Monday, May 27, 2013

21 Gun Salute ~ War Victims

I stepped into the morning sunshine today, thankful for all the things I have received from GOD's blessings.  In memory of the countless lives sacrificed for me, I move to raise the American flag in their honor.  Tediously, I make sure the cord that raises this symbol of freedom is not entwined or hindered as my flag rises to the pole top.  
Do you feel the power of God when you look at all he has done for this nation?  Do you stop for a minute and think of all that has been given and lost to ensure we citizens remain free?  Not only have those called to serve in years past, but young women and men have volunteered and continue to step up to protect what our founding fathers began with deep thoughts, determination and many actions toward freedom as we enjoy today.
Tears start to roll earthbound as I say a prayer to honor those in my life that have endured the pain and agony of war.  My dad was one of those.  He rose to protect me and you.  He moved around the world to do so, more than once, much like many women and men that serve in the armed forces today.  He saw many atrocities and horrors of war in Vietnam and then later in Korea.  He only spoke twice of these things to me.  I was too young to share his everyday army life that encompassed many of his days of war.  He spoke of losing friends, men who served next to him in battle as they stood feet from him.  I recall the image in my mind as if this story is being told to me today.  How unimaginable the depth to which he was affected.  His mind and life outlook changed.  The man I knew as Dad returned damaged and very different.  He tirelessly attempted to sleep only to be awakened startled by his own screaming.  He jumped when encountering the least little movement by anything around him: his kids, his wife, the doorbell, our dog and many, many more things.
My life changed too, for he brought the pangs of war home with him. I was lost to any understanding of my  childhood battleground. I became a victim of war. Having never served a day of service for country in my life, my days were victim to man's conflict of existence to remain a country with freedom.  I reach to comprehend how I accept and resolve this conflict within me.  
I too, became part of America's war to remain free.  A casualty of war, repeatedly assaulted and raped so many times as a youth, I grew up with monstrous confusion and consternation about what to do about this polar conundrum.  How do I respect and love the one who fought for me, yet took so many things from me because of those battleground fights.  Too many tears have fallen by now and I accept what was good and bad about my father's service for freedom.  
In explaining how I feel today, all I can think of is a quote from 'Road to Perdition' when Tom Hanks shares about Michael Sullivan, the father in this epic, when asked if Sullivan was a good man or a bad man, he would always give the same reply, "He was my father."  

A single tear drops to the ground and I turn away to try and live another moment in faith knowing this is God's plan for me.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Scarlet Letters ~ Emotionless Facade

Lately, I have taken some time reflecting on the grave differences between what was  expected of my response to emotional damage and what others did to maintain their control of me. 
Several examples come to mind, but the most dominant in my memory is the response or behavior I was required to exhibit when being in circumstances where another disapproved of my actions or felt they didn't have control of our situation.  Take for example an incident when someone intentionally hurt my feelings.  Not only was I not allowed to cry and express the true emotion related to the pain, but take that a step further.  
My compliance turned to emotional destruction in that I was not to express any emotion at all.  Others expected me to mask feelings of duress at being belittled or chastised and to put on a happy face as if the treatment didn't affect me in any way.  Not one moment of sadness was allowed to be revealed externally on my person.  Not one instant that I was injured emotionally was allowed to escape my being.  I was to appear transfixed, not bothered and that nothing was wrong; that I hadn't been impacted one iota by the way I was treated.  Pushing the pain inside and holding myself emotionless regardless of the thoughtless attack on my child or adult.  Displays of utter disappointment and hurt were to be hidden and suppressed as if nothing had happened. I found myself responding this way in many relationships.  I seemed to automatically react as if I was not allowed to express my turmoil and disbelief about the intended harm someone attempted to lay upon my heart.  Their actions indicated I am the one who was overacting by crying or wanting to be left alone for a bit.  Their words told me that my response to their actions was uncalled for and irrational, sometimes even saying 'you're crazy' for responding in an irate or disbelieving manner that I had been treated improperly.  These individuals become less and less a part of what makes me who I am today.  
Now, I understand the control embedded in the exclamations of my state of mind are just that, attempts to control my emotions and ultimately the totality of me.  I have learned to deflect this type of intense control now.  I find difficulty in remaining emotionless in direct attacks on my character and feelings.  I walk away without explanation, mainly because I know I need to feel the pain and release the anger from the disappointment or betrayal.  Being human is expressing ones self, whether it be sadness, happiness, distraught reactions, elated joy, indifference or injury.  
I still find freedom of expression difficult at times in relationships that have been founded on the me I was before healing.  Showing emotion in these circumstances leads me to believe that I am not allowed to change and grow and become a whole person.  I know THAT IS NOT TRUE. No one should be so bold to think that I will succumb to the atrocity of emotionless existence anymore. I am no longer a shell.  A body that existed without expression of my own feelings and expressions of recognized betrayal by others inflicting their perspectives on how I am supposed to act.  I listen to their perspective and toss them away like garbage finding that with each additional attempt to be controlled, I become stronger to be my own person.  
My humanness grows and I am unable to suppress the emotions that we as human beings are meant to not only feel, but be able to express and share.  For in learning to share these experiences, good or bad, relationships become fuller and more meaningful.  And ultimately, LOVE INVADES MY HEART because another individual respects who I am and what I'm feeling.