Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Why Children Need Mindfulness Training


Friday, April 4, 2014

My Body

I was born without a body. I was just a large head with limbs I controlled like a one of those huge, yellow machines on construction sites from inside my head. As a child I sat just behind the eyes of my head and looked out into chaos that was my world. It was very noisy in my head with confusing and demeaning words that spun webs of silence that got caught in my throat and made talking impossible. My words turned to dust. For many days in elementary school I did not talk and no one noticed. When my ears heard things no child should hear or when my eyes saw something that no child should see, I would shrink just a little more until I was so small that I was afraid the head would sneeze me out of my own nose. But, despite all that, I liked my head. I knew how to use my head to combat the terror that was always waiting to gobble me up. I invented another me in my head. The other me was super tough and I would send her in to take the physical and sexual abuse. She came to be called Danger Girl. She visits me sometimes even now when I am really, really overwhelmed or seeing-red angry.
Navigating the world from behind my eyes was difficult and left me vulnerable to the evils of the world. At 14 I was orally raped by an employee of my father’s business and three years after that I was raped by a man I babysat for. By then, I was trying to make even my head disappear with marijuana, methamphetamines, and alcohol. I barely graduated from high school, skipping school to get high or drunk on a regular basis. I smoked cigarettes from the age of 12 and hung out with potheads, druggies and burnouts. I dated bad boys and could be talked into or lured into almost anything with a six pack of beer or a couple of pills. Danger Girl was wildly reckless by the time I was learning to drive. Shortly after graduation, my best friend and I hopped a Greyhound bus at the Western Auto bus station in Kent and rode it all the way  to Florida to live on the beach or something like that. All the time my body was non existent. Shame washed over me all the time then and I was so disconnected from my physical being that I didn’t need to hate my body. It just wasn’t there.
We were back in Kent by the next year. Many fuzzy years past and I parted ways with that crowd. Drugs, being the liars that they are, eventually failed to numb the pain and I left them behind as well,
I finally grew a body when I was 33 years old and was pregnant for the first time. My body shifted and stretched in ways that fascinated me. I rubbed my bulging tummy and felt giddy with the feeling of it. My breasts bulged into a whole new shape. I would stand in front of a mirror and gaze at my new body trying to understand it never quite believing it was actually my body I was seeing.  My amazement of my pregnant body was the same for my second and my third child.
Do I have body issues today? Of course. I am 48 and live in the United States and I carry some pretty deep invisible scars. Today, I fight every day against the darkness that is Major Clinical Depression. But most days I have hope--something that can’t been seen from inside my head but something that is felt in my body.