Wednesday, April 25, 2012

You're Invited

So about those support calls!  Let's start next Tuesday evening at 8 pm Eastern time.  For this first conversation, I'd like to talk abuse and domestic violence.  Our histories of experiencing or witnessing it, and what we've done to heal from those experiences.  Everyone is welcome.

Where:  Wherever you're comfortable with phone in hand.
When: Tueday, May 1; 8:00 pm Eastern time
What:  Support call and discussion of experiencing and healing from abuse and domestic violence

Be sure to bring lots of loving-compassion and tolerance for those who's experience may have led them to different ideas and beliefs than those you hold dear!

If you are interested in joining the conversation, please contact me either through email (on my profile page) or here, on Facebook.  Little Hearth has a brand new little page over there.  I'll pm or email you the number to access the call. 

Looking forward to hearing from you!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Climbing the Stairs

Two days ago, I hit a low. I had a winter low, too, a couple of months ago. That low was inspired by the realization of the big dark fear I'd been carrying around with me all my life. This low was inspired by the realization that I was still participating in an abusive relationship.

Part of the project I'm working on involves me writing about my personally history with abuse. I've always considered myself a witness of abuse rather than an abused person. As far as I was concerned, my personal experience of direct abuse amounted to a handful of occurences where things had gotten out of control, or I had butted my nose into other people's business, then shared the burden of being abused for the evening.

As I began to write my story, I saw the accumulated events together in one place for the first time. Oliver would read through it and say, "What about this time, or that thing that happened?" I would cringe and say, yes, that needs to be included, too.

It got to the point that, even though I'd been working steadily for months on this project, taking care to nurture myself through the difficult material I was immersing myself in, I'd sit down to work and feel immediately ill. My muscles would cramp, my stomach would knot, and my mind would not allow me transmute my memories through my fingers and onto the page. My whole self was in resistance mode.

For three weeks this went on. I'd squeeze out a few paragraphs and then collapse in a heap of exhaustion unable to cry, unable to think. Then Easter happened. It was like the time that my high school sweetheart finally slammed me up against the wall shouting in my face. It took an amount of violence at the time for me to see that I was in a terrible relationship. While there was no physical violence over this past weekend, there was undeniable evidence--which still took me a few days to acknowledge--that this relationship that I didn't know how to live without was indeed directly abusive, and always had been.

That realization catapulted me into about 24 hours of depression, which I am no stranger to. I feel so deep and so suddenly that I could not even remember my usual tools to wake back up to my life. I actually had to ask Oliver to remind me how I best heal during this moments.

I could sense that it wouldn't last long if I just surrendered to the grief, because that's what it was. Just grief. Grief for the relationship that had to end, just like that, once I finally allowed myself to see the true nature of it. Grief for the last little bit of innocence that I carried around in reference to that relationship. Grief for myself and all the shit I've trudged through all this time, while trying to salvage what hope there was left for a semblance of normalcy and real love.

This morning I looked in the mirror and told myself that I don't have to worry anymore, because I won't let anyone hurt me that way again, and that I really and truly am at long last safe and secure, both within myself and in my surroundings.

Since Wednesday's plummet to the dark, damp basement of my psyche, I've been methodically climbing the stairs back up to ground level, and with each step I climb I see myself a little more clearly. I see what I'm worthy of, and capable of. I grow more firm in my resolve to keep going with this work, and I grow more sure of the truth that I'll figure it all out. Everything I'm not sure of right now...I'll figure it out.

I am releasing my need for perfection. I am redefining humility. I am acknowledging the rage that is splitting me at the seams.

Mostly right now, this moment, I am grateful for the presence of the stairs. They were not always there, and they did not magically appear. They are strong, sturdy wooden stairs, built by me during the last ten years of trying to get a grip. Once upon a time, the stairs were not there, and I stayed in the deep darkness for a long, long time until I pooled my resources, picked up a hammer, and got to work, building my way out.

Even as recently as last month I was beating myself up for my lack of productivity over the past decade. All I'd done was produce two human beings and heal myself from a childhood of abuse. I didn't see anything worthwhile that had come from that.

Until I fell face first into that deep dark space, and clammered around until I grasped my salvation. Sturdy stairs of wood and nails built to last a life time, right there where I left them.

Thank you, younger me, for having the presence of mind to start building your way out. It was very well done.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The In-Between

My old way died today. I'd been resisting it, though I knew it was coming. Of course it would happen right after Easter.

I've been working slowly, but dilligently on what I forsaw as the the most difficult of portion of my project, hitting walls every time I sat down to write.

Last night I uncovered the why behind the walls during a long, teary conversation with Oliver.

My project involves domestic violence awareness.

I had not acknowledged the ongoing verbal abuse I've been expreiencing these last ten years, and even into last weekend.

Before then, I acknowledged it,but last weekend? Am I not trying to show people the way out? The way of prevention?

I did not even see it in my own life. How discouraging.

Today, I wrote about the ongoing struggle I have with my relationship with abuse. It is difficult to acknowledge that I have a relationship with abuse. One that I avail myself to. I am one decision away from cutting that portion of my life off forever, and I find myself questioning if I can do that--if it is right.

Let me repeat that. I am questioning if I am capable of removing myself from abuse, and if it is the right thing to do. I pity my abuser. He is weak, sad, and sick. I am angry with myself.

I recognized my own behavior parralleling the behavior of a victim of abuse before I recognized his behavior as abusive. In fact, I needed Oliver's timely insight to help unlock my ability to even see that this man was verbally assaulting me. It is a constant attack on the spirit.

And I continue to lay the blame on myself.

This is the behavior of a victim of abuse.

But I don't want to be a victim. I see that I made myself available for too long. There is only one thing left to do.

About a month ago, I was talking with a collaborator on the project about how the public minimizes the impact the abuser has on the abused, and just how difficult it is for abused peoples to get away from there abusers, to stay away, and then to not be victimized again.

Entering into this project has led me down into the belly of my discomfort. It has asked me to light a fire there, and do what I've avoided all these years. Cut out the cancer.

Why is that so hard?

It's not in my nature to kill things. Even ugly, corrupting, destructive things. It's dirty business. I'll confront and be dramatic and basically do anything to make the situation livable without actually killing the source of the problem. I've expended an incredible amount of energy trying to keep the situation livable. Why? Fear...of what comes next, of hurting others....and guilt.

It's not sustainable, though, and today I ran out of fuel.

I don't know what comes next, all I know is that the old way has to be over now. I'm in the in-between, and that feels dark, scary, like death. I've been here before. Each time just before a new breakthrough, each bringing me a little closer to liberation, but this time is different, and I don't know how long it will last.

I know that my desire to embrace what is on the other side of this: allowing the parts of my identity that I've been afraid of to surface, and to retire the old way of thought and function is stronger now than my fear or laying old connection to rest.

Right now I'm in a space of acknowledging what's dying. It's a tunnel to walk through. I've walked it before. I am between cycles, still terrified of the repercussions of going ahead with what lies ahead of me.

This needs to end today, though. Any doubt I may have about my ability to see this through comes from what he taught me about myself which has nothing to do with the reality of my capabilities and strength. It will never be any different.

How did it take me ten years to get here?