stuffing

Oct 13, 2014 by

The day these bad dreams started was the day I stuffed down a comment about being molested. It seems to be a pattern in my life: I don’t say things that will cause others to feel guilt or feel hurt. I protect other’s feelings by not speaking up.

Now don’t get me wrong, I CAN and DO say hurtful things. Far too often thoughtless comments burst out of mouth and I end up wounding someone deeply. But it seems to be the pattern of my life that I excuse other people’s behavior by not saying “You have hurt me!

I have been trying to figure out why I do this for many weeks now. The counselor I had an appointment with tried to get to the bottom of it and decided it is because I don’t value myself enough to say something.

That didn’t sit right with me. It could be true, but it doesn’t feel true. Richard and I have talked and talked and talked about it and it doesn’t feel true to him either. I think that is often the reason people don’t speak up, but it just doesn’t seem true for me. I do value myself. I have great self-esteem and believe I can do pretty much anything I set my mind to. I am not at all the picture of a victim.

And yet, I often stuff my feelings deep down inside and refuse to tell people how horribly wrong their behavior has been or how terribly they have hurt me. I even have one person in my life who continues to abuse me in many ways and I allow it to happen. It infuriates me that I will not stand up and put an end to it.

And see, see what I just did. I won’t name names. I won’t call this person out into the open.

WHY??????????????????????

I do feel lighter than I did several weeks ago and I am really truly smiling and feeling joy again, but the pain is still here. I woke up on Saturday night with ANOTHER kidney infection…the third since this all started. And Sunday night was another sleepless night. I prayed and prayed and prayed for sleep to come, but instead I lay there tossing and turning all night long with numb arms (something must have moved out of place in my upper back and is causing my arms/hands to be numb) and wide-awake mind. And now it is Monday night, nearly midnight, and I can’t sleep again.

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light

Oct 9, 2014 by

A swirling ball of emotions and experiences have filled my past many weeks. Moments of joy, celebrations of birthdays, exquisite beauty, peaceful solitude, and quiet moments of pondering have all been present along with gut-wrenching pain, soul-searing heartache, fear, grief, and misery and then to top it all off, a bout of pneumonia that sapped nearly all my strength.

It has been a bit surreal – as if I am living in several different realities all at the same time – and I haven’t known how to best navigate these waters.

Some things have helped. Morning scripture study and prayer with our family has added grounding to my day. Evening read-aloud time and family prayer has been the whip cream to top off our days with moments of unity before bed. Snuggling with my little ones has helped me remember who I am and what I am all about: family. Last week’s priesthood blessings were filled with words of truth and hope for everyone and definitely a balm of healing for me. Attending General Conference this weekend gave me the same sort of strength my mountains give me – fortitude to persevere from deep within the earth. All of it has helped. All of it has helped me feel God’s love.

Last week sometime Jessica sent me some lovely thoughts from Dickens that helped me sort out my conflicting feelings of deep gratitude for the life I have now and the deep, deep pain I feel from being molested, my father leaving us and physically abandoning me, and my mother being raped and subsequently being emotionally unavailable while she healed from her own pain. Part of me has felt like if I were really grateful, I wouldn’t have the pain. But this quote by Dickens helped me understand it is okay to be in both places at once.

“The deep remembrance of the sense I had of being utterly neglected and hopeless, of the shame I felt in my position; of the misery it was to my young heart … cannot be written. My whole nature was so penetrated with grief and humiliation of such considerations, that even now, famous and caressed and happy, I often forgot in my dreams that I have a dear wife and children; even that I am a man; and wander desolately back to that time in my life.”

Just because my heart is hurting does not mean I am not grateful. It simply means I am hurting.

At some point in all of this blackness, I read the words to a favorite song from back in my teenage years. It got me through many a dark night then and I thought it might get me through some of these dark nights now.

Hold On, The Light Will Come
by Michael McClean

The message of this moment is so clear

And as certain as the rising of the sun
When your world is filled with darkness, doubt or fear
Just hold on, hold on
The light will come

Everyone who’s ever tried and failed

Stands much taller when the victory’s won
And those who’ve been in darkness for awhile
Kneel much longer when
The light has come

It’s a message everyone of us must learn

That the answers never come without a fight
And when it seems you’ve struggled far too long
Just hold on, hold on
There will be light

Hold on, hold on, the light will come

Hold on, hold on, the light will come

If you feel trapped inside a never ending night

If you’ve forgotten how it feels to feel the light
If you’re half crazy thinking you’re the only one
Who’s afraid the light will never really come
Just hold on, hold on the light will come

The message of this moment is so clear

And as certain as the rising of the sun
When your world is filled with darkness, doubt or fear
Just hold on, hold on the light will come

After weeks of heartache and pain, I decided I needed to talk to my Stake President. I love this man and I sensed his wise, Christ-centered counsel was exactly what I needed. He is being released in a few weeks and I wanted to receive a priesthood blessing along with his wisdom and love. We met on Tuesday for several hours and God poured out light and truth and clarity. Those few hours will be one of the treasures of my life.

President Poston helped me understand that this pain is okay – feeling it does not mean I am lacking faith, it just comes. He told me there will be periods of time in my life when the pain from my childhood will flare up. It just will. How I respond to the pain is what is important. He counseled me to let it come and keep trusting God. He said we don’t trust the outcome, we trust the Giver – know He is with me, even in the pain. Don’t trust Him only when he takes the pain away, trust him in the pain, trust him always.

Such beautiful, beautiful thoughts.

He shared D&C 100:15:

Therefore, let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to those that walk uprightly.

He told me that I do walk uprightly and to take this scripture at face value – that ALL things shall work together for my good. Well, I can argue till I am blue in the face that I don’t walk uprightly. I lose my patience, I am critical, I am quick to anger. Most of all, I am full of prideful independence that I will solve my problems and then go to God. But this dear man testified as a servant of God, holder of priesthood keys, and a judge in Israel, that I do walk uprightly and all things shall work together for my good.

He counseled me to go to bed with faith in Christ and heart full of hope for a good night’s rest. If the bad dreams come, plead for light. Look heavenward and plead for relief and trust it to come. He asked me to start the day in prayer asking for light and heaven’s help to surround me, then get to the business of the day. Then end the day in prayer talking to Father about my day and asking for light and rest to be with me through the night. He promised me the light will come.

And then he gave Richard a beautiful, sacred, profound blessing that filled him with peace and hope and assurance that Father is very aware of him.

And then they both laid their hands on my head and the light of God poured into my soul.

The words are far too sacred to share here on the interwebs, but oh my, they are powerful and beautiful and full of healing. This I know: God knows me, loves me, is with me. I have a great work to do in this life and the circumstances of my life are not an accident, they are a gift that enables me to do the work God has called me to do.

I feel lighter than I have in many weeks. Thank you Father. Thank you Jesus.

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here i am

Oct 2, 2014 by

A warm smile of gratitude graced my face as I went to bed last night. For I was given a beautiful gift.

I was given the gift of myself. Yesterday for the first time in many weeks, I felt the passion and joy of being Miss Tracy. I smiled real smiles of happiness and shouted real words of excitement and felt real energy moving within me.

I can use exclamation points and have them mean excitement and not flaming rage.

Glorious!

I had been wondering all week about having a book discussion at my home when I was feeling so dark and dismal. I didn’t see how it could possibly be enjoyable for anyone and frankly didn’t see how I could discuss a book with such heavy thoughts weighing down on me.

But I woke up on Wednesday feeling centered and loving and loved and me. Through the grace of God I was able to be calm and patient when Kez was in freak out mode as she got ready for her Shakespeare presentation. I didn’t yell at her or lose my patience – I was able to speak calm, soul-filling words, and help her get there on time and with all the stuff she needed. When people started coming into iFAMILY, I was able to connect with them instead of wanting to run away and hide from everyone. I was able to listen and love and care about others.

And then at our book discussion last night, I was alive and excited and it was such a gift to my soul to discover that I am still in here somewhere. After so many weeks of black sludge permeating my being, I had started to wonder if the bright and bouncy Tracy would ever be found again.

I will probably have some more black sludge days – I need to have more as I know I am not done processing the anger and hurt and violation – but now, finally, I can have some days of light and love as well.

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some victories

Sep 30, 2014 by

It’s high time we focus on some victories, wouldn’t you say? Even in the sludge of what I am experiencing right now, I can see the goodness around me, the blessings of my life, and for that I am grateful. If I was in this sleep-deprived, grief-laden state without being able to see the good, I think I would go completely bonkers.

  • Blythe is working! Wahoo!
  • We get to go to General Conference this weekend! Big Wahoo!
  • Keziah is running cross-country and loving it. Yesterday she clocked her fastest time on a 400m at practice and came back to the car full of confidence and satisfaction.
  • Even though I was sorely tempted, I did not take up residence in the land-of-everything-is-awful-and-Richard-needs-a-new-wife. I thought about buying a ticket, but I refused to put out the money and did not board that train. And it was even in the midst of my progesterone dropping! This is huge folks. Huge. I would have fully expected that in the midst of these sleepless nights and awful dreams, I would have jumped on board that train, but through the grace of God, I was able to stay here and hold onto his (and His) love.
  • This case of pneumonia is doing much, much better! In fact, I think I will try to ride the Elliptigo for a few minutes this afternoon and see how my lungs handle it.
  • After years of Keziah begging with every cell of her body for another dog, we have finally decided to get her a cutie pie named Harley. Kez will promptly rename her Charley and we will all live happily ever after as a two-dog family. Right? We pick her up on Saturday when we head to Utah for General Conference.

    image

  • I am cooking meals for my family…not every night, but more than I have in months. Kat’s lentil tacos and this delicious fried rice recipe (I don’t even put chicken in it and it is still so, so delicious! I think the sesame oil must be the secret ingredient I have been missing all these years.) have become once-a-week standbys.
  • Fisher and I finished reading Iron Thunder today. It is a story about the Monitor vs. Merrimac battle in the Civil War. He is doing a presentation about the battle in a few weeks at iFAMILY. He also just finished listening to G.A. Henty’s book With Lee in Virginia.
  • Speaking of listening to books, that birthday boy is listening up a storm on his new birthday CD player. We looked for weeks for just the right one. We wanted it to play CDs, MP3s, and cassettes if possible. We finally found the right one and as a bonus it has an aux-in line as well. When the rest of us get to be too much for this quiet, peace-loving guy, he can go to his room, build with his legos, and listen to fabulous stories.
  • Keziah’s 14th birthday is on Friday. My little fireball is growing up. She is louder than ever (and if you knew her in person, you would know that is saying A LOT) and though we all tend to breathe a sigh of relief when she is gone for two hours each morning to seminary, we wouldn’t change her hilarious, spirited, hard-working, obnoxious, goal setting (and achieving) self for anything.
  • We have consistently held 6:00 a.m. scripture study for 6 weeks. Oh my goodness, never in a million years did I think I would be able to say those words. We are rocking this! Every single morning I lie in bed and decide I am NOT going to get up and every single morning I do anyway and by the time I get out to the front room, I am grateful.
  • My room is cleaner than it has been for a long, long time.
  • Fisher has earned a couple of dates (one for finishing his set of reading books and one for filling up his Happy Jar with Warm Fuzzies) with me and Annesley has almost earned one, so we are going to get to spend some lovely one-on-one time together in the next few weeks.
  • Even this grief has good points. It helps me see the stark contrasts of life and cling to the beautiful and precious even more fiercely. It has reminded me why I do what I do…why I mother and love and work to strengthen families.

Life is good. This may not last, but at least today I can see the light and can feel a real, genuine smile on my face.

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blessings from on high

Sep 30, 2014 by

Family home evening last night was just the balm of Gilead I needed – Richard gave us all Father’s Blessings.

And the light came.

And my heart-pain eased.

And I felt the love of my Father, my Savior, my ancestors, and my husband.

And I remembered the feeling of joy.

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who am i and what am i doing in this life?

Sep 29, 2014 by

I’m living in several different realities right now. It is hard and painful and incredibly confusing to my psyche.

In one, I feel like a volcano ready to erupt with a massive lava flow of rage that will cover the earth.

In another, I feel so fragile I could break into a million pieces.

Then in my little homeschooling mother realm, I am going through the motions. Teaching reading, doing math problems, exploring the Civil War with Fisher, working on handwriting with Annes. Playing games with everyone. Learning and loving and encouraging, trying my best to keep this realm safe and happy and calm for my children.

In my wife realm, I am hurting. Hurting so very deeply. It is the only safe place for me to hurt this deeply. But I want to stop hurting and stop feeling and stop this madness, so I find myself pushing him away. Trying to get him not to care and stop being so incredibly kind.

In my public realm, I am calmer than perhaps I have ever been. My bubbliness has evaporated. But I am still acting. It’s not like I can walk around screaming at people or bawling my eyes out. So I try to smile, try to do all the public niceties that are expected of people in a civilized society. And it hurts. I was almost paralyzed on Saturday before the General Women’s Meeting. I DID NOT want to go and see all those people. I couldn’t face them and put a smile on my face. But I finally went and loved the messages. But I didn’t mingle, it was too much, I think, humanity, for my state of being. The thought of going grocery shopping or running errands and being with people is painful. I don’t want to see anyone right now. I want to curl up in a ball and disappear.

I slide from realm to realm and emotion to emotion and never get to stay in one realm long enough to actually make progress.

I cannot go on like this. I think I may need to go live in a treehouse for a month and let all the tears out once and for all, then perhaps I can come home and function again.

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1st day of counseling

Sep 25, 2014 by

Eeeek.

Today is the day I go to counseling.

I am nervous.

This morning I tried to convince myself I didn’t need to go because I have slept the past few nights with no bad dreams.

What will I say to him?

What if I pass out?

What if this is all a big mistake?

Oh my goodness, I hope I am courageous enough to take this step into healing.

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seven weeks of sleeplessness

Sep 23, 2014 by

The last seven weeks I have been dealing with many sleepless nights and gut-wrenching dreams stemming from abuse situations in my childhood. At times I have felt so fragile, it has seemed possible that if someone touched me, I would shatter in a million pieces. At other times, I have felt strong and able to face this new layer of necessary healing with faith and courage. At other times, I have been simply exhausted and unable to even think.

It has been tough.

I have learned a lot about myself and a lot about healing.

But not enough yet. There is still much for me to learn.

I have learned that quiet, peaceful moments with my children have come to mean immensely more than I ever knew they could. These precious moments of love and trust and connection are full of life-giving-light, they are sacred.

I have learned (or relearned) that Richard’s arms erase the fear and pain stored deep down in my soul.

I have learned how incredibly painful it is to go through life, doing all the things that life requires, while behaving on the outside like I am not dying on the inside.

I have learned that I absolutely cannot separate my physical body from my emotional body. I know this, yet it still surprises me. My emotions are screaming to come out and it seems they scream at me best through my physical body. Remember my 10th miscarriage hair debacle? My lungs are full of fluid – pneumonia has got the best of me, and the emotion for the lungs is grieving. I can think of no other emotion for what my spirit is experiencing than grief. I have been in bed since Wednesday night, coughing and hacking and gagging on the piles of mucous that need to come out of me. In the midst of the coughing and hacking, my kidneys woke me up screaming in pain several nights in a row. The emotion for kidneys is fear. I try to honor my spirit, to listen my emotions, to be in tune with myself, and (laughably given my many failures in this department) I actually think I do a really good job at it…and yet, my body pretty much never gets sick from a germ. Everyone around me can be sick and I won’t get sick. I get sick from my emotions. When I was pregnant with Fisher I made my whole body sick because I was so afraid of having a boy who would grow up and hurt others. No amount of talking or crying or gnashing my teeth could heal me. God was the only one then and He is the only one now who has the power to heal me.

However, I am doing some things to help the healing process. I am trying to be really open and honest…to say “I am not okay” when I’m really not, when I’m really suffering. I am spending time in deep, heartfelt prayer. I am looking at little girls and seeing how small and innocent they are and allowing myself to let go of the responsibility I have felt for so long for somehow not preventing these older, stronger, intimidating boys from touching me. I am crying. A lot. I have never cried this much in my life. Tears pour out of me nearly every day…and I am letting them flow.

There was a time in my life from about age 12 to age 22 where I did not cry. I would not allow myself to “lose control” like that. I held it all in and became super girl, getting straight A’s, being a teaching assistant for the math teacher and the principal, running every organization I was part of, working at our family’s grocery store, befriending the elderly people of our town, taking care of my young siblings, protecting my little brother from my stepfather’s rage, and keeping a smile on my face from sun-up to sundown. I actually believed I was okay. I didn’t know I was a hot mess on the inside. I was so effective in stuffing all the pain deep down inside that I didn’t even know it was there.

But sometimes it would explode out of me. Like when a Young Women’s leader at church would give a lesson about listening to our (future) husbands. Angry words would burst out of me (as I had decided that not only would I never, ever have a husband, but if by some terrible, unfortunate accident I ended up with one, I would never, ever be bossed by him.) about how men are not the boss of us and why should we listen to them! All they do is hurt us! And I would run out of the room and collapse in the bathroom or gym and every once in a while a few minutes of tears would come.

But then, I would calm down and put on my happy face and go home and take care of everything. And believe I was okay.

After we were married, I fell apart. Really fell apart. Richard was so safe and stable, I no longer had to hold it all in. Together we worked really hard on healing…he had the much harder road here because I was nearly impossible to live with. One day I would be loving and warm and safe. The next day (or minute!) I would be a raging lunatic begging for a divorce or stomping out of the house or demanding he leave me alone forever. It was so, so hard. But he loved me. Deeply loved me, scabs and scars and rage and all. And slowly, through his great love and patience with me, the bloody wounds healed and my heart calmed down to a much more even keel.

From the time we were engaged, we have talked about my abuse. We have dealt with it again and again and again. I have let God heal it again and again and again (and He has.) I have seen counselors, Bishops, and others. Up until a few months ago, I would say I was healed. And yet, here is another layer to deal with. Another stage of healing that we get to traverse together. And we are. We are talking and holding and praying and loving and helping this black slime come out of me.

We have decided it is time for me to see a counselor again, it has been about 19 years since my last set of counseling appointments. We are praying these appointments help me sort out the dreams and hasten the healing power of the atonement. I know God can heal me.

I feel a need to be fairly open about my journey on this current path. Since the morning I woke up with the awful, awful dream over a week ago, I have felt the need to write, to share, to bless. I think abuse is often spoken of in whispers or downright prohibited from being spoken of at all. There are a lot of people hurting in this world and my journey may help one of them know they are not alone in being abused or full of rage or feeling crazy, that abuse does not sentence you to a life of misery, that God can and does and will heal your deepest sorrows, and that it is okay to talk about.

So, if you see me, know I am hurting, know I am fragile, know I am doing everything I can to make it through each day with love and trust and hope in my heart. And be gentle.

And I will try to stay in a place of real.

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who knew the hammock was the answer?

Sep 14, 2014 by

Late in the afternoon, I looked at my trees and I looked at my yard and I looked at my Annesley who was busy entertaining herself by trying on every fancy dress-up in the house and twirling around, and I said “Do you want to meet me in the hammock for some snuggle time?”

Her eyes lit up and she stripped out of her layers of taffeta and rushed outside to the hammock. I grabbed Blueberries For Sal and went out for my very first hammock swing in our yard.

We snuggled for awhile, then Rosie-Tigris, Annes’ kitten, joined us for more snuggles. We read all about Little Sal and Little Bear getting lost on Blueberry Hill while their mothers were picking blueberries. I talked to her about Aidan and his soon-to-be-occurring death. She asked me all about the car accident and if I was in an accident when she was in my uterus. We snuggled and laughed and kissed and connected. Connection was exactly what we both needed. After a long while, I asked her to go get some hummus and pitas for a hammock picnic.

Yesterday was a hard day. I spent much of it crying and not accomplishing much from my very long to-do list. But the magic of a hammock turned it around. Rubbing my little one’s back while her cheek rested on my shoulder filled my aching heart up with just the right amount of love.

And filled her up too.

Connection, it makes all the difference.

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