I got an email a while back from a relative and then I had a hot and prickly stomachache for two days.
This person, my uncle, had subscribed to my newsletter list and although I kind-of-sort-of noticed the name, I didn’t really put two and two together; it’s not like his name is Zebulon or anything.
After his receiving a few of the weekly love notes I send to The Love Posse, he sent this scathing reply: Shame on you Robin, you can’t even bother to write a personal note to your family. Not even one hello from you…not even a letter in our native tongue. Wow, Robin, it’s such a shame. Shame on you.
For days after reading it, I would wake up sweaty and be unable to go back to sleep. I cried off and on, and it was difficult to shake the feeling of upset. I was jumpy. I kept catching the feeling of being in trouble and trying to release it.
There is a huge backstory here and before I say much more, I should probably catch you up.
Most of my family lives overseas. My mother was one of 6 kids and the only sibling to emigrate to the states.
I grew up speaking two languages and spent many of my summers traveling to Germany to stay with family (alone, from the age of 5), for several weeks at a time.
The trips were not all bad. I loved my Omi dearly, but to call this family dysfunctional is an understatement. Drugs, alcohol, incest, and abuse was going on in this family. There were many many times when I was terrified out of my mind because of the Big Ticket Items happening and nobody doing anything about it.
Enter Uncle VuckVergnugen
(so named by my bestie except she says it with an F).
Uncle V. The eldest sibling. Crude and inappropriate. The one my mother often cried about. And the one who often left me feeling like a small trapped animal when I had to spend time with him.
One day my Omi sent me with Uncle VuckVergnugen to the public pool. There were a few of us cousins going, I was the youngest, maybe 6 at the time. My favorite older cousin was along as well, she was 15 and had such a beautiful smile, she was tall and beautiful and I loved being with her.
They sell beer at the public pool and after a while, Uncle V was pretty snookered. He began fondling my cousin. She tried to push him off. I did too. I remember slapping him on the arm, saying, HEY! while he continued to grab my cousin’s breast. He sent me away twice, the first time to buy fries for the group and the next, he dared me to jump off the 3 meter diving board saying he’d pay me 5 Deutschmarks if I could do it.
An hour later I was in an ambulance and he was begging me to please not tell on him…
The thing I keep telling myself now as I write this to you is that there are no accidents. Life is happening for me always. Keep your own stories like this in mind as you read, sweet friend… because we do all have stories like this, don’t we?
As bizarre as it is after all of these years of zero contact, that Uncle V had the balls to sign up for my newsletter and then the bigger balls to write to me and shame me for not honoring his magnificence, I know it is really coming up so that I can deal with it and release it and embrace my life more fully. I KNOW this in my bones. And still, it’s so hard.
I’m not sure it really matters why, but it’s been very hard to tell this story.
Only a handful of people know. And of that handful, only a few people know the whole story.
Back at the high dive, I waited in the long line. Perhaps this is why he sent me there, thinking I’d be gone a very loooong time. I waited in the line and when my turn came to walk up the ladder, I became very scared. 3 meters is very high for anyone, but especially so for a small child. I made my way to the top of the ladder and got my foot up onto the diving board then pulled myself all the way up. I walked the paces to the end of the board and looked down.
It was too far down.
I did not care if I would be in trouble for not jumping, I was turning back. When I got to the ladder, I did not know how to maneuver going back down. And suddenly I was falling face first into the concrete. I remember how hard I hit. I remember my teeth breaking. I remember the blood. As hard as I tried not to scream out, and as much as I didn’t want to draw attention, I screamed. I remember the whistles of the lifeguards and then a siren. I was being carried away, in someone’s arms and then I was in an ambulance.
The first thing my uncle said was, “Stop crying!” and then he asked me to not tell my grandma what happened.
I did not.
I did not tell a soul.
I was just a kid who fell, plain and simple. There was no drinking, no molesting, screaming, no terror.
I just fell.
Sell crazy someplace else, we’re all stocked up here.
I could have died that day. I could have died in that freak accident but I didn’t. And it has taken me all this time to understand that maybe I have allowed a part of me to anyway. The part of me that knew I was a precious being, totally deserving of love and safety. The part who knew she was cherished and she mattered and because of this could say no and resist or even fight back. The part of me who knew how to speak up and say, this isn’t right and I am SO telling on you!
I fell from the high dive on his watch, face first into the concrete while he was drunk and molesting my 15-year-old cousin.
Later, when it all came out–especially the abuse (while I wasn’t that day, there were other times when I was, though he would not be the only one who had), my mother would say she thought she was doing the best she could for me by sending me to Germany those summers. She thought she was providing me with a sense of family. And you know what? This sounds even more insane now than it did the first time she said it to me.
I have spent enough time putting the positive spin on things…
It took several conversations with my friend and also my healer and also #1 husband before I could see it. I was still blaming myself because my uncle was mad at me. I was still carrying the shame. The secrets. (and ugh, as I write this I realize there ARE still more secrets to tell). Because of my terror from such a young age, I wasn’t able to access the truth. I couldn’t see that this person had ZERO business being in my life, let alone on my email list.
I have spent too much time trumping those trips up into special, magical, wonderful times. Trying to put a happy spin onto the madness. Yes, all of this is what was really keeping me up at night after he sent that email to me. The heaviness of what happened was coming up for release. The shock and terror were asking to be acknowledged. The madness was asking me to please stop pretending that it was gooder than it was.
Crazy is not normal. Crazy is just crazy.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that we here in the Love Posse process a lot of similar energies. I can tell you many of us are in the throes of some deep processes right now and I am not the only one who is a recovering positive-spinner.
I am not sure when it all started that we learned to put a smile on things that were anything but… I just know it has got to stop. Old nagging patterns might try to come home to roost but we shouldn’t give them the same old song and dance.
When we’re in the middle of the hard stuff, it’s so easy to collapse into the old and familiar ways of processing our upset. Each of us does it differently but one of my ways is to pretend it’s better than it is. To get all spiritual-easy on the situation instead of breaking out the whoop ass. The old way is like poison. I get to be pissed, I get to fight back, I get to tell. And so do you. And I do this because I am a precious gem, and I matter and I am truly loved and cherished and people who don’t get that about me do not get to be with me. And the same is true for you.
What if we chose to do this time differently?
What if we took the scarier route and sat with what is happening instead of going back to sleep or putting that positive spin on it? What if we carried a knowing in our hearts — this too, as unpleasant as it is, could be an answer to the prayers we’ve been whispering…
To make gold, an intense fire is needed. To polish diamonds, they must be tumbled.
I wrote myself a prayer while this was going on, I lit a candle and I spoke these words, please use them if they will help you:
“Please help me. I am scared and I can’t see straight. Help my eyes and heart to see. Help me stand strong and true. Help me to take the steps I know I need to take. Help me to remember I am not alone. Help me to remember to ask for help. Thank you, it is done, Amen.”
Life is happening for us and we can choose to move bravely forward. And we are never ever alone.
If you’ve been relating to me here, I want to encourage you a little more. Let yourself cry and scream. Hug your pillow and please let whatever is here just be here. Welcome it in, fully allow it. Perhaps you have a story that this will make things worse, but it won’t. Let it be here. This has been a very very difficult time and I know how hard, how diligently you’ve been working to keep on keeping on. I want to remind you that all of you is lovable and valuable and worthy, and it’s totally okay to be feeling feelings right now.
What if this is some kind of offering for you to access yourself more fully? What if, a period of giving in vs. resisting it could be the thing which changes everything? For me, it is usually the missing ingredient to my moving forward.
Sometimes our own spiritual-ease gets in the way. You DO get to be upset, you DO let to let it out. It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to feel. You won’t jinx anything. You won’t manifest negative things if you feel it.
Sometimes it’s very very necessary to let things go in order to make space for something new. And sometimes, it is very very necessary to remove people, set boundaries, draw lines in the sand. The delete key is my new best friend.
Sometimes we have to stop resisting it in the name of “love and light” and let it in, breathe with it…just let it be here, remembering, as Rumi so beautifully says: it might be a crowd of sorrows who violently sweep your house of its furniture that may be clearing you out for some new delight.
Sending you love and peace, and high-fiving the parts of you just now stepping into the light.