Thank you for the beautiful Circle Mother Mary last night. I almost wanted to apologize for my tears. I was embarrassed to cry
aloud hearing another’s painful story. I could feel the judgement and discomfort, whether that was a reflection in me or in the Circle. Sometimes I feel both. I know I’m a feeler. I’m an empathic person, and it is a part of me that I continously have to work with since it is difficult to feel so much.
When I’m tired or triggered I wonder if I am over feeling. It is a strange combination to have PTSD and be an empath. I see the beauty, the pain and I smell the bullshit. I can sense bullshit like a hunting dog. When I was younger I could sense things, but I had a desire to self sabotage. I thought I deserved punishment, and I was attracted to danger. I would fight against the intuition. So often I just wanted to turn it off. There are times where I want to watch a movie, the news, go to events but sometime the stimulation is too much.
There were times when I didn’t feel as much, I had shut the world out. I had numbed myself out with drugs or alcohol. Or denial. Or adrenaline. But, when all of that stopped working, and I got too old to do crazy stunts, I had to slow down. Whether I wanted to or not, it was time to awaken my heart. The listening is hard, profound and it’s beautiful. The slower, the quieter I became, the more I could hear~ from my higher self, the Divine me. It is a voice of kindness. The other voice is not. It is PTSD. And when I am not healing and taking care of myself, practicing mindfulness, that voice can be paranoia, and the sound of the world coming to an end. And now, I want to write for the first time some of the things that forced me into contraction, but they are difficult to share.
This is my writing from a dark moment I was coming through and birthing myself.. It’s authentic. I’m feeling confused
about what is to be said or not said in the Circle. This is what was going through my head last night. I like to think this stuff doesn’t affect me. I knew what was signing up for when I chose to work for the Coast Guard at the Golden Gate Bridge. But this
is an experience I had. This is a part of me. It’s only a part. I don’t feel like I need to compare pain, and horror. I only want to transmute and heal. For myself and if anything I can offer to be of service to others, that is my wish. And I so have to be
real my sister, it is the only thing I know. I take my mask off. To me that is what being a Priestess is. Compassion with strength. And truth. Done in the container of love.
Last night when Jules told the story of her brother, I felt her fear and her sadness. At least, I understood my experience
of understanding the sadness and fear of suicide and blood, and the sacredness of life. I understood the fear of seeing so much of it at once, and being saddened by another’s need to take their life. For me, also it reflected back to a time when I also wanted
to end my life. It reminded me that it is possible to take your life if you so choose, and it is your right. Many people do, for many reasons and they come from all over the world to do it at the Golden Gate Bridge. That is where I spent three years of
my Coast Guard duty working. I remember my first jumper. She looked just like my mother. She had black short salt and pepper hair, and fair skin, her teeth aged and her skin splotched by hormones. She was around seventy. I remember the call.
I was excited to do my duty. I was new. I had no idea. We pulled her over the side of the boat like a teabag. She was tossing and turning in the waves of blood filling the welldeck, sloshing side to side. I checked her pulse, alone. It was as sort of an initiation
to have your first. The other crewman stood by watching me compassionately. I was dressed in a white hazmat suit, gloves and mask. It was so hot, my breath steaming under the plastic mask and sweating under the paper of the suit I wore over layers of
uniforms. Honestly, I never felt a pulse on any person who jumped from the Bridge. The loud engines vibrating and the waves tossing the boat camoflauged any small faint pulse there may have been. So, you pretend to know what you are doing and you start CPR. Pumping air and no knowing where it’s going. You just go, and go. Until the coroner could come and pronounce her I went, an hour and a half. Her breasts inflated with air, and the paramedics also standing by, letting me continue-with compassion. Then body watch, sitting by a bagged body alone in the dark. Contemplating life, and death.
People come from all over the world to jump from the Golden Gate Bridge. Some we don’t find till later, bodies floating, bloated, skin falling off like wet tissue. These people have families. They were hurting. I remember the man from Poland who came all the way to jump from the famous American landmark only to hit the rocks and his head exploded like a watermelon. Sometimes people jump with strangers. One woman by chance saw another, and asked if she could join. One teenage boy thought it would be funny to pretend in front of his girlfriend and tragedy fell. Another boy, with pamphlets in his backpack from the AIDS clinic. Another man just off work from his shift from the Chinese restaraunt, and his apron full of money. Another young man, a friend to a shipmate. So many crawl under to contemplate, and are talked back up by a kind talking sheriff, who sometimes crawls down and handcuffs them back to bridge to safety. When they come up, they are faced with federal and state fines, possible jail and certain hospital time. Another time a two year old momentarily let go of his mother’s hand while walking across and fell beneath the cracks. The young men on duty that day who were fathers themselves were heartbroken to tell the mother standing by, as they dutifully gave CPR to the child knowing that he had passed. Another day, a father threw his children off. The whole station took the week off. My doctor of twenty years lost his wife. After a troubled marriage they were driving home from the city after counselling and she pulled over and got out of her car and flew off. He was in the car in behind. They had three daughters. He was devastated. We are all so connected. They are us.
Three or four of the guys I worked with have died of PTSD, either from shooting themselves or drinking, starving themselves to death. The memories and intensity of the numbers of deaths became too much. Nightmares. Intrusions. The truth is we all know someone who has been affected by the Bridge here in San Francisco. If not, we all know someone who has been affected by depression. Deep and dark, heavy and endless.
What I know is that we have a choice. We have a right to live or die. And that life is sacred, life is a sacred choice. As I understand in my heart every moment is sacred. We can also choose to be present in our love for each other. We can choose to be a compassionate and open listener for each other. PTSD is a very hard thing to explain. In fact, it makes it almost impossible to tell a story. It literally changes the chemistry in your brain that allows you to retell your story. It might be a protective mechanism.But it is horrible. It’s like being in a bottle trying to scream for help and no one can hear you. The triggers are real, the flashbacks and the nightmares can take weeks recover from. What looks to you like a room of people having fun can sound like a circus on steroids. It takes a lifetime of committed healing and retelling the same traumatic story over and over again. And that in itself can retraumatize you if you don’t have adequate self care tools. It is like living the same nightmare over and over again and again. It takes reprocessing and reprogramming. It changes your brain, and the way things look and the way things sound. Everyone has been through something intense or difficult. How we process those things, and how they affect us can be completely different depending on so many factors.
What we can do is listen to each other, and open our hearts. You never know who might need your ear or your hand or your heart. The words they speak may not make sense to you. You might be offended, confused, annoyed. I am so grateful to my husband and daughter, and friends who have walked my side all these years of healing! I am thankful for all my Coastie friends who are some of my true heros. And I am so thankful to to each brother and sister who has held my heart along the way. Those moments have helped strengthen me, and given me faith so that I may hold another person’s heart on their path, anywhere that may be. You never know what anyone has been through.
We are all in the service to love.
Love you all so much.