Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, January 26, 2015

I was listening to Chapter A Day

on Public Radio.  I have no idea what the book was/is, and the bits that I heard were/are not interesting enough to find out, but a sentence did catch my attention.

The character's words were "I wonder how many of the Past's footsteps walk in our shoes today."  At least pretty close to that.  Nice, because it is another way of thinking about how our past forms our present and, often, our future.  I also thought that it was an interesting piece of dialogue, but, really, who is least most people, adults, like closely our past and all of those experiences are a factor in how we craft our lives.  Mostly unconsciously is my best guess, but if the past has been dramatic or traumatic enough, much of what we choose now is based on our memories or wounds or pleasures of all that jazz.

Last week was spent donating the last of my stuff and cleaning the old flat, and I was down in that city for eight days.  To say that I am exhausted does not even begin to describe how I have been feeling for the past several days.  That down-to-the-bone fatigue is just like how I felt most every day in that other life, well, except that this now new life does not have the violence, brutality and fear, the insecurity of knowing that there might not be a next day for me.  I am tired, but danger is not sitting on my shoulders, wrapping its spiky tail around my neck, tighter and tighter.

So, in the spirit of all of the now new life stuff, a couple of interesting things happened.

One was hearing that brief passage on the car radio.  I think the significance of that for me is I am pretty sure that the past does not determine every decision, every choice, nearly every moment as it did.  Working my ass off to understand what happened, how it developed, and most especially, what my part in that dynamic must have been and how I ignored everything in the shadow of believing that if I could just manage to get things right, do things right and that everything would be fine, has been a real struggle.  I am guessing that most survivors of those kinds of lives and us PTSDers have a pretty decent understanding of how that process can be for someone else, even if the particulars are different.

The Past will have its way if we do not face it.  Everything that happened.  Accepting responsibility for those things for which we are responsible and breaking the chains of the inappropriate and unwarranted responsibility our abusers try to foist on us.  I think that I am making good progress in that area.  I have been aware of triggers and mostly respond in a healthy way.  I have left some people behind; that they have not understood is no much of a surprise, as that is the way of those who cannot understand.

I have found the way to forgive him.  I am still a little surprised at how easy that process was.  And, were not this next aspect a part of many women who survive abuse, I would feel shame to admit that there is still a part of my that loves him.  Not in any way that would bring him back into my life, but despite having plenty of boyfriends, including two who wanted to marry, he was the first person I ever loved, the first (and still only, how sad is that) person with whom I was intimate and we produced a wonderful daughter, one of the nicest people I know.

Another part of how our histories walk, if not in our shoes today, at least alongside us.  I guess the path is wide enough for everyone.

Another thing that happened was at church Sunday, last week.  As long as I was in town, it felt comforting to attend the church I liked.  One of the women was saying goodbye again and told me that I was so much more calm from when she met and got to know me.  Nice.  I think so, too.

Another day was spent giving furniture and all my cat furniture and toys and stuff to one of the women in one of the support groups I attended.  I took her to lunch and we were both our usual selves, except that I can see beyond her behaviors to recognize and honor the person behind the disabilities, as I hope that other people can do the same for me.  We are all crazy in our own ways.  I used to think of it as unsettled and words like that, but we all carry our own personalized versions and levels of insanity.  I really believe that to think otherwise is denial.  Just do.

I slept at least twelve hours last night.  Nice. 

My daughter and I will be going to a new Indian restaurant this week. 

I have a spare room full of boxes, mostly art stuff that I could not leave when it came to moving the last of my crap.  Lordy.

I will be sorting some of that stuff so that I can sew a dust ruffle for my bed, a couple of curtains from my lace stash and make some valentine gifts for my little friends. 

I am thinking that I might want to begin back to work or volunteering in a few more weeks, or maybe not.  We will see.   I am kind of liking having nothing regular to do.

Choosing the flat with the most stairs to climb has turned out to be a wise decision.  I am already walking so much better after this first month that I can hardly believe how well my muscles are working.  I have less asthmatic difficulties and my heart is working more reliably as well.  Even though my doctors might not agree (not ready to challenge them yet) I do feel as though my heart stuff is much improved.  I have used my cane only three days in the past month.  Nice.

Lots of things are nice.  You know, just plain, ordinary nice.  I so hope that I can end up being close to a normal, ordinary person with a normal and ordinary life. 

I have had enough drama and all the rest to last me, well, last me all my life.

And, yet, that brings something else new to awareness.  In the past, even the time right after I fled that other life, dying seemed the perfect solution.  Once I was out of there I stopped thinking about suicide, but there were still moments when hurting myself was so tempting.  The threats after I left left me fearful and agitated, but that seems to have passed now.  I no longer think about death as a solution.  Heck, I can even talk and write about it now. 

Here is that 'yet', and it is that I have a more normal attachment to life.  I am going through a period, hopefully short, of having these little bursts of concern about not living. 

I am safe now, for the first time in decades, and I like it.  Life is precious.  I want to live a long time. You know, sort of catching up and trying to make up for some of the things I missed.  It is not a bucket-list kind of thing, just wanting to be around and enjoy the peace and fun and my grandsons growing up and my daughter and I growing older. 

I want to like in this place, this village, for a very long time.  I am trying to not fall under the thrall of fearing death, so all of this new stuff is mostly confusing.  I guess I am not feeling fear, but longing, such a great and deep longing and yearning for a life without all that other life stuff.

I do not need anything to be perfect.  I do not need it to always be high noon, sun shining, birds singing, cake for breakfast and unicorn pets for everyone.

I am willing to continue to work, and work hard at whatever I do.  I am not afraid of sadness or troubles or struggles that come with normal and ordinary life. 

I think that what I want to to always remember what it cost and how hard I worked to gain this now new life and that I hope I never stop appreciating and honoring every moment that brought me here.  Even all of the stuff from that other life.  Had any of it not happened, not even the worst day, I would not be who I am, you know, the person I dreamed that I could be. 

It is a process.  One day, one step, one heartbeat at a time.


  1. You sound much happier and more settled. A perfect life would be boring and each of us has a different idea of "perfect" anyway so to no longer have the hassles that surrounded one before is enough and to be able to make your own choices - uninfluenced by others demands - makes it a whole lot sweeter in lots of little ways that all add up. Well, it does for me. Enjoy your journey.

  2. I agree with Robyn that you do sound much happier. I hope you find the 'right' place to volunteer if you feel that is what you want to do this year. I plan to do some volunteer work but want to be in a place where it is not stressful. Does any place like that exist these days? LOL!

  3. Thanks, both of you. I guess if others can see more positive feelings and less of the old crap, then it must be happening.

    My two volunteer plans are a food pantry and a humane society. I hope to begin each gig next month.

  4. Oh what a road you have traveled, be proud of yourself, you're amazing. I'm so so glad that you are finding peace, everyone deserves that. Be happy matey. xxx

  5. Thanks, Sue, but what is truly amazing is the support and willingness to tolerate my whining and nearly constant angst from the people who follow me here.

    I write for my own therapy, but there have been so many times when someone commented and their words helped me to surmount some obstacle or conquer some fear aspect that held me stuck in place.

    I really do not let people know, often enough, how much I appreciate all of you.