Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I'm full of "I wonder"s tonight.
I'm thinking of friendship again. I seem to vacillate between being incredibly grateful for it, and wondering exactly why it happens and what purpose it serves. Tolkien Boy would tell me to stop looking for a purpose and just accept that it is. Then he would probably tell me to stop speculating about what he would say. And I would miss him, and wish I could see him more often--and then I would remind myself that not everyone feels what I feel, and probably visiting with me quarterly is enough for anyone sane.
AtP would agree with me that friendship really serves no purpose and we would sit in silence wondering why we're both such defective friends and being glad we have a Facebook group which declares our deficit to the world. Then we would wish we could go play or eat cookie dough. Or we would laugh at something horribly inappropriate and wish we were not online, but actually in the same room.
Sully would say something lovely about friendship, which normally would leave me feeling even more of a failure--except somehow Sully would make it sound like I was a truly wonderful friend, and I'd end up feeling warm and loved--until he left and I realized that's how Sully makes everyone feel. It's his gift and part of what makes him so beautiful. And I would remember that I was privileged to feel that gift nearly every month this year, and I would feel incredibly blessed.
Ambrosia and I would make desserts together--probably before we ate anything very healthy, and we'd chat about the things on our minds. If she brought up something that was bothering her, in my overbearing way, I'd probably offer "fix-it" suggestions. I don't think I do this--but I might. My own impression of me, no doubt, is far removed from reality. Regardless, I would leave with something delightful in my stomach, having talked more than I usually do and listened less. I'm not sure why I have this tendency when I visit Ambrosia. I blame the dogs.
Jason would tell me all the reasons I'm good to have around. And while he was doing so, I'd be thinking of all the reasons I like having him around. We would easily talk about difficult subjects, and laugh because we were doing so. We would solve the problems of the world, only to circle back and recognize that, in reality, we'd solved nothing--but we had so much fun in the process of trying. Then he would realize that it was time for us both to say good-bye and spend time with our families. And after he left I would wonder why I never feel threatened or insecure with him. Maybe it's because sometimes I feel he lets me give to him. I'm not always the needy one. I have something real to contribute.
Darrin would tell me that everyone loves me, and he does, too. He would hold me and be glad to be home with me. Except, he hasn't been home for awhile, and then only for a couple of nights. I miss him. I've become independent--that's what I blog about--and then Darrin leaves and I can't sleep because I want him home. I don't need to depend solely on Darrin anymore--I've built an external support system--I've become stronger internally. But the truth is, I don't want to be alone. I asked Tolkien Boy if this makes me weak. He said no.
So tonight, I think about those I call my friends. Each relationship is unique in its breadth and depth. Each person brings me something joyful and new. Is this why we wish for other people to be close to us? to know us? to be a part of our lives?
But there is still a part of me which insists this is all temporary. Tolkien Boy will find what he searches for. AtP will find someone who makes him laugh more and likes chocolate just as much as I do. Sully will wander far and wonder why I made such a big deal about being his friend...
Somehow, I keep thinking Jason will stick around. There seems to be some reason to reconnect, and I often feel that of all the people I know, he's spent as much time researching me as I have researching him--and we're not bored with one another in spite of it. Plus, we have that skydiving date to look forward to (...wondering if Leslie will come...).
As for Ambrosia, I've decided she can't forget me. We made desserts together and I let her dogs lick me. We have at least a year before I'll speculate about boredom on her part.
And Darrin--well, Darrin signed a contract promising to love me forever. I'm not letting him forget it. And he could do much worse when it comes to having a wife. I think he should stick around for a good long time (notice, I'm not asking what he wants--this blog entry is all about me).
Of course, if I could plan everything and have it follow the proscribed course, I would just fall in love with people and they would stay. Tolkien Boy reminds me that's not how life works. And I know that. I just wish it were otherwise. Tolkien Boy reminds me that people drift apart, not because they wish to, but because life happens and sometimes they have to go live it.
I know he's right. But that brings me back to the beginning of this post--why bother in the first place? Okay--I would never give away the parts of my life that have been blessed by others. And I plan to keep the delightful memories I have stored up. But I'd like it better if I didn't have to remember that this is all temporary. Surely there's something better.
This blog has become an amazing tool for me, especially when it comes to managing symptoms of PTSD. My biggest problem with the disorder is that the feelings and ideas I experience when it is manifesting itself are absolutely real. But my head is telling me the entire time that I'm imagining things--which intensifies any emotions I'm feeling and usually ends up making the ideas even more extreme. The conflict itself adds fuel to the fire until I feel I've lost all control and end up overwhelmed and frustrated. So I've learned that if, when I feel the first nudge of a symptom, I write something--anything, really--that deals with some aspect of the feelings that are stirring about, often I'm able to make it through without the episode becoming full-blown. In short, by addressing it before it happens, I'm often able to navigate what comes in fine form (and if you've never experienced PTSD or anything close to it, you have no idea what I'm talking about, and I'm not able right now to explain, so I apologize for my vagueness).
The real picture is never seen as I spill out the negativity here. Honestly, I feel more whole than I have in a long time, and that feeling increases daily. The amazing thing, to me, is that this process is taking place amidst a period of huge stress. Adam just had surgery, Darrin began a new job a couple of weeks ago and we've seen him a total of about four days in the past couple of weeks--and he won't be home until Friday. My workload has been excessive and I've gotten behind as I deal with Adam, Darrin's absence, DJ's trip to San Francisco, and Tabitha's daily emotional trauma. Nonetheless, I feel very happy with how I continue to heal. I am definitely getting better.
Not long ago, as I left Therapist's office, the twelve-year-old inside me defiantly declared that I would not have PTSD. I was going to overcome it. I knew, of course, when I said it, how silly it sounded. I knew it wasn't true. I knew I was simply protesting something that was not going away. Still, Therapist looked me in the eye and said, "You probably will overcome it. That wouldn't surprise me at all. Be sure you take notes, though. I want this recorded." I thought he was probably making fun of me. He insists that he wasn't. Perhaps it's not an impossibility. Therapist keeps reminding me that I've lived my life beating the odds. He sees no reason for that to stop. When he reminds me of that, I spend about fifteen minutes adoring him for believing in me, and about fifteen days hating him for issuing the challenge.
Yesterday during my run the weather was gorgeous and three butterflies were keeping me company. I stopped running for no particular reason, and spun around until dizziness left me lying in the grass. I looked at the incredibly blue sky, scarred by dark silhouettes of seagulls, a hawk, and tiny songbirds. I looked next to my left shoulder and found one of my butterflies quietly flexing it's wings. As it seemed to be waiting for me, I got up and finished my course, laughing out loud as I ran down a steep, gravelly hill, simply because I could. There is joy in being alive.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Adam: You should come see the cool shoes I found.
Me: I can't leave Tabitha in the dressing room. She won't know where we are.
Adam: They're the coolest dancing shoes.
Me: What? Why are you shopping for dancing shoes?
(Tabitha returns and gives me a full report about how the four bras she just tried on fit--or don't fit--which is rather comical considering there's not a lot to put inside the bras)
Adam: What does it feel like to wear a bra?
Tabitha: When we get home you can try on one of mine. Then you'll know.
Adam: I don't want to wear a bra.
Tabitha: Trying on is different from wearing.
Adam: I don't want to put on a bra. I just want to know what it feels like.
Tabitha: Well, I can't tell you. It's something you have to experience.
(Adam considers for a moment)
Adam: I guess it's okay if I don't know. Can we go look at the dancing shoes now?
Me: Adam, are you feeling okay?
Adam: Not really, no.
Me: What's going on?
Adam: Well, I have all this energy, but at the same time I kind of feel like I'm going to pass out or puke. And I have all these weird thoughts in my head--like, I'm wondering right now what it would be like to lick that hanger, and my hair feels weird.
Me: Is your ear hurting?
Adam: Oh no. I took a pain pill.
Adam: At dinner. Oh! Look! My hands won't stop shaking! That's kind of funny and scary at the same time.
Me: Adam, before the one you took at dinner, when did you last take a pain pill?
Adam: About an hour after school.
Me: Which was about an hour before dinner...
(Long pause as Adam puts two and two together)
Adam: I took too many.
Adam: Will I die?
Me: No. But I think we'll go home now.
Adam: But you haven't seen my dancing shoes.
Tabitha: No, but when we get home, if you're really good in the car, I'll let you try on my bras.
Me: Tabitha, stop it. This isn't funny.
Tabitha: But you said he wouldn't die.
Me: Okay, let's go now.
(On the way home)
Adam: What's going to happen now?
Me: When we get home I'll call your doctor and see if we have anything to worry about.
Adam: Will he make me go to the hospital?
Me: I don't know. Let's ask the doctor.
Adam: Will they pump my stomach?
Me: I doubt it. That would do no good, considering the pills are no longer there.
Adam: Will they give me shots?
Me: Adam, I don't know. We'll ask the doctor, okay? My guess is that there won't be a problem, you'll just feel odd for about six hours.
Adam: Who's Odd?
Adam: You said I could feel him. (to Tabitha in an undertone: "I'm hilarious.")
Me: Adam, just stop talking, okay.
Adam: I'm really bummed that you didn't come see my dancing shoes. I was wearing them in the shoe department and showing people my moves. They thought I was really good. They laughed a lot.
Me: I'll bet they did.
Adam: What do I have to do when we get home?
Tabitha: Try on bras.
Me: Tabitha, I'm taking the bras back if you don't stop it. Adam, I think you'll go to bed.
Adam: After I eat, right? Because I'm really hungry now.
Me: You said you felt like puking.
Adam: I do. But I also feel like eating. And dancing.
Tabitha: And trying on bras.
Tabitha: Fine, I'll stop.
Me: I can't wait until we're home.
Tabitha: Me neither. I think we're going to have lots of fun.
Friday, April 25, 2008
I received an email not long ago from a person who wanted to make it clear to me that I just needed to stop allowing my personal insecurities, stop questioning the abundant blessings I've been given, trust that everyone in the world loves me and wants me to heal, and get on with my life. Such good advice.
The problem with advice, especially when unsolicited, is that it doesn't help. Obviously, if I keep circling back, I need to learn more about whatever it is I'm returning to. I haven't figured out how to navigate that particular aspect of my life and I need more information. When I began this blog, one of its main purposes was to give me a forum in which to talk about therapy visits and assignments, past memories and issues, emotional distress, and also to provide a place for me to simply vent--something I seem to have difficulty doing out loud. Therefore, if anyone has followed my writing for the past couple of years, no doubt there has been abundant repetition as I try to learn and become whole again. My story has not been set forth to inspire, entertain, or persuade. It simply is. And there won't be a happily ever after, because my life is not over. And I am getting on with my life.
I find myself returning with less frequency to the negative feelings and false beliefs about myself. Occasionally they crop up, especially when my security within a relationship feels threatened. My biggest weakness right now is my feeling that I must not bind myself to anyone. Many friends offer me love and acceptance--but those friends can also withhold love and acceptance from me--so I cannot become comfortable accepting those things.
A series of recent events in my life have caused me to question the one place where I have felt absolutely safe. It no longer feels a haven to me. I fight to remember that trust is essential if I plan to have relationships of any kind. I told Tolkien Boy earlier this week, "I hate trust. A lot." That translates to, "I've been hurt in a place I believed I was always protected. I'm afraid."
So, dear email person, thank you for your concern. I understand that you just want the story to go forward, and you'd like me to be all better. Believe me, I'd like that, too. But life has a way of teaching us lessons through repetition. I have learned in the past two years, that I truly can trust people, that I can have rewarding relationships with people I love and who love me, and that I don't have to keep protecting myself and preparing for hurt. But right now I'm dealing with an experience which has called into question all that I have learned and I have to go back and try again. I'll probably do it several times before I'm dead.
Also, I understand that you've suffered abuse in your life similar to mine and that you've healed and continued beautifully. I envy you. And I'm truly happy for you. But the problem with comparison is that one of us will inevitably end up feeling inadequate, helpless, and frustrated--and it will probably be me. I'm so sorry for the things that were done to you. I'm very grateful that you've found healing. I will continue my circuitous route until I, too, find resolution of the residual effects which permeate so many vital aspects of my life.
In the meantime, if you truly wish to help, these are the things I could use right now:
3. Restoration of my belief in human beings.
4. A sunny day.
6. A smile.
7. A hug from anyone who loves me--maybe a really long hug and even a kiss on the cheek. DJ usually supplies those for me, and he's in California this week.
8. A pat on the back for trying when I'd really like to quit.
9. A box of tissues and an arm around my shoulder while I cry out the sadness that's suffocating me.
10. A funny joke.
And if you can't supply any of those things, that's okay. Just don't try to write my story for me. That's my job. And even if I'm not doing it you your satisfaction, I think I'm doing just fine. Give me time, I'll be back on track. Even at my age one is allowed occasional setbacks.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Someone has been visiting my blog for the past four days and just loading the post of Kermit the Frog singing "I Love My Elbows". I think this is funny. And I kind of want to know who loves the song as much as I do--so, if you ever get past the Muppet post and actually read this one, I'd love it if you said hello.
Also, Elbow, you have to forgive DJ for the comment he aimed at you on my Facebook. He still gets weirded out when he realizes his mom is made of flesh and blood and other people might actually be my friends. And you can say I'm beautiful anytime--because everyone likes that! And I love you, too.
That's all. Just wanted to say hi to the "Elbow" song affectionado (yeah, I just made that word up because I wanted to), and to tell Elbow thanks for his post on my wall.
DJ is leaving on a choir tour tomorrow. He'll be back next Tuesday. I miss him already.
Adam had surgery today. The I.V. went in after the fourth attempt and a large sedative. Adam was a complete pill, but the surgery went well. He's deaf for awhile in his left ear, but that should change in the next week. We'll know when the packing is removed.
Tabitha is trying to decide if it's worth it to adopt the snotty Junior High attitude. So far, it hasn't been, but her self-righteousness increases daily. It will be lovely to watch this one finish puberty and go through high school. Her room continues to accumulate "stuff". I have no idea what to do about it. She is the unpredictable, moody, volatile teen that I never was. Good thing she's adorable and sweet in-between the emotional eruptions.
Darrin started a new job this month. He's been travelling for the past three weeks. Between this and his Bishop calling, I rarely see him. Sometimes he comes home at night--sometimes he doesn't. Tonight is one of the "doesn't" nights, as will be tomorrow night. Darrin's trying to get time to come home this weekend. I hope he can. He called me tonight to tell me he missed me. It's good to be missed by someone you love.
I'm okay. I realized last week that I probably will always be okay. When this type of stress occurs in my life I want to shut down and just work. I don't want to talk to anyone--mostly because I have nothing to say. However, because of the things that Therapist and I have talked about pertaining to this, I'm trying to keep talking to people--so if I say hi, but then don't have anything else to add, you'll know that I'm following instructions, but I'm too tired to be entertaining or delightful. But I'm not shutting myself away, and I'm trying not to immerse in work. As a result, I'm running a lot more than I probably should, but we all have our weaknesses, right?
I should sleep. Oh. Yeah. That's another thing thing that's been elusive lately. However, as long as I'm running so much, perhaps I should pursue 40 winks. That made no sense. Welcome to my life.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Me: Did she say why?
Adam: Yeah. I'm getting behind in her class and I told her I'd be missing it again this week.
Me: Adam, you don't have any reason to be behind. You've spent lots of time on the computer lately, and the rule is that you're supposed to do homework first.
Adam: Well, it's like tests and stuff that I have to do after school.
Me: So why aren't you taking care of those after school?
Adam: She's been in meetings.
Me: Will you please see if you can arrange to do the make-up in the next couple of days?
Adam: Yeah. I will.
Me: It's not too late? You're sure she'll still let you do it?
Adam: Yeah. She feels really bad now for being upset with me, so she'll let me do pretty much anything.
Me: What? What are you talking about?
Adam: Well, when I told her I'd been absent for doctor's appointments, and showed her the thing in my ear, and told her I had to have surgery, she got all nice and said I could have all the time I needed.
Me: Adam, that's manipulative. You were supposed to tell her about that from the beginning.
Adam: I know. But teachers are nicer when they feel guilty.
Me: You can't do that anymore.
Adam: Is it okay if I keep doing it till the make-up work is done?
Adam: Fine. But just so you know, you're destroying my system.
Me: You don't have to go. Why don't you want to?
Adam: There will be grown-ups there. They'll make us do "planned activities."
Me: Like what?
Adam: I don't know. Play frisbee and stuff.
Me: If there weren't "planned activities" what would you do instead?
Adam: I don't know. Play frisbee and stuff, I guess.
Adam: Okay, that's not the reason.
Me: Do you want to tell me the reason?
Adam: I think I might be in trouble.
Adam: Well, I don't go on stage till the second act, and the first act is one hour long. So when we did the matinee yesterday, I got hungry, so I left and went to McDonalds.
Me: How did you get there?
Adam: On my bike.
Me: I don't even know what to say.
Adam: I guess I'll go to the cast party.
Me: I think you should bring a frisbee or something.
Me: Why? You hate losing.
Adam: Yeah, but you let me move sixteen times before you kill me.
Me: You've been counting?
Adam: Yup. Sixteen times--then--death.
Me: If you know how many moves I make, then you must know what the moves will be before I make them.
Adam: I can't remember. Besides, you don't do them in order.
Me: Yes, I do.
Adam: Nope. Sometimes you start on one side of the board and sometimes on the other.
Me: But I still do the same moves. The board is a mirror image of itself. And if I do the same moves each time, that means you probably do, as well.
Adam: I'm an idiot.
Me: Not really, no.
Adam: You're doing the same moves on purpose, aren't you. You're hoping I'll figure it out and change the game. That's not fair.
Me: Do you still want to play?
Adam: No. I'm going to play computer chess instead.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Adam: Well, you know how he feels about cars? I really don't care about them.
Me: I don't think that's going to make him disappointed in you.
Adam: Well, when we're driving down the road and he yells, "Wow! That's a 19-whatever Chevy Cutlass!" and we almost wreck because he stops watching the road--I just don't get it.
Me: It makes me a little nervous, too.
Adam (ignoring me): Do you get it, DJ? Do you love cars?
DJ: Nope. I just want one that will take me where I need to go. Sometimes I like to know what to do if it needs to be fixed--little stuff--but I don't really care what it looks like.
Adam: Yeah. We're both going to disappoint him.
Tabitha: I get it.
Adam: You do?
Tabitha: Yeah. I like working on cars with Dad. I like it when he tells me about them.
DJ: You don't either get it.
Tabitha: Yes, I do.
Adam: You're just saying that.
Tabitha: I'm not either, and for your information, it's a 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass, not a Chevy.
DJ and Adam stare at each other for a moment.
Adam: She gets it.
DJ: Yeah. We're pretty much screwed.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
And now I feel like even more of a freak.
And I'm afraid to go to sleep tonight, but I'm really tired, and I'm supposed to drive to Denver tomorrow morning. I leave at 6:00 a.m.
Therapist said this will probably never go away.
I hate him tonight for saying that.
Friday, April 18, 2008
I got in trouble because I giggled when the story was told.
This is why I'm not teaching seminary this year. I just encourage them.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I know I talk to you incessantly. I do take breaks to listen occasionally, but it's really nice to know you don't mind if I tell you all the things I'm embarrassed to talk about to other people, or the things that make me really sad. And sometimes you let me talk about the things that make me angry--even when I know I'm wrong. I appreciate that. But I wanted to write to you tonight. Just a change of venue. I think everyone likes variety.
And speaking of appreciation, I just wanted to thank you for some things in my life. Today, for instance, I sat in the sunshine and it felt wonderful. My pansies and tulips are trying to bloom and the grass is getting greener. I waited until the kids went to school, then I jumped on the trampoline for awhile, just because it feels good. If I do it when they're home, they join me. Then they blame me because they're late for school. So--I wait until they leave now, but truthfully, I like it when they jump with me. I miss them when they're gone.
I'm grateful for Adam. He's been spontaneously trying to clone a human being in his ear and has successfully grown some sort of appendage. The doctors have done some preliminary testing stuff, but have decided it's best to remove the growth before it gets much larger. It's probably a good idea. Although it would be very cool if Adam actually did create the first human clone, his ear canal is not the safest place to incubate it. So, Wednesday he'll have surgery. Adam's not concerned that they'll be removing something from his head, but he's very nervous about having his first I.V. I can't blame him. It does seem scary to know they'll be shoving a tube into his vein. He told me, though, that he wouldn't be as afraid if I'd stay with him. It's nice to know he still likes to have me around.
I'm thankful for hot chocolate--and chocolate chip cookies--and just chocolate. Seriously, nice job when you inspired whoever it was to come up with the heavenly stuff, and just so you know, I'm expecting in the hereafter, chocolate will be no respecter of persons. I believe everyone who has spent time trying to figure out life on earth deserves the good stuff. You can do whatever you'd like with all the exaltation and judging and whatever else, but if I may, I'd like to be the purveyor of really great chocolate. It has nothing to do with wanting to make people happy, but only with my selfish desire to be loved--and who can resist loving someone who brings them chocolate? I know--not necessarily what you were going for when you sent me here to learn, but still, I think even you have to admit that chocolate as a heavenly freebie is a good idea.
I want to thank you for helping me find Therapist. And I'm grateful that I've not seen him for a month--and I'm okay. And it's not because life has been easy--it hasn't. It's because I've worked hard and I'm learning how to live, and you've been with me every step of the way. So I won't see Therapist again until the end of June, and I'll be fine. I might have difficult days. I might be lonely sometimes. I might wish to talk to him--but I can wait until my appointment, and I can probably do it without unloading on AtP or Tolkien Boy or Darrin--which means I'll be talking even more to you, because I have to talk to someone, and you told me you were a good person to discuss things with. But as for Therapist--he was exactly what I needed, and I'm so thankful you brought him into my life.
Thank you for helping me feel again. Not just when I choose to, but real, all the time, feelings. Sometimes I hate it so much--but I recognize it's a good thing. And there are times now, when I feel wonderful emotions. When I laugh with AtP, it's not because I'm masking a whole lot of pain inside, it's because I love him, he's funny, and so am I. It's because I enjoy spending time with him. When I touch Darrin, I feel an almost immediate tenderness now. I don't have to remind myself anymore that he loves me and will never hurt me. I don't have to worry about unbidden flashbacks when we make love. I can hold him and be held by him and enjoy every moment of physical closeness with my very best friend. I can feel a gentle sweetness when I kiss Tolkien Boy on the cheek. I can feel trust and security when I talk with Jason about things that frighten me. I can feel genuine love and peace when I meet new friends. I can finally feel and express the things I feel.
I thought once that if I stopped fighting, if I gave up, everyone would forget what happened to me, it would be diminished and made less important, and those who had abused me would win. I realize now that I'm wearing myself out in a battle no one remembers anyway, and it really only matters to me. So--I'd like you to take it over for me. Please. I'm so tired, and there's no payoff worth the fight. I believe you'll continue to care for me, you'll help me become strong again, and you'll always care that I was hurt--but you'll help me learn to focus on the things which truly matter--the ones which will make me better, not bitter. I'm giving you everything I've fought for. I trust that you'll take my place, end the battle, and bring me peace.
I'm thankful for you. I appreciate you sticking around when I was angry at you. I know I was ungrateful much of the time, and I often chose to do things which did not invite you to stay. I know many times you reached out to me and I pushed you away. Thank you for coming back again and again. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for sending me people to help me hear the message you've sent to me all my life--that you love me, and I'm important to you. I love you. Thank you for loving me.
That's all I guess. You know, of course, I have so much more to say, and I'll be talking to you very soon. These are only a few of the things I'm thankful for, but I have to go to bed. Mortals have to sleep you know--oh, speaking of which, would it be okay if I have a whole bunch of nights like the last few have been? No nightmares? Because I like it a lot, and I've worked really hard to learn how to control my dreams, but I do need a little help from you. It's not an easy thing, and lately it's been nice to just relax and let sleep come. Watch over me? Help me out with this? Please?
Okay, I'll talk to you later.
Monday, April 14, 2008
I suppose I mean that I deal with new and unusual situations all the time, externally. I, myself, have not changed.
So now I must acknowledge that I am different.
Last night I slept--really slept. I woke up without experiencing even the beginning of a nightmare/flashback. I had no ghost pains lingering from memories of being raped. I felt rested and at the same time, as if I could sleep more, and I did not feel trepidation when I thought about going back to sleep--so I did. I slept until 6:30 this morning. I never sleep so late.
As I feel stronger I am deeply grateful that I worked as I did to free myself from the agony and fear I have refused to acknowledge for most of my life. I also experience overwhelming impulses and emotions I don't always expect. Often I find myself wishing I had no ties--no family, no husband, no friends, no children. This is not because I don't love those people who are part of my life, but rather a feeling that I am becoming strong and independent enough that I don't need anyone.
Of course, this is a false impulse. I do have a need for those I love, but it's not unhealthy or crippling in it's manifestation. As I have come to understand this need, it's more of an emotional nurturing we give to one another. It is an assurance that we care for one another, we won't manipulate or betray, we try to foster trust, and we will respect, honor and protect any vulnerability one of us chooses to share with the other. With the exception of Darrin, I have not allowed relationships which included the above mentioned attributes into my life until the past two years. In allowing myself to accept others, to trust them, to truly be authentic with them, I am wallowing in uncharted territory. It has been exhilarating, beautiful, and frightening beyond expression.
I've finally made it beyond the place where I contemplate isolating myself, running from my attempts at friendship, living in insecurity and fear. I suppose all this is a process of coming to understand that every human (even me) is entitled to many different kinds and sources of love and affection. At any rate, I now understand my emotional desires for friendship, fellowship and human acceptance. I no longer view those as weaknesses, but rather an integral part of who I am--a part I have starved for the majority of my life, accepting love from and being emotionally honest only with Darrin. In truth, every person needs more than one with whom they can share different aspects of themselves. It is not weakness that dictates this, and only those who are truly strong make it to the point where they become secure in expecting and accepting emotional intimacy from those they love.
When Tolkien Boy and I were watching the ducks a few weeks ago, I had asked him a question and he was attempting to answer it. I heard his voice and registered a few of his words, but in truth, I have no idea what he said. I was exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically. I had foreseen that Darrin was heading for a sort of breakdown, I was frightened at the prospect of losing my greatest source of strength and support, and I was worried about his ability to cope with his emotional stress. I was contemplating my life without the constant struggle which had shaped nearly every aspect of it--and while this should have brought me joy and relief, instead it was stressful and frustrating.
So TB was explaining one of my life's greatest mysteries, and I missed it. The setting for the explanation was ideal: a park bench in front of a quiet lake filled with the affable noises of ducks and geese, few people, and a small stretch of uninterrupted time. Had my head and my heart been at peace, I think I would have heard, been enlightened, and left the spot as the earth's wisest person. As it was, I ended up listening to the turmoil inside, wishing I could understand what TB was saying, and wondering what I would do with my newly discovered internal uncharted territory.
One good thing about all that--I wasn't alone. Normally I tackle all this awful emotional stuff when I'm by myself, so no one gets to see the mess it makes me. AtP and Sully have both seen a tiny bit of it--the part where I rant uncontrollably, look like I might laugh hysterically or weep for hours, and lose the ability to drive my car. And now, TB has witnessed me in my emotionally messed up glory sans the hysterical laughter and eternal tears. Darrin, fortunately, is the only person who has experienced the entire scope of the emotional Hurricane Samantha.
Therapist asked if, in my mind, I had resolved and accepted the aspects of my past experiences of rape and abuse, or if there were more "tasks" I believed necessary. I told him I was finished, but I'm not. There remains one thing--and it may never happen. One day...someday...I would like someone to cry with me, to acknowledge that the things I was asked to endure were unfair and frightening, painful and sad. Someone who will shed tears not only for me, but with me. For the first time in my life I am acknowledging that I no longer wish to grieve alone.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Recently I wrote of the feeling that my life was circling back to where it began two years ago. That feeling still seethes and surprises me when I least expect it. The raw expressing of feelings, memories, and hopes are not typical of me. Those who have only known me in this venue would not recognize the person who used to listen intently as others spoke, commenting just enough to keep the conversation flowing and always steering it away from herself. The impulse to do so once again becomes stronger each day.
Not that I believe there is any fault to be found in a good listener. The problem, I suppose is that I hide myself within another's need to be heard. It is very comfortable to disappear in the words of someone who wishes to become known.
For a little while I longed to be that person--to shout my story to any who would listen--to force people to notice me--to stand up and be counted. To that end I wrote daily, hiding little. I am wondering now exactly what I hoped would be gained by my exhibitionism.
Today, especially as I wonder what Darrin will ultimately choose, I feel muteness stretch inside me. I no longer wish to express my feelings, talk about my life, laugh spontaneously. I still wish for a quiet place--for a sheltering arm--I suppose, ultimately, I will never outgrow the desire for someone to step in and take away the things that scare or hurt me. I am not, nor have I ever been as strong as I would like to believe I am.
I am not unhappy. But I wonder sometimes, as the feelings engulf me, if I will ever again wish to talk about them. And if I choose to, I wonder who will listen. And if someone is listening, I wonder if it will simply be so that he might hide within my words, avoiding connection with humanity, just quietly allowing the monologue to wash over him, grateful that he remains unknown.
I understand that.
Friday, April 11, 2008
In the process of writing, and of talking to a couple of people, I realized that what I'm going through is not shaming or embarrassing, but it is certainly worrisome. To be blunt, for the majority of our married life, Darrin has supported me through many things. The last two years of therapy have been the longest lasting and most emotionally draining. As I have become stronger, he has finally allowed me to see the toll it has taken on him. He was the focus of my last post.
A few people commented or emailed, assuming I was speaking of someone else. Naturally, this is what I intended, sort of, because I didn't want to place Darrin in an awkward position. However, it's also misleading and a bit dishonest. So--the truth is that in all my relationships there are times of uncertainty and sometimes a bit of heartache, so it was easy to insert those in the post, but right now Darrin is having some difficulty navigating his place in life. In my efforts to overcome past habits and obsessions, I have shifted the paradigms which have been in place for many years. Because our lives are linked, this affects Darrin intensely.
Anyone who has been through a deeply emotional experience with a loved one understands how it can allow insecurity to creep into the relationship. Darrin has felt that, certainly. Interestingly, I have not. As my perceptions about myself and my situation have changed, my love and gratitude for Darrin have increased--but also, my intense need for him has evolved into more of a steady desire for his companionship and love. I believe we both agree this is a healthier alternative, but it changes Darrin's role in my life--and it was done without his agreement or involvement which makes the change seem extreme.
So I would ask those of you who follow my blog to include Darrin in your prayers at this time. He will not welcome chat or email, as he is still in the stages of trying to figure out what is happening, and those will only cause more anxiety. He will be concerned that others are aware of his confusion and will concentrate on that, rather than allowing himself to work through the new aspects of his life. So, for now, good thoughts/vibes/candles on the altar/whatever will be enough. Out of respect for Darrin's privacy, I probably won't update more about this, but will allow him to do so if he chooses to--and if he's more comfortable saying nothing, that is also his decision.
I apologize for the misleading words I posted previously. Please know that your comments, all of them, were received in the spirit they were offered, and I love you for caring enough to say something.
Monday, April 7, 2008
I have a number of things to say today, the first of which is that at some point I have to figure out that triple chocolate cookies for breakfast, regardless of how delicious, do not provide adequate nutrition for the most important meal of the day. Fortunately, I choose to indulge after my children leave for school, having inside them a meal consisting of complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and at least 5 grams of fiber, vitamin D fortified milk (or calcium enriched rice milk, or lowfat yogurt), and 100% orange or grapefruit juice. Never let it be said that my children do not eat healthy meals. Moving on...
The next thing I want to talk about has no magical moment in which it came about, but rather has been approaching for a very long time. I'm not sure I'll even be able to describe it adequately, but I will definitely make the attempt because, for me, this is rather important. You see, I've finally made it. Really. Not sort of almost there and tomorrow I'll be in despair again because my life is not what I want it to be. I'm there. I am me.
I'm understanding that there is a lot to me, much of which I have yet to discover, but I am finally comfortable in my own skin. In my super secret blog I remember writing a year ago, following my meeting with the cousin who abused me:
I post this, not because I want to share the misery I felt last year, but because I don't feel that way any longer. The agony and uncleanness I felt then were absolutely real. They permeated every part of my life. They kept me from forming real relationships with people--I would cling desperately, then push away with all my might because I loved my friends and family and I didn't want to taint them in any way. All that is gone.
Monday, March 19, 2007
I want to be clean. There is a desperate compulsion to scrub myself forever. I know I can't. I want to.
There have been times when I have found clippers and snipped away bits of me. The bleeding and pain don't seem to register. I know they're there. I'm not stupid.
I thought when I saw him that he would be normal--that the filth which seems embedded in me would be unreasonable--that I would be able to move past this. It wasn't so. It feels worse.
My sweet friend held me. I feel terribly guilty about that. He has touched that which is unclean.
My wonderful husband touches me. I want him to. I don't want him to. I am the evil gift.
I have looked at the face of the person who made me broken.
I want to remove my skin.
I am finally realizing what it is to be me. Today I have felt, without reservation, gratitude that I was born. That has not happened before in my memory. And so, I am listing what it is that makes me happy to be me:
1. I see beauty--in my surroundings, in words and music, in people. I always have--even when I could not see it in myself. If I love you, you are one of the most beautiful people in the world. I see it in your eyes, your actions, your words. I have always seen beauty (even in the mudguys lying on the road--come on! you have to admit he was stunning!).
2. I make music--in all that has happened to me, I have never stopped singing. I have pursued my ability and obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees in piano performance, and theory and composition. On Mother's Day I will perform an ensemble concert with three friends (one of whom is a former student)--our page turners will be my sweet son, DJ and wonderful friend, Sully. You should come. It will be worth it.
3. I love people--even though for most of my life my instinct was to never allow myself to love, I could not help it. Love seems to just happen in my life and I am powerless against it. I used to view that as a weakness, one that would eventually destroy me. I now view it as one of my greatest strengths and the key reason that I have become the person I am. I used to hope that my love could change situations, people, me...I guess I thought that somehow it was magic...Now I realize that if it changes no one else, it changes me daily for the better. I can never stop loving people.
4. I laugh--sometimes inappropriately, but we all have our weaknesses, right? Life has always seemed to bring me joy and laughter. Someone said to me once that if she had met the challenges I have, she would have taken her own life. I will admit to seriously considering that route and even attempting it on occasion. But life is so beautiful and mine has had so much joy to balance the pain. I want to stay forever, running every morning, smelling the flowers on my dining room table, watching the wildflowers bloom on the prairie, planting my haphazard herb/flower/tomato garden, playing with my children and friends, loving my husband, serving my God. And through it all, I will laugh because it makes me feel wonderful--and because life truly is very funny.
5. I learn--I have always been curious. I someday want to know everything. Tolkien Boy has complained that sometimes he feels he is more of a "project" than a friend. I can't help it--I ask him (and everyone else in my life) questions about life, food, feelings, illness, humor, literature, fantasy, mathematics...it's not that I believe they have all the answers, but they have their answers and I learn from their perspectives. I want to know how they think, what they feel, who they are inside. My questions are my way to understand what makes you the person you are--and I'm sorry if they sometimes seem calculated or insensitive, because that's not my intention. I just get a little bit focused on finding things out and forget that we're discussing things that might make you uncomfortable. In the end though, my entire goal is to help me know you in unique ways, so I hope you'll forgive me, and indulge me. Let me learn about you.
I suppose what I'm saying is this: There have been things in my life that I would give away in an instant. I don't want them anymore. At one point I clung to them because I was unsure what would happen if I no longer had them. That was scary. Today, I realize they make me less of who I truly am. They were inflicted upon me. I did not choose them. I will not choose them today. I will not forget what happened. I will not forget the pain they have caused. I will not forget because I want to be sure I do all I can to keep those events from occurring in the lives of my children and loved ones. But remembering does not mean I must agonize, or believe I am less of a person for enduring them.
What I will say now will have significance only to me, and to those who believe as I do. But I must say this because it is important to me. I did it. For two years I worked through all that was necessary so that I would be able to kneel before my Savior and allow him to lift my burden. I was humbled in many ways so that I would be able to acknowledge his sacrifice for me, and accept it with gratitude. I worked--please do not misunderstand and think this was easy, for it was not--to place myself in a position emotionally and mentally where I could be healed.
And so today I can say that my life is better--I am better. I can't explain all that has happened, but it was very real. The Atonement is a phenomenon that defies explanation, and yet is simple enough for mere mortals to apply it in their lives (although, if you're anything like me, it might take a few years). I will add that much of the workings of the Atonement came through the love and care of people who wished to help me, who reached out when I desperately needed support, and who stayed when I was less than accommodating. I don't know what motivated them to lend support--but I will always be grateful, and I believe Christ is grateful to them, as well. For he said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these (that would be me) my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
I am Samantha. I believe that's a pretty good thing to be. It took me a long time to get here. I think I'll stay awhile.