03 September 2006

I told a co-worker yesterday that I am nearly three quarters of the way through an attitude adjustment.

Today I inched a little closer...

I feel as though the past few years have been one long series of unfortunate events-rather unfortunate, really.

One of the events was Crusty telling me he would arrange for me to have a 'tragic accident' if I told anyone about him, the things he did, had done, and was going to escalate in doing...Because of his actions during the eighteen years I was his wife, I believed him. Someday, soon, I am hoping, I will be able to walk around without sensing the bull's eye on my back.

As a consequence of those unfortunate events, I have been engaged in an eight year struggle to regain my sense of self-the self I rather liked, anyway, not the grouch, the little miss oh-the-world-may-be-out-to-get-me- after-all me I realized I was becoming.

I knew I was in trouble a few years ago when I found myself screaming invective at the very top of my lungs at someone I love deeply; I knew I was 'losing it' and that I needed to make an adjustment-but how?

OK. I turned fifty last week. Introspection is to be expected or rather hoped for on such a milestone; I obliged, naturally. It came completely unforced, and I am beyond grateful, I feel blessed because it actually led me to a mental state that didn't require anti-depressants.

Instead, I was graced with the chance to truly arrive at some insights, and those are working a nice change. I feel ME again. How wonderfully nice that is!

I got all my errands done this morning and afternoon, including a trip to the laundromat I was so dreading that for the past month I have been hand washing.

I say that I dreaded it because if one goes to the laundromat at the wrong time of day, it is a very unpleasant experience-if you've been there, done that, you'll understand. If not, I hope you never do...I was so worried about going that I was literally shaking.

Any road, that's done-I know the right time of day to go, the right amount of quarters and the right amount of soap...I know how to get to the laundromat, and I know who to and not to speak to while in the laundry. And I have clean clothing and towels, and all of the clean items made of machine washable fabric that make life better.

And I went to the grocery. I bought things like salt, and condiments; I bought food-real food. I brought it home and put it in the 'fridge, and then stepped back and thought, "I feel like a real person."

If you have not read all of this blog, you don't know that in 1998, my life took a very dramatic turn; you don't know that as a consequence of that turn, in 2002 I took a job that amounted to peonage, and for three years and ten months I worked for brutes who believed that because I was trapped economically, they could get away with treating me as though I was a machine, and that because my job required me to live on the property, that they could threaten to lock me out of my home to keep me in line.

But I've never talked about this part-to make it all really horrid, their fifth cousin was the maintenance man to whom they gave keys to every lock on the property including mine, and when I told him I was not interested, he devoted himself to destroying me.

I lived in 24/7 awareness that the maintenance man was breaking into my apartment; he took food, rearranged my furniture, went through my closets and drawers, used my bathroom-I could go on; and when I went to my employers with video tape of his break-ins, they claimed they couldn't see anything on the film.

I went to the Labor Board-they said it was between me and my employers although yes, my employers were breaking several state and federal labor laws.

I would have gone to the police had my employers not found great pleasure recounting to me the story of his uncle, the sheriff when the Civil Rights movement really got going-according to my employer, his uncle shot and killed a black man who asked the uncle to vouch for him so that he could vote.

The message was clear.

But today, I felt like a real person again. I still have some things I need to work out and on but going to the laundromat and grocery store made me feel as though I can have something more like a normal life again.

All because I accepted a few realities about where I was going...

Father, help me, please. I want Your help to understand how to get past this. I know that I have let the enemy win a little because I have been increasing afraid to count my blessings; I feel that is the most serious error I have made. I freely accept Your divine assistance, Lord, and I thank-you for such a strong sense of Your presence during all of these awful years.


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