I was called before the council three times in the past four moons. They are very angry. I think they will banish me. If they do, how will I survive? I’m young and have never been anywhere but here and I’ve heard many stories of bandits who rape and kill for no reason. Where will I go? I do not know of any other places except Urusalim, of course. Everyone knows about that big city. How can I get there?
I know I am going on and on but I can’t figure out what to do or how to do it. If they banish me I may never see my family again. Never feel safe again. My head is in a tangle and I can’t straighten it out. Not even my brother can help me. He knows so much more than I do because he is a boy and gets taught all kinds of things.
I am shaking so much I can’t write anymore.
Please pray for me. I do not know what will happen until the next time I write. Thank you all for listening and not pushing me away because I am young and stupid. I am stupid – they tell me that all the time.
I must go and try to work it all out. Hope to talk to you soon.
If you know anything about my country and where I might be safe getting to and living there, Please, Please, let me know. I am willing to do any work that is wanted for my keep.
Mountain of Full Moons is now available on Amazon.
My parents said it out loud, “I don’t believe in God.” I never heard that word before. Not even in the synagogue, I was once taken to when I was six where they spoke in a different language. Females had to walk up steep steps to a room where we sat and listened while the men downstairs did the praying. I was bored and wanted to be where things were happening – with the men. It was not fair and I was angry.
I don’t know if my parents always felt that way or if it was because of WW2 and the Holocaust. They decided that there couldn’t be a God because he never would have allowed it to happen, or if God was real, he was horrible for allowing six million Jews to die.
I sang a song by Richard Strauss in a concert. My Dad rushed over to me and was furious. “How can you sing that. Strauss supported Hitler”.
“Why is that important, it was twenty-five years ago. Music is about the beauty and emotion of the song, not who wrote it,” I said. His face turned red and he walked away.
Spirituality is another thing that was not spoken of as if it tainted religion. It was laughed at, derided, ridiculous, stupid and any term that fits. That idea is still so strong in me that it’s taken a whole year for me to be brave enough to pen this on my blog.
It tuned out that spirituality was a great part of my life. It happened slowly at first, creeping in unasked, and turned out to be the way for me, my path and I will forever be grateful for its gentle insistence.
Ima did not say a word about my finishing all my chores, but at least she was not mean. I guess if I want to not be in trouble, I always have to do it all. It is not like I did not know that, but I think my anger at Ima for her meanness made me angry. I think I just taught myself a lesson.
But that is not all that is going on. Did I tell you about Sandalphon? I do not think I did. He comes to me like a cloud and talks to me, tells me about life and doing a better job. I talk to him and the other day I got caught by some kids. They went home and told their parents I was talking to the air. The parents went to the Elder Council and told them and know I am in big trouble. This is not the first time this happened, but now I am older, almost thirteen seasons of growth and the whole village is talking about how to punish me.
They do not understand that he is a helper and they think I am crazy. The kids threw rocks at me yesterday. I have bruises all over my arms that I hid them from Ima. I have no say in what the council decides. Women are not allowed to attend the meetings. The council could decide to hurt me or send me out into the wilderness, never to come back.
I do not believe in God but I am asking you to pray for me.
It seems to me that I’ve been alone all my life. Even when I was surrounded by people I was alone. It was a feeling, I know that. But I also know it interfered with my life. It was not that I didn’t want to or didn’t have anything to say, but there was a strong tendency to hold back.
I don’t remember going to anyone’s house where I could play with someone or playing with anyone at home, except the neighbor’s son, Ronald. But he was a boy and didn’t play with dolls or color.
I had a hard time being close. Not with everyone, but a lot of people. It was almost as if I didn’t know how or I was so used to not speaking, that it was natural. That sounds crazy, unnatural but I spent most of my childhood that way, being shut up, and I think it became ingrained.
Those who know me would tell you the opposite. I learned how through the years to take part in any conversation and if asked a personal question, to answer it. But in those years I didn’t offer very much, as if I was on guard.
My father and mother would tell you that I didn’t shut up. I told the principal in first grade that I talked too much because I had a lot to say. And I did have a lot to say. But I had a lot more that was kept inside. Not because I wanted to, but because I didn’t know how. In my house, it was not acceptable for a child to speak unless you were spoken to. Not that my house was quiet. My parents fought all the time didn’t care who heard them. I, on the other hand, was consulted only when I had to be – what time would I be home, what movie was I going to see, and the rest of the time was filled with orders. Do this, that, or the other thing.
They fought, I listened. I don’t know what they talked about in bed at night. They were on the other side of my wall. I could hear their voices but not what they said. Thinking about it now, I wonder if they ever talked about how they felt because they never asked me. Not even once. ‘How do you feel’ was reserved for the physical. They never asked about friends, if I had any, who they were, where they lived.
Occasionally they would ask about school, but only occasionally. One of the regular orders was, ‘Do your homework,’ after the dinner dishes were put away.
My parents were not exactly approachable, and I was left to my own devices to figure out my world, to maneuver and survive in it. From the very beginning, my world was either harsh-voiced or non-existent and I hated the yelling.
I really did. All my chores. And I did it without complaining. I even did it without being asked.
I think my ima was amazed though she did not say one word. Neither did my abba, but I think they were both happy and did not want to spoil the contentment.
I must admit that I am tired. It was a lot to do at one time. Now I understand better how Ima feels. She works all day. Whether it’s making thread from the wool, or taking care of the garden, cooking the meals, making clothes on the loom, or cutting wood when Abba is away.
How will I be able to do it all when I get married. If I ever get married or even work for someone else. It leaves no time to breathe, to have fun, to sing or play the harp. It is no wonder they are always exhausted and ask me to do things for them. I never thought about that before.
Will I ever play my harp again? It hurts my heart to know it is there right next to my sleep mat and I can not touch it – unless I want a beating. That’s Ima’s way of making me behave. I still do not understand why she is mean – whether it is my fault or is just because it is. It started when I was a child.
Cannellini Beans and Spinach Salad With Mustard serves four
2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
scant 1/2 cup olive oil
6 shallots, finely chopped
1 3/4 pounds canned cannellini beans drained and rinsed
2 tbsp. chopped thyme
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
5 1/3 cups chopped spinach
salt and pepper
Combine the mustard and vinegar in a bowl and set aside. Reserve 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and heat the remainder in a wide pan. Add the shallots and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, until softened and translucent. Stir in the Cannellini bean and add the mustard-flavored vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and add the thyme, parsley, and spinach. Cook, stirring continuously until the spinach has wilted. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
I know I have been complaining a lot and I apologize. My guide says not to do that. But it’s the way I feel most of the time. He says that if I stop, my life and my outlook will change. That I will be able to do things I never thought of before.
I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what those things will be. But I can’t. They are not in the possibility of my thinking.
I tried before, but I must admit that I did not try with a full heart. I need to do better and really try. I know he is trying to help me but sometimes I think that it’s not possible. There I go complaining again. It just comes out of my mouth. It is so a part of me that I don’t know if it’s possible to stop.
My guide says I must. I should listen to him. He has been right about so many other things.
I will. It is no longer about trying. It is now about doing. Doing is now my keyword, the word that will take me forward.
Please help me by reminding me. I really want to do it. Thanks
It came to my attention that some people reading my posts are quite concerned about the effects of PTSD on me.
First, let me assure you that my ability to drive was never impaired. It was getting to where I wanted or needed to go.
Yes, my mind felt like it was stuck, my body got numb and I shook. It is also true the fear started before I left the house and sat in the car unable to figure out how to get to where I was going tough I drove it a thousand times.
PTSD demands that you relive the trauma. You don’t know how to fix it. But life can go on – it takes longer to figure things out.
Remember that I was not in a war zone and it was a year and a half ago, so things have gotten much better. Once I drive somewhere, I can now remember how to do it again.
My concern in writing this was a sort of warning to others to be careful on the road. Mine was an incident concerning only me and the car. For others, it can be much worse. Be wary. An accident can mean a long time recovery from the trauma.
BE AWARE AND TAKE CARE
More On PTSD Here is another way PTSD interferes with my life. I get up in the morning and check emails. That goes well until I see that there are three or four offers for help in the direction I need, which is social media. I click on all of them and set up my day. But it’s not that easy. How will I do them all when I have to walk my dog, work on my book, pay the bills, and grocery shop for dinner. Normally this would not be a problem. But as all this goes through my head, my body reacts. My shoulders tighten, my stomach turns over, a headache starts, my breathing quickens, my fingers don’t want to type the right letters, And, I am a mess. I try calming myself in all the ways I know how to do, from slow breathing to stretching exercises. In the end, none of it works. The worst part is that it stays with me for the entire day. It refuses to go away. It continues to wreak havoc with my day and my life. And I am left a dishrag trying to move on with my life until I climb into bed and fall asleep exhausted. The next day I find that all the things I wanted to listen to were forgotten. PTSD wins. Every time.
I am tired. Young and tired like an old bent-over woman. Life is hard and I don’t know if I want to go on. There is not one thing in my future that will bring happiness. It’s the same thing day after day. Will it change? When will I wake up and welcome the sun?
Everyone works hard. But there are other families who smile and laugh. I don’t remember the last time I did. Is it me? Is something wrong with me? Is it a sickness?
I’m sorry. I don’t mean to go on and on, but I have no one to talk to but you. Can you help? Do you know what is wrong? I really do not want to be this way, be miserable all the time. I know I will go on but how long can I keep doing this?
It is too dangerous to leave my tribe and have no one. Out in the wilderness, it can be scary. There are wild animals and bandits who rape, rob and kill. It is possible that I will not survive. And I have nowhere to go. No family or friends to welcome me.
Can I figure out a way to feel better? I want to but do not know how. All I can hope is that it will get better. I must do something, try to find a way to make it better. To laugh and play again like a child even though it can only live inside me. They do not have to know how I feel. I will try. I promise you I will try.