While watching Oprah yesterday I was able to see how another girl is working to make sense of her abuse by her father. Although she also has to come to terms with her actions of killing him, she spent 18 years in prison.

In prison she had no therapy, no help to sort this all out. I am not sure where she is today, for she seemed confused.

What a mess this all is, there are relationships mixed in with abuse, and love clashing up against abuse, a child’s body being assaulted while the mind struggles to maintain the image of kindness while hiding the terror, a child threatened into silence and submission, unseen by the mother.

Her nightmare began at 8. She remembers her mother asking him, and him denying, she remembers her father telling her there was no where to go that her mother knew and would not stop it. She grew to resent her mother more for not stopping him. In fact when her parents got a divorce when she was 12 she chose the father, for she felt her father loved her more! Insanity at best!

Her confusion makes sense to me. How she was able to see two men, not just a father. That she would hate her mother for allowing this mess. Somehow we feel that the mother should be able to stop this, to get the children to a safe place, we don’t expect the man to stop, and we know that we are unable to make it stop, so we look to her. When she continues on in a so-called normal way we are left alone in this mess.

Ignoring becomes just as bad as the one who is molesting it becomes a dance between all involved, a dance in a vortex of insanity! Her silence seals the space allowing this to happen her non-action says we matter not.

She said that it is abuse again to be asked why she allowed it to happen. Why she didn’t reach out and try to do something. Why she felt she had to Kill him, instead of going for help. Again, they ask the child, ask her to be the one to stop the madness!

We get left in an 8 year old emotional bankrupt body. Our body does hold all our emotions, the fear, the terror, the anger, the neglect, the worthlessness. And in that bankrupt state you want us to do what? Please?

Yet how can we tell you, how can we articulate what we have to struggle through, how we are mentally incapable of knowing what is normal, for we never had normal. No normal for us. No parent looking out for our wellness, our safety, making sure we were loved and cared for, nope.

In a book I am reading “Art is the Way of Knowing” by Pat B. Allen. “Art Therapy seems like a passport out of the dark swirling waters of my river.”

She was told to paint her dreams as vividly as possible, to then write about what the painting was saying.

As she did this she learned about parts of herself that was hidden, the fears, the blockages, the unspoken and unheard parts. She was painting and finding her voice.

It seems to me, that by doing Art in whatever form, by writing it out and letting the words flow, we can slowly but surely gain the ground of sanity. We can get ahead of the swirling river, perhaps ride the surface, knowing what lay beneath us respecting it and giving reverence to it, but not being affected daily by it.

They say that the bottom of the river is dark, murky, slow moving, and the surface is clearer. I agree. In my world, the emotions are the river sometimes we dip deep and get lost for a while in dark pain, but then slowly raise to the surface.

How to explain to those who have only skirted around on the surface what the deep dark waters hold, the emotions, the pain, the terror, how they all leave you beaten and worthless inside. How?

Many live only in the dark waters, some get left below never to float in the sunshine of normalness, in the flow of nature, some are bottom dwellers forever.
When you see a person who has struggled to the surface, it may be best not to ask why it took them so long, how come they didn’t stop the darkness when it wasn’t their creation, perhaps it would be best to listen, to learn and applaud the swim upwards.

We swim in starts and stops, in lunges and in retreats, in fear and then in terror of being sucked back down, we try to rise upward towards the light of hope, it takes a lot of courage to swim away from them. They hold our love, our dreams, our hope, our self-esteem no matter how small, the little seeds of love get left behind, we swim alone.

It is only once we reach the surface that we see really see clearly where it was we were, until then you are asking one who lived in the dark forever, what the sunshine is like!

And it seems to me hopeless to ask why we didn’t arrive on the surface earlier, why it took us so long, the endless questions we too would love answers to. All I can say, is I am here now. I am here.

We can only share our experiences of living in the dark, and then how we were called to make towards the Light. It is a journey of a million sorrows, one that you travel alone. Some make it part way, others seem to go the distance, some never attempt to leave, we don’t know why.

I just will forever live in reverence to those who get left in the deep dark waters, and be grateful that I am one of the few to break the surface into a whole new reality.

“We are all great rivers flowing to the sea.” A line in a Rumi poem I believe.

The river inside of you has many levels. I found that mine is rather deep, with cascading waterfalls perilous to traverse, to swirling rapids to glistening sparkles on the calm surface.

We are all great rivers flowing to the sea….