Compartments

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Compartments

An independent woman

Does not easily integrate

The pieces of her life in compartments

Borne of necessity

Her children, once her reason for existing,

Their compartment:  ‘Unconditional Love’

Her career, her fuel, her distraction, her success

Its’ compartment:  ‘Accomplishment’

Her house (has she ever had a home?)

A nesting in progress, a need, home

Its compartment:  ‘Shelter’

Your time, a precious commodity

Her selfish need

Its compartment:  ‘Warmth’

Your love

Your… love?

She pushes it aside, the discomfort alarms her

As she anxiously shuffles compartments

The click-click of the key in the tumbler

Her heart, the resistant receptacle

Debris from the past

Taking up space

Where you belong

She sweeps at the remains in one frustrated motion

The pain blows back, like ashes in the wind

Persistent reminders

Vestiges of memory, she gathers

Placing them in a separate box

Labeled  ‘The Past’

She will visit it only as needed

To clean the compartment, bit by bit

Ridding herself of the damaging debris

The useless drudgery of their failures

Abuse, heartache

Will not co-exist with love

Nor will she allow the damage to permeate

Only one key allows entry

The cylindrical lock aligned

Allowing rotation

Swinging inward, open

This compartment ‘Her Heart’

Most fragile of them all

With shaking fingers

She gives it to you.

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I’m Having a Really Good Day. How am I POSSIBLY Going to Manage?

As a writer, I tend to write about pain and heartache more than happiness and good things.  I do this because writing about those things is cathartic and also because they are the feelings that are most intense and most easily accessible to me.   I can tap into that part of me very, very easily.  In fact, I find it difficult at times to be as creative when things are going very well.  

 I also find myself resisting good things and/or having an innate refusal to let the bad go and just “be” in the moment and accept the good and happy feelings for what they are without a curtain of dread hanging in the background. 

 Today I forgot to do that. I forgot to carry my dread with me.  Perhaps I didn’t grab the right handbag.

 Thing is, I’ve had a damn rough time this week, but it is getting better.  

 As weak as it makes me feel to acknowledge it, whenever there is a significant anniversary or reminder of some awful thing that happened in my past, I change.  I get anxious, overwhelmed and easily stressed.  I have more nightmares and my heart starts to ache and it feels physically heavy in my chest.  I feel nauseous.  Certain smells are intolerable to me.  It feels like some sort of Incredible Hulk-type transformation that is fierce, powerful and unstoppable.  And even though I feel it happening; I feel myself spinning out of control, I have not yet learned how to manage it or stop it before it gets very bad. 

 I feel physically exhausted, yet I am unable to sleep.  I lose my appetite almost completely.  And I cannot seem to force myself to ‘snap out of it’.  It is as if I am physically ill.  When it does happen, I withdraw from those around me.  I can’t stand to have people see me this way.  To see me at my weakest.

 It’s complete and utter bullshit is what it is.  Quite frankly.

I entered into a new relationship this past year and that has proven to have its own set of challenges.  The biggest of which seems to be learning how to accept being treated well.   I don’t think this is supposed to be a learned behavior.  I think we should expect to be treated well and be surprised when we are not. 

As a survivor, I am used to being ‘on defense’ all the time.  Protecting myself against possible danger rather than going through life open to possibilities, being afraid of those around me rather than assuming most if not all of my encounters are going to be positive and good.  I have to learn how to live again.  I have to learn to ALLOW myself to live again.  

I have to tell myself that just because someone tried to take my life, doesn’t mean I don’t deserve to be here.  To live.  Just because he made me believe I am a worthless piece of shit, doesn’t mean I am.  He was.  HIM.  Not me. 

I’m actually pretty great.

A few days ago, I had reached the end of my rope.  My lack of sleep and my stress levels were making it very difficult for me to manage at work.  I almost had a complete breakdown in front of my boss.  THAT is not acceptable.  Period.  I cannot afford to let this bullshit affect my job.

Right about the moment I was about to completely lose it, I received a flower delivery from the man I love.  Which means he was thinking of me.  At the exact moment I felt like I was falling apart, I received something that ridiculously brightened my day and reminded me that I was loved, that I was being thought of, and that there is someone out there who treats me well.  

He came to see me that evening and it really made things so much better.  I devoured his attention and his affection for the better part of the night.  Just being in proximity to the one I love was so amazingly perfect for me.  It was like putting a soothing balm on the burn. 

I didn’t enter into this relationship thinking of it as medicinal.  Nor is it about being co-dependent.  It is about me learning how to be treated right, learning how to feel happy and being okay with it.  Sharing the weakest part of myself with someone and trusting that he will take good care of my heart and not use my weaknesses against me.

It has also been about me learning how to love someone again and give freely of myself without being resentful and without expecting that person to take, and take, and take, until I have nothing left.   It’s a process, and I am not all the way there yet, but I’m working on it.

I got a very good night’s sleep last night and woke up far more refreshed than I have been in a few weeks.  Today has been a pretty good day.  And, instead of feeling like this good feeling is going to be taken away at any moment, I find myself thinking ahead to how much better things can get; And it has been a very, very long time since I’ve allowed myself to do that. 

To hope.

It feels pretty damn good. 

 

All She Needs is Love

The thing with the girl who has been to Hell and back, is that she doesn’t need to be fixed.

She doesn’t expect to be understood.

She needs only to be reassured, comforted and loved.  Genuinely loved.

The kind of love she can feel in your presence and your absence.  A constant.

She has trouble with the concept of object permanence.

The girl has anxiety about everything.  From the “little” things to the very, very “important” things.  When she is overwhelmed, she has a very hard time distinguishing what is most important from what isn’t important at all.  Therefore, she assigns everything equal time in her head.  Nevermind the limited space, she will find a way to put it all in there.  Sometimes it gets jumbled.  Sometimes it starts to tumble out and, in those times, she cries in frustration and she then attempts to push it all back in.

It is exhausting.  Some days, just the act of living and breathing, of ‘blending in’ with the ‘normal’ people is …. exhausting.

She is overly critical of herself and others.  She expects a lot from those around her. She tends to expect more than she knows others can provide.  Perhaps she sets them up for failure, so they fail her sooner, rather than later.  She doesn’t know.

Sometimes her expectations seem reasonable and, when those expectations are not met she is confused and frustrated.

She gets irritated easily but she can’t seem to help it.  She needs more calm moments in her life.  When you poke at her on purpose, it hurts her feelings.  When she says “stop” she means it.

She has been let down more times than not in her life and that is “normal” for her.  People keeping promises and being dependable are the exception to the rule.    To assume everything will always go smoothly, to not prepare for the worst, has been a mistake for her. A very big mistake.

She is the only person she can rely on 100% of the time.  To believe otherwise is unfathomable to her.

In her mind, eternal optimists are fools.  Don’t they know they aren’t safe?  Don’t they know how bad it can get?

She is expected to maintain an appearance of normalcy and competency in her day-to-day life.  People are dependant upon her and she doesn’t generally let them down.  In fact, rising to demands is her forte.  She is labeled “high-functioning”.

Let downs are painful.  She will meet any expectation placed upon her because, being given direction, expectation and clear guidelines are her lifeblood.  She feeds on clear, concise demands, desires, wants, needs.   She will meet ridiculous expectations placed upon her, just to show you she can.

She is an emotional masochist who wants to be free of it.

Not knowing what is expected of her sends her into a tailspin of uncertainty.  She doesn’t do well with change.  She is like a child in that way.

She stopped growing emotionally at around 8 years old, the first time her first abuser  touched her sexually and then forced her to do things that she didn’t understand.  She was ‘rewarded’ for doing those things.

She learned to equate sex with love, affection and special treatment; As well as fear, captivity, and helplessness.

The world has been a confusing and scary place ever since.

She seeks guidance.

Indecisive people make her uncomfortable and anxious.  Being left to make all of the decisions in any relationship (co-worker, friendship, intimate relationship) makes her feel overwhelmed, resentful and parental.

She wishes she could let go of the wheel and let you drive for a little while. But then she is terrified you will crash … and hurt her.  She doesn’t know how to let go.

Routines are comforting and nurturing for her.  There have been far too many unexpected and chaotic events in her life.  She yearns for routine.  Unexpected changes in plans (even ‘pleasant’ ones) cause her to panic.  She does not know why.

She withdraws.  Not as much as she did when she was with the Sadistic Bastard, but, she does.  She dissociates.  When things become too much, she goes somewhere.  She doesn’t know where she goes.  She doesn’t remember.  She knows this isn’t ‘normal’.

She almost died one day.  When Sadistic Bastard wouldn’t let her go.  If he couldn’t have her, then nobody could.  When she thinks of it, she wants something to do with her hands, her mind, her body.  She wants to escape.  She would give anything to take away the vision of him doing those terrible things to her.  But there is no escape.  The visions follow her everywhere.  They disturb her sleep.

She wants to smoke, drink, use, fuck.

Escape.

She is resentful of her sense of responsibility.   At times, she fantasizes about giving it all away.

The fact that her constant worry/anxiety is irrational is completely irrelevant.  She knows it is irrational.  Telling her so will only make her angry.  If she could help it, she wouldn’t be this way, but she can’t.  You either accept her this way, or you don’t.  She cannot force herself to be someone she is not.

The protective measures she has taken for the entirety of her life have culiminated in this…this beautiful mess of a woman/child who only desires to be loved, if not understood.

Just loved as she is.

She needs to be comforted, yet she doesn’t know how to ask for it.

She is deeply injured, flawed and afraid.

She needs you to be perceptive to her needs.  She needs you to assume she needs you, not that she is pushing you away.  To drop your defensiveness and give her your warmth.

She resents her neediness.

She must be reassured often that she will not be abused or abandoned.

Absent that, all of her relationships will eventually suffer and die.

Someday, her smile will come back and stay.  She will be herself again.  She DESIRES to be herself again.  The one whose burning passion and fire he extinguished.  That part of her that died.  She must be reborn.

Until then, she needs patience, love, and nurturing.

A hand, a heart, a hug.

Love.

Love, most of all.

Hunger

Standing in the open, empty field,

The young girl takes in her surroundings

Seeing no one around her.

Just wildflowers in full bloom;

Long grasses, swaying in the gentle breeze.

She strips herself of her protective clothing.

Feeling freedom like she’s never known,

She twirls around, giddy; excited.

A child-like wonder wraps around her.

This moment frozen in time.

True happiness, a feeling she never thought possible.

Suddenly, she feels a hungry gaze upon her.

Chills run down her spine.

She looks around anxiously;

It is then that she sees him.

Her eyes catch those of the hungry wolf

Crouched behind the tall oak tree.

He takes one step toward her, then another,

Steely gaze fixed upon her delicate flesh.

He growls, menacingly, licking his chops in anticipation.

His nose quivers as he picks up her scent.

She gazes back at the beast in wonderment,

Trembling with…fear?

Suddenly, somehow, she can sense the creature’s true nature;

The anger in his eyes, the menacing growl, mask his pain.

Intrigued, she takes a tentative step forward.

She reaches out with a trembling hand.

The wolf licks her palm hungrily, nibbles her delicate fingers.

She kneels before him, opening her arms.

The creature nuzzles her neck, his cold nose tickling her skin.

A brief whine escapes his throat, and then he begins to howl.

It is at this moment that she realizes he is starving

For love, affection, warmth. A companion.

She vows to stay by his side.

His every want and need will be met.

They form an unbreakable bond, this girl and beast;

He becomes her protector, and she his constant companion,

His nurturer.

He hungers no more.

Deadly Comfort

Enveloped

In the arms of a stranger,

She comes to her final beginning;

The end of old

A new chapter begins.

Letting go of the past,

More difficult than imagined.

Holding old pain

In her heart

Like a warming blanket.

Without warning,

It is stripped from her.

She stands exposed,

Cold, tingling

Allowing herself to feel again.

Shivering, alone.

She desperately seeks out

The comforting pain

Of which she’s grown so fond.

It has become vital to her core.

Like shards of glass

In her hands,

She presses the pain to her,

Closing her eyes, yearning

For deadly comfort.