Battle Scars

There was a period when I wasn’t sure how much to tell people about my past, so I tried to dodge their questions. I didn’t want to freak them out, but, more importantly, I didn’t want to embarrass myself. When I was asked about a physical problem, like a bad back or chronic pain, I would say, “Oh, it’s an old sports injury.” Since for many years I had an undiagnosed condition that, in retrospect, seemed very much like fibromyalgia, I blamed a lot on my non-existent sports injuries.

These days I am over being embarrassed about my past. What in the world do I have to be embarrassed, or ashamed, or guilty about? I did nothing wrong, and I was helpless to prevent being hurt. The shame and guilt and embarrassment belong to the people who hurt me, not to me.

Now I say, “I had a shitty childhood, and these are my battle scars.” And that is the fucking truth.

I was a fighter all through my childhood. I hated being abused, and I hated being forced to be cruel to animals or other people. I wanted nothing to do with living that way. Since I wasn’t treated well, I didn’t know what other ways of life looked like. I didn’t know what I was fighting for, just what I was fighting against.

Luckily I learned how to read. Does anybody remember the “Dick and Jane” books? They were first-grade readers, mostly phonetic, but with common sight words like “a” and “the” and a few less common ones like “mother” and “father.” Dick and Jane and their little sister Sally were not beaten or torn to pieces verbally. Their dog, Spot, was never hit, either. The message snuck in under the cult radar. “There really is another way of life.”

Those books did not promise that I could ever have that kind of life or that I could be rescued. They simply described it. They gave me something to daydream about, something to fight for, a reason to live, and something to look for in the outside world.

And guess what? There were kind people out there! Not just kind for two minutes, but reliably kind, day after day after day. I wanted to be like that when I grew up.

As I became better and better at reading, I had access to a wider range of books. Most all of them were about kind, decent people. Many, though, were mixed. Mogli was abandoned twice, once when he was left in the forest and adopted by a wolf pack, and once when the wolves rejected him for wanting to live with humans. But when he lived with the wolves, he was given food and shelter and surrounded with kindness and care. Some books struck me as being bleak through and through; “Oliver Twist,” for example. Those books suggested I was not a total freak.

Books spoke to my conscious self, as well as to the unconscious self/selves living under the cloak of amnesia. My family life was not as awful as the cult life, but it was pretty damned barren emotionally. My parents raised children by controlling them tightly and by delegating the day-to-day work to paid caretakers. There was precious little love, criticism instead of praise, almost no privacy, no independence, and very little fun and laughter. Whatever fun we managed to create was generally frowned upon. Guess we did it wrong.

Raising emotionally deprived kids leaves its own kind of battle scars. I think that it is more a question of psychic deficits than the terror of trauma-induced PTSD. It’s harder to see something that isn’t there than something that is. Since I didn’t have a rich emotional life, I couldn’t contrast that experience with my own experience, except through the lens of books. Thank goodness for books. Thank goodness for the fantasy of growing up and becoming a librarian.

Back to my battle scars. I know I have them, and I know from whence they came. They no longer embarrass me. I have accepted them and I live with them without trying to wish them away. These scars are testimony to what I went through in order to win, and I am starting to feel really proud of them.

I’m coming into a new phase these days. I am starting to recognize that I fought a good fight from a very early age, that I was brave and tenacious. AND THAT I WON! I no longer have to attend rituals or be a “sex worker.” I no longer am forced to hurt others physically or emotionally. I am free to be kind, to be loyal, to love other living things, whether plant, animal, or human. I am free of control by others; I am independent. Sometimes the scars constrict me, but that’s to be expected. I am happy in my skin.

I have everything I wanted as a child – except being a librarian.

~~~~~~~~~~

We are going to have a poetry reading!!

We have a technical person, a ZOOM account, and four or five poets lined up. If we go for ninety minutes, there is room for a few more people. 

Post in the comment section or write me at rahome@ra-info.org if you would like to read your work. I’m asking everybody to read aloud the poems they want to share, time themselves, and let me know how long it took. (The maximum allotted time is ten minutes. If you need less time, we can have more participants.) There will be a place to sign up if you want to be part of the audience.

We haven’t picked a date yet, but it will be on a Saturday. Here are the various time zones so you can figure out if you can make it or not.

7 AM Melbourne Time (Sunday)
12 noon Pacific Time
1 PM Mountain Time
2 PM Central Time
3 PM Eastern Time
8 PM London Time
9 PM Amsterdam Time

~~~~~~~~~~

Upcoming Holidays

February
2/25 Walpurgis Day
2/27 Full Moon
March
3/1 St David’s Day (patron saint of Wales)
3/1 St. Eichstadt’s Day
3/17 St. Patrick’s Day (patron saint of Ireland)
3/21 Spring Equinox
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan
3/28 Full Moon
3/28 Palm Sunday
April
4/1 April Fool’s Day
4/1 Maundy Thursday (commemoration of the Last Supper)
4/2 Good Friday
4/3 Holy Saturday
4/4 Easter Sunday
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/26 Full Moon
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
2/26 Purim (Deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman in Persia)
3/28 – 4/4  Passover/Pesach (Deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt)
4/4 Hitler’s alternate birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual birthday, 4/20, and Easter of the current year. This year Easter falls on 4/4.)
4/8 Yom HaShoah  (Holocaust Remembrance Day)
4/15 Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day)
4/20 Hitler’s birthday
4/15 Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.)

You can find more information on the following holidays at

Valentine’s Day https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/valentines-day/
Spring Equinox https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-spring-equinox/
Easter: personal. (for background, see Spring Equinox) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/easter-blues/
Walpurgisnacht/May Eve: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/walpurgisnacht/
Beltane: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/beltane/
Mothers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/
Fathers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/ritual-abuse-and-fathers-day/
Summer Solstice (corrected text) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/
Lammas https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
 and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/ 
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1   https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-feast-of-the-beast/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2  https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/feast-of-the-beast-part-ii/
Fall Equinox https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/.
Halloween {personal) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/ 
Halloween (background) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/

Thanksgiving https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/
Yule/Winter Solstice https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/ 
Candlemas https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/

 ~~~~~~~~~~ 

12 thoughts on “Battle Scars

  1. Books also showed me a different life. Family tv series with Donna Reed, June Lockhart and Barbara Billingsly who had tv husbands that didn’t force them to walk on eggs around them were eye-opening as well. The cult life was so separate from home! Home was less dangerous but still dangerous. School was my safe place until I was 15 and chubby.

    I have a blog called Journey from Hope to Freedom on wordpress. Please check it out sometime.

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    1. Thanks for telling me about your blog. I’m starting to think about how we can share info about our blogs with each other. Would you mind if it was listed publically?

      Like

  2. Very true, accurate and moving, Dear Jean…
    I’ve been having the same relationship to books and reading since my childhood…the best counsellors, very enlightening !
    ” Another World is Possible “

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  3. Very well said, Jean. I appreciate what you write and I can I can relate to what you wrote here and am able to see myself, all parts of me with compassion and understanding most of the time. I can even relate to wanting to be a librarian 🙂
    Wendy

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    1. Compassion and understanding are so much easier than fear and confusion, aren’t they? So glad I have moved on!

      ra-info.org is a product of my frustrated librarian. If you want to come play on the stacks, adding new books, updating the catalog numbers, writing short synopses, you are so very welcome any time!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi,
    I could relate to so much of this post. It shows so much healing.
    I am interested in poetry readings, in the future. Right now I have very little energy and coping skills available to do anything new, but I would love to. I hope you continue with that.
    Good and healing thoughts to you.
    Kate

    Like

    1. I’m sorry you feel so depleted. Maybe by the time I have finished organizing it you will have more energy and can join us. Come and listen, anyways! I am hoping that this event can serve as a template for future ones and that it proves to be popular enough to repeat.

      And of course there is music, and visual art, and survivor quilts, and all sorts of other wonderful things!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh Jean. I cried as I read this post, it touched my heart so deeply . I felt so fondly reminded of those sweet moments when, as a child, books and my imagination brought some love and freedom to my ugly life. I think you are such a gifted writer! Your words free me. I’m so glad YOU WON!!!

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