Ahhhhhh dear reader’s I can tell I’m neck deep in my own “stuff” when I wake up and immediately feel left over anxiety and frustration from the night before. Any little irritation sets me spinning off and yes I have been feeling quite heavy for the past 2 days as I reminisce about the good ol days of my youth. Since my last post I have been stuck on memory lane
Sadly, on Sunday my Mom called me to tell me that my step sister Liz’s husband passed away. My parents are both not well enough to travel from Florida to New Jersey for the service. I immediately thought of my nephews and niece who are now without their Dad. He was a great father and he and my sister were married for over thirty years. There are six of us siblings all together and I fall second to the last in age order. Here is a picture of all of us at their wedding sometime in the early 80’s…..
That’s me on the left I was probably 7 or 8 years old.
My parents came into their marriage together with two children each. Back in the late 70s they did the best they could to create a blended family, which was extremely difficult because of our wide age gaps. My step brother Jay is twenty years older than me, my step sister Liz is eighteen, then comes my sister Tami (my Mom’s oldest daughter) who is twelve years older, then my brother Billy is ten years my senior. My parents had me in 1977 and lastly the baby of our family, my sister Gina was born in 1979. Thinking back I remember us all always spending holidays together.
When someone passes it always makes me think of the past and how fast time has gone by. I remember the little girl I was so wide eyed with wonder, curious about everything and super shy. I really didn’t break out of that phase until I started dancing competitively at around age 10. With all I have unearthed surrounding my sexual abuse at age 5 and 6, I have been slowly going back in my memory bank. That expierience taught me how to dissociate and being numb to my own feelings began there. Eventually I developed Complex PTSD, but that diagnosis took many years to come about.
Little Maria age 3
For this post however I’m choosing to focus on how my youngest sister Gina and I had the best of everything provided to us. She and I are just twenty-two months apart. I call her G, she was my first best friend, we did absolutely everything together and my Mom dressed us alike for too many years I think Looking back at these pictures however, I must admit how darn cute the two of us were (are)
Sisters in the summertime
We this hammock
We grew up in a very idyllic neighborhood, nowadays I would compare it to Mr. Rogers’s. Our small town, Wyckoff, NJ is located just 15 minutes from NYC. Everybody knew everyone, all the kids in the neighborhood rode our bikes together, played on each other’s front lawns and swan in each other’s pools in the summer. Our neighbor directly across the street became my first friend outside of family because our mother’s were pregnant with us at the same time and I like to say we were bonded in the womb Around Christmas time, we would dress up and go caroling. Even my grandparents joined us and the neighbors would invite us in for hot chocolate and cookies. You could run to any neighbor’s house at anytime and feel welcomed. My sister and I went to summer camps, took all kinds of lessons including tennis, swimming, dance, piano, art, and sewing just to name a few, played sports and went on at least one family vacation yearly. We were extremely blessed to have been exposed to so much from an early age.
My sister Gina and I both started dancing soon after we could walk. I know I was around 2 years old. We were always paired in duos once we started dancing in competitions and we were always next to each other in the same line (our director said it made it easier for our Mom to take pictures!) usually front row, in all of our dance numbers. Thinking back, dancing was the highlight of my childhood and into my teenage years, creating my passion for dance and movement today
“Dreamgirls” opening recital dance
Since G lives in Florida and I live in Texas, we are far away from each other. I can’t just get in my car and meet her to get our nails done or grab some coffee. When I was married and lived in Rhode Island while she was living in New Jersey, we used to meet at a half way point on I95 a lot so our children could see each other. Many times I would take her daughter and son back up with me to RI so the cousins could spend quality time together. I also used to drive down to NJ at least once a month to stay at my parent’s house for the weekend so everybody could visit together. Lately I have been thinking about her and missing those times we spent together a lot! So much time has passed since the sweet days of our youth and early adulthood. I’ve been experiencing a lot of inner child wounds that keep bubbling up to the surface. That’s what happens after you stuff a dark secret away for thirty-five years. It’s like holding a balloon under water, eventually it will find it’s way to the surface.
So I have spent much of the past two days in my head and in my shadow. All of the old beliefs about myself, old thinking patterns, nightmares and memories are back in full force. It feels sticky and honestly very awful. I must console myself by myself because that is the job of reparenting. It’s bittersweet because as much as I love these pictures, I can’t really remember any of the specific details that go along with them. My memories are really hazy and clouded by fear, anxiety, stress and an overwhelming sense of panic. I have often said my body felt like it ran on a motor of all of these fore mentioned feelings. Healing comes in waves. I’m weary and I feel weak. Time to retire this heavy head and of mine.
I wrote this poem before I fell asleep last night…