Uncomfortability


WARNING: Contains a light discussion of the controversial nature of DID and repressed memories.

Yes, it’s not really a word, but i Frankenstein the English language on the regular. It’s my style, man.

uncomfortable:
adj. Experiencing physical discomfort.
adj. Ill at ease; uneasy.
adj. Causing anxiety; disquieting.


Therefore in my world, “uncomfortability” is the ability to function while living and dealing with being uncomfortable. I’ve been doing this since at least first grade. I hadn’t had all that many healthy interactions with other children when i started attending school. No kindergarten for me, and i had 1 friend -a boy 1yr younger than i– who had the same babysitter. We saw each other every weekday and were very close. One of my mother’s friends socialised me with her nephews a couple of times a year, and i loved being with them. Other than that, any interaction with other children was either stilted*, or it was based on abuse.**

My mother prided herself on my precociousness in a group. Adults would compliment her on my etiquette and exemplary behaviour. I was raised by adult television shows and sitting quietly around her intellectual friends from university, so i had a level of sophistication that most children my age did not. I also had a maternal grandmother who was a schoolteacher, and she taught me to read and write fluently by the age of 4. My mother talked to me like i was an adult, and expected me to do a lot of the cooking and most of the cleaning, so yeah, precocious fits, i suppose. I’d describe me as not knowing how to be a child, and completely unequipped to be an adult.

No wonder my exchanges with other children were stilted. As soon as i started talking to them, i knew i was doing something wrong. I could sense in their reactions that i made them uncomfortable, sometimes i even freaked them right out. I learned to stand on the outskirts and watch. Various teachers would comment, both in my report cards, and back in the very early days when she could be arsed to attend p/t interviews, that i was alternately awkward and uninvolved, or too chatty and bossy. I desperately wanted to be liked and fit in somewhere, but i never quite did. I was usually able to find 1 or 2 mid-popularity level, nice kids, who would tolerate me without complaint. That constant sense of discomfort, and my intuitive feeling that i made my peers uncomfortable, contributed to the dissociative fog i went through school in, and my ability to weather feeling uncomfortable all. the. time.

All this backstory for me to say that i’m in the thick of it today. To find that i’d actually repressed a memory has me upset and extremely uncomfortable.

Guess what? A bit more backstory. Heh.

As i’ve stated, i fought the diagnosis of MPD/DID until my late 20s. I was raised to disbelieve it, and any of my dissociative behaviours that came out in front of my mother outside of when i was being actively abused, or putting on the kind of show she expected of me in front of others (which depended on who they were), was met with derision, anger, and violent physicality. I hid it from myself to keep me safe, and it was so ingrained in me that i couldn’t be around anyone who said they had it, or continue seeing any therapist or counsellor who even suggested it. It made my skin crawl; i was so uncomfortable around the topic i had to get away from whatever source it was coming from, and dissociate from the experience immediately.

Cue 3 events:
1) A multiple woman appearing on a daytime talk show that triggered me on such a deep level i couldn’t tear my eyes away from her interview. I went straight out and bought her book, devoured it in a day, and couldn’t stop thinking about it/her;

2) A counsellor (social worker) i was seeing through my church told me it was her belief that i was a multiple. I wouldn’t leave the office in her case because i was well-trained to obey church elders. She brought in a fellow member who was a psychologist, and she gently confirmed my counsellor’s diagnosis;

3) I was in a safe and loving relationship, so much so that all my issues were bubbling to the surface and i was having difficulty stuffing them back down.

In other words, i became vulnerable to the truth. Some of my walls had come down due to being in love, others because i was terrified of being in love, which in turn depleted my energy, leaving me without enough spoons to be a wife and a mother living with chronic pain and mental health issues, AND maintain all my defenses.

I knew they were correct, but my programming goes deep. There were parts of my system designed to hide this knowledge, and denydenydenyandgetTFaway if it ever came up. I was finally willing to explore the possibility, but it was hard to get around the roadblocks put up by my system, and my childhood brainwashing.***

For a couple of years, i told myself that i wasn’t multiple, that my brain just worked similarly.
Then i left religion, lost a bunch of weight, and was diagnosed bipolar. It was in a mania that my Bits N’ Pieces began making themselves known. When i finally found the lovely and talented Ms T over 12yrs ago, i had to deal with hard nope/cringe/skin-crawl crap all over again. In some ways it was harder, because my last counsellor’s recipe for health involved a lot of laying on of hands (which icked me out and traumatised me), and casting out my demons. Yeah, you read that right. She believed in MPD/DID, was a clinical social worker, and thought i was possessed.****
So yeah, more trauma and roadblocks to get over.

I found my way out of it all when i realised that some of my dreams were actually memories. It was like a golden ticket for me. I thought most multiples were faking it because that’s what was drilled into me (it’s not my business now), and some people’s claims have been scientifically debunked. I didn’t believe their stories (again, programming), either. Outlandish, i thought; way over the top. And there was the “Satanic Panic.” Plus, there were many jumping on the “False Memory Syndrome” bandwagon. I could see that some (i stress SOME) of what the nay side were saying was true, i.e. some people were either outright lying or had been manipulated (whether intentionally or unintentionally) by their mental health care professionals.

Realising i remembered everything, i just hadn’t made the connection that it was real – saved me from all that, in my own mind. I could skip it all. Everything was flowing and falling into place and so much of my life and my struggles and issues were finally making sense.
But i didn’t dream about my “Daddy’s” son molesting me. It popped right out of me when i began tapping away on the keyboard, and i can see how some of my dreams could be interpreted as having to do with it (of course the Dream #2 that i analysed), but i didn’t remember it. I didn’t have a dream of the events that was actually a memory.

Now i feel the distance that i’d tried so hard to put between myself and controversy, is closing in on me. I have been toppled from my mountaintop and hoisted by my own petard.
It’s a good thing, in the way that superiority, some arrogance, not a small amount of fear, and a dollop of pedantry were involved in how i overcame my aversion to dealing with my multiplicity. It’s good not to be a shitty person looking down on others. I can see that i dealt with the problem like my mother might have, using incorrect and immoral principles that she’d taught me.
I’m not sorry that i got called out by myself on my own crap. I welcome that kind of lesson in my life.
It’s been a long time since i judged another multiple. Many years. Not my business. Not my circus. Not my monkeys.

Starting this blog led to me being a bit more open in my real life dealings, about being a multiple. I mention being mentally ill most, then bipolar, and occasionally now, being diagnosed DID. My family and friends know, and i can joke about it or refer to it on my social media, and it’s what my blog is mostly about. That’s growth. The controversies surrounding the diagnosis and how memories work and if they can be repressed is an active and volatile one. Many professionals work actively to prevent it from being included in the next diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.

This has me, someone who considers herself a skeptic, who embraces rational, critical thinking, in a bit of a pickle.

I’m also feeling extra anxiety and stress because, if i have 1 repressed memory, i may very well have others.

As i’ve been stewing over this since last week, i have come up with a couple of thoughts that help me cope:
– there are skeptics that fall on both sides of these issues, and many more who reserve judgment;
– it doesn’t matter if it really happened or not, there is still more than enough provable, long term traumas that i remembered all along, to warrant my splitting off and disconnecting;
– this is just me and how my brain works, and it doesn’t matter what anyone wants to call it – it’s real and what i live with every day;
– if i keep on working, one day i might get to the place where i function so normally that i barely even think about it any more – i will have achieved homeostasis.

To sum up this rambling post, i’m going to be grateful (in a way – silver linings and all that) for all that led to my uncomfortability. I know how to feel cringey and want to avoid and nope all of it – and do what’s in front of me to be done, regardless. So that’s what i’m gonna do. Like the blog says, this is life as me.

Stay as safe and well as you can.
Love and Peace,
~H~

* My cousins on my mother’s side were all shy and seemed frightened of me – they were raised in a religion that taught them to be afraid of outsiders, and i can only imagine what their parents thought and said of my mother’s 2-babies-out-of-wedlock-and-STILL-not-married lifestyle.

** There were times other children were being abused alongside me.

*** I don’t use this word lightly. My mother amassed a great deal of knowledge about religion and psychology. She put it all into play to make me into what she wanted me to be: an unconscious multiple who was an adoring slave in her own version of the cult of personality. At times she starved me, imprisoned me (in my room or a closet or even under my bed, where i’d cry and beg to come out from under), threatened me with child detention facilities, forced me to stand for long periods of time, holding things and reciting bible verses, paragraphs from self-help books, or her own handwritten paragraphs (usually rants about how awful i was, and how lucky i was to have her). She even occasionally used love-bombing, although it wasn’t a crowd of people, it was only her.
I was, by definition, brainwashed.

**** I feel it’s important to say i bear her no ill will. She was a lovely person who cared deeply for me. We were both hurt by a sick church which we both left. I saw her years later and she still had some beliefs along supernatural lines (which i do not), but she was warm, and kind and still working hard to help others. I’m still very fond of her.

IMAGE: Bambi Corro

Never Have I Ever

Squelched ocean sand between my toes
or picked my own mussels

Gone houseboating down the Shuswap
and sunbathed on the beach

Crowd-surfed at a concert while
others hoot and holler in celebration

Run through mud and rope-climbed walls
with fellow plucky survivors

Bungee-jumped or whipped down a zip line
or jumped out of a perfectly good airplane

Visited the lands of my forefathers
nor broken bread with those who yet live

*****
Felt completely at ease in a group
even if they’re all people i love

Stood in a line up without worrying
because i know someone must be staring at me

Gotten dressed up for some event
and been completely satisfied with my appearance

Had an argument where i wasn’t terrified
or a discussion where i didn’t feel attacked

Not worried that a man might want sex from me
or a woman was going to hurt me

Felt truly safe around other people
or utterly let down my guard

This is not poetry.
This is a bucket list.

IMAGE: Courtney Moore

Dream Analysis #2


WARNING: Discussion of sexual abuse, pornography, and grooming. Also ambivalence regarding such. Triggery stuff for some.

I think i know this face. As soon as i saw it, i felt like my entire body was singing with electricity. There is a back story to this and i’ll try to tell what i can.

My mother fell in love (or whatever approximated love for her) with a married man. I remember him coming to the house and they would go to her room while i was watching telly. I knew, based on my already long history of abuse, that they were having sex, but my dissociative nature was just as well established, and so i didn’t mark it or think about it at all. After a time of him visiting us regularly, i found myself calling him “Daddy”, and he would talk to me before he retired (/s) to my mom’s bedroom. He started bringing me presents, too. Most often it was candy or chocolate, but he brought the occasional stuffie, too.

The day eventually came when they brought me back to my mother’s bedroom with them. Details aren’t necessary or helpful, but it’s important to state that things escalated exponentially from there. He drew my mother and i into a world of drugs and sexual abuse. I don’t know how she met him, but my guess is that it happened through her contacts with people she was selling/renting me to. A lot of this is guess work, so i might very well be wrong – this is just me trying to piece together my memories and make some sense from them. I guess that she loved him, because i never in my life witnessed anyone else being able to tell her what to do, or wield any sort of power over her. I have very clear memories of Daddy yelling at her, and her crying and begging his forgiveness. He forbade her from prostituting me to anyone. From what i recall, it would seem he’d already told her that, but she’d continued and he’d found out.
I just went from being used by her contacts to his.

He and my mother attended the same church. It was some weird, non-Christian religion that i won’t name. She told me i wasn’t allowed to talk to him at church, EVER, and there was an unnaturally sophisticated part of me that understood why. He sat with a woman, and 2 boys and 1 girl. I knew that was his wife and children. I’d heard her phone calls at night where she’d sob and shriek and beg at him.

I share this because i (sort of?) recognise the face of the man in my nightmare sending me chat requests. He looks younger than the man i called Daddy, and older than his oldest son. His oldest son started talking to me after services, when everyone went down to the basement for cake and coffee. He was older than me by a significant margin, but i don’t know how much. He was definitely at the tail end of puberty, and i was 5 or 6. I would always sit in a chair by the stairs that led back up to the main floor (to this day i always need to be near/facing the quickest means of exit), eating cake and drinking Tang or Kool-Aid. He started by bringing me a second piece of cake.

It was a savvy move, although i can’t be sure that he’d thought things out that craftily. I was starved on the regular, but i also knew if i ate more than 1 piece of cake that my mother would beat me when we got home. I only ever took 1 piece of cake/sweet bread/muffin/whatever after services. He’d sidle up to me with 2 or 3 on a napkin, exclaim he took too much, and hand me 1 of them without even asking. I thought he was handsome and smart and funny. He made me laugh and said i was a “cutie-pie.” He was my first crush. Well, maybe my second, because i was head-over-heels in love with my mother’s brother. It was utterly guileless and sweet and without any thought of kissing or boyfriend-girlfriend stuff… But yeah, that sort of lovely naive adoration.

My uncle never did anything even remotely untoward. My “Daddy’s” oldest son started in on me within weeks of bringing me cake. The grownups would be chatting animatedly at long, wooden tables, all of them with styrofoam cups of coffee, and snatching treats off of fancy plates, laid down the middle. He said he wanted to “show me something.” It was pornography, of course. We would sit in 1 of the back rooms where they held Sunday school, and he would flip through pornographic magazines and make light commentary while doing so.
“What do you think of this?”
“Wow, hahaha, look at THAT!”
And i, as the multiple that i was, would play along the way i thought he wanted me to. Affecting a precociousness borne of being raped since before i could speak.

I don’t know if he knew of his father’s relationship with my mother. I don’t know if he was consciously grooming me. What i know is that i dissociated from sex and abuse and any mixture of the 2 – so all i knew was that this handsome boy was paying attention to me and saying nice things. He made me feel like a princess. My sexuality had already been awakened too early, so it’s not shocking that he made me blush and made my girl parts swell and tingle.

He began molesting me within weeks, and i liked it. I wanted him to.
This is what sexual abuse did to me. I’d already been groomed for him, by so many others. He barely had to smile at me. One piece of cake and i was his.
I won’t be detailing how far it went or describing the things he did. This blog is not for that.
I don’t know how long it went on for, but i do know my mother’s relationship with his father was getting rocky when he sent us to another city, thus ending his son’s access to me. As far as i can recall, we never went back to that church.

I did see the boy again. I know what the final, most disturbing scene means now.
I know i’m coming off super dramatic (because i am), but i won’t be writing about that part. No one should have to carry those images, that knowledge, unless they must.

I know why i dreamed of men falling out of the sky the next day, and i will share about that. It’s easy.
There were so many. So many.
They fell out of the sky and onto me and i was hollow inside.

The first dream is about the shame that i carry for “falling in love” with an abuser. It connotes my ambiguity as a child, living through trauma. The ugly truth of it that, a part of me preferred, even wanted, the sexual abuse, because (not often, but sometimes) it felt better than being beaten and starved and humiliated.

I think maybe my second dream was a gift from my weird brain – from my system, to me. I always struggle with feelings of inadequacy and guilt. That i haven’t accomplished much of anything, and i’ve made so many mistakes, and i’m so often barely functional…

There were so many.
I don’t know why i’m so damn hard on myself, because times like this –when i’m looking at it all– i’m shocked that i survived it. Even being a multiple and my brain hiding the sex stuff, the things that i’ve fully and consciously remembered all along were horrific.

As soon as i started typing, the truth of the dream started pouring out of me. I want to be completely honest and up front with you all, and i feel i must disclose that i drank a 6-pack before i could even touch the goddamn keyboard.
I will not be going on a bender.
I just leaned on the tried and true because i knew it needed to come out and i kept actively fighting it. I greased the wheels. I’m not proud of it, but i won’t ever lie on this blog – by omission or otherwise.

I’m going to cruise YouTube and shnuggle my doggo and my hubs.

Life is better lived with clarity,
~H~

IMAGE: Toa Heftiba

**********

Sunday, September 20, 2020: I’m adding on a bit more. I rushed to complete this yesterday, and everything was pouring out quickly once i started bashing away on my Notepad.

I think it’s significant that i was taking care of children (a common motif in my dreams). There were 4 boys, ranging in age from around 4 – 10yrs old. The oldest looked a bit like my real life nephew, but i might be reaching there. In the dream they were my SIL’s sons, and i was freaking out because i knew she’d be justifiably upset that they’d been exposed to such violent and sexual imagery. I haven’t quite figured out/decided if everyone being male except for me –in both dreams– is significant. I present very femme, but have some strong traits that were traditionally identified as masculine. Plus, i always test as androgynous (not just online silly ones, i’ve taken psychiatric tests in hospital). I’ve always felt very “girly-girl” inside, and despite being Amazon-sized, i’ve never been mistaken for a boy. I do however, have 2 in my system that are male. One of them is a manifestation of pure rage, and the other disappeared a couple of years ago along with another. Their disappearance precipitated my return to therapy.

**********

ETA on October 6, 2020: DUH! I’m the one that’s angry that >>i<< was exposed to pornography! Of course! Man, my brain writes a layered story, eh?

**********

I think the hacking part is quite significant and deserves some commentary. I hacked my own mind, in a way. The personality part of my brain broke into parts of my deeper functions at infancy (i think – no proof, just speculation on my part) and accessed inner abilities. From there i could split off into pieces in order to survive what was happening to me. I’ve read scads and reams of information on memory and so i know all of this is nebulous at best, but i’m unescapably drawn to doing it, and it seems to help, so i’m going to keep doing it until my results stop, or stop being helpful.

I think i’d already accomplished splitting off before i could speak. I think this because i have a crystal clear memory of laying on the couch and looking up at my maternal grandfather sitting beside me. He was laughing and talking to someone sitting directly across from him, but i either didn’t see who it was, or my memory just doesn’t include that information. I felt happy and i could feel my legs kicking and my face smiling. Years later i related the memory to my mother, who went immediately to a bookshelf and pulled out the photo album she had of my first 3 or 4yrs. She said, “You’re just internalising this picture as a memory. You were 9mos old.”

Sure enough, it was exactly what i’d described. However now, looking back on all the events that i have, and reading and studying so much scientifically based information on the nature of memories, i have some basis for doubt. The memory doesn’t come with words, only emotion. I can hear my grandpa talking, but i don’t understand what he’s saying (he only spoke English). Further, as someone who has long and much experience in learning how to separate dreams from actual memories that were hiding in my brain, and were merely disguised as dreams, i can now easily tell the difference. The memories where i was drugged are fuzzy and feel fluffy in my brain. The memories where i was not under the influence are sharper and feel crispy-crackly. Significant data exists to show that an alters’ memory can be nearly eidetic. Legitimate dreams may feel either way, but they’re the easiest to discern because there will always be something bizarre (TVs and computer monitors keep popping up where they weren’t before), or something impossible (it’s raining men), or something that doesn’t jibe with my real life remembered history (my SIL doesn’t have 4 sons), for which i have tangible evidence.

This is the tough part; the reason i felt compelled to add a bit more onto this analysis. My brain was also hacked by other people. This is a sketchy and controversial area to wade into, but i’m already neck deep in stuff many (including professionals in the field), don’t believe in, or reserve judgment based on what they see as insufficient evidence for them to accept it as true. Multiplicity, memories, lucid dreaming, a bunch of paedophiles and disgusting sexual opportunists that know each other and help each other and maybe even hang out. So yeah… I’m gonna go there.

It is my firm belief that many of my abusers knew i was a multiple. I also believe they knew how to MAKE them. This is based on memories i have of abusers calling me names that weren’t my name and realising years later that they were the names of some of the parts in my system. I remember some of the things that abusers would say to each other in front of me that i didn’t understand at the time. Things like, “It’s all good when she faints and then opens her eyes.” And my mother on the phone, telling someone what name to call me, or reassuring them that i won’t rat them out because i never remember.
They hacked into my brain and accessed certain parts, and made other parts that were closer to their personal grocery lists of what they wanted in a victim.

Yes, i’m aware i’m flying around in cuckoobird territory.
And yes, i might be wrong.
But i don’t think so.

I think i’m done with this dream now. Maybe. Hopefully.

Y’all take care of yourselves as best you can, y’hear?
~H~

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

Dream Analysis: #3

I won’t be going point by point quite like it did in Dream Shifts, Pt II. This dream wasn’t filled with so much specific symbology, i don’t think. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s more of an overall commentary, rather than, this guy represents x, and this event represents y.

That being said, it is powerful, powerful imagery for me, and representative of a number of things. It is my brain diorama, a dream box, a mind play, representative of dichotomy, otherness, and conflict in my life.

I find the setting of an unofficially segregated graduation celebration most telling.
These children are celebrating the fact that they accomplished a great and difficult task. And yes, i call them children now, as i analyse the situation. I’m in my 50s and, as a parent, i know that if i’d lost one of my boys in their teen years, i would have wept and mourned them as children. In the scope of the bigger picture, older adults know that they are, indeed, children. The age my country ascribes to legal adulthood is arbitrary, and only necessary within our societal construct in order to maintain our current political framework. I mean, what i’m saying is we have to pick an age, because reasons. Because laws. Anyone in their 30s surely recognises that an 18yr old is still a child. Or at least in my opinion, they should be considered still children in some ways. I think of those years of say, 17-21 as transitional years. Still and all, i’d say adult maybe, but mature? Not necessarily.
So yeah, to me, which is what’s important to the analysis because it is my dream after all, they are children.

Back to the segregation of the white from the black children.
Why is it that they can all come together and party in the same place, but they cannot intermingle? This speaks to me of a number of my life issues. One, my mother instilling in me that we had to act “normal” and “fit in” around others, but her insistence that we were NOT like other people. She taught me that we were better: smarter and more evolved, and that other people weren’t capable of understand our ways because of it. A manipulation cleverly designed to hide the abuse, of course. Another issue this brings up for me is the othering that children do in school. There were rich and poor kids, advanced classes and remedial, which was decided by teachers sure, but you better believe kids understood the difference, and the crueler ones played on it. Then there was attractive and not attractive, which wasn’t necessarily based on actual looks (although it could be), but often more on if you were rich, or popular, or –as in the case of so many small towns whose schools i attended– if your family was well-established.

I don’t say this to be ignorant, but my 10yr high school reunion was an eye-opener. I had enough time and distance to see things through a different lens, and wow. Those that we’d held up as the most attractive and sought-after… I will diplomatically say that it wasn’t always the case. I will also further state, to save myself from being an arse like they were to me, that attractiveness is personal, arbitrary, and based on any number of criteria. And although i’m speaking from a purely aesthetic sense here, it is still and ever shall be, in the eye of the beholder. It’s just that i was treated as ugly, while others were touted as the most. gorgeous. EVER. I’m not ugly, and many of my fellow students that were likewise treated were not, either.

As i’ve grown and let go of a lot of the bullying i received growing up, i’ve found the lens through which i view physical attractiveness, is highly influenced by that person’s treatment of others. There’s a general sort of appeal to an aesthetic for me, but if a person is truly good and kind –even if initially i found their physical looks unremarkable– i find myself seeing them as more and more attractive.
That’s just me, though.

A more airy-fairy sort of interpretation is about my light and my dark. My conscious me and my subconscious me. My belief that i was one, and the truth that i am many. I want to be very clear here that this is just my brain and a dream. I’m not even distinguishing which group was light and which dark, which was conscious/subconscious. In the dream, the black children were stoic. I’m not sure what that speaks to. Is it just a reflection of some biases from my past? (My mother a vicious racist.) Is it my absorption of cultural, racial stereotyping from my past and my community? (I grew up in the 80s, in an area where there were almost no black or brown people, but plenty of uninformed opinions about said people.) I’m not sure, but i’m open to knowing. I’m not going to go on any further in that regard, because this is about my dream analysis, and my blog is not for socio-political issues. Just know that this blog is only about 1 particular aspect of my life, even though that aspect is enmeshed and far-reaching. I am a person who is more than childhood abuse and mental illness. I’m a multifaceted human being with myriad interests and many concerns – just like anyone else. In the dream, the white children were stuck up. I’m white, i grew up not knowing any non-whites except aboriginal people, and i wouldn’t characterise but a few as stuck up. I’m not sure what that means, beyond my brain was using established tropes to try and tell me something.
My brain will tell me if there’s more to it.
I want to know and it wants to tell me. Heh.

The most standout part after the segregation, is the part where i’m told to leave.
That and my reaction to it, seem to vibrate with meaning inside me.
It doesn’t take Freud or Jung or my therapist to tell me what that’s about.

1) You don’t belong here is the story of my life.
I was too poor, too weird, too fat, too mouthy, just tootoo much for everyone, everywhere i went. I was rejected by authority, by peers, by church members, by boys/men, and yes, even though it sounds maudlin and poor-meish – by society in general.

2) I was kicked out of certain areas of my brain for many years.
My system protected me from the truth until my mid-late 30s. I had dreams on and off, dreams that were actually memories, but i didn’t know that for a long time. I remember as a kid, daydreaming and my mind would stray over to a picture of the man i used to call Daddy. He was my mother’s married lover, and my second worst abuser, after her. I had no knowledge of him and what he was doing or what my mother was doing. I was entirely split off from those things. My Bits N’ Pieces were the ones dealing with the sexual abuse. So, i’m woolgathering and his face pops into my head. I’m feeling kind of weird: scared, nauseous, curious… And my brain would, i don’t know, some dissociative things are harder to explain than others. My brain would punt me into another part of my brain. Like, when i was at my babysitter’s house when i was very young, and i accidentally walked in on one of her teenage son’s using the downstairs bathroom (which was the only one i was allowed to use). I could see him sitting on the toilet as i was looking in the large mirror to my right, and he jumped up as quick as you’d think, and slammed the door closed. Like that.

As an adult i was almost always searching for a good therapist. I knew i needed help, i just couldn’t seem to find the right help for me. There were more times than i can remember (because i switch, because i’m a multiple, heh) that the person i was seeing would suggest what was called MPD (multiple personality disorder) at the time, and i would either never go back, or actually get up out of my seat and leave their office.
That was my system telling me, Nah, you need to go.

3) Inner commentary on where i’m at now.
The young, androgynous figure in the mirror is a good representative of where i’m currently at sexually. Although i’m queer, veering far closer to hetero, if i weren’t with my husband i’d consider and be capable of, strong feelings for anyone. I can’t say for sure, because i haven’t put it to the test. It’s my hope to stay in this monogamous, straight relationship for the rest of my life. But as i’ve dealt with the ways that sexual abuse affected me, and found some healing from it, and been able to be a better partner in my marriage, and dealt with my multiplicity… Well, i don’t know how i’d define it at this point. It’s personal and i’m not ready to say anything for sure but… Yeah, the mirror image has some meaning to me.

The Cher song.
My brain loves to irritate me with ear worms/whigs. That is my take on this one. Pfft.

The smug shit who tried to intimidate me.
That’s my mom, for sure, and how i went in anyway, and wiggled my ass at him after, is a sign to me that i’m breaking her control, in every way, more and more. Good stuff.

The sexually active kids in the booths.
I say kids because i don’t want to say children. Because i know what that’s about, and i don’t need to analyse that any further, and this blog doesn’t need any details.

**********

I think there’s probably more, but i don’t think it matters. I think what this is is just kind of a brain check-in.

Brain: So, you got this, eh? We’re all on the same page, right?

Me: Yeah, this is where we’re at.

Brain: Okay, cool beans.

If you actually read all this, wow. Internet cookie/hero sandwich, whatever. You pick, it’s yours.

Love and Peace,
~H~

Image: Emily Morter





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

Dream #3

Possible Warning: This dream contains some discussion of race, specifically whites and blacks. I don’t think it’s about that*, but in today’s firecracker/tinderbox atmosphere, you may want to skip it.** It also makes some non-specific references to teenagers having sex in a public place.

**********

I know i haven’t done any analysis on #2 yet. I’ve decided to let that 1 go for now, as it causes me extreme distress.
Meanwhile i have a dream from this morning very fresh in my mind that i think is significant, so i’m turning my attention to it, for now.

**********

My friends and i hop a train into downtown for a night of clubbing. We’re having a good time bar and pub hopping, but as we’re heading to a club for some dancing, we learn about a hot ticket that changes our minds.
There’s prom going on at a huge venue, and it’s open to the public. The big draw is that it’s a music high school that’s known for the brilliant rap musicians that’ve been coming out of it. There’s food and drink for the purchase of a ticket, and then you can catch some fresh new stuff done by up and comers.

We’re all keen and quickly pay up and head in. It’s packed, with white and black youths alike, but i do make a passing observance that they seem to be sticking in groups of their own race. That’s not entirely unheard of in my world, so i head to where the main stage is. There are 3 black youths on stage, engaged in a rap battle. They’re all amazing. My friends are content to hang back, but i want to get closer.
I do the thing i’m so good at during concerts and other crowded events/spaces, which is dodging people to get where i want to go. It’s a skill i came to as an Amazon-size female. Especially when i was heavier, i was almost invisible to the people around me, and i unconsciously turned both things to my advantage. I walk so fast most people find it hard to keep up with me when i’m going full throttle.
I stride through open spaces in a flash, expertly turning into little empty spots and then taking large, fast strides again. I’m like that annoying car during rush hour, moving in and out of lanes. Except i don’t have the potential to kill people, and i actually get somewhere. Heh.

Once up at the front i listen for a while and then decide to get some refreshments. I see the kitchen is stage left and head in that direction, thinking i’ll see a serving area close by. I pass a lot of kids heading in various directions, and they’re all taller than me, like pro basketball tall. They’re dressed in the expensive kind of track suits, and i admire all of their footwear (i like shoes). They’re black and their faces are stoic, not one is smiling. That’s not altogether strange i tell myself, but it IS a graduation reception, and people are usually smiling and laughing and joking around.

There are full length mirrors lining the wall to my right. I look at myself and smile, This is not a problem. Everything’s fine!
It is a rare thing indeed, for me to see myself in dreams, but i see myself clearly in this one, and in full. I don’t look like myself – not even close. I’m young, not much older than the ones graduating, i’d guess. I’m tall and pale and freckled (okay, that part is correct), and i’m sporting a shoulder-length, strawberry blonde mullet with a little faux hawk. I’m dressed completely in blinding white. Too-big white t-shirt with some black writing on it – sadly, i can’t remember what it said. White, thick jean jacket, highly constructed, and it hangs past my hip area. My jeans are also too big and look like they match the jacket. I’m wearing huge-ass white kicks. The outfit would NOT be cheap. You cannot tell if i’m a male or a female. I smile again at my visage, and note that i look cute.

I veer off at the sight of tables, with young people eating and drinking. Some are standing at a bar where they’re clearly getting food and beverages. It looks cafeteria-style. Cool, don’t have to talk to people, and i head over. I’m distracted by some more music, even better (to me) than watching a rap battle. Someone’s rapping ahead of me, and i can hear percussion and beatboxing. I weave through some tables to get a better look. I watch for only a few seconds before i realise something is wrong. There are tables set in enclave atmospheres, with some privacy screening, similar to what we see today in stores, restaurants, transit systems and the like. On the way closer, i pass a preppy looking white boy who sneers at me.
It’s not the way the tables are set up though, it’s that i can feel stares at my back. They feel like ice. I turn around and sure enough, i’m met with glares from white and black young men – there are no girls.

One of them says, “Man, this place ain’t for you.”
I reply that i like the music, and just wanted to listen.
He says, “Nah, you need to go.”
“Okay,” i say, ” it’s your grad. Congratulations everyone.”

As i make my way out i’m met with pure hostility in every face, except the first preppy white dude, whose smug smile makes me want to punch him. I give him my best 100-watt one, and then as i pass i strut my stuff, just a little.
So he knows he hasn’t gotten to me.

Leaving the food and drink area and its clusters of tables and various kids playing their own music at them, i can suddenly feel how unwelcome, how unwanted i am there. With every step i’m met with turned heads masked with hostility and jabbing at me with icy stares. As i’m walking away, i see half a dozen large, metal doors, swing outward, bleeding kids from another area of the venue. And then i hear the music.

It’s Cher’s Shoop Shoop song. Ugh, the most saccharine, worst cover, and my least favourite of Cher’s. (Let’s be clear: i love me some Cher.)
That’s when i notice that everyone pouring through the doors is white.
I think, Is that where i’m supposed to be, then?
But that’s not where i wanted to be – not the music i wanted to hear!

I decide to leave. Don’t wonder where my companions are, because i’m always separated from my friends or whoever i start the dream with. Always. I head towards the door and notice that everyone is white. They’re all sitting at massive tables, in those fancy seats with the velvety coverings and the high backs. The seating is luxe and curves around the table, giving those sitting there some modicum of privacy. Like those booth jobs you see in Vegas, you know the ones? I scan the crowd and they’re all white, and all dressed to the nines: expensive suits, tuxes, obviously tailored, and incredible prom dresses, like they’re all Cinderella at the Ball. I also notice that every single face looks like the kind of smug, arrogant, snotty, schmuck i ever attended school with. Privileged and elitist. Looking for the weak sheep to torture and cut from the herd. Mean girls and bully boys, i call them. They’re the ones who treat you nicely until the teacher leaves the room, or recess, or lunch hour, or after school. Or seeing you at the store or at your job on the weekends.

As i’m shuddering at the thought and making haste for the doors, i hear it. Moaning. I look and see a young woman engaging in sex in her booth. I won’t describe any of the troubling imagery, but it looked extremely uncomfortable, and the booth was filled with male youth cheering them on.
Whatever, i think. I’m not walking past that. I’ll go around the other way.
NOPE. More booths and more kids doing all kinds of stuff that i personally find distasteful at the least, and highly triggering at worst.
I feel trapped and disgusted and hopeless. One particular act makes me feel sick to my stomach.

I wake up and run to the bathroom, the urge to vomit is so strong.

**********

*Upon writing it all out, it is CLEARLY about racial tension and segregation. Is it a metaphor for something in my life? I’ll work on that tomorrow.

**Also a gentle reminder that my blog isn’t a place for heated discussions or arguments. Thank you for your kind respect.

Image: Efren Barahona

Singing in the Dark

Heart of my heart i went down to the water to see you
But i couldn’t
I got lost in the eddies and captivated by currents

Mind of my mind i climbed up the mountain to hear you
But i didn’t
The wind was so loud so i picked a few wildflowers instead

Flesh of my flesh i delved deep in my dreams to meet you
But i shouldn’t
The dreams are lovely and terrible and i find it hard to leave

You are the water that threatens to take me
You are wind that will blow me straight off the cliffs
And you are the dream that will hold me in sleep forever

Song of my song i wrote this to sing for you
But i wouldn’t
And my throat ached at my resistance

Pain of my pain i reached out blindly
And i would
I sat still in the dark tonight and sang it to you

You are the one who gave your life for me
You are the reason my body yet breathes
I will sing to you now and always

I found you here and here you ever shall be

~ Mine, September 03, 2020

IMAGE: Pawel Szvmanski

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.

Alone

Is this a poem?

I’m alone every day
Smiling at everyone
They can’t know
And that’s all i know

Is this a poem?

I make friends
These are my friends — i made them
You can’t see them
They’re only for me

Is this a poem?

You look at my face
You hear my voice and you think you know me
I’m a Russian doll, friend
You don’t know a thing

Is this a poem?

I can’t write for shit
You’re reading how i talk
Every day all day
To people on the internet

Is this a poem?

It most certainly is not
I tap it out all the same
I live my best life
Regurgitating every thought

This is not poetry

~ Mine, August 24, 2020