I searched my hometown for a trace of me…but not a whisper remained.
I searched my hometown for a trace of me…but not a whisper remained.
I feel numb and She is hiding. I know she’s furious with me and she didn’t believe that I would go through with my plan to get rid of everything that I didn’t absolutely need or want…before we moved into our tiny home on wheels.
I guess it was my turn to pitch a fit. It happened when I was decluttering tonight, when I was down to facing the boxes that I hadn’t unpacked in over ten years.
She objected over every piece I tossed. She cried. She screamed.
She was so upset that she had me walking in circles, holding things to my chest, paralyzed by grief and indecision. After about an hour of circles, I snapped.
“Stop! Stop, leave me the f… alone,” I screamed as I dumped another pile of boxes in the middle of the room. When the pile was gigantic, I sat down beside it with a kitchen trash can beside me.
She left and the silence was eerie.
I quickly filled that kitchen bag, so I went downstairs for the green yard bags and I kept going.
I dragged at least six green bags full of papers, memories, CD’s and tapes down the stairs tonight and out onto the front porch for trash day. Plus, containers and boxes full of stuff.
My wedding dress got special treatment. It was 3:00 a.m. and I walked outside and hung it on a tree beside the yard sale.
My neighbor was still outside because she was getting ready to have a yard sale with me, and she said, “You have to take a picture,” and of course, I did.
As I took pictures, trying to capture my emotional whirlpool in a snapshot of a dress, I remembered the day I went shopping for it with my mum and how proud she was that I was marrying such a good man, a man who worked and took care of me and my three kids financially.
I remembered how happy she was to buy the dress for me, and in 1983, $27.00 was a lot of money.
The dress draped my tiny hips like it was designed just for me, and it made Mum smile because back then, I seldom wore dresses.
She special ordered artificial roses for my corsage and for the wedding, because I was allergic to flowers and I remember how the florist thoughtlessly sprayed them with rose perfume and I sneezed all day.
Our mind is like a computer and it captures every little thing we have ever done, seen or felt.
I threw the still rosy corsage away tonight too, along with a box of wedding day souvenirs. We never dreamed thirty-eight years ago it would end this way, my wedding dress hung in a tree for a yard sale, all alone in the dark. Big ouch.
Couldn’t hold on till morning. Needed to let it go, let it go.
He was here helping me finish up the packing and for the closing, and I couldn’t afford to show any weaknesses in front of him. It was a real test.
His heart was hurting as he saw me throw away our memories.
The picture Mum bought me because she thought it looked like us, my IHRA umbrella and dozens of presents he had bought me.
I think it hit him hardest when he saw my books start to go. Fifteen houses and thirty-eight years, through it all, he’d been complaining about moving my books. I always found ways to resist his demands to get rid of the damn books, because I loved my books. I had learned that if I carried the boxes in and out of the moving trucks, it wasn’t as bad, but even then, the “weight” it added bothered him.
I usually soothe him when he’s hurting, even if he’s sad because he hurt me, but not anymore. (Codependency, which I’m recovering from, one day at a time…amen.)
I probably went too far tonight, when I shoved She away with all my strength.
She left, but I know she will be back, so I’m going to enjoy this time without her.
It’s the first time in forever that she hasn’t been challenging me, quietly or violently.
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She had a horrible nightmare last night and we ended up on the floor. Again.
She dreamt that every person who had ever hurt her was chasing her and she was shooting at them as she ran away and the police were chasing her for shooting at them and she was trying to explain that they were trying to kill her, but the police said it didn’t count because that was in the past and she said, but they are still killing me, they are just doing it slowly and in my head.
Round and round the house and out into the dark streets they raced until She knocked me out of bed, and I woke up, shivering, shaking, crying and a bit bruised. It was 5:00 a.m.
I went outside to have a cigarette and I waited for She to stop shaking.
My four-year-old granddaughter had been asleep in my bed and she had felt me leave her side.
She came outside and whimpered, “Grammy, Grammy,” and as she climbed up on my lap, she fell right back to sleep with her arms wrapped around me.
As I snuggled her, I prayed, “Please, dear, sweet Jesus, please keep this little angel’s mind free from trauma so she never has to heal her inner child. Amen.”
She’s been quiet for a few days, so I was surprised when she whispered, “You know I still love him, right?”
“Yes, She. You remind me every day, several times per hour.”
“Well, what are you gonna do about it?”
“Nothing. I’m going to do nothing about it. I accept that you still love him. He’s been good to you and I understand why you trust him, and you don’t trust me. But that’s not my problem. It’s yours.”
“Wow. You have gotten hard and mean. You used to cry with me.”
“I’m not hard and mean, it just feels that way to you because I used to give in to you every day. I can’t do that anymore. I’m all cried out.”
“I can’t keep torturing myself with accepting unacceptable behavior. He knew what he was doing when he tore us apart this time, no doubt. Of course, I’m sure he didn’t know that it would be the last time. I don’t think that I even knew.”
“Why is it the last time?”
“She, do you remember last 4th of July? We had just moved in the new house. I dressed up in my red, white and blue to go to the block party. When it was time to go, I was already exhausted and couldn’t make myself walk out the door. He left with some neighbors and I could finally breathe again. We sat with the puppies and took pictures all afternoon, so happy to be free for a little bit.”
“Yes, I remember.”
“Well, I’m sorry, She. I don’t want to feel trapped and exhausted all the time.”
She is acting up tonight. Granted we had a rough time last night, and an overly complicated day, but I really can’t handle her fears, on top of my own anxiety.
I whispered to her, “Behave, little one. Please.”
The day began with a phone call from my younger sister.
We have been looking for my dad, a mentally ill, homeless, alcoholic for over thirty years. Checking for at least a death certificate, looking for closure.
My sister has had contacts in the military looking for any information for over a year and today, on Dad’s birthday, she received the information.
Dad is dead. He died alone and homeless in 2000. Buried in a poverty grave by the military.
It hit me hard, even though I had felt that he was gone, I was never sure.
My sister has his Death Certificate and his military records, and we now know where he is buried. The military is even going to put a marker on his grave.
The inner child, She, is taking it much harder than me and while closure is a relief, it’s a rough time to throw more grief into our fragile infrastructure.
Right after I heard the news about my dad, I had an appointment with a local domestic violence shelter and showing up was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I can admit to my family and my friends, my readers and myself that I have suffered and accepted abuse but reaching out to total strangers for a support group has taken me almost a year.
I made the appointment the day before my house sold and I decided to go anyway, if only for an exercise in courage and to give them a copy of my book, Women Who Think Too Much. https://books2read.com/u/md0J5d
Well, they can’t give out their address, so they gave me a meet point and told me to call them when I arrived. I made it there ten minutes before my appointment and called them. No answer.
I started to panic, but I took a deep breath and I prayed. I managed to sit there for forty minutes, calling back every five minutes. Never got an answer.
I left there disappointed, but so proud that I had overcome the anxiety to show up. She even stayed calm, which was surprising. I think she was mourning Dad and wandering in her own little world.
She woke me up and forced me out of bed at 3:00 a.m. last night because she was screaming and yelling in her sleep, completely consumed by a full-blown panic attack.
I staggered out of bed, shaking from head to toe, trying to quiet her down at the same time, not an easy task. I unwisely added caffeine to the mix but for some reason, coffee makes me feel better. I paced the floor with my coffee cup for about an hour while I tried to figure out the fight or flight mode I was experiencing.
Yesterday I swapped cars with my daughter so that I could tow her smaller car when I bought an RV.
I know driving different cars triggers my anxiety, but I almost ran someone off the road the first day, because her car has blind spots.
Still, it was bigger than that and I realized I had gone against my best interest when I let myself be influenced by him toward buying an RV rather than a pull trailer and if I got rid of my car, I wouldn’t have a choice.
It’s always you need bigger, better until I am in over my head financially and I want to do it different this time.
All I want is a small pull trailer. Simple.
So, at 3:00 a.m. I wrote three or four texts to my daughter telling her that I was panicking, and I wanted to re-exchange cars. Thankfully she knows me, and she has a sense of humor. We swapped cars back the next day.
Wow. Why does she jump in my face as soon as I wake up?
Well, before I handed her over to God, she was in charge. Now, she’s not in charge. She still pops in and tries to mess with me, but I can see what she’s doing now, and I can deal with her fears and calm her down.
Imagine tumbling down a waterfall compared to being pushed in the pool. I’m still getting wet, but I’m not drowning.
This month will make me or break me. I have thirty days until my house keys go to a new owner. Thirty days to take my courage in hand and reclaim my freedom.
Freedom from the past, freedom from material things that weigh me down, freedom from this little girl’s fears. Freedom from this crazy cycle of leaving him and going back to him. He will never understand why I leave him, and he will never take responsibility for his addictions. That’s okay. I don’t need him to validate me today. I’ve spent my entire life trying to explain myself to a man. Game over.
Thirty days to put my faith in God’s plan into action. Just take the right next step. Repeat.
She wants me to hold still, she sees doing nothing as safe when it’s the most dangerous choice of all. Life happens whether you participate or not, resist or hold your breath, become paralyzed by your fears, life, it will just keep happening.
Why not choose my path? That is the least I can do to give God something to work with, trust His grace, breathe and make choices.
A lifetime of letting life happen to me must end.
She’s getting a crash course on growing up, owning her fears and overcoming the past.
I have babied her for way too long.
She must be tougher than she appears, or she would have blended with me by now. Well, I’m stronger than I appear too. And my God is stronger than everything.