Getting Down to Basics
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This area is reserved for the tidbits I know hope will be of interest to my readers. Check back often for regular updates. 

 

It's been a long time coming---7 years to be exact---but finally email notifications for new BD posts is available. Sign up today and never again miss another scintillating, moving post. You know you want to!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Kate Is Rising has an excellent Survivors Resources page which directs you to numerous websites dealing with issues of abuse, healing and recovery. Please bear in mind that the information on these pages may be triggering.

 

 

There's lots of good stuff at the Dissociation Blog Showcase, including a list of 180 blogs dealing with some aspect of this disorder. 

 

 

On the Overcoming Sexual Abuse site there's an article entitled, "It's Not About You Mom" which I could have written myself. I bet many of my readers could say the same!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday
Aug302014

Please Be Enough

Every year about this time I seem to post this graphic. I can't help myself! Today the rain I've been so longing for finally came down in a rejuvenating torrent. I found myself mentally energized, as I do whenever the long hot summer begins to give way to cool autumn.

What a trying time this year has been, most especially the past several months. I've lost my step more than once along the way, and these days it takes longer than ever to get back on track. But here we are with the cooler months before us, and I find my spirit perking up, tentative yet hopeful.

I don't want always to be looking behind me, lamenting the past. I don't want always to be gazing ahead wishing for what has yet to take place. Sometimes I long to simply be in the moment and let that be enough.

I need it to be enough.

Sunday
Aug242014

This Crazy Life of Mine

I don't know what I mean to write.

Sometimes the need to write overwhelms me even (and especially) when it seems I haven't much to say.

My childhood years of abuse and trauma come to me sometimes like a dream, a dream wrapped up carelessly in an old, priceless shawl whose radiant colors have faded with time. Sometimes the thought of my childhood so wrapped up nearly leaves me breathless with dread mingled with excitement.

I dread the retelling of what never should have been. Excitement grabs me when I consider all that my story can mean to someone else who has known and endured the shame of covert acts of sexual terrorism, of those moments in time equivalent to the endless minutes I spent hunched atop my mother's washing machine, naked, alone and waiting to be abused.

I'm excited because I have something to give away, something that cost me every bit of my soul. In the act of giving lies the dread that it may be misunderstood, scoffed at or heartlessly tossed aside.

But I am used to mocking; I grew up being the subject of much mockings. Surely I can bear more of the same for the sake of those few who may read my story and weep in that good and pure way which cleanses and uplifts, readying one to go on to take more steps and fight more battles.

Oh, it's not over yet.

I live a dual life, at any moment here in the present in all my nana-ness, while the past is a slow steady stream of vignettes playing upon my mind's eye from some decrepit movie projector.

I am me, a sixty year old woman who is just learning to cry out my sorrow.

I am her, the laughingstock little girl carrying heavy burdens and hiding them within the pages of fiction I can't quite get enough of.

When I was little my Dad was everything to me. He loved God so much that I did too, and this made of us a sort of trinity which suited me well and leant to my days and nights a sweet stability and comfort.

There isn't any bemoaning my childhood so much as simply wondering at its twists and turns.

Sorrow has expressed itself and no doubt will continue to do so infrequently now that I am becoming familiar with its intonations. I'm grateful for a respite, but I don't fear her reappearance anymore. She is part of me, a part of me I haven't wanted to acknowledge, let alone explore.

Today I'm neither happy nor longing for death. I'm not particularly joyful, which is not to say that some little ray of joy couldn't zap me out of nowhere, for instance as I'm reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, or when I get a whiff of an especially pleasing scented candle.

The way I see it, I'm about one step above simply existing. I don't long for anything else, not now. Maybe some other day. Today is all about being, just being.

And so I sit and wait for whatever it is will grab me next, be it an old, old memory or a new thought that takes me in a whole new direction.

My life is mine, is what I mean to say. Others nearly robbed me of its possession but it's still all mine. Even and especially the dark, unmentionable acts which crushed me, those moments in time when I hardly knew my name and despaired of ever laughing again.

I might laugh today. Today I might laugh. It's hard to say what I'll do today with this crazy life of mine.

 

Thursday
Aug142014

In Which I Learn to Adjust

I'm beginning to get excited.

For days after my sons left, I moped around crying like a big baby, finally crying the tears I've been hoarding for decades. I didn't think things would get better for me or, if they did, it would be a long time coming. I dug beneath the surface and discovered what I should have known all along, that my fear of living alone was a cover for my fear of facing my sorrow.

A friend I've known since childhood came for a two day visit. I was afraid that after she left I'd feel worse than before, but I didn't. She'd helped me hang a mirror in my blank, empty hallway, and brought a dining room area rug and a couple of lamps to help turn this apartment into a cozy home. After she left, I wandered throughout my space (all mine now) getting used to the idea of it belonging to me.

What abused kid feels that anything belongs to them? I can remember as a child that feeling of nothing ever being mine, because my younger siblings got into my stuff all the time. And my stepdad? He invaded my physical space whenever he wanted, doing horrendous things to my body. Nothing was mine in that nearly sacred sense in which we need some things all to ourselves. At any moment he could burst in on me in the bathroom, or the sanctity of my bedroom even in the middle of the night.

As I puttered around my home I realized what I was doing: a grown up version of the lollygagging I indulged in during childhood. I found myself playing a couple of video games I used to play with my son after his accident. I thought that afterwards I'd surely hunker down to getting something important done:  some writing, or perhaps housework. But I didn't. It felt so delicious to not have to do anything in particular that I've spent the last couple of days wandering about doing whatever takes my fancy at the moment.

My morning routine used to be two cups of coffee while perusing Facebook and then my emails. Today I didn't even turn on my computer until this afternoon. It didn't seem so interesting all of a sudden. I knit a little, but not much because I got bored. I went out for creamer and a few odds and ends I needed, taking my sweet time, for there was no one waiting at home for me.

What I've needed in order to live alone is to be able to feel grounded, and this seems to have been accomplished mostly by arranging my living room so that it has more flow to it, and actually (for the first time) feels cozy. I find myself spending time there rather than holing up in my room. It's not just that I have it all to myself, it's also the fact that I was able to put all those stacked up boxes back into storage. There is something grounding for me in a room that is cozy. I need things hanging on the walls that mean something to me: the black and white of my dad drumming, before I was born, for instance. The clown painting a son did in first grade. My big framed Beatles poster over the couch. When I gaze at any of these things I am brought back to the present, from which I tend to stray mostly when stressed.

I am beginning to get excited. This evening I wasn't very hungry, and didn't feel like cooking.  I nuked some bacon and sliced some tomatoes fresh from my friend's garden. I didn't mind cooking for three when my sons lived here, but I admit it's nice to not have to always figure out something for dinner that we all can enjoy.

And there you have it. I haven't fallen apart, though I came close. My apartment is beginning to feel like home. Most amazing of all? I've been sleeping like a log!


Wednesday
Aug132014

Hello Sorrow, My Old Friend

Anyone reading my blog on a fairly regular basis knows I've been struggling for a couple of years now with sorrow.

I've written about how strange it is to feel its depths while having no idea of its source. In retrospect I can't believe I could write such a thing. Isn't it obvious? This blog is devoted to dealing with my ongoing attempts to deal with the aftermath of sexual abuse, as well as living my life as a multiple. And I really have no idea where all this sorrow originates?

Denial goes deep, that's for sure. Since my sons moved out I've had a great deal of time on my hands. The quiet has at times been deafening. I've not been sure I could handle it. I wasn't sure of anything except that I didn't know if I'd make it through this transitional stage of my life into whatever lay ahead.

It's not so much the nights, I've discovered. Being completely alone during the daytime is much more problematic for me. Sorrow, once nothing more than an infrequent acquaintance, won't go away. Sorrow has overtaken my life so that there is probably not one teeny little bit of it that isn't somehow related to that sense of just wanting to die. Or not exactly wanting to die, just wanting the pain to end already.

I've had nearly a week of this; I can remember few times in my life when I've felt this low not counting the nearly 8 years I was sexually abused.

Something has been sinking in during these abnormally long days, the realization that I've come to the end of my journey if I don't deal with my sorrow. I've nothing to give anyone else anymore if I don't do the one thing I've avoided for 53 years. How can I? If I don't do this one thing for myself there will be no self left.

The last thing I want is to have struggled and fought and persevered through all the trials of life only to have my life die out as a pathetic whimper. After all that how can I let myself be defeated by sorrow? I see how willing I've been--eager even--to jump in and rescue anyone who needs help with anything. I am a rescuer, therefore I exist. I am a helper, therefore my existence is justified. Or, and this is more to the point: I will turn myself inside out to help anyone, anytime, anywhere so that I can turn away from my own arching sorrow and never have to look it in the eye.

There is no going back. Having seen that I don't begin to comprehend the extent of the damage done to me I can't now pretend not to know. I can no longer continue this charade of sorrow being nothing more than a casual visitor. Every part of me is aching, despairing and ready to call it quits. Every part of me is swaying with the weight of this desolation. What if I put my efforts into encouraging their individual expression of pain rather than wearing myself out running away? What if I allow for the one thing that may just save my entire system? The door behind which sorrow has hidden all these decades has already been unlocked. There is no keeping it out now, and I see that for the first time I am beginning to welcome this open door and all that it brings with it, knowing it will hurt. Knowing I will (yes) at times want to die. And knowing, oh how I hope this is so, that none of this can hurt worse than the original abuse.

Simon and Garfunkel sang, "Hello darkness, my old friend..." Within darkness hides sorrow that will not lie to save our tender sensibilities, nor dress itself ornately to hide its simplicity. Sorrow insists on the truth, I've discovered. What has driven it underground in my life is my inability and, at times, unwillingness, to see things for what they are.

I'm full of sorrow and suddenly that doesn't seem as overwhelming as it did a couple days ago. In a curious way I feel as if  sorrow is my truest friend, that one friend we all need who will tell us when we are lying to ourselves.

It's not that I'm anticipating this new season of my life, which will require an incredible amount of courage. Not anticipating it, maybe, but not refusing it either. I'm fighting for my life and how wonderful it is to begin to believe it is worth fighting for.

Tuesday
Aug052014

Alone

I don't know how to live alone. I don't know how to be alone at night.

I wish I were dramatizing just to get attention because then the fear wouldn't be real, and I could sit here and enjoy myself like most people who live alone are capable of doing.

Yesterday I was told that my two sons who have been living with me have to go, or I'll be evicted. If I want to assign blame I can point the finger at myself. I knew I wasn't supposed to have extra people here, but so great is my fear of being alone that I broke that rule. I could also blame my sons for having gotten themselves into a state of joblessness. But really, does blame have to play into it? And if so I think that the lion's share of it must go to my childhood abusers. I was never afraid of the night until I was introduced into the world of child abuse.

Here is something to think about, just on the chance that someone reading this doesn't know from firsthand experience the aftermath of child abuse.  My inability to be alone at night is only one of many, many repercussions from sexual abuse. I've found that these repercussions, which have to a great extent crippled many areas of my life, don't lessen as time goes by. If anything they seem to deepen.

Right now my entire DID system is in a state of shock induced by terror. I am one to understate most things, especially when it comes to anything that might show how weak or afraid I am. But it occurs to me that this is not a time to minimize what I'm faced with. Most people who know me, including those who know I'm a multiple, don't know and wouldn't guess how great is this fear of mine. When my sons leave I will be totally alone, day and night. I know this might be the kind of thing to which people respond with, "Oh you'll get used to it," or "You're stronger than you think," etc., never guessing that their glib words have just increased my anxiety and my ever present guilt at not being like other grown ups. It's hard to be my age and not feel tremendous guilt for not being able to deal with such situations. I'm all too aware that most people, by the time they've reached my age (and long before that) adjust to living alone. Some even prefer it. I try not to compare myself with others, but sometimes I can't help it.

I know many multiples who live alone and have the opposite difficulty: they can't live with anyone else. Fears take on so many forms, don't they? What might terrify you could be something I'd scoff at, and vice-versa. This is why I try not to mind too much when others just don't get it. What I want to say is, I shouldn't be left alone. I don't think I can make it if I'm left alone for too long.

What I'm really saying is, I'm afraid I'll turn to suicide if I'm left alone. Even as I write those words they sound so overly dramatic, or like a threat as in, "If everyone leaves me I'll kill myself. I mean it!"

There is no easier way to say it. This is what I fear: that living alone will be the death of me. When I'm alone for very long I begin to hear and see things. My mind does some kind of a mind warp, and seriously it feels as if my sanity is on its last legs. I suppose it's more PTSD than anything. I don't know, I just know I don't like it and I fear it.

I'm not looking forward to this day. I've a double whammy to contend with:  my sons have nowhere to go, so will end up on the street, and I will be left alone.

Alone.

So many things can happen to you when you're alone, especially at night.