The old woman who lived in the house obviously hadn’t cleaned while she lived there. The mouse and rat droppings vacuumed up. The appliances required three applications of cleaner and sound scrubbings before they quit running mud. But, the floors! Oh! The floors!
My right shoulder went from aching to burning and my right wrist began to get weak, so I switched hands. I laid my body weight into the scrub brush, desperately trying to lift the black from the linoleum.
That night I barely slept. I couldn’t roll onto my left shoulder without being awakened by sharp pain.
I soaked in Epsom salts and essential oils. I iced the shoulder. I diligently performed gentle stretches. But, the pain persisted and I was unable to lift anything with my left arm. I first had to lift items with my right arm and then transfer them to my left to carry them.
On my regularly scheduled chiropractic appointment the doctor couldn’t get my upper back to release. The pressure his hold was placing on my left shoulder caused me to seize up and resist him.
I asked Doc what I should tell the massage therapist needed worked on the most. He responded, “I’m going to talk to him.”
I didn’t think that sounded good.
The massage therapist worked and worked on my shoulder, pointing out the striatians of adhesions visible just under my skin. I knew that meant the ox bone tool was coming. After stretching, manipulating, and massaging the shoulder girdle, he rubbed an ointment onto my skin and began scraping the old and deep scar tissue, breaking it up in order to free the left side of my body.
I fought tears.
The pain was intense, and it was hard at times to catch my breath. Then, he’d move to another spot, and I could talk and even joke.
He wants to see me back in a week. There’s more work to do on that shoulder.
As I stood at the payment/scheduling window, I could feel the sting of tears building up and heat flushing my face. I wanted to burst into an open bawl. Not from the physical pain this time, but from the emotions that had been locked up in that tightened muscle memory. A pathway had been opened, and those old wounds wanted to flow out. Out my eyes and down my cheeks.
My massage therapist asked if I needed to throw up.
We discussed the powerful mind/body connection, and I shared that I was aware that just saying the word “control”caused me to tighten up and pull my shoulders forward. I wanted to control my pain and my reaction to it, and my body responded accordingly.
As I drove home, crying and praying out loud, I was keenly and suddenly aware I can’t fix it. I can’t fix anything. I can’t fix my ruined childhood. I can’t fix my promiscuous past. I can’t fix my broken children. I can’t fix others’ perception of me.
I can’t control my painful experiences by fixing them to appear better than what they were.
I could not and did not give my children a better experience by being the opposite of my own mother. A clean home, an emphasis on education, and home cooked meals didn’t fix the dysfunction of our family life. My children still ended up beaten, molested, raped, and neglected. It wasn’t my mother’s slovenly habits that allowed those things to happen to me.
Working out to the point of pulling ligaments and giving myself a hernia didn’t keep my husband faithful. Being thin didn’t fix his infidelity.
Graduating community college, securing a good job, and building a successful business didn’t provide us with security. A steady cash flow didn’t fix my husband’s spending and addictions. It didn’t fix his lack of responsibility.
Sewing for my children, planning creative parties, raising farm animals, attending church, providing extracurricular activities…..none of it fixed the gigantic holes in my heart or the scars to my body. Nor those of my children.
After all of the exhaustive running and doing and trying, nothing got fixed. I was beaten, starved, molested, and denied medical care as a very little girl. Nothing can fix that. It didn’t magically go away because I ran my daughter to horse riding lessons.
I was brutally raped by a “friend.” All of the sleeping around and breaking up with boys didn’t fix that. It didn’t erase the memory.
My husband beat me, choked me, raped me, sodomized me, and tried to kill me. All of the crafting and home schooling and canning didn’t fix what he had done to me. My attempts at being the quintessential homemaker didn’t provide me with a loving marriage.
Texting my adult children constantly and sending them care packages doesn’t make up for my failure to protect them as children. I can’t fix their very real pain and resentment by accepting whatever lifestyle they choose now. Being the cool mom to my 20 somethings doesn’t mend their brokenness nor does it erase my guilt.
I can’t fix it.
What’s done is done. This is our reality. It’s ugly. It’s harsh. It’s socially unacceptable. But, it’s our reality. It’s what we’ve known and what we’ve lived. Nothing done today can fix yesterday.
So, I laid it on Christ today. I tacked it to His cross. I may have to do that everyday as more scar tissue gets exposed. But, it’s His and His alone to fix.
I’m off now to teach my children. Not because I want to prove to anyone I’m a good mom but simply because I enjoy the look of accomplishment on their faces. And, they enjoy being home educated. They are pleased I’ve chosen to continue with it in spite of being single and working. That’s my pay off.
I’ll make cookies and home made soup later on to go with the homemade whole wheat biscuits I made and froze last week. Not because that’s what good Christian wives and mothers do but because I love to cook and I really love to eat.
I’m also going to sew pillows for the sofa if I have time this afternoon. Not because I can’t wait to post pictures to Facebook and get approval for my craftiness. It’s simply that I want my things to match and this is cheaper. And, I’d like to have those little projects done before I start community college next week. This time I’m not going in order to please my mother or to fix what others think of me. This time I’m going to learn the skills necessary to do what I want with my life.
Even that is up in the air though. I can’t fix the mess of my divorced, lonely, post abuse life by returning to school. Only Christ can fix any of this. It’s beyond my control. It always has been.