Journal

climbing rose (chains V)

67.climbing rose

…I don’t really want to write right now. I want to distract myself instead, though I know that’ll lead to trouble later, as would hiding and isolating. Therefore…this might be my best option.

I had the thought to talk about my new friend with my confessor, so I brought it up today when he was helping me with my car. In retrospect, it was probably unwise to talk about it when he’s trying so hard to get the caliper off a wheel, then the rotor, and the overall design of the car was frustrating him to no end (though happily a couple other guys came over, and he was able to have someone better to bounce thoughts/ideas off of, my knowledge on cars being limited). Otherwise, I believe he’d most likely would’ve handled the topic with more care. Not that he was unkind, of course; just not able to care about it quite as much as I would’ve liked.

It probably didn’t help, too, that he was dressed in lay clothes to keep the grease off his clerics, and his lay clothes happened to be almost identical to what my older brother wears; my brother, while of course did/does care to some degree, didn’t really have much care to offer when I would talk to him about such emotional things, at least in the recent past (though maybe not anymore?*). That may have been a trigger. Thinking about my brother made me think of my family, only worsening my feelings.

A/N: My brother recently exchanged some emails with me, inquiring about Thanksgiving (most likely at the behest of our mother). He took my short refusal well, it seemed; accepting instead of arguing. The short conversation we had gave me a similar hope as my sister’s letter did; maybe our parents are losing their hold on them. Interestingly, I also asked about his going out of state (as mother claimed in that email) only to find out that wasn’t true. My brother asked who told me such a thing, and I didn’t say; I didn’t think he’d believe me that mother would lie to try and trick me into going over there. I didn’t think she’d go that far, but then, maybe that’s what I should’ve expected.

In short: wrong place, wrong time, or maybe even a perfect storm.

It hurt much more than I thought it would, at least how that bit of conversation went. Maybe it’s because it’s such a sensitive topic for me, between all that stuff I went through to just this being the first time something like this has happened in my life. I tried to reason with myself about it, thinking, taking in those logical factors as to why that didn’t get the results I hoped for, but the hurt didn’t go away. I almost immediately felt very withdrawn in myself, and isolated, even as the mood picked up. I’m sure he would’ve cared more if I didn’t try bringing up such a thing then, at least.

I guess I’m worried about how fast things seem to be going, in terms of my emotions, for the guy at work. It’s confusing. I just look at him now like he’s the most wonderful, gentlemanly, handsome person ever, even though we’re not dating or anything yet. Although we’ve gotten to know each other more in the past month, I still don’t really know too much about him, and he doesn’t really know too much about me.

So why do I feel the way I do?

Is it just chemistry? Is there this much attraction, and affection from the start? Is it right, or wise, to care about someone this much so quickly? What if this makes me go too fast into our relationship than what’s smart for either of us? What if I get too attached? Almost every time, I’d get attached to someone deeply, whether as a sister, brother, father, friend, mentor, whatever, and almost every time I got my heart broken. What would happen to me if that happened this time? What if it turns out he’s not as trustworthy as I think him to be? What if…what if……

…My confessor likes to tell me, “Don’t worry.” He said it twice to me today, and as I joked how that’s his favorite thing to say to me, he joked back, “It wouldn’t be if you’d start listening!”

I know I overthink things. I’m not sure if that’s a natural tendency for me, or as a result from my abuse. Nature vs. nurture, not sure which is it. I’m also a huge mother-hen, hovering over my confessor in worry that he’d hurt himself even though he’s been doing this for years.

The saints often say, “Don’t worry,” and the line “Do not be afraid,” shows up in the Bible about 365 times. I know I was definitely groomed to worry a lot, have a trained response of distress when something goes wrong.

Not worrying was known as being “lazy” to my family, or alternatively, “not caring/loving”. My father would talk about how mother would “light a fire under him” as motivation, used the fear of him hurting/dying to form in me unhealthy worries and attachments since I was 6. Mother would often say, after she verbally beat me, “If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t care enough to say anything!”

Love was never really in the equation. Just fear, fear, and more fear to chain me.

The country seems pretty afraid, too. There’re violent riots, and professors giving their students leeway to “cope”. I find it pretty revictimizing, both in my experiences with PTSD/trauma, and from my memories of the 9/11 terrorist attack. That was a nationally traumatic event, and yet we still went to school, didn’t riot, etc. In respect of my personal experiences, I wrote on social media a request for people to stop using PTSD terms when not in reference to PTSD (“triggers”, “safe words”, etc.). All sides have been using that language, either as a way to put another side down, or as a way to get what they want. It didn’t sit well with me. It never did, no more than the constant use of violent/sexual verbiage in modern language does.

I’ll admit I did vote for the president-elect, though, mostly as a (very slightly) lesser of two evils. I wasn’t at all happy about it. I hope that next election, we can do away with this system in favor of talk and reason to find the best solution for everyone’s concerns, and just picking between two equally good candidates working for those best solutions. I also hope that next time there wouldn’t be all this fear and chaos. Ironic that the former president was the one to say what others have already said, that whatever we align/identify ourselves with, we’re still all Americans.

I really do want to just hide. I’m worried about this country, worried about these new feelings and affection I have, just worried, worried, worried. I feel like when I was younger, hiding in my bathroom so I could sleep in a brightly lit place with a door I’m always allowed to lock. I used to do that often; I’d just take my pillow, my doggie Taffy, and sleep on towels and/or bathrobes. Of course, now I just hear mother screaming and trying to break down said door when I tried to hide from her in there…

…This isn’t helping. Hiding won’t help.

I wish I could remember something my confessor said about fear that helped…oh yes: “Fear does terrible things to us. It locks us up inside.” St. Augustine also said, “Fear is the enemy of Love.” Sounds about right (thank goodness I had the thought to write down these things for future reference).

By way of algebraic thought, looking at these things, it stands to reason that the answer to fear is love. What does love look like right now? When I felt scared and triggered some nights ago when my feelings for the my new friend got mixed with those of my uncle abusing me, I grabbed my rose-scented rosary. Maybe that might help. I know rose is used for anxiety among many other healthful benefits, whether as a scent, tea, water infusion, or rosehips (the resulting fruit). It soothes pain, helps skin, is an antidepressant, etc. I wore rosy pink today and yesterday the same way priests do once every Advent/Lent, to call to mind joy.

It’s funny, as I think on it; roses are kind of considered a classic or a cliché, especially red ones. Again, I learned yesterday how roses are America’s flower, which felt fitting since in flower language, one can learn that red roses mean things like “courage” and “victory” along with the more well-known meaning of romantic love.

Roses also show up all over the Church and her Saints. St. Terese of Liseux is famous for sometimes answering prayer intentions by way of roses, and Mary is often seen with roses herself. Every rosary said is believed to send a rose to Mary in heaven, and when we get there, she will show you the roses you sent her. I’d wonder about the quality or color of roses I’d find in my garden I planted for her, if that’s true. I imagine some of them being dry/dead, as I’ve certainly said some rosaries with less care than I probably ought to have. Different colors of roses meaning different things, I wonder how many were white for purity, red for courage, blue for wisdom and/or faith, pink for gratitude, etc. I wonder how many there are period; are they a good amount or not?

As I think on it, roses seem to be a pretty big part of my life. Roses are the birthflower for my confessor and my new friend for one thing, both being people I care about significantly (though obviously in two very different ways). They seem symbolic of my life in general, from the blossoms to the thorns. I often received roses, mostly from my father. I also gave roses often, yellow ones being my mother’s favorite (which I’ll admit to appreciating the irony of one of its main meanings is “platonic love”; perhaps that’s part of why she tore up and trashed my last offering of those flowers).

Most of the meanings for roses have to do with love of some kind, be it charitable, friendly, romantic, or familial. I don’t have any roses around my home, though the red/pink ones there remind me of them from the rosy color. I could maybe add them to my flowery painting I talked about yesterday; I actually hadn’t painted the flowers yet, and the leaves I painted are more like those of climbing roses than ivy, my original idea.

There was something on my social media feed recently, I think said by Abraham Lincoln (and don’t I just wish he could be brought back to lead us now), “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” I also read how complaining literally hurts your brain, and I’m sure worrying like I have been is not much better. Healing or harm, roses or thorns…is that what it all boils down to? Choosing between worry and love? It probably would do more healing than harm to paint on those roses, and to otherwise care for myself tonight so I can better care for others tomorrow.

I know I wouldn’t have been able to come to this conclusion had I not had the mind to write about it. People would often say complaints are not the same as counsel. My confessor, when I apologized for bringing up such a topic to him, did as he often did, and said the apology wasn’t necessary; “I know you’re just processing things.” That’s an act of care right there. Maybe my immediate feelings were not as in line with reality as I thought.

Sometimes, I wonder whether or not it was good of me to share things I’d talk about with my confessor, doctor, or friends here for anyone to read…that’s partially why I didn’t share this blog with very many people at all. Sometimes, I’d wonder how they would feel about it, even if I don’t name names and try to be pretty vague when it comes to these others I’d mention. A friend would also suggest that I write in a more public manner than I already am, like to newspapers, or even books.

I’m kind of caught between wanting to spread the truth as much as I could, to fearing the consequences when I do. I’m sure many victims/survivors of abuse know this feeling. I can’t tell if this is fear, or what my doctor would call prudence, a virtue. Hopefully that’ll make more sense soon.

In the meantime, time to make like a climbing rose, and climb out of those dark fears with something recuperating.

Before I close, I wanted to share one last quote that, interestingly, showed up in my feed today:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable.
Love anything, and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in the casket, safe, dark, motionless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
To love is to be vulnerable.”
The Four Loves (C.S. Lewis)

It made me sad when I read it; it makes sense, perhaps more than I wish it did. Reading it now, though…there’s a strange hope that comes up inside. It comes from knowing that, instead of hiding, I wrote. Is writing, on this blog or otherwise, therefore a form of love?

I dearly hope so. There’re thorns to be sure, though hopefully someone finds flowers here, too.

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