can you unlearn at nautilus teachings


when i was a child
hiding in the closet
or running away to
the park across the street
and burying myself in the fall leaves
or even chasing minnows
in the small creek
my mind was always
creating images
of whimsical characters.
i lived within myself
in a world of brilliant colors
and it was all sustained
by the blue waters
of my faith…
i felt safe in the water
it calmed me
encompassed me
and i loved
opening my eyes
and looking up towards
the suns beams
breaking through the waters
surface and illuminating
my tiny fingers…
light to me came from God-
i knew light meant air
air meant safety
safety meant faith
and faith=God…

how did i know?
i was born into this…
faith was always there.
it never left me
and only grew stronger
with each passing year.
but nothing,
not even my faith
took away my shame.
my feeling of being unwanted.
i knew i was very sick all the time
i knew my mother protected me
by keeping me close to her
and when she could not be
the message was sent to my brothers
from the day i came home,
“sheri is off limits…do not touch her-ever…”
i suffered from dangerously high fevers
and seizures
i had led shoes with leg braces
to keep me from rolling over
when i slept, until i was three-
it was at that age i was diagnosed
with Petite Gran Mal Epilepsy,
put on phenobarbital
and monitored yearly
until the age of 11
when i was given the
‘all clear’
from my doctors…

one of my brothers has since
explained to me
because he was 11 years older,
he was assigned to watch me
when he was home.
another informed me
he took out his anger on me
because no one would listen to him.
the other, apologized years later.
we have all forgiven
but it does not
remove the shame
nor take away the tattooed words
upon my soul
the memories
still haunt me
and to this day
i do not feel
any love from all three…
there is just the acceptance
we are related by blood
and still have a living father
we all have come to acknowledge-
he was born broken
and never knew how to parent or love-
yes, he loved our mother
but the 4 of us….
well, we felt a disassociation
and we all have our own hurtful stories
with the common denominator
being our father…
i knew my father ruled the house…
this was the 60’s
men were the bread winners
mothers stayed home
we played outside
no matter the weather,
unless there was thunder.
we did not watch tv
we played with games and toys
but mostly we explored
the out of doors…
we used our imaginations
we drank from the hose in the summer
ran through the woods across the street
ice-skated on the pond
life was incredibly fun…
i told no one my truths
accept tiny bits to my mother…

it is why i am introverted
why i hide
why i led a life filled with lies
hidden secrets
and felt filthy, worthless, voiceless…
i lived a life of fear
i stuttered horribly
and never felt good enough…
even into my early 40’s
i was running scared
afraid to reveal who i was
hiding my words
in folders,
my images
in boxes and crates
but mostly
sealing it all up inside…
i honestly felt the shame
brene brown writes about…
at 42 when my whole world was crashing
around me
i fell to my knees and broke wide open
i cried for days upon days
but through it all
i was buoyed by my faith
it was terribly difficult
to end my life,
to piece by piece,
throw it away,
donate it
or burn it…
but i did it all!
for the past 12 years
i have been trying to unlearn
that which has hurt me, caused me conflict
stress and pain…
i have not come close
to even mastering the
unlearning process
but every day i release
everything to prayer
it lightens the burden
i carry of feeling shame…
i am a work in progress
every day, every minute, every second
i am thankful for my beautiful life
and the inspiration i draw
from 42 years filled with pain
yet wrapped up
and cradled
in the balm of my healing faith…