The essence of this post has been in the back of my thoughts for many days. Yesterday I took a few more pictures of my yard project knowing that they somehow illustrate whatever it is my mind does not seem to want to look at head-on. Part of me knows if I continue to delay writing this post my related thoughts will eventually simply disappear. This part of me does not REALLY want to know what some other part of me both knows and wants to write about.
I have no idea what needs to be said here, so the best I can do is follow the pictures. I feel as if I am standing in front of a gate myself right now that I have never opened before. For some reason it is very hard for me to enter in my writing, in words right now….
This writing is in part about how survivors of severe infant and child abuse make the best of their lives using everything useful that we can find. We are able to make our lives out of what, I suppose, most ordinary people would never notice as important or useful. We were not given a choice. Nobody smoothed our way, gave us the ‘cream’ or the ‘gravy’. In our malevolent early world of hostile deprivation and harm we marched on – and when someone knocked us over – we got up and marched on some more.
With the exception of screws and a few 2′ x 4′ boards here and there, as you can see in these pictures every object going into my east yard goat-hoped for project has been deemed useless and discarded by someone.
As I have done since the moment I was born to my abusive mentally ill mother, I continue to make the best out of whatever I can – with every effort to make what was ugly – beautiful.
In these pictures I am creating a dual-purpose structure out of pallets to both shade the goats and to collect and divert rainwater out to the new little Jujube tree I purchased at our local Farmers’ Market last Saturday.
I was proud of myself the day I figured out how I could create the gutter arrangement using this piece of ‘regular people’s’ usual gutter pieces – with a 10′ hose (that was the cheapest ACE had at $2.49 a foot) to run to the Jujube tree. (Now I am smarter and stopped to dig vacuum cleaner hoses and metal tubes out of the throw-a-way trash at our local thrift store to use for the next water reclamation project.)
FORTUNATELY I had to wait for the silicone to dry overnight in this little drain I created – and it was just as I was drifting into sleep the night after I put this together that the thought HIT ME: “There’s no way once this whole pallet shade structure is put together that I can clean it or keep it clean. Everything that swooshes down the gutter will clog up my tidy little hose plan!” I needed a filter and I needed to attach this thing where I could clean it out (all this is placed underneath Russian Olive trees that shed LOTS of little leaves!)
Living as a survivor – not being REALLY able to plan things out smoothly — not being able to ‘mentally time travel’, as the neuroscientists call it, into the future. I cannot PLAN the way I am supposed to be able to.
Yes, I am – along with many early abuse survivors – extremely ‘right brained’ – obvious at those many times when I find it so hard to even think in words.
I can FEEL the changes in the part of my brain – the higher cortex that in better and in MOST childhoods gets what it needs to grow and develop to operate properly – related to…..
AGAIN – please take a look at this important article about the changes in brain development due to infant-child abuse –
But – I do the best that I can – and now realizing I needed to change my thinking to get this project to come out as I wanted it to…..
Time for the TIES – taken off the bottom of T-shirts that I am tie-dying to make a baby blanket for my coming-into-the-world soon new grandson!
And, a few garden pictures
Thus ends today’s tour – although my words fail me in trying to talk about what it feels like to have been dished up a heaping plate of unbelievable overwhelming abuse and trauma for the first 18 years of my life — to survive that – to live with the changes those traumas did to my physiological development.
Not unlike how I was as a child, I have recently been having great difficulty making sense in ‘coherent words’ out of myself in the world. My brain could not have possibly formed in ordinary ways given the conditions of my first 18 years of life. I did the best I could – but my thinking has never followed what I imagine to be most people’s ‘ordinary patterns’. Severe traumas are extraordinary events – and surviving them makes us extraordinary people.
It is often very hard for me not to compare myself to other people – in terms of ‘how successful is MY life?” Not very it seems most of the time. I REALLY have to work at affirming my own value and worth as a person.
Meanwhile, I make one ‘work related’ decision at a time – which for the most time occupies my thoughts so entirely that I don’t have any spare room in my mind for tearing myself down. NEVER did a therapist – or any self-help book I have ever read — recognize that there are some of us who suffered abuse as infants and children in a mad and chaotic world that was so far past what most people can begin to imagine that……. well ……..
We know a different world. We always have. We always will. But we are HERE and we ARE beautiful! We made it out of our earliest years in hell – and whatever it takes to keep on making it we find – shifting, constantly shifting – adjusting – adapting – to whatever each day brings to us – so we will be here tomorrow, too.
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