Scars

Like many people, I have scars on my body and soul. These scars on my physical body can be seen, but only if I decide to show them to you. They are concealed under my clothes and unless I walk around naked, you will never see them. You will never even know they exist unless I decide to tell you about them. Whether I tell you or show you, my scars are there and have a story to tell about who I am now and who I used to be.

The scars on my soul are less easily dealt with because very often they show themselves before I am able to decide if you should have access to them. These soul scars show in the way I deal with people, situations and the world in general. The wounds that caused the scars were dealt to me starting at the beginning of my life. My parents, two extremely stubborn and mean spirited people, engaged in doing what they knew how to do. My mom told me she never bonded with me as a newborn, my cries for love and nurturing were met with dismissive acts of rejection and physical pain. I cried, she hit. My great grandma Tina told me, that when I was a small, crawling baby, she witnessed my mother kicking me across the room in a fit of anger. My mother doesn’t remember this and dismisses this bit of family history with her usual denial and aggression. Even though I don’t actively remember this particular incident, I have plenty of memories of physical abuse that would corroborate this story. My mother says I was an extremely obstinate child, always pushing the envelope of her nonexistent patience, she would say to the tiny me, don’t touch that or don’t do that. Then I would defiantly touch it or do it, forcing her to brutalize my body in whatever manner was available to her.

My father was completely absent, enraged that my mother would dare to divorce him and so has spent the past fifty plus years pretending my sister and I never existed at all. I never even knew he was anyone until I was about seven years old. For whatever reason these parents decided it was time we girls spent a day with this stranger and his new family at a picnic. I remember asking my sister, who are these people and why are we here with them. She points at our father and says, I think that guy is our real dad. I can remember vividly my head spinning with this statement and utter, absolute confusion set in at that moment and has never left me. I asked my dear sister, she being fourteen months older than I, what are we supposed to call him. I had to go to the bathroom but could only sit on the ground in pain, not knowing who could take me to pee. She and I decided to call him Hey You. Finally I worked up the courage to ask Hey You, can someone please take me to the bathroom. He never corrected this moniker placed on him, nor did anyone else ever help either of us to understand what in hell was going on here. We saw this family a few more times before I turned nine, then never again until I sought him out, sister by my side at twenty one years of age. It was Father’s Day and we invited him to lunch. As soon as he sat down with us, I blurted out where in the hell have you been? He then proceeded to spin a story about our mother and the monumental bitch that she was and still is, and how she prevented him from seeing us all those years. Fact was on his side with this interpretation of events, my mother vehemently denies this story and says with utter conviction that he was the abandoner and that she had nothing to do with it.

Two people, two stories, two abandoned children. No one wins. These parents will both go to their obstinate graves each believing their own stories, not caring about the collateral damage caused by their carelessness, their selfishness and their respective hatred of one another. What continues to amaze and disgust me about these people, is how tenaciously they have both clung to these lies for fifty plus years. Apparently there is no statute of limitation on their need to be right at the expense of their offspring. Since there is no relenting of either side, I am left to assume they are both world class liars and losers, and you know what? Neither of them care one bit about what I or my sister, feel or think. To this very moment in time, there is not a speck of remorse for the behavior or consequences of their actions.

One of the most devastating results of their actions is the fact of what and who we ended up with, our adoptive ‘father’, the predatory pedophile. My mother married him soon after she divorced dear old dad and proceeded to spawn my unfortunate brother with this deviate. My sister and I were toddlers at that time, so he was introduced to us as our real father and we never knew any different until the fateful picnic with that family. Even then nothing made any sense to me so for all intents and purposes this man was the real deal to both of us. As a young child, I was sure that every dad came into his childrens’ bedroom at night to rape and sexually torture the kiddies. I was equally sure that all moms beat and brutalized their children every single day, for any reason whatsoever. I would watch ‘The Brady Bunch’ and think to myself, why don’t they show the molestation and aggravated assault and battery that I was sure was happening to Greg, Marcia, Cindy, Bobby, ect…. it wasn’t until I was a bit older and able to spend time with friends and their families that I understood this doesn’t happen to everyone like I originally thought. What a revelation!

As soon as I was old enough to get that what went on in my house was wrong, I started to run away from them. As early as thirteen years of age, I would routinely climb out of any available window and go to a friend’s house and ask if they would hide me. I spent many a night in someones closet or under a bed, unbeknownst to the parents of these friend’s, a runaway crouching in fear, being helped by benevolent children who understood I needed help. Always being found by the police and dragged back to my abusers, deposited back into the hands of hell until I could find my next opportunity to run. Which I always did. I fought like a caged animal, I considered suicide, I started with the uncontrollable hyper sexuality of an abused child, the sexual light switch having been turned on way too early to ever be controlled. The recipe for disaster cooked up by useless people, simmered on the stove of my life until I was twenty eight years old. The entire fifteen year period of my hapless existence could be a best selling book all by itself.

Rumi once said, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” – See more at: http://www.thinkinghumanity.com/2015/06/8-things-to-remember-when-everything-goes-wrong.html#sthash.9990qiax.JHVVjvsh.dpuf

If this is true and I suspect that it is, I am a wonderously light filled human. I have so many scars both internally and externally, I feel I must be nothing but light. However, the reality is there is no awesome light without awesome dark. There is this tremendous battle in my soul of lightness and darkness, warring eternally inside of myself. I can be unbelievably cruel and hateful one day and the next day the most compassionate and helpful of human beings. I often feel useless, unloveable and discarded, conjuring up horrible left over feelings of shame and degradation, which I can’t help but to spill over to people in my life. Once I realize I am feeling these dark emotions, I attempt to pull back up, like a plane in a deadly fatal down spin, I will ferociously pull back on my steering wheel urging my vehicle back up into the graceful clouds where I spend several days riding this euphoric high. Feeling loved and useful and appreciated and remembered. These scars are the speed bumps of my soul, I glide along on a smooth and even road which lets my guard down, only to hit these obstacles at seventy miles an hour, where I come crashing back into my reality of aloneness.

For the most part, nobody knows the depth of my anguished journey. My scars remain hidden unless I choose to show them to you. I ride along on the rollercoaster of life, screaming in pain or laughing in joy, depending on which turn is in front of me. My life goal is to master these emotional scars so I control them, not them controlling me. My physical scars are much easier to deal with. The right article of clothing placed over them takes care of the situation, once properly placed I can forget about them until the end of the day when I remove the item. Easy cheesy light and breezy. Unfortunately not the same with the internal damage, it has a mind of it’s own, and it will do what it wants unless I am paying massive amounts of attention every single second of every single minute of every single day. I wear my heart on my sleeve and try as I might I can’t hide my pain very easily. It takes a monumental amount of effort to pretend everything is okay on the days that it isn’t. To some degree, each human has been scarred by their own existence. My fondest wish and eternal prayer is that we each treat one another with great respect and reverence for the unseen, internal and external scars which may or may not be readily apparent on any given day.

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Let me tell you why……

Very recently, I was asked by a dear friend whether or not I would enter into another romantic relationship at this point in my life. I am a survivor of domestic violence, and I’ve been out of relationships for almost five years now. My last husband was, at first, someone who looked very good on paper. Little did I know he was even more emotionally damaged than I ever was. He went beyond my deficiency to the point of actual developmental disability. I think perhaps this is why I chose him. My subconscious knew he was in bad shape and I thought I could help him. Probably because of everything I had been through in my battered and unfulfiling love life and having gone through several years of intense analysis, when I met him, I thought I was healed but alas, no, this was not true. And so I sought out, unwittingly, someone just like me.

Growing up, I had no role model of relationship to which I could refer. My own mom had been married four times, twice to the same predatory pedophile. What I experienced growing up was dysfunction to the nth degree and it permanently carved in my brain the exact wrong thing to look for in a person. This is why now I easily admit I have no business being in a love relationship. I have no qualifications that would benefit me or anyone I would associate with.

When you grow up inside extreme abuse, then spend many years pursuing the ideas that formed you, there is nothing you have to offer. Except for jealousy, insecurity, out of control roller coaster emotions that arise out of the opening of the heart once again. Of course  there is the initial attraction that is seemingly untouchable, the dreamy first stages of love are nothing more than a dense fog bank of non reality that cement the physical bond but don’t even crack the seal on the lower, much more important character traits that will eventually rise to the surface. Here is a list of character traits held by people who have been emotionally and/ or physically abused, and this is what we have to offer in love:

  • Can only guess at what healthy behavior is.
  • Tendency towards distraction, rather than inclusion
  • Have trouble completing things
  • Lie when they don’t need to. Lying might have been a survival tactic in the home.
  • Judge themselves without mercy.
  • Have trouble accepting compliments.
  • Often take responsibility for problems, but not successes.
  • Or they go to the other extreme and refuse to take any responsibility for mistakes while trying to take credit for the work of others.
  • Have trouble having fun since their childhoods were lost, stolen, repressed.
  • Take themselves very seriously or not seriously at all.
  • Have difficulty with intimate relationships.
  • Expect others to just “know what they want.” (They can’t express it because they were so often disappointed as children that they learned to stop asking for things.)
  • Over-react to things beyond their control.
  • Constantly seek approval & affirmation.
  • Feel different from others.
  • Are extremely loyal, even when facing overwhelming evidence that their loyalty is undeserved.
  • Are either super responsible or super irresponsible.
  • Tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. (This impulsiveness leads to confusion, self-loathing, and loss of control over their environment. The result is they spend much energy blaming others, feeling victimized and cleaning up messes.
  • We have feelings of low self- esteem (This is a result of being criticized too often as children and teenagers.)
  • We perpetuate these parental messages by judging ourselves and others harshly. We try to cover up our poor opinions of ourselves by being perfectionistic, controlling, contemptuous and gossipy.
  • We tend to isolate ourselves out of fear and we feel often uneasy around other people, especially authority figures.
  • We are desperate for love and approval and will do anything to make people like us.
  • We are afraid of losing others.
  • We are afraid of being abandoned.
  • It is difficult for us to “let go.”
  • We are intimidated by angry people and personal criticism. This adds to our feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.
  • We continue to attract emotionally unavailable people with addictive personalities.
  • We live life as victims, blaming others for our circumstances, and are attracted to other victims (and people with power) as friends and lovers. We confuse love with pity and tend to “love” people we can pity and rescue. And we confuse love with need.
  • We are either super-responsible or super-irresponsible. We take responsibility for solving others’ problems or expect others to be responsible for solving ours. This enables us to avoid being responsible for our own lives and choices.
  • We feel guilty when we stand up for ourselves or act in our own best interests. We give in to others’ needs and opinions instead of taking care of ourselves.
  • We deny, minimize or repress our feelings as a result of our traumatic childhoods. We are unwilling to admit the impact our inability to identify and express our feelings has had on our adult lives.
  • We are dependent personalities who are so terrified of rejection or abandonment that we tend to stay in situations or relationships that are harmful to us. Our fears and dependency stop us from ending unfulfilling relationships and prevent us from entering into fulfilling ones. Because we feel so unlovable it is difficult or impossible to believe anyone can really love us, and won’t eventually leave us once they see how “bad” we are.
  • Denial, isolation, control, shame, and undeserved guilt are legacies from our family. As a result of these symptoms, we feel hopeless and helpless.
  • We have difficulty with intimacy, security, trust, and commitment in our relationships. Lacking clearly defined personal limits and boundaries, we often become codependent.
  • We tend to procrastinate and have difficulty following projects through from beginning to end.
  • We have a strong need to be in control. We overreact to change things over which we have no control.
  • Have a need to be parented –  too immature or childish to be able to think on their own
  • We have a tendency towards self harm, whether that is threatening suicide or practicing harmful  habits like drinking or smoking……

So, all this being said, would you want to date me? I sure hope not. Two people willing to engage with all this going on is a sure road to disaster. I have finally realized that I am much better off unattached because the terrible ending is simply not worth it. This bulleted can of worms will always exist inside my soul. Armed with this knowledge, I seek only to spare myself and any other person this pain filled existence. I still have many years of solitude in front of me before any of these qualities can possibly fall off me. Maybe when I’m in my eighties, I can be a better partner. Then again, maybe not. The final truth is: life can only be managed, not cured.

arrrggghhhh!@#$%%%$………

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Hello world..it’s me again. Today I sit here and contemplate the ongoing and senseless suffering that is inflicted upon animals by human beings. There is a neat little web page called google plus and if you have a google email account you can click on the + next to your name and off you go into the world of photos and stories that are posted by regular, everyday people. Each day, there are hundreds of new posts containing photos and stories of anything and everything.

As I scroll down the page, I am greeted by so many adorable posts by loving pet owners all around the world. Until I get to the ones showing violent and horrific treatment, caught by someone’s ever ready camera. Today, I saw a picture of a dog, hanged by it’s neck on the back of a police van traveling down some road somewhere. The ever alert photographer snapped the pic and posted it. The script does not tell me what action the observer took to remedy the situation or even if the poor dog was still alive. It simply shows the fact that someone somehow, did this on purpose or not, simply a commentary on life today and how we treat animals in general.

I love animals. All animals, even spiders and snakes. I take it very personally when I see mistreatment of any creature. I have signed and shared dozens of animal rights petitions, and I seriously wonder if that does any good at all.

I only recently started to understand the violence and horror that all animals go through each and every single day. This is either at the hands of complete strangers in the everyday world, scientists using and abusing animals to test makeup or pesticides or anything that someone can make a buck from. This terrible behavior happens from pet owners too, all the time. Last week I saw video footage of a paid dog walker, kicking the hell out of a dog he was being paid to care for, in an elevator where he thought no-one could see him. Then there is the infamous practice of people in developing countries that round up, torture, skin alive and kill dogs for meat.

There is the pretty young woman who takes vacation days form her corporate office and pays big bucks to go the African countryside to lie in wait, hunt down, track and shoot with a high powered rifle, any animal she feels like killing that day. Giraffes, lions, rhinos, wolves, then she takes a pretty picture and posts it right in the g+ feed, proud as she can be. this daily dose of heartache is probably easily remedied by simply not looking at it, right? I guess that would be a valid approach to all information everywhere, every single day. No news, no facebook, no g+, no conversations with any person ever, just bury my head in the sand and only focus on my tiny little life, my backyard, my thoughts alone with no input ever from anyone or anything. This behavior would end my pain but not the animals. One thing I know for sure is, just because you can, does not mean you should. Where is universal compassion and respect for all life? I can’t even kill an ant inside my house now, I find a piece of paper, coax the ant onto it and release it back into my yard. I might be too sensitive for the world and the killing and the pointless pain released every single minute.

Everyone with a camera should also have a bag of tools with them so they can free or save whatever animal they are photographing. What can a weak hearted human do with the blatant fact of cruelty to animals in the world? I salute and deeply thank all the people in the world who actually do go out and do something about this ongoing and everlasting crisis. This lion photo shows what I am going to do, at least for now.

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Death….

The last hurrah, the closing bell, the graveyard shift. If you are alive, you know death awaits. We are all born with a death sentence. We just don’t get to know the circumstances, the method, or how much it will hurt. All human life that is capable of forming a thought, has an opinion on death. A lot of people have said to me, I hope I die in my sleep, I just wanna go to sleep, maybe even have plans for the next day, and simply never wake up. Personally I feel that dying is last thing I get to do in this body, so I want to be wide awake and aware of what’s happening.

We all know someone who has died. Quite a lot of people have had near death experiences, and most walk away with a renewed sense of wanting life, if they survive to live again. It’s the one sure thing that idles in the background of each individual life and it’s the one thing most folks won’t talk about. Expiration, decease, departure, demise, passing over, eternal rest, just to name a few terms we are scared to face, but it doesn’t matter, you will die anyway, scared or not, want to or not, doesn’t matter. So, in light of this predicament, can we talk about it?

A dear friend of mine is old, unwell, on medications, can’t move or take care  of herself. She is facing the end. She says she is ready to go, that she has had enough of the torment of a pain filled life and she is ready to get out. I sat with her yesterday, maybe more for me than for her, I’m not sure. I did not want her to eventually become so incapacitated that she and I couldn’t even talk. So I went and sat. She spoke of her dear daughter who has dropped everything in her life to care for this sweet friend of mine. I could tell she has some guilt over all this care and attention, having always been a bull of a little lady, raising kids, helping neighbors, stretching a buck to oblivion for her family, her life. All she can do now is sit in the chair and let people help her. She is one of the lucky ones to have her daughter and the ability to stay in her own home. One of the lucky few.

My grandmother is 92, Grandpa died three years ago, she has dementia and alzheimers, and she lives in a small group home for oldsters on the way out. As far as old folks homes go, this one is fairly decent and seems to be taking pretty good care of her. It was the only thing my grandpa was concerned about as he lay dying, that she be well taken care for the rest of her life. No-one and nothing else mattered but that and that is how he lived his life too, he did almost everything for her and now she doesn’t even know he’s dead. She thinks he is picking her up later to take her back home. She waits by door and she had to have an ankle monitor put on her so she couldn’t slip out the door looking for him. She thinks he doesn’t know where she is and she frets over this feeling constantly.

My plan for old age is to stay in my home for as long as I can, hopefully until the very end.I have decided that I will live to one hundred and six years of age and will be spry mentally and physically until my last days or hours, and I want to be fully awake when I pass over because I know that when this body dies, my soul lives on eternally. My fondest desire is that upon seeing where I am headed I can say to my loved ones, I see it! I see it it’s real! All is well, do not fear it, embrace it for it is where the next chapter begins. I am not married, no boyfriend, I have a sister and a mom and a daughter and some dear friends and if they are able to be by my side at the end, I want to assure them of what happens next that is so totally fantastic and wonderful, that I will be fine, they will be fine, all is well.

I don’t think death is a sad thing. I feel it is a paradise, this passing into a parting, a quietus release to afterlife where all the questions are no longer relevant, only silent repose where you can finally hear the stardust that calls your name. I firmly believe in eternity and I assert that we all elected to come here to this realm and take on these human bodies which are just so extraordinary and special. We all have deeply hidden knowledge and remembrance of our ancient home and if we did remember it here, it would only serve to cause anxiety, because if you feel like you are not home then you are restless, dissatisfied with what you are experiencing, but after death…well then we get to remember what we forgot. Awesome.

I don’t know why I am so sure of all this but I am sure of it. When I was younger I feared death, I couldn’t even think about it without losing my shit. Then I had my daughter and I became unshakeable in the face of eternal rest. I did not want her to be afraid so I was a lion, unwavering in my courage. I wanted to pass this victorious outlook to her, but alas, she was afraid anyway. As an adult, she does not want to talk about anything having to do with death, all made the more impossible when I contracted cancer two years ago.

I hope that when it’s your turn to buy the farm, to go to the great beyond, to take a permanent dirt nap, that you will be overjoyed by what you encounter ‘over there’. I hope you don’t spend your whole life living in fear of death either. No, you are simply supposed to live your life, go about doing good and as little harm as possible, practicing forgiveness and gratitude and valuing yourself and all life, for as long as you shall live. For me, I’ll see you in fifty three years……