them was involved was so highly guarded, classified and ultimately denied. (and still is) I probably wouldn’t have gone THERE had there been a speck of connection or a flash of warmth for my road-rash heart, on that August afternoon. I know what I saw, who went with whom. I witnessed and was made to be part of “things”. I’ve been successfully talked out of many things, but this? death seemed more likely.

It was a slow death. A death of a family unit. Scrounging, scraping and slipping their way around what I kept exposing. They wanted me to shut the fuck up. Why was I so angry? Why did I have to keep going? Why did I have to ruin everything? Why do I still have to think about it? If I was such a great healer then why have I not healed them? How long would I stay away from family? How did I know that I was handling my healing correctly and knew what I was doing? Why was I choosing to make such a big deal out of nothing if everyone else is moving on? Too many loaded questions to keep track of. Cheap shots, well placed digs, casting me as unfeeling, cold hearted bitch. Who would walk away from their loving, sweet family, who? Boinging back and forth between shock, self doubt, anguish, depression, grieving over what I don’t and never did have. Grieving. Hard core grieving. Over the years, softening just enough and trusting in some of them. Elated I was, maybe they finally get it. They understand. Yay! validation… just to be tricked and exposed, made a mockery of. All dead.

I’ve been the catalyst, the reaper. Beheading lies and crazy. My shield dented and dinged by assaults wrapped in decorative, unassuming boxes with pretty polka-dot ribbons. My years of battle/defense slaying the army of loyal soldiers, my siblings. Loyal to cover-ups, story telling, eyes closed, stoicism, blankness, bonded together in denial and defense. A solid Bond of Spiritual death. They’ve had to let me go because they couldn’t silence me. My presence, a reminder of a past they refuse to acknowledge. One they’d rather have dead and buried. Pretty disheartening when you fully get – that it’s easier for people to turn their back on you, for exposing the family secret – than it is to have love and compassion for everyone involved and move towards wellness and sanity together. They find me dangerous and unpredictable. They don’t know exactly what to make of me. Truth is, neither do I. One out of 9 fighting to be seen. Horrible odds.

Truth is, over the last 23 years I’ve lost my tribe in order to find myself. Turns out some deaths have a life of their own.

anyways · appreciation · healthy · human condition · old patterns · resilient · Transformation · triggers · worthy

What’s Right With Me

Everywhere we go, what we see on social media, TV, magazines, pod casts, seminars, etc – is like a billboard showcasing how we are flawed. They are talking to us, right? Or just me? Ugh. At least this is how it feels…How we are doing it all wrong. What we should be doing. What could we be doing better, faster, cheaper, more efficiently, with less effort…How we are not doing enough. How we don’t know enough. That we’re not buying the right products. Not doing, trying, learning, relaxing, or efforting enough to make our lives “right”.

No shortage of messages. They might as well add, “ What the fuck are you doing with your life? You dumb ass. You are ___ years old and look at you, you’re doing it all wrong. You haven’t figured anything out. Where have you fucking been? Here, listen to me and I will FIX you.” Well, at least that’s what I hear.

So what do we do? We buy the supplements, the gadgets, the memberships, the subscriptions – just to terrorize ourselves more. To drive home how idiotic we feel. Perpetuating how ignorant, oblivious, unaware, unconscious, unenlightened, uninformed, unwitting and in-the-dark our existence is. Thanks a bunch. Thanks a fucking bunch. Love you, thank you for helping me to move further away from my true self, into an external, more aesthetically pleasing version of my existence.

Ever stop and think about the billions of dollars we flush down the “I suck at life” toilet? This nonsense has to stop. Such a brilliant business tho. Aren’t we all programmed to get on the self improvement bus? From a very young age 99% of us are told we do not measure up. We’re not someone else’s idea of perfection. Hearing this message loud and clear…Projected onto us by very unhappy adults, older siblings, well meaning aunts, uncles, grandparents, neighbors, coaches, teachers and even religious groups.

All this buy-in to self doubt was never ours to begin with. It was never part of our early fabric. I’ve never met a toddler who said, I’m not going to wear this cause it makes my arms look too fat or dance this way cause it’s weird or draw this picture cause it won’t come out perfectly and someone might laugh at me. Nope.

Before we got the message that we are flawed beyond fucking repair – we were happy-go-lucky beings, living by trial and error, as the wind blows, trying life out, discovering what makes us happy and healthy. We Experimented, made mistakes and got feedback that we JUST MIGHT fit in in our tribes. All without the crushing self judgement, without the feeling of “lack” or self blame if we got ill or came upon some troubles.

Do we really need repair? Or do we just need to fall in love with all our imperfections? All our FU’s? All the ways in which we give up, phone it in? Leave too soon? Stay too long? Take too much? Don’t take any? Don’t try? Try too much? Start many things? Finish nothing? We are the managers of our own programs.

There is nothing wrong with you. Never was. Tell those naysayer head voices to go F themselves. Their time in your life has expired. Feel good about recognizing their lies. All day long. Call them out. You are a beautiful mess. Allow yourself to know this.

Trees

In love #8

I’m in love with Shagbark Hickory trees. I see myself in their rough, hanging, falling pieces. Not ready for discard, yet falling nonetheless. Some strips falling and decomposing quickly, surrendering their riches to fertilize the hungry earth. Some bark hanging on longer, still with something to say, remaining vertical and visible until their voices are no longer heard by the forest.

Large long pieces, small, thick pieces stacked neatly, supporting their fellow Shagmates. Strips of wrinkled, worn roughness. Mazes of texture giving way to a newer, smoother, Auburn skin. Underneath. Beautiful colors beneath the Shagbark’s discards. Shaggy rough, scattered, haggard, unfinished, jagged, worn and edgy yet standing tall. Proudly facing the sun. Standing, reaping precipitation benefits. Reaching above it all, into the clarity, in the space we all seek, the space between our breath. Fresh oxygen lives above.

Shagbark gripping the earth below, grounding wide and deep. Solid. Fingers and toes long n scraggly, twisting and turning in the silent light and dark. Seeking, still, layers of life and death intermingling. Nutrients for the taking, earth’s gifts used and returned. Shedding pieces of our story, revealing a less burdened smoother version of ourselves ready for the next season of life.

Uncategorized

Welcoming Committee

Suicide – present situation

Guess what? That shit started 50 something years ago. Not HIS job, not HIS ex wife, not HIS daughter who decides to be a man now, not HIS crazy neighbor who throws garbage over the fence, no no no nope. Of course all that shit does not help but when someone decides to take his/her self out of this realm – it’s very tragic, gut wrenching. Of course! And leaves the living wondering what the fuck we could have done to help.

The answer ? Who the fuck knows. What I do know though, is that it is truly not our responsibility, ultimately, to keep someone alive. I know, that sounds bad. Really bad. There’s a boatload of guilt waiting for us if we feel we can save someone and it turns out badly. News flash… sadly, anything we’ve done or haven’t done is not going to keep someone else here.

Having a particular, recent person in mind ———–Someone taught HIM to hate himself. Someone taught HIM to feel like he had no right to be born, exist or thrive. SOMEONE got into HIS head, into his body, into his essence and implanted that self-hate agenda REAL SUPER early in HIS life. Crazy-ass fucked up treatment for a child. As children, we cannot make sense of this. Most children just internalize the trauma coming their way and believe they deserve it – after all, we need love, even if that love hurts, it’s still better than nothing. So then, most times, we spend the rest of our lives mistreating ourselves because deep inside, on some level, we think we are garbage.

All the other unfortunate circumstances HE drew to himself (along the way, over the years) were for the purpose of healing. IMO. The Universe’s attempt to crack HIM wide open. Some of us cannot/will not/do not EVER muster the willingness to unpack that shit. Unpack the black box of death. The box labeled with the skull and crossbones – and heal the trauma that hides in the shadows and rips us apart each and every minute of our lives.

HE missed his life raft opportunity – by choice. HE ignored the life-raft attempts, HE was tired of the struggle and just couldn’t see the big picture …there wasn’t enough alcohol or drugs in the world to keep the darkness from bubbling up into conscious thought. The nagging feelings of worthlessness and doom mounting until the burden of forging onward was too excruciating.

I attempted to end my life when I was 7. How fucking tragic would that have been? All because of the unspeakable trauma I was experiencing at the time, most nights of the week. The weight of physical/emotional/spiritual trauma, compounded year, after year, after year, is suffocating – all while pretending that everything is fine. Trying to forget, burying the pain and hate and rage and crushing anxiety. You convince yourself that no-one else would understand or, for that matter, believe you anyways. There is shame and guilt and self hate and secrecy.

Some of us seem to find our way. We are able, with lots of help, to eventually breathe life into the parts of us that died.  We are able to separate from the tragic family unit we were born into. We are able to dig deep, form a new self and find a reason to live, to fight – and know that no matter what, we have to survive because otherwise, we won’t “win” – THEY will. And that would not be acceptable.

No matter how fast and long we run – our terror, shame and rage are on the welcoming committee upon our arrival.  Wherever we run, they’re there when we pull in. Our shadow is always waiting patiently for us to notice it and drag up a chair at a table set for two. Maybe share a cozy meal as we chat over the brutal details we’ve been running from all of our lives. Taking small portions or maybe just an appetizer today.

Or not. Maybe we don’t unpack that shit and take a look. Maybe we can’t. This is a set-up for possible eventual suicide. Trust. Please start unpacking your shit. You are lovable, you are seen and you have the right to be here. And to stay here, loved.