Thursday, April 13, 2017

My Scarlet Letter ~ Still

The cut bordering my forehead just below the hairline is an example of unawareness.  I cannot recall what happened to cause the gash. Distractions overwrite the incident with such preciseness there is no inkling of disturbance in awakened state.
The night terrors tell of different events. Startled from slumber I find myself in a fit of panic. I try to inhale to catch a breathe, but land shallow which only intensifies the anxiety. I pull myself from the haze of dreams with faint understanding the more awake I become, the less I am able to breathe. I try to relax to allow oxygen to penetrate my lungs. Still, not enough air. Still shallow. Can't get enough air and getting light headed. Geez. Still?
A recent bout with PTSD almost gets the better of me, but I did not faint. I persisted with breathing exercises that proved successful for past episodes of panic and anxiety. Inhales stretched from split seconds to 10 seconds or more. Still reaching for the depth of complete breath. Exhale slowly. Slower still.
Where is this place I am visiting in my dreams that causes such angst. The hesitation to sleep becomes stronger for want to avoid whatever is bothering me or should I say, my subconscious.
Days later: Not letting things get to me sometimes isn't as easy as it sounds. Being able to honest and truthful about the abuse is stark reality for some issues that haven't been thought about like not sleeping in a bed. Just hit me why I chose for so many years not to.



Friday, March 17, 2017

My Scarlet Letter ~ Lost Hope

Some time has passed since I last blogged, and I apologize.  Life has been the best for me recently and I've been riding the ride until now. The wheels fell off and the cart skidded on the rocky pavement to a screeching halt. The ride has stopped and as history has taught, time for repairs and maintenance. FINE. Let's face this and finish this.

When it is time to let go, the heart screams NO. The mind plays tricks and life's parody is robotic at best. She's my mother.  I'll never forget. I never forgave because she didn't do anything that needed to be forgiven. Or didn't she?

She asked her questions of me about how things went down. She had asked point blank if he was abusing me. He said, 'it will kill Granny' if she ever finds out and 'it will split up our family and I'll end up with you and things will be worse'.  What 13 year old is going to stand up to the fear instilled by her primary authority figure... her Dad?  He subtly reminded me over many years in different ways of these possibilities if the secret got out. I hated every letter he sent while he was away at war.  Every letter included a Snoopy comic. This was enough to keep my mother from reading anything he sent. He sent a floral arrangement as a reminder while I was fighting for life in psych ward.
She blames me now. We've already retraced these issues and I thought we had overcome. I'm shocked to read what has truly been wondered all along. I finally realized the message she has been sending
was intentional. What follows no hope? Redefined truths.

Now I must...

can't find words...

don't want to face it.

What's standing in the way of letting go? Honor thy father and mother - the bible doesn't include exception examples, so I'm going to improvise.  Honor thy father and mother, unless they treat you like shit. I'm really typing this. I know what has to be done and I'm heading straight in.
FINALLY!



Sunday, December 6, 2015

Now Where ~ Meeting @Mariska!

She appeared 'in the moment' when I handed her a Women of Distinction magazine with a feature article I said I thought she would be interested in reading. I desperately added, 'and follow me on twitter too'. And then her attention diverted swiftly and she darted around me hollering 'Mike, Mike' over the top of the noise in an attempt to get the attention of a bodyguard standing close by.  I was taken aback somewhat.  What happened next was so unexpected.  One of the other members of our sponsor group of four was acquainted with Mariska and not in a good way, apparently.  I reflected on Mariska greeting the woman in an odd fashion, asking 'Are you feeling better today?' And on a first name basis. I'm thinking, huh?

Reflecting, I stood dumbfounded wondering what happened. Was there something I had done unknowingly to offend this powerful, high-profile activist.  I couldn't believe it. I was certain there was nothing.  Suddenly I felt hunted, an extremely old trigger, but the heightened level of excitement in the room magnified the fear. Survivor instincts are always right below the surface of our mask.  I convinced myself nothing I had done was causing Mariska to comb the room in order to point out to Mike where the stranger in my group had gone.

Abruptly, I reminded myself why I had come on this trip to meet Mariska Hargitay. I found the remainder of my group. Natasha and Theresa needed a bio break, so I broke off solo to mingle in what remained of the reception.  Food was great.  Non-alcoholic drinks were easily found.  I wandered once more around the huge ballroom.  Passing through the hallway to the sanctuary I reconnected with my party, minus one stranger.

We were directed up the center aisle toward the front stage. Front row center, I sat between two sweet New Zealanders, probably the only Tennessean in the room. We were 15 feet from the star of the conversation, Mariska.  Little Gold Book in hand, open and ready to write. I got some great notes about Mariska and her plans ahead. 'Shelved' is due to deliver in 2016. This documentary is about the journey to ending the backlog of rape kits laying unprocessed in county evidence lockers.

I sensed during her conversation she feels the pain and suffering of survivors as if it happened to her. Empathy beyond one's imagination. Mariska embraces "the gift I have been given" and faces the challenges of her work bravely and directly.  She is aware of the platform and opportunity available to her. With persistence to end the shame, stigma and isolation, Mariska guides The Joyful Heart Foundation's (@TheJHF) mission to shine light on the darkness of domestic violence, rape and child abuse.  She has been instrumental in raising awareness of these problems to a social level where individuals are beginning to choose to stand up and speak out for those that cannot for themself.

I needed to hear her words.  I needed to see her embracing her gift, often a burden due to the dark, and ugly nature of the topics of child sexual abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault. 'Perseverance and fearlessness' characterize my fight for no statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse. Thank you, @Mariska!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Now Where ~ Securing Sponsor I

The day started so early, the birds weren't even stirring yet. The rain pelted down hitting pavement and hurling back bursts of glare illuminated by headlights. I was content to be one of a few drivers on the road at this hour. I could see pools of rain hanging on the highway's edge thinking hydro planing would come easy and I must be extra careful this trip. Weather reports filled the next few days with rain showers for the duration of my trip to Nashville. I planned to arrive an hour early for my meeting with Representative Darren Jernigan so there was no risk to get a commitment to carry my bill to eliminate the statute of limitations in the state of Tennessee. 
I grew tense as I approached the city limits and saw bright red tail lights for all five interstate lanes. My approach to the capital was reduced to a standstill in bumper to bumper traffic with 30 minutes to spare for the remainder of my trip. The time to get to the center of Nashville turned out to be an hour. I prayed not to be late. What it took to make that possible blows my mind. An huge act of kindness by a local merchant allowed me to be on time. Not only did the attendant save me from walking two additional blocks uphill, I suspect the parking space I was permitted to park in belonged to a customer with a permit for a "reserved space". She assured me that I could take all the time I needed at the capital, just be back before 4:55 pm. Shocked, and immediately appreciative followed by an ear-to-ear smile, I thanked her enthusiastically for helping me out. 
My umbrella popped open with the flick of the release button. I swung the umbrella skyward and began with a  up the hill toward the War Memorial Building. I arrived at the entrance noticing the long line awaiting entry. My hopes dashed for a moment as I realized I would probably be late.  I used to be late for everything. Why couldn't this be different? I squeezed through the first doorway only to realize there was not a long line, but just a couple of gentlemen in front of me. I passed through the security process and picked up my gait toward the information center to retrieve the TN's 109th session General Assembly. I needed to make sure he was in the same office as last year. I looked for a spot to stop and inspect my booklet.  Finding an open seat along the bustling hallway, I sat to verify my destination and take a breath. Ah, same place. I was close. I looked at my watch to discover I would not be late to this very important meeting. I sighed relief for a split second and my mind raced in anticipation of speaking with Rep. Jernigan again.
When I could wait no longer, I entered suite 24. I was greeted by Rep. Jernigan's executive assistant with a familiarity nod and a smile.  I stepped toward her desk and she asked me if I knew who happen to be sitting directly ahead of me. Retired Senator Joe Haynes has come by to visit.  She wanted to take me over to speak with him.  I could hardly believe my eyes.  This man represented my bill in the Senate when I attempted this change to TN law in 1996. What are the odds?  Another mind blower. 
I reached out my hand to be enveloped by Senator Haynes' out stretched hands. I leaned in to be able to whisper and still be heard. 
"Do you remember who I am?" I asked.
He nodded and smiled with eyes sparkling behind his spectacles.  'Yes, I do.'  
I reminded him that I had said 'yes' when he asked me back then, would I come back and try again.
Quietly he responded, 'I knew you would'.

Friday, October 31, 2014

What It Took ~ Disabilities Acknowledged

Facing the fact that my sanity depends on pharmaceutical adjustment is on-going for me. I succumb and accept, responding with positive results most days when I remember to take them.  Other days I think I just overlook the need and ignore what I know to be what is best for me, today..
I learned how to accept my disability which grates each grain of my body because I was born strong, I have persevered inhumane treatment.  Accepting what was direct opposition to the behavior that kept me alive felt wrong.  I argued with my vocational rehabilitation counselor, Karen, when she repeated 'you are disabled' to me four times to which I responded, 'No, I am not'.  Dependence on anything or anyone, trusting someone other than myself is something I fought because of my disbelief that anyone was looking out for me.  No one had ever looked out for me before. Why should they now?  
I finally relented and agreed with Karen. Add another hero.
Sitting with Bill, late last year, I approached the topic of coming off some of my medications.  I casually mentioned my thought to lower my intake. 
Shocked to hear he did not object took me quite by surprise.  I stopped briefly to absorb the possibility.  Could it be that I was healing to the point of not needing mental assistance to stay focused and desire to get up each day to work and take care of myself? Hardly.  Less medication maybe, but be realistic, the brain develops differently due to repeated on-going trauma.  Left with the blahs seems unfair.  Being a lazy slug all day is the outcome.  My mind no longer automatically turns to the reason why I feel down on rainy days. But if I think of it or not, the outcome is the same. I feel exhausted.  
The thing about meds, it's cyclical.  I'll be going along taking them every day for weeks and then, bam, I skip a day.  Really? Still? Yes.  And I think I've figured out why.  I forget and hope for this illness to go away some day.