Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Birthdays And Valentine's Day

February 12 was the birthday of my mother and February 14 was the birthday of one of my abusers, in addition to being Valentine's Day. Most years those dates don't bring me any hurtful feelings to deal with. This year, on February 1, I was aware that both of those dates were coming up soon. The suspense was building all through the days up till then.

I have had dreams also. I wouldn't call them nightmares but I do remember the confusion and I remembered the details of each of them when I would wake up from them each morning of the week leading up to those two days. Without going into those details which are now fading from my memory, what I brought out of each of those dreams was a feeling of being lost and out of control of what was going on in the dreams. One of them even had my uncle in the dream sitting in a living room chair with a dead snake with an irridescent blue stripe down its back in front of him in a round hole in the floor as I was sitting on the floor beside his chair. I don't remember this uncle ever being in my dreams before. Sometimes my mother is in my dreams but she wasn't in this one. I know from a dream class that snake can represent sexuality and spirituality both, energy wise. I rarely see colors in my dream so I know that is important too but I don't know why unless blue is a healing color. I know that my uncle and my dad both damaged my sexuality with the rapes of incest which has lasting scars to this day. Also my trust in God was dented for awhile but that came back alive even stronger for me.

Dream books can only help so much with interpreting our dreams because symbols and their meaning belong to us individually. I would guess my uncle was in the dream and there were children in the dream with us because of the birthday date that was coming up. There was more to the dream but it doesn't pertain to this discussion of those two birthdays.

Only in the past year or two have I started to talk about my uncle as an abuser. I dealt with the abuse from my dad first because it was the most damaging and longer lasting. I guess I hoped by dealing with the abuse from my dad that the abuse from my uncle would be taken care of too. Most people assume that this uncle was a brother of my dad and he was not. He was one of my mother's brothers. All of the other brothers of my mother I loved but this one always scared me even at a young age. One of my earliest memories is of him walking me through the night from my grandmother's house to my parents' house one dark night. I was walking but not in school yet. I would guess from the image in my mind that I was around three or four years old. What I remember about that night was walking side by side and him getting upset with me because I wouldn't make up my mind if I wanted to go home or stay with my grandmother.

I loved my grandmother. She took me in at the age of two when I had whooping cough and the doctor said I couldn't stay at home because if my baby brother got it he would die. I believe that early time with my grandmother is why I never fit in that well with my family of origin and everyone always told me I was different. She gave me my sense of values.

Back to that night, I remember walking with my uncle down the dirt road and being in love with the beauty of the night. It was apparently Summer time because it was a warm, star filled night. The night time sky was awe inspiring, so unlike most three year olds, I was quiet and just enjoying the night. I felt safe in the night. Sometime not long after that I learned to fear the night. I am not sure exactly when my love of the night left me but it did.

With these two dates in February, this year, I felt some grief. I have felt the grief many times. I have learned to feel it, sit with it and then let it go. I used to live with the heaviness of grief as a background feeling that was always there, like the headaches that I have had most of my life. When I started healing and opened the doors to talking about incest and my issues, I could finally give the grief a name and acknowledge it for what it was. It stayed around for awhile until I worked through all of it. I cried at 12-Step meeting for a year once the feelings returned. Today, when an issues comes back up to be healed some more, I experience a day or two of grief and then it leaves. I feel it as the color gray and a heaviness that leaves my mind and body after about two days.

Back on February 5, I caught a brief glimpse of something else during the time that I was listening to a radio program hosted by my Advocate friend Patricia McKnight (Trish) on her Wednesday night program called Survivors World. This particular program was called "Survivors World - Its Teen Night w/ Justice K."  Justice is a teenaged friend of mine who is such a courageous young woman who shares her story of being sexually abused by one of her trusted teachers at the high school that she used to attend. He is now serving time in jail. Because of Justice's courage in turning him in, others are not being abused by him in his classroom. I will put the link to this radio program at the end of the page for anyone who wants to listen to this courageous 18-year-old tell her story.

At an early point during listening to Justice and Trish talking and also reading and responding to comments in the chat room of the program, for just an instant, something inside of me opened up in my mind's eye. All I could see was blackness with a feeling of a lot of hurt for what was done to me as a child. I felt hurt so intense that I had to shut it down. I had to leave the program because my headache just got so bad that I was feeling nauseous too. I went and took a pain pill and laid down for about three hours after that. I didn't actually go to sleep but I just had to be still and quiet. I don't know if this was old stuff coming back up or if it is possibly some of the memories that I don't have getting ready to present themselves. Just for a second, I also felt an anger and disgust for the people that hurt me and for those who didn't protect me. I felt deep sorry for the child that I was back then and also sorrow for the child that I would no longer become.  Except in one of my paintings on anger, I have not seen this blackness before. In my painting, the darkness is full of rage and hurt. The intensity of this blackness is not anything I have felt before. I will remain open to it coming back and letting me see and feel a little more. I hope this is making sense to you.

Before I close, I want to also share with you that I was one of the call-in-guests on Friday, February 14 on Valentine's Day to Butterfly Dreams Radio and Survivors World for Patricia McKnight's program called "Survivors World - Let's talk about LOVE." The link is also below under Related Links. I shared a little bit about what it has been like for my husband and me to live and love through the years of me healing from incest. I also had one ah-ha moment for myself during the show. I shared it with my husband after the program. It probably won't be obvious to you as you listen but it is more for me to process and think about and decide how I feel about it.

Related Links:

Survivors World - Its Teen Night w/ Justice K. @

Survivors World - Let's talk about LOVE @


Lynn C. Tolson said...

Patricia, it sounds like you are healing on deep levels. You are courageous to acknowledge and explore what is rising to the surface. Love and Light, Lynn

Patricia Singleton said...

Lynn, Thank you. I think so too.

Mary Graziano said...

Pat, I know the grief you feel, because I feel it too for my own self. I like what you said about the anger and disgust, that says a lot for how so many of us feel inside. This is so intense. Thank you for sharing with us. <3

Patricia Singleton said...

Mary, You are very welcome, my friend. I know that you do know grief too. (((Hugs)))