Category Archives: God

Barbarie and her Miracle Child

baby grasping fingerThis post is all about a woman who is a personal heroine of mine.  I had the good fortune to meet her through Margaret Paul’s healing site, Inner Bonding where we’ve come to know each other, exchanging conversation and stories over the years.  What I’ve come to respect about Barbarie is that she has taken a life full of horrible adversity and challenged that in every way possible.  There simply isn’t a hurdle that she’s failed to overcome and what strikes me most is what a gentle and kind soul she is today.  Most would have succumbed to this life and become bitter.  I hope you all are moved as I was by her story and am proud to know her as a friend, a survivor, soldier and mother.  This is her story of her and her Miracle Child, Courtney when she spoke to her congregation at the urging of her pastor.  I’d like to introduce you to my friend Barbarie.

My Miracle Child

Courtney Who Survived Against All Odds

Good Morning – Pastor Jen approached me and asked if I would give a short testimony of God’s resurrection power. So I am delighted to be able to share with you the incredible miracle of the birth of my daughter, Courtney Marie.

In the Fall of 1992 I was an Active Duty Soldier in the United States Army returning from Operation Desert Storm to my duty station in Germany.  Upon my return to post; I received relocation orders to Ft Bragg, NC.  It had been a very long and lonely two years in Germany and I was ecstatic to be returning stateside.     

One evening, just as our overseas tour was drawing to a close, a few of my fellow soldiers and I went out to the club to celebrate the end of a successful tour in Germany.  At the end of our evening, as I was taking a shortcut back to the barracks; I was violently confronted by four uniformed men.   Without warning, I found myself being gagged, my head covered with a pillowcase and dragged into a very dark alley.  Once I was subdued in the alleyway; I was viciously gang-raped by all four men.  It happened so quickly and without warning that I scarcely had time to think or react.

When it was over; I returned to my room, shaken and terrified to my core.  I was convinced that if I reported the rape I would be dishonorably discharged.  Being a soldier was my life and it was the only life I knew.  I told no one what had happened that night and I did everything within my power to block out the memory of the attack so that I could go on being a Soldier.

I left Germany and reported to my new Unit at Ft Bragg.  I went on with my life as a soldier.  It reported for Physical Training – running six miles a day and completed 15 mile ruck sack marches.  I qualified at the rifle range and I reported for duty every morning at 8 am.  I worked with radar, ran drills as a member of the missile crew and endured training in the NBC gas chamber. I was an active duty soldier in constant readiness condition to deploy at the drop of a dime.

Being a soldier was literally my lifeline.  I had no family support and I certainly did not have any positive parental role models or happy family memories.  I had been orphaned, abused and refused entry back into my family as a child and then made a ward of the state. I had no one that I could turn to; I had nothing but the Army. I had absolutely NO desire to be a parent and have children of my own.

I had joined the Army to following in my Father’s footsteps. Though he had passed away when I was three years old; he was only person with whom I had a soul and spirit connection and I clutched onto that memory with both my hands. It was that one and only thread of connection and hope that gave my life’s journey meaning and purpose.  

It was the one thing that kept me going and I felt that I was in danger of losing it. 

I managed to deny, hide and block any conscious thought of being pregnant until I was in my sixth month.  I even fell 12 feet off of a Radar Tower, breaking my wrist and requiring full body X-rays and surgery, and the baby was never identified or noticed. 

It was about that time when I started to feel movement within me that scared me.  Even though I felt the movement I still denied the possibility of a pregnancy.  I know that sounds impossible to believe but I did not have morning sickness nor did I show any symptoms of being pregnant even with the demanding physical training and physical exertion each and every day. 

It was about the middle of the eight month when I began hurt so bad that I was doubled over in horrible, horrible pain.  This lasted for several days and over a weekend.  I said to myself, after buying Tylenol and some anti-acid over the counter medications, that if the pain does not subside or go away by Monday morning I will go to sick call.

Sure enough that Monday morning after reporting to sick call and a urinalysis, the Dr. came back and said “Mama you going to have a baby and you going to have it today!”  Go to the hospital and report in on the 9th floor to Labor and Delivery. 

Courtney Marie (though she was yet unnamed) was born 8 hours later that day.  I had no preparations made for a child, no clothing, no diapers and no name.  I had not wanted to believe that it was going to happen.

But there she was.  She was real and she was here and I HAD GIVEN BIRTH … WOW. 

The social workers and other workers asked over and over what I was going to do with the child.  My unconscious mind already knew and spoke to me through spirit that there was absolutely NO WAY I could or would give this child up. 

Due to complications during the birthing process – meconium aspiration – she was whisked away immediately to NICU – I barely saw her for 30 seconds.  4 hours later they had to life flight her to Duke University Medical Center because the military hospital did not have the means to care for this critical newborn.  

Courtney spent the first 7 weeks on life support (ECMO) with a 15% chance of survival.  She only weighed 4.8 pounds, but she had a head full of curly brown hair.   After I was discharged from the hospital three days later; I was finally able to see her for the first time.  Courtney was so small and so frail that all she could do was hold my little pinky.  She was hooked up to so many wires and medical equipment that I nearly fainted when I saw her for the first time.

I spent those first 7 weeks with Courtney 24/7 in the hospital.  In the midst of feeding, learning to diaper and dress and bathe her; I told God that I did not understand all this.  But I vowed that I would do everything within my power to keep Courtney and raise her.  I told him that he would have to provide all the means necessary for me to be a loving committed parent and that he would need to ensure that all our needs would be met because I had no one else to help us.

When Courtney was 18 months old, I found out that she would have permanent nerve damage and a hearing impairment due to the complications at birth.  So added to the trial of being a single parent was the challenge of having a 98% deaf child.

The journey was extremely challenging for us.  After the first year of a compassionate reassignment to stay at Ft Bragg due to Courtney’s medical needs; I had to return to work.  This meant a new duty assignment that brought us here to Ft Lewis.  I was deployed twice for 6 months while Courtney was under the age of 5 and had to take several leaps of faith while leaving Courtney with a family (strangers) or very new Friends when I was deployed for a six month tour in Saudi Arabia. 

I share all this to share how GREAT our GOD IS. What a blessing it is to speak it out and share God’s Redemptive Resurrection Blessings.  God had a different plan for my life; One that I could have never imagined.  God created a child within me that is a precious part of me that can never be taken away nor devalued.  God created and brought forth Courtney Marie White against all the odds.  God sustained me and brought me through tragedy and heartache so that I could be her mother.  To Him be the Glory Forever. 

Amen. 

  

 

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why i’m unusually comfortable with death….

Last night, I turned on PBS and caught a show about the suicide assistance program, Final Exit Network.  I wasn’t really looking for a program to get interested in yet I found myself oddly attracted to the high emotion of this episode giving options to end one’s life with dignity.  In a nutshell, Final Exit Network provides support and guidance to candidates looking to end their life because of extreme circumstances of intolerable illness.  They have been lauded as compassionate by scholars in ethics and heretics by religious groups and physicians who oppose an individual’s right to choice to the timing and implementation of a dignified death.  As I’m watching this, I clearly see both sides.  There are many issues at play here and it is a complex subject that few even wish to visit.  Those special individuals who are willing to extend their compassion to a person who asks to die, are clearly in touch with the sensitive and personal issues involved as to why someone would seek out the means to end their life.

I got it immediately.

Their stories spoke directly to my heart.

Until one directly deals with madness and horror of pain; emotional~physical~spiritual~relentless~daily~mind bending pain that isn’t relieved even though one has exhausted their finances, resources and partners.  Because until a person deals with this pain on a day to day, minute by minute way of crawling through life, I realize that the “unaffected” won’t get it.  And that’s fine, because the “unaffected” are living productive lives with good enough health to not feel the burden that the “totally affected” person does.  It isn’t a place that one visits until they have to and once they have to, one doesn’t waiver as much.

I recently had an “episode” brought on my the perfect storm of triggers.  It put me in a place that most would call mental illness.  Since I don’t thoroughly subscribe to that label, I did something entirely different this time upon the suggestion of my friend Heather.  I surrendered to the madwoman.  Blindly, I charged into this event with a headstrong, full of steam and hope approach, calling in all the divine helpers I could find.  Basically, I told it that I was in control and taking over from here.  I told it to FUCK OFF and walked straight into the madness.

Now here’s the really interesting part.  In this swirling anxiety ridden mania that I felt, a story emerged.  I actually took the wheel of this runaway train and channelled it into something productive.  And for the first time, I think I’m really onto to something here.  The outcome was a story I’ve known my entire life and one that I lived and almost died through.  But this time, I was my mother.  I became her, feeling her feelings and seeing the exact places that she was.  I have some thoughts and explanations for this but that is an entirely different post.

There was a time when I censored myself heavily regarding these mystical occurrences but not any more.  They are simply part of me. I now let them flow and even have the nerve to write about them.  A force greater than I is wanting to come through, a story is begging to be told.  Once I rode through the mania and channelled the story, a peace ensued and I share that story with you now. And finally, I’ve come to understand that embracing the dark doesn’t mean succumbing to it.

Her heart leaps from her chest when the kitchen phone rings harshly, shattering the silence of her usual household day.  She must have drifted off to sleep when she sat down to rest for a moment and wait for the coffee pot to finish percolating.  Her day is usually peacefully quiet, save the occasional phone call from a neighbor friend or the dog barking to announce a truck passing by the road out front.  She blinks and tries to steady herself as she waits for her pulse to resume its normal beat, shaking off the images of the place she just visited while asleep in her mother’s sturdy rocking chair.
The phone has stopped ringing now but she knows it was Doris.  Doris is the only person that will let the phone ring for at least 15 times full well knowing that any respectable farm woman would have to put down her dust rag or put down the pan of beans she was shelling before making her way inside to the kitchen.  
She’s fully awake now and glad that there is some hot coffee waiting for her.  She yanks the plug from the wall and lets the percolator relieve itself with a puff of steam.  Damn coffee pot.  How many years is this damn thing going to go on, she’s had it since her wedding which was a full 25 years before and would certainly love to get one of the modern ones that she’d spied in the Sears Roebuck catalog.  She adds a jigger of milk and a spoonful of sugar, stops a moment and dumps another one in.  Its that kind of day that she feels she needs extra sugar.  She goes to the porch and lets the screen door slam behind her.  Today she doesn’t care. Usually when the kids are home, she painstakingly makes sure it doesn’t slam because she knows that she can’t fuss at them without setting a good example.  That’s just the kind of woman that Louise is.  
Her coffee is steamy and sweet, just the way she likes it.  There isn’t a care about the excess sugar intake or the mid morning nap.  There is no never mind about the future, what her kids will do this summer soon as school lets out or whether she’s staked the tomatoes good enough.  All she can think about is tomorrow.
~~~~
The doctor said it was a uterine mass.  It would need to come out and soon.  
His words played over and over in her head.  She wonders if she should have asked more questions in the doctor’s office or if there was more to what he was telling her.  All she can see is the bulbous man coming into the exam room after she’d finished getting dressed and put together.  He sat down with a harumpf, fished in his shirt pocket for his Lucky Strikes, put one between his lips and lit it.  She sat there proper in her good dress, legs together, nylon hose sticking to her and the garters making an impression in the back of her thigh that would last for hours.  
Good god, would that man at least turn the window fan on.  She doesn’t object to the smoke because she’s a closet smoker herself.  Plus everyone she knows smokes; young, old, pregnant or not.  Its a breeze she’s aching for because she knows herself well enough to know that she gets woozy in the high humidity and she’s barely holding it together anyway.  He grunts when he reaches forward and clicks the fan on, letting the steel blades start their acceleration.  Finally the breeze reaches her and she feels like she can finally stop holding her breath, that she isn’t going to fall out in a dead faint.  
“Mrs. Hauner, can you get in here next Monday for an operation?  You have a uterine mass that I felt during the exam that we need to get out.  This is why you haven’t had your monthly cycle”.  He stops for a moment to take a drag from his cigarette while he glances at his clipboard and some notes he’d written outside.  He shakes his head and says, “Nope, pretty sure this isn’t menopause, just the mass that is messing things up.  We’ll know more after the operation”.
With that he stood up, paused briefly as if to see if she wanted to ask anything or have a reaction.  When she didn’t, he continued to tell her that the nurse would be in to make
the arrangements.
~~~~
From her porch seat, the conversation didn’t seem very eventful.  When she replayed it over in her head, she liked to reassure herself that the doctor didn’t seem upset, therefore, she shouldn’t be either.  He’s done this kind of operation many times before and from the appearance of the new hospital at the edge of town, it would seem that they had things under control.  But why then, has she been in a cold sweat since the words were delivered to her that morning?  Was she reading something into it like her husband had told her that night when she gave him the news?  No matter how many times, she replayed the words, there was a cold, eerie feeling that crept up the back of her neck and grabbed her around the throat.
She finished her coffee and stood up to go back into the house.  For a moment, she paused to look, as she always did, at the front yard flowers that she so lovingly planted this spring.  They look good.  Her gardens always looked good.  
Plopping the coffee cup down on the kitchen table, she continued on to the back of the house to her bedroom.  She admired her freshly smoothed bedspread, put into place hours before at the crack of dawn.  The breeze was blowing nicely in through the back bedroom windows and she wondered how long she could leave the windows open before the humidity made it impossible.  
Louise slowly opened the door to the closet and gazed at the beat up brown suitcase.  She hated the sight of it.  To her sister in law, “the world traveler” it meant adventure, escape and respite from all things Southern Illinois.  Theresa jumped at the chance to travel and any man who would take her.  In her eyes, the god forsaken town they grew up in deserved to be left behind and she fulfilled that every chance she had.  Unfortunately the last husband left her as quickly as she had left town and the suitcase became available.  Louise didn’t travel or leave the farm except to visit a sister that lived several hours away, mostly when she’d just had a baby and needed some help with the kids.  But even then, a paper bag and her overnight kit always sufficed.
She was relieved that the kids were still in school for the day and the house was quiet.  She didn’t want to have to face that suitcase with all the daily hubbub going on because she found herself barely able to think even with no distractions and dead quiet.  Louise grabbed the handle and set it down on the bed without taking her eyes off of it.  Her reality was sinking in and the more it sunk, the heavier she became.  As if in slow motion, she reached down and popped open the two snaps and lifted the lid.  As it opened, Theresa’s perfume and cigarette smoke wafted out, causing her nose to wrinkle for a moment.  Her wooziness hit her and the room lifted and started to spin a bit, she tries to settle herself down by speaking out loud to herself in a scolding sort of way.
“Okay, I’ve gone this far.  I’m getting ready to go the hospital and I’m going to be fine.  I don’t have to think about my kids being left motherless if something goes wrong because it won’t.  And the doctor didn’t mention having the cancer that her neighbor ladies are always talking about taking someone unexpectedly.  And even though I don’t know anyone personally that doesn’t have their uterus, I heard about Arlene’s sister who couldn’t have children because of this same thing and she’s just fine”.  
She takes a deep breath and wills herself to believe everything she’s just repeated to herself and begins to fill the musty suitcase with a nightgown, slippers, cold cream and other essentials for her week long stay.  With her task completed, she lowers the lid and snaps the suitcase shut, setting it beside the bed.  One step closer, one more thing off the list until tomorrow.
~~~~
The early morning sun cuts in through the venetian blinds of the hospital admitting area and emphasizes the green linoleum floor and how clean the Sisters of St. Joseph keep it.  She smiles to herself thinking how those gals do take pride in their work and momentarily understands why her sister Helen might enjoy being a Catholic.  She spies her husband outside the window having a smoke with the groundskeeper who is also a drinking buddy at the local tavern and a cousin.  Briefly, she imagines what it would be like if she were viewing her life without her in it.  Would her husband and children continue on like before only with one less place at the dinner table?  Would her absence even be noticed?  And like it or not, Louise realizes that she’s been thinking more along the lines of dying than living through this.  
The light from the center of the ceiling is blinding her. So bright that its burning her eyes.  She squints and tries to shield her eyes but the nurses tell her to leave her arm stretched out so the IV doesn’t get kinked.   They also tell her its necessary for the doctor to see what he’s doing and give a little canned laughter of “you sure do want him to see what he’s working on down there” which doesn’t comfort her a bit.   They are robotic in their movements and she’s feeling the full effect of the pre-op shot they gave her in her room.  Louise doesn’t like this feeling at all which is why she doesn’t drink except the occasional snort of Mogan David that she keeps in the back of the Frigidaire.   
She feels the medication working against all of her coping skills.  She’s losing control. Until this very moment, she has steeled herself against the bad news. Her intuitive feelings of impending doom were screaming. Louise tensed her body hard and fought to regain her centeredness, slamming down every ounce of emotion and stuffing it down her throat.  From there, she didn’t care where it went as long as it went away.  She figures it feeds that uterine mass but would have to deal with that later. 
But the grip is loosening on her self control and she doesn’t like it.  It is unfamiliar and unsettling and harsh.  The cold metal table underneath her has chilled her to the bone and she realizes that she is not only shaking, she is almost convulsing in her movement.  Every word that she’s wanted to say her entire life of silent servitude is now stuck in her throat and she can’t breathe.  A panic spreads over her and in a fit of uncharacteristic behavior, she finds herself trying to escape.  She notices that they notice her.  Her periphery is suddenly full of nurses heads with white pointy hats holding her down as she feels a pinch of another injection in her thigh.  A white cloth comes down over her eyes and stops over her mouth. She takes one frantic breath of the toxic smelling anesthesia and the world goes dark.

the baby floats.  floats in darkened, buoyant bliss.  a little girl.  transitioning from the heavens.  growing, floating, connecting to her new world with every breath and heartbeat of the mother that carries her.  she wants to feel nothing but the beat of her own heart and the arms of the Divine spirit that is lovingly embracing her.  but a primitive feeling, too much for the infantile synapses of her nervous system spreads through her.  she learns about danger from a cellular level.  she is not safe now nor will she be for a very long time.

Little L comes out of the virtual world….

There are many milestones to this writing~healing journey that I embarked upon almost 5 years ago.

The first being that my body had to remember.  It gave me the challenging gift of  tangible form to my mental illness carried around for my entire 45 years.  At the time I might have been very reluctant to admit that this was a good thing but in retrospect, it was the essential plunge that one has to take to rise up as someone different.  These transitions have come to many of us played out in different ways but with the same theme of rebirth.

After weathering the body memories and night terrors where the stories began to unfurl, I began writing.  It seemed high time to take this swirling mess from my psyche and put them into another tangible form…words.  Decades of rage poured out of me in scratchy, erratic phrases.  I cried and raged with my paper and pen, determined to purge myself of its hold on me.  I found an image of what I thought this child looked like and began to make her real.  Not that she wasn’t real all along, but she’d been buried and oppressed in an effort to go through life until she crashed so hard, taking my body with her and demanding that I finally pay attention and put her first.

So I did.

I began putting these writings into a blog that I secretly and lovingly created for her.  It was a place that I could actually go to, turn on the computer and look at her words and manifestations.  It became intoxicating.  The freedom of releasing this pain is one that only a survivor of trauma of any form can understand.  Being let out of prison.  Feeling safety in one’s home and skin. The sweet joy of letting go, little by little, word by word.

Soon after this, I had the divine blessing of finding a forum set up by a woman artist, Terri at Bone Sigh Arts, who had the incredible perceptive foresight to provide a place for women, survivors and otherwise, to place their thoughts.  An inclusive haven, without judgement for those of us who are the smallest and the most timid, to peek out and see if the world was really a place that we could trust.  A place that wanted to see us as we really were: fragile, sensitive, creative, wounded.  I lurked, I read their posts, I watched as they supported others in their healing.  And when I finally came out, it was here that a group of incredible women gathered around me and loved me so unconditionally that I finally found the nerve to push the “publish” button on my blog.  After praying, smudging and turning it over to God and a higher power, I screamed and hit the button.  Frozen for several days, not going near the computer or the blog for fear that I might have made a horrible mistake, that I would be found out and ostracized from my newfound circle of friends for being…..me.

Well, we all know that didn’t happen.

Instead and of course, I was flooded with well wishes and support, praise for my courage and for my writing.

Go figure.

But that was enough for me to forge ahead.

So I’ve been happily blogging for a year now.  I’ve met dozens upon dozens of incredible virtual friends who have lovingly supported me as I dip in and out of depression and mental illness.  I can readily admit that now. Its who I am and have accepted and even revered myself for the warrioress that I am to have thrived in spite of horrendous circumstances. Some of these women share many of my characteristics and talents, others have very different gifts to offer, all are treasured friends.  And yes, I do call them friends even though we’ve never met.  We have, however, shared many challenges of joy and sorrow over the last year and what we lack in physical face to face contact, we make up with in genuine concern for each other, our families, our communities.  Holding hands with each other, we watch the full moon together from all parts of the world, share our gardens and grieve the loss of our beloved ones.

Although quite content with this arrangement, I was given a unique opportunity to meet a fellow writer, survivor and hopefully, a new friend in real person.  Several weeks ago, a trusted friend gave me a book written by a male survivor of horrific child abuse.  She stated simply and knowingly that this book would be similar to the one that I would write.  She’s always believed in me like that.  I devoured his story, the pain and the triumph, in one afternoon and began the process of locating his website and facebook information.  Within days, we were friends and this weekend, I attending his book signing.  How incredible that this man brought to me actually lives in my neck of the woods.

Keith Hoerner, author of “Missing the Mark: A Target Child Speaks” signed my copy and became my first real live human writer~survivor friend.  I’ve officially gotten to the next level of creating the person I want to be. We connected and recognized each other immediately like dogs to their pack.  I hope that we have many sessions over coffee, discussing writing for healing, trauma recovery and all associated topics.  I look forward to that.  And I hope that his book makes its way into the hands of anyone that has experienced childhood abuse of any form.

I feel absolutely giddy….and am wondering what’s next?


the littlest L

 
so tiny and little  
the smallest of small  
barely a faint beat of a heart   
almost non existent, trying not to be  
too small to know how to stop her life  
mustn't make noise shhhh   
stay still, stay frozen 
don't need anything, anything at all   
she tries not to breathe or take up air  
barely tolerated when invisible loathed when seen   
she won't eat for fear of prolonging her life 
they tell her not to feel, cry, be   
she mustn't ask for anything 
kill her hearts desire for love  
she aches for comfort, people, laughter, relief  
but knows she isn't one of God's children deserving of these gifts   
she feels the tears but won't allow them to come  
they are not acceptable feelings show her humanness 
she despises her feelings they are wrong, always wrong   
shamed and beaten for them she hates herself more  
its better this way 
must remain frozen to keep the pain at bay   
her skin screams for sensation she won't give in  
cutting, slicing would allow her to feel 
thrusting her again to the place where she is hated  
turning to her refuge, she rolls into a ball and slips toward sleep   
her respite  
wanting the angels to visit her in the solitude of sleep  
praying the angels see her  
begging them to take her home

the hole

AS SHE WALKED HER PATH, THE EARTH STARTED TO TREMBLE, the air around her thick and still, its surface opening up and swallowing her whole, plummeting her downward, downward into the pitch black darkness and muck.

the dark terrified her instantly, she sat paralyzed from shock, unable to move for hours, unable to make sense of the instant void that surrounded her

the dust settled while her heart stopped its pounding to realize the was in  that place again

it took hours to leave the shock, to gather her wits, find her courage to scratch her way out, scaling the walls only to fall back down over and over and over

eventually she wore out; exhausted, crumbled, weeping and scraped, she began to pray for hours while looking up at the light and the heavens beyond the opening of the cavity that contained her

she heard voices and leapt up thinking her prayers were answered, the people came and looked down the hole at her

“help me please, help me out of here”, the people didn’t move but said it was her place to help herself, it had to be her journey out, no one can help you but yourself

“don’t leave me please, i have been trying very hard” but the people who looked down on her said they loved her and would be with her when she got out and reminded her to use her skills and then they were gone

their words cut her heart and she bled

she wept with despair in the damp dark place, in that place

night came and then daylight, days came and went, she was thirsty and in agony cried out for her mother, for God, for mercy

many more times she attempted to scale those walls, looking for solid surfaces to grasp, rocks came loose, sliding down again

the people came back to look down on her and ask what she needed, “i need help, throw me a lifeline, get someone to help me please, i can’t do this myself”

again they didn’t move to help her but tossed her some food, saying that they were embarrassed to call for help, they had never known someone so dirty and trapped, it would bring shame to their family but would be happy to be with her when she got out and then they were gone

their words cut her again and she bled, but this time the bottom of the hole shifted and gave way as she felt herself plummet deeper into the abyss

she screamed long after they were gone, long into the night until she didn’t recognize her own voice any longer, as if it came from somewhere else in her soul

the nighttime animals began to come to her and encircle the hole and give comfort, they offered their wisdom and insight while she reflected on her place in the hole. it brought her peace but still no answers as to why she was denied help, why she wasn’t worthy of assistance

more days and nights;  weeping, raging, begging, accepting

the people came again and looked down at her.  “its such a beautiful day, the sun is shining and we’ve been enjoying ourselves so much,  how are you doing on such a lovely day?”

to this, she raised her hands and with what little strength she had, threw rocks at their faces, cursing at them for leaving her alone in such a desolate place.  she screamed at them for ignoring her cries for help and for their empty words

the people were horrified at her angry outbursts and quickly retaliated with scolding and finger pointing “we will not be yelled at after everything we’ve done for you”, their shouting so loud, it echoed deep into the cavernous hole, reverberating off the walls and into her brain until she felt her insides shake with their fear and hatred

and then they were gone

it is here that she finally breaks.  no more hope, no more tears, no more believing in love, no more trying to get out.  she slumped against the filthy wall of her prison and surrendered to her  inevitable demise


running to the angels…

One of my favorite things to do is listen to webcasts and internet radio interviews.  It is there that I can find my favorite people and specific topics that are not only informative but soothing.  Once I put the earbuds in and close my eyes, its as if the voices are speaking just to me.

Recently  I listened to a online interview with Doreen Virtue, the angel counselor and author.  She, of course, was speaking about her angel therapy; how to recognize and interact with the angels around us.  Her gift is so awesome.  I always find her so reassuring and so certain of the presence of angels and ethereal helpers that I find I can ride along just on her faith.  At times when I’m questioning myself, I find her, God or whoever is in charge of angels more believable than my own heart.   I can very clearly picture Doreen as a divine messenger, fluent in the language of the angels spreading the love around us with ease and grace.  Its a role that I can see bestowed upon another, someone more deserving, someone more enlightened.  That makes sense to me in a self deprecating sort of way.

One phrase in particular that she said made me perk up and pay attention.  I’m loosely paraphrasing here but the message is exact.  She stated that once you feel that you are communicating with your angels, once you find your magic that you should run to the angels.  Don’t hesitate, just run to them.

Wow…what a beautiful message!  Run to the angels.  YES! I love it, I’m gonna do that….OK, how do I do that?

Holding onto that message throughout the last few days, I play with the idea of a meet and greet with my angels.  Let me back up and say here that I’ve always felt a presence, a energy bigger than myself, front and center in my life.  I don’t doubt that for a moment….it might be them, spirit guides, my beloved mother, God or a collection of all of them.  I do recognize their magic in just the beauty and abundance around me in my everyday life.  But I want to take this to a more intimate level and am wholly  intrigued with a more up front and personal relationship with my angels and how exactly I’m gonna run to them.

So, I go outside this morning and and under my favorite tree to see if I can summon up any thoughts on this angel thing.  I begin to picture them there, all around me; bobbing around, floating, hovering like little baby fairies.  But wait, I can’t run to them if I make them little, I will squish them.  OK, back to the visualization… I need to work with my human and literalist personality here….I close my eyes and make them bigger, more human adult size and dang, all I can picture is one of those sappy movie scenes where the two lovers are running through a field of daisies with orchestra music in the background.  I smack into one of my angels and we fall to the ground laughing.  Sigh.  This really needs some work.

I’m definitely a work in progress.  Incorporating time with the angels is something I will add to my life but for now, I need to relax a bit and  stop trying so hard.  I recall how Charlie Brown felt when he suddenly was “aware of his tongue”.  He stood still, somewhat frozen as he described the feeling of being aware of something that has been there all along.  His tongue, this meaty mass of connective tissue has been present every day for him, helping him swallow and chew, keeping things flowing in his mouth department.  But with a crazy flash of awareness, he doesn’t know what to do with it now.  So he stays still until he and his tongue reintegrate finally relaxing and moving on with his comic strip day.

I understand that.  I have suddenly been made aware of my angels again.  No doubt  I must be a very frustrating subject for my angelic helpers because I tend to get the more overt signs like billboards and bull horns, usually missing the subtle signs completely.  Thank God they are patient entities that look at my bumbling and stumbling with love and endearment.  Last year this time, they sent me an owl to stay with me for weeks until I finally saw that beautiful gesture for the magic that it was.  I did get it, but it took me a while.  But what I lack in natural aptitude I do make up with genuine love and willingness.

So, I come inside after my episode of angel bumping in my yard and sit.  Rosie hops on my lap and we close our eyes.  We opt for prayers of gratitude and sending love out to the people in my life.  This seems like a more appropriate way for me to connect in this moment. I’ll stop trying so hard and let the love flow through me.   I’m thinking this will make us all happy for now.


shining Father’s shoes

This is going to be one of those stories that makes me queasy to put down on paper.

I already have a tightness in my stomach and my head is starting to swim.  I don’t feel eloquent and words are not flowing from me.   I  feel little, vulnerable, and so desperate. But I need to write about this and force myself to go forward with it because to truly release the hold that trauma and shame have on one’s soul, you must drag it into the light no matter how difficult that is.  It must be removed from the rat’s maze in one’s head, doomed to run the same rutted path.  Once its out, you can look at it, dissect it, let your loved ones look squarely at your worst fears and help reassure you.  Otherwise it stays inside and festers into illness of your body and soul.

Somewhere as a little girl of 5 or 6, I got the idea that men liked having their shoes shined.  I’m thinking that during the 40 and 50’s that may have been true when men dressed more formally and wore dress shoes as daily attire.  I’m sure it was considered a treat to sit at one of those stations and have someone spiff up their shoes a bit and most people’s houses I knew had a tin of shoe polish and a shining cloth as part of their household items.  I must have seen these items lying around or saw a scene in a movie of men having their shoes shined and internalized this thought.

This is where my thinking goes astray.

Why on earth, would I consider myself to be so subordinate and subservient to put myself in a position that I would kneel in an attendant position in front of my father, voluntarily lower myself to an inferior status, is a question that I haven’t completely answered yet.  I  know that I would practice on shoes that he wasn’t wearing, rubbing vigorously as if on a time schedule, practicing my efficiency. I don’t remembering him ever asking me to shine his shoes, I just wanted to. I’m guessing I thought it would gain me some approval from my ever distant father, the father whose only attention came at night, in secret, in the dark.  

I wanted to do anything, including prostitute myself to gain his affection and admiration.  This I know for sure, my motivation was his approval.  I would wait for him to come home, having rehearsed and practiced my craft and convince him to sit on the upper part of the picnic table while putting his feet on the seating area.  It was there that I would kneel in front of him, apply the polish and pop the buffing cloth showing my expertise until he would smile at my skills.  Even at those moments when  had his approval, I found it still wasn’t enough and proceeded to spend my lifetime trying to fill that leaking sieve of a psyche that would spill its contents as fast as it would come to me.

Adding insult to injury, my family, so very cruel with words, reinforced my shame by reminding me that I was a deplorable, pathetic girl who couldn’t get enough attention.  “you are a spoiled rotten child who always has to be the center of attention”  echo in my mind. Those types of scenarios set the stage for a lifetime driven to fill the emptiness by doing anything to gain approval from my father and subsequently other men throughout my life.  Shining shoes was just the beginning.

My daddy taught me to be comfortable kneeling down in front of him, being servant-like in my approach to him, letting me humiliate myself with so little regard for my dignitiy.  Weren’t you the one who should have instilled a sense of myself instead of teaching me to be your dirty little slave child?  You had already stripped me of the innocence  of my body and now you were closing in my soul.  Damn you.  I hate you so much right now.

I see that beautiful little girl with her rag and polish, waiting for you to come home so she could endear herself to you by lowering and subordinating herself and all the while you were perfectly, fucking fine with it?  How come I can look at her and see her beauty and you can’t? 

Thank God for my anger because it is my fury that sets her free.  Here’s where she and I rewrite the story.  I tell her to get up and I hold her tight, whisking her away to a place where she is honored and cherished and not depersonalized.  I set her down in a soft place to heal and teach her ways to find her beauty.

You never thought I would grow up to be intelligent and courageous about all of this dysfunction, did you?  You never thought that I could outsmart and outwit you by escaping far into my brain only to thaw out later.  You had not idea of my strength as I tackled all the screwed up thinking given to me by you. BUT I DID.  Guess what? You are dead and I’m over here finding and claiming my power.  Little by little, memory by memory, I am blotting you out, I’m blotting out all of the men you let near me, I’m reprogramming my brain, one tiny detail at a time until soon, I will have a completely new way of seeing myself and the terror I grew up with.

So yeah, I knelt before you, like you were some savior or God to me.  I did that.  I was a child that didn’t know any better and relied on a monster for a father for some shred of attention..

But that was then and this is today, I’ve long gotten her out of that cesspool of existence.  

Kiss my ass and shine your own fucking shoes.


i hurt for the women…

Try as I may to steer away from politics, it reached up and grabbed me by the throat this weekend.

It isn’t the political arena itself that disturbs me.  That can be a fabulous forum for learning about others, working for change, finding common ground and truly being a crusader to help those who can’t speak for themselves among many other purposes.  Politics enlighten us to others’ opinions and passions and when used for a higher good can be a liberating venture.

But when the media and political arenas are methodically and maliciously used to hurt, to inflict purposeful pain, to divide people from their place of connectedness with their fellow person/themselves/God, to destroy and mock for the sole purpose of making money or some vile sort of entertainment, that’s where I hop off the bus. 

This weekend I’ve chosen many courses of action related to the “war on women”.

It has been particularly challenging for me not to lose myself when this type of negativity presents itself.  Friday night was spent in a long distance phone conversation while my friend sobbed.  She, like myself and many others, felt that heaviness of pain thrust upon us by a man who succumbs regularly to the urge and addiction to hurt.  I watched another women attempt to be heard while comments and name calling  were flying around on Facebook and while I don’t know for sure, I think she was trying to alleviate her confusion in the spirit of communion. And I’ve raged in my own way.  Mostly I’ve reached out virtually to women I know in an attempt to “hold hands” with them as we sort through this together.  It is a time when I need my tribe the most; to help me find the beauty and purpose that grounds me.

I do hurt for the women; their families, their partners and children.  Wider than that, I hurt for their communities as the ripple of negativity plunges us under.  We hear the word “slut” and it becomes more than just a bit on TV, it becomes personal.  I think I actually felt a universal “wince” as those brutal words were played and replayed.

But true to the survivors that we are, we bob back to the surface, gasping for air, begin to clear our heads and process what has just happened.

And today, we are back.  Still holding hands with each other for support, we slowly start moving again.  We go to our gardens and look for the first sign of growth; some are reading to their children, others are silently praying for a more loving world while others are shouting it out.  Our bodies go back to our jobs but our hearts still hear the faint reverberations of hate.

We sit and hold this pain until its evident that it has passed through us instead of sticking in our hearts.  We again accept the challenge of how to love back in spite of the hurt.


my first nominee for Candle Lighter award….

First, I want to thank bipolarmuse who I’m choosing just to call Muse.

She had the grace and kindness to nominate me for the Candle Lighter award, which was my first blogging award and I am totally geeked about it.  Being recognized by a fellow blogger with the same goal of just trying to make our way through life is just the cat’s meow for me.

As I have no particular illusion of grandeur in writing this blog, it remains primarily just for me.  Following that, its for the folks that I attract along the way who are using every skill they can grab onto to manueuver through life and find their way home.  I am so committed to speaking out about the dark subjects of sexual abuse, incest, mental illness and all its counterparts with my ultimate hope being that this information falls into the lap of someone needing it.  And it lifts them up.  That’s what it is all about for me.  Lifting myself and others up. So, thanks Muse, you made my day.

I’ve thought long and hard about to whom I would pass this award.  There are so many incredible bloggers that I subscribe to (yes, I’m a blogaholic) that fill me up on a daily basis and any of them would be an ideal candidate.  But I kept contemplating (and yes, I seriously over think things) until I figured out that I wanted this to be personal for me.  In this world of virtual friends and wonderful, technological accomplishments, this had to be real for me.

The Candle Lighter Award is an award for a post or blog that is positive and brings light into the world.  

The Candle Lighter Award belongs to those who believe, who always survive the day and who never stop dreaming, who do not quit but keep trying.

There are no rules.

If you wish to, simply accept it and you are done!

You are also free to decline or ignore it.  

Recipients can pass it on to as many nominees as they wish and as often as they wish.

The woman I’m choosing is someone I’ve known my whole life.

It feels right in that full-circle-synchronicity kind of way for us to be in our fifties and bonding by incidents of over 40 years ago. We haven’t spoken in person for years but grew up in the same town, with the same story, with the same kinds of traumatizations.  It wasn’t until and because of technology, the internet and specifically Facebook that we even became reacquainted.  As our conversations progressed, we started a late night confessional of our secrets that had occurred in our childhoods and plagued us ever since.  My heart sank as I heard her story yet I somehow always knew that I wasn’t alone in being a victim of sexual abuse.  To say that it was rampant in my family and community is an understatement.

Our lives have taken somewhat different directions.  Our views on God and faith are blazingly different and our commonalities are huge.  I like to think that our mission trumps any religious or spiritual differences.  In fact, it makes the union that much more beautiful.  She will reach survivors that I couldn’t even touch.  In fact, she already has.  Upon coming out and publishing her own blog, several women have come to her and disclosed their own stories of abuse.  My heart goes out to her calling and to all the little girls I grew up with, sad in their own ways, no one to turn to, unable to speak about their atrocities because no one did back then.  And I mean NO ONE.  She has opened a portal that I forsee many people, male and female, being able to pass through into healing.

This little award doesn’t even touch the respect and admiration that I have for Debbie King Killian and her blog, Reclaiming my Life.  I consider her a true candle lighter.



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