It strikes me as I ‘recuperate’ from the intense experience of writing my last post that perhaps the greatest possible gift God gave my soul when He created me at my conception was this: A RELENTLESS DETERMINATION TO BE MYSELF.
Any trauma and severe abuse survivor knows the experience of dissociation intimately – if not nearly continuously.
People who are not survivors like we are probably can – and does – take their own experience of self-in-the-world completely for granted. Early trauma and abuse survivors (my bet) NEVER walk down this pathway. We never were allowed by our life to do so in the beginning – hence we never will place our feet upon this smooth clear road to saunter our way through the valley dips and modest climbs that life can bring.
Saunter through life? How many survivors get to saunter through even one half-hour segment of any given day of their lifetime?
No. We were born facing nearly insurmountable challenges – and because we are still alive that means hence far we have surmounted them!
We are the extreme athletes, tough, resilient who are MOST relentlessly determined to be our self.
How I exercised this relentless determination through the first 18 years of my life shows up as I grow to know myself very silently. I tried, I know I tried to speak my truth from the time I was a very, very little girl. I see the testimony to that fact even in my very first sentences as Mother recorded them in my baby book.
Every time Mother psychotically attacked and brutalized me for something she IMAGINED I had done – inside of myself I knew and have NEVER lost sight of what really happened. My vision was absolutely intact and clear.
But the more I tried to speak my truth, THE TRUTH to Mother, the worse she abused me. Yes, by the time I reached my middle childhood I never opened my mouth to let my words sound. I grew increasingly silent – until the silence belonged to Linda so loudly it drowned out even the silence of the frozen Alaskan wilderness which so often surrounded me.
I became so silent by the time I was 16 that I no longer even heard my own real voice all the way until I reached 30 – and the first cracks began to appear in the massive walls of silence I had lost myself within. Looking backward I see that I had not actually lost myself. I had lost my ability to reach through my own silence to communicate with myself.
All the fractured fragments that severe abuse-created dissociation forms in a survivor’s life do not eradicate the existence of a coherent self. We just walk a different pathway toward recognizing and finding our own self.
I see in my mind the image of an Eagle’s nest. Inside myself that nest is my own true home. Sitting within the safe and secure confines of that magnificent nest I can view a spectacular scene of beauty. What happened to me is that I so lost sight of this nest I not only could not find it by the time I was 30 — I forgot it had ever existed at all.
Who I am as I sit centered in my own reality which includes my great power of goodness I am in my body in that structurally sound, very well built nest that IS me-being-at-home-in-my-body-self in this world in this lifetime.
Inside myself from the moment I was conceived my soul made sure that nest was protected and NEVER violated or harmed in any way. The more trauma I experienced, the more suffering I endured, the more troubles I had, the dimmer and darker the return pathway to that nest – and to my inner self — became.
I KNOW I lived centered in myself until I reached the age of 18. What I know today is that leaving home and entering a big world I knew nothing about and was completely unprepared to live in (especially leaving Alaska!) so destabilized my ability to recognize myself during my frantic forward movements into growing into adulthood that I simply forgot how to remember who I was and how to return to my own self.
It was never ‘the call of the wild’ that created chasms in my ability to live within my own nest of my heart-soul. It was ‘the call of modern civilization’ that overwhelmed my ability to silently be connected within my own self with my self — my self that I had so relentlessly fought to preserve against all odds from my first breath on earth.
Perhaps it is exactly because the only way I could maintain myself and my connection with myself growing up through horrendous turbulent chaos and violence was in my own inner universe of silence that I find interacting with ‘the world’ so utterly exhausting now.
Simply put, the truth is that at age 60 I am burned out! How could I not be? I am not complaining. I am recognizing my own reality. My resources have been spent and I have so little in reserve. Quiet sustains me and does not drain me – even in my lonely hours when I crave a connection with humans that I will never truly acquire in this lifetime.
Peaceful calm eventually might be the only state of being my relentless determination to survive as myself allows me to experience without my feathers being ruffled and so messed up by the disturbing winds of ‘ordinary’ life that so easily threaten to toss me out of my nest.
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