artwork: Beast Master oils WIP HA! 2016
Love is not a trap
How do you explain to other humans that personal endurance born of trauma changes a brain? What are the words to string together that will bless another with understanding and compassionate heart?
Trauma, limits and expands the brain into fractal units; uniquely individual. The same trauma events can and will change each human differently, as they should. So then, what is a normal human, by current standards of definition? We live as a traumatized people, forgetful of our past, blind to the future.
I am alive. I am here. My trauma has developed a brain with hyper-sensitivity to keeping me alive. I have been running all my life, belonging to none, controlled/owned and shaped by cruel hearts/circumstance and lack of power as a being. In other words I am a survivor of childhood, pre-teen, teenage, young adult and adult-hood abuse/trauma. PTSD, for short. I have a system over-ride in my mind that keeps me alive another day by being hyper aware of everything and every one in my world. I know when to cut and run, it has saved my life many times now.
I’m practicing staying in place, rooting like the giant maple in my backyard, content to weather the battle of living, from one place, solid in the choice.
I wonder if stems cut from the plant endure pain while growing new roots to become another Mother; covered in rooting hormones, dangling from fragile racing-to-die leaves, in a red glass, on my counter? Does it hurt when the root buds form along the cut edges? Are those micro filaments, furry and soft looking, extra sensitive to their environments, like I am? I wonder if they feel resentment at being forced to Mother…
I am dangling, cut edges bleeding sap.
I am here in this now and I understand so much more than I did when I thought love was a trap.
Falling in love is not an act of surrender. Someone long ago…bought my soul, for a time, with that line…gave me that dark gift and now I know…they were wrong. Very, very wrong. It is exactly an act of surrender.
For me to love “another” except my children (that’s a given), requires me to totally surrender to being vulnerable. Which, I suck at. You can’t love from behind the wall. You can’t protect yourself from love, not if you also want to have it. Risk is an inheritance rewarded in the now.
It also requires personal integrity/accountability. Got to own my shit. Deal with my spots of pain and keep going with faith that I can figure it out. Gotta take the good with the bad, eh? Am I right? maybe…maybe not, I don’t know.
I do know that resentment, that toxic brew, is a body killer. I feel my soul is fierceness wrapped in a bullet proof vest, now… but the body…well…not so much. Living with things (unspoken feelings, observations, undeniable truths) from only on the inside, keeping my own council too much, allowing people their comforts at my personal expense, keeping the peace, people pleasing to keep my place at the table…well those things have almost killed me now. I’ve lost organs, my spine, possibly a leg, my life expectancy and slowly (with excruciating clarity) now with this new level of chronic pain…my mind is slipping gears. I think I need a new clutch.
Pain is a director on crack with a personality disorder. Pain creates a mind where you are under attack and on the battlefield all the time. Pain distributes how much energy you give to any one thing. Pain makes all the plans and calls all the shots and never takes a vacation day. Pain is water boarding to the soul.
To have pain located in the body is one thing, to have pain located in the heart…that is another. When pain is woke up, kicked around a little to remind you of who and what you really are, where you belong in the pecking order of life, in your mind…totally different. These subtleties are all labeled pain. It’s not a big enough word to hold it all.
4 little letters…same as love.
When Love is a trap, it is not love. It is fear. Fear of being alone, fear of loss, fear of future pain or inconvenience. When love requires you to shave off bits of yourself, so that you can better meet the demands/expectations of the love giver…then it is not love. It is fear and control. This is conditional love…in this life so far, I have never known any other kind. You must constantly be earning your place, that’s what I was taught. Shine on you crazy diamond. Burn that candle, sleep when you are dead, you must prove yourself valuable and worthy of respect and love and btw, that work will never end and you will never accomplish it…obviously you failed to be lovable in your imperfection. What did you expect? someone like you? You know what happened to you as a kid/adult/girl/woman/human tainted you forever, leaving sooty finger prints all over that little heart of yours…
So, then…you gotta love yourself to a healthy place and love yourself so well that others get the message of how this shit gets done. Rules of engagement, anyone?
Ok fine, sure thing. Problem is…that’s not so easy to do. The act/art of self love sometimes feels like a war. NO! NOT THIS! yeah..like that. all caps. all the time.
Love isn’t a trap. Love is wings that allow growth that inspires fortitude and endurance. Love is being present and mindful. Love is kind. Love is freedom to be who you are and know you are always safe. Love is a soft spot to land in a harsh world. Love is accountable, hard working and responsible. Love is understanding and patient. Love is home for the soul…
Love is a nest.
I’m building a nest of love…for myself. I’m incubating a faith that I can be loved, deeply cherished even…I am learning to love and protect myself, like I do my kids. I am learning that if I don’t love myself…no one else is going to do it for me, it’s a big job. If I don’t define my boundaries and defend them…I won’t have any ground to stand on. If I don’t love myself…then all is lost. I am lost. This being will fade from existence never knowing love…how then, could this being really know if what she hands to others is really love?
I’m holding my own hand today. I am comforting my bruised and aching heart. I am tending to my own garden. I am pulling my own weeds. I am asking myself to love this broken mind…this broken body…this broken heart. I am taking a hot bath with strong salts, I am taking a nap to clear my mind, I am rubbing my own shoulders, I am softly brushing my own hair and making good food to eat. I am listening to soft music, I am writing it down and posting it so I can’t forget that I have been here, that I know this truth. I am leaving bread crumbs for the lost traveler in the dark wood. I am singing her home.
I will wait for her. I will hold the torch high above the brambles to light her way. I will be her best friend, ever. I will hold her till she feels better and I won’t ask her to hurry up. I will light my own way home. My own heart has to become my home. I will find a way. I will continue, living…as it seems to be a habit I can’t kick just yet.
This is what love looks like, to me, being there for someone who is struggling, putting time aside for the other, the ability to suffer with and through, to filter reality’s harsh glare through love, first…for someone to matter as much as the self…Softly, gently… we continue…forward, carefully teaching, patiently…there is no going back…we are living artwork of love now, she and I.
Love always, HA! <3