After a very long troubling sleepless night I finally dozed as the fall sun crawled slowly into the sky. Sometimes writing a book takes doing battle I realized last night. Who gets epiphanies? Those who are able to struggle long enough to make it to the place where an epiphany awaits them? I LIKE epiphanies I detest the uncomfortable process I seem to always have to go through before I am ready for the next step in my learning-growing-healing process.
Today I find I see what I am doing in my book writing process completely differently that I did yesterday. It took a combination of being unsure of myself, of what I am doing, of why I am doing it, of how I am doing it — along with timely words coming to me from people in my life. Why do I so tenaciously cling to the telling of ‘my story’ of abuse which includes the telling of my abusive mother’s story? Because I am not going to throw out something of highest value – just because my culture says I ought to ‘let it go and move on’.
Today I understand the great difference between a QUEST and a MISSION.
My mother was – quite sickly – on a QUEST her entire life. Her mental illness gave her ways to divide that which was BAD from that which was GOOD (as I wrote about in my previous post).
Her abuse of me was meant to ‘take care of’ all she could not tolerate inside herself — while her Alaskan homesteading was meant to complete her quest by letting her live in a perfect kingdom where no ‘bad’ either existed – or could reach her.
I think about my writing. I see today that I am on NO healing quest whatsoever as I shape and reshape words into stories that come from my memories of abuse. I don’t write to heal!
I write because I am on a MISSION!
Now, unlike the kind of continual stream-of-thought writing I do on my blog, the troubles I have been having with my book project is that I have to make THOUSANDS of decisions as I do that work that I do not ever have to make as I blog.
It is this decision-making that I don’t like! I don’t like it because I am unfamiliar with that ‘way’ of writing.
Defining clearly my own difference between being on a quest and being on a mission allows me to now take varying pieces of information to combine them in new ways.
Mildred’s quest was not only for survival. It was for healing.
All the she knew and all that she did – including her abuse of me and her homesteading – was a part of this healing quest.
I realize most importantly that perhaps the most significant contributing factor to why I was able to raise my three children without continuing the intergenerational pattern of traumatizing them through abuse was exactly this fact: I left my abusive home of origin intact and autonomous.
Mildred did not break me. She did not make me sick. For whatever reasons – I have always had my own self present with me. I was not, therefore, on any kind of a ‘healing quest’ to solve my own inner troubles through the actions I took toward my children.
Rather, I had a MISSION clearly in my mind, heart and soul as I raised my kids. I didn’t need to think about this consciously except in an occasional passing thought, “I am not going to raise my children like my parents raised me. I am going to raise them so that they know clearly WHO they are, as they grow up to LOVE who they are.”
That was it. My mission was clear and defined.
This does not mean that throughout the stages of my adult life as a survivor of 18 years of terrible child abuse that I have not ‘quested’ for healing – for information – for knowledge and for wisdom about what happened to me and what that means to me.
But today I would question my use of ‘quest’ even in that regard. I was – truthfully and accurately – on a MISSION to become the best me I can be no matter what happened to me.
So as it applies to the stages of my book writing I today understand that my mission is to give voice to infant and child abuse through exposing what I can discover about the abuse that happened to me.
The truth about infant and child abuse lies behind the scenes in our society. It lies in silence. There is only one way I know of to break this silence – and that is to use my words to SPEAK from behind that wall of silence.
Punch holes in silence. I am reminded of a dream I had over 30 years ago. A poet professor I had was in this dream sitting on steps that went over a wall – pondering. I saw him, stopped to ask him what he was so deeply in thought about.
“This is the wall of silence,” he told me as he gestured to a pitch dark wall stretching to his left and to his right. The wall was darker than night time. It blocked out the light of the stars in the sky.
“But,” he told me. “Look. Look closely. There are holes in the wall of silence.”
True enough. If one looked closely enough there were spots in the wall where the star light shone brightly through.
I awoke hearing my own words I spoke to the poet, “I didn’t KNOW there were holes in silence!”
This was an epiphany to me. It applies here as I rise to move forward to complete my book writing mission using what this dream taught me. With the telling of my stories I am punching holes in the silence that keeps the reality of abuse of infants and children flourishing in our culture.
What I know about Mildred also creates holes in this silence.
My mission is to keep to my own path. Yes, I realize ‘life is short’ but I will never say it is ‘too short’ to keep with us our own stories until we learn from them what we need to, and until we use what we have been through – what we know in consequence – as great tools of power toward the healing and protection of our species.
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