Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Back from Bosch part 3

I had absolutely no idea what to make of that story. I thanked Dan, then Mari and I went to dinner. I kept rewinding the story in my brain, trying to understand what I was supposed to learn from it. I couldn't see much of a connection between me and Leroy, but I had promised Mari that we would discuss it after dinner. When the time came, I regretted my promise. We sat down at one of the picnic benches near the bookstore, where flies and mosquitoes launched well-planned attacks on my arms and face. In disgust, I moved to the to a table on the bookstore balcony, and Mari followed me. That's where the real healing began.

She used the spiritual companioning technique help me open up, and to my horror, I heard myself talking about how I protected EVERYONE when I was five years old. Kids on the block used to run up to me and say, "Angie, Mikey keeps bothering us," and I would run over, give Mikey a quick and thorough beat-down and tell him to leave the other kids alone. The same scenario, with different players, would happen every week. I protected my parents from public humiliation of our family name by being the best responsible little daughter I could possibly be. It didn't always work, but I tried anyway. I protected my younger sister and brother the same way I protected the other kids on the block--I beat people up when they dared to lay a finger on either one of them. Then Mari asked me the devastating question: who protected Angela? I couldn't answer that, even though I kept hearing the words screaming in my head. No one. No one protected me. I felt alone, all the time, even when I was surrounded by people. I was only useful when I was playing the hero; the rest of the time I felt like out of place furniture. Then food helped me forget about that useless feeling, but only temporarily. It always came back.

Then, seemingly against my will, I recalled a long forgotten incident. I was nearly five years old, and still using training wheels on my bicycle. One day, my father took them off and told me to ride the bike. When I seemed reluctant, he said he would hold me to make sure I wouldn't fall. I got on the bike and started pedaling as fast as I could, and I could hear him gasping for breath, trying to keep up with me. Then it seemed like I was going even faster, and looked around for my father. He was standing several yards back, watching me. My bike veered into a rose bush, and I fell on my left side into the thorns. At first, I was stunned. I thought he was going to keep me from falling. Then I felt a burning, stinging sensation, and I looked down at my left arm. An amazingly straight row of thorns had lodged themselves into my forearm, and blood was trickling out of the wounds. My right knee had somehow banged into the ground, and layers of skin had been ripped away. I looked back again at my father and swallowed the tears. He was in the Air Force, and in the military, no one is allowed to cry. Besides, I was the hero. Heroes never cry. I picked the thorns out of my arm while blinking back the tears, and brushed off the dirt. Then I got back on my bike and rode home. During that entire time, I kept thinking, he said he would catch me if I fell.

So that was it. The first betrayal. I swore I would never depend on anyone ever again. And for most of my life, I didn't. It seems as silly to me now as it did when I told Mari the story. My rational mind kept saying, please, get over yourself! Millions of kids were treated so much worse. You weren't savagely beaten and/or starved, sold into slavery, called dehumanizing names or molested by a family member or a friend. So you fell off your little bike, got hurt, and your daddy didn't catch you. Big deal. It's nothing to whine and moan about.

The adult Angela agreed with those statements. The five year old Angela only knew that falling hurts, and she doesn't want to hurt again. Even more importantly, the five year old knew something that the adult Angela refused to fully acknowledge and told her adult self and Mari about it: her Dad was, and still is, a drunk. And both the five year old and the adult is ashamed of this.

The adult Angela sobbed convulsively for an hour in Mari's arms. And the adult Angela realized that God has never let her fall because He told her what she needed to do to heal, and created the circumstances to make that happen. All she had to do was ask, listen for the answer and follow the instructions. It's that simple.

The next morning, after taking a shower, she put a large bandage on the right knee. Ironically, she had tripped and banged it up the previous week. Just she did over forty years ago, she never took care of the wound, until that moment. The adult Angela is trying to make up for lost time. It's hard learning self-care and self-love at this age. But I'm doing it.

Post script: During the trust workshop, I also received instructions on how to start back on the road to recovery from overeating, once again. I should return to stage 1 of the post-gastric bypass surgery diet, which consists of low calorie, high protein shakes, soups and broth. I am to stay on that diet for three days, instead of one month like I did right after surgery. Then I am to resume stage 3 plan of moderate portions, high protein, no white sugar or refined carbohydrates food, one day at a time. I should also write my food plan down each morning, and call it in to a food sponsor so I could call myself into account each day. Of course, my obsessed mind immediately took off--if I can do three days on stage 1, I can seven. And if I can seven days, I can do two weeks. And if I can do two weeks, I can do a whole month and I would lose A LOT OF WEIGHT if I stay on stage 1 for a month...

Three days. THREE DAYS.

My arms are definitely too short to box with God.

Ya Baha'u' Abha'!


  1. Dear, dear sister, it's been a while. Thank you so much for this post. From one food addict/adult-child/recovering-God-phobe to another, I send love to you from across the planet. How very strange, I had a huge cathartic howl the very same day as you. And I never cry. I thought my tear-ducts were defunct. Seriously.

    I’m about to go to Bosch myself for a BNASAA weekend early October; so excited (and CRAZY-busy, hence my blog-neglect). Planning on traveling a little and researching grad schools while I'm in the States (Creative Writing or Psych, God guide me). Love to connect with you via email and share a little more thoroughly. If my journey brings me to your hood, it’d be lovely to hook up and share a cup of tea if you’re open. Drop me a line at pearlbearer@gmail.com and I’ll give you my real details.

  2. Pearl,

    God is great! I am continually amazed by the miracles I see each day! We are indeed traveling similar paths; I'm going back to grad school, and still weighing all the choices. I'm seriously considering a PhD. in Creative Writing from the University of California at Davis. I hope Davis is on your list; it's about 20 miles west from where I live!

    I'm going to be at the BANSAA conference. I was there two years ago, and missed it last year. I need to be there this year. I'll definitely email you. Seems like we have much to talk about.

  3. Oh. My. Goddess.

    Seems like you and me got business! I cannot wait to meet you and discover what it is. Email me, please.

  4. Hey ladies. Pearl, if your travels take you to Boston, you know you have to pay me the same courtesy as Angela.

    Also if you'd like to talk with me on the phone at least, you know my email address.

  5. Oh, Angela. I really don't know how to express how moved I am by your account of your experience at Bosch.

    I'm a crier, always have been, and I'm sobbing now.

    Thank God for you, and the love you show us by sharing so openly.

    Much love to you.

  6. Phillipe,

    I'm going to come out your at some point in the spring of '08 to visit my son and Boston before the weather turns too humid. I'd love to meet you in person. Of course, you are most definitely welcome to visit Pearl and me out here on the West Coast this month!

    And to Portia, a Baha'i friend told me years ago after a Bosch session that tears are like honey from God. I didn't believe him then, but now I do!


Comments are always appreciated, except when they are nasty.