I am just going to come out and say that my father was a real piece of work. He was beyond abusive. He was evil. There are a lot of ways that abusers manipulate and control their victims. Turning siblings against each other is one of those ways. Only in this case the manipulation was is offering to spare one for the other.
For years my sister and I had no relationship. That is not to say that I did not follow around behind her and get into fights with anyone that tried to bully her. She is my sister and I needed to keep her as safe as I could. She was and is the diplomat. She reasons with people and uses great people skills to defuse conflicts. She has lived with my mother for many years and has put up with a lot. And used those amazing skills (which I think is her super power) to help my mother to modify some of those behaviors that made it so difficult for me to live with her.
Today we talked about some very painful stuff. We looked back on our childhood and talked about some of the hard stuff. None of which was easy. She has felt guilt for a long time about some of the things that happened to us. I just wanted to take this opportunity to say to the world (or whoever reads this) that though she may not know it she did more to keep us safe than she knows or remembers. And that no matter what my father told her she was a good big sister. She did work to keep us safe when there was no one else there to do it. She was that person who stepped up for as long as she could and did what she could.
Here, publicly, I want to say that it is an honor and a privileged to not only know you but to be your sister. I love you.
Lately I have been overwhelmed by stress and changes in the things around me. By the end of the day I am filled with extreme sensory overload. It sometimes reaches a point that the only thing that I can do is go to bed and hide under my covers for half an hour.
After one particularly hard day at my internship site I called home and told my family I would be home a few hours later than usual. I needed to decompress from everything that had happened that day. I went to a restaurant that my husband and I go to regularly. I sat at the table where we usually sit. I ordered something that I have had many times in the past. And I pulled out my kindle and started to read a book that I have read before. There was no new input. Everything was familiar. After about an hour I felt calm and a lot more peaceful. I was able to process the stimulus of the day.
I had gone to a place that was constant. There was nothing new to interfere with the processing of the day. Later I thought about how I was feeling and how I had decompressed in such a short time. And how it had been such a thoroughly relaxing thing. The thought that came to me was that I was processing in a place where there was continuity. A place where nothing new existed and nothing was competing for my attention. There was no new input.
It felt like a moment where a light bulb is turned on and you realize that the switch for the light had been there the whole time. And I was just noticing it. Having a space that is continuously the same and never changing or at least only subtly changing can be extremely healing for an over stimulated mind. I had heard of people having a meditation space where they would always go and thought that it was a very cool. I never felt that it was something that would benefit me.
Creating and having a space of continuity has now become very important in my self-care plan. It is part of the “what pleasant activity did you do?” section of my plan. Doing this helps me to work with my difficulty in dealing with change in general. I am finding a place in the storm of my life that is always calm. A place that is not overstimulating and whispers to me to come in and find peace.
I hope everyone can find that place and visit it often when things in life become overwhelming.
For so very many years I felt like I was sleepwalking through my life. I experienced things but it was as though I was doing so from under water. You see the things that are going on but everything feels muddled. You can’t actually hear what is going on around you but you know that there are people talking to you. You move through the day feeling as though you are dragging your legs through the sand, making so little headway. And then one day you wake up.
Not all at once. But in bits and pieces. Slowly you begin t see that the sun is still shinning and it is as warm as you remembered. I remember waking up. I remember the day i decided that things were going to change. I told my therapist that as of June 1st great things were going to happen and big changes were going to take place. This was in March. It gave me some time to get things in order. It was probably the most terrifying thing I have ever done. I enrolled in college.
I had been to college before. After I finished High School I went for almost four years. But I never really accomplished anything. I went through the motions. I went to class and did the work. But as time passed I stopped going to class and stopped doing the work. I was falling even deeper asleep. I had bouts of wakefulness but not really awake. You know you have finally woken up when you realize so much time has passed.
Back to waking up. I enrolled in college and started moving through. I met some amazing people. Some who were very accepting and others judged without knowing me. But I kept moving and finally graduated with my BA in Health Arts from Goddard College. And now I am struggling through another program and working towards my Masters degree.
So where am I going with this? I am saying that we all wake up at some point. Maybe not completely. But enough to see what is in the world. I still feel like life moves around me at a different speed.As though I can see that people are talking but I can’t always understand it. But I know that I have survived things that I would never wish on anyone and still carry all my scars. But there is always a time when I can look around and feel the sun. Even though sometimes I am still asleep.