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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. 

 

Check out this article about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena, including a list of organizations which strongly oppose this sick trend, and have implemented various means of helping women who have been sexually victimized.

 

Were you raised by a narcissist? Chances are you were if you suffered any form of childhood abuse. The Little Red Survivor website is filled with excellent articles examining the many faces of narcissism.

 

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 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Entries in Friendship (17)

Monday
May172010

Monday Morning

Anyone in the mood for one of my rambly posts? I feel one coming on as my mind shifts from one subject to another faster than I can keep track. Sometimes in the middle of a thought I realize, "Hey, wasn't I thinking about such and such? Did I even finish that thought? How did I get to this one?"

Last night I finally taught myself to knit on circular needles, a feat which should have earned me a major drum roll had anyone with a drum been handy. Over the years I've bypassed many a knitting pattern because it called for circular, rather than straight, needles. Sissyface and I are beginning our own little knitters guild of sorts. We plan to get together once a month and gab and knit. She's new to knitting ,so I get to play the role of instructor, ha. As I was coaching her last night I knit a headband with my circular needles. I wasn't trying to make one, it just turned out to look like one and Sissyface, who wears them all the time, got excited and asked if she could try it on as a headband. It fit snug as a bug, so now she's the (proud?) owner of my first ever circular needle attempt.

My friend Suzanne and her hubby delivered my furniture this weekend. She was supposed to spend Wednesday night here, but her truck broke down and she was stranded at her mother's, with all my stuff loaded in the truck, until her hubby drove up Saturday. She also brought me boxes of tile for my bathroom and kitchen floors, two new pillows and pillow-cases, coloring books and crayons for Maddy and Anna (whom she hasn't had a chance to meet yet), paint and paintbrush, a Beatles shirt, bath gel and jigsaw puzzles. Phew. Also, a poem she wrote for me. She's going to come back and help me lay all the tile as she's had lots of experience at that.

My roses are in bloom in my front yard. I gave Maddy the first one and her whole face lit up. She breathed in its scent then clutched it to her chest as if it were a precious jewel. Everyone had a good laugh at our family picnic last weekend when someone gave her a whole tomato all for herself. She ate it like an apple, oblivious to the juices dripping off her chin onto her shirt. When Sissyface asked if she liked tomatoes or candy better, no one was surprised when she said, "Tomato!"

Today I need to seriously start searching for a therapist, but I can't seem to get into the right mental frame. I have pretend conversations in my head of things I'll tell him/her, and what the responses will be. I seem to need to play this imaginary game before I'm in therapy for real, even though I know that my therapy sessions won't at all resemble the fake ones I've imagined.

I'm still sad but not totally cast down. Suzanne's visit helped tremendously. It was heartwarming to see her with her husband, a mellow man who appreciates her quirks and uniqueness and who is soft spoken and compassionate. I thought of the different routes our lives have taken. What would it be like to be married for over 20 years to someone like her hubby? I can't imagine being married to anyone for any length of time. Instead I'll feel glad for her sake that she has someone who so clearly loves her for her colorful self.

That's enough rambling for now, I suppose. I'd like to find a decent pattern on the Internet for slippers, sewn or knitted. The sky is so blue and sunny today, it sure makes my heart ache.

 

 

 

Tuesday
May112010

Spring Cleaning

I've one day to ready my home for a visit from my childhood friend, Suz.  As I make a mental list of all I want to accomplish it occurs to me that my apartment is bursting at the seams. A majority of the items I'm trying to find room for are hand-me-downs from Sissyface's move.

Tomorrow Suz is bringing me a vanity/dresser set which is over 75 years old; it belonged to her beloved gramma. It's enough that she's giving me these vintage items, the fact that she's delivering them as well says a lot about this friend of mine. Generous doesn't begin to describe her, but it's not the smarmy kind of generosity that says "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." Nor is it an exercise in manipulation designed to control and place one under obligation. It's more of the no-strings-attached variety, the true blue generosity of someone who just flat out adores you and can't do enough for you. I don't think I've felt such adoration since my early childhood years. Not that Suz is ready to make a plaster saint  of me and adhere it to her dashboard! She sees me warts and all, and that makes her devotion that much sweeter.

When I told her recently that I have DID her response was, "I love all of you!"

During her visit we hope to find time to write a song together. I've no musical talent whatsoever, but I'm hoping I can come up with some passable lyrics.

The anticipation of this visit makes me feel there is something worth looking forward to. I'm still trying to shake off the sadness that clings to me like a thin layer of sweat. In writing about it I don't want to make more (or less) of it than it is. No exploitation of my emotions for attention grabbing motives, but no stiff-upper-lipped denial either. I'm tightrope walking, again. As if I admonish myself that it's okay to feel and admit to this sadness as long as I don't allow it to change anything in my little world. No messy, out of control emotions here.

I'm still in search of a therapist, for those who may be reading this and wondering how that's going. I'm being a little cautious with this. In the past I'd pretty much go to any therapist who would have me, not unlike the years I spent involved with any man who gave me a second look. Pathetic, but totally behind me now.

Writing about my sadness helps, though I couldn't say why or how.

And just writing about Suz's visit has moved me into gear. Time for spring cleaning in earnest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday
May032010

The Me I've Become

I'm writing this from my bedroom where I finally have a computer hooked up. Two 1960's Barbie dolls, one in black and white striped swimsuit and sunglasses, the other wearing a black evening gown and heels, are perched on top of my monitor, mementos from my long ago childhood. These dolls are not for playing with; when a grandchild spies them I shoo her away as if guarding a valuable museum piece.

This weekend my mother flew into town for my niece's graduation from nursing school. Her sister, who I haven't seen in over 40 years, was also in attendance, as well as one of my brothers who cut himself off from me and my kids about 10 years ago. All very good reasons for absenting myself. I'm getting used to the necessity for making myself scarce on certain family occasions, but there is always that little twinge of resentment that I must once again make way for others as I back out as gracefully as possible.

Though I don't expect life to be fair, I cast around for something to sort of even things out. What good things have happened lately to counterbalance my odd-man-out status? Probably what excites me the most is reconnecting with Suz, my old childhood friend. We live several hours from each other, but she's already visited me once. I had worried the old chemistry might be forever gone and we would desperately grope for things to talk about, but the moment she knocked on my door it was as if we were 11 years old again, hanging out and goofing off.

As we sat on the couch chattering away like magpies, I started to say something, then interrupted myself to say, "Wait, hair in mouth." As I extracated the offending hair she began to laugh hysterically.

"You used to do that when we were kids," she said with a gasp. "I'd forgotten that till now. We'd be talking and you'd say in this deadpan voice, "Wait, hair in mouth." How surreal to be visiting with someone who knew me so long ago, who could see me do something and relate it to something I used to do over 40 years ago! The resuming of our friendship is as comforting as wrapping an old, worn soft blanket around me like a hug. There were other things she commented on, little quirks of mine she remembered from those long ago days of childhood. But I didn't exist back then, I nearly said, but of course I did, for here was all the proof I needed:  someone with whom I used to be joined at the hip, who saw me in ways my step dad and mother never did.

The resuming of that old connection is like discovering money in an old  forgotten bank account. Every time we hung out together as kids I was investing in that account, depositing riches I would some day--during my nana years--need to withdraw. Suz is a touch of sanity in my often confusing world. She's kooky and full of life. I used to envy her ability to be exactly who she is, to live honestly with integrity.

While she played her guitar and sang I felt as though my heart were being serenaded. I'd forgotten that she had these talents! What else had I forgotten? Perhaps the ease with which I used to lean on her, our bodies casually touching in the most innocent of ways. My body began remembering, for I found myself during our recent visit touching her arm frequently as we laughed, rediscovering the contentment of feeling deliciously at ease.

Nothing can really make up for the dysfunctions in my family of origin which make it impossible for me to be a full participant in family get togethers, but Suz's friendship takes some of the sting out of that tired song and dance of not belonging.

I know you, her very presence seems to say.

I enjoy you, she might as well say every time her eyes look at me with delight.

I know that when she looks at me with the same expression she must see reflected on my face (a sort of stunned joy) she is seeing my little girl self of decades ago, but also the me who has grown into my adult self. A nana, a stumble-bum, but the me my younger self was in the process of becoming all along.

Wednesday
Jan272010

Old Friend of Mine

I've found an old friend from childhood on Facebook, Jackie. She was my second best friend, my "away" best friend (compared to Bec who lived right across the street.) We met at church when we were about 10, and saw each other at Pathfinder meetings and outings. We spent the night at each other's homes frequently and went to the same jr. high one year.

Because my life has been so erratic and involved so much moving around, we haven't had contact for around ten years. I was so overjoyed when she accepted my friend request on Facebook, and told me she'd tried getting in touch before but didn't have a current address for me.

Is there anything like an old friend, someone who knew you when you were still growing into yourself? Those were the days of giggles and secrets, of confiding in one another about crushes on boys and writing each other silly notes that we'd either pop into the mail, or discreetly hand deliver in church during boring sermons. Jackie knew me when I was going through the worst of my traumas, though she had no clue as to what my home life was really all about. I asked if she had any of the poetry I used to write and, to my amazement she said that she does. I shouldn't be amazed though. If anyone would keep such items, it would be Jackie.

I've often bemoaned my inability to reconnect with Bec. I've thought of her lots over the years and, though we haven't been in touch since before my last two sons were born, I've missed her keenly. I've also wished that I could pry her memory apart and find the missing pieces of my all too brief childhood. I don't think this is ever going to happen--but now here comes Jackie, someone whose very presence will assure me that I really did exist back then. Someone who can share with me some of the forgotten bits and pieces of my earlier days.

And it couldn't come at a better time, just as I am once more resuming work on my memoir.

How exciting!

 

 

 

Saturday
Jan162010

9th Grade

K. was the most popular girl in 9th grade. She spoke, and everyone laughed. She snubbed, and her cohorts snubbed right along with her. Her scorn was legendary. She once bribed me with money to make my "noise" during algebra. I turned her down because I can't do it on demand. K. was the kind of girl I wanted to be. Though not a raving beauty, her wit and poise more than made up for that.

I was attending our church's school because, suddenly, my mother decided she wanted me to try parochial school. Throughout that long school year I felt keenly the difference between my odd-man-out self, and the other kids who, like K., had been absorbing Adventism since they were in diapers. Though I knew many of them through weekly contact at Sabbath School and twice monthly Pathfinder meetings, I discovered that rubbing shoulders with them five days a week was a whole different ball game. For one thing, I couldn't help but see how "authentic" Adventist families operated. They had set principles upon which they ran their entire households. There was no question of changing their structured lives, ever. They were the foundation and fiber of their individual selves, and of the families they'd created.

My family couldn't have been more different. The principles or belief system upon which our motley crew of a family was allegedly run were subject to change without warning. Today it might be okay to wear jewelry, tomorrow not so much. We watched TV shows the church would have frowned on (many of its members didn't even own TVs.) We ate meat, my step dad smoked, we kids were often allowed to spend money on the Sabbath. As my 9th grade school year advanced, I became more and more painfully aware of these differences. But it was more than this, even. Deep inside I carried a shame which was as insidious as the shame of sexual abuse: the knowledge that my mother had destroyed two marriages to form her new family. Coupled with this was the knowledge that I was a little fraud. Not only was I not an Adventist in the sense that my classmates most decidedly were, I was living under a false alias. I was using my step dad's last name, not my own. Everything about me, when compared with my classmates, seemed phony, right down to my name. But it was so much more than the name itself, it was what my step dad's name symbolized: his ownership of me, his cockiness and perversions. What would these kids think of me if they knew the truth? I was already made fun of by K. and her friends; how much more would they heap scorn on me if they knew my family history?

One thing I eventually began sensing about K. was that beneath her surface teasing, she honestly liked me. I suppose she couldn't afford to let that show, and so I was swept up in the general disdain in which she held all the non-popular students. My instincts were proven correct on the last day of school when K. approached me to ask for my address.

"We could write to each other this summer," she explained, almost shyly. "It'd be a blast."

My heart leapt with joy. The most popular girl--the one I'd admired all school year, in spite of her sometimes cruel treatment of me--desired to correspond with me?

We wrote long letters every week that summer. I loved hers. I loved everything about them, from her unique handwriting to her equally unique sense of humor. On paper she seemed to have rediscovered her soul, her humanity. There was a certain vulnerability about her which she never let show in person, and something akin to humility.

I loved getting and answering those letters. I wish when I'd made my hasty leave-taking of that oppressive home, at the age of 15, that I'd thought to take K.'s letters with me. I don't know what became of them, a loss I'm just beginning to mourn.

I have Facebook to blame for this trip down memory lane. Seldom do I visit there, but the other day I was hoping to track down an old friend from grade school. I found her, and in doing so saw that K. was one of her listed friends. Much to my astonishment K. not only accepted my friend request, she told me just the other day she'd been wondering whatever happened to me. The next day I saw that she'd posted our 9th grade class photo, which I'd never seen before. There I was, front row left, right next to K. herself. I studied my 14 year old self with misty eyes:  I didn't look like a freak, or even a geek. Just an average teenager with a rather pleasant smile. As my gaze lingered on the faces of those long ago classmates I discovered much to my surprise that I remembered all but one or two of them. And why not? After all I saw most of them at many Adventist functions for many years.

There was the girl I thought of as an amazon and who I tried my best to befriend. Oh,  there too was my friend Annie, of the webfoot. How had we lost touch? The last time I recalled seeing her was when my third son was a baby.

My typing teacher was in the photo, the one who taught us that some day God would run a movie projector and show home videos on an enormous screen of every second of our lives. The entire universe would be there to witness every mistake and sin we'd ever committed. The images her prophecy evoked in me added to my already shaky sense of self.

K. and I have now communicated several times  on Facebook. We'll most likely be getting together in the future, after 34 years of no contact. I was as excited when she accepted me as her friend on Facebook as I was all those decades ago when the coolest girl at school asked for my address.

Sometimes I need a brush with my past. I need to feel that sense of having roots, however faulty and damaged those roots may be. I study my 14 year old self in that old photo with wistfulness, and a growing sense of joy. How far I've travelled since then! What a hard road it's been, but look at the beautiful individuals who live in this world because of me, their mother and nana.

Because of me.