I Can See for Miles

img_1180

The last three weeks have been some of the most miserable of my life. I’m sure it has shown in my writing and not always in a good way. However, one good thing about a writer going through both good and bad situations is that it gives them so much great material to write about.

The crazy thing is that I have gone through exactly the same situation under basically the same circumstances with the same people at least two other times in my life. This is the third time. It seems that I never learn, doesn’t it? That, my friends, has been true in the past. It will not be true in the future. This time, I learned a very hard, extremely painful lesson. Much more painful than the first two times.

The first two times were painful enough and it took me years to recover. Why? I’m a sensitive and emotional person. I think that came from my dad who wore his heart on his sleeve. That made him the best dad in the world, but I’m sure he was hurt many times. I don’t exactly wear my heart on my sleeve in most situations, but I do recognize that I can be emotionally fragile in the right (or wrong) situation. I was definitely in the wrong situation this time. Probably the first two times as well. I mistook flattery for something else. People should remember that words are important. Never say words that you don’t mean or that aren’t appropriate.

img_0261

This time, I’m older, more fragile, less able to come back from being shattered into a million tiny pieces. This time,  I was very emotionally invested and the rug was pulled out from under me in a brutal way. I never got an explanation. I’m not assigning blame. I was as much to blame as anyone else involved. That doesn’t make the hurt go away.

Until the last two days, for three weeks, I’ve hardly eaten or slept. That’s what happens to me when I’m upset about something that was as important to me as this situation was. I’ve sat at my kitchen table and drank a thousand cups of tea, trying to figure it all out. I’ve talked to my good friends endlessly and they have been saints on earth to put up with me. I feel like I would have lost my mind without them.

I’ve walked around in a daze because I’ve been so distracted. I would cry and not even realize I was crying. If I could catch a couple of hours of sleep at night, I would wake up sobbing. I’ve written – a lot – because nothing else much gave me any solace. I had no family to turn to – I’m an only child and except for a few cousins I seldom hear from, my family is gone. I didn’t want to burden the couple of cousins who might actually care enough to listen. I would find myself going about my days, living in the same pattern as I did when I was involved in this situation, except there was no need now. Then, I would just cry more.

Until today. Last night, for the first time in three weeks, I slept. I didn’t have nightmares. I woke up this morning and I knew it was over. The acute grief. I felt like myself again, for the first time in a long time. I knew that this time, the third time I’ve let this happen to me, would be the last time. Never again. Never again would I allow myself to be involved in this situation. I was finally able to put it in a little box and store it away in a corner of my brain, hopefully to someday forget it forever.

Now I don’t care what happens. I can deal with it. One of my friends told me today that I sound like the person she’d always know and, funny, I feel like that person again. So whatever this situation, or any situation, throws at me, I can handle it. Bring it on! I made a terrifically bad decision and mistake. But, I was not the only person involved who made a mistake and I hope the other people involved in this situation know that.

img_0260

So why do I have a picture of Marilyn Monroe here? It’s complicated. She reminds me of many things, but right now, looking at her picture reminds me not to make bad decisions. Put yourself first. Don’t let yourself be used. Don’t assume anyone will take care of you but you. I want to look at this picture of her a lot right now.

No sympathy please though I thank you! Now I’m ready to move on. At my age, there is no time to waste. I’m going to go to the ocean. Hearing the waves and seeing the water has always soothed me. But, mainly, I want to see the ocean because I can see the horizon. I can see for miles and miles. I need that. I need to be able to see for miles and imagine what a good future is waiting for me. #amwriting #amblogging #writing #shortfiction #romance #marilynmonroe #dailyprompt

Advertisements

When a Writer Can’t Write

image

A writer has to write. When a committed writer cannot write, they can be creative. They can read or travel in order to see things, meet people, and learn new writing techniques. I do that, but when I want to write, I want to write. To do otherwise causes me cognitive dissonance…….or a storm in my head. For the last six days, I’ve had a storm in my head about writing.

Six days ago, I pinched a nerve in my arm. My right arm, which is my dominant arm. I woke up in the morning, couldn’t move my fingers, and my wrist was limp. I ran, not walked, to my neurologist who found the pinched nerve. I did it in my sleep. Slept on my arm the wrong way! Stuff happens, everyone. Never forget that.

I have a brace on my hand, wrist, and forearm that will remain there until the nerve regenerates. Time to regeneration? Each person is different. Minimum is three weeks. Could be six months. My fingers are moving a little more each day. I’m finally able to write this blog post. I am no good at using dictation software. I have to sit down and pound the keys.

I won’t post as much as usual until I’m better, but I will post! If I can’t write, I’m not myself so I will do my best. Of course, I don’t want to lose touch with you, my followers. Thank you for following me!

Rosemary

 

Clutter and Stuff

image

Clutter. You know. The stuff you have lying around that you think you might need. That you’re sure you will need……some time, some day. Won’t you? What exactly is clutter? Clutter can be defined as anything we don’t need, want, use or anything that takes up space we need, or our time, our energy, or that destroys our serenity. Do you know where I got that definition? From an organization called Clutterers Anonymous! Yes, there is such an organization. I couldn’t believe it either.

I hate clutter and have been systematically going through my life trying to eliminate clutter. Clutter is, of course, items like clothes you can’t wear anymore, gifts you have received and can’t use, things you have bought and don’t like, books and papers you think you might need but don’t, and unnecessary items stuffed in storage bins and facilities. But, that isn’t all clutter is. It is also unfulfilling relationships, activities we don’t enjoy, and other psychological “junk” that we hold on to because we always have. Our minds can become cluttered just like our surroundings. Clutter seems to multiply of its own accord.

Where did this clutter problem start for so many of us? Many say it comes from fear. Instead of buying one of something, we buy two. We think if we need one, we might need two because that one might wear out, break, become unusable. Maybe we were taught in our childhood to fix things that break instead of throwing them away or to save things we buy because someone might need them. Those broken things and possible gifts pile up. If our clutter problem is bad enough, we feel hopeless. We feel we can never get rid of all the clutter. We have forgotten how to organize. Finally, clutter spills out of our drawers and our closets. It becomes embarrassing and overwhelming. Our hopelessness and helplessness over the clutter becomes worse. Clutterers realize they have a problem with their excess possessions.

Not only have I grown to hate clutter in my own life, I am growing to dislike “stuff.” The trappings of life that we feel we have to have in order to live. What “stuff” is differs for all of us though I think it may have similarities within social classes. We, in the U.S., don’t freely admit that we have a social class structure but we do. In Great Britain, they have always had a relatively well-defined social class system, more so in the past than now, but it still exists. They admit it.

The U.S. middle class, at least in my age group, still wants a nice home. Nothing wrong with that. It is the “stuff” that goes into those nice homes that gets out of hand. I’m as guilty of this “stuff” issue as anyone reading this blog post. Most of us want the good furniture, reasonably nice art on the walls, the latest appliances, the most up-to-date everything, as well as the accessories to pull it all together and make it into our idea of home. Outside of our homes, there are two or three cars, maybe a boat or RV. Nice lawns and landscaping. Individually, we want clothes, shoes, handbags, and jewelry for every occasion. I’m particularly guilty of this clothes issue! Everyone is different regarding how much stuff they like and can live with.

Last year, about this time, my house flooded and I lost a great deal of what I had. My stuff. See my Time to Rebuild blog post. It was devastating. I was most devastated by the loss of the interior of my house but the loss of my stuff was almost as bad. Until I started to move back into my house and started going through all the stuff. I realized how much of it I really did not want or need. How much was unnecessary to my life as it was in the present. How much was just old stuff stored in closets in boxes and was meaningless at this point in my life. So I started sorting. Soon, I stopped sorting and started pitching and throwing. It felt liberating. We moved much less back in than we moved out.

Now, I’m careful what I bring back into my home. I’ve found, once again, that I enjoy people more than stuff. I’ve renewed old friendships, old relationships, and those people are so much more valuable to me and enjoyable than “stuff.” My possessions were not giving me joy. The people in my life do, indeed, give me joy. I’m as careful about new relationships as I am about new stuff. New relationships have to be really worth it to be brought into my life. Otherwise, they are just so much stuff.

Our society has become so fractured and many of us have become so fearful that we surround ourselves with stuff instead of people. A problem we need to try to fix if we are to regain our American optimism and happiness.

 

*Image by Jonathan Billinger at SO3951

Emotional Child Abuse: Mother and Little Girl

image

In a previous post, I told you a story about a little girl I once knew. Although most of this ongoing story is about the little girl, I want to introduce you to Mother. Maybe a small part of Mother’s story can help explain how the little girl found herself in such a terrible predicament within her family. I’ll have to warn you. I’m not terribly sympathetic to Mother though I am trying to develop a little understanding.

When I came to know Mother, the little girl was five years old and Mother was 35. An older mother to a child that young back in those days, to be sure. Mother had tried for a long time to have a baby. She was almost 30 when she succeeded. Mother’s pregnancy was difficult. The little girl found out later that she bore the scars of that difficult pregnancy. So, probably, did Mother.

Mother visited the town’s only doctor a lot. He was an excellent doctor but only had the knowledge of those times. But, he was wise beyond those years. Mother had a number of physical ailments that she was diagnosed with when she was between 35-40. Those, however, did not start plaguing her until a few years later.

Mother’s problems during her late 30s were less of a physical nature and more of an emotional nature. Mother had a problem with Daddy. At that time, I didn’t know what  that problem was as I was only a friend. I do know that, as a few years passed, the problem seemed to grow more severe.

The problem with Daddy was not the only source of emotional distress for Mother. Mother had come from a background that was emotionally difficult. Her mother, Grandmother, was a high-strung, temperamental woman who was cold and not particularly loving. Grandmother, to be honest, was mean. Though Mother would never have said so, Mother grew up in a family where the parents were not demonstrative with any sort of loving behavior. Grandfather was a kind, generous man but probably not outwardly emotional. Mother may never have learned how to love. That is what the little girl told me when she became a grown-up woman. She also said that Mother, as she grew up, was much like Grandmother – mean, temperamental, and cold.

Here was Mother – problems with Daddy and a little girl who needed her. A raft of physical problems and an even bigger load of emotional ones that she probably did not understand. No one to help but an old family doctor who tried his best and a sister next door who also tried her best. No one seemed to know what to do. So they did what so many families do. They hid and denied the problem, except among themselves.

Mother only looked outward for help. She looked to Daddy, the doctor, her sister, and even little girl. She failed to look inward and she did not try to help herself. Perhaps she couldn’t. Perhaps her problems were too severe. There is no way to know. The grown-up woman little girl became told me that, before Mother died, her emotional problems had only gotten worse, not better.

But, back to the story. Little girl wasn’t very old when Mother realized something. She realized that little girl was a great deal like Daddy as her personality developed. Mother and Daddy had never resolved their problems and, in Mother’s eyes, the worst thing that could happen was for little girl to grow up and be anything like her Daddy. She was supposed to grow up and be like Mother and her family. Fate has a way of playing tricks on us and that was not happening.

Since Mother could only punish Daddy to a point, wasn’t little girl a good substitute? Wasn’t she just like her Daddy? Wasn’t she like his family and not like Mother’s? That’s what Mother told me. Not that little girl was a substitute, but how much she was disgusted by the way she was just like Daddy. It was years later, when little girl was a grown-up, that she told me this one day.

Not only was Mother a cold, temperamental and unemotional woman, but she had a child much like a man she had grown to hate. On top of this, she had emotional, even perhaps mental, problems and no real help available. When I look back, I realize this was a recipe for disaster for that family.

So began the problems for little girl. Emotional child abuse. A form of child abuse just as damaging as physical or sexual abuse. It just doesn’t leave bruises or any physical scars, though Mother engaged in physical abuse more than once. Emotional abuse involves degrading the child, making the child feel that he or she is not good enough, expecting the impossible of the child, not being affectionate toward the child, and much more. It is not usually obvious to people outside the immediate family. Often, they think the child is acting out when they react to the abuse. But, children who are victims of emotional abuse are not acting out. They are reacting to what amounts to betrayal by their parent.

Child abuse of any type is the ultimate betrayal between a child and the parent. Little girl suffered that betrayal at the hands of Mother even though there were reasons that Mother acted the way she did. There is no reason for child abuse.

Follow this blog for the continuing story of little girl. Continue reading

A Child’s Salvation — the Horse

image

It’s the week of the Preakness and perhaps that’s why I’m thinking about horses. The Preakness is important here in Kentucky. It’s the second jewel in the Triple Crown and this girl hopes Nyquist will wear it. Not only am I thinking about horses but I’m also thinking about horses and their people…..and the relationship between people and horses and how important that can be to both.

Long ago, so long I can hardly remember, I knew this little girl. She had two ponies during her childhood and, later in life, a horse. Meet her second pony, Mr. Ed, named after a rather famous TV show that aired back in the day. Her first pony didn’t work out for her as he was a stallion and her Daddy was terrified the stallion would kill her as he was pretty temperamental. Only she and the stallion knew the secret that it was really fine. The stallion went off to live at a farm and her Daddy brought Mr. Ed into her life.

The little girl didn’t take riding lessons until much later in her life. She seemed just to know how to ride. Mr. Ed was a Shetland pony but a rather large one. He was kind and gentle but fun for the little girl to ride. Sometimes, when he didn’t want to be ridden, he would just lie down on his side. The little girl would just laugh and jump off his back, barely in time, to avoid being crushed. The little girl’s Daddy watched in helpless wonder. She wasn’t even 10 years old.

Riding Mr. Ed wasn’t the most important thing to the little girl. You see, the little girl had some problems. She would not have described it like this, but in adult words, she and her mother did not have a very good relationship. Her mother was a sad and depressed woman. Probably clinically depressed though, then, that diagnosis didn’t even exist. She seemed to take her sadness and depression out on the little girl.

The little girl’s mother made the little girl feel unloved, like she wasn’t good enough, like she had to do better and better, be smarter, be prettier, than anyone else and maybe then her mother would love her. She was too young to understand that nothing she did was ever going to make her good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, to please her mother. Nothing was going to make her mother love her. She didn’t understand that the problem was with her mother, not with her. That understanding took years.

Mr. Ed was the little girl’s salvation. She would run to his red barn, in the moments she could get away from her mother, and she would sit in the straw, hiding in the corner of the barn. She would cry and talk to Mr. Ed. He would stand there, eating his oats and hay, and listen. Sometimes, he would even lie down with his head close to the little girl and sleep while she talked. She hid there as long as she could, away from her mother.

When the little girl grew into a teen-age girl, Mr. Ed watched for her to come home every day from school. She would go for a ride after school and stay with him as long as possible, even in the winter. He was still her best confidante. His barn was still her hiding place, away from the hurtful comments and the hateful face of her mother. She grew into quite a loner, preferring the company of animals to people. She had a hard time relating to most people. Her Daddy worked away from home most of the time and he was not there for support. She had a wonderful aunt and uncle close by, but the influence of her mother was too much and that of her aunt and uncle was not enough.

The teen-age girl started college and graduated early. She wanted to get a job and leave home as soon as possible. She, with her Daddy’s help, made arrangements for Mr. Ed before she left. He was old by the time she was 20 and ready to leave home. He had developed some laminitis in his hooves. He went to a farm owned by a large animal veterinarian in a nearby town, though he didn’t live long. The hoof problem was too severe.

The grown woman the little girl became will never forget Mr. Ed. She loved horses from then on. Mr. Ed had helped save her life and made intolerable emotional abuse almost tolerable.

If you are a mother who feels depressed or overwhelmed, go to your doctor and get help. If you are an adult child who suffered emotional abuse, contact the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse.

Can Music Heal Anxiety?

Do you remember the song “American Pie” by Don McLean? As a child of the 70s, it has always been part of the background of my life and the lives of my compatriots. I reference that song because I am a believer in the power of music as a healing force in our lives and it has two very powerful lines in it. We all have “our” music. Many children of the 60s and 70s are into classic rock. The 80s were pop with the emergence of rap and hair metal. The 90s – a plethora of genres including a new sound in rock along with pop, metal, and pop, and so on. Country has always been with us though a new sound emerged in country pop.

When I listen to my music, I am relaxed and happy. Science tells us why. Studies have shown that the sensory pathways along which music travels in the brain compete, for example, with the pain pathways and win. Music can reduce pain. When feeling anxious, studies show that if you listen to music that makes you feel the way you want to feel, it helps you feel that way. So listen to happy music if you want to reduce your anxiety. Music has proven therepeutic in all sorts of clinical settings.

In “American Pie,” there are the lines, “do you believe in rock and roll, can music save your mortal soul.” My answer to both questions is a resounding yes! At the very least, your music can soothe your soul and your anxiety.