Getting Better All the Time

Check “Ritual Calendar 2016” for upcoming holidays.

I woke up with the music of a Beatles’ song in my head. It took me a few hours to get some words, too. When I had snatches of the song, I looked up the lyrics.

Apparently the song is autobiographical. It tells of a guy who had a chip on his shoulder as a kid and was mean to his woman but fell in love with a new one and changed, thanks to her. His behavior got better all the time. Not something I can relate to; a damsel on a white horse came and saved him. Lucky guy!

So I just edited out the details and saw the song in terms of dealing with ritual abuse.

Anyway, Paul wrote,
“I’ve got to admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time”
And John added,
“It can’t get more worse)”

In the beginning, I thought remembering RA just couldn’t get more worse. It  really felt like it would, though. I actually believed I would die from the stress of remembering. Not by suicide, just that my body couldn’t take it and would stop; I would keel over from a heart attack or a massive stroke. Nobody knew about “feeling” flashbacks – past repressed feelings surfacing in the present – and so nobody could tell me what was going on. It would have helped a lot.

In the beginning, I couldn’t see changes because I wasn’t used to the process. They were small changes and came slowly. My therapist pointed out that I was taking baby steps, but I would get steadier with time, and my tiny steps would all add up. Guess what? He was right!

I slogged away year after year, and when I stopped to look back, I could see how far I had come. It was pretty amazing. Of course I would cycle back and feel really rotten again, over and over. It wasn’t that I was losing ground, it was that I was dealing with something at a deeper level. It took me a while to figure out that my healing process was spiral, not linear. Once I did, I no longer panicked when I entered that space. I wasn’t exactly joyful, but I knew what was going on, and trusted that there would be benefits.

Now something new and weird is happening. It’s a part of my process I have never seen before and I am very grateful for it.

I first noticed that I wasn’t a wreck before the spring equinox this year. Then I found that I was calm during Easter week and Beltane, which had been the worst day of the whole year for me. I wasn’t forgetting the holidays, I wasn’t forgetting or denying what happened to me. I wasn’t even minimizing. I was just reacting differently.

Recently I started noticing that this attitude was spreading to other difficult parts of my life. I had hated my birthday for years and told people close to me not to give me presents or cards. I didn’t tell anybody the date unless I absolutely had to, like at the pharmacy.

This year I acted more normally. I let my best friend take me out to dinner. I asked another friend to come celebrate with me (her birthday is a couple of weeks later than mine) by going indoor skydiving. And I messed up on Facebook and let my birthday be public. Aack! But I was really touched by good wishes from people in the survivor community that I knew well and people I hardly knew at all. I think that is the first time in my life that I have enjoyed my birthday, not just gritted my teeth and gotten through it.

Finally, I have always been camera phobic and did my best to avoid having my picture taken. Photos brought back such awful disgusting memories and I wasn’t willing to try desensitizing myself by having people take hundreds and hundred of pictures of me. I didn’t want to go through that much suffering, and, besides, I thought it was barbaric and wouldn’t work.

Recently I tried to relax a little, because I realized my kids had so few pictures of me. I had to admit it was getting better. And today I was on a conference call for an hour and a half and allowed the video to be on. Not only could they see me, I could see myself. Guess what? It was fine!! I can hardly believe it.

I did no conscious work on these issues. It just happened. It was like some switch inside allowed this calm and acceptance to spread out over many of my tender areas.

It reminds me of a light wind on water. You can see where the wind is blowing by the tiny ripples and you can see where it has left, or not yet arrived, by the calm, smooth surface. If the wind is stronger, you can tell where it is blowing harder by larger waves, often with white caps. It’s really wonderful to watch.

Take a look at the boat and the water at the top of the page. The water is my feelings, and the boat is me. Except that I would be under water, like a fish or mermaid.

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