A not so normal journey to find and heal your inner self…
Today is my son’s 25th birthday. The above quote is a fitting testimony, not only to the staying power of my son – who was written off as dyslexic, partly Aspergers, non-verbal learning disordered, sensory integration disordered, ADHD, and so on – at 9 years old by a doctor who thought I should institutiionalize him….but also to me as a mother and a person for staying with him during his life, for not abandoning him or giving up on him, and for teaching him to stay his own course.
You know, Ben Affleck is a guy who has stayed with himself and his mission. And his course in life, and last night he started off his speech kind of manic but then ended up saying something absolutely beautiful. Ok Ben, even though I’m pretty sure you had a wig on last night – you are very very very very cool. Especially because of what you did and said tonight.
I was thinking today about a concept that I learned about in the past year – a concept called Learning to Stay.
What is Learning to Stay? Well it is about not giving up – not being somewhere else – not retreating (too far) into your addictions or obsessions….and staying. Staying with yourself, staying with your kids, staying with your family. Not disappearing.
As a survivor of shock and trauma you do often find yourself (or your soul or whatever) wanting to be outside of your body. Wanting to pop out, as I sometimes say.
Among many other things, I find myself trying to work with my brother and father to figure out what to do with my younger brother, who finds himself in a mental institution right now, having committed a string of crimes (after going off his meds and then just drinking). Well, I don’t blame him for wanting to be normal. To be very very honest to my small group of followers — my younger brother Bob was sexually abused – molested by a priest and then by our other brother who was also molested by someone – maybe a priest, maybe a neighbor, probably both. So, Bob then became sexually transfixed on me – and inapprorpriately proceeded to sexually stalk me when I was a teen. Yes, I know, it’s a difficult thing to talk about.
Don’t worry – I’m fine. I am not a molester – and I am not an incest survivor. I was stalked. I want to be clear about that because my supposed best friend from high school acutally was suspicious once about me taking her two little girls for a walk – because she feared that as a supposed incest survivor I would become an incest abuser. Okkkkk. Yeah. Right. No, that’s not the case.
My brother never touched me but he was fixated on me. Let’s just leave it at that. Anyway. My dad and mom struggled for years to find a solution as to what to do with my insane – alchoholic, sexually inappropriate brother. And they broke up over what to do with him. But – I had to maintain my distance because he’s well, still convinced that it was all my fault for being too sexy – even though I was always always covered up with bathrobes, slippers, etc.
And it wasn’t my fault that I had a body like Raquel Welsh. Whatever — the guy’s supposed to be my brother. I mean, he is my brother.
Anyway, despite all the crap he put me though – which we can detail some other time – I now have to guide my older brother and dad as to what to do with the 49 year old ‘kid’. I believe he is Aspergers and a bunch of other stuff like – manic depressive, psychotic, and alchoholic. For a start. So – in order for my dad to finally have peave after like 39 years of dealing with Bob’s ‘shit’ – I have to get my older brother to guide the officials as to what to do with him.
My therapist – suggested I become his guardian until I reminded her that he was my stalker. Oh yea, that might not be a good idea. My therapist – is wonderful – and I may have not even gotten to that part of my life yet after two years with her, because, of course, I have been dealing with the other aspects of my traumatized life.
But – learning to stay? What does that mean? Well, what it means is never ever ever ever ever giving up. My son is 25 today. When he was 9 years old he was dyslexic, ADHD, sensory integration dysfunctional, non-verbal learning disorder, and basically – kind of a crazy little mad man. But he was so incredibly wonderful and special and as a mom, I knew there was a productive wonderful kid inside there. He truly is the AGAINST ALL ODDS kid.
Perhaps it was because of my brother that I didn’t want to give up on my son.
Maybe it was because my father has the staying power and that integrity that you wish most fathers had, but most do not.
I think, really, that when the psyciatrist told me that at 9 I should put my son in a school for behaviorally challenged children….and I said no. That is Learning to Stay. I stayed with my son.
At 18 he developed seizure disorder from a head injury from a fight. He struggled with work phobias and his life took a very different trajectory than he would have had. But – my son – graduated college with an engineering degree. He got the first job that he interviewed for. He beat the heck out of the CFO for a raise in six months and hes doing incredibly at his new job. He has a beautiful girlfriend, and he is healthy, responsible and a wonderful, young man.
What does this have to do with? THis has to do with learning to stay. My dad taught me this. I learned it. And I passed it on to my son.
We stay because we want to. We don’t give up or give in. We all have that power within us. I am grateful to the traumas that I have endured, because they have made me more prepared and more resolute for the rest of what life has in store for me.
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