I have. Join me!
02 Saturday Aug 2014
02 Saturday Aug 2014
10 Thursday Jul 2014
I’ve not been posting my writings for a number of months. I will be back. Things are percolating in very significant ways.
Thank you to my cousin Richard for sharing this.
TRIGGER WARNING: BREAKFAST
04 Saturday Jan 2014
Posted by debintheuwharries | Filed under Uncategorized
11 Wednesday Sep 2013
I’ve been given feedback that suggests it may be worthwhile to reblog/repost this particular piece. I welcome additional reflections.
I don’t think that I have ever written anything in any venue about September 11th. Sometimes it is hard to believe that it has been 9 years since that morning when things shifted in our corner of the universe. I have many and conflicting thoughts about the days events: what led up to it, who and what played roles in the culmination that was 9/11. Mostly I think about the feelings and experiences of those around me, as I observed them. Those observations were largely visual, for at that time I was not yet a cochlear implant recipient. I wore no hearing aids, and depended to the largest extent on lipreading and other visual clues, with my remaining hearing filling in only the smallest gaps in my experiential world. And so, it was with muffled sounds around me I stepped…
View original post 1,996 more words
04 Wednesday Sep 2013
abuse, desire, forgiveness, hope, redemption, sexuality, spirituality, trust
You’re my daughter. I can do what I want.”
This is the time of year in the Jewish tradition that one focuses with intent on matters of redemption and forgiveness. We look deeply into ourselves through the mirror of the past year, making a frank appraisal of our thoughts and our conduct towards our friends and family, our communities, ourselves. Whenever possible, we are to approach those who we may have harmed, and offer up apology and request for forgiveness from the injured parties. We are to allow ourselves to be open to those who approach us with a willing spirit, asking the same of us. Over the years I have been an exuberant participant in the rituals related to Selichot, the penitential prayer period. It feels right to tell someone I am sorry for any hurt I may have inflicted, intentionally or unintentionally, and to grant forgiveness to those who apologize for their own transgressions. In some instances it has been difficult, but never has there been any regret for apology or forgiveness. It lightens the load of living, it really does.
There is one exceptional challenge in this process for me. Every year I run up against it, and though I see it from a different angle each time, it remains impervious to this redemptive process. I have made my usual attempts to find it in my heart, for myself as much as the other, to forgive egregious transgressions. I have also gone at it from the other side, bringing into the light some of the issues and asking for the opportunity to work together through some aspects of it, but I have met with the strongest denial and resistance. In other words, I have asked to be offered an opportunity to resolve bad feelings and be offered apology for transgression against me, and I have attempted to freely give forgiveness in the absence of such an offering. I pirouette and do running jumps and backward flips and I remain where I stand.
I am a sexual abuse survivor. The perpetrator was my mother. Until very recently, I shared this truth with precious few. I have since shared the truth with a handful of friends. Only recently have I begun to realize that I harm not only myself by keeping my truth the world’s best-kept secret. It denies others the possibility of understanding that yes, there are mothers who sexually abuse their children. It does harm to other women (and men) who feel they are truly the only person on earth who has survived this particular abuse, that there is nowhere to turn, no one who can understand their experience. There is a fair amount in the literature that reflects belief about the destruction wrought due to sexual abuse by one’s own mother. The shattering of innocence by the primary nurturer, the one who we ought to be able to run to when we are hurt, or scared, or in danger, is seen as emotionally devastating for the survivor. But few seem to have actually met any of us. There is a belief that it is rare, that the maternal impulse is that strong. Perhaps it is. But I suspect it is not as rare as we wish to believe.
I have a love for life that is immeasurable. I am still here because of it, and I say with no posturing that there have been times that I have wondered if I should even bother living with the memories, the scars layered on my emotional terrain thick and rough-edged. I’ve come to understand that what happened to me was not my fault, I had no power to control it, and that it doesn’t have to dictate my every move. But there is the layer below the intellectualizing where I live with the visceral knowledge of the devastation left behind. I no longer swim in its waters daily. I have survived and thrived in numerous ways. But the body doesn’t lie. It has taken a systematic approach to reclaiming my body, its feelings and functions, without shame or anger towards it. I have had some success in exploring this new path, and I have become ferocious in defense of my sensuous nature and I am a champion of anyone else walking a path of such self-discovery.
The image that accompanies this piece was not of my own hand. It’s the creation of Eric Abernethy, nature and wildlife photographer. Part of his “mirror” series, I use it with his permission. I see in it a reflection of where I have been when immersed in sensory experience. Many abuse survivors report having a lack of feeling during sex, of an inability to respond. Even when receiving otherwise safe and nurturing touch, sensation is distorted or absent. In my consenting relationships, I’ve never lost the ability to respond, to sense, to feel. What I’ve had was a hatred for my body and its ability to feel. I’ve engaged in some strange mental wanderings to survive it, swimming deep at times. There is some wreckage at the bottom of the lake. There are gems down there, too. I did not know this for a long time. Soon I will tell you more about what I found along the way. It is terrifying to put this out there for others to see, but I intuitively know that it’s the only way for me to move forward.
27 Thursday Jun 2013
Posted recovery, Spirituality, Travel, Uncategorizedin
27 Thursday Jun 2013
“I was 10 years old. He was my cousin, 15 years old. It wasn’t pretty.”
We lay in bed, face down, shoulder to shoulder, he with his arms around his pillow, and I propped up on my elbows as I took in the full significance of this statement. Gary and I had met just days before, when I arrived in town after 36 hours on an Amtrak train from Denver to Oakland, the last leg over the Bay Bridge by bus into San Francisco. I’d heard about a budget hotel in the financial district. Arriving on a Sunday afternoon, it was a veritable ghost town. I entered the small lobby, and was registered by a man behind the window of the hotel office. Pleasant and soft spoken, with light blue eyes, and his hair, a soft pale blond, was thinning heavily on the top, making him appear a bit older than he actually was. He took my driver’s license as identification. A smile came over his face as he said “we’re just a few months apart in age”. He asked me what brought me to San Francisco. “I am traveling around, seeing different parts of the country this summer,” I said. He was intrigued that a female would be traveling alone for an extended period of time, on public transportation, with no particular agenda. Gary offered to give me a tour of the city. It may seem odd, but I knew right away that it would be OK, that it would not be dangerous for me to spend time with him. It felt familiar around him, like I had been here before, and I was supposed to meet up with him right here in this place. I rode the elevator, with its steel gate that swung across the opening of the car, up to my floor. I suppose that some of what seemed a déjà vu experience stemmed from the sights and smells in that old building. I later learned that many old buildings in the West were built with materials that came by rail from the East. It was the steel and brick of my childhood in Brooklyn that I was feeling all around me. But at the time I simply had a powerful sense of place, of memory, of the rightness of being there.
Gary finished his shift late that evening. I met him in the lobby, and we walked out and down the street towards Chinatown. San Francisco’s Chinatown is a sight to behold, especially for a newcomer. We walked and talked and stopped for an egg roll and soda, and I thought to myself “you are crazy, woman. You could get yourself killed, wandering around a strange city late at night with some guy who works the front desk of a budget hotel.” I was not and still am not one to take up quickly with another, man or woman, platonic or sexual. But felt an affinity with this man, and I decided that there were worse ways to die. If this was to be my last night on earth, well, I was spending it in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with a kind, handsome man who was on my path at that moment. I’m not sure if it was that night, or one of the nights to follow, that he told me that he’d been in jail for selling cocaine. “I wasn’t a very good drug dealer, obviously” he said. He did not run with drug dealers or users, he was simply broke and had nothing to fall back on at that point. He came out of jail, found the job at the hotel, and that’s where he ended up staying for a couple of years before moving on. He had the next day off, and we wandered the city together. He was a grand tour guide, having lived there for several years, and I was grateful and delighted. He knew that I had no money, and offered to let me stay in his room while I was there. What was interesting at this juncture was that nothing physical had taken place between us. He spontaneously bought me a flower while we were walking around that day, but nothing more. He went to work that evening, gave me the key to his room, and said I should just go up and check it out. His room was part of his pay, and he decorated it as only a 25 year old man could in 1989: a couple of busty nude photos on the wall, a pack of Marlboro and a small bottle of whiskey on the nightstand. The bathroom was the cleanest I’d ever seen, the colors of the bedding earthy and warm. He had stacks of cassette tapes and a stereo, and he had books. He had a lot of books. I decided to stay for a while. “What the hell” was actually what I said to myself. I couldn’t really afford to stay there on my hostelling budget, but I liked the place. I liked Gary. We shared that room for a week. I wandered on my own when he was working, and then we’d go around the city on his hours off. I watched him a lot: how he moved, what he said, what he didn’t say. Though we became lovers, that was a small part of the fact that even after all of these years, and not a lot of time together (we had that week, and a couple of months about a year later when I moved to San Francisco) he is very much a part of me. Every night that I was with him he would read before bed. In the morning if he had no place to go, he would read. If you’re a reader, you may think well so what, lots of people read! During our week together that summer, he confided in me that he had lived in a very unstable environment as a child, with his mother and various relatives. Books were his comfort, his escape. When he was in the sixth grade, he was raped by a 15 year old male cousin. When he realized that there was no help, no protection, available to him there, he ran away. He had only his skateboard, his denim jacket, and his sharp wits to sustain him. He regaled me with stories of wandering through the Grand Tetons, hitching rides, working odd jobs, doing whatever he had to do to survive. He never returned to school after the sixth grade, yet he was one of the most voracious readers I have ever met. With some gentle encouragement that yes, yes, he was smart enough to take the GED, he took the plunge and took the pretest (which showed only some minor math deficiencies), prepped and passed on the first try. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he got his certificate. He might as well have been receiving his doctorate, the moment was so powerful.
We drifted apart after awhile, not with any malice, simply because we seemed to have done what we needed to do together. I confided in him, too. I told him about an event in my life that I had rarely discussed, and which I am only now at nearly 50 years old ready to hash out all the way through as though my life depends on it, and in fact it may. I think that’s when I began to understand that not everyone is supposed to come into a life and stay there forever. I am not always totally at peace with it, but I believe it to be true. What I think I want or need and what IS may be very different things. It has taken a long time, but I’ve reached a place where I can acknowledge sadness that something is changing, or that someone is no longer in a prominent place in my life, and still know that this is how it ought to be. I speak of my life as a series of chapters. Some chapters are thick and spanning many years. Others are not nearly as extensive, but significant. Others still are a few pages long, and yet can still have tremendous potency, making a mark that lasts a lifetime. I wonder about Gary, if he’s still alive, if he has made peace with his demons. I hope he has found his balance, his center, and is soaring.
11 Saturday May 2013
I dreamed of
Crane fly phosphenes
In early morning
Lucid awakening, room darkened and still
A bright flash of light
Along its long legs and abdomen
Brought to mind a sparking of the spirit
I remember another dream of a month ago
The struggle between want and don’t played out
Your fists clenched against a bouquet bursting with color and scent and aphrodisiac
Yet you demand…demand! to be held close
An explosion of sound and heat
Pouring release into the air with no visible trace
24 Wednesday Apr 2013
Posted by debintheuwharries | Filed under Uncategorized
11 Thursday Apr 2013
Deep mossy damp earth
Profusion of green inhaled not seen
Distinctive odor triggering a cascade of truth
It slips from my grasp when I turn to I look for it
It is always “over there”
A whiff reminiscent of it from another creates dichotomy
A struggle away from and towards the center
I am overcome with longing in the presence
Of the forest floor