I would like to sit down to write about some stretch of time that has been relatively uneventful, or some trip I took, or something that belongs in a photo album. I am not doing that. That is not what I do here. I hunt down the pain here, with every intention of destroying it. I can say from all that has played out before my eyes that I still feel, deeply, compassionately, empathetically, and I feel ferocious in being entitled to my feelings. My feelings don’t make me act irrationally, they are just feelings and they come and go. I know I survived for the reason to be here. I don’t need to feel guilt about surviving, and I don’t need to feel guilt about feeling.
I am here to be, and to be happy I think. I have always believed that happiness is a birthright for every living thing. Even me.
I feel so much squandered fragility. Seeing a history of a time past when in a delicate state I put myself into something like the hands of a medieval blacksmith, or offered myself like an exquisite entree to be consumed leaving only skin and bones behind. How I undervalued my worth because of a belief I held. One that was enforced by the only female figure available with which to identify. She enforced the belief that rape is sex, not an act of violence against another human being. I grew to see that she envied me because I received sexual attention, although it was not sexual attention. It was rape and molestation. For a long time I have confused these two very different things because in the microculture of my family of origin, being raped was having sex. Sex is voluntary. I never really believed that before. I believed that perhaps it could be enjoyable, but for the most part, sex was an expectation placed on all women. Therefore, it had to be done. I realize most of my intimate relations involve some “lost time” because I was dissociating. There is a Swiss lace quality to my memory regarding sex and intimate encounters because I checked out. I checked out because I believed that rape and sex were somehow interchangeable, and if I didn’t want to be raped I better just have sex, like a preemptive strike.
While these conclusions have broken through the dense fucking dome that is my conscious, alpha wave mind, I have experienced massive physical disruptions. Basically my body has purged about everything I have put in it and I have had to eat food that is very simple to digest, and replenish myself physically. I’ve been trying to ignore signs of needing a bit of TLC, like my dizziness and lack of physical balance. My beloved, however, is keen to my ways and sees my slip ups. I know I want him to at the end of the day, because it feels unlike anything I have known to have someone care so much that they FUCKING NOTICE. Gifts and compliments are lovely, and damn do I love a lipstick, but nothing equates to feeling like if I fall down, he will help me. I think I have finally learned it is okay to let him. He loves me, and people that love each other do not do violent things to each other. They express love for each other. They help each other, too.
I wrote this yesterday.
After deliberating and and padding things, I just decided to spill. An older man that lives nearby told me he has a crush on me. Not only is this grossly inappropriate, but it is an insult to me, because now any interaction I have had with this person now seems like merely an opportunity to study me. Yes, I am triggered, and yes I am reacting in a way that may be overkill. This person is over 70, knows Ihave PTSD, knows I am married, and still made a stupid remark and added that I should not share that information with my husband, whom he knows. This is an outrage to me. I don’t keep creepy secrets, or withhold things from the most important person in my life. Does this individual know what his lack of adherence to boundaries has done? Like a fucking game of mousetrap, a series of things happened after I received this text message of which I speak from my neighbor. I began to calculate what he could use against me, what I could use against him, and who would most likely come out the winner. Then I have to reflect on all previous information that has been collected on him–all the interactions and bits of conversations that revealed potential weaknesses. Like a switch has been flipped, because it has, I am powering up the red light saber and pacing, waiting for my prey to appear so I can study it. This is how I survived in unfortunate situations. Listening, observing, and being quiet when you walk are all things that have gotten me out of plenty of jams. Listen for Intel, observe them in different emotional states, remember details, and don’t”t wear loud shoes. Sounds calculating and weird maybe, but when this gets activated I cannot also feel tangible emotions regarding the person. For years I struggled to get away from dangerous people because when the horrible truth oftheir actions was too much to bear, my drive to run wasundermined by acknowledging their humanity, and putting their worth above my own. From that I have learned that I need to practice compassion for such individuals in an abstract way, asanimalsthat are rabid and sick, starving and desperate. I cannot feel anything for them because I put my safety first. In doing that, Imust reject the nuances that can explain irrational behavior, because if I don’t, I feel a need to help them and be tolerant. There are times when it is not good to be tolerant. That is why I have to regard them as sick things as opposed to people, so I don’t get sucked into some pity party. A mother like mine will do that. She will make you mistrust, she will make you look at everyone with a second glance, she will make you the victimizer and usurp your role as an injured person. She makes you feel like everyone is guilty until proven innocent.
That is why I have to allow myself to compartmentalize certain people, so I maintain my worth in their midst.
Today I am fortunate enough to be featured on www.kindovermatter.com . Please click the link to go to the site, where you will see one of my poems previously unpublished. It can be found under Poetry Corner. Thanks!
I feel too much right now. I’m thinking about how I have worked most of my adult life except for the last year or so, which makes me realize how much has changed.
I was a very convincing drone in the different environments in which I worked. I thought today about the last few jobs I had and how I had to leave each of them because I was unable to maintain the façade. On one hand I am happy that I cannot be false in where I put my energy, but on the other hand I feel like I have lost the ability to maintain levels of anxiety that occur in the workplace from time to time. I also feel that I am unable to contain my responses to triggers. I have had the sobering idea that I am unable to work conventionally at this time. I feel crippled in a way because I have always been able to work. Things changed after puzzle pieces fell into place and my memory restored some horrors. I realized that is when my tolerance for triggers became almost nothing. I have progressed a great deal since then, but I will never be the same. I guess I thought after some time I would bounce back to a place where I could lose my memory again but I know now that is not going to happen.
Watching a documentary on Vivien Leigh is enlightening for me today. Vivien had bipolar disorder, and her life was chaotic. she was beautiful, she was a star, she was married to Lawrence Olivier for fuck’s sake, and yet she suffered. She was ambitious and definitely knew how to market herself. The documentary is substandard, and I find the dramatizations to be shitty, and the people chosen to be interviewed are weird, however, I keep watching. Hearing that Vivien chain smoked on the set of “Gone With The Wind'” because she was so nervous does not garner sympathy from me because she seems to have manipulated many people to get the life she wanted. It is not fair, though, is it? She was ill, and her behavior was a reflection of that. When I see her acceptance speech for the Oscar, she seems really rehearsed. I love hearing the historians balking at Lawrence Olivier and how his acting was inferior to hers. Clearly, I do not share those sentiments. I think Lawrence Olivier is a genius. Anyway, I have read about Vivien’s mental illness and how Sir Olivier had to rescue her from quite a few predicaments with other men, but he loved her. She played Southern American women well, ironically. She was an avid alcohol user, which is very destructive for anyone with mental illness. I look into her eyes and see a woman with mania.
I feel bad for her, and I see in myself the very sharp critic that pushes away people that trigger me. My perception initially is that she is destructive and annoying, and as I see more about her I realize things about her trigger me because they remind me of my mother. My mother is not bipolar, but she is mentally ill. The feigned frailty of being a woman is not something I can deal with and also something for which I have not had the luxury. I am glad, because that road is filled with peril. I used to feel like I had to be accommodating to people that trigger me, but I realize now that is unnecessary, and part of the gaslighting I experienced. I do not have to be or deal with false fragility. Oh Vivien, I am sorry for your loss.
It is morning and the urge to form words and write them down is strong. My mind likes morning, with its newness and freshness. The beginning of the day, and the hope that lies within it have been largely optimistic times for me. I find morning to be almost like a well kept secret because most people are at work or asleep so if you are awake in the morning and just hanging out, its a different feeling.
There is almost a sense of guilt if you are not doing something in the morning, because it seems like we have been programmed to be productive in the morning, or maybe I am just wired that way. I know I feel guilt over things that some people do not. There are times when I feel like I may be a lot like everyone else and maybe I forget that I have witnessed what could be considered war crimes, but at some point I usually catch myself wondering what other people are doing and realize I think differently.
We all think differently. The idea that we all subscribe to some form of the Western ideal and hope to achieve it is such bullshit, however, if we stop believing it we stop trying to attain it and then McDonald’s, Walmart, Starbucks, Vogue, CNN, and Wells Fargo all lose power. In the meantime, that is, until we overthrow the regime in our minds and collective consciousnesses (thank you, Bob Marley), we are enslaved to the idea of success in a certain form. I have been mimicking most of my life in some form or another, either to make people laugh or to distract, or to get myself out of a jam. In all my mimicking of what is supposed to be fulfilling, I did not find fulfillment. Let me be more clear–in trying to be a good and dependable cog in the wheel, I have tried different methods to feel satisfied and none of them lasted. As I tried to be a better cog, I began to feel like we are not fucking cogs no matter how much we try, and to be a good one was truly just mimicking and not receiving any real reward.
The more I have tried to assimilate what “normal” people do I have seen there is no such thing. No one really knows what the fuck is going on; we are all trying to represent normal in whatever fashion we interpret it. By normal I mean the opposite of abnormal; abnormal being equivalent to unhealthy. As these beings that ebb and flow (we are made of so much water) naturally, we try to cram ourselves into a neat and tidy schedule without much room for variables and it seems now would be a good time to throw down the metaphor that we fit into this shitty bell curve like a fish riding a bicycle.
We are all victims and victors, champions and chumps. I have compared myself to others in the past thinking if I did so I could successfully mimic what I thought was happiness and eventually it would kick in and I would see why I did all I did. Like democracy kicking in and suddenly there is no more conflict in the Middle East thanks to the West and its shiny, clean notions. ANYWAY…
Not having a model of what was healthy served me well in that I was able to view other models and upon further scrutiny, realize that those did not have promise either. So thanks to the behavior of a group of unhealthy people from day one, I was essentially prepared by a microcosm for the macrocosm that is the group psychosis of our culture of wealth acclamation lacking in compassion. I guess this is good. It dawned on me yesterday that since I have never had life without PTSD, I am fortunate because I am not trying to get back to some life I had. In essence I have a leg up because I am at square one and have always kind of known it.
What this matters to you, Reader, I have no idea. Perhaps if you are wondering why you can’t seem to fit it is because you do not fit that way and no one does. We are all confused monkeys inside, really, making sure we have enough because for some reason we keep being told there is NOT enough and that WE are not enough. If we were all enough and knew it, capitalism would fail. What if there is enough? What if we accept we are flawed and imperfect and we are perfect in our imperfection? Conjecture, truly, because I am the last primate on this planet that knows what the fuck is going on, and first to admit it. No idea, right here.
Now that I have abolished any credibility I may have, I guess it is time to go, and this is quite a long rant. May the wind be at your back.
As I enjoy my second cup of coffee and watch Angela Lansbury in “A Life At Stake,” I realize I haven’t had the struggle internally that I have been feeling for days, perhaps weeks. It is a strange thing because it isn’t like I woke up singing show tunes, but the sky is overcast and it I realize it doesn’t feel like the end of the world. The overcast sky is just a thing, not an omen of a shit day.
The last few days I have taken a drug to break the anxiety cycle. It is a pharmaceutical drug, and as much as I wish I could rely solely on natural remedies, the level of stress that anxiety causes is not even tipped by deep breathing, tapping, or Bach’s Rescue Remedy. I have mentioned in past posts my usage of antidepressants; currently I take one SSRI, one SNRI, two opiate anti anxiety drugs, and a pill to keep my thyroid functioning. I see shame sometimes when I see the pill bottles. The stigma of mental illness and the idea that I am unable, incapable even, of fixing myself is the concept that goes through my mind. I ask myself if I will ever be “fixed,” or will I ever have done enough repair to seem like I am like everyone else? The answer is obviously no, and not because I am doomed, but because there is no normal, and everyone else is dealing with their shit, too.
I am not trying to distract myself from a knot in my gut like I was last week. I do realize that I find myself justifying my thoughts and behavior from two angles: one is realizing the depths of horror I have seen and how it is okay, normal even, to have some difficulty with basic life skills, and the other angle is trying not to dwell on the precipice of the abyss that is my past. It is a balancing act between acknowledgement and release that can be difficult. This is how it is right now.
I had some ideas about methods of therapy that are quite unorthodox and I discussed them with my psychiatrist, whom I trust very much, and she was highly opposed to them. This is a woman that I have talked with about astrology, and the moon’s placement in our charts, Carl Jung, marijuana, and LSD. I don’t consider her to be closed minded. When I discussed these things with her and saw her opposition I felt like I was too far gone to undertake any alternative therapies. I asked myself later why I wanted to try alternative therapies to begin with–was what I am doing now not working? What was my goal with these therapies? My goal was to fix myself. My goal was to do some practice that would basically issue me some sort of “certificate” that I was fixed. Not unlike my reasoning behind pursuing a bachelor’s degree, which was basically that once I had it my life as a functioning adult would begin, which casts a pretty shitty pallor on the now. It also sets me up for a life I do not want, a life dictated by “shoulds” and doing what I think others want me to do.
Nevertheless, I had a similar banter going on within regarding therapy. I felt like if I couldn’t do mushrooms in the rainforest, my PTSD would never be “cured.” There is an example of a typical Western medical model of looking at mental health and mental illness. From a different perspective there is no “cure” because I am not sick. I am not in need of a cure, and to search for something to fix me is futile. I can try to eradicate all of the influence that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has caused, but to do so would be to eradicate some of my skills and methods of dealing with things. I am certainly not in a place where I can say “geez, this is a fucking great gift,” but I know I see more and feel more because of it.
There’s no fixing, no curing, no eradicating because it is not necessary. There is no end point where I get to say “I have it all figured out now and I am done.” This whole fucking thing is a journey, as cliche’ as it sounds. I do not remember the beginning of my life. I do not remember intentionally setting out on this journey, but I am here. So it goes and so I go, on.