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Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Tale of A Twisted Crone

One Twisted Crone, The Tale of A Twisted Crone, A Twisted Crone's Story

This is my story. Whenever I finally get the right title.

To Be or Not To Be An Empath

Chapter 1

I never knew until I became an adult and ran across this pigeon hole label, just what and Empath is. I refuse that label unequivocally. “Why,” you might ask. All my life I've been taught the importance of fitting in, of being in my right place, and yet all the while, trying to be what I'm supposed to be, not feeling a senses of belonging. Feeling alienated, on the outside looking in. So the logical thing for me to do was to push back, to not fit in, to do the most outrageous things I could think of in order to be different. Maybe that behavior would serve to make me feel part of something. To be a rebel sounded and felt like a romantic way to live my life. So rejecting the label of Empath seems to me the right thing to do.

But what is an Empath exactly? Google...I love Google search because I can now find anything and everything that interests me and I can do it without the painstaking look through countless volumes of heavy books. Google search tells me that an Empath is a “highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme, and are less apt to intellectualize feelings. Intuition is the filter through which they experience the world.” Yes, that is what I have experienced all of the years of this life. And I suspect to some degree other lives as well. But of course I must not give into the temptation to put this label on myself, because I am so much more than that.

Being so sensitive to the feelings and the emotions, energy of another person is, to be honest, a heavy burden. I don't know if other people who have chosen to experience this state of being think of it as a burden, but it can be. Because of being such a conduit of energy from everywhere, a person can become overwhelmed. At times, I have withdrawn into complete solitude just because it was too painful to be physically, in the range of another person's energy. I will give you an example or two here.

One such experience comes to mind right away when I think along these lines, so I will recount the experience as best I can.

I was called one morning by my second ex husband with the news that his Mother had been discovered early that morning in her bed deceased. As anyone might expect, even though this man and I were no longer together, still, there was a connection with his family. I had known them all for many years. I went immediately to the home to find it overcome with the energy of grief and loss. Not only was I having to deal with my own feelings of loss for this Woman who had spent years trying to accept me into her family, and finally doing so, there was her husband. His feelings of loss, of fear, of shock, of deep despair over the death of his wife was too much for me. I just wanted to run from the place, to get as far away from that tragedy as possible. I could feel real physical pain right in the middle of my chest area, that hurt me so much, I didn't know how to make it stop. I did care deeply for this Woman but her passing should not have been felt by me that deeply. I was soaking up the pain that her husband was feeling. The more he talked with me, and the longer I sat with him watching silent tears stream down his face, the more distraught I became. There was nothing to do or say but to cry right along with him. As much as I wanted to run out of that house and get away from that energy, I had another discovery. I could run away and be free of that pain, but he could not! He was going to be dealing with this loss and grief for a long time. He could not get away from it just by leaving that house. A house that his wife had made come to life so many times with her Sunday morning family dinners, her Christmas time decorations when she took every picture, every nick knack, away and replaced it all with the Christmas season treasures that she had accumulated over a lifetime! Her very presence in that house brought it to invigorating life. He could not get away by running away, because he had spent his entire adult life up until that day, with this Woman by his side. So I found myself wishing fervently that I could be the kind of person who only sympathizes with someone else's trouble. Wishing that I could gently comfort, hold his hand, sit by him and listen and try to sooth, rather than feel that tremendous pain and loss and loneliness that my own essence was soaking up like a sponge. I couldn't block it, I didn't know how. And I stayed.

Both sides of Happy.

I'm as happy as anyone can be in this life. I have everything I need, and some of what I want...I have no bad health issues...and yet....I see my children's needs and that some are not always being met and I grieve and I worry. I see suffering in the world and I feel panic for them. As I live and breath I am happy and content. But I cannot stop the worry that I have over the people that I love the most. And I have had to train my brain to accept that they are creating their own reality, and it's for a reason known only to their higher selves...and I stop worrying for about 5 minutes, while I focus mindfully on my own happy situation.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Doing What's Necessary

The Woman had just settled three small children, ages 4, 5, and 7 into the car and was starting to get behind the wheel when she remembered something from the house that she had to have for their trip into town. The year was 1955 and they had moved from her mountain home to the foothills of North Carolina only two years before. Their little three room house sat back against a tree lined bank, cut off from the scarcely traveled graveled road by a deep ravine that had been carved out by a small mountain stream. Both sides of the embankment were steep and overgrown with honeysuckle and wild fern.

Just the year after they moved, her Husband had built a wooden, swinging bridge across the expanse between the road and the house, so she thought to herself, the kids would be safe sitting in the car while she hurried across the bridge to fetch her forgotten item, and then they could be on their way.

She was halfway across when something urged her to glance back, and to her horror, the car was rolling slowly toward the steep embankment! She could see clearly her three children staring, unaffected out the side window of the 1954 Chevy Sedan. She had a sickening sensation as she envisioned the car reaching the embankment and tumbling headlong down into oblivion. The Woman could not seem to make her body move fast enough as she strained in what seemed to her, slow motion, back across the bridge to the potential death trap that held her precious cargo.

She reached the car just as one front wheel reached the edge of the road and was about to roll off, and knowing that she didn't have time to fling open the door and put on the brakes, she wedged her body right in front of that wheel! She scotched the wheel with her body and the car came to a dead stop!

She was then able to yell instructions to her 7 year old daughter on how to put the car that someone had thrown out of gear, back into park. Fortunately, the wheel of the car never really had her pinned and so she was able to wriggle herself free and everything and everyone was alright.

That Woman was my Mother and the children were me, my Brother and our 4 year old cousin. She most likely saved our lives, or at least from getting very seriously injured.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

When Love Isn't Love

His idea of a date consisted of buying a cooler full of cheap beer and driving with her beside him along the back, graveled country roads. It never occurred to her to question why she would be so accepting of so cheap, not to mention disrespectful, a gesture, because she had been blinded by what she thought was love for a very long time. She allowed herself to suffer through many of these dates, falsely believing that just because he was gracious enough to take her along during his drunken binges that it made her a special person. She didn't even decide to stop going when the closest he ever came to romance was the time her best friend decided to tag along for the ride and he stopped once to get out to pee on the side of the road only to return to the car, opening the back door, and leaned in to stick his tongue down her best friend's throat in a sloppy kiss that she witnessed, paralyzed with horror and humiliation.

Who knows why we think we love who we think we love? The memory of this young, insecure woman is a far cry from the person I have become. Perhaps it is moments like this from my past who has made me who I am today. Well, really, it is. The man who never flinched after kissing my best friend in front of me is the man that I met shortly after divorcing my first husband and throughout the 12 or so years that we dated, broke up and got back together again we finally married. It was a marriage that lasted six years, but only one of those years did we actually live in the same house together. There are all kinds of different ways to abuse and disrespect someone. Many women suffer physical abuse from their husbands and boyfriends and the outward manifestations of those abuses are there for the world to see, so that no one could ever doubt the visible signs of violence. It's much easier to gain the support from one's friends and family when you show up at a doorstep in the middle of the night with your mouth bleeding and new bruises showing up on your arms, legs and face.

Emotional abuse is more insidious. The scars are invisible. The lack of self-esteem that develops over years of having a mate call you stupid, or worse, and treat you like you are always his second, third or fourth priority never leave your mind. Many women never feel they can leave these relationships because for many reasons, they become dependent on these men that they think will finally turn around and be sorry and love them with the kind of love they so desperately seek. That is the trap of being in an abusive relationship that is common to both physical and emotional abuse. The belief that if you behave perfectly, that if you look good enough, that if you never question his authority over you, that he will one day look at you adoringly and tell you that you are his one and only and that you are deserving of better treatment and that you have won his love and undivided attention.

Thank goodness I have never been physically abused. No one has ever lifted a hand to slap me or beat me up or break bones. I have never been taken to a hospital emergency room to be treated for those kinds of injuries, but I have spent the night before in a Woman's Shelter because I was afraid to go home to someone who had become so drunk that he thought it would be ok to go load his gun and sit with it on his lap as he drank one beer after another. And yet I have chosen to live with many situations where I have not been respected or loved the way in my mind, is real loving. So you may ask, “why if you knew what love was supposed to be like, did you live that way.” My only answer is that I lived those experiences because I got something from it. I have wanted and chosen all my life experiences, good and bad, so that I can make comparisons. How can you know how beautiful a sunny day can be if you never stand in the rain. And although rain in itself is beautiful, I believe in the two contrasts.

I am now living a single life and it's a good one. I will know a good man when he comes along because I've known one who was not so good. For me. I don't know where he is now, or how he is living his life or if he ever thinks of our life together, and if he does, if his memories are different from mine. They probably are different. But that's his memory, his reality.

I don't write this to degrade this man who I chose to have a relationship with because he has some goodness and he obviously had some qualities that I loved. But I write introspectively and to share something that might help someone else to see the difference between love and obsession. To see the difference between nurturing and abusing. And to know when to get out. And you can get out.