Friday, February 17, 2017

To All Those That Sit In Judgement

“I don’t care, I would never do that!” stated another directly to me. She was referring to a choice that I made many years ago. My choice had harmed no one nor was it catastrophic by any means, except to this stranger that I had met only two hours before.

And I believed her, I believed that she would not have made the same decisions as me. She had not endured sexual abuse from the age of four to twenty- one by her father. She had not been fondled by a teenager when she was the tender age of about five. She had not sat beside her flute teacher that molested her each week at a scheduled time and place. She was not witness to the strangulation of her mother and her dog for at least the first twelve years of her life by the man she called “Dad”. She didn’t stand in horror as “Dad” stomped on her brother’s head. She had not made attempts to save her mother time and time again from the physical and emotional pain- because no one else would. She wasn’t strangled herself for speaking up about the sexual abuse. She did not suffer the greatest betrayal of all- that her mother would then turn on her, strangling her too. She didn’t spend her childhood wondering if she would die that night in her very own home at the hands of her very own father.

And she knew all of this about me and more as she had recently read my memoir. She knew it all but proclaimed her statement with such assuredness that I was left dumbfounded.

She sat in a place of luxury to be able to make that proclamation. Certainly, she knew nothing of the torture, self-doubt, anxiety, rage, panic, self-loathing and worthlessness that plagued me daily and for years- not the mention the desperation to be loved. No, that wasn’t in her tale but I am not envious of her.

Because my life taught me empathy. I came to know that when life brings us to our knees, we need a hand up, not a shove to the ground. I learned that even when we don’t hit the bulls-eye of what is our best, we still get points for trying. I understood that growth and healing is a process of trial and error and that we cannot know what we have never been taught. I found that the best type of understanding and compassion came from the self; and when I had enough to spare I gave it to my abusers in my attempts to understand their actions. I had been schooled by my life’s history and it was an oft times a painful lesson.

And I wish none of that for her. What I do wish for her is that she is never brought so low that she can’t find her way out and if she does get lost, I pray someone is there to light the path and hold the door open for her. What I hope is that if life does knock the wind out of her, there is another to offer her the empathy she never handed me.

Be well and happy.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Confessions of A Dead Man

This post has been swimming around in my mind for a month or so. I was struggling as to how I might make it fitting for anyone that chose to read it. Today, I have come to the realization that I am going to make this all about me. If you care to join me on my travels, I welcome you; and if not, I hope to see you soon.
If you are still here, I feel I must warn you that our time together might be a bit longer than is typical for it’s not a short story AND it is also a story that has some parts that folks might find disturbing. You’ve been warned and now off we go.
First, I must give you a brief synopsis of my life, that would be forty-eight years crammed into a few paragraphs but I am feeling ambitious and so let’s begin-
I am a recent author of my memoir, Relentless: A Journey of Forgiveness (My apologies for those that are already aware of this fun fact.). It is there that I put pen to paper, or more accurately fingertips to the keyboard, to share with others my travels of healing and personal growth for the abuses I suffered as a child. As I plodded along on my path of self-discovery, I ultimately found myself reaching the pivotal point of forgiveness. That is my book and life in a nutshell and as the readers of my story know all too well, the actions, hurt, and brutality have always been denied by my abusers.
My book was written while both of my parents were still alive, but was in the midst of publication when my father, who played an abusive starring role, passed. It was after his journey into the afterlife that I was informed that approximately two weeks prior to his death, sensing that he was on his way out, he sought out one of my relatives and specifically asked them to ban me from his memorial services. It was also explained to me that upon his deathbed he was directly asked if he wanted to see me one more time, we had not been in contact for twenty-five years, and his answer was to shake his head ‘no’. For me, it felt as if he had abused me, quite intentionally, yet again.
So now you’re kinda, sorta up to speed on the backstory.
What came next was a series of what I believed were ‘signs’ from him. Numerous and various interjections occurred throughout my days that always reminded me of him. I had an inkling that he was trying to contact me (I am not here to argue on the validity of that truth or what happens once we die.) but ceased downplaying what was happening on the day I was driving down the road and spied his name, spelled just as his was, emblazoned on the mud flaps of the truck that was right in front of me. Okay, I thought, I will listen to what it is you wish to say. It was then that I proceeded to search for a medium. (Again, I do not wish debate, this time on the credibility of a medium.) Once I made the appointment to connect with him via the medium, it became clear to me that I wanted the truth from him. Will I get it, I wondered, or will he stay true to form even in death?
I sat across from the medium and the connection with him was instant, there was no denying it was my father based on the information he offered. The first thing I posed to him was very direct and intentional, “Tell me what you did to me when I was a little girl.”
She shared that he presented with a cloak over his head, viewing her with only one eye and head bent in shame. He owned up to the actions he had denied my entire life, he had sexually abused me. In fact, he took responsibility for even more details and behaviors than my conscious mind recalls. He shared other abuses he perpetrated, and those I had suspected, on other family members. He no longer held onto the lie that he hadn’t strangled me, confessing indeed he had. He admitted that his denials were simply blatant lies, for he remembered it all.
My father went so far as to offer me a glimpse into the motivation for his abusiveness: In sexually abusing me he convinced himself that the pleasure was mutual, though in truth he understood his actions were far from acceptable. He professed that in the moments that he strangled me or another family member he wasn’t out of conscious control of his behaviors but was instead asserting his role as leader and letting us know who was the boss. He explained that he was in fear I would tell the truth and that was indeed one of the reasons he did strangle me, it was his attempt to silence me. In another moment of strangulation, he was jealous, jealous of the fact that my music teacher was touching me as well because I was his possession. He voiced the truths and patterns of other family members’ personalities that were a direct result of his vile behaviors.
He even shared that it was his male ego taking its final stand against me when he purposefully left instructions to keep me away from his services. Guilt, he reported, was what allowed him to shun me on his deathbed. “He’s saying that he felt guilty about what he had done to you. He couldn’t admit to himself what he had done, let alone you. And he wanted his wake to be about the good he had done in his life and if you showed up in the hospital it would all come out, and then that’s all that would be on everyone’s mind at his services,” stated the medium.
He offered an apology and was not making excuses when he said that he was a wounded person. He shared which adult relatives had sexually abused him as a child. Finally, he said that he was proud of my book, though making it clear that he would not have had that same perspective if he was still walking this planet.
And then our time together ended, yet again.
I was left a bit sad as I understood that his confessions left me knowing he had taken even more from me than my mind had allowed me to comprehend at those times. I also felt gratitude that for once he didn’t cling to his pattern of denial and blame, something the medium said she sees often even after another has made their transition.
What I have done with that interaction since is simply sit with it. I have and am allowing it all to slowly settle into my psyche and most recently my heart. I am not sure where to go with it all and in truth am not trying to figure that out. I am not clear where it will lead me, but today I do get that finally, finally something was solely about me and not them. My life had been cast from their wounds and always shadowed and dictated by their unmet needs but in that half hour I spent with him in spirit, he offered me something he never could in his physical life- validation.
And that is where I will leave you, now just realizing that you are in the same place as me as you permit this sharing to shift places within yourself. I have no lessons to share or insights to offer for I am still learning them myself. Where and what it will touch inside of you I don’t know and can’t say. Will it be your heart, fears or spirit? Only you can decide but this is where you pick up and I bow out. I’ve made this blog about me, with the hopes that it has something for you.
Be well and happy.
My Memoir: http://tinyurl.com/relentlessbyspringer

Monday, January 2, 2017

It's a New Year but You Don't Need a New You

The pages of time have flipped the calendar from one year to the next and here we are yet again- being pummeled with the need to make resolutions and discover the ‘new you’ (said with intonations of a paid commercial announcer). Yuck, aack and patoohy!

Enough already, I say. How about we stop looking for the new you and simply discover the real you? Stop encouraging others to make lofty goals of what they hope to become and instead suggest they get to know who they are. Because that is how change occurs.

When you discover your authentic expression, you will soon learn if those extra ten pounds speak of your truth; and truth is a much healthier motivator than shame. When you listen and give voice to your thoughts and feelings, you will know those parts of you that are often the cause of, and attached to, the actions you hate most about yourself. It is there that you will soon unearth self-understanding and self-compassion; the tried and true tools we need most, though not the latest gadget or quick-fix. When you follow your lifelong impulse to spontaneously draw, write, dance, or any other creative expression, instead of burying your face in the latest how-to/must-do book, sparks fly and you realize you are alive. Alive- meaning meant to live a life, not simply survive.

The old method of operation suggests that there is something wrong with us that needs fixing, what I am suggesting is that who you truly are is enough. Hell, better than enough- let’s go with spectacular and, my favorite, fantabulous! You simply never knew or have forgotten this universal fact.

Yes, certainly it’s best to do something with the time that has been handed to you, most recently labeled 2017, but call it ‘allowing’. Allowing you to become intimate with yourself. Allowing honest expression. Allowing your light to shine. Allowing the ups, downs, good and bad that are a natural part of human existence. Allowing ourselves to pause so that the ‘next step’ might be handed to us versus frantically sought. Allowing no resolutions, only flow.

I promise you that if you attempt even a tad of what I have suggested, what you will find in the New Year is the authentic you; and that is the greatest discovery of all time.

Be well and happy.

My Memoir: http://tinyurl.com/relentlessbyspringer