In the Darkness of My Mind*

Deep meditation.  Breath in and out.  Focus on my breath.  Feel rooted, balanced, and centered.  Let go of anxiety, tension, and sadness.  Focus on my breathing–nothing but my breathing.

Flash–She’s two and as cute as a button.  She has the traditional Asian bowl cut, and she is standing on top of the coffee table.  As she jump offs, she shouts, “Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!”  She is beaming with pride, exuberance, and joy.

Back to my breathing.  Touch the tip of my tongue to the roof of my mouth.  Straighten my spine as I sink into the floor.  Tuck my chin and lightly close my eyes.  Remember to breath.

Flash–She’s seven.  A little plumper, but still pretty cute–though she still has the Asian bowl cut.  It’s night, and she’s lying in bed.   She is wearing a ruffled flannel nightgown.  She stares at the ceiling, trying desperately to not think, to not feel, to not see, to not cry.  Her face is blank as she clenches her hands by her side.  She retreats into a tiny corner of her mind and stays there.  It’s the only place she feel safe.

Tears spring to my eyes.  Breathe.  Focus on my breathing.  In and out.  Deep breaths.  Try not to let the tears fall as I sink deeper into the floor.

Flash–She’s eleven.  Fat, desperately unhappy, suicidal.  She has braces and ugly glasses and acne covering half her face.  She is wearing a frilly shirt that does not suit her at all.  She’s staring in the mirror, hoping to see something other than what appears.

Sink deeper into the floor.  Feel rooted, damn it.  Breathe.  Just breathe.  Let the memories come and go.

Flash–She’s seven.  A little plumper, but still pretty cute–though she still has the Asian bowl cut.  It’s night, and she’s lying in bed.   She is wearing a ruffled flannel nightgown.  It is white with little flowers dotted all over it.  She stares at the ceiling, trying desperately to not think, to not feel, to not see, to not cry.  Her face is blank as she clenches her hands by her side.  She retreats into a tiny corner of her mind and stays there.  It’s the only place she feel safe.

More tears.  I won’t let them fall.  Still trying to breathe, to root, to feel centered and balanced as the sadness and the pain washes over me.   Mercifully, meditation is over.  Next, the first section.  Do each posture and then hold it for six counts.  Preparation.

Flash–She’s sixteen.  Fat, ugly, awkward, unlovable, and unloved.  She does the unthinkable–she shouts at her father and then storms into her bedroom, slamming the door behind her.  She throws herself on her bed, wishing she were dead.   Two second later, the door flies open, and her father is screaming at her.  His face is distorted in rage as he towers over her.  She stares at him in fear, wondering if he is going to hit her.  It’s a detached fear, though, as she doesn’t much care.

Ward-off left.  Adjust.  Sink.  Hold.  Ward-off right.  Adjust.  Sink.  Hold.  Rollback.  Adjust.  Sink.  Hold.  Press.  Adjust.  Sink.  Hold.  Push.  Adjust.  Rise.  Hold.  Single whip.  Adjust.  Sink.   Hold.

Flash–She’s seven.  A little plumper, but still pretty cute–though she still has the Asian bowl cut.  It’s night, and she’s lying in bed.   She is wearing a ruffled flannel nightgown.  It is pushed up to her waist, and there is a face between her thighs.  She stares at the ceiling, trying desperately to not think, to not feel, to not see, to not cry.  Her face is blank as she clenches her hands by her side.  She retreats into a tiny corner of her mind and stays there.  It’s the only place she feel safe.

Numb.  Can’t breathe.  Let it go.  Can’t.

*I was going to write more in-depth about this, but I cannot right now.  Maybe in the next entry.  If the video won’t play, the song is Sleep, by Stabbing Westward.

9 Responses to In the Darkness of My Mind*

  1. Minna, my heart goes out to you. Thank you for being willing to share this.

    Increased circulation in Taiji means ALL kinds of circulation. Taiji practice will chip away at any blockages or stagnation. In the end, you will be healthier, stronger, more balanced for the effort, even if there are times when getting through it just SUCKS. Based on the above, you managed to get your focus back to your breath and the postures pretty well for a first try, and for not knowing that this is precisely what you should do in this situation. If you don’t always have 100% success, it’s OK too.

    And I promise that if you start crying in class, it will be OK. I’ve got your back, and I will be happy to hold your hand (figuratively or literally) if it will help you. I’m also going to do some reading to see if I can find more ideas to help.

  2. I used to get called Biggie-Smalls. I wasn’t black, or a rapper, but it stuck.

    I found myself unhappy, mostly because I could see the inequality, from a logical perspective. This is the year in my life that made me into a Liberal. If you like yourself, then you have to accept that all the crappy stuff you went through was required ingredients to make one, you! And if you don’t like yourself, well, then ain’t nothing in the world gonna help you outta that rut, ‘cept you. People suck, individuals have potential.

    Try going to the shooting range, it always helps me to find temporary focus. Its sort of like a sand mandala, except with the possibility of serious injury.

    Here, this is feel-good music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwNuQulK6N0

  3. Choolie, I think it’s only because I feel safe in taiji class that this is happening. I know that I am in good hands with you as my teacher. Thank you for your unwavering support. I am sure I will lean on you if these memories keep popping up in taiji. I know I have to face them after suppressing them for fifteen years, but oh, it’s not going to be easy.

    Kate, thank you, my friend. That means the world to me.

    whabs, got it! Emailed you back.

    Third Eye Blind, hi, and welcome to my site. Thank you for commenting. I always enjoy reading the comments of newcomers. You are right in that the past is what made me what I am today. My only quibble is that I think I still would have been a pretty awesome person if I hadn’t gone through what I had.

    I don’t like guns, so shooting is out for me. I will use taiji and weightlifting (thanks, Kel, for reminding me) instead.

    Thanks for the song. It’s not exactly uplifting, but I do like it. You are right that if I’m not OK with myself, then it does’t matter what anyone else thinks. That’s what I am working on right now. Feel free to comment any time.

  4. Minna, my heart grieves for you and that lovely little girl.

    My first question was, were you in a safe place, but Choolie’s comment and your response answered that.

    And I’m with Kate, I’d hold you in my arms for as long as you needed it, if I could. I hope you have local friends you feel safe with that can offer you that.

    And telling your story, as you know, helps diffuse that toxic shame. I can hear (or rather read) whatever you need to say.

    And I don’t know if it would help you, but an image I have used when the pain just got to be too much, was to use that grounded feeling, that feeling of connection to the earth, then letting the pain and anger run down my legs and into earth, which in its immensity can take it and stand it. Then, like a tree with its roots grounded deep in the soil, I can pick it up again when I am ready. I can’t leave it there forever and it doesn’t always work for me, but it is helpful when it does.

  5. Crystal, thank you so much for your thoughtful words. It really helps me to know that I have people all over the world who are supporting me. I do have local friends who are unwavering in their support of me, thankfully. I like the image of letting the pain and anger run into the earth. Thank you for that as well.

  6. Peace, like light, is both waves & particles.

    I send some your way, hoping you can catch it (or at least let it wash over you).