Saturday, April 07, 2007

Then & Now

"Before we begin," (we??) the TGD said, "I would like to ask you, Suzy, how you think the medication is working'?. "Just dandy Doctor- I am straight now and wearing dresses," my inside voice wanted to say.

But my outside voice calmly said, "I think it's beginning to work- the anxiety is a little better but now the sadness seems to be taking over." That having been so calmly said, I burst into tears for what seemed like 20 minutes. But how would I know? There was no clock to be found or at least I couldn't see it. On TV I had seen shows about people going into therapy sessions and just saying nothing for the whole session. Was I going to sit here and cry like a baby for this one? Silence. Only my sobbing. Now what?

It seemed like an hour had passed, but what did I know. TGD had her own internal clock that we were working with.

Finally TGD found some words. "Last week you recalled some memories about your mother and being alone and her paying more attention to her shoes. I would like you to go back there once again and tell me what that felt like." "It felt like shit," I said. What didn't TGD get? "Were you scared, angry, upset? Tell me what you remember thinking or what was going through your mind with all the silence in the house?"

I think I looked at TGD as if she had 6 heads. "I can barely tell you what I'm thinking/feeling now, let alone over 50 years ago." "Okay," she said. "Tell me what you're feeling and/or thinking now." Re-fucking-lentless!!!

I felt like a ping pong ball. What was I thinking/feeling then? What was I thinking/feeling now?

"I feel now like I probably felt then." The only place I feel safe and where I want to be is home, in bed with the dogs. I don't want to go back in time, I don't want to be here. I'd rather just be home."

"Go on," TDG said.
"Listen Doctor, the only time I can remember feeling safe from anyone, even now is when I'm home. I go to work in the morning, and it's a quest all day long to make it through the day just so I can get home and not be bothered. All I want is to get from Point A to Point B. It was the same way as a kid. The only place I felt safe was in my bed. I know that must sound strange coming from someone who was sexually abused so many times, but never ever did it once happen in my bed. It happened in all those other "safe places," church, the dentist office, the floor of my bedroom, a bathtub, places where I should have been safe but wasn't. The only place I was left untouched was laying in my own bunk bed."

As I sat there rambling off these details, images of my mother's raggy half brown slippers floated into view. I could hear her shuffling madly through the house screaming for me. I could see just the slippers up to her ankles and part of a black belt she was dragging. I was hiding under my bunk bed because of something/anything she thought I had done wrong. I hugged the wall as best I could, but with her reach and the aid of the belt, she could whip that belt under the bed at my legs with the mastery of a Lion Tamer at the Circus, snapping the whips at the tigers to instill fear and gain control over the beasts.
"Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about!" And she did.

Funny how I felt some sort of refuge in staring at TGD's shoes.

17 Comments:

Blogger Jerri said...

You have me in the palm of your hand with this one, Suze.

Great, great story. Want to know how I feel after reading it?

Hungry for more.

Again, I understand how hard you're working here and don't say this to hurry you. Instead, I want you to know how totally you capture the reader with your words.

After the house slipper story and knowing about Mary's shoes, I do wonder why TGD's shoes are comforting.

Life is mystery, I guess.

2:51 PM  
Blogger holly said...

Wow, suzy. Speechless, here.

I can absolutely see that little you chrunched underneath the bed.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Terry Whitaker said...

oh my lord, TGD is relentless--and you so brave.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Eileen said...

Suzy, People in the past tried to cloud your spirit, but it was never broken. You have a beautiful spirit and soul. Your journey in healing, while scarey, is such a testimony to your resiliency and strength that knows no limits. Be gentle with yourself, go slow, breathe, cuddle with the dogs and remember you are safe and not alone. Thanks for your comments in my Blog, it means a lot. I have read your Blog for over a year and have always been impressed with the power of your words and of course your humor. XOXO

5:36 PM  
Blogger Carrie Wilson Link said...

I sound like a broken record, Suzster, but it's true, your "voice" comes through, making the writing so gorgeous and believable, and letting your reader REALLY know you and what you experienced.

I adore you.

8:13 PM  
Blogger kario said...

Tapping into that well of hidden emotions is so frightening! I can totally sympathize with the impulse to huddle in bed with your animal companions. Sleep is my coping mechanism; well, sleep and chocolate.

Your words are so carefully crafted but they ring so true. This is terrific work, Suzy, especially given the subject matter. You are courage personified.

PS - I love the lion tamer reference - brings us right back to the circus.

9:09 PM  
Blogger grammer said...

f(*&king belts! what the hell were our parents thinking?

suzy, you have communicated this hard stuff so well -- that fear-filled anticipation, the shoes coming down the hall, the small-making and the belt cracking. and i haven't even started on how i feel like i'm in the room with you and TGD, seeing it all go down. your writing and your voice are that clear. thank you for sharing your incredible story. i look forward to reading more, always. xo t

11:04 PM  
Blogger riversgrace said...

First, blessings for all this, Suzy. Again, the power of a seemingly unimportant details - you can tell me how painful your experience is, but when you describe the ratty brown slippers it delivers the message in a haunting sort of way. The way only a child knows how slippers can be haunting.

Really got more of your mother in this piece. I know it must be difficult, but your are on the right track....trust your instincts about what and how to write.

5:24 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

I found myself wanting to crawl under that bed and protect you, Suzy. I could hear your voice as you told TGD your truth, and I remain in awe of her ability to reach your heart.

I get really excited every time I come here and find another part of your story. You are an amazing story teller with a story that needs to be shared.

I agree with Tracy about the belts. That would be an interesting anthology, stories of the belt. I could feel the sting of your mom's belt and the deeper sting of her rage against you.

More, please.

Love!

10:35 AM  
Blogger jennifer said...

Great work! Love you, love your process, love your humor and your insights and most of all, your remarkable diligence!

10:59 PM  
Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

And as it goes down on the page it goes out of your body.

Such good work Suzy.

Such bravey to write about this terror.

Love.

7:34 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Absolutely amazing writing. I get so excited when I see that you've posted that I have to stop and breath for a sec so I can read it thoughtfully, in order, and not just skipping frantically around eating up your words.

The courage it takes to be so powerfully honest with your story and true with your emotions is astounding. And just like everyone says, your voice just leaps off the page--it is YOU, sitting next to me talking. That is such an incredible skill.

Amazing.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Ziji Wangmo said...

Suzy -I am blown away by this story. The description of the brown slippers really brings me into your world. I am awed by your courage to revisit and to write about such traumatic memories. TGD is taking you down the path and your writing is part of the healing.

Thank you for sharing.

love.

8:16 PM  
Blogger s@bd said...

oh sweet woman.

hugs & kisses for that little girl and wonder for you - for your incredible courage.

7:32 PM  
Blogger s@bd said...

also? "Just dandy Doctor- I am straight now and wearing dresses," - verrry funny.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

Straight women in dresses are way overrated. Just my 2 cents. ;)

I love your voice, love the way you write this, the way you combine the slippers, the colors, the fear, the wit. Keep going, keep going.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Rita said...

I am pretty sure that you and I have led nearly the same life.

Amazing similarities.

I am hopeful for you.

3:30 PM  

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