Poetry: Sole Survivor

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For my own poor health
the truth must be told –
my mother, I remember,
was heaviest, the faintest –
sinking the small pulse
of life within me.

I later roused myself –
dreaming over the cool
night air in the suburbs.

I turned again to
my mother, my sister –
but I was the sole
survivor
of the family.

(Poetry by Maranda Russell)

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Poetry: Unspeakable Childhood

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‘Twas horrible to think
that she suffered
an unspeakable childhood.

Every day they reopened
the contentions –
old ones
that she could not
tear away.

Mischief and dread
became more likely
than right and wrong –
causing heads to hit
hard against circumstances
almost as good
as she once was.

(Blackout poetry created from a page of “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens)

Complicated Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day always creates such a barrage of mixed emotions for me. There was a lot of trauma, abuse, mental illness, and foolish decisions that marked my childhood. My mother was far from a perfect parent. Luckily, she does admit to that and seems to be really trying to be a better person now, but being around her always triggers so many memories, thoughts, and feelings – some good, some bad, some funny, and some tragic.

I think part of the issue is that my brain has a tough time seeing how she acts towards me now and reconciling it with memories of how my sister and I were treated while growing up. I do believe in forgiveness (within reason), and I do love my mother, but I doubt there will ever be a day in her company that doesn’t create confusion for me internally.

I write this post today to recognize those of us who struggle on Mother’s Day to even know how to feel…

Poetry – When I Was Hit By a Truck

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Not many 10-year-olds
could be hit
by a speeding
delivery truck
while crossing the street
and live
to tell the tale…
but I always was
a weird statistic.

The truck ran
me over
with the ease
of a speed bump.
I even had the
tire tracks
and imbedded gravel
across my stomach
to prove it.

When I woke up
in the ER
I screamed out the names
of all the people
I was going to sue…
until my mother
bought my silence by
bribing me
with the promise
of a brand new
Barbie doll.

(Poetry by Maranda Russell, marandarussell.com)

Christmas and Family Forgiveness

Yesterday my husband and I traveled over to Indiana to meet my mom and her husband for Christmas dinner. We all decided to meet at a truckstop that is about halfway between us, so that neither of us would have to cook, clean up, or drive too far:

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I genuinely had a good time and am glad I’ve been able to spend more time with them recently. Those of you who have followed my blog for a while, may remember that there has been a lot of water under the bridge between my mother and myself over things that happened when I was growing up. She made some huge mistakes, and as is often the case, my sister and I had to pay for many of those choices just as much as she did…maybe more in some cases.

She genuinely seems to be regretful and is trying to make things better between us, so although I am always going to be cautious and protective of myself, it feels good to be able to embrace forgiveness for my own peace of mind and well-being. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what we went through was ok, or that the damage wasn’t done, but it does mean that it doesn’t have control of my life, my mind, or my heart anymore. I can move on.

I am somewhat a believer in the saying “When we know better, we do better”. Some of us take a long, long time to “know better”, but healing and wisdom are ours once we finally do face the truth.

 

Alien Abduction Experience?

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You all seemed to enjoy my post the other day about past life dreams, so I thought I would share another weird experience I had years ago. This is the closest thing to an alien abduction experience I have ever had. This is only one of two experiences I have had where I honestly wonder if I was awake or asleep (I’ll tell you about the other otherworldy experience another time). It certainly felt like I was awake for the following experience, but it was so odd I can’t help but wonder.

Here is what I remember of that night:

Being woken up by a bright light and sitting up in bed. I have memories of looking at the window blinds in our room to try to figure out where the light was coming from. The next thing I remember, a few small alien beings entered the room and stood around the foot of my bed. I don’t remember them walking in or anything like that, it seemed like they were just suddenly there. The beings resembled the small grey aliens that have become popularized by pop culture/paranormal communities, maybe around 4 foot tall or so. I remember how smooth and shiny their skin seemed. They seemed to be silhouetted with bit of light too, but nothing like the bright light that woke me.

Naturally, I was terrified by these events and I remember trying desperately to wake my husband up, who was sleeping peacefully next to me. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get him to wake up, which panicked me even more. Suddenly, I found myself laying down again, almost against my will it seemed. I felt myself floating upwards in this horizontal position and then I don’t really remember much else until I was returned. I do not remember going through the ceiling, or being aboard a spaceship, or tests, or anything like that, but I do feel like a lot happened during this blank time in my memory. I do remember kind of floating back down into bed later, the same way I had started to float up. I remember being really sleepy and kind of out of it, almost like I had been drugged or sedated. Due to this, I fell asleep quickly.

If this was a dream and I was asleep the entire time, I find it odd that I don’t remember any of the middle part, even though I remember the beginning and end so vividly and emotionally. Normally, I remember a dream fairly in its entirety, and the more I think about the dream, the more details I remember, but no matter how much I have relived this experience, I really do not remember what happened after floating upwards until I came back down.

I have no idea what really happened that night, but I’ll never forget it. We do live near Wright Patterson Air Force Base, which I later found out is rumored to be highly connected to the Roswell incident, Area 51, and other secret space programs, but who knows? I have heard that UFO activity is common in the area around the base, but that could be due to various military-related programs.

Why Did I Watch the Abuse?

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Last night I was thinking about my history of abuse and how I grew up seeing so much of it. As far as physical abuse goes, I did endure some growing up, but it was much more common for me to see someone else physically abused in my family. There was a “scapegoat” in our family who seemed to be the target of much of the worst of the abuse.

Thinking back, I remember how when this abuse would happen, I would scuttle into the corner or hide in a nearby alcove, but I never tried to actually leave the room. Common sense would seem to dictate that when violence is happening, you would want to get as far away from it as you can, but I didn’t even try.

I questioned myself last night why this was so. I came up with several possibilities. First, perhaps I was afraid to leave the room because I thought it would draw further attention to me. My main goal when violence would erupt was to try to become invisible. Sometimes the rage would boil over and the physical and verbal abuse would extend to me if I happened to get caught in the crossfire, so I naturally tried to fade into the shadows. Sometimes, early on, I would try to distract and please the abuser in hopes of calming them down, but that never really worked.

Another reason I think I stayed to watch was because deep down I feared for the safety of the scapegoat and I wanted to make sure they didn’t die. There may have been some morbid curiosity tossed in there too, the way that human nature makes us crane our necks to see what happened when driving by a car crash.

Lastly, I think I stayed and risked my own safety because I felt responsible for trying to make peace after the explosion. I hated to see the division in my family and the anger and pain created by these confrontations. After the worst of it was over, I would often go to the victim and try to comfort them, and then I would even go to the abuser and try to comfort them. I would try to mend the rift between them, although obviously looking back with adult eyes, I see the utter futility of my efforts and sometimes feel anger that I felt responsible to hold the family together in the first place, as I was so little at the time (elementary school age).