Tag Archives: childhood sexual abuse

So far, I’m okay

So far, I’m okay. It’s been over a year and a half since I told them about all the things that happened to me when I was a kid, and subsequently, an adult. Most difficult words I ever had to say. I knew the risk I was taking when I made that decision. But really, it wasn’t a decision. God lays out a plan for you and you can fight it or follow it. I spent most of my life ignoring it, and then I started fighting it for a bit, and finally I woke up, and eventually started following it. His plan was for me to tell my story, no matter what the outcome. I knew this in my soul to be true. I was warned by others that the outcome could be horrible… that I could potentially lose them. I was afraid of that scenario for sure. I love my family intensely. Losing them was not something I wanted to face. Still, I told.

Turns out, that outcome is exactly what happened. I’ll save the details of why for another day…you’re your typical dynamics of a co-dependent family combined with common responses to people reporting abuse. It’s funny, because at first, they were all so shocked at what I had to say, that I actually received genuine caring responses from them. For a week or so, I thought my decision to tell was actually bringing us all closer…what a great surprise! But, as all families like mine do, they quickly realized they did not have the capability to deal with it, and went back to easier ways of denial, avoidance, gas lighting, lying, shaming…you name it. Whatever it took to make the family function again, in it’s narcissistic/co-dependant dysfunctional way. I became the family scapegoat. Let me tell you, that is the worst role in this type of family. Trust me. When this happened, I had a hard time. Hell, I still do. But it’s getting easier each day. The more I learn about how textbook we are, the less I cry. Knowledge is power. I actually feel sorry for them, most of the time. I’m not angry any more. I do still wish for things, though I know they are useless wishes. The fairy tale I’ve been dreaming of my entire life, I know in my head, and mostly in my heart, that it’s not reality. I’m actually finding that I’m starting to outgrow my family a bit. I miss them, but when I imagine seeing them, with them still stuck in this dynamic, it feels dark, and it doesn’t feel good. Still, I wish…and so far, I’m still okay.


This free-flowing, organic post was in response to Linda G Hill’s Stream of Social Consciousness Saturday

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS March 10/18



I’m fine.

“I’m fine”. Wow. Crazy how those two words can mean such different things, depending on where you’re at in life. “Hey, your mom and I are getting divorced, and she’s moving across the country…OK?” “I’m fine”, replied the little 9-year-old girl. Except she wasn’t fine. She wasn’t sure what she was, but it definitely was not “fine”. She just said that because she knew it was the expected answer. She knew better than to say otherwise. She knew her role, without even being instructed, or handed a script. Her role was to be “fine”, and I’ll be damned if she didn’t play that role with perfection. She rarely even had to say the words…as long as she acted fine, that was all that counted. Acting fine kind of comes easy, after a while. Even when things couldn’t be more opposite of “fine”. She acted just fine during that period of time when her hormone-fueled step-brother effectively ended her childhood. No one had a clue. Well, she knew one adult in the family had a clue, but that adult didn’t ask her about it, so she played her role and kept quiet.  She acted just fine when she was treated like Cinderella by that same adult…that is, Cinderella before the ball. You know, when she was the despised step-child and made to do all the work and was unloved, while the golden children lived a life of adoration? Yeah, that Cinderella. She acted just fine when no one blinked an eye at her being that Cinderella step-child. Just fine. Not one person blinked a damn eye. Not even her dad. I suppose she acted that way because it’s all she knew. If it’s just fine to everyone else, even your dad, then it must be just fine, right?

She played that role right through high school and into adulthood. Boys and men doing things to her she did not want…it’s just fine, right? I mean, it was just fine when she was a kid with her step-brother, so…

She played it to Golden Globe status when she got married. She was sleep walking by this time. Just sleep walking through life, through that script written out for her. No improv. All script. At this point, it wasn’t even her anymore. Just some typecast actress, playing the same old role, over and over and over, until one day…she woke up. When you wake up while sleep walking, it can be pretty jarring. You most definitely are NOT fine. Everything you thought was real turns out to not be real, and you realize there’s some real shit in your life you pretended didn’t exist. Or you didn’t understand, because you were never taught to think otherwise. She absolutely became not fine. She started to speak about how not fine she really was, and all the people who expected her to play that fine role became nervous. They were playing roles, too…and now they didn’t know how to act. God, NO ONE ever steps out  of character! Who did she think she was??? They tried to force her to say the lines that narcissistic director demanded, but she just didn’t have it in her anymore. She realized she just might love her new role a bit more than she needed that conditional love from her co-stars. She asked if she could just play her new role, and let them continue to play their roles, and still be in the same movie…because she did love them, regardless of the conditions. But those character actors are sticklers for routine, you know? So, they kicked her out of the movie. Just like that. No getting together for coffee, no catching up. No “it’s not you, it’s me”. Just out. She found herself alone, sad… and not fine. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not, I swear…

Even though she loved her co-stars more than anything, she really hated the endless movie they were all acting in. Seriously, it was a movie with NO ending. Who would sit through a movie like that? No one. It’s exhausting. Her sadness eased as she realized that them kicking her out of the movie was not a reflection of her, but a reflection of them. It was actually textbook behavior of a co-dependent family. Textbook. She began to feel sad for that 9-year-old girl, and the teenager she became, and learned how to nurture that inner child. She learned how to nurture herself, as an adult. I mean, God…SOMEONE had to do it, right? She learned how to nurture others, in a healthy way. She learned so much, and continues the learning process to this day. Definitely not perfect at any of it, but at least she’s wide awake now, and is following her own script. And though she misses her old co-stars more than anything, she can sleep at night with her decision. She’ll always be waiting, with open arms, for them to wake up and join her. She can do this because she’s been touched with grace for traveling the path of the awakened. She experiences everyday miracles. Who do you know that you can say that about? Not too many, I think. It really is quite magnificent. Healing is quite magnificent. Now, for the first time in her life, she means it when she says, “I’m fine”.


This post was written in response to Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Social Consciousness Saturday. Check out her page at the link below. Anyone can join…





The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS March 3/18





Channeling intimacy

I’ve spent the past two months helping my mom take care of her dying husband. Being a nurse, it wasn’t hard. I’ve done it a hundred times. I kept him comfortable…keeping his lips moist, re-positioning him, administering medications, talking, listening…and getting to know him.  You can’t help but bond with someone during this process. It’s intimate.

The other day, as I was brushing his hair, I thought of a dear, old friend of mine. We have a lot of parallels in our lives. The details are different, but similar themes. We both were sexually abused as children by family members, and we both ended up telling our families, once we got older. She told hers a long time ago. I told mine last summer. I can remember talking to her when I was thinking about telling.  Well, I honestly wasn’t just thinking about telling. I knew I was going to tell, and was just figuring out how to get up the courage to do so. It’s hard to put into words, but it’s almost like the universe had its own plans for my journey, and I just had to figure out how to let it all unfold. Anyway, she filled me in on the fallout she endured after telling her family. She wasn’t trying to talk me out of it, but wanted me to know of all the possibilities. Telling her story resulted in a divide in her family. It sounds crazy, but really…many families just can not handle hearing this kind of thing, and end up putting it back on the victim, as they don’t have the tools to deal with such subject matter. That’s what happened to my friend. So, when the time came for her father to near the end of his journey, she was basically excluded. God, it was so sad to hear her tell this story. My heart ached for her, and I felt uncomfortable imagining it happening to me. Yet still…I told. I told because even though she felt pain from the backlash, she was free of her story. I won’t explain it more than that, because if you haven’t been there, you just won’t get it.  There’s always a price for freedom.

At first, my family was extremely supportive. Well, most of my family. You see, I too have people in my life who just don’t have the tools required to process this heavy information. I get it. Hell, even I didn’t have the tools up until last year. It’s some heavy shit. Anyway, as time passed, and I finally started caring about myself and not letting the people in my life who cause me pain be involved with me anymore, the shift started. Because, some of those people just happen to be my family members.  And just like my dear, old friend… I felt the distance start to grow between me and my dad.  I can’t say it’s intentional. I think it’s just a byproduct of familial abuse, unfortunately.  He loves me, but his tool box is empty. I think in order for him to truly process this story, he would crumble. As my dad, he was supposed to be my protector. I can’t even imagine how it must feel to find out this kind of thing happened to your daughter in your own home.  Don’t get me wrong…just because I get it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

So, as I’m nurturing my stepfather, I’m thinking of my friend and her father, and then of me and my father. Our stories run back and forth through my mind, intertwined,  as I wipe his face and rub lotion on his lips. I think of her, wishing she could have done this for her father, and I start doing it for her.  I picture her running the comb though her father’s hair as he lies in bed, talking softly and smiling…enjoying the last intimate moments together. I turned into her, and my stepfather into her father. Then I think of me, and how I’ll most likely be right where my friend was,  and I looked down and saw my own dad.  I channeled all of us as I cared for him…all three men blending in and out of my dreams and wishes. It was sad, yet beautiful. I let my mind run with the imagination and for a few moments, it seemed real. I truly felt as though I was caring for my own dad, and that came as a comfort to me, knowing that this may very well be as close as I ever get to actually doing that.

My stepfather died last night. I was right with him as he took his last breath, and I cried. I cried for him. I cried for my mom. I cried for my friend and for her dad, and I cried for me and my dad. I mourned the loss of my dad, just in case I’m not there to do it when the time comes… and it felt real, I think. It hurt. I wondered if I would choose to tell, had I the chance for a do-over. Would it be worth it to not risk losing him? The pain I felt mourning a father who is still here was palpable, but yes.. I know things would go the same way in my do-over. Like I said, the universe has its plan and it’s my job to let it unfold. Plus, I have to keep reminding myself…it hasn’t finished unfolding yet…




Giving a deer story

I’m giving this post as a belated birthday gift to my blogging soul-sister, Bethany.  I hope this condensed, off the cuff version of my relationship with deer is successful. I’m sure it will be long, so I won’t hold it against everyone else for not reading it…

When I was a kid, my parents had a small painting of a deer in their bedroom. It was on the wall, just after you walked in the room. I never paid too much attention to it, but knew it was there. Their room was a place of comfort to me…a place I would sneak into at night to feel loved, snuggled against my mom, being quiet so I wouldn’t wake Dad.

One night, I had a dream. I’m not sure how old I was, but it had to be younger than nine, because nine is the age I was when my mom moved away, and I know she was living with me when I had it. Anyway, it was one of those dreams where you’re dreaming you’re in your own house and everything is the same as real life, so you aren’t sure it’s a dream, you know? So, in this dream, I’m sleeping in my parent’s bed. I wake up and I’m alone in the bed. I sit up, and see the deer from the painting is alive and in the room. I walk over to it and it bites me. There was no pain…I can’t say I was even aware of the bite as it happened. However, I was completely aware that the bite was going to kill me. I sat alone in the room, looking at the deer as it looked at me. We were both calm, and we both knew I was dying. I wasn’t scared, which looking back seems strange, for a little kid. I knew I was dying because I could feel my body being filled up with some sort of heavy sensation and I could taste it. I won’t try to describe it with words, but I can still remember that taste, and the sensation, to this day…and I’m 45 years old now. That dream has stuck with me this whole time.

Fast forward through life: My parents split and my mom moves half way across the country when I’m 9. My dad remarries when I’m 12 and I endure some pretty decent trauma…emotional neglect, sexual/emotional/physical abuse. I survive and go about what I think is my normal life…except there’s no such thing as a normal life after going through those kinds of things. I was just so good at stuffing things down and pretending I was normal, even I didn’t realize I was hiding anything.

So, I hit the age of 44 and it all bubbles to the surface. Like a volcano. A volcano that’s been simmering mostly unnoticed for almost 35 years. I started peeling off layers and it got real ugly around here. I was in a state of depression, to say the least. I spent so much time in therapy, I think I funded my therapist’s new car. Long story short, we kind of figured out that the way out of that dark hole was for me to find a way to forgive my inner child. The nine-year old me was pretty easy to forgive. She was just an innocent little bystander. It was the thirteen year old me that I was having a hard time forgiving. I hated her. The things that girl did…ugh. She was a gross, dirty loser who did bad, bad things. Of course, we all know children who suffer sexual abuse are not doing bad things. But when you grow up as one of those kids, you really do think that way. Even at 44 years old. It’s crazy, but that’s how the brain works. So, I sat under that black cloud for months, feeling hopeless. I just could not shake that heavy weight of guilt and shame, no matter how hard I tried. I intellectually understood it, but getting your soul to match up to your brain is not as easy as you think.

My therapist told me talking about it is how I would heal. I really could not imagine telling anyone other than her. What would people think of me? I knew if they knew, they would see I wasn’t the person I had been pretending to be, all of these years. They would know I was a fraud. But, as much as I didn’t want them to know, I knew I was going to tell. I finally mustered up the strength to tell one of my closest friends. I drove to her house one morning, last February. I was sweating as I neared her road and almost chickened out and turned around. As I approached her driveway, I thought I was imagining things…four deer walked out of her back yard and slowly crossed in front of my car. I couldn’t believe it. I’d seen deer before, maybe one a year…always late at night. I’d never seen one in the daytime before, and certainly not four of them, casually strolling in front of my car. They all looked my way as they passed.

I went in my friend’s house and spent the next few hours nervously pouring the contents of my damaged soul out on her counter. I shook and cried and felt things so uncomfortable, I still can’t believe I did it. I couldn’t look her in the eye. When I was done, I waited for her to judge me. Of course, she didn’t. She was great, like friends are. I ended up telling that story the same emotional way, over and over again, to different friends, until it gradually became less and less painful to tell. Just like my therapist told me would happen.

So, I go home that day and look up the spiritual meaning of the deer. Of course, there’s many opinions out there, and it all depends on what you believe in, but the first one I looked at was the ringer: “If a deer visits you, it symbolizes the innocence of your inner child”. Whoa! I felt something stir inside me, like when you are watching a scary movie and you get a suspenseful glimpse of some sort of clue. What are the chances that FOUR FREAKING DEER would happen to walk in front of me at ten in the morning, symbolizing the innocence of my inner child, as I’m about to tell the story of losing my childhood innocence? Meaningful? Yes. Enough to shake my depression? No.

I told my therapist about the deer and she gave me a book on spirit animals. I read that the deer attacking me in my dream was a test. It makes sense. I was about to go through some serious shit, and my spirit guide wanted to make sure I was going to survive. Nothing like a deer bite to toughen a kid up.

So, another few weeks of living under the dark cloud go by. I’m still fascinated by the encounter with the deer, but it’s not making me feel any better. At this point, the dark cloud has become my new normal. I remember thinking, “So, this is how people with depression live”…just matter of fact-like, as this was how things were going to be from now on. I was lying on the couch one afternoon, staring mindlessly at the television. My husband and youngest son came home. It was a few days shy of my son’s birthday. I sat up, because even though I was going through hell, I couldn’t let my kids see it. It was a full-time job acting normal for them, but I pulled it off.  Anyway, they come in the door and I hear my husband say, “Did you tell Mom about what you saw this morning?” I sat up and looked at my son. His face was glowing with excitement. “I was getting ready for school this morning, and as I was looking in the mirror, I saw a deer in the reflection! It was standing in our back yard, right outside the window!” My eyes opened, real wide. Like I had been in a dream, and suddenly woke up. “You saw a deer?!”I’m sitting there, incredulously staring at my almost thirteen year old son, as he excitedly tells me about seeing a deer… an animal I’d been researching and relating to my life for weeks. An animal neither of us hardly ever see. And he’s really excited about it.  He’s so young and innocent. The deer is young and innocent. My son…the deer…it clicks. He’s turning thirteen. I was thirteen when I was abused. If someone molested him right now, would he be dirty and gross and full of shame? No! He’s just a kid. It wouldn’t be his fault at all. Oh my God, I get it…it wasn’t her fault. It wasn’t my fault. 

And just like that, the dark cloud lifted…


The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Apr. 8/17


It never goes away

I’m a nurse. A visiting nurse, to be exact. I travel around town, spending 30-60 minutes with ill people. They are mostly senior citizens, doing what they can to keep the clock ticking. I find the job to be quite rewarding.  My purpose is to help these fellow beings stay home…to keep them relatively healthy and out of the hospital. I’m a helper by nature. It doesn’t even seem like work, most of the time. It feels like helping out my neighbors…which is literally what I did one day last week.

I was assigned a new patient who lived around the corner from me. She’s about 80 years old and suffering from some fairly decent health issues. Two of her children live with her, in her 2 bedroom condo. They take turns throughout the day taking care of her…giving her medication, doing housework, managing her care. This was my first time meeting her, so I reviewed her chart as we began the visit. Her illness has a huge impact on her life, and it’s not something that can be fixed.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she ended up on hospice by the end of the year. I noticed “depression” as one of her current diagnoses. I kept that in mind as I performed my assessment…listening to her lung sounds, her heart beat…assessing her medications. I talked to her, asking questions about how she was feeling, then about her family. I could tell she was worried, just by the tone of her voice. She told me about her children bickering about how to take care of her and how to juggle their jobs and lives while doing so, about how defeated she felt about her diagnosis, about how she doesn’t have the energy to do the things around the house she feels she should be doing. As soon as she opened up, she shut it down. She seemed as though she didn’t want to appear as if she was complaining. Old people don’t want to be a burden. Unfortunately, this situation is all too common with our senior population. It’s just not easy getting old.

As I wrapped up my visit, I sat next to her on the bed. I looked at her and said, “You know, it’s OK to feel depressed about your situation.” She stared at me, a little surprised. “Really?” she asked, softly. I took her hand in mine. “Yes, of course it is. You’ve got some serious health issues. Your kids are stressed. You’re stressed worrying about your kids. You have questions that aren’t being answered by your doctors.  It’s OK to allow yourself to feel sad about it. The feelings you have are real… and normal. Some bad things have happened to you “. Having spent the last year in fairly intense therapy, I knew all too well what it felt like to not have your feelings validated, and did not want this woman feeling that feeling. She broke eye contact and stared across the room, as if watching a movie, off in the distance. “You’re right, I have. And it never goes away… being molested.” Whoa! I could not believe she just said that. I was talking about her current medical condition and her stressful situation with her children, and she is remembering being molested. I just stared at her, wide-eyed, holding her hand. “Have you ever talked to anyone about this?” I asked. She slowly shook her head no. “No one talked about things like that, back then. No one wanted to hear it”. Damn. This woman has been carrying this heavy load around for roughly 70 years and hasn’t told a soul. What made her say it now? And to me? Was it having her feelings validated? Is it possible that this is the first time in this old woman’s life that anyone made her feel like her feelings mattered? Anything’s possible. Without thinking, I spoke from my heart… “I was molested, too. You’re right…it never goes away. But you know what? Talking about it with someone trained in these things makes it softer…easier to carry”. I gestured to my chest, and she nodded. She knew what I meant. That’s where your soul is. That’s where you carry it. The guilt. The shame. The fear. The insecurity. The pain. She knew. And I knew. “What if I arranged for a social worker to come see you? You could talk to her about it, and talk about what’s going on in your life. Maybe it would lighten the load a bit?” I saw a little spark in her eye. “Oh yes, that would be wonderful!” She sighed a sigh of relief, and looked around, like she was anxious for the next step. I gave her a hug and went on to my next patient. I didn’t want to. I wanted to sit with this woman for days, listening. I wanted to send her to my special therapist twice a week, just like I got to do. I wanted to teach her how to journal. I wanted to take her to meditation class. I wanted her to receive Reiki. I wanted to fix her, as I had fixed part of my own soul. I thought all these things as I waved goodbye.

I see sad situations every day. It’s just an unfortunate part of the job. This one, though…it’s sticking with me. It’s filling me with questions. What if I never said anything about her feelings? What if I was never assigned to be her nurse at all? What if she died never releasing any of that shame? No one would ever know. What if I never told my therapist? Would I be 80 years old and still bearing that cross, without realizing why? After the year I just had, I don’t think anything is by chance. This happened for a reason. Not just to help her release her pain, but maybe something bigger. I think maybe me going through the painful journey of processing my pain was so I could be a part of whatever this bigger thing is. Or maybe, this is the bigger thing? It is pretty big, to her… and to me. I suppose time will tell.  You can’t truly realize just how important validation is unless you’ve never had it, and then receive it. That’s how I know. It never really goes away, but it softens…


Spirit animals

The hawks have returned to my life.  I haven’t seen them since this summer. They first came to me when I was in the deep hole of PTSD. They say hawks are messengers, that they arrive to remind you to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I felt they came to me to support me in my decisions, as I had so much self-doubt. I think I saw at least 2-3 a week…swooping down right in front of my car. One time, as I was crying after bearing my deepest childhood secrets to a friend, a hawk barreled down the road right next to my car. It was flying in a perfectly straight line along the road, as if it was leading me home.  If it was someone else telling me this was happening, I wouldn’t believe them. It was just crazy how they were making their presence known to me. Once I cleared those major life hurdles, they were gone as quick as they came.

It’s been about 4 months now, and they are back.  A few weeks ago, my friend Paula was reading my post on here about my butterfly party. She attended the party, and felt as though something spiritual had happened that night.  She was hesitant to comment about it, though, as she wasn’t sure about my spiritual beliefs. She was speaking to my friend Tracy on the phone about it, and Tracy was telling her I was very spiritual, both with church and with the universe. Just as Tracy told her about my experiences with the hawks (and deer), a hawk startled her as it swooped in front of the window Paula was looking out of! She couldn’t believe it! It landed on the tree in her yard.  She took a picture of it and sent it to me (see below). She felt it was significant that the hawk was facing away from her, but she didn’t know why. I instantly knew what it was. I knew that hawk was for me. I knew it because the week before, someone I love in my family started to slowly turn their back on me about my childhood abuse. Not really about the abuse, but about me talking about it now. And by him starting to turn his back, it made me question if I was making a mistake about my decisions this year. I started to feel self-doubt again. So, the hawks are back.

Just yesterday, I was riding in the car of the nurse who is training me at my new job. It’s a bit overwhelming to be training 40 hours a week, while continuing to run my company until it sells, while having two boys on four different basketball teams, while getting ready for Christmas, while getting divorced. And during all of this stress, one of the toxic family members I removed from my life is not going quietly. And the one who is starting to turn his back on me is not stopping her. And even though I want her out of my life, I don’t want to make a big spectacle out of it, so I’m letting him not stop her. But it still hurts…that he’s not stopping her.  It still hurts that he’s not supporting me. But I get it. The adult me gets it. The adult me gets that people cope with whatever coping skills they have. The adult me gets that I have more coping skills than I used to because of all the therapy I went through this year, and I get that not everyone did that kind of work. I get it, but it still hurts. And when it hurts, I start to doubt myself again. Because I still have that inner child in me, the child who feels nothing but neglect. And as hard as I try to validate and nurture her, she’s still seeking it from the ones who could never give it to her.  I think it’s going to be a life long struggle, balancing her and me. Anyway, I’m riding in this car for work, on a busy road through town, when she says “What the heck is THAT?!” and points ahead of us. There, in the middle of the road, just in front of us, swoops the biggest red-tailed hawk I have ever seen. It was massive, and flying so low and so slow, right in front of us. It was a weird place for a hawk to be flying…with all the traffic there. I smile excitedly. “It’s a red-tailed hawk!” I tell her. She asks if that means something, and I say “yes”, but I don’t want to make her think I’m crazy my first week of work, so I don’t elaborate. We turn left at the next set of lights and travel about a mile, and another damn hawk flies over our car! Not nearly as big, nor close as the other one, but quite obvious. I had adrenaline running through my body…this was something special! I wished I was with someone who could understand the significance of it. I knew it meant something was going to happen in my life. I also knew that something was going to be a struggle.

I went home after work that day, and found out the family member I removed from my life (not really removed, as she doesn’t see us but once a year) had called my soon to be ex husband to invite him and my boys over for Christmas. That caused an uncomfortable conversation that confused my boys and ended up making me feel horrible for them even being involved. Once again, I started doubting my decisions. I went and got the mail, and found a thank you card. It was from a friend I had mailed a Christmas present to a week earlier. I had sent her a hawk ornament, as she has a relationship with them, too. In the card, she said I had touched her heart. I stood there for a few minutes, piecing it all together. My entire process this  year….speaking my truth, doing the work, making tough decisions, validating myself…I’m doing this all because I can’t connect to anyone, not even myself. Do you know how painful it is to not be able to connect to anything because of trauma? Very. So, the hawks are here because I’m doubting myself, doubting my decisions. They are telling me to take a step back…a step back from the family drama, and look at the big picture. I touched someone’s heart. And she touched mine. That’s why I sent it to her. The people who don’t touch my heart don’t have a place in my life. At least not right now. Not while I’m healing. The hawk in my friend’s back yard was telling me that I’m on the right path, even if it seems people are turning their backs on me. Speaking my truth does not make me a bad person, and them turning their backs on me does not make them bad people. I am doing the best I can with what I have…and so are they.


Love breakthrough

Emotional roller-coaster. That’s the best way to describe my feelings this year. Ever since that one ugly marital fight a year ago in September, I’ve felt it all. Well, almost all. Frustration and resentment stemmed from that day, and lasted through couples therapy. It  transformed into sadness and longing as I transitioned into individual therapy to process my Mom/abandonment issues. After I peeled off that Mom layer, all hell broke loose as I processed the sexual, physical and emotional abuse that followed. Fear, shame, sadness, anger, disgust, guilt, depression…basically months of negative emotions. It seemed as though it might never end, but it did. Little by little, I started having happy moments, empowered moments, fun moments. Like a pendulum, I would swing back and forth between the highs and lows, though luckily I could see some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. I kept up my “work”… therapy, writing, meditating, nurturing myself… trying to love myself.  Sometimes, I was just going through the motions, but that’s just part of the process. The positive moments eventually started to outnumber the negative ones, and I turned the corner.  I started believing in myself. I started to feel a little less unworthy. I shed a lot of that heavy guilt and began to learn, appreciate and accept…me. Though, throughout it all, one thing kept bothering me. I couldn’t feel love. Through my painful, exhausting work, I rewired my brain enough to believe that the people around me loved me. I knew it to be true, in my head. I just couldn’t feel it. So many times, I would find myself nervously admitting to my therapist that I couldn’t feel anyone’s love or caring for me, not even my children. I was ashamed of this. It made me feel ungrateful to admit it, like I was not appreciative of the people around me. Especially when I said I couldn’t feel the love from my children. What kind of mother says that? This type. This mother who is nothing but raw, open and honest sitting on that couch. I give therapy…I give me…my all. I’m not wasting time playing games or pretending. I want to be “normal” so desperately, so I tell Susan everything. Everything. Each time I told her this, I looked down in shame, imagining her thinking I’m ungrateful or selfish or whatever it is I’m thinking of myself when I say it. She didn’t.  Each time she reassured me, “It will happen in its own time”, smiling. Smiling, like she knows. I never believed her, because I knew I was different from her other clients. She thinks she knows, but she doesn’t know.

Well, she does know. I’ll be damned if there’s a thing about the human soul this woman does not know. I’ve been not feeling love since…well, since…hmm. I don’t know. I guess that’s a long time. I’m sure I’ve felt it at some point in my life, but right now, I can’t recall. I can remember feeling it, but with conditions. Knowing it was at risk if I didn’t play by the rules, and is that really love? Anyway, it happened. It happened at my butterfly party (see last post). I wasn’t sure if it was the alcohol, or maybe the song, or just that I was with a fun group of people, or I was tired. I felt like I had to blame it on something, because I was afraid to let myself think it really happened. If it really happened, something else would happen to make it not real, or go away, and I would be left feeling empty. Feeling loss. Feeling that hole inside my soul again. It’s much easier to just set myself up to not let the things I want to happen occur, then I won’t be disappointed. But you know what? It happened. And it wasn’t the booze. And it wasn’t the song. I know this because it happened Saturday night, and each day since then, I’ve thought about it…and cried. Oh sure, I cry all the time, but not this type of cry. This one is hard to describe…a feeling of love, joy and belonging, mixed with the sadness of knowing it’s something I’ve been missing for so many years. As I was surrounded by that circle of friends, as I looked into each of their eyes as they smiled and sang to me, I felt it. I felt love and I cried, because I honestly thought it was just never in the cards for me to feel that…to have people want to give me that. This is what I’ve been working on all year.  I went from a girl who felt she didn’t deserve a damn thing in life… not love, not kids, not attention, not even going to therapy, to a girl who felt she deserved to throw herself a birthday party. A party to acknowledge her freedom from the heavy shame she’d been carrying around from her childhood. A party to acknowledge her bravery in getting divorced so she could preserve her true self. I stood right in the middle of that freaking love circle and accepted it all. I felt no shame. That’s when I realized I had accomplished my greatest feat yet…I had learned to love me.

“People smile and tell me I’m the lucky one….”