It is time to tell this story.
Today this story became the path. I was given affirmation of this when I was led to She Who Brings the Light. More on that in a bit. I was shown (shone) the way by every single person who touched my life. I’m so profoundly grateful that I have to get the bones of this down on paper.
For a week I’ve had insomnia and stomach sickness because of my mind. I don’t see things as they are. I see them as I feel, even if that feeling is based on a complete misunderstanding. Prayer, meditation, long quiet talk focusing on love, solved. But while lying in bed Time #2 or #3 or #4 — unable to fall asleep — I tried something new. I said,
“Dear Body. I love you. I really do love you now. We have come so far. Please don’t give up on me. I promise with all my heart to do whatever it is you need me to do to get you better. I want to go a lot farther with you and you have never let me down. We’re still breathing! So what do you need?”
My body whispered, “Fresh air. Sunshine. Movement.”
I fell asleep almost immediately. The last thing I remember was whispering one more promise and hugging myself to sleep. This feels almost as good as a hug from someone else by the way.
I kept the promise today. Before breakfast, I went outside and walked for the first time in a long time in my slippers with this gimpy broken foot and a bum knee and all the other stuff that did not stop me. And my friend called and we chatted and the next thing I knew, I was walking for ten minutes. I felt better immediately. Head knowledge became action again.
I understand now this has not been just about sleep, sickness or an argument. It is about a birth, a story needing to be born, and waiting.
This is continued from #soml but without the details, so no triggers ahead except for a mention here or there of fact.
The Pleasure Gene
In June, I joined Noom.com via an app on my phone. I did it for the 16 or 18 weeks that they had the special 65-percent off. I lost 30 lbs. and that was cool but the great thing they provided was a discount to “Nutritional DNA Testing.”
Weirdly, they lost my sample and so it took all 16 weeks before I got the results. And what I learned changed so much. I learned that I am one of 15 percent of the population that has the DRD2 dopamin- receptor gene. That means that the receptor is hyperactive and that means that my body is addicted to dopamine.
Dopamine is produced when our bodies experience pleasure in every form including food, drugs, booze, and so on. Anything that gives us pleasure has the potential to addict people with this gene.
People with this receptor gene much more likely to become addicts. They are much more likely to become obese and to develop diseases associated with obesity and addiction. They are much more likely to live sedentary lifestyles, addicted to the internet or gaming or TV or to a million other things we can do that give us pleasure but check us out of life.
When I understood this, I dumped the shame that came with all of my former and current (food/computer/sedentary-lifestyle) addictions.
When I let go of shame, it was like dominos. I felt I had been forgiven. By me. My story began changing with my Transformation in August of last year. That was a miracle. This feels like that.
In #soml I took you from age 0-18. What I didn’t write was that, from the minute I started blaming myself for literally everything until age 39.9, I ran in every way possible from CSA fallout (age 5-14). The shame/self-blame probably began pretty early.
Ages 14-19 were the only safe years of my childhood. When I got married the cycle of violence began again, as it tends to do.
Free Will and the Other One
I made peace with all of that because I chose those lessons (predestination). I just also chose (free will) to run away screaming from the lesson most of the time. Until recently.
Lessons of the Body
The problem with running from a lesson is that I coped by using every form of substance that was legal. Drugs were prescribed by my dentist (for TMJ) called Xanax. Valium came from my doc because of nightmares. Alcohol came from the store in boxes that I could put in my fridge next to the milk and drink at night to fall asleep after the kids were in bed. Cigarettes. Serial monogomy-ish . Working out. I worked out with weights 2-3 hours a day some days. Then the computer came and then gaming. Food was there too, but I was too strapped for money to game much and too vain to allow food to impact my body. Thus the 2-3 hour workouts.
Lessons of the Mind
I was also addicted to men that affirmed my self-loathing, so abusers. Both former husbands were wife beaters and worse.
On February 28, 1999, I woke up after a party, poisoned head-to-toe and discovered I had been the victim of being ruffied and used by an unknown amount of people. I finally got to the wall that said, “I’ve taken enough. I don’t deserve this.” Not all but most of the trauma of my adult life was from poor choices made because I was my own worst abuser. It took a lot to get to that wall, but I was done. That day I went to my first AA meeting.
Lessons from Bill W.
I knew I could quit any substance, but I’d never tried it in a group. I had quit the Xanax and Valium on my own. The group turned out to be a very good idea. I met good people and fell in love with the challenge of the 12 Steps. That was my first challenge on paper, and I was hooked (yep, addicted) for life. I did my 30 in 30. Since then I remained relatively clean and sober but I have had slips. After a year, I didn’t go back to the meetings, but I found other support groups that had wisdom and were on the path. I still have cravings and it’s a daily thing, but I am on the path still.
Literal Definition of “Repent”
The day I hit that wall, I turned around and walked in the complete opposite direction my life was headed — probably an early grave.
Months after that, I met my current husband. We just celebrated 20 years together. We met online and then six months after that in person.
Hits Keep Coming
In 2002 or so I started having my first panic attacks. Not pushing boundaries, this became agoraphobia as well.
Not a Quitter so We Quit
In 2005 my husband and I quit smoking together.
Food. Food was it now because I got my tastebuds back. Cheese fries and cheesesteaks and two liters of Coke a day and gaming. That was our lifestyle, for years. Then the need to repair, working out — this cycle of self-abuse. I had never learned to overcome the self-loathing, but I was trying.
Lessons from Bill P.
Little by little the light came back. I found Bill Phillips book Body-for-Life, then the one that changed everything, Transformation. It’s essentially the 12 steps + nutrition and fitness.
The Big Three
This was the miracle today, the thing that I knew was true. The Big Three are dead.
Through these years, from the first violation at age 5 until this DNA test, my world was painted in the primary colors of shame, fear, and grief.
When I got that DNA test result, the shame disappeared. Right then and there.
Fear was harder. There really were people trying to kill me, both my ex’s included. One nearly made it. He broke into my house with a machete. He had been a professional soccer player in Venezuela, so he was very strong and fast. My dog knew him so didn’t bark. I was badly injured in the fight and only alive because he was drunk.
My first ex promised many times to have me killed. He’s a very rich guy who with the resources and connections to “make your body disappear into so many pieces they will never find you.”
Ben and his father fought often, and Ben cut ties when he left for his 2015 trip. After the trip, he came here to stay with us for a few months. The day Ben disappeared, March 2, 2016, his father was there at the park because I called and asked him to help look for Ben after we couldn’t find him for a few hours. So I bet you can guess where a huge swath of my fear (and self-loathing) has been coming from since then.
But I let go of blame, shame and now fear too, especially after my Transformation.
Fear is a liar.
“The deeper that grief carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”
The last was grief. I grieved for so much but lately for my son. And this too I have come to understand is a gift because it is the evidence of great love. The quote above was a Gem a year ago and it impacted me deeply (Gems 4.81).
I had read C.S. Lewis’s story about his love for Joy and the grief when losing her. I know that grief is about how deeply love carves valleys in our souls that are filled with grief when the loved one is gone. The love never leaves. It’s still there too. It’s just that the absence of their physical presence makes that deeply-carved valley feel very empty. I realized that grief is always going to happen. That’s the deal we make as humans. So instead of letting go of grief, I embraced it.
So this is the story I’m writing next, the one I’ve been waiting to give myself permission to write all my life. Tonight I watched this video:
At Minute 7.15 of this video, I got kicked in the heart when Sherri Mitchell spoke about her conversation with an Elder that started her on her new path. The elder said that she was given a gift to write her story by Creator and that if she didn’t write it, she would get sick until she did.
I wrote a poem years ago called Watercolor Painting. I was 25 or 30 years younger and was beautiful but I felt old and used up. But now this poem means something else. It means I can paint with the colors I want to use now and not just the primary colors of shame, fear, and grief.
a watercolor painting
left out in the mists
once defined me
blossoming with bright hues
and the many details of me
the gentle mist
makes tiny changes
too subtle to be seen
one day to the next
edges blur and soften
and the colors fade
all that is left
for the eye to see
is the memory of color
and the hint of who