When I was four, I was sexually abused. I don’t mind putting it out there, not that I bandy it around like a national flag, in fact, it hardly ever comes up at all. Dealt with all of that ten years ago; 18 months of therapy put paid to over 30 years of vacant soul-searching. I went in scrabbled, confused and with all these strings from the past hanging from me like one of those Australian cork hats. I came out the other side filled up, released and happy with just being me. I know I was the one to do the work but I will always be grateful for the help and guidance of a therapist who I still believe to this day, was meant for me.
So. Yes. That happened. And plenty of other things have occurred since those therapeutic, hard-won days. Some wonderful things like meeting and marrying my husband – an event I believed happened to other people, even the loud, angry lady at the gas station, but never to me. I’ve given birth to two wonderful children. And cats. Well, I haven’t given birth to cats…that’s just weird. We’ve had three cats. Somewhere along the trail of the last ten years, the ‘me’ faded away. Life turned ugly. Businesses fought for and lost. Houses left behind to grow moldy. Money scraped from here and there to survive. No trips. No holidays. No bikes. No gifts. No celebrations. No new clothes. No haircuts. We did what we could do for the kids in terms of Christmas and birthdays but it’s been a tough six years.
On the upside, we have been incredibly fortunate to have had understanding landlords, business associates with big hearts and good friends with listening ears. We also had each other, our little family, but the stresses and strains on our marriage were very apparent during my darkest time, probably toward the end of 2011 when our beloved restaurant was beginning its slow flail to an inevitable crash-landing. I stood on the verge of someplace really dangerous; a place I had never considered before and never want to return to and it took the love and light of a special person to guide me away. And it was then that I began the second phase of my journey. Again, I did the work but I’m truly grateful for that person’s guidance and know that they were meant for me.
Now it’s 2013 and life feels like it’s turning around in so many ways, like we’ve been lost at sea for a long time and now we can see land.
I am here.
I am this.
And that’s all I need to know. There doesn’t need to be so much work done because I get it. Sure, some days are harder than others. Like the other day. It took me a while to understand what was really happening and how to stop it. There’s something about the term ‘ego’ that bothers me but it’s also quite fitting; it’s obnoxious, overbearing and shoulders its way through my life. It’s sneaky. It put me in a donkey position with the dangling carrot; I slapped my lips and trudged behind it, looking forward to its deliciousness. Ultimately, the carrot, out of my control, was whipped away and I was left with nothing but fear, disappointment and hurt. The ego is so well-versed. It has had years to hone its skill. My fledgling self, although has been around since before I was born, is still a relatively new concept to me, so the ego might have the upper hand sometimes. I’m learning its ways and learning through the ups and downs that I Am is where it’s at. Where I’m at. In me, the stillness. The calm while the hurricane can rage around. I also know that although there’s no work involved, sometimes it’s gonna feel like it.
I ask myself, how do I teach this to my kids? How do I teach them to understand the self and the ego? My daughter understood the concept of spirit almost immediately but my son, well, he’s eight and more interested in Mario Cart, Legos and drawing comics but I hope some of what I’ve explained so far, sticks. Spirit is one thing; how to explain that the mind and its thoughts can sometimes be your enemy? Enemy sounds harsh too but really, when you boil it down, it can be your own worst. I remember a couple of months ago on the way to school, suddenly feeling the urge to tell them to have good thoughts and how not to believe every one that pops into their heads. In the rearview mirror, they eyed each other like Mommy was going loopy. I broke it down to Lego actually…said how do you think Lego’s came about? Shrug. Well, someone had a thought. Someone thought “Hey, I wonder if I made something like this, would it be fun to play with?” and from that thought, the thing was made and today, we have Legos. The same with everything you see – it all started with a thought. Well, that made their eyes boggle and out came a torrent of “What about that lamppost?” and “Ooh, what about that dog?” and “Ooh, what about the fart I just did?” cue giggle fits. But they understood. It was a basic explanation, appropriate for their age, without becoming convoluted and boring.
I expanded by saying that not all thoughts are good thoughts. Sometimes we have thoughts about people without knowing all about them. Or sometimes we have thoughts about ourselves that make us feel badly about ourselves. Those are the kinds of thoughts that we shouldn’t really believe. They became a little confused by that but I could see that the notion had tucked itself in their minds like a little seed.
And that made me happy; I hope I am giving them something positive to build on.