Broken wings

She felt like a child still in so many ways…wondering why the world always seemed to roughly push against her when she tried to stand up for herself and expect to be treated like an equally important member of society…  It was so uncomfortable to stand up for herself against anyone for any reason at all and the slightest resistance or push back and she just crumbled…feeling more and more weak and pathetic. She often wondered why she was so easy to knock down?

As a child, she hadn’t been permitted the luxury of finding her own way, questioning authority, having opinions, or expressing  any type of individuality.  These things simply had not been permitted or tolerated in any form.  What evolved from this was a fearful person; one who fit smoothly into the world and so many lives of others merely because she wasn’t equipped with a backbone to go against the grain, much less, stand up for herself.  Although it sometimes seemed to her that she’d been born without a back bone, a genetic deformity of sorts, logically she understood her mother had removed it entirely over a slow and degrading 17-year-long process. A few times when it seemed  one might be trying to develop in her, it was quickly squashed and eliminated.  One did not question adults, either respectfully or otherwise.  No questions whatsoever.  One liked whatever one was given, one liked what other people liked if one wanted to BE liked or ever hope of being loved.   Always just smile and go along with it.  This made her an easy target for all types of abuse and manipulation. 

So at 5, she didn’t question the teenage boy who insisted she go into his bedroom with him every day.  She didn’t question the other babysitter either, an even older teenage girl  who manipulated her even further.  She didn’t question the elementary school janitor who groped beneath her panties after school.  They were so much older and she desperately wanted to be a “good girl”.  She wanted to be liked and thought well of and maybe if she was ever good enough, someone would come along who could love her.  And anyway, she learned from a very early age that if you didn’t like something, you’d better keep your mouth shut and pretend to or it promised to get far worse.  Plus, she didn’t want to be the fussy, problem child.   God forbid she be an insolent, precocious type child who disgusted the adults with sass or youthful curiosity! She longed for love and acceptance..ached for it actually from her earliest memory on…  Thus, she never questioned or argued, never pushed back against any type of authority…no matter how uncomfortable or wrong it felt.  She didn’t suffer from a lack of identity, inner strength, or sense of righteous indignation, she simply never was permitted to develop any from the beginning.  She was always a chameleon, learning to quickly change colors and quietly blend in with whatever color seemed safest in any given circumstance or moment.  Somewhere buried inside her was envy of those people and children who had no trouble speaking their minds or pushing back against an authority figure if they did something which seemed wrong.  She envied them the security that came from knowing if they just did the right thing for themselves, someone bigger and more powerful would be there to support and protect them.

Ironically, the catch-22  started hitting her early.   She was so hungry for love and affection, any type of acceptance would be welcomed. This must have been obvious and she was often treated cruelly by her peers or friends.  She early on became the common door mat for many to wipe their frustrations and insecurities.  When she was hurt and tried to  discuss this with her mother, desperate for some consolation, compassion and perhaps even just a little sense of support,  mother would yell at her for letting people treat her badly.  This was always so confusing! She wasn’t supposed to expect better, much less demand anything better, right?  Be quiet and content with what you have, or else…it will only get worse.  All she knew for certain is she wanted to feel loved and had to be quietly unassuming and accepting so it  would not get even worse.  

After she left mother’s home and had her very first official boyfriend, she soon realized she had attracted a violent man.  A Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type man who worshipped and adored her more than she’d ever experienced before, but also would get very angry if she upset him intentionally or otherwise.  This was especially hard for her to handle with any self-respect.  There was the back-bone issue of course, mixed with the open affection and love that flowed freely in moments when her boyfriend wasn’t angry with her.  She knew she wanted more of that, in fact she felt a bottomless pit of need for this love.  How could she walk away from the first person who loved her enough to defend her to others, even if he did physically attack her himself?  At least he didn’t allow anyone else treat her badly.  He loved her most of the time and at least this way the cruelty only came from one person, instead of several.  This was better than anything she had ever known before!

After a few years of his random and violent beatings she realized she must escape soon when he started openly threatening her life if she tried to leave.  She turned to her mother for help… scared and begging for a place of refuge.  Mother said, “You’ve let him treat you like this for years now…so you deserve what he dishes out. You must like it to have stayed so long.  Give it a few years and then if I can believe that you’re really not going to go back to him again, maybe I will help you at that point.” 

Give it a few years?   He had recently forced her into his car and kidnapped her for an afternoon and another time recently had threatened her with a gun.  She never once called the police on him (not wanting to get him in any trouble), and when concerned neighbors would hear and called the police, they never helped.  In spite of her obvious busted lips and bloody noses, they would always say something like, “You two need to separate for a while and work this out on your own.” 

Dad would take one look at her black and swollen eyes and say, “Honey, what did you do?  You know how sassy you can be…you must have said or done something to really set him off this time.  You have to learn to watch your mouth, girl.”

Give it a few years?  The violence was escalating amazingly fast.  She had no where safe to run and she didn’t believe she would last another few years.

In this desperation, she did what she had to do to get free and after a few years of counseling later in life, she realized that mother hadn’t allowed her to have a backbone or to develop any self-respect and then punished and criticized her further for being “weak”.   No one was ever going to stand up for her and she didn’t have the strength or self-confidence to ever stand up for herself, she wanted to be loved too much to ever take that chance.  It was a no-win situation.  She was the world’s punching bag, literally and figuratively… and she could never lose the fear that if she didn’t learn to accept this, it could always get worse.

With this innate sense of constant fear and drastic lack of self-respect or entitlement, she set out in life, mostly hoping not to be noticed much and praying someone safe someday would.

The Slut’s conundrum

Slut.

I’m not sure what this means to me anymore…  I once thought that sharing your body intimately with another person should be reserved only for relationships where love was there or at least a potential to love….great admiration, perhaps?

My whole perspective on this has changed in the past 4 years of riding the viciously cruel DK roller coaster.  I haven’t been loved by another in four years, but I’ve loved a man and I’ve had sex with him countless times throughout this period.  And now I might be somewhat free from the painful chains holding me to him, but I do not know my capacity to love any more.  I can’t possibly know if I will ever feel a depth of emotion strong enough for another person in a romantic relationship to label it “love”.  I question my capacity to let myself venture there again at all.

It is painful to think of loving him so much and all we missed out on, as well as all the damage that he has done toying with my heart or four years.  I still can’t be certain I would agree it is better to have loved and lost..but I can finally say with absolute sincerity that the mutual loving experience of that relationship before it turned into something cruel and ugly, was the most beautiful experience I have ever had.  It hurts to think of the beauty of it..because it is gone..but I don’t fully resent it anymore.  I can actually feel a tinge of utter gratitude for having experienced a love that most people will never get the opportunity to know or even comprehend…  And while I still can’t fathom it will ever not hurt at ALL to have that memory and experience, I can qualify that into a category where I see that in some perspective I was truly very blessed and fortunate to have known it.

And now what?  My heart does not (thankfully!) fully reside with DK anymore, but it certainly still is not fully my own either.  Irony is that my capacity to love has diminished and grown overly cautious, but my capacity for compassion and forgiveness has exceeded limits I never would have imagined it could.  And I have always associated compassion and forgiveness with love…at least the deeply sincere kinds of compassion and forgiveness.  How can this be?

And…because of this experience am I now cursed to be what I previously considered a “slut”?  If I cannot love…(will not love?) is it acceptable to sexually connect with others under those circumstances?  When I KNOW I am in those circumstances?  Does this warrant me a life as the stereotypical tramp..the girl everyone uses to satisfy physical desire or fears of self-inadequacy?  I cringe at the thought of being used by so many…or by ANY one really and yet who am I to judge? I have allowed DK to use me to the extent that I feel worth little more than that.    If I cannot/will not (?) love, am I not for all intents and purposes, using others in my own way as well?  No matter how full of compassion and forgiveness my “usings” are…am I any better than anyone else who selfishly uses others for whatever their personal reasons might be.

I have allowed a man to use me to the point that my own self worth has shriveled to nothing… I reside in a place where I can’t even imagine another human being feeling genuine love for me… I am not worthy of that any longer.  I am a body with working pieces, a soul full of compassion and forgiveness, and a heart that is closed.  Who am I?  The slut I never imagined I could be…a monstrous creation formed from a beautiful relationship that went wrong and a love for another that would not subside…which has mutated me into a worthless tramp.  “Self righteous”, “teasing”,” save myself for love only” girl has mutated into its opposite…

And I believe that since the more sex without love you have in your life, the less love you have in general…the more the capacity to love shrivels further and further…then I self-create a continuation of the very thing I never wanted to be…

Or I join an Ashram and swear of all desires and thoughts of romantic love forever…?  Let agape flow from my heart through my outstanding capacity for compassion and forgiveness for humanity, while resigning myself to a life without personal love or selfish satisfactions.

I am a contradiction by definition of my character and spirit… and instead of resolving those contradictions, I, myself(with extraordinary assistance from DK), have dictated my life to expand my contradicting nature….perhaps making me the most unlovable and least respectable human being who has walked the earth…?

Overly dramatic?  Yes, of course!  And still I feel I cannot put precise enough conviction and explanation in my words or thoughts regarding the conundrum I and my life have become…..

Wow!

I am so bursting with pride at my daughter!  She demonstrated such fantastic strength and self confidence today that it nearly brought tears to my eyes to just know that someone as incredible as she actually comes from a part of me.  I am so proud of her!!

She told me today that she isn’t going to call Dave “Dave” anymore, but he will from now on be referred to as “It”.  A few hours later she told me that all the damage he has done has affected her and her sister too.  I felt horrible and apologized.  She then said she’d like to write him a letter telling him just how she felt about everything he’s done to our family.  I told her she had every right to feel that way and to write whatever letters she wanted.  She was surprised I said that and said,” I’m going to go write it right now then!”

She went in her room and came back awhile later asking me to read her letter.  It was very well written for a 12 year-old!  She didn’t resort to writing anything mean or hateful.  She merely said that what he’s done has affected her and her sister and that she thought he was a much better person than that.  She wrapped it up by writing, “You need to man-up and say you’re sorry to my mom or else leave my family alone!”

She then asked if she could deliver it immediately, she wanted him to get it as soon as possible she said.  I told her of course she could do whatever she wanted with her letter because those are her feelings and she’s entitled to them and to share them with whoever shec chooses.  She marched that letter straight over to his house and left it for him!

Wow!  I’m so delighted and excited to see that she’s so strong and confident with herself, her sense of right and wrong, and her value as a person.  She is a phenomenal girl…  I’m overwhelmed at her confidence and self esteem.  On a selfish note, I feel relieved to see that she’s not at all afraid to stand up for what and who she believes in, regardless of the weakness I’ve unfortunately demonstrated to her at times through this horrible ordeal.   Yayyyyyyyy Lexi!!!!!!  

I’m not that strong sometimes now when dealing with this issue.  I can’t imagine having that kind of self esteem and courage at 12!  She is my hero!

Concrete Angel

My youngest daughter showed me this video yesterday.  I’ve heard the song plenty, but never had seen this.  I did not cry!  There was a hollow-ness inside where the images and the words just bounced around uncomfortably.  I thought of so many different things all at once, rushing around my mind faster than my ability to feel or process them all…

My mother, my teachers, the abused children I’ve met in my work, my own children, Dave as the little angel boy, Dave as the abuser….

They aren’t supposed to run off to play in heaven where he knows her vulnerabilities and her weaknesses.  She trusts him…and feels so grateful she has someone who loves her and cares for a change.  And then he uses them to further hurt her, without ever “intending” to do so, of course.

I can’t help but think is he wounded too?  Is that why he has become this?  At this point, I can’t afford to let myself care, but I wonder what creates this vast discrepancy in his character?  Annyway, it matters not, as he is so strong and so proud, even he would not admit to himself if it were.  So, he has that blanket of strength to protect him and give him the coldness (the sense of entitlement?) to jump on other people to get what he needs to make himself feel better.  Somehow while standing in the line of vulnerabilty, I wasn’t given one of those self-survival blankets of protection.  Sure wish I could buy one of those!

3 days

It’s been three days without writing.  It was nice to have company and he is delightful….  and I also always feel a little lost when I go that amount of time without writing and attempting to organize and express my thoughts…

Feeling all sorts of strange things….extremely sad about Dave…afraid…worried….excited….empty….

Friends over last night.  Funny I feel mostly the same things about that situation too.  Like I want so much to protect them and also desperately protect myself from them.  It is hard to accept and face all the things Dave tried to tell me and especially hard without the safety of him to buffer the bruising of my innocence falling.

I do not know how to love anyone else.   I do not know how to perceive less than perfection…perfect fit…perfect understanding….the perfect piece.  Everything else feels too scary to even try and even the pieces that seem like they might fit better than most still don’t fit just like that.  I do not know how I will ever fully recover.  I repeatedly tell myself it is possible; that it will happen in time…more and more time.  And I get the strangest sense that I’m lying to myself with every reassurance.  I can’t possibly tell myself it won’t happen  and lying to myself is frustrating in itself.

It is possible.  It will happen in time.  It has to.

A Woman’s Tears

 

The Hebrew Talmud says:

“Be very careful if you make a woman cry, because God counts her tears.

The woman came out of a man’s rib.
Not from his feet to be walked on.
Not from his head to be superior.
But from the side to be equal.
Under the arm to be protected,
and next to the heart to be loved.”

Trusting the path of loving-kindness

If I truly had faith, I would not be concerned with the future.  I would not try so hard to analyze things and figure them out to know what’s ahead.  I would just have faith that it’s all going to work out.  I mean, it has to work out in some direction, so why stress about which direction?  If I could just have the faith that whatever happens, will be the correct thing for whatever reason it is, then I would rid myself of so much stress and worry.

Up until now, everything has happened for a reason.  Why should I give into the doubt that that will continue?  Life offers no other choice.  What will be will be and it somehow always turn out to be what is best and what’s meant to be…

If I embrace love and stay open to loving kindness and act on my own principles and standards, then I need not worry about the future.  It’s all taken care of today.  When did I slowly transform into this future-worrier?  Where’s that girl who just seized the day and let worries wash past in a moment’s thoughts?  She has to still be here somewhere…  The pain and struggles of life have gotten ahold of her for awhile and in thrashing against it, she wanted to protect herself and try to control and/or know the future. Yet trying to figure the future only brought more worry and struggles and still it didn’t change the future.

Loving kindness changes the future by closing to negativity and filling the world with light and love.  That is the greatest direction for all situations and lives!