My mind and heart talk daily, argue back and forth. They takes sides on everything and often disagree. Why is this such a threat to some, what crooked course makes them hate my inner talk with such intensity? I thank you for the clarity, discussion and the clues. The angry bear that attacks you in your sleep. I see the split and wonder what to do. The bear protects your heart, hidden deep. I hug the bear and monsters through bars of steel. The silly mind thinks feelings are controlled. Buried and locked away but every day more real. Under horror, grief and pain lies the gold. Each must heal the split by going in alone Invite the bears and monsters of the heart to come back home.
My mind is done and unsurprised. My heart a stubborn rock. My heart does not give up: loves where it loves. It doesn’t care about reality or whether it is derided or mocked. My mind moves on and kicks my heart, wondering where this tenacity stems from. My heart is done with tears. It agrees to new friends and joys in dance. When my mind says forget, my heart jumps and steers my body into a warrior fighting stance. My mind is cynical and laughs and derides my heart. I let them fight back and forth every day. I cannot reach an end unless I start to honor my feelings, the heart must hold sway. My mind moves on, ignoring what you do. Yet my stubborn heart remains a friend, strong and true.
I took the bandage off today. I would really like to heal. The scab between my breasts is bright hot angry red. I gently scrub with soap and the scab slowly peels showing the crater in my chest. I am the walking dead. The small child wants so badly to believe your word is true. You say you’ll be her friend forever no matter what. My devil laughs, a cynic. My angel turns away from you. When you walk away you drag behind each inch of my child’s gut. I see the wound is pulsing and now I give a start. You break your word, you lie, to my much abused small child. The pulsing mass I see is my aching bleeding heart. Every injury triples on the child you hold inside. I don’t stop loving even though I am gravely hurt. You’ve never loved at all: you grind hearts into the dirt.
Ok, so what menu did I choose for my friends with food needs, as listed in the previous post.
First course: Sweet Pea soup. The color is vivid and almost lurid. My guests look worried until they taste it. It tastes like spring! Butter, onions, broth and frozen sweet peas, just cooked. My guests go from worried to asking for seconds.
Lentils baked with sausages. This is also not a gloriously pretty dish. Again, my guests love the taste. Lentils, a little red wine, butter, onions, bay leaf, sausages, thyme and baked. Yum.
As well as:
Roasted Ronde de Nice Squash with California rice and Early Girl tomatoes. Except I did not make the rice, I couldn’t get farmer cheese and the tomatoes were varied and from the store. And a different kind of squash! This is from a cookbook new to me: Community Table, Recipes for an Ecological Future. The sweet pea soup is from a cookbook that I’ve had for forty years and the lentils are from memory, a recipe a friend taught me in the 1980s.
Dessert is fruit salad and chocolate. With tea.
No liver, gluten, shellfish, giant rubbery cooked mushrooms, anchovies, dried fishies or grubs.
I am having a few friends over and am checking to see if there are any food needs. Since my March 2021 pneumonia, I can’t eat gluten. Weird, huh? But antibodies tend to rise as we get older, darn them. And there can be a rising baseline. Double darn.
Anyhow, I have some funny friends. My query “Is there anything you don’t eat?” got these responses:
“I don’t eat anchovies or dried fishies or grubs.”
“We eat everything in moderation.”
“shellfish, giant rubbery cooked mushrooms….”
They crack me up! I think I invited the right people.
Now, let’s see, what is my menu, with no liver, gluten, shellfish, giant rubbery cooked mushrooms, anchovies, dried fishies or grubs? Tough, huh? Pretty narrow range left.
I took the photograph at the Great Port Townsend Bay Kinetic Sculpture Race in September 2022. Pretty earnest discussion going on among an interesting group.
Qia wants help. She is scared of the monster, FEAR, the giant monster, but her father won’t listen. She sniffles and tries, but she can’t stop crying. She goes to her room, because her father has turned his back. Her mother is drawing. They are busy. They don’t like it when she is scared.
FEAR is enormous and pushes into the room with her. She cries harder in her room with the door closed. No one can hear her now except FEAR. FEAR is large and has horrible drippy teeth and too many arms and keeps swatting at her. Qia gives up and lets FEAR swat her. She sits on the bed with her knees up and puts her head on her arms.
FEAR rages around her room.
After a while Qia is tired of crying. She lifts her head off her arms.
FEAR is smaller. Still bigger than her father, bigger than her mother, but just standing and looking at her. FEAR looks tired too.
Qia pats the bed beside her. FEAR hesitates and looks scared. Qia waits. FEAR shuffles over and sits beside her on the bed.
The room is very quiet. Qia finds a scrap of tissue and blows her nose. She looks sideways at FEAR.
FEAR’s head is down and FEAR seems to be crying. Qia reaches out and takes FEAR’s paw. One of the paws. There are a lot.
FEAR holds her hand tightly and then leans against her. Qia wiggles over a bit more to give FEAR room. FEAR sighs and then snuggles down onto the bed, massive drippy toothy head in Qia’s lap.
Qia strokes FEAR’s fur. It is very soft and dark purple.
FEAR is the first monster that Qia makes friends with. There are many more.
I was thinking about this story even before the Ragtag Daily Prompt: bugbear.
I went to Portland to meet my daughter, when she was up visiting friends. I stayed with one friend for two nights and then picked up my daughter and took her to another friends’ house. They currently have an empty garage apartment.
My daughter was supposed to fly out Thursday, but the 10.8 inch snow dump happened on Wednesday night. My friends are on this road that is mostly gravel and steeper than it looks in this picture.
The tracks that you see are driveway. The line in the trees is the road.
My friend has a pickup and chains and left for work at 6:30. My daughter and I put my chains on my Scion, and tried the hill. We blew the left chain off twice and the right one was mostly off as well.
That was probably a good thing because her plane was cancelled and there were accidents all over town.
We spent 2 hours and 30 minutes on hold with the airline and got her rescheduled for Saturday at 11:30.
She left the next morning with my friend in his truck. He dropped her at the metro and she stayed with friends who live close to the airport and are on the metro line.
My friends and I tried my chains again on Saturday morning. B blew one chain off too and we figured that a link had to be locked in a certain way. He drove up the driveway and we followed in the truck. He drove along the road until we were down to where chains were not needed. I thanked them all and headed out. Down the road a little there were three more abandoned vehicles: a truck with chains on and two cars. There were still patches of ridged ice on the 405 bridge. It took from 10 am to 12:22 to get back to Washington State! So hooray for chains and friends!
I am watching a four part video from the UK about illness and trauma.
The first part is about how trauma memories are stored differently from regular memories. Regular memories are stored in files, like stories in a book or a library.
Trauma memories are stored in the amygdala and often are disjointed and broken up and have all of the sensory input from the worst parts, including the emotions.
The therapist is talking about healing: that our tendency is to turn away from the trauma, smooth it over and try to ignore it.
However, the amygdala will not allow this. It will keep bringing the trauma up. And that is actually its’ job, to try to warn and protect us from danger!
The therapist counsels finding a safe time and place and safe person (if you have one) and then making space for the trauma to come back up. One approach is to write out the story, going through that most traumatic part, but not stopping there. What happened next? Writing the story and then putting it aside. Writing it again the next day and doing this for four days. As the story is rewritten and has an ending, even if it is not a happy ending, the story is eventually moved from the amygdala to the regular files. People can and do heal. They may need a lot of time and help, but they can heal.
I am not saying that four days of writing stories is enough. That is one approach, but nothing works for everyone and people need different sorts of help. There are all sorts of paths to healing.
In my Family Practice clinic I would see people in distress. With some gentle prompting and offering space, they would tell me about trauma and things happening in their personal life or work life. Things that were feeling so overwhelming that they could not tell their families or friends and they just could not seem to process the feelings about it. I would keep asking what was happening and give them the space to tell the story. Many times when they reached the present they would stop. There would be a silence. Then I would say, “It seems perfectly reasonable that you feel terrible, frightened, horrified, grieved, whatever they were feeling, with that going on.” And there was often a moment where the person looked inwards, at the arc of the story, and they too felt that their feelings were reasonable.
I would offer a referral to a counselor. “Or you can come back. Do you want to come back and talk about it if you need to?”
Sometimes they would take the referral. Sometimes they would schedule to come back. But nearly half the time they would say, “Let me wait and see. I think I am ok. I will call if I need to. Let me see what happens.”
When a person goes through trauma, many people cut them off. They don’t want to hear about it. They say let it go. They may avoid you. You will find out who your true friends are, who can stand by you when you are suffering. I have trouble when someone tries to show up in my life and wants to just pretend that nothing happened. “Let’s just start from now and go forward.” A family member said that to me recently. Um, no. You do not get to pretend nothing happened or say, “I wanted to stay out of it.” and now show back up. No. No. You are not my friend and will not be. And I am completely unwilling to trade silence about my trauma for your false friendship.
Yet rather than anger, I feel grief and pity. Because this family member can’t process his own trauma and therefore can’t be present for mine. Stunted growth.
People can heal but they need help and they need to choose to do the work of healing.
This song is a darkly funny illustration: she may be trying to process past trauma, but the narrator doesn’t want anything to do with it. And he may not have the capacity to handle it. He may have his own issues that he has not dealt with. And maybe they both need professionals.
My feelings are not that complicated now I feel sorry for your need to be quite cruel Sorry and occasionally wonder how You justify acting like a stubborn mule a distillation of your treatment is quite clear you choose to keep the people you control promises mean nothing when you feel fear Telling yourself we’re evil takes a toll You feel free and safe when you axe another friend You feel that all your problems are at bay A new need immediately builds again Who will be the next victim of the day? Your world shrinks every day you live A stone cold heart forgetting how to give.
Isn’t it an amazing tree? Complicated and yet forming an overall beautiful shape.
Refugees welcome - Flüchtlinge willkommen I am teaching German to refugees. Ich unterrichte geflüchtete Menschen in der deutschen Sprache. I am writing this blog in English and German because my friends speak English and German. Ich schreibe auf Deutsch und Englisch, weil meine Freunde Deutsch und Englisch sprechen.
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