Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 Days of Writing -- 2014

Each year Nesting Place hosts The 31 Days Writing Challenge during the month of October. This year Heading Home is upping the ante with 31 Days of 5-Minute Free Writes. What's a girl to do?

I've decided to sort of blend the two. Can't promise only 5 minutes of writing each day, and I can't promise I'll use Kate's prompts each day either. What I do promise is to write everyday about something important to me.

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He's been out of the country 5 full days now. I've gotten to video chat most days, so I get to see his face and that's a good thing. I've gone about my business pretty well, but his absence does make the days take on a strange lack of order. No morning phone call to say hello. No lunch time check in. No call late in the day to see if he needs to pick up anything. No coming in and talking about the day while eating dinner together.

Going to bed is the toughest. I'm used to being the one to lock up and turn off the lights. Once he's in bed and his head hits the pillow, he is out. What I'm not used to is crawling into an empty bed. To sleeping all night without random noises and shifting around. I guess that's true for any couple who've been together as long as we have.

There's another aspect to it for me though. Each night as I close up the house and get into bed, a little voice in the back of my head triggers a very old warning. You can't be sure something bad won't happen tonight.

Two of the abusers chose night time as the time of attack. 

The cousin would lull me into a false sense of security and rest, sometimes sleep, before launching her brutal attacks. Once in the iron bed at my grandmother's house. Other times in her bedroom at the farm.

The man who raped me as an adult woke me in the middle of the night by touching me and kissing me, before he assaulted me (the touching/kissing were part of the assault, weren't they). 

So each night as I settle into my bed, without my husband at my side, that little voice whispers, and I try to shut it down. And I feel stupid all over again, because I know I'm safe. I know the likelihood of anything happening is almost nil.

Yesterday I talked with my therapist about it. I told her I'd tried doubling my anxiety meds. I'd tried a glass of wine before bed. She suggested camomile tea and a little yoga, but mostly she suggested kindly reminding myself that I'm not a child anymore. That I have put in place reasonable precautions -- a safe neighborhood, locked doors, an alarm system, not to mention two dogs. I am safe. I have a phone by my bed to call 911 if something were to happen. I can take care of myself, because I am not a child anymore.

But it brings back all the old fears, and then I feel stupid again for worrying. Millions of women go to bed in their own homes every night without their bodies tensing and twisting into pretzels. They sleep through the night and wake ready to face to the day. Of course most of them don't have my history -- my memories.

Last night I tried the self talk and a bit of stretching before bed. The anxiety still rose in my chest, and, yes, I woke up once in the night, but was able to go back to sleep. Deep sleep came with the rising sun (safety). But I'm up and facing the day. I'm talking about my fears, and that does seem to put them into a more realistic perspective. 

And I'm repeating a new mantra -- I am safe. I am not stupid. I can do this. 

Peace and blessings.

linking up with 31 Days of Writing

Day 1 -- see above
Day 3 -- New (Five Minute Friday)
Day 4 -- Gray Areas
Day 5 -- Learn (Five Minute Free Writes)
Day 6 -- Know (Five Minute Free Writes)
Day 8 -- Say
Day 9 -- day 9
Day 10 -- Care (Five Minute Friday)
Day 11 -- What to Do
Day 12 -- Day 12
Day 13 -- Wounds
Day 16 -- Adjust
Day 17 -- Long (Five Minute Friday)
Day 18 -- House of Mess
Day 19 -- Honor
Day 20 -- Fear 2.0
Day 23 -- Anachronism
Day 24 -- Dare (Five Minute Friday)
Day 26 -- 
Day 27 -- Keeping House
Day 29 -- Unite (Five Minute Free Writes)
Day 30 -- Juxtaposition
Day 31 -- Leave (Five Minute Friday)


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