The Generic Title that Misses the Feeling

How can I title this blog post? There is no title sufficient for what it is that I am getting to write about. I am home. I am free. I am safe.  No, it is not perfect but a perfect life was not what I pursued. A safe home was. I am sitting on my couch, in my living room, looking at my cats and the art on my walls and all I feel is this burning sensation that is a mixture of relief, joy, and grief.

I grieve for what was lost. The sanctity of love itself is no longer something I can cherish. I may find it again but I will never truly heal from the betrayal of my heart. In fact, this betrayal has given me new layers to my PTSD. Simple things, as those of you who have PTSD know, can trigger it and I must learn my new triggers. Foam Cups. They make me curl into myself and want to scream. I know the reason but that doesn’t make it any better. Time sheets. This one is a problem as I cannot escape time sheets even though I can escape foam cups. I will adapt, I will heal, and I will grow.

I do not know how to explain it but the grief shrinks by the second. William has not run into a wall once here. He did attack the cable guy, who rolled the attack off without harming William and with a smile. I really had a most amazing cable guy. He was patient, he didn’t make me feel unsafe, and the cats response to him was something he found amusing instead of upsetting. He even moved a piece of furniture so it was out of my way. Not his job, he just wanted to.

I have my ramp already too. The last place fought me tooth and nail and refused to put it in. They won, as far as the ramp goes. Little do they know that there will still be an investigation by the Fair Housing people. I may be moved but the investigation will reveal much. The ramp was put in last night, and this means I can go out and in. Right now using the manual chair is hard but it is freedom. There is so much to say. I spent the last week without anything to do, my mind is in a frenzy to be used for more than imagination and organization.

I even dreamed nonsense happy dreams. No nightmares. I actually slept more than five hours, despite my bed not making the trip in one piece. I have crashed on the couch and I do mean crashed. Until two days ago the instant I was alone I would fall asleep. I am still exhausted, the bone deep type that seeps into your marrow and leaves you loathing the waking world for having energy. My bed will be put up tonight. My friend M replaced the mold filled mattress and broken bits, my mother is bringing some strong young people with her and they will fix it.

My mother has come through for me, in such a way that it surprises me. I wonder now if the Zillas our mutual attempts to communicate, or if I am setting myself up for heart break. I think it is both. I cannot however turn down much needed help. Nor will I. My mother’s own trials continue and I can help her if she will allow it. There are specific ways too. I have not fought my last battle either, the place I am living may have fair housing violations, though I managed to get what I needed. If there is discrimination it is based on Race, and I suspect this has been confirmed by my needs being met and others who happen to be another color being denied. It is sad, but, I am the ally of the truth. The truth will come forth, and that is the best that can happen.

I am bouncing from topic to topic again, my poor mother didn’t believe me about the mold inside my waterbed, and her work crew tried to siphon out the water, and now one of their number who sucked that moldy water into his mouth is very sick. I feel sad for him but I am surprised that there is no guilt. I did tell them so. They wound up dragging the mattress outside and cut it open to find it was worse than what I had suspected. I wasn’t there for that but each of them was made sick by the smell. My new water-bed is going to be treated with care, so that it lasts forever. The mattress isn’t gold this time either but is green. I look forward to sleeping on it. No pressure on my body just the softness of a warm cloud. That’s what a good water-bed feels like to me, my pain may even vanish for the first few nights. Perhaps it will vanish forever, as the bed will not harden with mold. The mold had almost burst the other mattress, it was that bad.

I am eating real food too, not just making ends meet. My foodstamps card arrives any day now, perhaps even Monday. My mom brought me Bacon when she heard me mention how that was the first thing I would buy, so now, I am free. As my house comes together I find that my sense of tension is receding, more so now that I have an outlet for my mind. That was a slow torture, I tried to hold it back but when my book reader broke, I was suddenly trapped with just a cellphone for the world. Still, most of what helped was the fact that I could sit outside. No sunshade, a bit risky for my health but, I needed some sun. It’s been five months since I could just be outside without an excuse or worse was trapped exclusively inside.

My mom promised to help me get my garden set up in the Spring. My rosebush and tree need some love, but they will be well tended. I am also going to grow my own strawberries and I was considering pansies. There is much to do before Spring is here but I can dream about it, little flowers all in a bright display right there just for me.

Too this is the start of preparations for Halloween. Today I bought shoes for Winter, I found an amazing two pairs of shoes that fit and then went to the Dollar Tree, a true dollar store, that carries the same stuff as Walmart. There I bought a few decorations for my favorite Holiday. My faith also allows for Halloween to be a very special day. I am going as Snow White. There will be pictures. I can also get my corset now that I am moved, and curtains. I also have enough room in my living room and bedroom for more art. I am going to someday get Nene Thomas’ art for my home. She’s my favorite Artist, I found her work when I was younger and was hooked. I have other favorites but she is the foremost, and her work is also not all that expensive. Some artists want 100 dollars for a print, but I can get small prints for five or ten dollars. How smashing is that? Something that if I budget wisely I can afford.

I have an electric bill now too. I have bills. I cannot hold back the glee that bubbles in me. I have bills! I have almost everything I need and there is little that I want truly. My wishlists already seem outdated and overly full. I need a blender, I should get a recliner that helps me stand (replacing my couch that broke last night) and maybe another book shelf. That is it, excluding wheelchairs.

I even have a big screen TV, it was here when I moved in. I found a windchime in my boxes of stuff too, one I thought long broken, and so I even have music in the wind. There is so much that I am getting rid of, I may be able to cover the blender after that sale.

I will write more later, I have to write a How To with caregivers, as there is some information there. I am changing agencies, and that will be the source of more knowledge. K my wonderful caregiver and I exited the honeymoon period. The change of Agencies shouldn’t cause me to lose her however. We worked out the really minor issues and the main stress with having a caregiver has to do with the paperwork and scheduling. That means I can leave that over with someone else and be much calmer.

Now I plant the seeds in my soul, for my soul and heart are entering a glorious spring after their long winter. The seeds will grow into happiness, joy, and a further understanding. I will share the fruits that come from these with the world as I have shared all I am and know. The changes that he wrought will only make me stronger and my inner garden more beautiful.

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (Trigger Warning)

Bette Davis, Joan Crawford…A movie about the horrors disabled people can face with an abuser.

This is one of the most wonderful but horrific films I have ever seen. Joan Crawford plays an actress with a jealous sister who not only tried to kill her but is now her only caregiver. Bette Davis plays all of my worst fears brought to life. She forces Joan to either starve or eat rats, her pet bird, or possibly poisoned food. Their maid, a beautiful African American woman, is the hero in this. It is she who sees the potential for something wrong and refuses to leave the day she is fired, instead insisting on seeing Joan’s character. It is she who saves her from embezzlement, being isolated, beaten, and left to die a slow and horrible death. She was cut off too, no telephone, stuck upstairs, the bell for help taken away. It is horrible to watch.Bette’s performance is that of pure evil, in the loveliest of forms.  The genius of this film is that they use clips of the actresses when they were younger. They build the story up and you feel the pain involved with Joan’s treatment.

This film also highlights the incompetence of others, enabling the abuse. The teller who illegally (possibly not at the time of the film being made) gives cash when a deposit is required. The neighbors who ignore the weak cries for help, though they may not hear. The doctors who ignore the patient’s panicked cry when she could under duress be recanting. I will not spoil the climax of the film, but needless to say, this one touched a nerve. There is murder in this story, no one wins. Hope is torn from the viewer and Joan’s character.

Gaslight with Ingrid Bergman is another film that taps on true life abuses. The abused housewife is not beaten, but is instead told over and over until she believes it that she is insane. His greed is what drives his crimes, polygamy, identity theft, and murder among them. He uses the technology of the day to prove to her she is insane. He too plays on my worst fears. He proves to me that men are evil, a blanket statement that feels utterly true while I watch this movie. It isn’t, but it feels that way. He abuses his wife, publicly and privately humiliating her, forcing her into things that were against her nature.This film was so effective it gave it’s name to an entire term in psychology. Gaslighting is the proper term for causing someone to think they are insane. There is more to this of course, but this is the best I can do to explain right now.

Why am I posting about two films made before my birth? They touched me. They burned my heart up and left me shuddering with memories. They triggered responses in me that were deeper than perhaps intended. I felt the trappedness from my previous experience. I felt the worthlessness of knowing I am wrong at all times, and that my only value to others was at their own pleasure, my own wants and needs coming last. I felt the fists of my father in me again. I felt the harsh words of burden.

I am not a burden, I am not insane, and I am free. I had to chant this at times, the wheelchair a prison during the entire time. I could see even one stair trapping me. I can only remember too well  how few people actually listened when I cried out for help. The cold stabbing feeling of being told my case was not compelling enough to prosecute, that no one wanted to protect a child from  her rapist father.

Caregiver abuse is one of the worst crimes I have ever heard of. Some call it elder abuse, but, elderly folk aren’t the only ones trapped by their bodies. Many are vital and amazingly resiliant. I am posting about these films so that you can perhaps try to feel the things I felt, in lesser measure. These films raise awareness of the plights of the hidden victims in this world. Perhaps even someone you know is enduring secret abuse. You might not be able to save them, but raising awareness even by one, can help them save themselves.

Whatever happened to Baby Jane? Be glad you are not so evil, and if you are, may you see your reflection and set your victim free.

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