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I've been finishing work in my books. I set a goal this year to finish work I started but there was an interruption that put me behind. I decided after I got out of the hospital to pick up where I left off with finishing work. Here is one of the key pieces I wanted to work on. It's a story line about my aunt's life and the affect she had on mine.

She Sings, from the journal entry called Wide.

Mouth Wide Open - She Sings

She Sings

fma

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Storied
Storied

I understand that my biological response to many things is still as if my body is fighting like when I was abused or when I was having medical trauma from a young age. My adrenal system fights so hard, as if it has to, still. All that adrenaline causes anxiety because I'm still trying to run despite there being no where to run. I feel trapped in my anxiety.

I sometimes respond strong emotionally when I don't mean to.

Right now I'm feeling very stressed by things: stressed about the CNA situation and about not having frogs. I know it sounds so insane that I'd be stressed without frogs but I'm stressed without something to care for, fuss over and love. There's nothing here to love! ...continue reading "Anxiety and Fight or Flight"

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I am not one who can handle a lot of physical stimulation. I didn't want to be touched. Movement and sound scare me. However, in a vulnerable state I have had to allow things to happen even if I didn't think I could handle it.

Since being at the hospital I've allowed people who resemble my abusers to give intimate care. I've allowed African American men and women to remove the gown, adjust my legs as needed then wipe my intimate parts in front and back. I have had full bed baths and depends changed or had procedures that required mostly nudity. I had to allow it.

From where I'm laying, I generally can't see the entire person, and I can't get up. I am vulnerable and require their clean intentions. Not a single inappropriate comment has taken place. They have been respectful and put me at ease.

At one point a Doctor was asked to wait 2 min while the Techs finished my gown because credentials don't buy rights to my dignity either. I appreciated him waiting.

I was terrified at first. Someone had their hands between my legs, spread them, and I had to allow it. I was angry. I didn't sleep a lot. But as the positive, safe experiences continued, confidence grew, with unexpected healing as a result.

Faith

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The Pages Were All WrongDr. D and I discussed a situation with my sister that came up that required I stick to my boundaries, as hard as it is to do.

Despite my mother having gainful employment, we spent a lot of time living in the car. I have slept with frost over me, slept on the wet street and in the sweltering night. Homelessness for me is a huge trigger. It makes me recoil, makes my mind want to run and never think about the horrors of it, the way it strips you of dignity and humanity. The way people hate you, judge you and look down on you. Routine homelessness in my childhood and young adult life with my mother, has left a scar that opens into a wound during the winter time.

When I'm cold I can't breathe because I can see myself lying under a blanket in a broken down RV with no electricity, no water, no heat, no lock on the door. I could see my own breath, see the frost build up on my blanket and hear my sister cry curled up beside me. We were so close to one another I couldn't breathe. There with us should have been my teddy bear, the last possession I owned, but it was lost in the car we'd slept in that ended up being stolen. Homelessness is a horrible trauma I wish on no one at all, so why have I refuse to offer my home to my sister in need? ...continue reading "Therapy Review: Hard Choices and Boundaries with Family"

Family tree on my backColors speak louder than wordsI've thought a lot of my mother lately. In therapy Friday afternoon we talked about traveling, the orchestra, theater, opera and all the cultural things she loved. It's a strange contrast between the tyrant and the artist but there was in fact a contrast, one I loved. I recall my mother singing around the house. I knew when she sang it would be a safe day. For some reason when she sang all the vile went away.

One of my mother's favorite animals is the African Elephant which is why I purchased a notebook with one on the cover. I also liked the quote which says: Colors speak louder than words.

The loss is incredible.
Grant mercy please.
She left deep wounds, many questions, but no answers. I have to find resolution in wreckage.

In the notebook I've written letters to my mother, some kind, others telling her exactly how I felt living with her. These letters and drawings are just another step in healing from the war god I called mother. ...continue reading "Mother’s and Grey Elephants"

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She had a wide range of peculiarities but one constant; her mouth was always wide open.

Mouth Wide OpenHer violence frightened me as a child. The fact that she's still alive makes me a bit uncomfortable.

The woman with the split earlobe laughed loudly, sang loudly, slapped you on the back while laughing and did everything over the top. It wasn't mental illness, it was plain madness.  ...continue reading "Wide"

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He said I'm just a ball of pain and that I need to stop blowing steam at him. I stopped, looked at him and said, Did you just tell me to stop telling you I'm in pain. He said, yes, because its nonsense. Then he said, "I'm just telling it like it is. I shoot from the hip." I pointed to the nearly 40 frames on one wall having to do with his military career and congressional awards and I said, "You're a soldier, are you?" I said, "Some people aren't soldiers. Some people don't shoot from the hip or like being shot at, at all." I explained that if he didn't believe me then that's one thing, but to say, "stop blowing that steam" and tell me I'm speaking nonsense isn't an acceptable way to speak to me. ...continue reading "Neurology appointment. I’m not a soldier."

My own reaction to first hearing about Kevin Spacey was skepticism. I immediately gave him the benefit of the doubt. Why? I did so because I've seen his face. I've seen his work and I liked him. He looks harmless. I even became defensive when they called him a predator. I thought they convicted him in the media without proof.  Then I saw that House of Cards cancelled and I thought, hang on guys, how can you cancel a show based on one accusation? It took a minute, just one, to realize that Hollywood didn't leave behind a successful, money making show based on one accusation 20 yrs ago. It stands to reason they knew a fall out was to come. It would appear that Kevin Spacey is in fact a known predator of young boys. ...continue reading "Not #MeToo"

Today Dr. D and I discussed saying "no" to my mother and the consequences of doing so. My teeth began to chatter. I was rocking back and forth. I had to get a hold of myself.

Last night I was in the bedroom and instinctively turned to verify she wasn't in the doorway but for just a second I saw her. Obviously it was my head playing games, but for a second I thought I saw her standing there, which is why I turned to look. I had a scarf hanging over the door which created a figure in my peripheral vision. Turning to look isn't new. I have to force myself to not look at the door. I have to tell myself there's no way she's in the house, stop worrying, remember I'm safe now. But that's not enough, I have to look at the bedroom door to ease my mind. ...continue reading "Therapy Review: Control. Gaining confidence."

I often sound like I hate her. I don't. I sound like I haven't given an ounce of forgiveness. I think an important point about giving my mother forgiveness is knowing she never asked for it or acknowledged needing it. She never knew she'd received it.

Several years ago I said I give my mother full forgiveness. What that means is I asked nothing back from her crimes against me. Her debt to me was dissolved. This personal step wasn't an over night process. It was/is a personal understanding and has only to do with what was done to me. What was done to others is a totally different story.

What do I mean when I say I forgive my mother? It's clearer to explain what I don't mean.

  • Forgiveness doesn't erase guilt or payment to society for crimes against me and them.
  • My pain hasn't ended, it's been redirected and eased.
  • Even after forgiveness there is still a lot of work in therapy to complete.
  • It doesn't mean there's no anger or mean that the abuse doesn't matter.

What does forgiveness mean for me? It means and meant:

  • I stopped asking for justice in my case.
  • It meant I didn't want to kill her anymore.
  • I didn't want to see her suffer or die the way she died.
  • If ever the law decided she must be charged, I didn't want to be the one on the other end of handing down sentencing for what she did to me. That's the key right there. I didn't want to be the one to hand down sentencing.

Acknowledgement from the public, financial compensation, life in prison and even her death can not give back what was so viciously stolen away. ...continue reading "The who, what, when, where and how of forgiveness"

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