Scarred

(Image source – Phoebe Kay – Pinterest)

NOTE:
Just to reassure my readers that I don’t self-harm anymore. Unfortunately, I have scars that will never go away, which I have to live with for the rest of my life. It’s not easy – I carry a lot of shame for them, although I appreciate that was my way of surviving the intensity of the agony at that time. My scars are sadly worse than those in the image. I get judged by strangers who stare sometimes. It makes me want the ground to open up and swallow me. I can’t say I’m never tempted to do it again at times when I’m desperate, but I know that I won’t. I owe it to myself, my children and my ever-curious grandchildren. I have a tattoo across some of my scars – it says, “THIS TOO SHALL PASS,” and I know it will in time.

I want to heal and my writing is my way of beginning that journey. Thank you for bearing with me and supporting me with my recent outpourings of grief.

Tramlines embedded

permanent reminders

in soft, yielding flesh

disguising the pain of existence

~~~

The beginning of the slippery slope

the agonising journey

following tracks

side by side by side by side

~~~

Ensuring her instruments

gleaming in the moonlight

spotless from the flame

as she attacks with ferocity

~~~

Pearls of crimson gathering

on her lily-white skin

offering relief

from the shame and guilt

~~~

Never speaking of his sin

holding it all within

brain freeze

a blade on the skin

~~~

Silenced with threats and blame

memories, flashbacks abound

cutting the evil and torture out

of the time when cries went unheard

~~~

Child of her child’s curiosity

she tells of a fall on broken glass

submerging her truths

hoping the child’s thoughts will pass

~~~

No surrender of life or sanity

She needs no permission to write

expressing her pain in words

she’s not giving up on the fight.


Searching For Tomorrow

You may think me rather sombre as I write my feelings out
I concur they’re somewhat dark, as well you’ll know
Do you understand my pain, and why I try to hide my face?
My shame lives on from very long ago

I started this year well, without a tale to tell the world
But then I started digging, as you will all have read
Was that the wisest move, or should I put it all behind me?
But then I’d have to keep it in my head

My heart and soul are burdened; can I bury thoughts again?
Should I bid them on their way to pastures new?
Friends are standing by me and for that, I bless my soul
Do I really want to lose that loving view?

Oh, I’ve had my share of joys and bliss; an awful lot of fun
Along my endless travels, and on the brightest roads
So, why the saddest face and the hesitance to smile?
When I’m longing now to lose these heavy loads

I attempt to write my heart out; as it gives me real relief
Will you bear with me some more, while I search for peace?
Don’t give up or look away, as I’ll get there in the end
I’m so near the point of getting some release

I’m grateful, one and all, for your love and such kind words
They’re much appreciated, as I wend and find my way
The sun’s begun to shine and the sky’s a vivid blue
As I look forward to a better, brighter day.

Live today facing forward—with your back on yesterday, your eyes on tomorrow, and your head and heart in the moment.”

Richelle E Goodrich

Passage of Time

Please forgive my indulgence in sharing this poem with you. I thought long and hard about publishing it, even writing it initially. This post follows my two previous ones, Dissociative Healing and Brave. They are all a part of the process.

I’m aware that my posts, mainly poems, of late, have been dark. I’m currently working through my thoughts and feelings about this with my counsellor. She is helping a lot, and I know I will get through this before too long. However, today, I needed to write this straight out of my heart, which is where all my writing comes from. It’s the only way I know how to write.

My intention is not to cause distress to any of my readers, although I’m aware that others may possibly have been through such traumatic experiences.


Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, tick
The metronome ticks the minutes away
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, tick
It regularly beats without a delay

She hears it, hears it, hears it now
All the way from childhood days
No choice for her but fear and pain
To come and go from this toxic place

Come day, come week, come every month
Nothing ever changed
Come birthdays, Christmas, year on year
Becoming more deranged

She trod on the cracks along the road
She’ll be punished for that, to be sure
Nearer and nearer she’d get
Ringing the bell on the the door

Waiting, waiting, waiting for time
Knowing she’s headed downstairs
Panic, fear and desperation
He’ll be seated on one of the chairs

She’s greeted by the metronome
Knowing what’s in store
She’s swallowing down the terror
And tightly clenching her jaw

She’s beckoned within, the time has come
The door bangs behind her – it’s shut
The bolt is shot, and she’s trapped inside
As she’s made to be the slut

Come, come, come sit on my knee
Just you do as you’re told
Her heartbeat faster and faster
She’s only eight years old

Don’t tell, don’t tell, don’t tell a soul
They’ll be trouble if you do
So she silenced herself right there and then
Not knowing this was taboo

After years passed, the news got out
Not from her but another source
Someone else told their story
He denied it all, of course

The police were called immediately
Spoke to her Mum and her Dad
She was frozen solid to the core
Because she’d been told she was bad

She didn’t want to cause any trouble
She silently tucked it inside
The grown-ups shrugged their shoulders
While she crept up to her room and died.




 












Exhaustion


Photo by Anna Tarazevich – Pexels

Okay … time to be honest and confess. I’m stressed. Extremely stressed. I’ve had so much on my plate lately that I’m struggling to cope with anything other than the usual routine of life. I’ve denied my own needs and am mentally exhausted. I’m hardly even going out these days. Staying cooped up all day isn’t good for my mental health either. I’ve spent so much time and energy, both mentally and physically, getting ready for my family to stay with me, and now that the rooms are finished, I find myself in a state of near collapse. This isn’t something I like to admit readily (or publicly), yet here I am doing precisely that.

I’m w-a-a-a-y behind on so many things, not least of which is keeping up with reading my blogging friends’ posts. My brain is frazzled. My concentration shot to pieces. When I do read a post, I take it in and appreciate it and show that with a ‘like,’ but making enough sense to leave even a semi-worthy comment is proving too challenging. I’ve recently been apologising a lot for my inadequacies – for not keeping up, whether it’s reading blogs or making phone calls to friends and family.

Tomorrow, my friend has suggested we go out for lunch. She’s worried about me and tells me I need a break. She’s right, of course; admitting that to her is one thing, but admitting it to myself is something else entirely. It’ll tear me away from my laptop, to which I’ve become permanently joined at the hip, and that can’t be healthy for anyone. On Tuesdays, I take part in a garden project. It’s enjoyable, social and relaxing. I took a break from it recently as I had other priorities. I think now is the time to resume that hobby. The last time I was there, we were picking gorgeously-perfumed sweet peas – one of my favourite flowers.

One of my friends presented me with a posy of sweet peas and lavender.

Some of you will know I wrote a post about the changes going on for me at home. I wasn’t at all happy with my writing standard yesterday and seriously considered deleting it. Being a self-inflicted perfectionist isn’t doing me any favours right now. I’ve thought long and hard about writing this post and hope you will understand. I will still be here, happy to read your posts as always and perhaps, writing when inspiration strikes, but I am giving myself permission to not put myself under so much pressure to say the right things, to constantly apologise for not keeping up and making myself feel so inadequate for a while, or at least, until I’ve got my mental health sorted out a little more. So, please, don’t be offended if I don’t leave my usual style of lengthy comments. It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate your writing; just that I need to give my mind a break.

It wasn’t easy to write this post. It feels like giving up, like failure or admitting defeat, but needs must, and I owe it to myself to be sensible. Keep writing as beautifully as you ever do, my friends, and I’ll catch up with you as and when I can. Thank you for your understanding. I appreciate it in advance. Much love, Ellie xx 💝

Hospital Break

TO ALL MY READERS AND FELLOW BLOGGERS,

UNEXPECTED NEWS

This brief but important post is to let all my readers and fellow bloggers know that I’ve unexpectedly got to go into hospital for an urgent operation tomorrow 😢. I’m being picked up first thing in the morning, so, as you can imagine, I have an awful lot to do to get myself ready for my inpatient stay. The hospital estimates that I’ll be there for anything up to a week, depending on how the operation goes.

I sincerely apologise to all my blogging friends that it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to read your posts from now until I’m home and recovered again. However, if, after my surgery, I’m feeling well enough, I’ll try and catch up with some of you from the hospital as I’ll have my phone with me. You never know, I might even feel up to writing a short post from my bed!

In the meantime, please, stay safe and well and keep writing all the beautiful pieces that you all do so well. For now, take care of yourselves, and I’ll look forward to catching up as soon as I’m able. Thank you all for your understanding. Group hug 🤗🤗🤗 – Ellie xx 💜💖💙

Family Moving In!

(Image courtesy of Pexels)

Well, that was a blow! It’s Sunday afternoon. I’ve just had a very long phone call with my son, Tom. He was married about 16 years ago and had two children, but that didn’t work out, and he split up with Karen after ten miserable years together. Since then, he’s been in a relationship with a woman called Kim, but that’s not working out either (after six years). Tom and Kim had bought a big house between them as Tom has got my two youngest grandchildren, aged nine and seven. I call them my ‘little ones’ because my daughter and son-in-law have ‘my girls’ who are older. Kim has three much older girls still living at home. As a Mum, I sensed something was wrong quite some time ago. I hadn’t said anything, but Tom just called to say they’re definitely splitting up. The house will have to be sold.

Tom had a question to ask me. In fact, it was a huge ask. He said the big house would have to be sold so that he and Kim could afford to each find somewhere smaller for themselves. Until then, he can’t stay in the house with Kim as they’re not getting on well at all.

“Can the children and I come and stay with you for a few months, please?” I wasn’t expecting that! I’ve been living alone very happily for many years, and as much as I’d love to see more of them, I need and enjoy my space and privacy. I like that it gives me plenty of time to do some studying and writing. What on Earth do I say? We talked at length; “Can I think about this for a couple of days, please, Tom”? Tom was willing to do that, naturally. I love them all very dearly, but suddenly going from living alone to having the house occupied by family will be a bit of a shock, to say the least.

There’ll be a whole heap of things that will have to happen first if I agree. They’ll have to sleep in the spare room and the junk storage room. They’ll need clearing out, decorating, carpeting and new beds and furnishings to make it habitable. They haven’t been touched for decades. The garage will have to be cleared of ‘stuff’ so that Tom has some space to store furniture etc. It’s going to be chaos. I hate having decorators in because of all the mess too.

I’ve now got a couple of days to think about all this. I really don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s come like a bolt out of the blue. Tom is an adult, so I didn’t ever expect to be playing the role of Mum again. I’m not sure I can go ahead with it, but what else do I do?

A New Journey

(Image credit to Pixabay)

As you move towards this new chapter of life, I hope you learn how to let go of the idea that it’s too late.”

Unknown

When I first started my blog, eight years ago, it was certainly a very dark space to be in and my posts attracted a following of very hurt and equally damaged people, also in their own dark worlds. After very many years, I decided that I didn’t want to live like this anymore, so, I embarked on a journey of self-discovery. I read endless books (my favourite being, ‘The Mother Tree’ by Suzanne Simard), trawled through various websites and signed up for lots of courses. In the early days, they were topics like improving self-confidence, building good self-esteem, assertiveness training etc. (That last one was a toughie and one I never quite got my head around!). Oh, well, you can’t win them all!!

Then, I started signing up for courses on subjects that interested me. At the time, we were in lockdown so many of these courses had to be on Zoom. That was a challenge in itself but one, I quickly overcame. I did a lot of nature courses; I learned about British trees, wildflowers, fungi [fascinating], the islands around Britain, rivers and waterways; and then, there were things like aromatherapy for beginners, learning about crystals and fossils (that was spurred on by my nine-year-old granddaughter’s interest and determination to be a paleontologist when she grows up!) Quite impressive for a nine-year-old, I think. Now, I’m taking part in a series of writing courses, not so much spelling and grammar, but more creativity and thought expression. I’m in my element!

This was a simple poem I wrote a short time ago while I was digging deep inside of myself to find the ‘real’ me.

Turning life around was tough; so difficult to do
Secrets and nightmares, tar-black and sadly true
I’ve been through hell and trauma, and dealt with so much pain
Now, I’m learning to trust myself all over again

The thieves have all left and the abusers have gone
I’m free to dream and dance, and gently walk on
A brand-new life is waiting patiently for me
As I discover better and smarter ways to be

Such beauty to see in this new world of mine
Blue seas, emerald forests, beasts of every design
A pale waxing moon and the glory of the sun
My heart, soul and mind, all united as one

Now, I’ve so much to love and so much affection
Searched deep inside, and found a new direction
I’m joyfully grateful; perhaps, even wise
I’m honest and open, no need for disguise

Living my life now without shame or disgrace
Treading my new path; no blame at this place
Letting go of the guilt; being rid of the dismay
Searching out truths; at last, finding my way

If you knew me back then, eight long years ago
You’d know how hard I’ve fought, albeit progress was slow
See how much I’ve grown by the sweat of my brow
Judge me not as I was, but rather where I am now.

BOWING OUT?

Image result for bowing out

It’s been a while since I posted (again). I’m finding it more and more challenging to keep up with my blog, and to read my fellow WordPress friend’s blogs too. I’ve been writing here for almost five years now and have published no less than 344 posts. I checked this fact and was quite amazed that I’d been able to write so much.

When I first started writing it was all about my mental health and my history of abuse. I don’t need to go there anymore (thank goodness), and I thankfully, don’t live in that world now either.

I’ve moved on a long, long way since then. I’m busy – a never stop kind of busy which is fine by me. I’m finally enjoying my life and doing so many things that I enjoy and that are enriching my life; expanding my thoughts and opinions; bringing peace to my soul and joy to my heart. I am fortunate enough to be able to listen to music that I like and read books that interest me. I’m finally happy.

I’m still volunteering at the university, and I’m continuing my studies. I’m going to the gym regularly, and I see significant progress in my mobility. I’m able to walk a few steps unaided now, only indoors as it’s not safe for me to walk outdoors without support because my bones are so fragile that if I fell on the concrete, I’d possibly permanently damage myself. The last thing I need is to have to go back with my progress, so I’m ultra-ultra careful.

This is all leading up to the fact that I may have to bow out of the world of WordPress. I’ve tried (and managed for a short while) to write more regularly, but seem to always fail abysmally. I often burn the midnight oil, and I am in fact burning the candle at both ends. As it is, I’m writing this at three o’clock in the morning! Not good as I’ll regret not going to bed when I see the breaking of the sun.

I still so enjoy my writing, but somehow, it doesn’t seem right to pour my thoughts out on paper (or rather, on my laptop) and expect others to be interested when I cannot reciprocate this. And so, I’m seriously thinking of bowing out. Any constructive comments, views, and advice very welcome. Thank you, friends, Ellie x

STROKE – COMPASSIONATE LEAVE

Image result for Right Brain Stroke Damage

Life has had a nasty habit of throwing us curveballs now and then. That ball has certainly knocked me down many times, but I think the important thing is that it’s not how far I fall but whether I can get up again from there. That’s true for everybody at some time, but I feel like I’ve had to do an awful lot of climbing back up over the years.

I don’t feel sorry for myself though as we all have to cope with this experience we call life. I’ve had a significant knockdown just recently which is limiting the amount of time that I have to write my blog – not that you could ever really call me a prolific writer – I’d say more a sporadic writer.

Right now, things are tough and a real challenge. My mum was sick before I wrote my last post – she was in a local hospital with pneumonia. That was bad enough. She is elderly and becoming rather frail now, and illnesses and accidents are becoming a common occurrence now, in her 87th year.

A week later while still on the ward, Mum was found collapsed in the bathroom – she’d had a stroke. The very thing she had always dreaded and said: “It’ll never happen to me”. I thought, until this event, perhaps somewhat naively she was going to be right – that she would live to an even riper old age than she was already.

An ambulance rushed her to the main City Hospital. A friend took me there later that day, and it was a real shock. There was my mum, laying almost helplessly unable to do anything. The whole of one side of her body was lifeless. She couldn’t move her arm or her leg; she couldn’t sit up – not even with support – she lurched sideways into a sad heap and had no balance. Her face had dropped so that her eyelid drooped and what was left of her smile had been taken away.

Two weeks later, she still hasn’t made much progress in her movements. Her speech is slurred, very soft and infrequent as her cognitive function has also been affected so that her brain is working much more slowly to process information. She’s unable to swallow properly so is on a diet of small portions of rather undignified, pureed food which she still manages to pull a face at in an odd way and I just know she’s thinking, “Why am I being given baby food?” I can’t begin to imagine how awful it must be for her to be trapped inside her mind without being able to express herself clearly or barely communicate.

Needless to say, her appetite is almost non-existent, and I can’t say I blame her when food has to be spoonfed into her now crooked mouth. Pureed shepherd’s pie and carrots, having been liquidised within an inch of their life, wouldn’t appeal much to me either.

I am travelling up to the City Hospital every other day (a journey by train in my wheelchair, George of two-and-a-half hours each way). I spend as long as I can with my mum but then return home along with the hoards of workers turning out from their places of work to head homeward. Travelling with an electric wheelchair is not fun when all around me are rushing, pushing and shoving to get home after a long day or a long shift.

As you will have gathered, I might not be able to make an appearance very often at the moment, so please excuse me if I have been unable to read, like or comment on your blog. I have only had the time to sort through the most important emails and phone calls, and it’s likely to be that way for some time. Thank you for your understanding, my friends 😦

ROCK – PAPER – SCISSORS

black and white tattoo female arm

So, you honestly think you can read her like a book

as you flip through the pages of her paperback novel.

You think that this is telling and her words correct,

and you think you know her well … know her well, perhaps?

Rock – Paper – Scissors

Words can be emotive and hearts can be hard,

where once they were candy floss, soft and pink.

Her cheeks may blush, though talk conceals the truth,

and you think you know her well … know her well, perhaps?

Rock – Paper – Scissors.

 With her feisty character but cotton wool charm,

her thoughts can be wicked, almost vile.

Her morals can be spurious, her tongue can be sharp

and you think you know her well … know her well, perhaps?

Rock – Paper – Scissors.

Her speech is impeccable and her lips softly smiling.

Her skin white as snow and innocence prevails.

Her eyes reflect the stars … but oh, the cache of lies,

and you think you know her well … know her well, perhaps?

Rock – Paper – Scissors