Monday, July 26, 2010

On the Lighter Side

Time for something on the lighter side...I didn't write this, but I really like it.  (Does that count?)

Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air - explode softly - and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth - boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn't go cheap, either - not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination. ~Robert Fulghum

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Night Guests

Have you ever pondered the guests who come to your house when all is dark and the world is asleep?

Invited Night Guests

The Sandman
Santa Claus
Tooth Fairy
Easter Bunny
Shoemaker's Elves

Uninvited Party Crasher


Fear is a worse companion than Pain.  Pain comes alone, but Fear always has some creepy companions...don't ask me who they are, I don't dare look that closely, do you?  Pain sits with you and puts blinders on, then slowly tortures you, but Fear...ahh, Fear dances around.  It teases you.  It plays Hide and Seek, and Peek-a-Boo.

Tonight Fear paid me a visit. It was like when you are watching a movie and the suspenseful music starts and you know something bad is about to happen.  The hair rises on the back of your neck, you feel your body tense and your mouth goes dry.  If the fear gets too intense, you remind yourself that it is just a movie.

Unfortunately this movie was in my own mind, a memory close to resurfacing, I think.  It is awful to feel like a child again when that child experienced trauma and no comfort.  It is hard to trust that comfort will come this time.

"Trust," part of me whispers, "trust someone will be there."

"Yeah," another part answers..."like Santa Claus, or The Sandman."

Trust. . .I reach for it, but it is just outside my grasp.  Fear is closer, smothering now.

I hope the dawn comes soon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Layers of the Onion

There are times, many of them in fact, when I think that you (my readers and friends) surely do not want to hear me talk about abuse and its after affects any more.  It must weary you as much as it does me at times, and yet since it is my life right now, it is hard for me to distance myself from it.  I do have short mental vacations (oh, that sounds awful!).  You know I mean short breaks from the pain, not breaks from sanity. 

It happens though, that often when I have been feeling that way for awhile someone will send me an e-mail and tell me that they appreciate my blog.  They might tell me that it has helped them or that it has helped them understand someone they love.  Those e-mails are what keep me blogging.  I am a Pollyanna at heart...and though that term is generally used in a negative tone, being Pollyanna is really not a bad thing.  It simply means that in each situation I try to find something good.  It means that even though I am going through a hard time right now, perhaps I can use this pain to help someone else.  If so, then my pain has served a good purpose. 

Someone once said, "Life is like an onion.  You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep."  Healing from abuse is the same, only I would say most of it involves weeping. It is not all bad though.  There are interesting discoveries that you make about yourself along the way, and little glimpses of something better...something of a life beyond the pain.  I would like to share with you a glimpse of both.  Here are some descriptions of "layers of the onion" from my journal.

One day in July I wrote:

Sometimes I am amazed at how much pain a person can have. Emotional pain - and still keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. Or rather moving. I am not certain that I am moving forward. I am simply moving. and not really certain how I manage that.

I also wonder why it is that the times you need to reach out the most are the times you least trust yourself to do so. I have such an ache in my heart tonight. I want to cry out to all my friends, "I'm hurting. Please do something." I want someone to tell me this pain won't last forever. Tell me I can do this - ease my pain - ease my burden. But I don't dare reach out tonight. I'm certain I would regret it later - be embarrassed by the raw-ness of my own pain. How can I need someone so much and be so afraid to reach out at the same time?

One of the worst things about this pain is that most people don't understand. If I were mourning a death, people could understand and relate to that. But this? This is hard to explain even to myself.

Pain is blind. It does not see a future or a past. There is nothing beyond the moment and the blinding pain.

When will it end? How could it end? Even if I dared reach out to someone, what could they say that would help? Nothing. Maybe though it is not what they say or don't say that helps, simply that I wouldn't have to be alone with the pain anymore.

Pain does not make a very good companion. It is jealous not wanting to share you. Putting blinders on you so you think of nothing else.

Pain wants you only for itself and then it seeks to destroy you.

Pain is like a cat playing with a mouse. It does not share. It does not lose.

On another day after a good therapy session I wrote:

I share things with my therapist that I can't tell anyone else.  He understands and tells me it is not crazy; its a normal reaction to abuse.  He never seems a bit surprised as if he was expecting this - a normal part of the journey.  As we talk and even laugh occasionally I feel something almost foreign.  I feel safe.
        - Safe-
It amazes me how wonderful and even magical it feels.  The only other time I remember feeling safe is sometimes with Richard (my husband), but even that only happens occasionally.
I want safety to be grass, and I want to roll around in it, like a horse in a green pasture.
I want it to be a blanket I could wrap myself in.
   -a pool that I could dive into.

All this pondering, wondering about the glorious feeling of being safe - it makes me realize how much I am always on guard -hypervigilant- How exhausting!

The safe feeling is fading away now, but I'm glad I captured it while it was here.  Like a snapshot so that I can remember later.

     Safe - what a lovely thing.


I have many "layers of the onion" yet to go, but I dream of a day when feeling safe will happen more and the blinding pain will be less and less. 

I wish for "safety" for you as well as you peel off the layers of your life's onion.  May there be someone there when you weep that will help you feel safe.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dreams and Kalidescopes

We have all experienced days when at the end of the day we are starving, but we don't want to cook.  Writers have those days too.  We want to create something with words but we don't feel like writing.  There are also those days when we cook something that our family doesn't want to eat.  Tonight I am afraid that if I write what is on my mind and in my heart you wouldn't want to read it. 

Pain is a jealous companion.  It does not want to share you and once it has you, it seeks only to destroy you.

See what I mean?  So like a tired cook raiding the fridge for left overs, I give you something I wrote a long time ago.  It is for my book (if I ever finish it):

Everything I Needed to Know About Parenting, I Learned in Prison


Dreams and Kalidescopes

Recreation time (rec) is the time the inmates have to come out of their cells and exercise, and hang out, talk to their friends etc. Officers are expected to mingle with the population during this time, and basically maintain a presence.

One day during rec I stopped to talk to a couple inmates and one of them, supposing he was a quite a Romeo asked, "So, did you dream about me last night?"

"Yeah, I did actually." Suddenly I could feel a several pairs of eyes. I had not only his attention, but that of everyone standing within ear shot. Pleased with my audience, I continued.

"I had a dream that I was working on the perimeter again."

The perimeter is one of the jobs in prison where officers drive, in our case little Toyota trucks, slowly, no faster than 10 miles per hour, around the perimeter of the prison. As they drive they inspect the fence for any flaws and check the sand-traps for foot prints. They have a shotgun and a handgun to be used as needed.

"In my dream, I was driving along and I saw an inmate climbing down the outside of the fence. I shouted, 'Halt', three times, but the guy didn't stop. So I shot him.

"When I ran over to the body, it was you. I'm sorry about that, but you should have stopped when I asked you to."

Laughter exploded around us. "Man, she really dissed you!" his friends chided. That inmate and his friends never made lewd remarks to me again.

As parents we have certain dreams for our children. Quite often those dreams are influenced by our own unfulfilled goals and dreams. Sometimes they are simply dreams about the kind of parent we want to be, and the way our children will behave.

My children all have seemed determined from the beginning to tell me to keep my dreams to myself! Well, not all my dreams, but enough of them. For example, I love to sing. One of my dreams was to sing lullabies to my babies. I had this picture in my mind of a mother singing and rocking her baby to sleep. I was mesmerized with the idea but when my first child was fussing and I started to sing, he cried harder! I tried different songs, but the only thing I accomplished was to infuriate him more. When I stopped he cried less. So I quit singing for a few months. Then I tried again. As soon as he was old enough, he would reach up and put his hand over my mouth if I started singing. I didn't think my singing was that bad! I surrendered and stopped trying to sing to him. Later when I had my second child, I tried again, with similar disappointing results. Sheesh. Even today it is a joke in our family. If I start singing my favorite Broadway tune, "I am I Don Quixote, the Lord of La Mancha" at the top of my lungs, the whole family gangs up on me trying in to make me stop. Spoil sports!!!

There were other dashed dreams as well. For example, my dream to teach them to speak Spanish, which I had the wonderful opportunity to learn and wanted to pass on is still unrealized. Another disappointment came when I signed a couple of the older kids up for a program called Destination Imagination. I thought they would love and it would be a terrific experience for them. When they both informed me that they were "bored" and wanted to drop out, I was dismayed. Not only because I thought it was such a great opportunity, but it is a team effort and I didn't want them to let down their team. I didn't think boredom was a reasonable excuse to quit either. I did the best "Mom Guilt Trip" I could muster, I even sic'd their dad on them, but to no avail. In the end, they still wanted to quit, and realizing that if their heart wasn't in it, they would not be able to give their best effort to the team, I gave them permission to quit. Their team did fine without them winning their State competition and going to the National competition. I'm thrilled for the team, but still bummed that my kids didn't 'share the dream'.

I realize these are minor things, but having experienced them, I dread the day when they all start dating, and, heaven forbid, get married. Will I be disappointed again when they choose a spouse who is different than I would have chosen? And what about school? I always wanted to go to college. I planned for college. I had the grades, but not the money. Naturally, I want my children to go to college, but will they? So many other dreams, waiting to be fulfilled or deflated.

I have to say though, even though some of my dreams for my children have been unrealized, they have also surprised and pleased me in so many other ways. As they grow and develop, their talents are becoming evident, certain personality traits are beginning to emerge. Sometimes it feels like parenting is a kaleidoscope. As you hold it to the light and twist it amazing patterns emerge. You can't control the patterns, but each one is beautiful and leaves you wanting more.

I like to think of my dreams for my children now, not so much in details as in "they will do this" or "they will do that", but that each child is a kaleidoscope of possibilities, and my part is to show them the light and love them then to enjoy the beautiful patterns as they emerge.