Alter Post: Shoulder pain, monkey bars, & body memories

When you were a little kid, did you ever want to play on the monkey bars?  Or go to gymnastics/tumbling class and do backward rolls?  Climb ropes or rope ladders at the parks?  Go climbing on a rock wall?

Were you made fun of because you couldn’t cross the monkey bars without falling or roll backwards like the other kids?  Did you get teased for not being able to climb up the rope without assistance?

And do you wonder, was I not able to do these activities because I wasn’t athletic or strong enough?  OR was there a different reason?  One that was a secret and not to be talked about?

I think you understand where I’m going with these questions, so please consider the questions my TRIGGER WARNING and do not read on unless/until you feel comfortable coping with the potential triggers in the story that follows.

My name is Pip.  And mine is Bree.  I am called Darkness.  Most people cal me Dawn or Dusk, but my full name is Dawn-to-Dusk.  There quite a few others who have roles in this story, but none of them want to be identified at this time.  Our story starts in the present and then flashes back to the past and finishes in the present again.

The story

October is a strange month for us.  It’s our paternal grandfather’s birthday (beginning of  the month).  It’s our birthday (beginning of the month).  It’s a first cousin’s birthday (middle of  the month).  And it’s Halloween (end of month trigger).  The mornings get darker and scarier.  The sun goes down earlier and earlier.  The temperatures go up and down, so everything feels colder.

In spite of all that, fall or autumn is our favorite season.  WE love the changes in the air, leaves coloring and falling off, how the earth smells too.  It feels like nature is getting ready to hibernate and nest for the winter.  WE love doing the same: staying inside, cozy and warm; cooking stew and soup or braising food in the oven; making hot drinks and relaxing with a good book/music/movie/knitting project.

Our body does NOT like fall though.  Instead of feeling the joy, it feels the aching, pins-and-needles sensation of cold, increased body pain, and lethargic sleepiness.  Our sinuses hurt, our head aches, our neck/shoulders/back hurts more instead of feeling numb.  Simple things like doing laundry, lifting a cooking pot, stretching, knitting, or using the mouse/keyboard on the computer hurt.  Our back and neck muscles tighten and stiffen so basic turning movements feel awkward and sore.

In the past, mind and spirit did as body requested and left until the pain eased up.  These days, everyone stubbornly stays and works through the pain and triggers together.  It’s part of our goal: integration.  We help each other cope with the past and the present.  Massage oil, hot shower, and a new massager have helped in between acupuncture and bodywork sessions.  The massager in particular has helped pinpoint exactly what muscle groups in and around my back/shoulders hurt.

Yesterday’s session addressed that pain: around both rotator cuffs and down the sides of my body around shoulder blades and under arm pits.  Funny because those are exactly the areas my bra band and straps are placed too.  Maybe that’s why I haven’t wanted to wear a bra lately?  And if so, probably why I prefer staying home – can’t exactly go out without a bra – right now.

The practitioner used a combination of needles, cupping, and gua sha, to treat the pain.   By the end of the session, my body felt sore, but more relaxed and happier too.  My brain was busy coping with the flashbacks it triggered.  And my spirit wound around us all to provide unconditional love & support.  But the body work also made all of me feel tired.

All of that healing energy does take a toll.  Plus we all needed time to process the flashbacks and the fact that we shared our past with the practitioner so he could help more in the future.  The flashbacks came on strong, but mostly as impressions until we got home.  And then came the dreams.

Being a little girl locked in the dark, cold room.  A chain around my neck pulling my head back.  shackles around my wrists and ankles pulling my arms and legs behind me as I dangled in front of the wall or from the ceiling.  Twisting and pulling and tugging until I am exhausted trying to escape.  Sometimes succeeding, sometimes not.  The S&M training with whips and other weapons used while I am chained up.  The punishments and torture for soldier training.

In the other life, being made fun of my my cousins, mom, and younger brother for not being able to cross the monkey bars on my own.  Being teased by my aunts and uncles for my lack of upper body strength and being wimpy.  Teachers & tutors getting upset or frustrated with me and complaining to my mom (usually) about my lack of progress in gymnastics or dance class.  Class bullies and popular kids making fun of me for failing the physical fitness tests required in gym class.

And through it all, people calling me a liar and lazy girl for complaining of back and shoulder and neck pain.  Grandparents and aunts yelling at me for being clumsy and not able to do basic things like sweep and mop and clean and lift/put away containers as fast and competently as their kids.  Teachers complaining that I am clumsy or a daydreaming and distracted in classes; their excuse for giving me failing grades.

Then back to my “special school” for advanced training – one that everyone except us knew we were going to so never questioned my absence from public school or family events – in how to be a whore and an elite soldier.  Elite solder who can withstand torture and imprisonment by the enemy.  Also one who can disarm and disable fighters without killing them.  The last part helped us as we got older and my client base changed from pedophiles to cultists, satanists, and sadists who mixed drugs and role playing with pain to get off.

The sex part stopped when we were 17.  The violent lifestyle didn’t stop until last year when I moved across the country.  Memories of that other life recently started appearing in our consciousness.  And with those memories, the source of our pain.  The reason for our volatile emotions and feelings of entrapment/helplessness during the fall.  Our fear of mornings and waking up is grounded in reality – a past reality, but still reality.

As much as we miss the training and exercise sessions, we understand that our body needs to heal and feel safe before we go back to working out.  Plus we want all of our parts to be able to exercise with us this time.  We want them to feel capable and empowered and able to protect themselves or the rest of us as needed through physical fitness and self defense.

The most difficult part of all of this is the waiting.  We have to be patient and work with the pain instead of through it.  The pain tells us how we are progressing and what areas still contain memories along with the pain.  The pain only areas are easier to cope with. The pain + memories areas take more time and require more coping resources.  Often our little kids are the most impacted in these areas, and we want to take extra steps to help them feel safe and empowered to cope with us and on their own.

Thanks for reading.