Honey; Weaving A Tapestry of Healing Out of the Threads That Connect the Past to the Present

About twenty three years ago, I worked as a horse trainer apprentice and barn manager at a Quarter Horse farm. I had answered a classified ad in the paper after my job as lead singer in a house band aboard a dinner cruise ship had just ended. I went from dressing fancy six nights a week, and getting paid well to live a Diva lifestyle, to five days a week, twelve hour days, dirty and dead tired, for $25 a day. Horses equaled happiness, and I was spiraling into Depression after losing my job, my dog, and all hope for the success of my crumbling marriage at the time. I felt defeated, and it seemed like a miracle that might help revive me.

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On my first day, I was one of fifteen women who came out to vie for this position. We were set to task with the work increasing in difficulty, as if it were a competition to see who was the toughest.  The old man singled me out and tried to break me like he did his horses. He would stand over me and bark belittling criticisms at me, as if I were at Marine bootcamp. His wife found me in a stall, crying and shaking.

I confided about my marriage and Depression. She told me her own similar story. She told me that her husband was only trying to toughen me up, and if I really wanted the job, to hang in there. Dreams come true. He was her  happy ending. At the end of the week, I got the job.

I had walked into a familiar landmine when I dusted myself off that first day, and felt the determination to prove myself to this man who was wickedly abusive to me. I wanted a father figure so badly that I sought his approval, like a monkey swinging to the next vine, convinced that I could re-create the one I never had. It turned out to be both heaven and hell.  But there were horses, and I loved them.

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There was a beautiful, pedigreed chestnut mare there named Honey, who was in foal. I had held the twitch on her lip the day she was force-bred to a well-known, blue-ribbon stallion whose name I can’t remember. There are lots of memories I have tried to block out from my time there. But Honey was special, sweet, and silly.

Fast forward to now. There is a horse named Honey who has returned to Mill Swamp after being away for ten years. She was a special horse to Steve, and her return was a welcome surprise. Honey is a registered Paint mare, all white, with a large chestnut colored spot on her right flank and belly. She has crystal clear blue eyes like large marbles. I had the pleasure of riding her on Sunday.

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That is the back story to a story I have been attempting to tell for two days. It has continued to disappear or fall apart so many times that I’ve lost count! I didn’t  consider sharing it until I saw a friend make a comment to Steve on Facebook, saying that Honey came there for a reason. Suddenly, I recalled my experience earlier in the day and put all the pieces together, knowing that I was part of Honey’s reason for coming back.

I realize that sounds self-agrandizing. Maybe that is why I have struggled to put what I want to say about Honey and what her being there means, into words. Honey present and Honey previous connected in a very cool way to show me something extremely valuable.

I had shown up, thinking I would ride Shunk, but he was in endurance prep mode with another rider, so that is how I met Honey. I had no reservations about riding this new horse, who apparently is not considered to be a comfortable ride, by those who  knew her from her earlier days. When I met her she felt familiar to me. She had a special sweetness about her. As I was riding, a memory and lots of long-buried feelings came flooding back to me as I thought about old Honey. It was a traumatic experience that had been filed away because the cumulative awful things that had happened to me during my time at Clark Quarter Horses had such a negative impact, that this one event had to be forgotten for my sanity’s sake.

Part of me was enjoying the connection to Steve’s Honey as we took a leisurely ride, while my mind replayed a certain day’s unfortunate events.

Flashback to a weekend alone at the Quarter Horse farm, when I was left in charge while they were away at a horse show. It was evening, and the mares had not come in. There was a long rectangular fenced area that lead to 4 different pastures, with a small gate connecting each one. Usually they were all there at feeding time, ready to go back to their stalls. I saddled up and rode out to gently herd them back. I was walking behind them when something spooked my horse, making her leap into a canter, and causing the eight or nine mares to charge through the gate at the same time, in a frenzy. I watched as Honey got impaled by the fence post. I  managed to get her to the barn and put her in cross ties while I called the vet. I was terrified that she may lose her baby or not survive herself, and felt so guilty. When I looked at the huge, gaping hole, bigger than a baseball, and saw the level of distress she was in, I almost lost it. All I wanted to do was comfort and console her, and tell her how sorry I was. If anything happened to her or her foal, I would be in big trouble.

After what seemed like forever, the vet arrived. I can’t remember anything else, except that Honey and foal were going to be alright, but intense daily cleaning was necessary.

My body did not respond to this trigger, although I was feeling all the fear and sadness that would usually cripple me. By the ride’s end, I had watched the footage of that traumatic event play out vividly in my mind, but I forgave myself instead of self-loathing. It was so empowering, taking my demon slaying to a whole new level. I thanked both Honey’s to myself, for their role in bringing this memory out of the shadows and into the light. It was Sunday, and this was my church. I pondered the immense significance of the day’s events the whole way home.

Later, “Honey obviously came back for a reason” became clear to me. Honey’s one chestnut spot is in the exact location where dear old Honey had been wounded by the post.

So, she did come back for a good reason, through time and space, to give me the closure and strength I needed to continue shining a light in all my dark places. She had a perfect, beautiful and healthy foal and lived happily-ever-after. (because they moved away from that horrible man, and his wife was soon to folllow).

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The Horse Who Showed Me The Way

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I love this artist’s simple, gestural drawings and words of inspiration. This particular one has caused me to reflect on the impact that one horse has made in my healing journey.

FB_IMG_1561724275548 It’s no secret that I have a special love for one horse above all others. Ta Sunka Witco came into my life 2 years ago, when I first discovered Mill Swamp Indian Horses, after several months of asking, “Who should I ride today?” I had enjoyed Roxy’s smooth gait, and was clear about not wanting to deal with a challenging horse that could land me another broken limb. Once in a lifetime was good enough. After all, I hadn’t ridden in 20 yrs, never thought I would again, and was learning to do it as if it were a totally new experience. I had worked as a horse trainer apprentice and barn manager at a quarter horse farm when I had my traumatic accident, but it was wonderful to erase the past and begin anew, especially since I was new to Natural Horsemanship.

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From the moment I got on him, he felt unlike any other horse. He had a majestic strength that gave me chills, and I felt an immediate deep connection with him. Not much for fanfare, “Shunk” as we call him for short, was very sure of himself, but not in a cocky way. Perhaps not the most handsome or regal horse on the lot, he possessed a quiet confidence that made me feel safe, and until very recently, he was the only horse I rode.

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Shunk is an older gelding. He is a Choctaw Colonial Spanish Mustang who’s grandsire was a famous Medicine Hat stallion named Choctaw Sun Dance.

A Medicine Hat is a Paint  horse with special markings. As described by Vicki Ives, his beloved owner, “A paint with a particular spot over ears like a cap, spot over the head to protect from enemy behind, shield over chest to protect from enemy in front. Native Americans believed a warrior who rode a Medicine Hat could not be killed in battle due to the special magic of his horse.”

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Magic runs in Shunk’s bloodlines. It wasn’t long before I realized this. Not only is he a descendant of the horses famous for carrying the displaced Indians on The Trail of Tears, and The Pony Express, he has a unicorn spirit. This was something that I felt was very strongly communicated to me. In my life, he is a creature unlike any other, Heaven-sent to carry me and lead me in many ways. He has taught me to trust. He has taught me to believe in myself as a leader, and to find my voice. He has taught me how to walk through fear, and to recognize my worth. He has taught me when to hold on tight and when to let go, and given me the wisdom to discern what is needed in any given situation.

 

 

He is not without a ” bad boy” past. He was once a mighty stallion who could not be contained, but is now a devoted, protective herd boss who is very particular about who he accepts. Unlike me, he is not given over to folly and maintains a fairly formal, “business-like” attitude. He has a job to do and he takes it very seriously. I am animated, adoring, and chatty. We both learn from each other. Sometimes I get a very clear message that I need to stop talking. I can’t begin to tell you what helpful advice this is. That’s not to say that he doesn’t indulge my whimsy. No no. On the contrary, he understands and accepts me as I am, even if I am too huggy and demanding of kisses. He is not showy with his affection, and exhibits no favoritism. He is just there for me, fully present in his role as teacher, healer, faithful unicorn steed. He is a magnificent horse.

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His strength and steadfast endurance make him the most handsome creature to me, but his magical abilities have the power to transform any trepidatious rider and build their confidence too. He has taught me that showing up, unwavering in support, is the greatest form of loving.

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My boyfriend may be a bit jealous of the time and attention that I give to Shunk, but he knows the value of it. Putting my trust in a wild Mustang has paved the way for me to, at long last, trust in his devotion and love for me.

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This past Sunday, my beloved gave me a gift greater than any amount of money.  It was an act so selfless and poignant, that I never again will doubt his commitment to me.

He took my mother to my stepfather’s memorial service in my place. He refused to stand by and watch me be guilted into doing something I had solid resolve to avoid.

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He stood in the gap, and I let him. There is no more waiting for the other shoe to drop, so-to-speak. If I hadn’t had these years of building trust with Shunk and getting to better understand myself through things only a horse with unicorn magic can teach, I would not have this elated, joyful release of knowing I am deeply loved, and SAFE.

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A favorite Bible verse that comes to me often is 1John 4:18 PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT Fear. There is no fear in Love. Showing up with unconditional love is a gift of divine brilliance no diamond could ever outshine.

 

 

Complex PTSD; Anatomy of a Trigger

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I have wanted to talk about triggers, the anatomy of a panic attack, and what that looks like for me as a person living with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, for some time.

Having been feeling very optimistic and experiencing a beautiful reprieve that drastically improved my attitude and strength was so blissful that I began to feel I had truly turned a corner in my healing journey, and though I knew it was still an important thing to share, I was not ready to revisit my suffering just yet. I wanted to give myself time to swim and splash in the healing waters. Sometimes the universe, (God) has different plans.

It is hard not to get angry. I have held onto my faith, even if by a thread at times, and I will continue to do so. Belief takes action. Anger is a default. I am willing to do whatever is necessary to change that. I start by not feeling guilty that I don’t want to communicate with my dysfunctional family who have no understanding of how this illness affects me, by not making excuses for declining social invitations, or answering phone calls. I am putting myself first.

During these past few months I have watched potentially triggering things on TV and been able to point them out, stay in the moment, and watch them pass. I have successfully dealt with a panic attack on the trail while riding by talking about my trigger with someone who would listen and allow that wounded child’s voice to be heard. But sometimes the painful memories, or the feelings of sadness and helplessness that they trigger, rise up from deep in the body in a manner in which they cannot be contained. My adult self disappears, as if suddenly held captive by this trapped energy that only allows me to see, hear, and feel as the child who survived this trauma.  I am blindsided. 

Dealing with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a challenge made bigger by the lack of information and support available. The difference with the Complex label has to do with the age and duration that the abuse took place.

The first thing I want to do when processing my painful, debilitating, triggered episodes, is to find comfort in knowing my symptoms are shared by others. This is so important to me because I feel like a freak in that fugue state following the trigger. Coming up empty in my search, I decided it was critical to explain what I experience, not just for other survivors, but for the people who may witness me in the midst of one of these episodes, as well as loved ones who struggle to understand.

There are two distinct responses to my triggers. One involves cumulative, excessive stress that I strive to overcome. I am determined to power through it, no matter how much it depletes my stores until something, either a situation, or words that hit the “no going back” trigger, causes my body to completely shut itself down. If I am standing, I will immediately slump to the ground and “freeze”. This is called the faint and freeze response which is the opposite of the fight or flight response. This happens in the wild when an animal fears inescapable death. They freeze, or play dead. In this state respiration slows, eyes become fixed, I am unresponsive, having retreated deep within myself where the harrowing enormity of what caused this can cause me no further harm. This usually lands me a visit from paramedics and a trip to the ER where Dr’s  and staff crowd around me, poking and pinching, using painful attempts to get me to “come to” . With each failure to get me to show signs of life, the methods increase in force, as they all stand by, utterly perplexed. One important thing to note is that I can see and hear everything going on around me. I cannot speak, I cannot move or even blink. I am paralyzed, trapped somewhere safely, deep inside, where I can wait until the threat has passed. I can feel the pain, it’s just a matter of enduring it so as not to be forced from that safe place. 

It takes a decent span of torture time before I make my way back  at the sharp prodding of a toe so excruciatingly painful that I bolt upright gasping for air and hyperventilating, as if  rising from the dead. It’s as if they have never witnessed any such thing. I must be the only person who has ever displayed such symptoms. I question my own sanity. 

One time a Dr kept applying very painful pressure to my sternum in an attempt to make me tell him my name, telling me they would not help me if I did not comply. Even with tears streaming out the sides of my eyes, there was no empathy for me. At that point they could have cut off a finger and I still wouldn’t have made a peep. 

There was one very kind older Dr during one of these trips. He seemed to understand what was going on. He spoke gently as he held my hand, and reassured me in a most loving way, that everything was going to be alright. I fell into a deep sleep after that, not from any medication being administered, but from the soothing nature of his words, which had been directed at the trapped, wounded child in me.

Western Medicine, particularly as it relates to ER protocol and training, is USELESS in helping people suffering from all forms of PTSD, and mental lillness in general. No wonder the suicide rates are so high. The pain generated from the flashbacks and memories of suffering trapped inside the body feel like unbearable torture. To know that there is absolutely no-one coming to rescue you from that battlefield is like fearing imminent death. In my usual state, I know that this threat holds no power over me.

That brings me to my second trauma stimuli response. They are always brought on by a trigger. These triggers can take the form of sights, sounds, smells, or actions that seem to trip a switch in my mind. It feels like instantly being in a different reality. I am looking out through my adult eyes, but I am seeing a memory from the past through my child eyes that witnessed it, complete with the feelings of terror and desperate need for rescue. Sometimes I am triggered and experiencing a trauma from my adult life, but the child shows up because I have been piggy back triggered; a double whammy that starts off as a traumatic memory from adulthood that then triggers intense fear and sadness from a childhood experience.

One minute I am my happy, witty self, engaged in whatever it is I am doing, the next I am overwhelmed by deep sadness, fear, and helplessness. I cannot shake it off. It comes on like a tsunami and I begin crying uncontrollably, gasping for air, covering my face,  as if doing so makes me disappear. Other times I hide in my closet where I can make myself as small and undetectable as possible, or if in public, I sit and hold myself, rocking back and forth, inconsolable. It is extremely humiliating. I am unable to communicate as my adult self. I am held captive, as an observer, powerless until those emotions subside. It doesn’t end there.  Something happens in my brain, leaving me despondent. It feels as if a wire has been cut. I am deeply depressed and cannot hold back tears. Physically, I am exhausted, as if I had just run a marathon and been tripped at the finish line. This phase of paralyzation varies in length from one day to several weeks.

The longer it takes me to recover, the deeper into Depression I go. I cannot simply “snap out of it” . I am not wallowing. I think it is like being struck by lightening. There has been an electrical surge that has altered my chemistry. I struggle not to loathe my setback, regretting having felt so triumphant and shouting it from the rooftops. I feel raw, skinless, unprotected and vulnerable. And my body feels heavy like lead.

I know that this negative, trapped energy needs to be released. Unfortunately I cannot afford weekly massages, which I believe would be a tremendous help. This is where horses have had the biggest impact on getting me out from underneath all the weight. Whenever I feel my mental illness robbing me of all control, I know that it gets restored whenever I am able to ride. The harder, the better. When I can do something that brings me joy, that I am good at, it gives me hope. 

“At times, it seems as though the depth of suffering and blackness, the downgoing, penetrates the psyche and breaks the barrier between the human and the divine so that the grace of the divine may respond.”

From PREGNANT DARKNESS; ALCHEMY AND THE REBIRTH OF CONSCIOUSNESS by Monika Wikman

The Breakdown

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Breath; it is the essence of life, yet such an easy thing to take for granted. I have experienced emotional suffering so intense that it left me gasping for air. 

The deepest breaths I ever took were in pushing new life into this world, and it is that child who knocks the wind right out of me sometimes, as only a teenage daughter can.

I’ve tried my best to be the mother who protected her daughter at all costs guiding her in a way that my mother was not able to do for me. It has proven to be a task that has been sabotaged every step of the way, despite my will. Not only did I survive my abusive childhood and first marriage, but I survived a revictimization by the father of this child that grinded my heart, soul, and spirit to near dust. Allowing other people’s cruelty, ignorance, and lack of boundaries to shape my opinion of my success as a mother is exactly how I had grown up feeling about myself. It was the result of the behavior that had been modeled to me.

It is no small feat, coming back to life, learning how to move beyond desecration to a place of balance and forgiveness. If you imagine a ruler, with rage being at one end and forgiveness at the other, there are a whole lot of millimeters in between to get from one end to the other. Each one consists of all the stages of grief, and varying degrees of the “one step forward, three (or 5, or 42) steps back” thing. It’s the healing process, and it is just as painful and life-altering as the abuse was.

I am not sharing this story out of shaming or vengeance. I have forgiven every one of the people who have hurt me. In the process I have tried to hold them accountable, but how or whether or not they take responsibility for it is out of my control. Sometimes that forgiveness is an ongoing process. The only thing I realize that I can control is how I respond, including being triggered, which is the ultimate lack of control. Having CPTSD may be part of my reality, but I can choose to find the best way of dealing with it that facilitates growth instead of keeping me stuck, and remaining at the mercy of it. 

Everyone has their own story. Not everyone is able to talk about theirs. Many have repressed the memories of their trauma or are actively numbing them through addiction. My healing has come from releasing these negative emotions that were woven into my core as a result of my experiences, as if my life were nothing but a bad tattoo.  I thought it was just an ugly stain that I had no choice but to live with. I never imagined that I could use what was there to transform it into something spectacularly beautiful, something that not only I would be proud to display, but that others would be inspired by instead of recoiling at.

I used to be so devastated by grief over my perceived failure as a mom that it led to a complete mental breakdown resulting in a week long stay at an in-patient crisis stabilization center. More than that, I had allowed years of brutish, insensitive, controlling behavior strip me of believing I could ever escape this cycle of abuse, and I couldn’t bear the thought of my own precious child growing up to find herself in the same situation. The pressure had reached its boiling point until one day it exploded. FB_IMG_1554078181185

The week leading up to it, I felt my stress level reaching its peak. I could no longer order my thoughts without a sense of impending doom so heavy that every minute I was awake felt like I was fighting a fire-breathing dragon, moving at a snail’s pace to escape and narrowly escaping it’s flames. If I was not sleeping, I was shaking in terror and wailing in fear. I pleaded for help. I let everyone know that I was not okay. I was supposed to work the day it all came to a head, but I had worked the day before and knew that I was incapable of  maintaining composure so I found someone to replace me and apologized to my client for having a family emergency.

My heart broke that I was incapable of keeping my child from witnessing me literally losing my mind, which served to intensify my suffering to the point that I said I was afraid I might hurt myself if I was not taken to the ER immediately. My plea went ignored and I don’t know how I survived the night without jumping out of my window. I don’t remember where my daughter was. Her Dad and I were separated and involved with other people, but still sharing the house, and I know that he did not want his plans ruined by my mental health crisis and likely took our child to stay the night at his girlfriend’s where she had a playmate.

I woke up the next morning, crazed and lashing out at the people who loved me and were trying to help. I felt as if they had abandoned me in my darkest hour, and at this point their assistance seemed too little, too late. In my recollection of what followed it’s as if some wiser, stronger part of myself or some angelic force took control. I packed a bag with clothes, pajamas, and essentials, including a blank journal, and walked, about 3 miles, to the hospital. I had not eaten or had any water in days. I was crying,  my face contorted with grief. I felt extremely weak and vulnerable. A large portion of my journey stretched through a part of town I should never have walked through, even in a healthy state, but even though there was a man attempting to get me in his car, I kept my eyes down and marched on with a supernatural strength and determination. That bag on my back was not light. I don’t remember how I crossed busy roads or avoided drawing any further attention to myself in this bedraggled state except to say that somewhere, deep inside, I knew it was all happening for a reason. I felt dead, but I somehow managed to get myself where I needed to be without the help of anyone else. I collapsed in a heap the moment I stepped through the hospital doors.

I found myself in the clean, empty space I so desperately longed for, that I needed in order to heal. A room with 4 white walls and two beds. I was lucky to have the room to myself for 2 of the 6 days I was there. I wrote in my journal feverishly, every available moment I had, but for taking the time to read an empowering memoir. It was during that time that I knew my own memoir was presenting itself to me. It took a breakdown for me to have a writing breakthrough.  20190331_193749

I always have at least 3 or 4 blank journals at any given time, but I believe the one I had chosen was pre-destined by a random sense of urgency that took place one evening while out taking a friend to run errands with my boyfriend. I was suddenly overcome by a need to run into TJMaxx to get something I said that I needed. Knowing that there is no such thing as a quick trip to my favorite store, there was hesitation as to the validity of this supposed necessity. After all, when asked what it was that I was in such desperate need of (with ten minutes until closing time), my response was  “I don’t know yet”. I ran in, went straight to the journals, and picked up one that said, Wherever YOU go, Go with ALL your HEART, written on the cover. That was the thing I needed. I didn’t know why, at the time, I just trusted my gut. 20190331_192440

Whenever I know, without questioning something, because it is a feeling that resonates deeply within me, that is my gift of intuition. I have had it as far back as I can remember. It began with the awareness at a very young age, of seeing the pain I was experiencing in childhood multiply and hold me back until mid-life, at which time I would learn to utilize my many talents.

I am, as I’ve said before, a late bloomer. To go along with that analogy I speak metaphorically. In order for a plant to bloom and thrive, there are conditions that have to be met. The soil must be rich in nutrients, and it needs sunshine and rain. Ground that is not fertile soil will not yield any gain. People are very similar. Repeating the same pattern of dysfunction that continues to  oppress them, because that is the behavior that was modeled to them since early childhood, strangles the ability for them to grow. It has taken me half a century to understand that I am worthy of success, joy, peace, and love. It has taken me all that time to truly grasp what love is supposed to feel like. I am with someone who found an old seed and saw the potential in nurturing it. I would never have been reunited with him if I hadn’t first been able to see that in myself. 

I have fought very hard to be where I am, against great odds. I have had my mental health struggles exploited and thrown in my face as a means of holding me down. I have never been able to understand why people do such hurtful things, but innately I know that those people are damaged or hurting themselves. I am looking back at all of my experiences and I finally see what an incredibly strong, BADASS woman I am because of them!  I never lost hope in love. I never gave up wanting to overcome my fear that bad people and negative circumstances would always find me easy prey.  It is with that same fierce determination that I will continue  moving forward, knowing that the road will rise to meet my every step. I will continue to draw amazing, uplifting, and healing people, especially men of integrity, into my life.   

I can breathe more deeply than I feel like I ever have before. Asthma, smathsma. And I have the app evidence to prove it. ( My oxygen is at 100%! Never seen that!) Screenshot_20190331-191955_Samsung Health

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the things we take for granted. Just BREATHE.

The Wheel of Misfortune

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I remember the TV commercial jingle that said “You will learn about life when you play the Game of LIFE.” Is irony the word I’m looking for here? I’m 52 and still trying to figure out life. Playing the board game, filling up my little car with tiny pink plastic pegs, did nothing to help me navigate the real thing. NOBODY would ever want to play that game.

The song playing in my head as I’m writing is, Is That All There Is? by Peggy Lee. Talk about a song that hit me like a ton of bricks. I don’t think, when I first heard it, that I was ready to move beyond the infallible folly of my youth and therefore I immediately felt the sting of beckoning adulthood and the looming existential crisis that I was not yet ready take on.

Not so coincidentally, it was around this time, when I was nineteen, that I experienced my first Major Depressive episode. I believe it was also when I discovered the word “lugubria”. My human mind subconsciously built a little nest around it, never before having experienced a “living word”, that is to say, a word that felt like the very embodiment of my existence. This, of course, was before I found Jesus and the Living Word as it is known to Christians. PTL! (I come from the time when LOL meant “lots of love” and I have the yearbooks to prove it. And for anyone reading this under the age of 40, PTL means Praise The Lord.)

Here is the origin and history of the word LUGUBRIA as described by WordSense.eu:

“From lūgeō (“mourn, lament”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *leug- (“to break, to injure”). Cognates include Ancient Greek λυγρός (lugros, “mournful, sad”), Sanskrit रुजति (rujati, “torments, breaks”) and Latvian lauzit (“to break the heart”).”

Prior to my discovering this word, all the other words that I could attach to my pervasive feelings up to that point in my life never fully encompassed how I experienced them. All I knew was the sum of life’s cruel injustices, in fragments, like spokes on a bicycle wheel, and the manner in which I had learned to hold on as it spun continuously, out of my control. It was just my life.

I was born with a heart that seeks harmony and loves deeply. I am so grateful that, despite the dizzying lamentations that underscored everything in my childhood, I could experience joy and be transfixed by the beauty of things. I had a constant longing for the father who died, mourning that void forever, through the eyes of a two-year old. That same two-year old does not know how to make sense of my fifty two-year old self. I was never properly parented, and here I am trying my best to parent a teenage daughter, while figuring out how to comfort and care for this inconsolable toddler who is still very much alive in me. And, she’s not alone. There are many others.

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I am telling my story now because it was a secret I was forced to keep for half my life. I somehow knew from a young age that one day, my voice would come out, loud and strong, unlike the nightmares I still have where I am being attacked by demons and trying desperately to scream for help, but my tongue doesn’t work and I cannot form words or make a sound. There is much to understand about the dynamics and rippling effects of a dysfunctional family. This is not me “dwelling on the past” as some like to say. Instead, it’s a map to be studied, to chart my path to healing, to mark the dead ends and fallen bridges in bold Sharpie in hopes of saving others from getting lost, or plunging to their deaths.

My story is but one out of millions, many far more devastating than mine. Victim’s stories are very uncomfortable to hear and often hard to comprehend. I think that is why we have been afraid to tell them. The very thought of exposing the unsavory truth (they call them “dirty” secrets for a reason) only to face ridicule and judgement, is practically unbearable. It is like the story of how the lobster sheds it’s shell. The stimulus for the Lobster to be able to grow is that it feels uncomfortable. Some of us have found ways to numb ourselves, while others are driven to continue molting until they no longer feel uncomfortable. I have done both on my journey here. This is why I have overflowing unconditional love for addicts and misfits. (Though at times, for safety purposes, from a distance!) I am an empath and my calling is to bring healing. Wherever my story leads me, if it helps even just one single person, it will have been worth facing the ugly stigma that has labeled me as mentally ill. I am not ashamed to say I live with mental illness. What choice do I have? This is the only life I have, and I want it to make a positive impact on this world. I WANT TO TURN MY MOTHER*-#*!!$ LEMONS INTO LEMONADE, OK?

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This is your chance to stop reading if you don’t want to know the reality of so many innocent children who were forced to mature into bodies that store every memory of every physical violation perpetrated upon them. It is hard to read, and even harder to write. I’ve been trying to do this for months. I began writing in in July. The amount of courage and strength required to overcome my fears renders me completely spent. It is something that I have to do, with the most earnest hope that my voice will finally matter. I’m holding space and speaking out for those who continue living in fear and keeping secrets.

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In the beginning

My stepfather, Ed, who latched onto my mother’s vulnerability and naivete’ at a Parent’s Without Partners meeting, won the child molestor lottery when he hitched his Deadbeat Dad-wagon to my mother’s bright and shining star, just before my third birthday. I wasn’t broken until he set out to define fatherhood for me, my two sisters and brother.

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Being the baby, I was very close to my mom. I remember being so happy to see her happy, because I was there for her devastation after my father left her widowed with four children out of the blue, and it scarred me.

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Three year-old Valerie thought getting a new Daddy and having her mother so filled with joy meant no more tears. As all toddlers do, I just wanted to feel safe and secure and never have to fear the loss of a loved one or think my dear momma could die from sorrow. That’s a real thing you know, people dying from grief. I’m still here, which is a testament to my strength.

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The most important time in a child’s development takes place within the first three years of life. My stepfather did not waste any time before he perverted what love meant and shaped my world into the embodiment of lugubria. Fifty years later, and I’m still trying to pick up the pieces of myself and fashion them together into something that doesn’t make me want to cut myself every time I look in a mirror. You see, I was made to believe that my silence was what protected my mother and held my world together. It’s the same script used by predators to control their victim through intimidation and fear. It goes like this; stepfather makes child think that she is special and that his molestation is an act of love. Innocent child thinks that a parent’s love is pure and her survival depends on trusting that they exist to protect and nurture her. She has only ever known pure love, so she doesn’t know that what he is doing is wrong. Child’s body responds to feelings it doesn’t understand, and since she is not experiencing physical pain, she trusts him. He tells her that the molestation is a secret she can never tell because people don’t understand how special his love for her is, and he would go to jail, and her mother would die from a broken heart leaving her alone and helpless in the world with no one to take care of her. Child is four and her parents ARE her world. Knowing that losing her mother is her biggest fear, she guards this secret with her life, and in so doing becomes her mother’s protector.

That is some very seriously fucked up shit. I was plagued by nightmares, and spent long periods of time contemplating the terror of being left alone, and thinking about what I would do to survive. I was sad, very lonely, confused, and terrified. This was a burden that no child should have to bear. A small child should never feel responsible for protecting her mother, but instead be the one protected and nurtured. I was also very angry. My mother would tell me to “go cuddle your father”. I would go downstairs to their bedroom where he would be lying in bed with no clothes on, and then the door would be shut. I don’t know why my mother did that. My shame comes from going to sit at the top of the stairs in my pajamas and desiring to be told to go do this cuddling thing, because it felt good, and my Momma was encouraging it, so it couldn’t be wrong. Children have a natural desire to please their parents. This was not natural. A five-year old does not understand that. Somewhere along the way I tried to understand how, if he could go to jail for what he was doing, and it would break my mother, how did she not know what was happening to me when she would order me to go to him? The thought that she could be willingly sacrificing me was unbearable. I was keeping this secret to protect her, so there was no way that she would not be doing the same for me, her baby. These are the things that swirled in my head, creating more feelings I was incapable of understanding, feelings that made me pull smaller wandering children into the clothing racks at the discount department store and shake them until they started to cry before pushing them out, screaming, to their frantic mothers. I became a pathological liar when questioned. I am pained by this, although now it seems to amuse those I tell, in some pathetic darkly comic way. I think they just love and understand me and think, “Of course little Val would do that.” This passive aggressive behavior became a coping skill I have perfected to an art. Again, not proud.

By the time I was six I had learned to fear my stepfather. He had an explosively raging temper that made me think he could kill me or anyone else he was angry enough with. Every trip alone with him was an opportunity for him to pull off the road in the middle of nowhere and force me to do as he told me. If I cried or protested I would get hit. This did not feel good anymore and I began to hate my body for the feelings that conflicted with my fear. My abuse always took place in broad daylight.

I was constantly told how beautiful I was, so I would make a very unbecoming face whenever he took a picture, thinking that if I were not seen as pretty then he would not want to molest me. But I desperately wanted his love, as he was the only father I really knew. I didn’t know that he only really loved my flesh and the way it satisfied the beast in him. Still, I loved him. I was terrified of him, but I loved him. I thought the only way to feel loved was attached to sex.

When he flew into a rage and came after me my mother would scream and cry, trying to hold him back, often getting pushed to the floor and called heinous curse words that would then transfer to me when he raised his arm up high, with demon eyes and brought it down on me with such great force that I would have the handprint etched into my thigh for days.

One of the most traumatic memories of his physical abuse took place one snowy night as he was screaming and fighting with my dear brother, who was 13 yrs older than me, who I adored. He was such a good big brother and I would get up early every morning just to eat cereal with him before he went off to school. I was in my pajamas and had gone to get a Poptart from the kitchen, when I heard my brother getting beaten with a wrench, crying out, with my mother’s blood-curdling screams and my stepfather yelling and cursing so loudly that it was like a scene out of a horror movie. I wet my pants as I began to cry and my sisters took me back in my room where we were watching TV, and locked us in, trying hard to console me. I thought my brother was dead. After a while, when things died down, they got me in my snowsuit and took me outside in the night to make a snow dinasaur. This is when I learned to pretend that things were not really as bad as they seemed, because “Look! Everything is fine! We just made a dinosaur out of snow!” It was a marvelous coping skill that enabled me to create happiness out of fear, beauty out of ugliness.

We had a neighbor who lived across the street from us who I just loved, because he was so nice to me. He worked for a candy company and always had a special treat for me. His wife and two sons, older than I, always welcomed me when I would come over to visit. (at 6, I was an avid “visitor” to our close neighbors, all adults. I loved talking to them, and I think they got a kick out of me, which gave me the attention I so desperately craved.) One day I was walking along the brick wall in front of our house and waved to Mr. Colella who was feeding his hunting dogs outside at their kennel. I told him to come talk to me. When he came over I told him that I loved him very much. As a dear, fatherly man, he returned my sentiment and told me I was such a sweet girl. I told him that he could kiss me. He looked very confused laughed it off and told me I’d better go inside because it was dinner time. I said I love you! Don’t you love me? And he gently tried to explain why it was inappropriate. I started to cry and I begged him to kiss me, telling him that if he really loved me he would. It escalated into sobs and asking him why he wouldn’t. I was just 6 years old.

I don’t remember what happened after that, but I remember feeling incredible shame. That must have been a clear indication that something was very wrong in my home. Did he ever confront my parents? Did they blow it off? Did he just keep his distance and never bring it up? I don’t know. I do remember getting a beating, after which I carved the words I HATE ED into the wooden head of my antique sleigh bed.

Having become hypersexualized at such a young age, my girlfriend who lived down the street, and I would play a game we called “boyfriend/girlfriend”. I was always the girlfriend. We would hide in her closet and kiss each other, or touch each other under my bed covers when we were just 7 yrs old. By this time I knew we were doing something wrong, but I felt compelled. When my mother would walk in on us and briskly ask what we were doing, I quickly made up a lie about playing a game to see who could reach the end of the bed first. Did she not think that was strange? I felt immediate shame. One time my friend’s brother caught us in her closet and said he was going to tell on us. I’m sure that he did. Did they ever tell my parents, or did they blow it off because her step-dad was doing the same thing to her? I don’t know.

I cried in school a lot. I cried alone in the woods a lot. I regularly made a big production out of packing my little white plastic bag with gold stars and dots that had hinges which creaked when you opened it. I would open and close it several times while tearfully announcing that I was packing to run away, then, after what felt like endless attempts to get a response and coming up empty, I would shout I”M LEAVING as the door slammed behind me. I would do this at least 3 times, desperately wanting my mother to scoop me in her arms and tell me everything was going to be okay, and beg me not to go. I have no idea what led up to this. I only remember running down the hill on the side of our house, crying, stumbling, and half rolling before making my way into the woods to my special place where I would sob and feel so alone and afraid. Hours went by before I would hear my name being called. Part of me wanted to not return and see what it was like to be raised by wolves. Real ones.

That’s just a brief synopsis of my childhood. I read somewhere that victims of child abuse seem to stay vulnerable as prey, almost as if they wear a sign inviting predators to take advantage of them. (this includes bullies too)

We moved to Virginia when I was 8. When I was 9 or 10 my sister’s boyfriend came into my room one night while I was sleeping, covered my mouth with one hand, and put his other in my underwear. I was terrified and all other kinds of disgusted, sad, confused, and ashamed. I froze until he went away after telling me it was “our little secret”. He was 18, maybe. I racked my brain trying to think what I could have done to provoke it. I was still very much a child and at a very awkward stage. It made me feel like I now had to protect my sister too.

My step-brother, Johnny, the oldest of his father’s 5 abandoned kids, joined the navy when he was 19 and moved in with us. We played chess all the time and went out for pizza. He was THE BEST big brother to me and spoiled me rotten, just like my own brother would if he weren’t living in Massachusetts. He won my complete trust and I loved him, until one night he started asking me if I knew what the words “felatio” and “cunnilingus” meant and made me watch Caligula, an x-rated, shocking video that belonged to his father. He then began molesting me. He would rationalize his sick behavior later by saying that I was compliant, a willing participant. I was anything but. His betrayal crushed me. I refused to believe that it was happening. I shut myself down as the inevitable ensued, and would continue to do so every time thereafter. There are no words to describe this kind of mind fuckery. I had perfected another very valuable coping skill in compartmentalizing. One day when nobody was home, I refused his advances and he told me that I had no idea what Ed was planning to do to me when I turned 12. He chased me all over the house taunting me, blocking my way, and bullying me into a complete state of hysteria. I managed to lock myself in my parent’s bathroom and when my Mom got home I would not come out and was threatening to kill myself. I was terrified and in so much emotional torment that I really wanted to die. I had my first anxiety attack that year, where I was convinced I was actually dying. Every bit of it was brushed under the carpet.

When I was 11, hormones raging, I began to enjoy the attention I was getting from boys and became a natural flirt. There was this lifeguard at the pool we went to every summer whose name was Chad. (Of course it was.) Chad was 16 and was the Zac Efron of his day. My friends and I swooned over him daily. He clearly loved the attention. We would compete to see who could flirt with him the hardest and giggle while fantasizing about him being our boyfriend. Chad was dreamy. He seemed to single me out as his favorite. I was so proud of myself. Boys were a new thing and I was swimming with the big fishes, I thought. One day I had gone to the pool with a neighbor when Chad asked me if I wanted to go for a ride on his moped to go pick up a part for something at the hardware store. I assured the neighbor that I was safe to go with him because I was his little helper and she reluctantly agreed. I was beyond thrilled and my stomach was doing flips but I was disappointed that my friends were not there to see it happen and thought they would never believe me if I told them. It was a magical feeling that had me intoxicated with self-esteem. As I clung to him, not even noticing we had passed the hardware store, I imagined what it would be like to kiss him. I was 11 years old feeling like Bo Derek running down the beach in the movie, “10”. When I saw that he was taking me pretty far away and began turning into a deserted old park, I asked where we were going. He said he just had to stop there for a minute and pulled over, telling me to get off the moped. He stood behind me and began to grope my barely-there breasts beneath my swimsuit top. My stomach dropped to my toes as I froze, uncomfortably, and muttered that I’d never been kissed. I felt sick and dizzy and stupid. I was crushed. He never said a word after, just took me back to the pool. I didn’t think he was cute at all after that. I felt dirty. I thought it was my fault and never told anyone. I wonder if the neighbor had second thoughts about letting me go.

At 12, I was becoming popular after a very difficult year in the 7th grade. I was switched to another unit for being a chatterbox and stirring the ire of a group of bad girls, which had gotten me kicked out of chorus, my favorite thing. My new homeroom teacher targeted me and made my life a living hell. I was instructed to sit outside his room as he prepared the class for my arrival. I couldn’t really hear what he was talking about, but he popped his head out the door and said “You sure are ugly! ” then closed it just as quickly, making the students erupt in laughter. I could not believe it. I am telling the truth. He invited me in moments later and told me where to sit. I was miserable. It was pouring rain that day and evidently I did not have the right paper (college-ruled) which he harshly reprimanded me for, saying “How dare you come into my class unprepared!” then humiliated and embarrassed me by taking my entire pack of loose leaf paper and dumping it out the window, in the rain. I tried to hold back my tears. He was evil to me, and I could not understand what I did to deserve it.

The other big event that crushed me was when I was forbidden to go to our unit skating party. I had already paid for it and was so excited. My friends and I started picking out what we were going to wear as soon as we heard about the event. It was springtime and one very hot day that I wore a pair of shorts to school. Several other girls did too, some shorter and tighter than mine. I was in my English class when Mr. Taylor called me out into the hall. He told me my shorts were completely inappropriate and publically shamed me in front of everyone before taking me in the hall and telling me I was not allowed to attend the skating party. I don’t remember how I got through that day. The other girls all agreed it was crazy and unfair because I had been singled out like some little tramp, when they were all wearing similar shorts. Again, I tried to figure out what I had done wrong. My ass cheeks were not even close to hanging out. Yes, they were tight, but the only pair I had. I was skinny with long legs. Did that make my shorts seem shorter and me more of a distraction? I remember going to my guidance counselor in tears. One of my sisters called to complain to the principal. At the end of that year there was a show with a handful of students being directed to dance in couples. When Mr Taylor saw that I could dance, and could make him look good, I was put in the lead couple spotlight. Overnight I became his pet, his superstar. I went from fearing and loathing this giant man with his cheesy polyester, nature print button-down shirts, to eating up his attention and basking in a sense of accomplishment in the blink of an eye. It was utterly insane.

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Earlier that day

I was textbook ADHD (but undiagnosed) and struggled in school, always hearing that I was not applying myself from teachers, and being labeled as lazy at home. Any type of praise brought me to life. I also felt a desperate need to be loved by everyone, and I was genuinely confounded when girls hated my guts for no reason. I wanted to be everyone’s friend, kinda like a puppy. You could beat me, but if you then showed me any kind of affection, I was belly up.

My Mom was a teacher and working daily. I was going through puberty while she was dealing with menopause. Things could get pretty ugly and I could be very cruel. Whenever I would make her cry she would say, “You wait! One day you are going to have a daughter who will treat you this way!” Seeing her that upset always made me cry and feel remorseful. I was also afraid because I knew what she said was true. My mother also said things to me like, “Oh deAH, if you ever need anything, just bat your eyelashes and you will get whatever you want.” (she has a most amusing northern/intercontinental accent that always has people wondering where she is from.) Just what I needed, verbal re-enforcement that sex equals power. My mother seemed what could only be described as “out to lunch” for quite a few of my formative years. I would have friends sleepover, only twice who were never allowed back by their parents. Both times I remember them crying to me that Ed had tried to touch them or expose himself. My mother HAD to know. I froze and pretended I had no idea what was going on. I had learned to dissociate. One of my friends from the neighborhood was never given permission to sleepover at all, and it made me so very sad. If those parents were not allowing their daughters at my house, surely they had been told what happened. Did they ever call to confront my parents, or did they just never speak of it again?

As I was gaining popularity and enjoying being a majorette, I was spending more and more time at school activities and weekends with my friends, which made my step-brother jealous and angry. I had been dodging his molestation attempts, so he kept buying me anything I asked for which never got him what he wanted, so evidently he was burning with rage, like a jealous boyfriend when I got asked to the 9th grade prom. My Mom took me out shopping for a dress. I was having the best time bonding with her and trying on so many pretty dresses. I finally settled on a baby blue Gunne Sax prairie dress with fluttery cap sleeves and white lace. It was as if the heavens opened, angels sang, and Jesus Himself appeared when I first saw it. A pinnacle shopping experience, I brought it home and stared at it, counting down the days to my first big school dance.

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Sadly, I would never go to that dance and my dream dress had to be returned. The night before as I was talking on the phone with my date, giggling in blissful anticipation, as I played with the long spiral phone cord, I was caught off guard by a sucker punch to my mouth that knocked the phone from my hand and sent it flying across the kitchen. Johnny had busted my lip wide open and blood was dripping from my mouth as I trembled and cried out in horror. I had to get 4 stitches. I spent the next day curled up on our porch swing in utter devastation and disbelief. What did I tell my date when I sobbed that I could not go to the prom? How did I explain it to everyone who would see me in school? Was this something I brought on myself?

My mother was under Ed’s control which is, I guess, why Johnny did not suffer any consequences other than being forced to move out. I suffered in silence and felt like I was told to get over it. There was no one who came to my rescue. I’m sure my Mom comforted me as best she could, but likely was overwhelmed and wanted to keep the peace with Ed, who at that time was doing some carpentry work for a family just across the Virginia border, and having an affair with the mother as her kids and I were out riding bikes down dusty country roads. Something tells me one of her daughters was also involved, but I’ve probably blocked that out. Her son shot me at close range with a bebe gun. Dear God.

I actually had a brief reprieve through high school. I went full on punk rock, party girl rebel and practically lived at my best friend’s house, whose Mom felt sorry for me because I was skinny and always hungry, making her think that I was being raised by wolves. I never said I wasn’t. My relationship with my Mom grew closer then. When I look back, I am grateful to be alive. I remember being 16 and thinking that I knew everything, and that I had already seen and done it all. (even though I was still a virgin, which I took seriously.) Somehow my mother had instilled in me that sex was sacred and should be reserved for marriage. I was getting high off of being a teaze, which was the next step after refining my flirtation skills.

My grandfather, who was Ed’s father, came to live with us from England. I had been very close to these grandparents as they accepted me as their own. My grandmother passed when I was 10, and I adored her. He missed her terribly and would talk out loud to her every night. My heart hurt for him. I called him Grandad. To my great dismay, he too crushed my world the day he grabbed my breasts in the kitchen and said, “These are so lovely.” Yes, it was then confirmed that I must have worn the “ultimate prey’ sign on my back. There was not enough drugs or alcohol to numb the pain anymore.

And this brings us back to 19. I had kept all of my secrets until then. One day, being verbally abused and threatened by Ed, I shouted out to my mother who was standing there, trying to defend me, ED MOLESTED ME! ED MOLESTED ME! ED MOLESTED ME! to which she replied, “Be quiet. I know.”

That is all I have for now.

A Doll and Pony Show

 

When I was a little girl I was very passionate about two things; horses and dolls. I dreamed of riding the neighbor’s pony, Brownie, all by myself  through the thicket that lead to the path that would lead to a magical place deep in the woods, called Charles Island (or Childs Island). In that dream I would take my favorite doll out of my runaway bag, and find the perfect rock to perch on where I could watch Brownie foraging the landscape, which was new and exciting territory for a pony kept in a triangular stall, who had grown quite grumpy with age.

It was there that I held my dearest, and most tenderly swaddled doll, rocking her back and forth, telling her all of my secrets. Mine were not the secrets of a five year old child, but I was lost somewhere in that five year old child, and talking to my doll connected me to a vision that would quell my sadness and give me a reason to hope.

One day, you will understand, I would tell her.

My daughter was with me while I was yet a child. I have always known that she would come, never doubting. Even when it was down to the wire, I knew she would make her way to me from “God’s pocket” or wherever her soul dwelled before my womb.

Though she came to be at a tumultuous time in my life, having stirred up a well of deep fear around bringing a daughter into this world, her presence gave me a sense of purpose and a sublime peace, even in the face of my Anxiety. I was given signs of comfort and encouragement along the way.

Naturally worried about giving birth at the cut-off age of 36, and being told of all the potential complications, I learned at my first Obgyn visit that the baby’s due date was my father’s birthday. I lost my father when I was two. I never had another worry after hearing that.

We had decided on the names Sophia and Bella, knowing we would have a girl. I was working at a department store at the time and my coworkers convinced me that this trick with a necklace held over my belly would definitively determine the sex of my baby, so curiously, I obliged. Much to my surprise, the necklaces back and forth movement, as opposed to circling, was indication that I was actually having a BOY! A BOY? How could I have a boy named Sophia? So I began frantically coming up with a back up boy name, which was awful because with the due date being my Dad’s birthday, and me feeling very strongly Italian, the only choice I had was Alfred. Or Fred. Or Freddie. It all felt so very wrong. I knew I would love little Freddie, (ew, sorry Dad) but where was this little girl I’d been talking to and longing for all my life? Did she change her mind? I wouldn’t blame her. I set my mind to having a boy. I felt guilty for being disappointed. It was a challenging week that coincided with my being served a fried egg that was still jiggly and raw in the white part, which was the most horrific sight that had me so ill, I thought I might succumb. The “e” word was not spoken of from that day on.

That afternoon I came home from work and could not wait to get out of my skirt that was binding at my expanding waistline. I had borrowed some larger clothes from a friend who had managed to survive a fashionable pregnancy. Now this is gonna sound nuts, but it is the absolute truth. When I took the skirt off, I looked at the label, and it said SOPHIEBELLA! I cried tears of joy while I danced around the kitchen in my stockings. That night we decided to name our daughter with both names put together. Sophiabella. Ahhhh. That was her! My next Dr appointment had my due date changed to Oct 30th, about a week earlier than we originally thought. Fine by me, I thought. I knew that all would be well.

I talked to my baby all the time, much like when I was a little girl. I would sing and read to her. But one day, while sitting at the library downtown, those secrets rose up in me like bile and I began to panic. I visualized myself sitting on that rock, holding my doll, watching the pony, and told my child the most important thing for her to remember, which was this:

I may get sad sometimes, and you might not understand why, but always know that I am a fighter and everything will be fine. I will ALWAYS protect you. ALWAYS.

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I remember exactly where I was sitting and the memory is so clear. I put those ugly secrets back in the box and prayed daily that I would be the mother my child needed me to be, and for her life to be so much different than mine. Safe, secure, nurtured, protected, loved, happy… Unencumbered.

The night before she was born I had a dream/vision of a pair of huge glowing hands showing me the most beautiful little baby I have ever seen, in an otherworldly bright, warm and loving light.

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Because God is silly, The Flintstones were playing on the TV while I was in hard labor with my epidural wearing off. It just so happened to be the episode where Wilma’s mother is coming to stay because Pebbles was about to be born. Wilma and I gave birth at 3:20am on October 18th, 2002.  When I was handed my huge yet tiny 10 lb baby for the first time, my jaw dropped in awe. I recognized her right away. Then she stood firm on those strong new legs and looked me square in the eye, and I knew that this was definitely not her first time at the rodeo.

 

I am reflective today, looking back over our sixteen years together. There is an old Jewish fable about the angel, Layla, who tells you all the secrets of the world and your ancestors, while you are in the womb. When you are born, she puts her finger above your lip, just below your nose, and whispers softly, “Ssssshhhhhh”. She locks this knowledge away and leaves behind an imprint.

I wonder if I could have just locked my secrets away, so that they would not have made such a painful imprint on my child. Despite my most heartfelt intentions and love so immense that it defies logic and explanation, it seems the very thing I swore I would protect her from turns out to be me. She is so angry that I suffer with mental health issues. She is merciless in displaying her rage that she has had to see me broken and weak. I know that this rage is really fear. And I am unable to parent her, despite climbing every mountain and looking under every rock for help. I tried and failed at setting boundaries with a father who has consistently released her from ever having consequences, who in fact reinforces negative, entitled, disrespectful behavior by giving her anything she wants. Every effort to give her the tools she needs to be a happy, successful contributing human in this world is wasted and has left me feeling defeated. If I’m really honest, I will say I feel re-victimized and that makes me fire-breathing mad.

My entire life has been a fight to release myself from oppression. While I have now made my pony dream a reality, my sweetest doll, my own baby dear seems to exist in a separate reality to which there seems to be no door. fb_img_1546538945269

Choosing Your Door

I remember sitting in the Baptist church that I occasionally attended in my early 20’s and the intense feelings that would come over me during the altar call. It was like my body heated up and there were bees buzzing through my veins. Not an uncomfortable sensation, it was an urgency within my spirit, a magnetic pull toward something that I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt, I was destined to accept.  It held no judgement or condemnation, in that I knew I would not be punished by God if I rejected the call as I had done so many times before. I simply knew that this was a door behind which stood a lightness of being, a loving hand of guidance toward fulfilling my mission in life, and though I could choose to ignore it, I knew that to do so would make my journey all the more arduous.

This became the foundation of my spiritual journey. I let Jesus into my heart, a decision that was not made hastily. Later I would realize that He had never not been there, but I needed to be reminded of who and what I was, and God in His/Her infinite wisdom knew exactly when and where to meet me. I am now blessed with knowing where and through whom the light of Christ shines, and more importantly taking that light and shining it where there is the greatest need. I believe that we are all equal, sovereign beings, and that love is the greatest universal source for change in this broken world. I have immeasurable love for those outside the realm of religious acceptance. I think that religions have their own bad apples, that many have unwittingly given themselves over to the “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, which is why I trust only the discernment of my heart. When the heart is rooted in unconditional love, you will Commune with God in many different languages, and also with others who may do so in a way that you have falsely been led to believe is wrong.

I am reminded of 1 John; 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

And prior to this verse it is written, GOD IS LOVE. Humans have been making it complicated in a manner that sets nation against nation, breeding hatred and contempt since the beginning of time. They have also been using the Bible as a weapon to defend these acts, while blind to their own abomination and deceit. Man has perverted the Truth of God to maintain false patriarchal governorship.

Today is 11:11. There is much information to be found by searching the significance of repeated number sequences. It is said that men have been getting more in touch with their feminine side and that the power of Love is balancing out the feminine and the masculine, restoring peace and allowing a collective rebirth of our world as we know it. If more of us unite in love, we will destroy the secret cabul, the darkness that drives our bitter divide and seeks to gain power and wealth while annihilating anyone who does not step in line with their agenda. 11:11 is like a door behind which the lightness of being, and loving hand of guidance not only restores unity amongst mankind, but lifts the veil of deceit that has bound us to the slavery we have unwittingly been shackled to.

Just as with the unfolding of a spiritual path seeking Truth and Divine guidance, we know when we are being called to awaken. Many are caught in the web of fear that has been carefully woven for the very purpose of distraction and mind control. All you need to do to break this bondage is focus on LOVE. Love your neighbor, forgive those who are blind, go out of your way to show love to a stranger every day, even if it is only with a smile. Love is the only weapon that will ever conquer. If we are practicing it, God is with us; the Universal Source of all energy and existence. You don’t have to believe in God to love, but you will be guided toward blessings and answers to questions you didn’t even know you had if you do. It really is that simple. Screenshot_20181111-125227_Facebook