Healing through writing Lesson 1

Marty

This lesson is called “Re-visioning your life.” I have very little understanding of what she is asking me to do. Take a childhood issue and write it from another perspective? Or, from where I am now.

Marty Robbins:

He is playing Marty Robbins on the record player. “A white sports coat and a pink carnation. I’m in a blue, blue mood.” He is drunk, very drunk and belligerent.

She is probably around 8 or 9-years-old. Sitting at the table with him while he belittles her in favor of her sister. She doesn’t care, though. Her main emotions are fear and an overwhelming sense of responsibility.

She doesn’t’ care that he is drunk or what he is saying to her. She only cares that he not get in the car and leave. She sits and makes conversation and feels the knots of fear in her stomach. If he leaves, he’ll get into a car accident and he’ll die. It’s her job to keep him alive.

She can’t tolerate the idea of not having her Daddy any longer. That’s why she sits with him when he is drunk. That’s why she doesn’t go to sleep with her mother and sister. She has taken on the responsibility for keeping him alive.

Where did that sense of responsibility come from? Does it matter? Is what really matters, that she loved her Daddy with all her heart and was willing to do whatever she thought she needed to do to keep him alive?

It wouldn’t have mattered if her mother had made her go to bed. She would have lain for hours in a puddle of anxiety hoping he didn’t leave in the car. This is who she was and still is. Someone who, for some reason believes if she worries, all will be well.

Maybe she has an overactive amygdala. Would it have mattered what kind of family she was born into? She was genetically inclined to form an anxiety disorder, to feel responsible for things that weren’t her responsibility. She just happened to be born into a family that would exacerbate those feelings in her.

Was it really her genetic makeup that caused all the worry and fear?

Hey, Hey, Oh Playmate

Playing

Hey, hey, oh playmate,
Come out and play with me.
You’ll bring your dollies three,
Climb up my apple tree.
Cry down my rain barrel,
Slide down my cellar door.
And we’ll be jolly friends
Forever more.

I need help learning how to play. 

My childhood was extremely challenging and required me to be ultra-responsible at a young age. It’s like I skipped childhood and went straight into adulthood.

– At age 4, I was in charge of keeping my alcoholic father from leaving the house at night if he were drinking. According to my mother, “He might get killed in a car accident.” All you have to tell a 4-year-old is daddy might not come back if he leaves and she will do everything in her power to keep him from leaving.

– By age 6, I was responsible for keeping my sister safe from drowning at the neighborhood pool. I spent summer days sitting on the edge of the pool watching her every move to make sure I could take her back home with me safe and sound.

Age 6 is when the sexual abuse started. Let’s talk about that another time.

– At 8, I was ironing whatever my mother laid out for me. Cleaning dishes after everyone had eaten and doing everything I could to quall the anxiety I felt from the chaotic, alcohol filled previous weekend.

– By 11, My grandfather was sick with cancer. I was my father’s confidant, his support system while my mother busied herself with work and play.

– I was in girl scouts, not for the fun of it, but as an outlet to release anger and escape abuse. One of the most toxic things every taught me was at a girl scout meeting. I was being bullied and one of the mothers said, “Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” She thought he was helping but, what she did was set me up for a lifetime of accepting verbal abuse from others.

– At 13; I started my first official job as a dishwasher in the hospital kitchen where my mother was a dietician.  And I’ve worked hard every sense. What I DO know how to do is work. Hard. I’m good at it, and although I enjoy work, it’s taken a toll.

The truth is: I have no idea how to have fun, how to play or how to be childlike. No freaking clue.

My inner child is more serious than my adult self, and trust me, I’ve done the inner child work. That little girl does not know how to play!

People I meet sense the seriousness and are confounded by the heaviness of my energy when clearly, I have much to celebrate: an amazing wife, a beautiful house/life and an unbelievable portfolio of companies I’ve worked for.

My closest friends know it’s only been in the last few years that I even learned how to laugh and mean it.

So, I’ve decided that from this point forward, I want to play, or more accurately, I want to LEARN how to play.

We are Young Until We’re Not

Older Ladies

And, when we are no longer, life can be surprising, disappointing and worth pondering. It’s especially worth pondering when you feel every choice you’ve made in life has come back to bite you in the ass.

I’m going to have to learn to write in first person. This is about me, my life, my feelings, and my regrets. One thing I’ve learned is that when younger hope sustains us. When shit happens there is always hope. Hope I’ll get over it, hope I’ll forget it, hope someone will care. So, you carry on, you put on a happy face and you hope.

Hope is what got me through but, now that I’m 60 and still grappling with childhood sexual abuse, being left by my husband and raising two boys on my own I’ve learned that there is very little hope left. And, without hope what else is there to sustain the motivation to carry one?

That’s what this blog is about. Recounting where I’ve been, what I’ve experienced and why, at my advanced age life didn’t get better, it only seemed to become more painful.