What I did to myself by writing yesterday’s post was not kind, or gentle, or wise. Of course I didn’t know at the time that I was putting myself through the clear paces that the part of May Sarton’s poem I posted the other day describes. Yesterday I innocently invited in The Furies and it has taken 24 hours for the angels, who are also “never far away” to help me reestablish some kind of inner balance.
I am fortunate today that yesterday’s nasty storm seems to have abated. Today I have what May Sarton mentioned in her poem:
“It is the light that matters,
The light of understanding.
Who has ever reached it
Who has not met the furies again and again:
Who has reached it without
Those sudden acts of grace?
-From “The Angels And The Furies”
I have received comments over time about my writing from several people whose opinions I highly value and appreciate. They have told me that most of the time my writing is too intellectual, too detached, distant, remote and objective, too sparse of emotion and personal detail. Well, I can promise you now that “the light that matters, the light of understanding” that I had to suffer through yesterday to GET now clearly tells me that this is just the way I am going to write – because it is all I can afford.
I might have just as well stood on the thick ice of a raging frozen river yesterday with a lit stick of dynamite in my hands that I used to blow a whole in that ice so that I could crash through it and get swept down that river, under the ice, unable to escape.
I became overwhelmed by sorrow and sadness and spent the rest of my day and night fighting to overcome it. I did that to myself, and it was not pretty. I had dumped myself back into a survival mode where I was fighting, absolutely alone, for my life. My “light of understanding” commitment to myself today is that I don’t care what anyone else says, wants or needs, I will never do that to myself again. I cannot afford to.
Only those who suffered from the worst-case kinds of terrible infant-child abuse, particularly by their mother from birth can ever begin to understand the devastating power such a FURY has to obliterate a tiny developing self. Every single possible avenue we could find to survive – because there was no possible way to escape – became a part of the very body-brain we live with. Yesterday, without realizing it, I violated my own self-protective measures and caused myself the experience of remembering a part of my overwhelming pain. I will not do that again – Duh!
There is no place within myself that I can return safely to any part of my childhood other than to my experiences with the mountain land of Alaska itself. Every single other part of my infant-childhood is connected to absolute, fundamental misery. I learned yesterday that I have needs in the present in order to ever begin to write about the emotions of my experience that I DO NOT HAVE around me in my life today.
First of all, I am sick. I have a nasty cold, the likes of which I have not suffered for well over 20 years. My body is the single continuous fortitude of protection I have counted on to carry me through my life from the moment I was born. I am – quite obviously – at my weakest when my immune system reacts to a physical sickness attack.
Secondly, I am thousands of miles away from my family and my closest friends. I do not have a therapist. I cannot afford one and I couldn’t find one competent or capable enough to help me now, anyway. I choose not to take psychotropic medications, which is usually OK unless I take stupid steps that overwhelm the systems I have in place within myself to keep me in a place of reasonable balance.
I do not have a support system close to me. I do not have a safety net. When I took my own steps yesterday to invite The Furies in I did so with good intentions, but I made a big mistake. By the time I figured this out yesterday, I had crashed through the ice and was gone. The simplest piece of information I now have as a result of my miserable experience yesterday is that next time I am writing and the words “going where Angels fear to tread” I am going to turn around and run as fast as I possibly can in the other direction! I received that warning yesterday, and I kept on going.
Several hours after I posted yesterday I knew exactly the point in my writing yesterday where my lit stick of dynamite exploded and little dissociated me flew to pieces and disappeared into the ice-covered raging river. I am taking a risk even at this moment by going back and retrieving the phrase that shows where the “perfect storm” was born. I hear the angels’ warning. I tell them, “Only these few words. I hear you. I am being extra careful.” I am determined to prove my own point. Some of readers might have noticed this, anyway.
This was the fulcrum point. It came in my description of how those that love me loved me during my experience with cancer:
“Until I felt what I did last Friday I had no idea how the people who loved me felt as they all traveled thousands of miles, one after the other, to support me and to care for me and to love me as I went through the grueling chemotherapy and eventual surgery that would allow me to remain in their lives.”
I clearly did not think and therefore did not say that these loved ones helped me to REMAIN IN MY OWN LIFE. I said they helped me to remain in theirs.
Enough said. You get my point. I don’t want to invite some giant auger to fall out of the sky on top of my head today to take me down, down, down, down…..
I am wiser today, even though my cold still has my body in its grip. I am back up here on the surface of the world where I belong. I will do things today like rest when I need to, clean the kitchen table off, maybe wash my kitchen floor until it shines in the infrequent moments the sun breaks through the high clouds.
I have “the light of understanding” that I can fully give myself permission to write what I can write the way I can write it. Yesterday I put myself into the problem of my childhood, not the solution. I most want to work at understanding what happened to my mother that made her into the monster she was. I want to understand how the millions of separate, individual terrorizingly brutal encounters I had with her changed me in my development. I want to make informed connections about the conditions of infant-children that lead to either their increased or decreased well-being throughout their life spans.
If there are in the future people who want to be close with me to support me with their love so that I can enter a space safely and securely in order to ‘go back’ to the emotion and details of my childhood (any more than I already have), it is only THEN that a different level of my writing can appear on this blog.
In the meantime, I am going to let the angels surround me up, down, side to side. I will take precautions to keep myself in the present and not travel into that dangerous fog as I did yesterday. Hell is too short, brief, simple and inadequate of a word to even begin to describe the conditions of a severely abused infant-child’s experience is like. There truly are no words to express or to explain that kind of trauma. Trying to put those experiences into words can be an extremely dangerous occupation, one that I am not willingly going to participate in again.
Please refer to my previous writings about the dangers of DISCLOSURE. I need to heed my own words. Nobody else can do it for me. I am still fragile today, raw and shaky. I will go now and do what needs to be done: BE GOOD TO ME.
As Sarton wrote:
“Able to bless and forgive
This is what is asked of us.”
Still brings a smile — watch this video!