“Soulmates on Aisle 7”

I’ve laid my bricks with mortar and tears, at least a mile high, and so carefully, with reluctant acceptance that Sandman’s gone.  I could not do that for the longest time- the acceptance.  He exists in dreams of grey uncertainty. I lived in his grey for nearly five years.

He is alive, and yet he is a poltergeist floating by my cubicle to grunt the garden needs pickin’ or toss mail my way.   He goes to his meetings, collects his tokens, and lives in the grey clouds.  I honestly do not know if he ever discovered the Path to True Recovery.  He may die in the greyness, alone.. but the air is toxic to me.

And yet, quietly, a pink cloud kissed me deeply two weeks ago and I haven’t been the same since.  Pink clouds are dangerous for people like us.  Daydreamers, hopeless romantics and addicts fall in love in its demure mist.   Soul mates can be found in the pink clouds.

The world is fresh and beautiful again and I’m living out dreamy nights of soul connections.  I’m scared.  Really, really scared.  There have been no triggers, no warning bells.  I’ve been bracing for the tsunami of nausea, and it’s simply not existing.  The pink cloud is gentle, passionate and spiritual, and has been in recovery even longer than I.  It is my mirror image, my twin soul.  It defies my own irrational logic that I’ve surrounded myself with.

Something must be wrong right with me.

How would I know grocery stores carried soul mates?  There were never any ads, or coupons.  No signs, or markdowns, or blaring speaker voices urging us to rush to the racks.  If that were true, we’d all be waiting in the parking lot for the delivery trucks to arrive.

It all began with two simple words that slipped out of my mouth.

~~~~~~

As I pulled into the crowded grocery store lot, I parked next to a very polished motorcycle and silver-wise rider, who was busily strapping his groceries down.  My old rig squeaks n’ squawks like a nest of old pelicans and half the time I’m too busy to wash off the gull droppings.  I was laughing so hard at my Jeep but yet I love her and she works hard- enough for me to call her Sugar.  I should be rubbing the poor girl down with liniment & releasing her in a field to roll in daisies after a hard day of tourist gridlock.

So yes, I was laughing as I pushed my door open (loudly).

As I walk by the rider I chuckle to him,  “Trade You.” 

That was me– the OLD me– coming out.  Not afraid to talk to strangers, and just see the funny in everything.  PTSD was on the back burner.  God had been whispering in my ear all day, reminding me there was beauty everywhere.  I felt spiritual and vibrant.

The rider’s sage eyes smiled at me so softly, wordlessly, and I continued onward into the building.  He looked vaguely familiar but this town is small, and I could have bumped into him in the past.

The rider found me picking through the crimini mushrooms and began to apologize profusely, saying my tire was low but that was a weak excuse to come talk to me.  He swore he knew me  from somewhere, but didn’t know where from.  He handed me his phone number scribbled on a torn grocery receipt.  He wanted to take me for a motorcycle ride.  His voice was curiously cracking softly as he spoke.  His fingers shook slightly and he spoke in small, breathless spurts.

I said no thank you.  And what surprised me was what I said next, something that is totally out of character for a survivor.  I asked if he would like to walk with me through the store.  By the time shopping ended, I knew our paths had barely crossed here and there, but never collided.  It seemed maybe God was whispering in his ear too.

A few days later, I snuggled into the backseat of his Kawasaki, and as the motor rumbled, my hands dared to hold onto someone.. Hell, my hands slipped into his pockets so well.   It felt like home.  I felt safe.

We rode over the high bridge; over deeply choppy waters; crossing the border of state, but not our own personal boundaries.  

It was a day of healing for me.  I was able to trust someone with MY life.. I did not control, or even try to control.  No PTSD, no running away.  I let go, and let God.  And I fell in love.

And I still haven’t aired up my tire.

 

“More Than Submissive”

I am safe today.

The words in my thoughts seem to float with an aimless purpose – whether by divine programming, or a faint sense of my old self, I cannot say which.  It has become my daily bread.  I serve it piping hot, one slice at a time, to my soul when it is hungry and tired.

I am free today.

Sunlight streamed through a small tree on a busy street, dappling the inner foliage of crimson brilliance as my child and I held each other underneath it.  We stared with wonder, both exclaiming the same thing at once.  In that moment we were both little girls, children of God, and free in unison.  We did not dwell on the bustle of adults rushing by, for we were small, simple and sweet- no pain, or sorrow, or fear.  It is the joy of love for the little things that cupped us both and held us tenderly.  This memory will never part from me, and I cherish it when I feel enslaved by the past.

I am silent today.

Under my anger, my fear, is guilt and shame… for self-blame inflicted long after the physical wounds faded.  I could have, should have, would have...  the why’s, the blames.. the memories.. Purged, today.  I am empty, clean, and sit in my own silence of warm loving thoughts.  I did the best I could.  That is the Grail we all strive to achieve.  I am a good woman.  I am a good mother.  My child is alive and beautiful.  My cup runneth over with love for both of us, silently.

I am valiant today.

Three years ago, I ran for my life, not wanting to remember rape and domestic violence.  As a child, I escaped into my mind.  Months ago, I hid from the world as suppressed memories filled my thoughts.  Survival skills are primitive instincts.  Under our sophisticated skins, we are hardwired from conception to be survivors.  We respond when faced with harm.  Freeze.. fight… flight.. go limp.  Today, I am calmly fierce.  Today, I embrace the sophisticated survivalist I am.  It kept me alive, and I am still here.

I am compassionate today.

Despite my fear and loathing, my nature is not vindictive.  I cannot walk the path of Hate for long, because it is harmful and exhausting.  The woman buried in me knows the difference between the strength of compassion and the weakness of submission, although from the outside, they may look the same.  But I know.. I know myself.. and I am okay with how I am.

Today, I will remove my shoes and sit by the roadside of Hate, and breathe the calm air.

I am Me today.

“The Ten Minute Goodbye”- a writing exercise

A mere half hour ago, I stood shoulder to shoulder with the father- who three years ago raped me twice, hit me, tossed me like fresh salad, financially exploited and stalked me, hacked into my email during a restraining order (and after) and bullied me into a submissive shock.

The process used to be mothers win.  Times have changed.  Even abusers have rights, and with enough money, they can buy yours.

We are in the crowded lunchroom at the morning parent exchange.  It is my parent time… and he won’t leave.  He lingers like a bad dream under the skin in a room of pitch blackness.

My heart races uncontrollably as I wrap my arms around my child… and he won’t leave.  My mind is shifting to grey.  I can feel it rising in my chest as quickly as mercury in hot water.

Blah, blah, the words roll continuously from his lips… and he won’t leave.

Adrenalin is coursing through me, enough to shoot me to the moon and back.   But I’m no astronaut with the nausea washing over my tongue.  There is no warmth in space to thaw the freezing I feel.

My child is caught in the middle.  She looks confused and overwhelmed.   Although nothing is said, she senses my fear.  My sweater itches with cold sweat.

Nearly ten minutes later… he leaves… And I am shaking from the inside out.  God, I am shaking.

I don’t protect him anymore.  He is not my friend, we are not buddies, and it is my choice whether to forgive.  The court says we limit our exchanges to hello/ goodbye.  A ten minute goodbye less than six inches from me is indescribable Hell.

We have six parent exchanges a week.  Six opportunities to vomit and fall apart, and scramble to pull myself together.  He will not agree to change anything.   His foot blocks the door to peace for me and my child.

Presently, I’m fighting tooth and nail to not shut down.  I’m praying for strength to endure two more parent exchanges today.  It is a good time to write.