Bark Reflection

I started my Intermediate Sacred Gaiian Herbalism Apprenticeship a few weeks ago with Blackbirds Daughter Botanicals via Zoom. One of the things we studied was the bark of a tree and how it compares to our own skin.

The purpose of bark on a tree is to protect that tree’s essential living system from temperature extremes, storms, diseases, animals and insects. The bark also conserves water and transports food and water throughout the tree. The five layers (heartwood, sapwood, cambium, phloem/inner bark& rhytidome/outer bark) continuously work together to not only survive but live in a state of renewal and harmony. A tree also sheds it’s bark much like we shed our skin.

Part of our homework assignment was to write a reflection of how our own bark serves us. The following words came flying out of me.

bark2 (2)

Grief and Anger

My dad’s one year memorial just passed. Unresolved emotions makes it hard to let go.
I feel stuck in my grief and realize the “daddy’s little girl” in me, will be sad forever.
What about the rest of me?
I feel sad my father and I didn’t have more of a relationship.
Habitually I passed right over anger.
I don’t want to be angry at myself, I don’t deserve it.
I’m not mad at daddy, it’s just sad we didn’t connect more in this lifetime.
This is the bullshit I tried to feed myself.
I also fed myself a bunch of carbs and washed it down with a big glass of wine.
Thankfully, I have grown to be self aware enough to recognize my emotional eating and drinking as a sign something was wrong. Stuck in the thickness of grief and anger. Literally and figuratively constipated. Unable to release.

In therapy, I found my elusive friend again, anger.
Yes! I AM angry!
I put my daddy on a pedastal. He was my superhero.
I needed him too much to be angry. I was too afraid to be angry.

I’m angry daddy! You chose booze and women over your own children!
Then when you were sober, you chose pride and expected us to take the blame!

I have always focused on the beauty and forgave the ugly in people.
I suppose it was a coping skill. How else would I have survived being abused as a child?
Or repeatedly raped? Attacked? Abandoned?
It was a handy coping skill to help me accept the horrors that have happened to me; but, it’s a faulty tool. You HAVE to acknowledge the bad, ugly and horrific. If you don’t, you end up in relationships with people who hurt you, let you down, mistreat you, or worse. 

I am so fucking sick of picking out the good in people and ignoring the bad! I want to see people for who and what they really are! Only then I can judge if they are healthy for me.

Thanks daddy for this lesson.
In finding my anger for you; I discover that I did NOT deserve to be abandoned. It wasn’t my fault. I don’t need your approval.
I am liberated.
I do NOT need to demean myself in my relationships with men just to feel worthy, or to keep them by my side.
I don’t need nor want negative attention.
Allowing grief and anger to come in helped me grow.

I am still angry with you; but, I also am grateful for the times you did show up.
When mom was sick, when she was dying, and at her service.
You were there. Real and feeling. Loving and supporting.
I love you for that.
I treasure the night of my brother’s surprise 40th birthday party, and you showed up. We were all a family for a brief moment in time.

I love you daddy for what you could do and did do, and it’s okay for me to be angry too.
I am sad. I am angry. I am grieving. I am letting go…


Sister’s Words


Sister’s words

are like swords

Slashing and tearing

me from 

my  “therapy throne.”

Deliberately belittling, 

so she didn’t have to

feel alone.

Sister’s words

are like punches

from sibling beatings

that would never end.

Bruised and broken.

Abandoned we were.

She attached herself to me

and I could not keep her safe.

Long and torturous our relationship has been.

Allies and adversaries through the horrors we have seen.

We are enemies and we are friends.

Sisterly love and sibling rivalry.

I must set myself free.

The past has passed,

leave it there.

No matter my actions,

you believe I don’t care.

Sister’s words 

hurt me no more.

The game is over.

Nobody scored.

My love you will always have.

My soul is mine to keep.

Sister’s words

I release…

and gently weep.


by Maria Fairbrother (pic credit Words by Nayla Smith)


Darkness in the Labyrinth of My Mind…

            In the labyrinth of my mind
                                                          I’m running down a blackened hall                        
                                             fearful of what I may find.                                                                     
                                                                            I see a little girl                                                         
                                                            rocking in the corner                           
                                                                                           trying to calm her world.       
She’s bruised and beaten,                               
                            yet she smiles.               
                                                      “The hitting only lasts a little while”           
                                                                                        she whispers,                         
                                                                                                                   and retreats into a  closet.                 
             Darkness envelops her.                            
                                                                             Demons stir.                                               
                                                                                    Suddenly, I hear laughter echo,        
                                                                                             I turn to go                                          
                                                               A teenage girl                                   
                                                                               is fighting for survival.
                                                      It’s a bloody battle.                
                                                                       She screams, then laughs again                     
                                                                despite her pain                           
                                                                                 and drinks and drugs it all away.
    Monsters hover over her,                       
                                    smelling and probing her.          
                     Their insatiable appetite
rapes her.                                                                 

                                 Her innocence feeds them,
                                     and they suck her dry.        
                                                  She looks to me and smiles,  
                                                                   “It only hurts for a little while.”
                       There’s a candle lit            
                                     far down the hall.            
                    I investigate.    
                              There sits a young woman,                                                                            
                                                                                             up straight and tall 
         consumed by pain and hate.                      
                                                    Her light is a tiny spark of a dying flame.             
                           She performs her duties 
      and sheds her soul.              
                                            Her heart feels empty and cold.
                                                                    She downs a handful of pills               
                                                              chased with vodka,                                         
                                                                                  and mournfully wails,
         “Please, make it all go away                
                    just for a little while.”                   
                                               I’m running to find another passageway.                            
                                                            An exit out of here                              This is too sad and dark.                                              
                                     I can’t stay.                 
                           I hear screaming and crying                          
                             from afar away
                                         No one is there.          
              I fall to my knees.    
                                              I cry
                 and pray,
            for the light to set me free,
                                           heal these wounds of mine! 
                          I open my eyes and find          
 I have awoken   
                        from and to                          
                                                  the darkness                                 
                                                                 in the labyrinth of my mind.              
Pictures found on Deviantart and Google Images, Click pic for link

My Grandmother and My Abuser

Presently one of the images I’m dealing with in my EMDR therapy is of my grandmother and the abuse she descended upon me.

The image of her on top of me, beating me.

The ugly in her face.

The crazed look in her eyes.

Her flailing hands and evil glare

as she grabbed my hair.

Pulled, tugged, slapped, and bruised.

She then put me in the closet

until my parents were there.

This image has haunted and taunted me my whole life. I even began to wonder if they were real memories or confused realities. EMDR is helping me finally release the emotions and associations related to this experience.

Embracing the bruised inner child.

You are safe now.

Why did she not care? The child asks.

Then I hold her and we cry.

When my friends had grandmothers that were loving and sweet and associated with soups and cookies, I had one who hated me. When I finally became too big to hit, she abused me with her words. Yelling and calling me a whore, when I was not even 12. Telling me that if my mom loved me, she’d be home and not working. These are just a few memories of my grandmother and my abuser.

I grew up thinking abuse equaled love.

No wonder I am an abuse magnet.

Including self abuse.

It’s been three weeks since my first round of EMDR, and I am still working on processing and releasing this one trauma. Overwhelming and healing, simultaneously.

Forgive my scattered writing, as I post this during an anxiety attack.

Though the memories of my grandmother are not as panic inducing as they once were, (thanks to therapy) I still have much anxiety with the process.

No child should have to hurt

or be unloved.

I shed tears for my inner child.

It is over now. I keep reminding.

Now it’s disassembling the connections intertwining.

This is where the anxiety and the journey continue.

Just Sad/My boyfriend strikes again

sad photo: sad crying.jpg

I haven’t blogged for over a month.

(Except for the very sad suicide post on Robin Williams for Wordless Wednesday)

My last written post was July 24, titled Second Chances.
My last sentence of that post was “He will never get a second second chance.”

So sad to share that a little over a week later, my boyfriend broke my heart.

During the week after my last post, my best friend (whom is also my niece’s dad) received news that his father passed.

I was there for him just as he was there for me when my mother had passed.

We have been best friends since our late teens and have been there for each other’s many ups& downs.

That weekend was the burial service. We sipped a little brandy before going, “to calm the nerves”, my nana used to say.

The service was very sad, and even sadder because my best friend’s sister lay in the ground as well, reminding us all of how her life was shortened from a car accident years ago.

My boyfriend and I went to my best friend”s (and his partners)  house for breakfast….and more brandy.

I observed that my boyfriend was drinking fast, he was a few ahead of me.

We all talked and bonded, laughed and cried.

My boyfriend expressed to my best friend and I that he was jealous of our relationship, and that he knows him and I will have that one day, and that he’s sorry if he tags along and follows us, but he wants to take a piece of that. Those were pretty much his exact words.

I bit my tongue, because I had mixed feelings about what he said. I didn’t want to discredit him from expressing  his emotions, as I recognized it as progress.

Fortunately, my best friend responded to him and I stayed silent.

A few hours later, I expressed to him that I was proud of him for verbalizing his feelings. I told him I had mixed feelings about what he said and that I was processing them. He wanted me to say what I was thinking, which I have a very hard time to speak before I process, and he knows that, but he insisted.

I said Ok, and I did my best. First of all, I explained that him and I are closer in ways that my best friend and I will never be. Also, that even if our relationship were to last as many years as my friendship, that it would still be different; because of the experiences shared, etc.,. I also said that I believed nobody can “take a piece” of someones friendship by “tagging along.”

Well, he didn’t like what he heard and that ugly personality took over. His face changed. He snickered under his breath. He mimicked my friend and I laughing. I was afraid and told my best friend, who already noticed the personality change. I was not going home with him like this.

This lasted a few hours. A few hours of both my best friend and I trying to coax him back,,,involve him. It was useless. Finally, my friend stood up and confronted him. He said enough was enough. My boyfriend lunged at him across the picnic table. Punches were thrown. I threw myself in the middle.  My best friends partner came out with a bat as my boyfriend was tackling me for the car keys, I will never forget first feeling relief as I was so scared, and then came the fear that the bat might actually be used. The two of them went at it, my best friend went at him again, and I didn’t put myself in the middle this time. I figured what ever happened he had coming to him.

Finally my best friend called the police. They arrested him and took a report. Though nobody pressed charges, the state took over and charged simple assault. The state ordered no contact until his court date. I had bruises on my arms and tears in my eyes, as the police officer asked if this has happened, and has it gotten progressively worse. Yes, I thought with great fear. Was this really happening?

The next day all I felt was sad. I wasn’t angry. Just sad. It lay heavy on my heart what he had done. Somewhere inside I died.

That week in therapy I found my anger, with the help of my therapist. When she spoke the words, Its Not Okay!!! It’s Not Okay…that he beat your best friend on the day of his dad’s burial. It’s Not Okay…that he even pick up a drink knowing that he has the potential to hurt you.

She is right. It’s not Okay!!!!

His court was on August 20th. I had terrible panic attacks thinking he was coming back home that day. I had set up a bed in the den, as my niece has my guest room. But, I was afraid, afraid of not being able or ready to hold my boundaries,,,and what the hell were they anyway? I was afraid, that if he did this because he was jealous of my best friend/family member, than how could I ever rekindle and build friendships? I was afraid, what if he drank? Will he do it again? I told him via Facebook that I thought we shouldn’t live together for a few months; but he wanted to come home, and he does pay the bills. Then the fear, anxiety and panic was relieved when I learned the prosecutor wants to speak to me before deciding penalty and the court  is continued to November 19th, with still no contact.

These past few weeks I have processed and over processed. Gratefully, I have a few month more to process and really absorb the reality.

The reality though I’ve only been able to see glimpses of it leaves me with so many mixed emotions, but mainly just terribly sad.



Second Chances

I want to thank all of you for your heartfelt support and responses to my post, My boyfriend hit me. 

I am deeply grateful for the concerns, comments and love I received.

It’s been two months since I wrote that post.

Now I write about Second Chances; but,

before our defensive hearts get in an uproar, let me explain.

First and foremost, the first weekend after our incident, I had my brother-in-law come stay with us, for emotional support and safety.

During that time, we all decided as a family, that safety was not an issue. My very remorseful and sad boyfriend was not (and is not) a violent person.

My boyfriend broke down and cried harder than I ever heard a man cry. He could not believe nor understand what he had done.

He implored for forgiveness.

My heart forgave, because I knew his actions were not him; but, my head could not forget, and I remained distant.

After my brother-in-law left, I stayed in the guestroom with my daughter, and continued with the idea that we would move as soon as we could.

My boyfriend started therapy and began opening up and talking about his feelings.

After many heart-to-heart conversations, my mind agreed with my heart, and I saw the potential of a second chance.

Despite his inability to process and express his emotions; he is a giving, dedicated, faithful and honorable man.

I evaluated our relationship and considered the facts.

1) The fact that my boyfriend actually hit me. This fact alone was nearly impossible to move beyond; especially because of my history of abusive relationships.

2) The fact that my boyfriend was aware of my past and broke this major boundary anyway.

3) I then compared with the fact that other than this incident; my boyfriend does not display typical abusive characteristics; such as, being verbally abusive, demeaning and/or controlling. In my experience these behaviors have been associated with abusive people.

4) The fact that he immediately sought professional help and shows a desire to improve his communication.

5) The fact that when we met, we connected on so many levels and thrived on the thought of being a team for life.

6) The fact that both my daughter and I love and trust him.

7) The fact that almost everyone deserves a second chance.

Weighing all of the facts; I am giving him that chance.

The fact that I had to confront many deep fears and anxieties to give him that chance; provided an unexpected healing in myself.

I believe just the words, second chance can stir emotions in anyone that has experienced pain. Many of us have given too many chances to people who were undeserving.

One fact outweighs them all, and I have made it very clear to my boyfriend;

He will never get a second second chance.













My boyfriend hit me :,-(

crying photo: Crying Angel CryingAngel2.jpg

All my relationship fears were confirmed last Thursday when my boyfriend finally raised his hand to me and hit me in the head.

We’ve been together for over 2 years. He is a very good man in so many ways. There were a few incidents that made me wonder in the beginning. The first year we were together he didn’t call his mom on mother’s day. I thought it was terrible; especially having lost my own mother. Then he didn’t go to his sister’s birthday party. These things seem small, but I worried. I had read somewhere along the way to be careful of dating someone who doesn’t have good outside relationships with friends, family, etc., I am happy to see that those bonds did strengthen the time we were together; but, I still saw a disconnection in him.

There was a side to him that only came out a few times that scared me. An angry, hateful and childish side and only came out if he had too much to drink. The first incident, we argued and he took a large knife into the bathroom and threatened to kill himself. I was mortified. My daughter was coming home from Alaska that week and all I could think is, what if she were here. He begged for forgiveness and swore he would never do it again. There were a few times after he drank and got ugly, but nothing major until right before we moved into this house in December. The night before our moving date, he made fun of my PTSD (from abuse) and pushed me “accidentally” into the door and the doorknob bruised my back. Again my daughter wasn’t there. I had written it off because we both drank and were emotional about moving, etc., In the back of my mind, I hoped that moving together into a big beautiful house might make everything better. It didn’t.

The past six months I’ve been stressed and unhappy in my relationship; but, I continued to work on myself. I learned to give myself emotional support and encouragement. I learned to care for myself but I still wanted recognition. Sometimes being in the same room with him hurt, because the silence was deafening. I rationalized and looked at all the good qualities he has, and there are many. He is an excellent provider. He kissed me every morning before he left for work and everyday when he came home. We were a good team in so many ways. I thought the rest would come. The emotional connection would develop over time.

Last Thursday changed everything. We had only a few glasses of wine. He was grumpy, but when I asked him what was wrong, he said nothing. When I said, “whatever”, he said, “exactly.” It was obvious something was wrong; but instead of talking it just festered. We continued to bicker. I said something about my therapist, and he made fun of me. I asked why he didn’t give me any support on my blogging, he made fun of that too. He finally reached his breaking point and got up grabbed my head shook it and hit me in the side of it before he walked away.

(pause to cry)

Sad to say, but I have been through this before and he knows that I have. He knew this is the one thing that would seal our fate. The next morning he begged for forgiveness; but there’s no going back after that. He swears that isn’t him and he will never do it again; but, the truth is, that it is a part of him that he needs to heal. He says he will get help and go to therapy and I sincerely hope he does so he can live a healthy whole life; but, I can’t take the chance of living under the same roof while he does. I have to make sure my daughter and I are safe. I don’t have the energy to work on this with him, AND heal myself AND raise my daughter. He says he made the mistake of his life that night. Sometimes good people do bad things. It’s what a person does after that makes them who they are.

Who knows what the future will bring. After I move out and he goes to therapy, we will both be beginning new lives. My therapist gave me rules and one of them is no dates or contact for three months after I move. She also gave me the rule no physical contact; but, we held each other and cried. Neither one of us understands what happened. We just know what we have to do.



Letting Go (poem)

 Letting go 
of anger and shame,
the self-made demons
and inflicted pain.
Letting go
of self beatings
and all the abuse.
Letting go
of memories
I no longer need to use.
Letting go
of all who have hurt me.
Letting go
to be free.
letting go
of gratitude and compassion,
or my ability to love another.
letting go
of the gift and responsibility
of being a mother.
Or the lessons and spirit
of my own mother.
Letting go with grace.
Letting go to embrace…
the present moment,
myself and my destiny.
the part of me
that has suffered so,
a helpless prisoner
in my soul.
I embrace
to allow her,
to just