Sunday, 15 July 2012

The More Things Change...

...the more they remain the same? I had a dear friend visit from Ireland some time ago and we went to see another long time friend of ours together. We've all known each others since we were teenagers and even though there were points in our lives when a year might pass without us seeing each others, it never really mattered. Some people are for life. But even though it was such a joy to see my friend and be all together again, it did make me sad as well. Because it got me thinking about change. And if it really is possible and if it really ever actually happens. We find a groove, a rut, a way of behavior, a pattern of thinking and even though it might be the very thing that is keeping us from being happy, from being at peace, still, still we insist on repeating it. What are we? Self-destructive by nature? Or is it just something really as simple as us being blind. Blind to ourselves. And it made me despair. All these people. All these people I've recently seen, spoken to, met, heard about, whom I know, or thought I did.  All this inability to change. All this unwillingness. It gave me one huge, one humongous question that I feel hanging above my head right now, right here as I write.

Amidst all this stagnancy, what makes me think I am any different, somehow better, somehow able to do this thing that all these people can not or will not do.
Who do I think I am?

And the answer is. I don't know. And I am terrified by this whole idea. What indeed makes me think I have what it takes. 

In the last post I wrote about the rehabilitation. I just want to make clear here that we are not talking about any sort of substance abuse rehab here. What my medics are talking about is all sorts of physical therapy with a physical therapist and some heavy duty trauma therapy with a psychologist specialising in that area. And all the rest of the things that go with my regular treatments. I mean, who would have thought I can not even go to a regular dentist but have to go have my teeth worked on in the hospital because of the possible complications.This life. I don't think I have words to explain what it is like to live my life right now. Most of the time, I haven't even tried, so people have ended up thinking I am rude, lazy or just plain weird. But how does the saying go...walk a mile in my shoes... 

And when I talk about having what it takes, I don't necessarily mean that I have to somehow change my way of life. There is nothing wrong about my way of life as it is now. But I do have to learn to deal with the fact that there was indeed a lot wrong with my life as it used to be, and that all that is affecting my life in a seriously negative way right now. Denial no longer works. Spooks have a way of creeping out of the deepest recesses of your brain and jumping on you just when you thought you were all happy and fine. 

Also, because during the past decade my self as I thought I knew it was slowly eroded away, I have great difficulties right now even knowing who I am. Not literally, of course, but as in what kind of person am I really. And please, don't get me wrong here, this is not some mid-life crisis either that I am going to deal with by buying myself an expensive car or a face-lift or what-have-you. This is about never having been able to just be. Because there was always someone else whose needs were more important. Whose bare being was more important than mine. And even before, there were very few people with whom I could be something I though was me, but I was still so young then, just trying to find out. A kid. And I never got to the point that I could as I was pulled into relationships with egos so big that like sun they burnt everything that got too close to them to the ground. 

One of my blog comrades here online said once that I am one of the most grateful people that she knows. Though we really only know each other through words written here. And even though I might not be sure about many other things, I do believe that I am indeed grateful. I was taught to be. If there is no money in the wallet but the bills are paid, I will be grateful that there was money to pay the bills. If my foot is in pain but otherwise my body is not complaining too much, I will be thankful that it is just the foot. When I get angry at my Mother for something entirely trivial, I try to remind myself of the lovely young woman who only recently lost her own mother way, way too early to a sudden illness. If I speak hasty words to my Daughter, shout, simply because I myself am tired or dealing with issues,  I will stop and apologize, because if for anything in this life, it is her I am thankful for. If the house is a bit rickety here and there, I will still be grateful that we have a house. We have warmth. We have food on our table. We have clothes on our backs and shoes on our feet. I have enough money to buy the medications I need, which still, even after the government subsidity that we have here on most medications, still amounts to not an insignificant sum. I am thankful that I have some reliable, trustworthy friends. I am thankful for my family - which, by the way, grew by one only about a week ago as my sister had a baby girl. And I am thankful that though the baby was two months premature and my sister suffered from severe pre-eclampsia, both the baby and its momma are now at home and doing fine. I am thankful now of the sounds coming from three little beds around this big attic room as the kids are preparing to sleep ( my husband's children are here for the summer) because it reminds me that they are alive little souls, even if their bickering and temper tantrums might drive me nuts during the day. And I am thankful for my husband behind the wall in our bedroom, reading, because I know that whatever it is, whatever will come, he will be there for me. 

I have had people tell me that I should also be thankful for the bad things that have happened to me in my lifetime, because they must have given me something positive. Some have even gone so far as to say these things were meant for me as lessons. That I should figure out what it is that I am supposed to learn from them. 

And man that makes me angry.

You say childhood and teenage sexual abuse is a lesson to be learned from?
You say other types of physical violence towards you as a child or a teenager are meant for you as lessons?
You say rape is meant for some people and not for others? That it is something some people need to learn from?
You think a woman is stupid not to walk away from domestic violence, that somehow she must deserve it, even though she might not be leaving because most cases of domestic murder and manslaughter happen exactly when the wife tries to leave in a situation like this? 
You think cancer is a lesson? A brain tumor is a lesson? That any severe illness must be something you are supposed to learn from?

As opposed to what?

As opposed to people who are good enough already. Who do not need these lessons.

I know. I sound harsh here. Angry. And I am.  Since I have, for real, had these things said to my face. And ever since I decided to stop being ashamed of things that were never my fault in the first place, I have seen the look more times than I care to think about in the eyes of so many people. I have seen behaviors change. The small, almost imperceptible things. And the nasty thing is that if you've been repeatedly, severely traumatised for most of your life you develop a sort of sixth sense about these things. As you walk into a room you immediately ''take the emotional temperature'' of the people in it. Without realising, you scan out the possible threats. Your brain registers the smallest of facial movements, changes in tone of voice, eyes that quickly shift, tiniest gestures. Not because you want to but because that's what your brain has learned to do in order for you to survive. No matter that there might be no threat present, still, this never ending vigilance goes on. You can not make it stop. So I do notice, even if you think I won't. 

But I do not blame you for it. We all have our burdens to bear and I do not know yours so why should I presume you would be willing or able to share mine. But please. Just a few months ago a woman was brutally raped practically a stones throw from where we live, on a footpath in the forest. Later, as I was sitting at a coffee table with my husband and a friend of his, this friend said something that has stuck to me 'till today. He said, there is one life completely and forever ruined. Of course, he did not know. And I did not react. But I tell you now. Rape does not ruin you. It does not destroy you. It is a horrible, horrible thing but it is what happens afterwards though, that has every possibility of destroying you. It is the other people who have the ability to either help you up and on in your life, or to keep you on the ground, literally and figuratively. 

Or what say you about the police officer who, after I filed one specific case not so many years ago, said to me with a smirk right after the hello-how-are-yous: ''So, are we supposed to take this seriously?'' Granted. As I stood there speechless, staring at him. He must have seen the question in my eyes. WHAT? As he sobered up and started the proceedings. But even after that, there were many, many times I wish I would've gotten angry at him for his severely prejudiced and misogynist comments that still kept coming as I sat there dumbstruck, tears falling down my face. I have half a mind to go to that police station now. To look up that officer and to tell him that what he did was yet another humiliation and an act of violation on top of everything else. But it is not just the officials, but you, yes, you, out there that have the capability to do exactly what this policeman did, make an already bad situation worse. 

Today, a second white rose opened in a small rose bush me, my husband and my mother managed to salvage last autumn from the yard of my grandma and grandpa's house before it was bulldozed down to make way for a yet another apartment building. If it were up to us, we would've never let that happen, but unfortunately it was no longer our decision so we decided that if nothing else, we would keep grandmas' Midsummer rose bush alive. Part of it is now living in the south in my sister's back yard and another part right smack bang in the middle of ours. For a while it seemed touch and go if it would root and get back to life, but it did, and now there are, like I said, two beautiful white roses and many more still in the bud. 

So even if we could not keep the house, we did keep her rose bush. Another thing to be thankful of. For now, I have been given two years off work to recuperate and rehabilitate. It took that rose a year to bloom, and it still does look kinda straggly. So, for the first time EVER in my life I am going to give myself the time to be straggly, a year, more if that's what it takes, so that one day I could maybe come up with a wee bit of flower or two of my own.

1 comment:

  1. I repeat it again: you are one of the most grateful people that I know. It will take me much much practice to see the good and the beauty in life in the same way as you do.