Transcending Old Suffering

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Image courtesy of: Heart Sisters

Too dangerous to repeat those words which once made me feel small

They hung in the air

A hovering smog of demotions revealing your lack of devotion

Too dangerous to think how those utterances once pierced my heart

They slit and sliced

leaving a hole where love once lived

Too dangerous to feel how those remarks concussed my soul

where my very being was left battered and bruised

Then a moment when I thought I was so far removed

Where the hurt had been expelled and expunged

My attention became ensnared and captured

Energy stuck in an obscure bodily sphere

Tenuous and subtle but present

 I linger with it

I sense it moving through

There!

It sits behind my eyes

Insisting that I see

Pounding my head with implication and insinuation

Admonishing me to feel

I turn it over

Offer it up

 Relief arrives with admission and realization

that the Spirit

the Me that is Me

carries remnants

the residual remains

of Invisibility

Each movement of ancient energy

is a releasing

another renewal

and I am seeing myself as I never did before

Day 25.  Old stuff surfaced ever so briefly yesterday and gave me a gift. And now I am giving you one as well. For those of you moving past old hurts and sufferings at the hands and/or words of another. The journey through healing is worth the destination.

 

Withering Vines

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                                            Image courtesy of: Pintrest

A Reflection

A Pleasing Woman

A Magnificent Mind

A Soft Spirit

Working hard at denial

and unconscious obfuscation

Practicing the art of avoidance

Folding within herself

 A verdant vessel for a vacuous seed

  Hoping for a change through sweet offerings

While gritting your teeth and conjuring a smile

You’re building a gilded cage

 Your tongue bleeding with the words you wish to say

Your feet tiptoeing

When they  want to stomp in frustration and irritation

Is it easier to acquiesce?

What is it that you fear?

  In time your ebullience may ebb

Your smile may turn into a sneer

And the hard work of keeping it together may exhaust you

And then your unraveling will begin

 

Day 11. The daily prompt was Unraveling. I am far removed from my former life on so many levels. But today’s prompt had me thinking of women who sacrifice so much of themselves, buying into the fairy tale, afraid of being alone and staying too long because of fear of looking like a failure or fear of poverty or something much worse. The chance to regain yourself and build a better life is out there and worth the fight.

Wide Awake

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                                                 Image courtesy of: Genius

Blindly

I could not see the damage to your soul

Blindly

I thought I could love you through the break in your heart

Blindly

I followed the false path that you contrived

Blindly

I thought I could take it

The sadistic words

The trepid  fear of you

Blindly you moved further

Becoming lost to us and yourself

  Blindly

I thought it could not get any worse

 And then

Blindly

I stayed

Until I became invisible

Even unto myself 

Cautiously

I awakened

Carefully

I spoke

Purposely

I moved forward

Clearly

seeing the many paths I could walk

Day 10. Today’s WordPress prompt was Blindly. I had to wait all day to write this one!

 

Tenacious*

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    Image from Wild Woman Sisterhood Facebook page.

I tell myself  I’ve been here before

Then, the battle was mine alone

An initiation

A test of  my integrity, my character, my strength

I remember the manipulation of facts

And the twisting of my words

Days spent in the grip of  fear

Would I would lose it all?

Because he made me nearly lose myself and my mind

A decade hence

A million women strong

  But Now as Then

 I am a  force to be reckoned with

But Now as Then

I refuse to relinquish my rights

But Now as Then

I need to dig deep

Remain steadfast and resolute

Our opponents pound us with their corrupt power

But Now as Then

We are stiff necked and rock- ribbed and pure of heart

But Now as Then

Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned…..

 

                      Image from Wild Woman Sisterhood Facebook page.

 

*Day 9. Thanks again to WordPress for the prompt: “Tenacious“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Energy speaks louder than words… WILD WOMAN SISTERHOOD™ #WildWomanSisterhood

Once and Now

Credit: acelebrationofwomen.org

Once cowering, a wallflower at a junior high dance

Now prancing, a thoroughbred fresh from a sweet victory lap

Once previewed and reviewed through the warped lens of  snide criticism

Now judged in the reflection of the mirror born of her own making

Once held back by the selfish needs of another

Now setting her own pace, advancing audaciously to meet her own desires

Out of the shadows

Into the light…

 

Day 18. Started the first two line this morning and got a bit stuck. Then I read Mark’s post over at Maleko’s Art.  His piece was all I needed to help me finish.

This is once again dedicated to all of you experiencing any form of abuse or working your way out of the situation. Man, woman, child. It doesn’t matter. You deserve your own life.

 

Will She Rise?

Credit: lily-lou.deviantart.com

She felt the heat of his hand like a burn on her back from lying too long in the sun

Her wound would not find relief with the cool salve of aloe

It oozed with blood and the discomforting sensation of an itch she could not scratch

Every movement gave way to an involuntary gasp

The pain a reminder of his secret rage

This was his first but would it be his last?

Silence turned to fear

Fear to silence

A tenuous tango

A wayward waltz

Awkward dance partners

Stepping on each others’ toes

 

Day 3. For those past and present who’ve experienced the physical and emotional pain of abuse.

 

 

Wrapped in a Black Bow

Credit: www.idolbin.com

Today I gave myself a gift. It’s wrapped not so neatly in a word document for now. I’ll unveil it after the new year and I’ll share it with my therapist but no one else. It’s a letter to my ex-one that will never be sent; yet one that needed to be written. One last bit of closure. A chance to shut the final door on the house of shame that I once lived in.

It’s funny how the past reveals itself in unexpected places within our hearts. I understand that it is a normal process when undergoing an enormous life change. (I’m getting married in six months and moving to a new house for those who are new to my site.) It is important to examine these nuggets, these itches that don’t seem satisfied with just a mere surface scratch.

Sometimes I do wonder if I will be permanently scarred by the emotional and verbal abuse that plagued my first marriage. I no longer consider myself a victim nor do I present as one. I am a survivor, I think. Although that seems like such a heavy and misapplied term given that there are worse things that humans have endured compared to my experience. I mean, really, I have an amazing and very happy life now. I don’t wallow in past hurts. I’ve gone through all the stages that victims of abuse pass through on the path to healing. I’ve been lucky enough to have been in therapy two years before the marriage ended; I had acquired the basic tools for surviving the dismantling and its endless aftermaths.

Maybe I am more of a karmic avenger for others who themselves have been or are currently in a similar situation. Because I have lived in my community for nearly twenty-six years, many, many people have seen my transformation. Some have needed an ear, a shoulder to cry on, or words of wisdom to help them through their journey. (And for those of you in blogland, it has always been my sincere wish that this space serves the same purpose through my posts.) When you’ve been there, done that and crossed to the other side, people seek you out. They see it. They sense it in the way you carry yourself. They want some of that! And why not?

It takes supreme psychic bravery to free yourself and move forward out of an unhealthy relationship. The hard work of healing can take you down roads that are often dark and full of pitfalls. It is at times very uncomfortable. Sometimes you find yourself on a temporary detour when you least expect it. (Like me, this month).  Most of all, it takes time, lots of time.

Are you ready to receive the best gift of all?

What About Forgiveness?

Credit: sufiuniversity.org

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of forgiveness lately. I’m not sure I fully understand what it means or maybe I am on a journey towards getting a grip on the whole idea. I am sure that I have practiced it. And I am equally certain that I have been forgiven by others.

I have heard time and again of the importance of forgiveness as it frees you up to let go and move on. But I’m not quite in agreement with that advice.  We are told if we don’t forgive that we are holding onto a grudge or anger or allowing ourselves to continue to be a victim. No, no, no!

Forgiveness is a weighty matter and depends upon the circumstances of another’s transgressions.  It is equally dependent on whether the other party has sought to make amends, take responsibility for the pain caused to the aggrieved party or practice redemptive actions.

If someone has not actively done any of that, how can we really forgive? We can accept what has happened to us, grieve and live the pain for a bit and move on to a new and perhaps (if we are lucky) an even better life. I believe acceptance of what happened to us is not passive in nature at all. My current life is living proof of this fact as many of you who have been following me well know.

Here’s what I can do.  I can compliment my former spouse for making two good decisions in his life: marrying me and divorcing me.  Because he married me, I received two gifts that will last a lifetime and beyond: my sons. They are living proof of two decent human beings who understand life’s purpose and bring joy and steadfast love to their world.  Moreover, because he divorced me, I received a second chance at a better life. Everything that has happened to me, the experiences, the people, the places I have seen and the joy I have known would NEVER have occurred if he did not choose to go. Both my sons and I would have missed out on the riches that all these things have brought to our lives. Imagine that!

So here is what I can forgive: his inability to fundamentally commit to family life. The man just does not have the capacity because of his family of origin’s extreme dysfunction. His original wound has not healed. I have genuine sympathy for that young man who suffered because of one parent’s indiscretions. At the beginning of our life together, neither one of us would know the degree to which this informed our marriage. Over time it increasingly held me hostage and spilled over until it took the form of neglect as well as emotional and verbal abuse.

And that is what I cannot forgive yet.  Do I expect an apology? An acknowledgement?  Maybe. Or perhaps if I saw glimmers of hope in his relationship with our sons I could take that step. So far not so good.

In the meantime, I continue to live out loud. A free woman. Let loose from the chains of harsh criticism and passive aggressive behaviors. Walking lightly-some say floating- on this good earth.

 

Renewed Liberation

 

Haunting Thoughts…

Ruminations and Deliberations …

Affirmations of His Implosion 

His Dearth of Self-Examination 

And Unending Needs for External Gratification

Just  a Twisted Quest for Self Satisfaction

A Mere Existence

Never Present

My Fertile Heart

Unearthed

Revealed

A Treasure for Mine and Another’s own Good Keeping

My Soul once Secluded

Pummeled into Submission and Secrecy

Sings without Restraints and Restrictions

My Mind once Sculpted So as to Please

Unselfishly Speaks for Itself

 A Voice Resonating and Resounding

My Body Once Picked Apart

Used and Discarded

Now  a Scrumptious Delight in the Tender Hands of Another

Where once My Very Being was at Stake

Torn Asunder by the Winds of His Words

I Reemerge Retooled

One Righteous Babe

Ready for Reckoning

 

 

The Summer I’d Like to Forget

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#FWF Free Write Friday: Are You Up For This?

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I’ve been debating with myself as to whether it is even worth writing about a decade old story. I have alluded to it in poetry ( Hidden Hunger ,Witness ) but never in memoir.

It is difficult to admit that there was a time that my family went hungry.  The details of how we arrived at our sorry state are way too complicated and frankly, too boring. Here are the highlights:

  • Husband gets fired-not laid off- from six figure job.
  • Husband decides to start own business causing significant decrease in income.
  • Wife works part-time while in a year-long clinical graduate program.
  • Wife told that her job must now carry the benefits, cutting her measly salary in half.
  • Wife told that since her job does not pay in summer, she must get full-time work and the children can stay home alone all day without mom and dad.
  • Wife is not able to get full-time job but finds work that keeps her away from home for just a few hours.
  • Wife’s tiny wages go to food.
  • Wife eats less to save food for kids.
  • Husband squanders all savings  and other finances while secretly making major purchases.
  • Wife tells no one about situation even though her parents live just eight miles away and her brother thirteen.

I spent the summer of 2004 in a state of shock, or as a friend said “survival mode”.  I knew things would get better in the fall when my job resumed to a nearly full -time position. But the 12 weeks of empty bellies seemed endless. A wall of resistance and repudiation was put up by my husband. In his eyes it was my fault for not getting full-time work. Not his fault for getting fired and pursuing something that barely brought a paycheck in to pay bills.

I felt stuck. As summer turned into fall, a latent anger was born. I took it out on everyone but him at first but then it boiled over when I found out about another major purchase he had made. I went into therapy where I began to unravel the pieces of my situation as well as my marriage and more importantly, myself.

We never went hungry after that summer. I refused to have my sons experience that dull, hollow feeling that comes from not having enough to eat ever again. Their father never accepted responsibility for his decisions and instead continued to lay the blame on me. But for the  next summer and for all subsequent summers, I secured positions where I could make money and have my children productively occupied and supervised.

Life trucked on, the marriage ended, battles were waged and the three of us (as many of you know by now) have a wonderful, wonderful life. He lost us but we gained ourselves. I still worry about food and going hungry. I cannot have the refrigerator or cabinets or the pantry ever be empty. It triggers that feeling again.

The boys and I did talk about that time a few years ago. I apologized to them for what happened but they both said I did the best I could. They had come to understand the circumstances that caused the situation in the first place. It was just one of many moral violations committed by their father.

I eventually confessed to my family, who were at first angry that I did not come to them for help. I was too ashamed and I knew I would suffer the consequences of revealing the secret. It didn’t seem worth it at the time.

And do I have shame today? No, I let that go a long time ago. Although I was not conscious of it at the time, I was being abused. The blaming, the passive aggressive behavior, the snide remarks began in earnest that summer. They increased over time until I finally realized what was happening.

When one is in the midst of negativity and abusive behavior, it is nearly impossible to see a way out. One only wants the abuse to stop-not for the abuser to leave. Strange dichotomy but oh so true. Lucky for me, he left. But he still abused from afar in various ways. I only got stronger and my children got wiser.

We know how to feed our bellies and our souls. Loaves and fishes abound. Abundance is present. And we are very grateful.

Never let yourself be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.

~Robert Frost

 

This was THE most challenging free write for me.  I really went back and forth as to whether I could write about it. Frankly, I didn’t want to. But sometimes you just have to put your muscle into it. It was NOT cathartic. It just had to be written and done with once and for all.