(taken from The Open Mind (with Dana Bowles) on Facebook)
Yesterday was very intense.
While there were not a lot of instructors, nor were there many classes, I attended a class called Healing Sexual Trauma.
Yes – I thought of J (and others) – and I had foolishly hoped that I could finally learn -after the fact – about strategies that I should have known in order to help someone who had been sexually traumatized.
Because if anything, I’d wanted to at the very least provide others some sort of sanctuary from pain and negativity.
Instead, it seemed something that wasn’t so pedantic as ‘here are some strategies for helping yourself or helping others heal from sexual trauma’ as it was personal discussion about the instructor’s journey toward realizing and healing her own sexual trauma. And I realized that the discussion was not so much about methods and strategies as it was about identifying and recognizing that there are traumas that need to healed within ourselves.
As an empath, I also found myself realizing and reacting to the obvious fact that I should take note that I have my own traumas to heal and how foolish I am to think that I would be there for any other reason.
Meanwhile, L seems to love to point out to me – through these sort of sneaky ton of bricks moments – that I am foolish, that I am denying myself compassion, and everything and I do and I mean EVERYTHING – begins with me.
He wants me to have compassion with myself and take care of myself:
You must take care of My Beloved.
And by the way: That is YOU.
However, I have always made excuses.
I have been told for so many years that it is selfish to think of oneself before others.
I’ve come to react as if one of the most hurtful insults that could be directed towards me involves being accused of being self-centered or selfish….but again and again He wants me to realize that that is damaging to me and an avoidance maneuver that is so ingrained in my behavior that it is likely not even a conscious reaction on my part anymore.
So there’s that self-awareness that He is so insistent upon, and I found myself surprised to realize this facet of my behavior.
Look at yourself; everything is self-work, you know.
And so I tried valiantly not to get overwhelmed by the sensation overload that I was experiencing when others talked of their traumas as well as trying to control myself in regards to my own traumas.
This must manifest itself as a sort of selfishness in that I want to help others/save others, even though I don’t even know how to help or how to save myself sometimes
So I want to talk and I want to share, but my talking and sharing is an avoidance maneuver. It’s me saying, ‘Let’s talk about you; let’s fix you, so I don’t have to fix myself,’ and if I do talk, it might just be my attempt to fill up the space with noise, or focusing on what anyone else is presently going through so I don’t have to handle what I’ve gone through.
It is selfish. In a way, it is the way I block emotions in myself and block others from myself.
I hate myself for that.
I am aware that it is just me being closed up…another verbal masturbation session that I never intended but here I am talking about myself again.
I hold myself at a distance by talking, sometimes. I focus on constructing a wall of words and sound to keep people from knowing me and to keep myself from knowing myself.
It’s times like that that I notice that there is such a gap between what I want to do and what I am doing, what I want to confront and how I avoid the confrontation. The gap between engagement and avoidance. I do lip service to a lot of want, but not a lot of doing.
But how do I learn to stop doing that?
How to open myself so I can be open to others?
How to listen and help rather than just filling up space with pain and gloom and panic, wondering whatamigoingtodo?
Don’t look at me. I’m in pain.
I can focus on your pain but that just distracts me from my pain for the moment. I have a lot of pain in myself and I see others’ pain and I don’t know what to do about it.
I don’t know what to do with myself.
Is anything ever getting done this way?
No. Of course not.
It’s all verbal masturbation. This navel gazing has to stop.
I should do something but I don’t know what.
I have forgotten what’s important.
To put it bluntly, I have been having a rough time as of late.
I tried posting about it, but for some reason, WordPress kept erroring out, so here goes another post.
We will see what happens.
I sense that there’s another complete overhaul of my life coming.
I woke up this morning with an earworm, that if nothing else, shows me to be a child of the 80’s:
(And just to note, it’s more like ‘at 4:00 AM’ rather than ‘at the midnight hour’ — but other than that, most things about this experience are about the same, relatively speaking.)
I had a dream wherein He spoke to me and said that there were three things that I should work on…
And then I had another dream that got in the way of the memory of the first dream.
That second dream – the one that got in the way of my memory – was about taking V to court in Plainsville, NY (but I think that it was supposed to be Plattsville)…and we had an older daughter who was kinda difficult to handle because she was so angry, and I couldn’t get her to calm down.
But she was there because she had testified in my favor, and the judge ended up siding with me.
I don’t know what that meant.
But the first dream, Loki talked with me, but I could not remember what I was supposed to work on.
So when I awoke, K told me that He told zir to tell me that I should work on:
Trust, loyalty…. and forgetting.
But K wouldn’t say what that was in regards to.
Stay loyal to what?
Forget about what?
K said that zie was told that I could figure it out.
And then I remembered something: Loyalty had something to do with the poly thing: that I should stop the behavior of having sex with certain people.
He said that He wanted to choose, and it showed a disrespect of Him or lack of loyalty to Him, to have situations with certain people.
And I remember Him showing me, in images rather than words, to whom He was referring.
He was saddened by something in my behavior, similar to some dreams I’d had before wherein He would say that I knew how to listen and/or do, but that I just didn’t want to.
That made me sad, too.
And the forgetting concerns the past, of letting the past go… of not letting the past keep me from moving forward towards what is changing.
You are changing, He said, and I am pleased with you. Don’t stop. Don’t relent.
I know what that means.
But I am anxious.
I know what He is talking about.
So, July being the Month for Loki, I realize that I’m a little late to His party, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t anything to post about it.
As a matter of fact, I just returned from a sort of ‘mini-break’ from the Two Week Long Chain of Events That May Very Well Be the Most Excruciating Personal Changes to Ever Happen in My Life(tm).
And since my Sweetest Friend is very well known for having a penchant for nudging His folks towards making excruciating (and often necessary) personal changes, it seems rather fitting that I would end June 2014 with some well-placed explosions to my comfort zones.
(Besides, it beats what happened last July 2nd.)
My mini-break involved visiting the ocean with H., thanks to the generosity of a very dear friend.
So, I spent a few days at a beautiful little beach house on an island, far from home, hanging with H and her kid.
We went swimming in the ocean in the day, and swimming in the pool at night.
We looked for parking, bought souvenirs, had some intriguing conversations, and ate some delicious food — including really fresh seafood, and the best key lime pie that I have ever tasted in my life thusfar.
There were also maple bacon doughnuts, salted caramel doughnuts, and sriracha peanut doughnuts, all courtesy of a delightful local bakery that makes them fresh, right in front of you.
All in all, it was a welcome break from nearly a month of navigating personal emotional landmines, and making some of the most difficult decisions of my life.
And while there is still a lot of work to come, I am not alone.
I began my painful journey among friends a little less than a month ago, and I don’t know how I could have navigated any of it thusfar without their support, friendship, and love.
I am thankful for them, especially H.
And, of course, I am thankful for Himself.
Hail and Thank You, my Sweetest Friend!
*****Warning/Caution: Possible triggers…descriptions of death/dying, death of a child, and grief, from a personal perspective****
(From November 13th 2013)
Last night, I spoke with my older sister who lives in Hawaii.
Over the weekend – while K and I were at FPG – my sister’s boyfriend died.
I know that he had been ill and in the hospital a week or so before, but the last time that I’d spoken to her, he’d been getting better, she had said. Looking back on it, his illness seemed a weird respite from the appallingly stressful situation that their life together had become.
She had only begun to tell me the story.
She had been thinking of leaving him.
But now, she was telling me a different story.
She told me how he had left her on Thursday night, courtesy of several seemingly sudden multiple organ failures.
He was just 34 years old.
I don’t know, and there is a quality to that that seems surreal.
To think that two, perhaps three weeks ago, she was hiding in the bathroom of their apartment, sounding desperate, whispering hurriedly into the phone about how controlling he’d become, how abusive he was, his incredibly heartless and selfish he had been, and how hopeless her life had become.
She whispered and paused at intervals, because she feared talking about him as he was just on the other side of the wall, and she feared that he’d overhear her plans to leave him come January.
I noticed now, as she spoke of her grief at his death, that there wasn’t a catch in her voice. One would have thought that, when she begun to tell me the details of how he had died on Thursday night, that she was simply relating the plot of a suspenseful film. She was immersed in all of the smallest, most mundane details: what he had eaten on Wednesday, what he’d watched on TV, what he’d said just before he lay down less than 12 hours before his death.
Again, it was if she was reciting the details of an interesting television drama, but there was strange denial to her grief, I suppose, in the fact that she still spoke of him in the present tense, He does this….He says that…He is…
But then, then again, there is a catch in her voice there, there it is — when she tells me how she had been praying in that selfsame bathroom, whispered desperate prayers, asking God to help her get through this illness, this latest difficulty with him: What can I do? Help me, Oh Lord, please help me…Help me help him to get better…
And her voice cracks and finally breaks when she tells me how she had lain next to him on their couch at 9 PM on Thursday night, and woke up to realize that oddly enough, he had fallen asleep holding her hand, with his fingers interlaced with hers. Her hand, she explained, had been numb with pins and needles — and funny, how it had frustrated her – but hadn’t struck her as too unusual at the time — that it had taken her several minutes to pry her fingers from his grip.
She began to cry then, explaining how strange it was that his body had been warm, but she couldn’t awaken him.
And then, she broke down in uncontrollable sobs as she described, haltingly, when she realized that she had mistaken the relentless thudding of her own heartbeat for his, and that’s why she called 911:
I looked and looked for his pulse and I listened for his heart, but then I got scared — I couldn’t hear it because mine was so loud….I couldn’t hear it!
I devoutly wished that I could’ve comforted her somehow, listening to her sobs over the roar of blood in my own ears, trying to quiet my own heart as it hammered in my chest, as my brain chattered you cannot fathom, you cannot fathom that grief, and hating myself for that, for being so useless to her as she sobbed….
And then, almost as suddenly as she had begun to cry, she abruptly turned the discussion over to other topics, and she began a disjointed rapid-fire chatter about her memories of our father, complaints about our mother….
Then, she asked after the details of my camping weekend.
It was so surreal to find ourselves laughing, twenty minutes away from Death Who had just been standing so close to us.
My sister admits to feeling guilty, feeling scattered, desperate to fill up the spaces in the conversation.
She asks about my failing marriage.
We talk about it as if it is a difficult math problem that we could easily solve together if we follow some sort of prescribed set of steps, and she returns to discussing her boyfriend in the present tense: Oh he does that, too, she commiserates. That sounds like something he says.
I don’t correct her. I can’t bring myself to, but my heart breaks a little listening to her ragged, uneven breathing, and her voice cracking in odd places.
We are drowning, she drawls, suddenly suppressing a laugh, Our lives have both gone to hell.
So we talk of our kids.
She tells me about her plans for Thanksgiving, but things quickly devolve into reminiscence again — this week, last year, some Thanksgiving from years ago…and then, some particular difficulties of our shared childhood.
Again, Death returns, and clears Her throat, and my older sister and I are suddenly talking about the inexplicable death of our baby sister, when she was five, and I was three, on a horribly confusing day in August 1974.
We compare our strange, sharp memories of the weight of silence punctuated by sirens, or the useless distraction of the popsicles that we didn’t want to eat that melted down our shirts, and how no one thought to wipe our faces at all that day, because…because Death was sitting at our front porch, surrounded by flashing lights…and our mother was making a strangling keening wail unlike anything that we’d ever heard back then or since….
We agree on the fact that such grief as that can surely drive anyone insane
That is the sort of grief that certainly drove our mother insane, and maybe, she’d never recovered in some way.
Remember how it was, for the longest time after that, when she seemed out of touch with anything going on around her, but how she would shudder and stare off into fixed point just beyond our faces if we spoke to her?
These are the sorts of things we are talking about, the smallest details of that particular Thanksgiving, that haunted Christmas.
I miss him, but thank God it’s nowhere near a grief like that, my sister blurts out suddenly.
Nothing is unimportant, and yet everything seems profound as we talk, before the conversation wheels about again, turning to the mundane, the easy, the surface details of the present day:
Today is a school day, I say. It is 4 AM here.
I look up and realize that we have been on the telephone for 9 hours.
This is how we get through.