Tearing off scabs

Photo of a large fluorite crystal and an avocado plant

I grit my teeth. Especially when I think of terrible things I’ve done in my life. Abortion. Euthanasia. Killing an unborn baby and puppies. It was rational to do so in each case, but I hated it. I just couldn’t afford to allow myself to think about it. I had to keep moving forward, for my daughter and for myself. Life was hard back then. I was a single mom with a five year old, taking on a double music major graduate degree and working a full time job.

I’ve always had music in my life. Music is my heartbeat, religion, my soul. I am most alive doing music. I’m good at it. Which makes it that much more satisfying to do. I am certainly not perfect. I agonize over how inadequate I am to render the world’s most gorgeous music. I am a human striving to communicate with Spirit. It’s the hardest thing that I most love to do.

All the more imperative to investigate these unmusical, Kali-like events I’ve buried for so long.

Overwhelmed with fear, shame, rejection…struggling to pay rent on a shack, put food on the table, deal with student insurance, alcoholic ex, insane in-laws, and deep East Texas scary, mean people. I was in survival mode. I truly felt I had no other choices. Still, it was so staggeringly antithetical to my character and psyche.

At the time, I was a wild, wounded animal. And I inadvertently drove myself deeper into the tiger’s lair. I went to ground in deadly soil.

I remember my father knocking bats down from the eaves and beating them to death when I was a child. That was the way of the hardscrabble Texas farmer in the 40’s and 50’s–killing for food, or protection from physical harm. My father put a shotgun in my hands when I was just six years old. He meant well—he believed I needed skills that would help put food on the table. I fired the gun once and ran crying back to the house.

He continued to take me hunting after that, but just as a helper–I never shot any living thing. As I field-dressed the quail, dove, rabbit, or fish, whatever was in season, I imagined I was doing penance for taking that creature’s life. I strongly connected with Earth and Spirit–my Cherokee blood bade me honor the sacrifice.

True to his roots, my father took his own life with a gun.

I have not paid my respects to those whose lives I took. I have not properly grieved. Perhaps that is why those events remain so painful. Concoct a remedy. Dr. Kloss’ Back to Nature is great for physical illnesses–formulate a compound to heal the soul.

Write about it. Explore the nooks and crannies of the scenario, not just the tired, old story that’s been a band-aid stopgap to gain resolution/absolution.

That would mean talking about the rape. The showing up at midnight, insinuating himself into my bed, insistent, overpowering me, prying my legs apart; me not wanting to physically fight him with our young daughter in the next room.

My uterus was scarred from prior pregnancies. There was no place to take root. Mild but disturbing cramping, spotting, pricks. I envisioned months of mounting pain, drugs, enforced bed rest, missed work, no income, being further bound to an abusive man…

And so I rationalize. The baby would not have survived, and I would be in physical and financial ruin. My existing child would be dangerously deprived, and possibly taken away from me if I couldn’t support her. I could not let that happen. I believe the unborn being was aware of everything and simply enfolded back into spirit. The actual medical procedure served merely as ablation and prophylaxis. I didn’t really, truly kill that being—its soul had already vacated the womb.

That would also mean talking about assisting five other beings into this physical plane over the years since then. Perhaps that’s why I’m drawn to that work. I would call it atonement, but the joyous flow of labor and delivery doesn’t fit my old perception of what atonement means. Balance? Karma? Then why do I still grit my teeth?

That would further mean forgiving myself. No cover story, no rationalization, just convince myself that I’m not a monster. Tough situations sometimes force tough choices. Breathe. Relax. As a mother comforts her child, gather that gentleness for myself. Resolve. Detach with love.

Category: aging, alcoholism, authenticity, birth, creativity, death, domestic abuse, family, healing, life changes, music, Natural childbirth, photography, PTSD, recovery, relationships, suicide | 8 comments

  • Karen J says:

    Claudia, dear ~
    Oh my gosh – it feels like years since I checked in with you!

    I’ve been working on forgiving myself, too… it’s not as easy to Do as to Say, is it? Then again, it’s far easier than our Monsters keep telling us!

    Bright Blessings

  • Claudia,

    I missed this post in my absence from the blogging world. Could blame it on FB, and rightly so, but it is more just the way life flows. But glad you’re still here!

    Much love and good karma, lady.

  • Joared says:

    Scabs do heal with time and patience. I doubt there are any without scabs formed at one time or another in their lives, so you are not alone. Be kind to yourself.

  • Diana says:

    I’ve missed your blog. I have been in hiding since the death. But now I see that has kept me from feeling the connection I have with some of you.

    I completely relate to your younger stories, except the rape. That is inconceivable to me. Everything else I understand completely (really completely).

    I have trouble accepting my younger self too. But after reading this I see that it is what it is, it was what it was. It’s hard to accept that we were such babies and had so much responsibility as babies. Life is hard. We make choices to survive. At my age now I will still make choices to survive. Some seem harsh but that survival instinct is strong in me, and evidently in you too. Nature plays as big a part as we do. We are not omnipotent.

    This is our life now. No one can judge us but us. And some things cannot be grieved properly without too much damage to our present selves. I truly believe that.

    I wish you peace in who you are, who you have been, and who you will be until very old age, hopefully.

    • Claudia says:

      Thank you, Diana. I am so glad you’re peeping out now. Some of us have had a rough time living our lives, and you brought up some good thoughts, especially about forgiving our younger selves. Your comment could serve as a blog post, it’s so full of stuff that resonates with me, and undoubtedly others as well. We just have to keep putting it out there, asking for support, and supporting others going through similar life changes. Glad you popped in.

  • Kay Dennison says:

    What a heart-wrenching and courageous post!!! I applaud your courage, my friend!!!! And I offer you my full support as well as a shoulder if you need one. The hardest part (which I know from my own gut-wrenching history) is forgiving yourself. Anything I can do, please feel free to write, email, whatever . . .

    I will keep good thoughts and prayers for you.

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