i see me looking back looking forward

tonight.

i’m reading my livejournal from 2005 through 2000.

things fall into place.

i’m listening to elliot smith because in 2004 julia did.

seeing my posts about colin, the way the abuse started so early. but also how it had started before he even entered my world.

affirming that i am femme and masculine. i am so soft and open and easy. but i did, i purposefully did hide it away, hide me away. to survive.

the things i see myself as, i feel like i tentatively say, questioningly, as if someone else has to give me permission, that i cannot take for myself.

but i take. and feel dirty and greedy and ungrateful.

and how incredibly twisted that is.

i am so much more than that.

i am allowed so much more that what has been given me.

 

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what’s wrong with me

ptsd?

cptsd?

anxiety?

depression?

concussion?

i remember senior year, being grabbed by the throat and not allowed to leave. i remember being dismissed and minimized.

i remember the first time i could name a panic attack after flying in 2009. i remember calling grandma jane to come over and she did, and sat with me and held my hand.

i remember being punched in the head, repeatedly. over sunflower seeds? and just leaving and going back to work because it was my lunch break and its what i had to do. and years later over my emotional distress during pregnancy.

i remember being punched in the pregnant belly, having hard wrought pumped milk thrown.

i remember losing myself, my will to fight. my participation by giving up or choosing becsuse it was better to be hit than emotionally/mentally abused because it would leave a mark, proof. but it never did.

i remember the sorrys. i remember the offers of my violence as solution (just hit me you’ll feel better, as punishment, as getting even). i remember explaining away, the minimizing.

so much that lingers. like an oil sheen on water, sometimes seen and sometimes not.

does this mean im over it all now?

on the edges

i feel so much on the edges.

of life

of relationships

of almosts

and should haves

i am trying to write more and an option that was perfect for me as a mom was due, today and i started weeks ago and its not done

i had a dream job, full of exciting opportunities for learning and travel, again application due today and not done

am i depressed? lurks always on the edge of my edges poking and telling me, my feelings arent real or valid but because its mental health.

or am i just trying to rush a process, that i am still in the not ok part of processing trauma

i googled, does getting punched in the head cause concussions…and yeah fucking domestic abuse.

get over it, let it go, move on

and i just feel like screaming

i am stuck as i unlearn, unwinding bandaged hurts, scrub out the infection, and allowing new growth, tentative and thin skinned to begin.

i am on the edge because it is safer here, where no one can really see me, and i can hide even from myself.

what places were magic

podcasts have become what i listen to. last year after i left my husband i stopped listening to the radio, to much music and just existed in silence, listening to myself.

lately, i have been listening to podcasts, typically as i do the dishes or clean.

chai chats has been an insightful favorite, i found a new one called embodied astrology, and a friend shared one of theirs called bash-o-bash.

i started with the 3rd episode and then went to the beginning. listening to chickens cluck and talk immediately connected to me and where i want to be, grounded in the food that nourishes me by raising it myself.

however, the part that most resonated for me is the title of this blog. what places were magic? in the boundary work i am doing, i was asked to think of a boundary of protection and for me, it was high up in the trees. climbing to the top of the pine tree in the backyard of my childhood home. up, up, up where it swayed and the world stretched out around me far below. a place i took myself, and could just be. i don’t remember much more than that, i’m so tired of not remembering. but in that memory of the top of the tree, the tang of pine needles in my mouth, that place was magic for me. oh and the tomato plants in the garden of our house before that, so huge as a kid i remember crawling beneath them and hiding and just smelling the sharp, green smell of the tomato plants.

that my magic places are centered and grounded in plants isn’t a surprise but that for years in between i have lost those magic connections.

life. trauma. abuse. survival. so much of myself stopped, became trapped or hidden or lost, i’m not really sure which. even knowing for i am feeling, what i need is hard. hard to trust myself. before anyone else can hear me, i need to hear myself.

i want, need the magic places. where i am nourished so that i can nourish those around me. i am working, with love to create.

no one wants to hear me

the things i have done to survive till this point have served me in surviving and now that i want to thrive i am stuck, held in place.

i am trying so hard to create a foundation but i am not alone yet am. i need to get my house in order but its not just my space.

today in feeling overwhelmed in my body i felt it in my chest and shoulder a headache.

i am tearing down the walls that kept me safe but sheltered away from full relationships. i am being present in the scary and hard even when i want to drink or run or lash out to push people away. my ugly isnt something to hide away. it is a part of me that deserves love and softness and healing. all of me.

i am unheard because i am not asking for what i need, shame of need is keeping me from asking for more financial help, because always it is necessary. i am unheard because those around me a hurting too and our healing is at different levels. i am unheard because i too am not aware of what is occurring around me.

so i reflect…

tomorrow is the full moon. tomorrow is my grandmothers birthday, she would have been 75.

she kept a stuffy named muffy. she had rose quartz. i see her now as i find the same things to bring me comfort. she held on to so much. she survived so much. and no one heard her. i didnt hear her.

i remember her in my heart cradling a duckling we found in the street.

i remember being harsh and mean, bothered. i remember.

tomorrow will be her birthday, we will celebrate. remember. work to hear her life ripple outward from ourselves. listening.

love

i love

whole heartedly

deeply

my strongest of love is mother love

that given by my mother and that given as mother

that intertwined spinning of self, that which continues back to my foremothers, and spins off into the future in my children, of body as well of love.

love calms the raging that consumes me, the anger that breaks likes waves over me, the deep frustration that overflows the banks. returning to love, of self, of others, of simple joy, of the beautiful complexities of the universal holy.

allowing my choices to be based in my love even when they make no sense moves me towards the healing that i need for myself, that as i learned from adrienne maree brown will heal the foremothers before me and those that come after me.

allowing love to continue and grow, tangled and messy, fierce with rage and anger, soft with mothers milk and comforting fatness, allowing love to guide me, connects me to myself and to all.

i am love.

who who who

I’ve been listening to the healing balm that is Chai Chats thanks to the recommendation from Hawthorn Heart boundary spell work. The one I listened to today was episode 6, Essential Self parts 1 & 2. I listened while at the mall with my kids and husband who I’ve been separated from for over a year, who has a girlfriend, who I have a firm boundary of not a healthy person for intimate relationship but who also after 12 years of…ugh whatever.

This this of always centering of other relationships when I should be focused on me.

I do the things that seem selfish and I feel selfish, guilty, ashamed, embarrassed. So many hurtful feelings well up when I try to talk about myself, try to recognize myself, my needs.

I even stopped writing this blog yesterday because it, talkinh about myself was too hard, wasnt important.

i am julia. i am dark and light. i am heavy and soft. i am strong and determined. i have survived by losing myself. i am still surviving by trying still to bring along people i love in my healing. i am afraid to be alone but alone is the safest place for me to be. i am a disappointment, an annoyance, a joke. i am a idealist, a humanitarian, an organizer. i am desire thick rich want craving. i am denial stuck throbbing toe stubbed aching. i am more i am too much i am so enough. i am mother maiden crone. i am a spiral lost eyes closed hands reaching in soft blackness to find my way home to me. i am me. i am super julia. i am julia. julia. ju li a. ju ia. juju. mama juju. julia.

what are you afraid of?

I’ve not had suicidal ideation since I started 2.2.18 on this healing journey.

I read this amazing blog: suicidal ideation from brown star girl and this section especially resonated, “One of my friends said, what should we do? Should we have regular red flag check ins with each other, the way we do about relationships? Should I go up to you and ask, Have you been thinking about killing yourself lately? And I thought, if anyone came at me saying, HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT KILLING YOURSELF LATELY?, I’d automatically lie and say hell no. The way I have to every single doctor, social worker and most therapists in my life. I don’t want anything I can prevent on my permanent record, and I definitely don’t want Danger to Self or Others.”

My suicidal ideation hasn’t daily invaded, exhausting my mind but it lurks and I struggle with saying so because it would mean I am wrong. I am broken. That my ‘hell no’ comes from the same fear that drives so much in my life.

I realized today in the meditation about boundaries from hawthorn heart that my default feeling is fear. I realized today how fucking scared I am all the time. Because of that fear I hold so strongly on to hope.

When I was young I was going to a friends church and when they asked the youth group, “what are you afraid of?” And my answer was “god”. My religious upbringing was steeped in fear. The patriarchal, captalistic god, the white, blue eyed white bearded sky daddy headed the religion I was taught that my value lay in my fear, in my being small, that my body was the least valued but it was still more important than my mind. I stopped being me.

And now years later, I excised the religious connections like gangrene turning towards the goddess, then atheism, and now through the amazing teachings from sarah caine, adrienne maree brown, sue monk kidd, rumi, octavia butler, and so many others i have realized god, is all and that i can be atheist and define a god that is based in what is. That mother god, father goddess, what is holy is messy and bigger than the limits white supremacist patriarchy has placed it.

Through this while my anxiety is always fear based, things happening to me, my kids, my loved ones, I am finally being able to recognize how steeped in fear I grew up and how even as I have grown the fear has lingered in me. The fear, its foundation, its impacts, were a part of me for so long I only was able to face that fear with the courage of suicide even while the fear of death permeated my body. A few weeks ago during a really hard time of suicidal thoughts, I realized those suicidal thoughts for me was surviving, teaching myself the areas that are unbearable and the parts of myself that do have to die so I can grow. And now, this hope, shining, gold, warm, this hope I have so fiercely held on to is helping to crack away the fear and shining brightly.

black hole of need

On February 1st I sat with my kids and niblings watching the lunar eclipse. Within a day I had realized that I need time for myself, I realized that thanks to my therapist that I wasn’t ok, and all of a sudden being ok wasn’t enough.

But I had no idea how to be anything but just ok. I had the things in life I knew I should fight for, the things that created glimmers of hope of things to come, the things that allowed me connections that glowed warm, I was still alive. My life existed in an place that felt and was discordant between what I knew to be true and what I was allowing to be my reality.

nayyirah waheed shared that “the fear of not being enough. and the fear of being ‘too much.’ are exactly the same fear, the fear of being you”.

I have been so damn afraid of being myself. Of loving myself. Of loving the people I love. In my way. Scared of not being loved for just existing. Of not being valued or seen. Of being blamed or wrong. That my sense of self is so tangled up and following the threads left me more confused and lost.

In December Ora North’s ‘I Don’t Want to be an Empath Anymore’ came across my facebook timeline and reading this helped me immensely in articulating what I am struggling with. And simply I wasn’t ok. I wasn’t ok. Despite years of forcing myself into the ok, working through it all, the abuse, the grief of trauma in pregnancy, delivery, miscarriage, motherhood. My body both protected me, in forgetting consciously & allowing me to be physically assaulted and continue on and forced me to recognize through anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, excessive weight gain, being late to force me to slow down, what I needed fundamentally.

Thanks to the support of 2 dear friends I have been able to participate in Hawthorne Heart Magical Boundary Skills which has already been truly magical for me. The second lesson asked me to focus on what one boundary I need and thanks to therapy today, I decided on asking for what I need. Which is scary. If I need things that other people don’t feel I deserve…I need to remind myself that I am not a black hole of need but that I have needs that haven’t been met. I have so often felt that black hole of the needs I have but also that I couldn’t feel it, in emotional and spiritual needs and because of that I would try so hard to fill it and so my disordering eating. So asking for what I need, creates a foundation for me to grow healthy. To rebuild the boundaries I’ve left footpaths crisscross over. My boundaries are living, hills, hedges, flowers, vines, and so many thorns and brambles. I will be ok.

Reclaiming My Narrative

I started this blog for my poetry…my first post was a poem I wrote sitting in a coffee shop. A blog for me. I want it to be that again for me. But also for those who need it.

A few years ago it became dedicated to my struggles during my attempts to keep my family together in the ideal nuclear heteropatriarchal (which means simply straight & male dominated) confines while my husbands abuse impacted our then 9 year old. I fought hard to do things my way even within those restraints of family meaning, mother, father, children, house, pets. I wanted those things so badly I gave up so much of myself to fight for them.

Last year January 7, 2017 I left, behind my house, my husband, my dream family. I left, taking my kids to safety provided from loving and supportive family and friends, to a place that wasn’t our house but was our home, filled with love and beginnings. After years of abuse, which most complicatingly was not always malicious or even intentional but was always, always harmful, leaving in that moment was the most right and natural thing to do.

For almost 13 years I stayed, there are of course memories that creep in now of times I almost left, so many as I remember are others I know I have forgotten. My memory is hidden under the warm comfort of a blanket hiding from me the things I had to put away just to survive, the violence, the soul crushing disregard, the confusion of being both free in ways I had never been and trapped, again.

Domestic violence, mental health, child abuse, physical discipline, love, relationships, boundaries, hopes, dreams, connection, spiraling and spinning. In a society that tells victims to leave and not those committing the violence. In a society that blames victims for their choices and not those choosing to harm. Being willing, like so many before me, to sacrifice myself, deny myself, over and over, as if ever it were my sacrifice that was needed, created a place where leaving always seemed not something I could do. Until that day, January 4, 2017 it was.

Recounting the violence, always too seems to be a thing that victims are required to do. Not to heal, to have people ease the bruises, both visible and unseen, but to be poked at and used as an example of what not to do, ways not to allow it, not to deserve it. My story became a silence, I stopped listening to music or NPR in the car, I stopped having noise to distract me, I started to listen to myself.

There are so many intertwining, interwoven areas that move into focus and I hope to share as I am able and as my healing continues.

I do know that once I was ready to leave I did it with firm boundaries, cutting off contact except that that enforced, for me, that I was making the right decision. My mind would often automatically prompt me that I missed my husband for the majority of 2017, it wasn’t until I faced that yearning and articulated that I missed not the person, my husband but the person I wanted him to be, the person I needed him to be, and that it was grief, soul deep grieving I had to do, I have to do.

Within this, I have so much shame and guilt for letting this happen, not just to me but to my kids, my 12 year old especially. I allowed abuse because I had no way to see of a life with anything but, the spankings as a child with belt and spoon, the way I was crushed as a person created that reality for me. It wasn’t until many, many years of realizing that I could live a life without violence that I was able to escape it, in large part because of the responsibility I felt to fix the harm even though I wasn’t responsible for it. I know that I wasn’t my responsibility and yet those feelings of shame and guilt linger. That I wasn’t enough, that I was too much. Like so so many femmes, the fear of being me was programmed so deeply I never realized that I am worthy and whole just as I am. And even as I type those words, I still have so many areas to uncover, to find all the parts and pieces of myself that were hidden to keep safe, to keep when all else would cut them away from me.

This transformation has come from my love, my fierceness to not act out of fear but out of love, and that I too am deserving of the love I shine out to those around me. That love that dear friends who are family in the deepest sense of the word, shone back to me when I was at my darkest. The love that reached to fill me up from books and articles and words of beautiful souls who shine out for us all. The love that I have learned my foremothers carried, sent forward as they survived horrific abuse as their normal, the love that I in turn send forward as I fight for myself, for my healing.

I am not ok. I am working at it. I am loved. I am joyful and grieving. I am here. I am alive. I am.