bjm21

Bobbie Jo Morrell is a mountain woman, poet, writer, leathercrafter, rustic furniture builder, cat owner, technical writer, website designer. She says, “Colorado’s Front Range, with the smell of pine trees in the cool air of morning, is my home.” Her blog address: http://soulscompass.blogspot.com/.

Introducing Deeper Warrior, Bobbie Jo writes, “Deeper Warrior is a memoir focusing on my early spiritual journey of healing from child sexual abuse, beginning during my college days. The biggest challenge for me is embodied in Jesus’s question, ‘Do you really want to be healed?’ The title comes from a very good friend of mine, who wrote to me not long ago when I was having a recent crisis of healing, ‘Clearly you are being challenged on all fronts, and to that end, will find a deeper warrior Who wields the sword of truth on your behalf and towards your victory. Boudicca, arise and shout the war cry!’

“Chapters of this story will be serialized here as I get them done, as long as Voca Femina will take them! Names and some personal details have been altered to protect the privacy of those who happened to participate in my journey.”

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rain

Deeper Warrior I: Land Of Shadow (all rights reserved)

The ancient brown sofa sagged legless against the brick wall. The tiny square of dim light that was the window barely revealed the flattened red shag that covered the concrete floor. Morning and noon were the same here, only slightly less dark than midnight. A reading lamp, a small black and white television, a pale bulb stuck in the ceiling with its dangling string—these tried to illumine the room, with small success. Chill air crept down the bricks onto the bed and through the blankets from the frost covered window. Frozen silence filled the four walls, leaving the keening of the wind outside as the only sound. From somewhere above, a whiff of marijuana smoke floated down, a false intimation of warmth.

I pushed myself to my feet, woozy from Codeine. My face was still puffy and green from the abrupt removal of all of my wisdom teeth—woozy was better than pain.

Carol walked in the door and we sat on the green covered sofa in the common living room, one at each end. Her long face and permed hair moved constantly, in rhythm with her pale slender hands.

Words flowed from her mouth, but because she didn’t seem to be paying any attention to them, I didn’t either. Then she handed me the key to the Pinto and, suddenly motionless, said, “We have to talk.”

My stomach, slightly queasy from painkillers, shrunk into a cold, hard knot. Her bright blue eyes looked briefly into mine, then turned to study the carpet at her feet.

“I’ve moved.”

I wanted to shout– “I know you moved! I just loaned you my car so you could!” I stared at her instead.

“You don’t know my address or phone number now, and I’m not going to tell you what they are. If I run into you on campus, I might say hi—but that’s it. You’re driving me crazy, Bobbie.”

We’d had conversations about it before. Too emotionally dependent, Bobbie! Stop being so clingy! Get a life—I can’t be everything to you. And so on. So I knew what she meant without her saying more. There was more conversation; I don’t remember what I said. She walked out. So did I.

Streetlight reflections smudged across the wet empty streets as I walked across campus, seeking the only other person I could talk to at all. How fortunate that it was raining! No one would notice my tears. I couldn’t stop them, not with all my rigid willpower. I could keep the sobs quiet, but I couldn’t stop them, either. The only person that I had felt completely accepted by, who had heard my pain, who had cried for me, had told me to get lost. Cut off, abandoned…yes, that was it, abandoned. Again.

I had begun to hope that life might not be entirely empty. But now, all that was gone. Tears mingled with rain and I walked.
My severely withdrawn childhood had been complicated by something I could not understand when it happened, though I never forgot it. My high school psychology class taught me names for it: rape, child sexual abuse. But I could not speak of it to anyone.

My friend’s teenage brother had always ignored me. I couldn’t believe or understand why he was seeking me out, asking questions, wanting to talk just to me. Of course, at the time I didn’t analyze it (though I’ve analyzed it many, many times since); I was just an eight year old responding to the flattery of his concentrated attention. Although, upon later reflection, I wasn’t sure I liked him even then, some small alarm was going off somewhere.

His attention wasn’t really for me, though. My flattered, childlike friendliness led to a dark closet and a teenage boy putting a private part of his body into a private part of mine (I learned the words “penis” and “vagina” much, much later).

The memory is confused. As best as I can remember my feelings, I felt pleasure and pain—both intensely—and a connection (intimacy, I would say now) that I had never experienced before.

And when, after it was over, he pushed me away from him with a scornful mockery, shame burned into my soul. The vague sense that there was something wrong about what was happening solidified, all in a crystalline moment, into the conviction that I was wrong, bad, unlovable, horrible, weak, disgusting…well, you get the idea.

The door to my inner self, touched so profoundly, so inappropriately, so horribly, slammed shut on the world.

The march of years after my abuse led to descent deeper into a dark cave of withdrawal and depression. Anything suggestive of weakness—vulnerability, femininity, emotions—I severely suppressed, held prisoner to fear, especially my fear of being afraid.

Now an adult, now in college. One woman showed me such kindness that I spilled my story and my fears out to her. Carol was the first person I ever trusted enough to tell of my abuse, and her reaction surprised me. She cried. I could not believe that anyone could care at all for me, much less weep over my griefs.

My desiccated soul lapped up the cool water of her compassion, and was still thirsty. I didn’t mean to cling so desperately, I wanted her to be free, but I couldn’t help clutching at the only source of water I’d found.

I tried to branch out; I joined the Judo team, hung out with the Cosmopolitan Club. I got drunk often to anesthetize my fears and bridge social gaps, with odd and sometimes disturbing results. Yet the thirst remained, and still I drove Carol crazy with my dependency on her.

Now abandoned. Again.

And yet, even as I walked through the cold rain, something else was stirring inside, in a tiny back corner of my brain. Yes, abandonment—yes, tears and sobs, wrenching and uncontrollable. But far in the back of my mind something heaved a sigh of relief, as if a burden had shifted from its shoulders and fallen to the ground with a thunk. What was that?

I found Christine at David’s place where they were studying together. She was expecting me, and immediately, before I said one word, gathered me in her former shotputter’s embrace, a huge bear hug. I clung to the lifeline of her kindness and wept.

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