Overcoming Denigrating Self-Worth Begins

My life has been filled with many hurdles, as I believe everyone’s life has. I do not believe that one person has an easier life than another. However, there is difference in where the difficulties exist.

I was raised in a way that if I had a different opinion, even if politely stated, it was labeled as rude. Within my childhood, I was beaten both with a belt and thin branches from outside, forcefed to the point of regurgitation, along with being a survivor of child molestation. Furthermore, there was much sexual abuse in many ways, for which my mother blamed me. In my adult years, my former ex-husband physically caused two miscarriages along with reinforce my parents’ grooming that I must agree with him. He also forced himself upon me sexually.

Throughout my teenage years, I noticed that my dad would talk about all these good-looking women with desire and curiosity, from Wrigley’s Doublemint twins to Baywatch babes. I felt awkward as I would never look like that and neither would Mom. Hearing my dad desire voluptuous women made me look down on myself physically, as I did not understand what beauty was and that inner beauty is more appealing than outer beauty.

I told my mother about my father’s incestuous ways, and she blamed me. The consequence of this was for me to lower my opinion of myself further throughout my life far passed those years as a child. Here, I told my mother about this event knowing I was possibly going to lose my father with the surprising result of my mother turning her back on me from then on to eternity.

When I married my first husband, he talked of how he wished I was taller than he. He would kiss and compliment me hoping it was foreplay every single time. I felt like a sex object early on, and this along with the physical abuse led to me filing for divorce.

The thing is that until I returned home from this traumatic brain injury, I had never faced the fact that I was abused. I faced the events and could speak of what occurred; however, I never looked at myself as a victim/survivor of abuse.

Am I going to plead innocence? No, not on everything. I could have eaten the revolting over-easy eggs. I could have kept drawing the line to my former ex-husband regarding how to treat and how not to treat his wife.

What does now stating that I was a victim and am now a survivor cause? It causes me to make boundaries. Stating that I was abused by my parents makes me really not want my underage children to ever see them again. For now, based on this new label, it is a deeper meaning. I, as a mother, do not want my children to have the chance of being exposed to this.

This statement has also begun the process of me feeling these various misdeeds with the ability of letting them go. It is a chance to give myself compassion for all the ways I feel I have failed along with a new understanding as to why my self-image has been six feet under.

Furthermore, due to the sexual abuse that I experienced, that diminished having a man make love to me and me understand it is more than a physical act but an emotional tie shown. Even after this has been stated to me time and again by my husband, it is JUST NOW BEGINNING to sink in. I have been questioning physical intimacy with my husband since the beginning. Now that I have labelled the past as mostly abuse, it is having me look at the past and present under a new precept. Have I ever felt my husband was demeaning to me? No; however, I have wondered his motives more than I should. Sure, we as a married couple are allowed lust. However, if sex is only from lust and the goal of release, then it no longer falls under lovemaking.

Who knew that there could be such positive things from a TBI? Who knew that having the past flash before my eyes would be another way of letting go of the horrifying experiences to prepare for the beautiful present and future?


Compensation for Anosmia in Autumn

This is a very difficult topic to write, as this offially the first autumn that I have experienced with more of the understanding of having anosmia. I have a friend who was born with it, so he never has smelled anything ever. Once my husband, Dan, asked me which is worse, to be born with it or to lose your ability to smell. I told him BEFORE knowing my friend, Jim, that I felt that they were equal cases with different aspects.  I still agree with that stance. Here, Jim has never had the experience of smelling food his mother has prepared, the smell of a woman naturally or with cologne and many other natural scents. Whereas, I had a sense of smell, and now it is gone. So, congenital anosmia cases never smell from the day they are born, and then most anosmics had it and it’s gone. Some of us never know anything about flavors (as the only thing anosmics taste is bitter, sweet, salty, and sour versus smoky, pungent, etc.) and most of us must learn to cope with learning how to face our losses and find other ways of enjoying life.

There are many different aspects of autumn: the smell of a cinammony pumpkin pie, smoky food grilling in the barbecue pit, roasted turkey, hot chocolate and hot apple cider with cinnamon and cloves. Autumn is full of pleasant weather, and has many family and friend activies: barbecues, Thanksgiving dinner, football at the park and lots of steamy drinks to warm our chilled bodies.

For anosmics, hearing about smells and tastes is stifling. It is like sitting in a room filled with people who are speaking a language even you never knew or even forgot. How do you speak about something you cannot determine? Do I speak from what I remember? Does Jim speak about what he does not even understand? Or do we simply say we cannot relate, which isolates us even more from the conversation? It is a tough call. How can you speak from your being about a gardenia you never smelled or can no longer smell? How can you speak of only 4 tastes and no flavors? It is debillitating and very depressing.

There are some things we have, or at least most of us have: sound, touch, and sight. Focusing on these and even talking about them can help us deter from conversations that make us sad, while offering attention to ourselves and others about what we have in common. Not all jokes are about smells and odors. Pranks, blunders, and even embarrassing moments are worth laughs. This is what we have. This is a way for us to enjoy each season. We hear the rustling of colorful leaves falling from the trees, see the pets trying to steal our barbecued foods and enjoy all the topsy-turvy events in football and many other sports events. Also, birds are calling to the other sex for mating… even female birds do this in autumn. I am sure they are delighted they have their empty nests. This is what we have. This is what we have not lost, and while we have these abilities, we should be thankful for that and focus on what we have in common instead of what separates us from other people. Maybe eating is a chore. For me it is. Maybe we can’t articulate how wonderful the cook worked, but we can share memories, insight and listen to what others have to say and enjoy being a part of a moment that can be a memory if you SELECTIVELY CHOOSE TO MAKE IT ONE. The problem with anosmia and what little we think of as bonding us to others versus US PROACTIVELY BONDING with EVERYONE in the ways that we can WITH THE ABILITIES WE STILL HAVE.

Think of it this way: my husband is dyslexic. He is not one good in spelling. However, he is good with renovating houses, teaching dance through the concepts of physics. He has taught me that I teach people how to treat me. Does he have a disability? Yes, he does. We all do.. dyslexia, blindness, stuttering, limping, etc. None us are perfect, and we must grow to accept our imperfections in ways we form, every season, all season long.