Monthly Archives: December 2011

she’s ranting again…

Good Lord, I don’t even know where to start.

Here’s the thing about a rant.  It zig zags around, not  following any particular order, a cathartic serving of bottled up emotional energy and other crap.  Its taken me months to put this certain stream of events in order and now that I have, I’m pretty pissed.  Perhaps some of the folks who subscribed to this blog are expecting only my visions of beauty and introspection and yes, there will be some of those.  But, here’s a spoiler alert for the faint of heart, bail out now, cause i’m pissed.  This is about my anger about betrayal.

I feel betrayed.  I feel betrayed on several levels by comments made to me by family/friend  that “you drive people away” with my disassociative  episodes.  So here’s is where I’m gonna break that apart and maybe someone else can get the benefit of this mess.

One of the first things I remember learning in Sunday school (of all places for me, since I’m a very infrequent church attender) is that one didn’t assign judgement to the person but instead to their behavior.  I learned that day that people aren’t bad but sometimes do bad things.  Susie isn’t a bad girl for hitting the boy on the playground but Susie did a bad thing by choosing.  (Of course, I always figured that Susie didn’t do a bad thing and the boy most certainly deserved it and had it coming, but that is another character flaw meant for another blog post)…..Now this is a really broad statement that can be debated forever by great legal, philosophical and ethical minds but for here we are keeping it simple and going with the fact that people aren’t bad but their actions sometimes are.

But what about in the case of someone having an illness that causes them to do something that is uncomfortable, inconvenient or even frightening?  What then?  Is the diabetic “bad” because she lapses into a coma in public causing everyone to scurry around and tend to her?  I wouldn’t think so.  Do we scold and shame her for not watching herself closer and tell her she is driving her family away with her condition? That doesn’t even sound right.  But that  is the scary reality of those with fragile diabetic conditions, among many other conditions, that if not monitored they could become unable to care for themselves and need help.  And I hope always that their families approach them with compassion and care.  

Is the elderly person moving slowly through the grocery store doing that on purpose to anger those around her who believe she should keep up the pace?  God no.  But there are those with huge egos that will look upon her with scorn at the very prospect of her getting in their way.  And again, I hope we always can view her as human being moving at the cadence perfect to her at that moment.

But what about the invisible mental illness and specifically disassociation?  When a child is subject to repeated trauma, there is an inevitable and glorious place that their brains take them to survive the horror where they can camp out until the danger passes.  Then once the trauma is over, they can gradually find their way back and piece themselves together.  Hopefully and ideally this is how it works.  I find this whole concept of beautiful design and thank God for creating such a beautiful place to go amidst such ugliness.  The brain becomes familiar with this escape route and uses it whenever necessary albeit sometimes with faulty implementation, meaning one can become overly dependent on escaping.

But what if that part doesn’t learn to re-integrate and gradually over time becomes stuck in that limbo, that in between purgatory place?  That splintered part can become dead to our conscious selves, silent for years or decades and for some folks, it never appears.  The disassociated self becomes so adept at splitting and creating its own personality/personalities but continues the entire time to record any and all events, smells, light, and energy, down to the tiniest detail of the traumatic events.  It stores them and hides them so well that often we don’t even know that other self/selves are there, its as much of a surprise to us as it is to the family who surrounds us who watch us behave in ways seen in the worst horror movies.  When that tiny self decides it is time to emerge, that their surroundings are safe enough to come out and that they don’t have to stay cloaked and cloistered any longer, it can be a small tiny drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet or it can be a tsunami taking down everything in its path or something in between.

So are we to blame?  Would we ever ask the disassociated among us to keep that part inside or somehow hide it because its ugly, unpredictable, “not done in our family”, messy or just plain freaky?  Some will say yes to themselves because the thought of having such reality thrust into their lives just sends them spinning.  Most will say no, that we shouldn’t hide those people away but silently thank the universe for not putting those troubled souls in their world for them to deal with.  Maybe because I’m in the population of the “split and fractured” that I’ve decided to embrace this tiny little girl for the freaking superhero that she is and not only revere her but defend and spout back to my people that they need to look at themselves closer if they can’t handle looking at her.  I think she rocks and I’m done hiding her even if she appears ugly to some, she’s beautiful and courageous to me.  And I’m looking the world straight in the eye now, for her and for me.

Now in the end, I will settle down about this.  Will I find another word to replace betrayal?  Probably, because overall I do have a huge tendency to see the other person’s side as well as smooth out differences with anyone I’ve gotten crossways with.  I also want them to understand that judgement in this situation is trauma layered with more trauma to the very confused survivor trying to make sense of the insides of their own soul.

Will I forgive the people who don’t understand?  Maybe in time, but I know I will forgive them more for me than them.  This is a concept that I continue to learn about but have a really difficult time with.  The example that made the most sense was Oprah‘s comment that “not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting it to hurt the other person” or something close to that…but you get my drift.  I know its the right thing to do and will continue praying for my ego to melt enough for forgiveness to happen.  

But, I have also learned a very valuable lesson as I search out who to trust and who not to.  Survivors are awful at trust.  We want to so badly yet often choose people that we shouldn’t trust or at least trust so entirely when we should have pulled back the reins a great deal.  I can’t speak for all survivors but this seems to be the general trend for myself and as I’ve heard it from others.  But here’s the thing that I have gotten from all this soul searching and pain, I have to trust myself fully and others somewhat.  This will give me the most peace and serenity.

Done for now.

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it was the boy at Jack in the Box…

The holidays, starting with Thanksgiving and ending after New Years, is a time I could do without.  This year I’ve obliterated them completely.  No Christmas tree, not one gift will be purchased, the house is cluttered and what christmas cookies I made plus the ones given to me have long been consumed, mostly as an entire meal. Yes, I ate them as a meal.

Trust me, you don’t want to depend on me for providing any type of holiday spirit.  I don’t decorate and I’m not perky.  If you want to come by and drink spiked eggnog and talk about books, that would be great.  Its not that I’m a scrooge, its just the rampant commercialism and stressed out people trying to find money they don’t have to buy presents they don’t need doesn’t inspire me. Combine that with how I’ve nearly been killed twice this week alone from accelerating careening SUV’s with blonde ladies at the wheel screaming into a cell phone with her 2.2 kids strapped in the back watching a video, makes me want to hide until spring.

Now, if you scrape and scrape the layers of all this crap out of the way, behind all the glitz and glitter and marketing ploys, you will find some of the most precious and caring stories of love and generosity that seem to come out only at this time of year.  That part I love, the true magic of the human spirit.  That inspires me.  But I also don’t feel that it should be limited to one part of the year.  Part of the reason that my husband and I don’t exchange gifts is that we strive to feel the essence of Christmas and the spirit of giving throughout the entire year.  Well, that and the fact that he has horrible gift anxiety that isn’t worth provoking.

So I find that if I go somewhere in nature or a place with books or something similar, I can escape the holidays.  Its difficult but do-able.  I’m lost in my thoughts as I run through my options of the day of where to hide and write and read.  My stomach beckons me into the fast food drive through as “Bill” welcomes me to Jack in the Box, where they serve breakfast the whole live-long day….I sit stunned at his authentic, hysterical greeting and then lose it.  His comment strikes me as the funniest thing I’ve heard in days and I proceed to laugh right into his loudspeaker.  “Bill” caught me by surprise with his audition-ready rehearsed ,Waiting for Guffman phrase.  He seriously cracked me up breaking the spell of sadness I’ve been sitting with. I’m struck with the wonderful, recently unfamiliar feeling of joy.  Its been days and I’ve been the walking dead. I’m wondering if “Bill” was the catalyst to me finding my moment of bliss or if I have just finally crossed over into insanity.  I order my food and wait excitedly to chat with him more at the pick up window.

I’m bummed that he is busy and can’t chat when I arrive realizing that his humor wasn’t specifically meant for me but for all who drive through.  He’s completely unaware of the gift he’s given me.  Its okay, I’ll take the joy anyway.  I’m so happily munching away on my breakfast sandwich that I’ve almost finished it before I realize that they forgot to put the bacon on it.  And yes, I eat bacon too.


straddling two worlds

I always intend for these posts to be of  value to the person who finds themselves drawn to them.   Most often my target audience, as in the people that I envision when I sit down to write, are women.  More specific than that, they are women who are sexual abuse and incest survivors.  I want them to find me and glean anything from my writing to help them make sense of the swirling crazy world that they are probably living in.

I’m not sure that my writing is fit for the general masses and I’m fairly certain that it fails to grab the attention of the mainstream.  But I’m still going to put it out there.  I know in my heart there are those so lost and frightened by the trauma of their past that I pray they find these writings along with other sources of help they need.

I want to share with them that transitioning from day to night is the toughest for me.  As the day fades into dusk, panic sets in.  It is the time that I have to hold on extra tight not to lose myself as I prepare for the dark to come.  Night is when the unconscious comes out to play and dances around with all those memories. Night is also the time when, agitated and angry, she cracks me open and swallows me whole. Speaking in symbols and metaphors, she often stays present in my mind long after I have woken up and started my day.  The line blurs between the two worlds until I feel as if I’m straddling two dimensions at once.

This has to be how many survivors feel.  We’ve been dissected into so many parts and are so out of touch with our bodies that we float around with wispy images from our dreams never quite having our feet touch the ground.  Its up to us to assemble the pieces and break the cryptic code that will set us free.  Our disassociated parts try to integrate through any means it can find and often use the unconscious as its playground.  I’m sure its why  many of us are drawn to the arts and nature as one means of healing.  Whether its through music or gardening, it is there that we make a connection that grounds us, helps us connect the fragmented pieces.

Throughout this journey, I have come across many tools and resources to heal.  I want the survivors to know even though we occupy an odd, scratched out corner of the everyday world, feeling invisible and vulnerable, there is always hope.  With the darkness comes a rare opportunity to go inside until we understand and embrace our true selves.  It is then that we can emerge an entirely new and whole being.

So for this moment, I sit with the images from the dreams of last night.  Warm images of my mother and my beloved owl Athena are present as I simultaneously recall the struggle through a maze of darkened streets, looking for a way out of something that I’m still not sure of.  The same theme presents itself again.  It tugs and nudges me to continue to unravel the story which may be repeated until I fully grasp the meaning.  I force myself to be patient and loving with the process and hope that others are doing the same for themselves.


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