Fortress of Solitude

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There has always been an urge in me to find my fortress of solitude wherever I have landed.

 

As a child, it was on top of a rock down a gully towards the creek in our backyard.  The trees surrounding the rock permitted just enough space for a stream of sunlight to break through and spotlight directly on the rock.  I believed that when I sat on the rock I was invisible to everything except for G-d.  It was my direct contact with G-d and protection from the world.  I would sit there for hours, daydreaming, reading, drawing, playing barbies etc.  Occasionally I fell asleep there until the sunlight stretched itself out of range and I could hear my mother calling me back to the house.

 

When we moved to Germany, my bedroom balcony became my fortress.  It was a shared balcony with my sister’s room.  She never came outside to use the balcony, so I claimed it as my own and remained unchallenged for the duration.  The balcony looked out onto our small sloped garden and a wild hill.  At the top of the hill was a nursing home with balconies for residents.  Sometimes one of these older people would wave if I looked their way.  It always seemed to me that they were angels looking down to see what was happening in the world. They appeared other-worldly and therefore did not feel like an interruption to my solitude, but rather an integral part of it like the sky or a ceiling of protection.

 

Returning to the USA, we moved back into the house we left.  I had a room to myself by then because my sister left for college.  The rock I left behind was now covered with overgrown woodland plants.  The trees were much larger and unable to allow space for the sunlight to pass through onto the same spot as before.  My fortress relocated to the now massively overgrown willow tree at the top of the gully’s entrance.  I kissed a boyfriend there once and felt sad that I had breached my fortress’s solitude.  Of course, I enjoyed the activity.  What I did not enjoy was having opened the space to someone who clearly did not have the same reverence.

 

Moving on to college, I lost my ability to establish a space for myself.  Everything was geared towards this forced temporary instantly intimate community at all times in all places and all spaces.  It was too much for me and I believe was a pivotal point in my health, due in part to the lack of solitude.

 

I developed my own portable fortresses.  Headphones, disc player, books, weight, etc  to now phone, earbuds, laptop, books, foldable sport chair with cover!  Anything to help me disappear.

 

Events in my childhood, and adulthood propelled me to have this drive.  I’m sure that a few of you can guess those kinds of events: sensory sensitivities, molestation, rape, emotional abuse, blah blah blah, hotel stalker tried to purchase me as a bride when I was 12 (the stories of so many of us).

 

Exploring how to carve out healthy spaces for myself is another area that matches with my boundary works.

 

My foldable chair with lid is blue – like the frozen tundra of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.  I like it and register your surprise at that, if you know me and know that I detest blue furniture for myself.  But this isn’t real furniture.  Plus, FORTRESS of SOLITUDE.  Well, it’s more of a safety blanket, really.  So, I should call it “Linus’s Friend” instead. Nope, that does not have the same impact, even though I love Linus.  Superman for the win!

 

When you see me with my chair at the pool, park, games, concerts, etc it does not mean that I do not want to engage with you.  I like you (except Green Lantern)! It gives me a defined space to be, that’s all.  I am a work in progress using the tools I have available to me and I like having something in common with a superhero, even if he is the enemy of Mr. Batman.

 

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

 

Shame and Blame Game

helping-others-quotes-no-one-is-useless-in-this-world-who-lightens-the-burdens-of-another

 

I am responsible to and for myself

 

Wow

 

Taking this from a shame and blame perspective into an empowering movement or lifestyle for oneself, is difficult.

 

If you are already feeling like you cannot make good decisions, and cannot define who or what you are, how do you embrace this in a healthy manner?

 

It reminds me a bit of

G-d will only give you what you can handle

These challenges are the universe speaking to you and sending you valuable lessons

When a door is closed, a window opens

Take a break, you deserve it

 

I am not sure that I am swallowing any of it.

I do feel that we have a certain responsibility to ourselves and each other.

I think that the ‘each other’ part might be more important.

Especially if you are depressed, or have ptsd, or facing some horrid situation in life.

 

I know the analogy of putting on your oxygen mask first on the airplane, so that you can help others, because if you do not, there’s a good chance both of you will asphyxiate.  I see this as taking care of ‘each other’ too – it’s the motivation for putting on your mask, so that you can help others.

 

When you are moving through a tragedy (death of a loved one, abuse, severe illness, loss of lifestyle etc), you can find yourself in a place where you truly cannot see your value beyond taking the next breath or the next step or changing the next diaper, preparing the next meal.

You just go on, because life goes on.

You go on because other people are depending on you to go on, or clean the bathroom, or cook the food, or show up to the soccer game.

You are doing those things because of a responsibility to others. 

 

I believe in a loving G-d, universal spirit of connectedness.  G-d doesn’t give you anything to handle, nor does he take away based on what you can handle.

Suffering is an earthly condition, made so by the very experience of being alive.

If I accepted that tragedies were handed out based on G-d’s will or decision to put us to the test, I would likewise have to accept that all positive things were handed out at G-d’s will.

How can it be that G-d wills a child to be repeatedly raped and live in poverty, just to see what they can handle…  How can it be that G-d wills a violent powerful person to live a life of extreme luxury…

 

I do believe that we can take our lives experiences and learn from them, no matter how tragic.

I do not believe that the universe is sending those awful experiences to force us to learn, and will keep sending them until we learn our lesson (Whatever the f those lessons are).

This implies that one is deserving of whatever tragedy has befallen on them.  Cancer, abuse, hurricane, death of a loved one, famine, abandonment, etc.  Perhaps you can learn how to take your pain and educate others.

This gives you coping skills for your pain, not a learned lesson which then eliminates your pain or prevents other tragedies from happening in your life.

 

If life were simple enough that we could have the ability to close a door and open a window in order to move beyond trauma, we would all readily step in and open windows all over the place for our family, friends, community in crisis.

Sometimes there is no window, and the door won’t shut, and that is just that.

Every divorce with an abusive spouse and children involved, is a perfect example of no window and the door never shuts.  I

t doesn’t matter how positive a spin you put on the situation, you and your children are forced to be connected with that abuser.

There is no happy rainbow unicorn softly-clouded window opening.

Supportive community is what holds you up in this tragic room.

 

It is lovely to be able to have time and where-with-all to afford therapy, yoga classes, tai-chi group, massages, manicures, pedicures, and I do not begrudge anyone’s ability to engage in those pleasures.  If you have the opportunity, I fully support you doing all of these things and more!

They are good for your body, mind, and soul.

In return, they can be a re-charge for you to be better able to support others in your life.

However, I do not believe that anyone ‘deserves’ these things. 

You get to enjoy them because you choose to use resources that way, and it works for you.  Looking at the other side of deserving these things, it seems that then people who do not engage, are undeserving.  Or, that sometimes people deserve the opposite treatment – like being abused.

I do not believe that.

I also do not believe that the reason someone is able to afford weeks at luxury hotels and spas is because they deserve it more than someone else.  They allocate the resources available to them.  Nobody deserves to be abused, nobody deserves to be pampered. We are born where we are, in the time we are, completely by circumstance.

The ability to decide how we support each other through whatever we are faced with in our lives, if we are blessed with that ability, is what we deserve.

 

Why do we insist on explaining trauma away, rather than focusing on supporting each other and facing it together?

That is the only way to move through the experience and be healthy and able to support the next person.  You need support to be able to move through your trauma.  Your support might be family, friends, therapist, social worker, priest, AA sponsor, etc

Whomever it is, you need it.

When someone we know is experiencing a trauma, we become that support for them. 

It’s the only way. 

 

Trauma and tragedy happen every day in our lives.  Grace and miracles happen every day in our lives.  They cannot exist without each other.  Let’s not try to explain it as a part of some grand learning plan, let’s help each other live it.

 

Ugh – this whole post smacks of the shame and blame game too. {{{hugs}}}

Love, Ms. Herisme xo