I never wanted to wear pink in my teenage years because it symbolized vulnerability to me. In a time when the resources of self expression are based on the clothes you wear and your hair style, it was important to me to express myself through those methods. That being the case, both my hair and my clothing were black. I felt like it provided me with more of a shield than a color like pink. Now I stare down at my rose pink polished nails, perfectly manicured, and remember when I refused to don such a color.
Of course now I am not so limited in my expression, making my wardrobe less burdened with the task. However, if I glance beyond my pink nails, I see my black and white clothing, and my thick black eye liner and wonder how far have I actually come? I have specific things I will not wear when I feel vulnerable and have to leave my home. I have asked myself if this is perhaps due to social anxiety, depression, or all of the above and falling under the vast umbrella that is PTSD. Upon further examination, I realize in situations I deem as risky I feel the need to wear clothing and accessories that will keep me “combat ready.” So is it PTSD or something else? In its basic form it is fear of being physically invaded, and I feel like the best idea is to be covered and mobile. Women wearing dresses constantly is something I can’t relate to, in the context of “just feel like wearing a dress!” I don’t dress based on whimsy. I dress based on safety and efficiency. I feel best in something that covers me and yet is flexible enough to let me run; shoes that are solid but rubber soled so I can get the fuck away.
Should I have feelings about this practice? I don’t know. The average assessment would dictate that it is nothing to change or be concerned with unless it disrupts healthy daily functioning. Well, does it? Sometimes. Sometimes I am late because I put on a dress or a skirt and a little bit of makeup but as the time approaches to depart I become inundated with feelings of anxiety that I look too approachable for what I am about to undertake, and then I change my outfit and my lipstick. After that, I usually change again into something else and trying to retain some softness, but walking out the door in an outfit consisting of black and grey, clad in dungarees instead of a skirt, and makeup that has gone from subtle to severe. I then arrive at my destination late, and looking a bit unapproachable.
I can tell you reasons why, or you can go back to earlier posts and read about horrible things. I don’t need to outline it here. I know I have not felt another way, in the sense that no, I have not experienced what it is like to not feel like a target. Shitty double negative, so let’s try that again. Living like a target, in some form or another, has always been.
Has it really? Probably not. I am sure there are plenty of times I am in public and am not a target. One of the tricks that PTSD plays on the mind is that the changing of thought patterns isn’t as easy for a non PTSD mind. It’s not a matter of saying, “geez, today I turn it around!”
It is a matter of reminding and re-orienting to the idea that I am not in danger. When years of personal violations have added up to a sum, it equals a learned behavior of expecting personal violations at any turn. The trauma mind has been reset to expect trauma. Like a rat in a Skinner box, it has been trained to expect the floor to electrocute him randomly. Years of this conditioning cannot be switched off with a cup of hot cocoa and a pep talk, or a mani/pedi. Its insulting to feel like a lifetime of trauma could be resolved in an afternoon at a salon or in a book of ill fitting affirmations.
I’m crawling up this wall like I am a natural climber. It’s constantly surprising me how I feel when I tear up the manual, throw away the map, turn off the targeting computer…terrifyingly in tune. When I close my eyes I can feel this Universal force driving me along, reminding me of the relevance of every fucking living thing. I have to be in a place of belief and a place of power. There is no more time to waste on doubting myself, and that goes for you too, reader. You and I are worth something, we are miraculous in our continuation and magnificent in our perseverance. Grab the reality you want and fuck the rest. It doesn’t seem to be a matter of waiting for proof, proof that we are worthy, proof that we can. It is knowledge, knowing, belief and believing that is required.
You gotta believe in somethin’…
Why not yourself?
On my second try with getting a baccalaureate degree, and I feel a huge psychic relief when I think about quitting. The idea of going for a degree in Human Services is great, but I am finding it difficult to pursue. I am triggered by almost every class. I am asking myself why I am pursuing this, and the answer is “because I have to,” and not much else. I feel as though the degree will make me valid.
Now that I have attempted school for a month, I want out. One more day of it seems unbearable. I have things I want to focus on, but school is not one of them. Is it possible that I could just be? Could I get groceries, do housecleaning, read for pleasure, live within the means available to my husband and me? Would it be possible to feel the motivation to do those things if that’s all I have to do? As it is right now, I don’t want to use my energy on cleaning up dishes because I have to save all my energy to fortify myself enough to face the anxiety of social interaction.
What makes me valid? A clean house? A degree? Notoriety? I think I am supposed to be valid simply because, but I have a lingering notion that to be valid I have to prove it. Thanks John Calvin and your bullshit philosophy, for making us all look like lazy heathens.
It is morning, and I am doing what I do most mornings, which is sip coffee. I have felt some upheavals over the last few days. I wonder why I drink coffee and why I bother to wake. At this juncture of whatever roads, I am lost. I have ideated about my death several times over the last few days. There are many caveats to such a pattern, obviously.
I am aware that my methods of forming relationships are built from incorrect and unhealthy models. I am not certain what healthy people do. So I sit, and sip more while trying to lessen my anxiety about my class this afternoon, and think of ways to not attend.
I have a lot of shame about my morning routine. It used to be different. As it stands now, I have coffee and think about the obligations I have to fulfill that day, and I plan around it. Sounds like an average way to deal with things to some. Well add two pots of coffee, anti anxiety medication, and at least an hour to paint my mask, which doesn’t have to take an hour, but I use the time to transform. After all that, I feel like I need to do something to justify all the prep work. At times, the thing I prepped for doesn’t seem worth all the prep, and then I wish I was average and not made up like a clown. Today began with feelings of being overwhelmed that never really went away from yesterday. Now the coffee and the medicine, some quiet, and in my mind, all those things should give me the opportunity to regroup and be able to face life. However, I am of the ilk right now that I can’t think or deal with anything other than the coffee and the spot in which I sit.
I have a song in my head that seems to pop up when I feel like PTSD has made me a robotic freak, like a fighting machine that is obsolete. When you have survived situations that are so obscene and extreme, regular daily life is confusing. This is not because I signed up to fight a war. It is because of the circumstances that surrounded my initial entrance to this world. The more I realize how my thought processes have been affected by trauma, the less faith I have in these thought processes to make fucking sense. That translates to not knowing what the fuck to do. Maybe that is why I just want to sit.
I don’t have any cool or profound optimism to share that has been uncovered due to a struggle. I feel quite the opposite. Gather ye rosebuds, ‘cuz we’re all dyin’, bitches.
Comfort can be found for me in lots of lines and monochrome. No colors like RED or BLUE or YELLOW. No one is special because we’re all fucking grey. Nothing is too much when its all lines and shades and dots. At any time the viewer can remind his or her eyes of what is being viewed very easily.
Maybe I will take some pictures today. I have school work, but I feel like such an ultimate and colossal fuck up because I have not started out the semester in the way I expected, so the school work has taken on a pallor of impossibility. Not just because I feel out of sync, but also because of the material. It is difficult to separate myself. I need a tourniquet for this post traumatic shit. I am stuck between stasis and panic. At least I can write about it now, these things, and the fact that I am isolating like a motherfucker. Yay for progress.