Old and New Dogs

Today i feel like updating. Most of it’s positive, with a brief vignette of unhappiness that might yet turn out well. Off we go.

I worried for many years (especially when i read old journals) that i would never change. I saw the same problems cropping up and kept finding myself back at what i thought was square one. I know now that wasn’t true, it was only that i was blind to my progress. There were scales on my eyes that i needed help removing. I needed a saviour to bring revelation and healing, if you will. I’m being facetious, but religion put me through a LOT, so have mercy. Heh. My saving grace was finding the right therapist. She taught me things i needed to know, and shone a light on me. Today, i am my own saviour, and I AM my revelation. I’m being reborn. The scales have fallen from my eyes and I SEE.

I see that i have changed – i’ve changed plenty.

And so, a list!
Some are big, some small. Some are silly observances and some saved my dang life.

– I no longer flirt;
– I don’t fawn at people who i know don’t like me, or people who are gruff or rude;
– I’m far less of an approval/acceptance seeker;
– I let other people help me cook;
– I don’t hoard food;
– I don’t binge/purge;
– I’m no longer addicted to pain pills;
– Non-smoker for 20+yrs;
– Maintained a 200+lb weight loss for over 15yrs*;
– Happy apostate;
– I’m decorating my house;
– I can be around children (most of the time);
– I’m no longer physically or verbally abusive;
– I’m not constantly choking back rage;
– I’m happily estranged from my family;
– I’ve let someone in to truly know me;
– I’m creating my OWN style, fashion/makeup/hair wise;
– I haven’t been committed in 10yrs**;
– I stopped driving (i’ll tell that story one day);
– I’m learning to manage my life as a multiple***;
– I have goals and aspirations.

I’ve changed tremendously, and i intend to change even more, where required.

**********

Now for my story.

We have 2 dogs. I have a 10yr old Pomeranian that i’ve had since he was a puppy. He looks fancy, but he likes to be outside and get dirty and go for walks with me. He doesn’t need much attention, and he likes his alone time. He is my fur-person, and will come lie in bed with me, Cristina/Meredith style (Grey’s Anatomy) when i’m low, even though my waterbed is too warm for him. He’s not a lap dog, preferring to sit at my feet when my husband is home, or beside me when he isn’t. He doesn’t mind other people, but he ignores other animals – unless they get in his personal space, at which time he will quickly clue them in that he ain’t havin’ it. He is food-centric, so much so that he nearly died from bloat (a rarity for such a small dog) when he was young. We learned to soften his food because he’d just swallow the kibble whole, and we put a ball in the dish, because he’ll still eat the softened food so fast he chokes on it. Between all the mush he gets on his ruff, and his love of our farm and dusty country roads, he needs to see his groomer OFTEN.

My husband’s dog is his polar opposite. She’s a medium-sized, 7yr old mutt with definite Bully leanings, that he rescued at around 6mos. She’ll take all your attention, all the time if you want to give it, although she’s not needy about it. She loves her kennel, and will go there for comfort, and any time we tell her “kennel,” say, when people come over. We do this because she. loves. everybody. and will jump on you, knock you over, and lick you forever (we let her out when things are calmer). Like my Pom, she loves walks and all the sniffs. While my boy is often too warm, her fur is so sparse you can see her skin markings underneath so we have a coat for her to wear outside from early fall to late spring. Our road and the adjoining canal is a favourite place for dog-walking, and she’s always overjoyed meeting other doggos. When it comes to mealtime, she likes to eat, but other than trying to casually sniff the plate on her Daddy’s tv tray (Dumdeedum, i’m just stretching, and my nose just happens to be 10cm from your food – nothin’ to see here, don’t mind me, tralala…), she’s not a moocher or a garbage-raider. Her favourite things are zooming around the outside of our house at top speed, rolling in scat (especially deer), and rides with Daddy in his work van. For the last, if he opens the door, she will bound into the back seat, and sit and wait patiently until he’s ready to go.

I’m sharing this for one, because i’m a pet person and don’t most of us love to wax poetic on our beloved fur babies? And two, because our dear sweet girl has fallen ill. Over the last 4mos or so, her enthusiastic, ebullient puppy personality has done a complete 180. She began acting like a geriatric dog; she moped about, wanting to spend all day and night in her kennel. She walked like she was in pain, and began refusing food. She didn’t want play with my boy (who actually loves her so much he licks her nose). She didn’t even care for van rides.

We’ve seen the vet half a dozen times, had every test imaginable, and they’ve found nothing. Each time we went she perked up –because of course she LOVES going to vet– /exasperated. They never saw her flat affect as she stopped moping and gladly trotted into the office with them. Meanwhile, she’d deteriorated to the point where she was piddling and drooling, her ears were full of bloody muck, and she was refusing food and water. Finally a vet tech friend of mine suggested Lyme disease. We thought about how many deer we have around here, and her fondness for their droppings. In desperation we went in again, and got the test. Turns out it’s extremely rare where we live, which is why they didn’t suggest it.

We’re waiting for the results. In the meantime, they put her on an aggressive round of antibiotics (she’d been on a mild one for clostridium), and gave her steroids for her rash (she has skin sensitivities like a lot of Pit Bull types).

And then something quite wonderful happened – she began improving. Over the last 4 days or so, she’s been accepting food, drinking well, her ears have cleared up, as has her piddling and drooling. She willingly comes out of her kennel in the morning to go outside with her daddy, and has resumed trotting up to us for scritches and pets.

When we’d take her to the vet, she was so lethargic we had to lift her in, but 2days ago when hubby opened the side door, she jumped in herself. We’ve begun feeding her 2X a day, and when it’s time to eat, she’s right there in the kitchen watching us prepare it. Last night after dins, she was still following us around wherever we went. It took a bit before we realised that she wanted a second helping, which i happily gave her, as she has wasted away these last few months.

I’m so looking forward to taking her for walkies today.
These last few months have been frustrating, scary, and gut-wrenching. She’s too young and lovely for us to lose her yet. We’re not ready. We still don’t know what’s wrong with her, and there still may be sad, awful times coming. The next step is very expensive, and it’s to detect cancer (which doesn’t show up on her screens). We’ve already spent so much money, all the resources we have left would be to keep her as comfortable as possible until the time comes.

There is no money plea coming, and no gofundme or whatever, i would gratefully decline any such offers. We’ll do the best we can for our darling girl, but the thing is, she seems to be improving. I don’t want to hope too hard, because i know how these things can go. If she does fully recover, we may never know what was actually wrong with her, but i’ll take it.

I’ll take it and hug her and pet her and feed her and walk her until she actually gets tired of me.

No real reason for this, except i’m trying to write more, and i was inspired by one of my favourite blog writer’s recent posts. So that’s my storytime, and if you read all this way, thanks!

Have as good a day as you can. I hope things are looking up for you as they are for me.
Sending Out Peace and Love to All,
~H~

* I did lose over 300lbs, but regained after bipolar mania, meds, and multiplicity. I have around a third left before i’m back where i was. Yay me!

** I’ve gone for help on my own a couple of times.

*** I have a number of other diagnoses, but DID is primary, in my opinion.

IMAGE: Rebekah Howell
(This is my idea of heaven.)

Robinson Robinson?

Robinson Crusoe doesn’t quite fit, nor does Swiss Family Robinson.
But they get close enough.
To get where i’m coming from, i’ll include an exerpt from my recent social media post:

As many of you know who read my blog, i’ve been in the most intensive therapy of my life. The goal is to strip me down of all my harmful/distancing coping mechanisms (i.e. dissociation), and experience my life fully present and in the moment.

The issue is that i’m exhausted, and the vulnerability this brings is beyond terrifying to me. I’ve lived my life at some level of dissociation since i was a baby. I’ve missed out on so much because i wasn’t there. These last 2yrs have been nothing short of brutal, but i can and will do it.

The problem is – the world is breaking me. I’m becoming pessimistic and misanthropic. I didn’t strip myself down to find this soft and tender heart inside, one that i’m beginning to know and love, only to have politics and current events smash it to smithereens. I won’t let that happen.

To that end, i am cutting out EVERYTHING in the outside world. I’m going to be filling myself with only lovely and uplifting things (outside of my therapy).

In all my online interactions, i sometimes leave and then come back for a bit and then do it again. I keep getting sucked into things that, while i care deeply about them, i do not currently have the spoons to handle. I only have enough for me right now.

But my family deserves a better functioning human, and so does my community. I am going to be buckling up and knuckling down, and getting this shit done, and when i come back…

I will be better. More involved, more helpful, more truly interactive. I will be in the face, and i will be better able to be there for friends and family.

**********

I will still be reading blogs, but if it involves commentary on politics and/or current events, i’ll be ducking out. I intend to return to these things because they matter to me, and i care. I just need to nope all of that for a while. I’m still here for poems and musings, and even a bit of personal trauma and pain.
On the days that i can.
On the days i need to not be alone in all this.
I’m here for the past and the future, just not the present outside of my own little island and my day-to-days. One day, my little boat will be built, and i will sail back to the mainland.

My next post will be a bit on the TMI side, just a heads up (re: detoxing).
Or maybe i’ll write down 1 or 2 dreams that deserve a looksee.
Or, i’ve been reading a lot of Bukowski and might be inspired to try to be gum on the bottom of one his boots that were 3 sizes too small.
Heh.

Thanks for reading.
Hang in there everyone, as best you can.
I’m doin’ what i gotta do.
I hope you’re able to as well.
Love and Peace,
~H~

in my hand is the last bluebird.
the shades roar like lions and the walls
rattle, dance above my
head.
the eyes look at me, love breaks my
bones and I
laugh.
Fingernails; Nostrils; Shoelaces, Charles Bukowski


IMAGE: Sergio Jara

Stuck

I’ve spent the last week filled with dread and unable to write. Every time i click [+Write], i’m stuck. Initially i wasn’t sure what the problem was, but that’s not entirely true. Being as dissociative as i am, the knowledge was there, i was just afraid and instinctively pushing it away from my consciousness. By midweek i cried uncle and admitted to myself what’s going on…
Dream #2 is going on.

There is something there that i genuinely can’t access right now. Not without analysing it. And i have this feeling that i don’t want to know what it is. I call it a dream, but it was a nightmare. It’s the worst nightmare i’ve had in years, probably since i was going through disclosing my abuse history. The night after i had it, i had the first semi-lucid dream i’d had in weeks. I was in acres of lush green meadow grass, soft and warm and full of that incredible smell. The sun was high and gorgeous and golden, and i gazed up at it in awe.

Then something large and dark caught my eye. I could see it was falling towards me, and falling fast. It thunked heavily on the ground next to me and it was a man. And then suddenly, it was raining men, literally, and even as i write this, my dark sense of humour is not kicking in. It was horrific. They were coming down all around me, hitting the grass and making sounds like when you knock on a large melon, or drop a heavy stone on freshly laid sod. The meadow was filling with them and i knew 1 would eventually land on me.

Like i did when i’d first learned lucid dreaming as a child, i knelt down, put my head on my knees and cupped my hands around my face to keep the light/the sight of it all, out of even my peripheral vision. Then i squeezed my eyes shut as tightly as i could and i said, NO, i don’t want to be here. I’m going to WAKE UP RIGHT NOW!! And i willed myself awake. There is a literal pulling sensation inside me, like waking up from anaesthetic; i feel drugged and heavy-limbed.

When i was fully awake i felt the dread i’d felt the night before, and i knew they were connected. I felt sick to my stomach again. I felt that gnawing pit down inside me yawn wider.

I sit in front of this blank white screen and i sense doom approaching. The other shoe is about to drop. I can’t explain it, but i just KNOW. I never repressed my memories per se, my brain hid them from me, disguised as dreams/nightmares/night terrors. It has been my belief that i know everything i can know about my past at this point. It took a long time to separate dreams from memories, and then memories from drug-induced hallucinations and imaginings (i was often drugged during the abuse: alcohol, depressants, and even stimulants and hallucinogenics).

I keep myself busy and try to keep my spirits up during the day, but by the time my husband comes home from work i’m exhausted from the effort. I spend the evenings feeling myself slide around inside my brain, and have fully switched out a couple of nights. I decided that it’s got to come out, lest i find myself crawling back into a bottle.

I’m setting myself up for the best outcome. I won’t be tackling the dream/s until my husband has the day off. I’ve bribed my system with promises of things they like to do after it’s done. (They’re children after all, and i found bribery a very effective tool with my sons, on occasion.) I’m talking to my system more, and at peak mindfulness. I’m establishing trust, but also asserting my place as the mama/head monkey in charge of this circus. They live in my brain, and they are all me, so it’s no secret that i’m very afraid (not all are developed enough to know anything about anything – they are a feeling, or a moment in time), but i also have a solid reputation as one who can and will do the thing anyway. I remind myself (selves) that i lived through it, and if i can survive that, i can survive looking at it and thinking about it and dealing with all of the fallout. ALL of it. I’m hella capable, and so far in this life i have never given up – i don’t intend to start now.

I don’t know what’s going to happen, but i do know that if i try to run from this or quash it, it’s just gonna keep getting bigger and sucking more of my precious energies into that ever-widening maw in my gut. Eventually it will either drive me into more dangerous switched behaviours, or i will go on an epic bender and/or wind up hospitalised. I know how i work, so i’ve got that goin’ for me. Heh.

That was almost a joke.

I will stare this in the face and learn what it has to teach/tell me.
I’ll feel the pain, i’ll grip the rage tightly in my savage breast and roar my way through, and i’ll embrace the wrenching sobs that i know are coming after.
This is the process; to feel what i feel while knowing what i know.
(I’m my own life coach, woohoo!)

Ah, there’s my sense of humour.
It never leaves me for long.

Love and Peace,
~H~

IMAGE: Alex Iby

Inspecting the Damage

WARNING: Discussion of self-harm, specifically head-banging. Mentions of binge drinking, drug abuse, eating disorders, also trichotillomania.

It would be disingenuous, or a lie by omission, to not post about my recent fall.
I didn’t wind up in the hospital this time, so YAY! but it was a bad one. If i’m gonna help myself, and have any hope at all of truly helping anyone else, it’s gotta be real, and it’s gotta be all of it. No convenient skip overs. There’s no need for TMIs most of the time; i can be tactful, and i’m respectful of others’ privacy. I know probably some of you will be saying, “Wait, your entire blog is TMI.” I would respond Yes, on a certain level, but trust me, there’s deeper and more awful. I don’t see the need for most details. I’m reconciled and almost comfortable, with being identified as a seriously mentally ill person. What i don’t want is for people to think of all the things that happened to me as a child every time they see me. What i don’t want is to plant specific images from my childhood in anyone else’s head. They are a terrible burden. And while i do need to blog/journal about it to a certain extent, there’s a line that doesn’t need to be crossed for me or any reader here.

I go to my therapist for the details, and even there, it’s rarely necessary. I went through disclosure many years ago, and it swallowed me whole for a very long time. I clawed my way out of the tiger’s mouth, and have no desire to ever be in its jaws again.

My therapy sessions have been a massive trigger for switching of late. Unfortunately, the way my system copes with triggers is to drink me into a coma (figuratively). I don’t even remember the end of the call, and they were off to the races. I was gone less than a week, but the damage was extensive:
– 2 broken fans,
– cracked mirror,
– holes kicked in bottom of bedroom door,
– broken 50″ television,
– concussion plus massive body bruising.

The shame and guilt are hard to bear, but i’m doing my best, so far. I understand that shame tells me i’m bad, versus guilt telling me i did something bad. The latter is true, but the former is not. It’s a lie that was programmed into my child-brain, by those who would control me to achieve their own selfish ends. I turn my attention then, to shame.
I’ve returned again and again to this in my blog since i learned it, and here i am once more. I suspect i’ll be working on this one for many years to come, but it’s all right, because now i know what to do.

My therapist told me some months ago, that shame is the body’s need for human connection. It may not make sense to anyone else, but it absolutely changed my life for the better. When shame comes upon me, i need another human to tell me i’m not bad. I’ve lived my life shame-based, and it’s such a powerful motivator, such a reflexive, driving force, that i simply can’t get out from under it without help. I require meaningful connection with another person. It’s like wearing a costume with the zipper in the back; someone else needs to unzip me before i can pull it down and step out of it. And i may even need help taking it off before i can walk away and leave it on the floor.

I’ve connected with my husband and son, and through them i’ve been able to let go of all but the self-harm. I hadn’t harmed myself in many years, and a return to this behaviour has me drowning in shame. Plus, the anxiety it brings me when i’m practically at maximum saturation levels already, has that elephant sitting on my chest again.

These last 2yrs of trying to mend the broken connections between my brain and body have been difficult, to put it mildly. The hardest part of it is not to dissociate through the work. To feel what i feel while knowing what i know. I spent years listening to my system, listening to my thoughts as i disclosed what had happened to me growing up. Now i listen to my body, because in an intangible and dare i say, rather esoteric way, my body holds my memories as much as my brain.
And as i say nearly every post, it is the hardest, most exhausting, most painful work of my life.

Therefore, i try not to fret overly about a return of some behaviours i’d thought long over and done with:
– the programmed imperative to GO HOME! when my system is in overwhelm, which involves immediately leaving wherever i’m at and whomever i’m with, and walking at a rapid pace towards the city where my abuse was most severe,
– the loss of days instead of mere hours,
– the involvement of law enforcement,
– hospital stays,
– head-banging and hitting of self.

The self-harm is a tough one to take on, though. It frightens me more than any.

The first time i considered self-harm i was 4yrs old. The first time i can remember banging my head i was also 4. It’s complicated. I consulted the internets to help me define what it’s about, because i knew, but it was so tangled up in my brain i needed help to identify the separate threads so i might unravel them. I know it was partially to punish myself for “being a bad girl”, but it was for more than that. I couldn’t bear the emotional pain i was in most of the time, but i could the physical. So it was a substitution of sorts. Finally, i think i used it to feel something, when i was in a dissociated state.

I learned quickly to make sure i was alone, and also not leave any visible bruises, or bang too hard, lest i leave a bump. My mother knew every bump and bruise on me, as she inspected me on the regular. She knew which ones she’d done, and which weren’t and by whom. The only time i wouldn’t be interrogated over a lump or mark she wasn’t familiar with, was when they were on my knees or elbows. For those, she simply admonished me for being such a klutz.

The head-banging only lasted until we moved away from the city i spent my first 9yrs in. Once she’d traded in her sick, twisted married man for a controllable underage boy, i dealt more with anxiety issues. That was when my trichotillomania began, which is not classified as self-harm, per se. I didn’t have to deal with the banging again until my late 30s, although i did still engage in self-harm prior, through highly disordered eating, binge drinking, and drug abuse. Once i began therapy around 12yrs ago, the head-banging stopped. I may have done so a couple of times after that, but i can’t remember.
To see its return worries me.

I was switched at the time of course, so i didn’t know once i was back in the face. I was doing my regular after-switch body check, and my heart plummeted when i saw the sheer number and severity of the bruises all over me. And the huge ones across my forehead made me want to throw up. My husband told me i’d locked the door to our bedroom and was screaming and bashing around in there while he was at work. Which means he learned through my son. I won’t stray off into that territory, because we’d wander far from what this post was intended to be and do. Suffice to say it made me feel sick, too. Which is when i realised i was probably concussed. I didn’t go to the hospital for a proper diagnosis, but i’ve given them to myself before, i know the symptoms, such as they are (vague and very like coming back from a switch), and i simply tended to myself as if i had one.

I’ve decided to take a short break from therapy. I don’t know for how long – i’m thinking 2wks – 1mth, but i’m going to leave things open to change. Nothing’s firm. This last fall/episode/switch/binge/whatever has scared me. My system, my precious Bits N’ Pieces, are all merely children, regardless of the age they feign. And this was a full-on tantrum. I haven’t destroyed property or attempted to destroy myself like that, in a very long time. I think they’re beyond tired and cranky. And they are mine and my responsibility. >>I<< am mine and my responsibility. I’m still going to be writing, still doing the work, but easing back on the gas pedal a bit. Turning down the intensity. This work will not be stopped, but it can be slowed.

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.

~ William Ernest Henley


Image: Austin Neill

Do Not Read

This is a dark time for me. This is the first time i’ve posted while i’m down the hole. All i feel is pain and all i am is ugly. I know these things aren’t true but i can’t shake them. Ms T said this is good work to get to a better place, but i feel gross and disgusting ALL. THE. TIME.

I want to ask her, to ask everyone — do you even know what happened to me?
It’s all so ugly and i’m swimming in it every day, all day. It was bad enough to watch it from the corner of the room. Now i feel it in my body. It’s terrible and revolting. I can smell it. I can’t smell anything else right now. The stink of it is all over me and my girl parts hurt. I want to be invisible and i want everyone to see me at the same time. This doesn’t make sense, i know. I’m so smart but i cannot understand this.
I want to shake everyone.
Do you know what happened to me?
It’s not a book or a movie. It’s not fiction. It’s not terribly romantic and poetic.
It’s vile and evil and it’s in my bones and i can’t see anything else right now.

I want to be good and a sign that you can survive bad things, but today i am lost and drowning and just so very tired of it all. How could she do this? HOW COULD SHE? She was my MOTHER. My. mother. And i’ve had to walk away from my entire family. I’ve lost everyone. And i was the one who was raped.
This is why i don’t write when i fall down a hole.
This isn’t helpful.
I’m so sorry, i’m just so broken.
Days like these i despair that i can ever get past this.

Okay, so pull something good out of this.
I’m alive, and that’s good. I survived the unsurvivable, and that makes me kind of amazing. My brain did a thing that saved my life.
It turned everything into a movie i was watching and then it tucked all the pictures into little dream pockets. It waited for the day when i watched and knew the truth. It kept it all safe and technicolor until i found someone to help us.
She’s so calm and she talks science to me because that’s my language.
She tells me it’s going to take moremoremore time. And i hang up and cry.
Please, do you even know what happened to me?
I can’t see this, feel this, smell this, one more bloody day.

I’m sorry. I’m down a hole.
This is how my brain works.
It’s amazing and awful.

People Aren’t Puppets

WARNING: This post contains some description of childhood physical abuse.

Because to take away a man’s freedom of choice, even his freedom to make the wrong choice, is to manipulate him as though he were a puppet and not a person.
~ Madeline L’Engle


Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the behaviour or perception of others through indirect, deceptive, or underhanded tactics.

My mother could play people like Strauss played the violin. Well, she could play some people. Looking back, i can see there were some giving her a wide berth. I’m gonna guess she had a toxic stink on her for those self-aware enough. Once we moved out of the city and began living a throwaway life in various small towns, things steadily changed. Her sick was beginning to show. It started when she picked up a stray boy to do her bidding. He was 14, and she was 32. It’s hard to maintain your mini-guru status when you’re sexually assaulting someone on the regular. Even if we mightn’t have called it what it was back then (and that’s what it was), it made others intensely uncomfortable and outright disgusted. Isolated and mostly alone in a trailer park at the edge of town, she gained weight and lost all her friends.

Once she had the boy firmly under her thumb (he moved in with us when he was 15), she began squirting out babies every couple of years. She put on pregnancy weight and it never came off. She stopped cleaning her house. She stopped cleaning herself. I’d like to think it was guilt over the past, but i think it far more likely that her monstrousness had become too much for her to handle. She was consuming herself from the inside. Eating her own poison caused her to become bloated and bilious on the outside. She looked wrong, she smelled wrong – on a psychic level. From then on the only card she had to play was pity. She still caught a number of unfortunates in her web, but it was far fewer, and they never stuck around for long. Her mask slipped quite regularly. She’d mostly cut off contact with me before she died, but at her funeral i saw she’d been enjoying quite the resurgence of her sick and sticky influence. She was in a 12-step program and had joined a church – perfect places for a 600lb tumour of a human to bang her pity drum and have a parade behind her. They wept into their tissues as they told me how much she meant to them.

They’ll never know how fortunate they are that she died. She would have taken whatever they’d give her, and then cut them to ribbons on her way out.

I’d watched her manipulate people my whole life, although i didn’t see it for what it was, back then. That was just how we did things at my house. We hid our true selves from the outside world. Other people wouldn’t, couldn’t understand our ways – we were too intelligent, too evolved, psychically, spiritually, intellectually. We were on a higher level. As soon as someone’s back was turned or was out of earshot, my mother had nothing nice to say about them. I watched her smile and charm her way through single motherhood in the big city. I watched her hold her own with large groups of professors and grad students. And then parts of me watched her behaviour when we were alone at home. Her emotional meltdowns, her beating and starving me, her renting me out for money, gifts, favours, and the attention of 1 particular man.

I watched her deftly handle teachers in interviews, blaming me for every issue that was brought up. I watched her charm my friends at sleepovers or car rides or at school functions. She could ease them past their fear and disgust over her size in mere minutes. Connecting with fellow students years later they’d ask after her, Hey, how’s your mom? She was always so cool. When i’d tell them she died young, they were so sad for me.

I watched her in therapy sessions. With me as a kid and her riding shotgun, with both of us through churches and government run agencies. She’d seek help for me, and it’d always end up being about her. She’d been abused as a child and now she had this troubled daughter who couldn’t sleep and wasn’t getting high enough marks at school and was struggling socially. How she was doing everything in her power and availing herself of every opportunity, and i was still such a problem. I was stubborn, i was a compulsive liar, i never did my homework… How was she supposed to cope with all of that AND make a living? She had them nodding sympathetically and eating out of her hand in 20mins or less. She knew all the buzzwords and dog whistles and they lapped it up. Meanwhile, if my performance hadn’t been spot on, when we got home she’d beat the crap out of me. Sometimes she’d be so mad she couldn’t wait until we got home and would beat me in the car. She bounced my head off the dashboard so hard once, that it cracked. She’d point out the crack occasionally, just by way of reminder to behave or else.

I watched and i learned and i behaved.

All this to bring it back to what i’m dealing with today. Today i know how to manipulate people to get what i want. To read them, to know their currency and their weaknesses and through that knowledge, get my needs met. In the distant past, i can see where i did work people to get their acceptance, but it was an unconscious thing. I’d been taught to figure out what people wanted and give it to them. I’d been taught to blend into the group, chameleon-like. I wasn’t purposefully disingenuous. And i was never on the grift, like her. I never took anyone’s money. I never paraded myself, my past, or my children for cash, or gifts, or help of any kind. I hid my need from others. I only ever had a couple of friends who knew when i was down and out, and they had to force me to take their help (they were generous and kind to do that, i know).

I don’t socialise much anymore, and almost never in big groups, so i don’t have to worry about my must-fit-in programming so much. I have a few friends i can be myself with – or at least practise being myself. I thought my manipulative days were behind me.
Frank and intensive introspection has recently shown me that that isn’t the case.

The manipulation was subtle, embedded in care-based action. First, it starts with my children. I finally became aware of it with my youngest. He’s grown but is still at home for now. He has some serious issues that he needs safety and space to work out, and we’re glad to provide for him. Some if not all of them, can be traced back to being born to and raised with, a survivor of severe trauma who has multiple mental health diagnoses. As i’m working on my own stuff, i watch him work on his, and i think back to when he was in school. I see his struggles in various areas, and i see me trying to get him the help he needed. I attend meetings, so many meetings. Meetings they called, meetings i called. Taking him for tests and more tests. Trying this, trying that, nothing working, constant fretting, so much emotion, so much stress. And today i see how much of it could have been avoided, if i hadn’t been unconsciously manipulating things to get the outcome >>i<< wanted. I wanted him to do things and be things in his life that he wasn’t necessarily interested in. I hung my own unfulfilled hopes and dreams on him. I compounded his stress and anxiety.
Tough pill to swallow, but it’s mine to take.
This led to some insight into other areas where i’ve been trying to make others do what i want.

I’ve written about my crappy parenting and how i’ve apologised to my boys and they all forgive me and still love me. I’ve gone on about how i’ve offered myself to them for therapy – both to pay for it, and be present at any session they’d want. But what i didn’t see was how i apologise too often – i bring it up too much. And the uncomfortable truth of it is that i want them to make what i did okay for me. I want THEM to fix MY feelings. I want them to go to therapy and be mad at me so that i can feel more at peace. I know i don’t get to tell them how to handle their past, but i was missing the selfishness that was enmeshed in the best of intentions.

Which brings me to my husband. Same thing. I wanted him to get help for his past because i thought it was the right thing to do. Our marriage had serious problems and i decided how we should handle it. I decided that because i was wallowing around in my shit that he should, too. I was reminded of the time i forced him to tell his mother he wasn’t religious. She didn’t need to know and he didn’t want to tell her. I was religious at the time and i just decided that it was the “right” thing to do. Truth is, i think i wanted to punish him for not coming along into my religious beliefs/community. Ugh. What a shitty thing to do. It was manipulative, pure and simple.

Just like trying to force him into therapy. In my defense, i truly believed i was doing the right, good thing. I wanted to help. I wanted everyone to be happy and healthy and for us all to get along. What i didn’t see or understand, was that i was trying to manipulate others into MY vision of what happy/healthy looks like, and force those i love into employing MY ideas for how we get there.
None of them have to deal with their trauma at all, let alone in the way i’m dealing with mine. There are many out there in the world who shut it down and put it away. They don’t talk about it, they don’t get therapy, and they have the life they want. Or they don’t have the life they want. Either way, it’s their choice. Their quality of life or lack thereof, is none of my business, and that includes those closest to me that i love.

It’s humbling, to be sure, but i’ve been mulling this over for a few weeks now, and the sting has gone out of it. It’s just the truth, and i am a truth-seeker. I’d rather know than not know. Even if it hurts. Even if i have to look at ugly parts of myself and take responsibility.
What i know today is that i will show up for my family whenever and however they want me to — IF they want me to.
And that may never happen.
And i’m just gonna have to sit with the uncomfortability that comes from not being able to FIX everything so that >>i<< can feel better.

Man, growing up sucks sometimes.
Still totally worth doing.
I’m gonna keep at it.

Hope y’all are hanging in there as best you can.
I’m still here, so i’ve got that goin’ for me.
Heh.

Love and Peace,
~H~

The Ace Up Her Sleeve

I don’t know if I can open up
I’ve been opened enough
I don’t know if I can open up
I’m not a birthday present
~ Marilyn Manson, Mephistopheles of Los Angeles

So that happened…
I have a scheduled phone therapy sesh at 2 today.
It’s 8 and i’ve already lost time.
When i come back to the face i always check around me to see what i can figure out about what happened while i wasn’t there, and to assess any damage. Over the years, i’ve become quite the sleuth.

I wish i could describe what it’s like to come back from various levels of dissociation, but it’s difficult. After a mild dissociation, i’m lightheaded, like i almost fainted, but didn’t. Coming back from a slide, where i’m there, but helplessly watching what’s happening around me from a distance, is like a carnival ride… sort of. There’s internal, psychic gravity involved. When the elevator lurches and you feel it in your belly? It’s akin to that. Returning from a full switch is much harder to define. Part waking up, part falling and hitting the ground, part walking out of a smoke-filled room, part amyl nitrate popper, cracked and inhaled. Out of the 3, it’s violent and deeply unsettling. Like being punched unconscious by the school bully, and when you come to, you look up and see a crowd of your peers staring down at you.

The first thing i do when the awareness sets in that i’ve been gone, is i try to keep my face neutral. I don’t want to do the big blink, or have a deer-in-the-headlights look on my face. This is number 1 due to shame, but it’s also a not unhealthy sense of self-preservation. I’ve been slammed back into the face while in some dangerous situations; places where i’m around people that are keen for an advantage over someone like me. Prey. And frankly, switching is private. The whole multiple thing, while over the past few years i’m more “out” about it, is deeply personal. Those who respect that are in my life. Those that look at me like i’m a puzzle or a party trick, are not. It’s been my experience that those types WILL play me like a Chinese finger puzzle if i let them.
So yeah, as unobtrusively as possible, i try to suss out what TF is going on.

This morning i fall into the face, and it’s not too bad – more like falling off my bike onto the grass rather than the asphalt. Still, it’s never pleasant. There’s a hitch in my gut, because i must always wonder if i’ve fucked up, and if so, how badly. I see that i’m fully dressed, and the siren starts to bleat when i look down and see i have my shoes on. Being dressed at 8am is one thing; having my shoes on and in the house (i come from a country where people don’t wear their shoes indoors) means i’ve at least tried to go for a walk. At this time my husband will be at work, so i can’t ask him. I look carefully out my bedroom door and see my son’s door is closed. I don’t want to ask him, but once he hears my door open, he comes out to check on me. UGH. He lets me know i was fighting with his dad, and i’d left the house. I hate that he knows, but he’s grown, and it’s better than if he wasn’t. I won’t lie to him at his age, not even by omission. I’m not going to give him a blow-by-blow, but if he asks me a question – i’ll tell him the truth.
He says everything’s okay, and i’m okay, and he and i are okay. That last part is because i constantly fret that i’ve upset him or we’re not on good terms.
I worry on the regular that i’ve enmeshed him with me.
All i have is that i’m willing to know and do what must be done.
For now, that involves hanging on until i can speak with the inimitable Ms T.

**********

When the session starts, i can feel my irritation. This is not at all uncommon. My system has always been varying levels of hostile towards my therapist. It doesn’t bother her. It bothers me, of course. I was trained to respect authority, but also hide all my business from them. Seems weird, but when you consider what my mother was doing to me, it makes total sense. Present as normal as possible, because what was happening was not at all normal, or right, or legal.
She asks how i’m doing, but quickly transitions into therapy.
That may sound weird, but let me explain: I’ve seen a LOT of therapists in my life. I mean, a lot a lot. I always knew something was wrong with me, although i didn’t know what. I always knew someone needed to help me, but i didn’t know who or how. Over the years, i’ve knocked on countless doors and sat in innumerable chairs. I’ve told my story so many times it was like a script i’d memorised. I don’t know if any of them wanted to help me –i’d like to imagine they all did– but no one had what i needed/was looking for.

I’ve been asked a thousand times, How are you doing? and it was bullshit, because it didn’t matter what i said. I could play their game or not, depending on how i felt or who was in charge that day. I know i sound smug and superior here, but let the chips fall where they may. I’d been in the system, barking in the yard for so long, that i could convince anyone to let me in. But no one offered me the bone i wanted. None of it was palatable. None of it or them, made me hungry or want to eat.

So when i met a therapist who not only didn’t ask for my history, but also knew i was a multiple and didn’t try to play with my brain, i felt the first pangs of hunger (HOPE) that i’d felt in years and years.
Today she asked me how i was doing, and after over 12yrs of knowing me, she’s very capable of quickly discerning the direction of our session and getting started. She doesn’t waste time, for which i’m grateful. At my age, i don’t have as much left as i’d like.

I’ve been stressed and overspent for countless months, but i’ve learned a couple of things and i want her to fix them. I want her to take the feelings of anguish and disgust away. I want her to wash away the filth.
She hears me, and tells me she wishes she could, but it doesn’t work that way.
I say, Okay, so you want me to use another word so you don’t feel so bad?
She calls me on my aggression; says what i said was kinda mean.
She’s right. It grounds me as well as i can be at that point.

She speaks to me in ways i can hear, using words i can understand. From the beginning i told her what i wanted and what i didn’t, who i was and who i wasn’t. It was only to the best of my ability at the time (how can it ever be anything else?), but it was clear from the jump that if anyone could help me, she could.
But the point is that she was always listening. She always heard me. She always gave me a platform – but not like a fucking analyst’s couch. If that’s what works for you, great! I don’t mean to say that can’t be effective, or any other kind of therapy. I’ve never said that any of those that i’d seen prior weren’t good and effective at their job and helped a lot of people… I’m just saying that, for whatever reason, they couldn’t help me (much).

What follows is private, but, it helps me. SHE helps me. She can help me because she first gained my trust, and then, MOST important of all, once she had that i LET her help me.
The shitty part of it is that she assures me that she’d expedite things if she could, but being a multiple, with my particular set of concerns, ensures that isn’t possible. She tells me it’s going to be slow, but based on our prior association, she’s sure i can do it.
I’m feeling grouchy, angry even, and very, very tired and small.

I’m ashamed of my moodiness, my bitchiness, with her. She tells me she doesn’t worry about any of my acting out behaviours (i’m synopsising to make my point).  She says, “H, i knew from the moment i started working with you that it was going to be okay, and i had nothing to worry about.”
(For background, she came to my home for therapy for years, because i couldn’t/wouldn’t have come to her.)
She said, I didn’t worry because i could see you had a code of ethics. I could see that you cared, above all, to be kind to others, and to not allow anyone to suffer as you’ve suffered. You are a good egg.

I get all weepy at this point.
Okay more weepy then. Pfft.
And then she asks me, How does that feel?
I’m like, Wut?
She digs in and asks again, How does it feel for me to say these things about you?
Um, good.
Why does it feel good, do you think?
Urk… Because you see me.
Yeeeeah! I do see you. I’ve known you a long time. And i trust you.

Then she tells me that’s what healing IS.
To be SEEN.
To be KNOWN.
And then to be loved and believed in and trusted following that.
Well, i’ll be good n’ goddamned.
Ms T always has an ace up her sleeve, and she knows when to play ’em.

**********

That was yesterday.
There was fallout; there always is for me after therapy. This time it wasn’t too bad, although the evening is gone. I didn’t go for a walk, and i’m not on a bender. I’ll take it.
A good thing has come from it already. A thing i desperately needed, and that’s sleep. My insomnia has reared its ugly and most unwelcome head this last week or so. I’d had around 6hrs sleep total in the last 5 or 6 days. I was on a razor’s edge emotionally, and my body was in that sleep-starved mode where it vibrates and you feel dizzy all the time. I hated my bed. I hated the approach of the night. For someone who’s as tightly wound as i am currently, i thought i didn’t have much torque left in me. Unfortunately, anxiety will always find a way.

I’d do my sleep preparation, and beyond that try not to think about it. Ha. Don’t think about the elephant standing behind you H, and definitely don’t look at it. Again i say, Ha. So i lie down and try to breathe deeply, and keep my mind as close to empty and calm as i can. My mind is never quiet like a non-multiple’s can be. I’ve never had a conscious minute in my life that didn’t have thoughts roiling around in this ole noggin of mine. But i’m trying not to think about the fact that i haven’t slept in days and i’m exhausted and OMGWHATIFICAN’TSLEEPTONIGHT?!! Usually, i start off thinking Hey, i feel pretty comfy, i think it just might happen! Then, around 20mins in my confidence begins to waver, as my need to change positions becomes stronger. I start to feel little electric pinpricks randomly, all over my body. So i shift, a little, not too much – don’t wanna trigger my restlessness. Then again i think, Okay, maybe… And then suddenly i don’t just have my eyes closed, i’m staring at the inside of my eyelids. My eyeballs immediately start to ache, and i know it’s all over.
I get up at this point because all i’ll do is thrash around, getting more and more frustrated and anxious until i’m so amped that the possibility of any sleep all night becomes impossible. I usually play a game on the computer for an hour and then try again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Lately though, it just wasn’t happening for me.

Cue therapy. I not only slept last night, i slept more this morning. I feel infinitely better. Less emotional, and more able to accomplish tasks.
So yeah, my post-therapy experiment starts tomorrow.
Feeling hopeful, but not too much. I don’t want to put expectations on myself that i might not be able to meet. It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be. I’m just trying something new. Tweaking my program a little. It’s only an experiment, after which my support team and i will assess the data, and see where i go from there.

Life as me, man.
What a gig.

Love and Peace to All,
~H~

My Travelling Pants

When the pants you’ve been wearing for a week walk off the job in disgust, you may be having some issues.

Yeah, i joke, but i’ve been low functioning these last few months, and getting lower. Perhaps it’d be more accurate to state that my lows are getting lower. I still crawl outta that hole i fell in and get more functional for a time, but it’s still only marginally better than the hole. Before the pandemic hit my periods of better functioning were longer, and i would get closer to the level i was at when i first started this last bout of therapy nearly 2yrs ago.

I’m bipolar, and the best way i’ve found to cope with the manic side of me, is to take only very small, slow steps towards better functioning. It has been my overwhelming experience that going any faster only makes me fall flat on my face harder. Plus, it can trigger a mania – and my manias can last years and cause massive destruction. So i’m a baby-stepper. But babystepping isn’t helping me right now. I’m slipping lower and lower, every time i fall, and as i said, the falls are coming more frequently.

So, i’ve decided to change it up a bit. Just a small experiment, to see if it helps. I’m setting up parameters like length of time, and those who will be overseeing my work.
I’m going to try pushing a little harder.
Those of you who read my blog -especially those that know me personally- don’t freak out. It will be a 3-day trial following my phone therapy session with Ms T this week.

Sometimes shaking things up a bit is just the remedy.

I’m currently fighting a mania. If you aren’t aware, yes, lows can be a part of manic behaviour (and usually are, in some form or fashion). I’m going to feed it a bit of what it wants, but carefully, and strictly measured. No coke binges or booze benders, here. And the positive side of the pandemic is that my anxiety levels ensure that there’s no danger of suddenly becoming my old, social-butterfly self. Heh. What i’m talking about is positive accomplishments. I’m going to feed it some self-esteem.

I’ve worked hard to be okay with the way my brain works. Sometimes that means dialing things back to the bare minimums. I throw prepackaged foods in the oven and microwave to feed my family – or hubby brings home take away. If i can’t be arsed to get in the shower, well, maybe i can just get the pits n’ bits treatment, and splash some water on my face, leaving my usual, rather involved skin care regimen on the shelf for a day or 2 or 10. I ask my son and husband for help with household chores that i normally consider my domain (i’m a right prig about the laundry), and the upkeep of my kitchen is something i actually enjoy. When i ask though, i consciously let go of my need to have it all done a certain way. I also let go of the things i do for exercise, and we have low maintenance doggos, who don’t mind if i can’t walk them for a few days (they still get a bit of exercise around our yard – we live on a farm). I try to write what i can, but honestly, that’s usually the first thing that goes.
Once i start feeling better, i slowly add things back in.
This is a proven helpful and effective way to deal with life as me.

But it’s not working these last months, or better said, it’s not helping.
I’m gonna flip the script, briefly, and see what happens.
If my support system says No, i will advocate further, and probably fiercely. But in the end, if they cannot be swayed, then the trust is there for me to acquiesce.

After my session with my therapist, my plan is to either write, or immediately get on the treadmill if i’m feeling like taking off. (For those unfamiliar with this habit of mine: When i am triggered or feel overwhelmed, i will often dissociate and leave the house at top speed and hit our old country road for a walk towards the highway. Often, nothing good comes from that, and sometimes, very bad things happen.) After this initial absorbing of whatever has come up for me during our talk, i will decide what to do next, based on how i’m feeling, what i’m thinking, and what my body might be trying to tell me.

So, grok me:

– i will be the cooking the suppers,
– i will be washing the bod and the face on the regular,
– i will be doing the laundry and cleaning the kitchen,
– i will be walking the doggos (they will be so happy!),
– i will be keeping up with both my writing and my reading.

I will be keeping the thing i do where i reward my accomplishments regularly with down time. Lots of futzing about on the computer, watching anime with my Kiddo and my current various streaming services series obsessions. I will stop for ice cream or chocolate or potatoes at my whim. And i will drop everything and call my husband or BFF or text Ms T if i sense or feel trouble.
It’ll just be for a few days, and then we’ll take stock. Me, my support system, and of course my precious Bits N’ Pieces. We’ll all have a say and then we’ll decide if i continue as is, maybe push a little harder, or if it would be best if i stopped.

Maybe my pants will forgive me and come back.

It’s time now for the show
Put on my makeup, away I go
I’ll say a prayer
That I will see you out there

So when the show is done
You’ll take my hand, away we’ll run
Along home, to make supper
~ Storm Large, Under You

The Toll of Anguish

I was gone again for a while. I’m sorry. I wouldn’t leave if i could help it, but my stores are empty and i’m functioning on will alone. And that has been worn thin. I know i write about the same things over and over. I intended that to a degree, but these days i’m balanced on the head of a pin, and my strength is nearly gone, and i must focus and push on however i can. My life is at stake, not to put too fine a point on it.

I nearly put the kibosh on it this week. The work was too much to begin with, and now to be in the thick of it during these times, well, if i believed in such things i would say the universe has the darkest and twistiest sense of humour of us all.
After crawling out of my cups, and getting a couple of days of perspective, i think i shall keep trying, after all. But i’ve got to kick up the honesty and the writing and the talkiness. I may be even less fun than i have been already. Heh.

I’ve got let it all in, stop trying so hard to control the flow.

So much has been rushing into me, all at once. I’m having pain, epiphanies, and painful epiphanies. It’s like i’m at the end of the river’s mouth. I’m constantly being filled and i can’t stop it, and it’s impossible to swallow it all. I’m being drowned and being cleansed.
And i try be put it poetically, to take the bite out of it.
And i try to put a positive spin on it as soon as i’m able.
And these things are not a lie.
But i’m not telling how awful it was, not really.
But i’m not telling the terrible price i paid to grow up with who i was born to.
But i’m not telling the darkness and loneliness that has been my lot for my life.
But most of all, i’m not telling about the toll of this constant anguish.

This reuniting of my body to my brain, to reconnect my thoughts, my emotions, and my physical sensations is not just the hardest, most exhausting work i’ve ever done.
It is the ugliest.
The worst part of it is i feel FILTHY. Every part of my body, every cell, feels coated with slime and evil. When i dissociated while being abused in my childhood, i literally disconnected from my thoughts, feelings, and my physical senses. From the atmosphere of the room: the smell, the smell of them and their sweat and putrid breath, the stink of their fear*, the oily, slick feel of the air itself, coating my skin. I don’t feel like i’m a filthy person, what i’m feeling is the filth that coated me as a child. Other people’s filth.
And now i’m willingly experiencing it.

It’s not like fully reliving it. I simply couldn’t, wouldn’t do that. It’s more like something one says they remember “like it happened yesterday”, only more intense. I’m not reliving my memories so much as i’m allowing/encouraging myself to connect with them. I am experiencing emotions and physical stuffs, but it isn’t like i’m back in a room with a certain man at a certain point in time. I’m not seeing my mother in my room, getting me prettied up for a “special weekend.” I’m remembering, and allowing the feelings to come, without dissociating. And they are coming. It seems like everything triggers a memory, for months upon months now.

I’m barely functional these days.
Some days all i can do is let my system cry as my husband holds me.
The only thing any of us can say is, It was bad. It was bad. It was sososo baaaad!
I need to let more of the tears out. I’ve been trying to control the flow out as well as the flow in, i suppose. I feel my system wants to do more than weep – they want to sob and wail and even scream.
I am deeply afraid of this, but i sense it must be done.

Today i am asking myself how long must this anguish last, and if i can truly affect it.
My husband is as tired as i am. My son is resigned. My friends are removed.
I’m currently fighting a mania, just to make it all extra.
Oh yeah, and then the world is going crazier than i am.
And that breaks me, too.

Today i’m hanging on by the proverbial thread, and deciding to keep working.
That may change in a heartbeat, but i can’t help that. This is all i have to work with.

Crawl into my ambulance, your pulse is getting weak
Reveal yourself all now to me, girl, while you’ve got the strength to speak
‘Cause they’re waiting for you at Bellevue with their oxygen masks
But I could give it all to you now, if only you could ask
And don’t call for your surgeon, even he says it’s too late
It’s not your lungs this time, it’s your heart that holds your fate
~ Bruce Springsteen, For You

*Yes, i say fear. Nearly all of them seemed afraid to me. The ones that weren’t were the worst, but none of them deserve to be on a spectrum.

Laying Down My Gavel

I’d like to think i’m a slightly optimistic realist. These days i’ve felt my optimism slipping. I don’t want to become bitter or jaded or misanthropic, although i do slip into that character now and again. I often find solace in dark humour, sometimes even a renewal of my brighter side. I’m not sure exactly how it works, i just know that it does. However, i’m working on being more mindful and present in my day-to-day moments. I’m learning to stick around and pay attention to what i’m thinking, experience my emotions, and feel my physical sensations, all at the same time, in real time. No fleeing, no freezing, no fighting.
So i’m trying to sit with my increasing disappointment with current human behaviour.
It’s not easy, and not fun.

What i’ve been attempting to do is view the goings on around me through love goggles – like it was someone i love behaving that way. It instantaneously made it less hard, that’s for sure. There are people i love who steadfastly hang onto beliefs that are provably untrue. There are people i love who hold philosophical viewpoints far from my own. And there are people i love that are, honestly, kinda shitty people. There’s not much i see out there, that someone i know and care about isn’t at least capable of. Maybe that means my taste in friends sucks. Perhaps, but love is love, man. Some people in my life i just love, like my kids. For me it was instantaneous; as soon as i held them in my arms i loved them utterly, and regardless of who they are or what they do, that will never change. Some i grow to love, like my husband. We were friends first, which built slowly until one day –BAM– lust hit me like a freight train. And then as best friends who were having sex, i came to the realisation that i loved him, more deeply, more intimately than anyone, in a way that i’d never loved anyone before.

And then there are those that i choose to love. These are ones who seem to me to clearly need someone to love them, and if i want to, and feel like i can, i do. This kind of love is more of a verb than the others, which sort of just ARE. That might sound odd or arrogant, but let me explain myself a little. I also choose to love humanity. That might come naturally to some, but not me. If i hadn’t been raised the way i was, and hurt the way i was, it may have been different. But i was taught that we (my mother, stepfather, sibs, “Daddy”) were smarter and better than everyone around us. It was part of my indoctrination/brainwashing, to help hide the abuse i think, but like all of her other methods, it worked. I thought people were just dumb if we didn’t agree on something. My religion taught me the same thing, except not that they were dumb, that they were wretched and in need of saving. So going on behind my complicated and intricate facade, was this superior sort of pity going on.
Not very attractive, but i lacked the self-awareness to see it.
Now that i do my world view has changed, and my treatment of others.

Recently, the stress in my life has caused some backsliding. I find our society today over-politicised and dangerously polarising. I’ve been getting sucked into it, and it seems to have triggered a return of some of those old behaviours. Even if a person’s belief is provably wrong, i haven’t yet seen how it helps to treat those people like they’re stupid or bad. I get frustrated, and can get sarcastic and snarky at times, but there’s a time and a place for that, in my opinion, e.g. with my husband. If i don’t vent, i’ll explode, and sometimes i need a safe place to bleed off the unkind thoughts. I know there are people who don’t need to rant and say stuff like, That’s so dumb/selfish/mean, etc., but i’m not that person. Maybe some day i will be, but not today. Today what i can manage is to keep my shitty commentary to 1 or 2 safe people that it won’t hurt, who know me and know my heart. People who know that part of managing the way my brain works, involves expressing most of what i’m thinking – either by writing, talking, or both.

I was using social media to write some of it; meme-ing and snarking my way around. It took a few weeks, but i’ve realised i’m contributing to the fear and fury that has a stranglehold on so many of us in our current situation. I thought it was okay because i thought i was justified. But even if i am right about some things, it doesn’t feel good inside to be a jerk about it to others. I mean, the initial release of pent-up emotions gives me some relief, but i can’t purge it all because some of these things that are upsetting me are ongoing. My anger and fear and sadness about some issues is festering, becoming poisonous. I’m seeing things in terms of us and them, and sometimes worse, us vs them, and that’s not who i want to be. I’m actively trying to be the opposite of that. I want to be a helper, a healer, a bridge-builder. I want to listen and try to understand.
Sniping at others isn’t helping our current climate.
Taking a look around and seeing that many, if not most of us are varying levels of scared and pissed off and mourning various losses, does help, i think. I hope.

As with any of my blog posts, this isn’t to tell anyone else how they should or shouldn’t think or be. These are my thoughts about who i am and want to become. I want to offer hope that you can figure out who you are, and foster the stuff you want, and change the stuff you don’t. Sometimes it’s been particularly hard due to the way i was raised and the way my brain works because of what happened to me growing up. And there have been times, like the past couple of days, where i’ve seen i was behaving poorly. I’m humbled, but not humiliated. I’m a work in progress, and this was only a small course correction. I feel back on track. I don’t feel so out-of-step with the rest of the world, now. I’m not looking at others with dagger eyes and acid in my guts.
This is better, i think.
For me and everyone around me.
It’s easier for me to be a better human when i like myself more, and i wasn’t liking myself as much when i was acting all cranky and judge-y.
I’m love-goggling again, and i like myself much better this way.

May Love and Peace Be Yours Today, in Whatever Measure Possible,
~H~