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

I Remember

I remember

your face filling every space in my eyes
no room for anything else
Nowt but you

I remember

your voice flooding into my ears
like a cheap cotton swab
What’d you say

I remember

your touch on every inch of my skin
oily and unctuous slick
Choking my pores

I remember

terrible days and terrifying nights with you
always bracing for the onslaught
violent and dreary

I remember

i’m stuck here in our memories together
still caught fast in your web
being consumed

Dream Shift, Pt II

My habit is, after a new post has been up for a few hours, i’ll go back and proofread it, one last time. I usually find 1 or 2 errors. This time i found about 10. Wow. This dream has me all thinky and it’s coming from different places all at once. There’s so much chatter in fact, that after i proofread, all sorts of other things occurred to me that i missed discussing, because there was just so dang much! I don’t like to go over 2000 words though, so a second piece is better anyway.

Things that i missed in the first piece:

– more people kept popping up
– the man of the house having a beer with my husband, and then next saying he doesn’t drink
– my husband drinking uncharacteristically
– me being compared to Reese Witherspoon numerous times in my life
– the opulence of the home
– rich people being nice
– the part where the lady of the house gossiped that we were her only neighbours that really liked them anymore, because of some drama started by the woman across the road

**********

I lost myself for a time, which is why i haven’t finished this piece. It was unavoidable. It’s the nature of my current emotional/mental state, coupled with being a multiple. So i read the first part of this piece, “Dream Shifts”, in order to refresh my memory and access the feelings. The problem being, dream journalling requires diligence if it’s to work. It’s a muscle that must be built up. Even the most vivid of dreams can fade in a relatively short period of time. At least, this is what i’ve learned and that’s been my experience.

I’m rereading, and i found 2 more mistakes! Honestly, i’m a bit of a stickler for proofreading. If i find someone has read 1 of my older pieces, i’ll go back for a quick once-over to see if i missed anything the last dozen+ times i checked. I find that interesting. I think it’s good actually, the mistakes, because i think it speaks to how i’m just letting it flow. Stream-of-consciousness isn’t my bag, man. I’m a bit pedantic (no really, because i’m sure you didn’t notice), and if i don’t manage myself strictly, i will agonise once i’ve posted a piece and want to pull it down because i’m afraid no one will like it or get it or be helped by it, etcetera ad nauseum.
Also interesting, and seemingly contrary, is that i proofread, but i don’t edit much. What you read is basically how i wrote it. I’ll move around some words and rearrange a sentence maybe. OH! and i always comb through to try and eliminate as many qualifiers as i can – because i overuse the shit outta those (i’m sure you didn’t notice that, either).

Anyway, back to Over-Analysing My Life: The Dreams Edition.
Heh.

Comments, Thoughts, Meanderings, Ponderings:

I do see more now than i did then.
I think the lady of the house is an amalgam of all the ladies that were ever kind to me. I always felt big and clunky and awkward, graceless and unfeminine. There were a number of women that embodied all the things i thought i would never be, who were varying levels of kind to me. I never quite knew what to do with it. I craved their attention, and i was drawn to them because i wanted to be like them. On the other hand, being around them intensified these negative feelings i had about myself; i felt gross, like i took up too much space, unkempt, because i was a poor girl with lousy hygiene, loud and obnoxious, because i was socially awkward. There were some though, that extended themselves to me with such grace and gentility that i couldn’t help but be around them despite the troubling emotions they brought up in me.

The lady interrupts my mother’s sexual display and my response to it, to give me something girly and frilly of hers. She is giving me some of what she has, that i’ve always wanted so badly. And then she gives me lingerie that symbolises that i CAN start over, that i CAN go back to the beginning. If you’ll pardon me, she’s saying i don’t have to be a sexual rockstar pornstar superstar. That i am fresh and new and unspoilt. Now, i am NOT saying that someone who is sexually violated is spoiled, for that is a vicious lie perpetrated upon us. What i am saying is that i have felt that way, and she was giving me a gift, using symbology i understand (cuz, my dream, right?), that that simply is not true.

And regarding the blustery man, i think he’s more than a representation of how it’s okay to be my bipolar, switchy, slidey, messy, histrionic self. I think he also represents my abusers, who just came in and took from me, and unabashedly, shamelessly, came back and took from me again. In that vein, i believe that the man of the house becomes a much more complicated representation than i’d first thought. He is me, who is actively working on turning away from my abuse so that i might turn my attention to better things. But i think he’s also the embodiment of my Bits N’ Pieces, who just turned my head away from what was happening.

Of course more people kept popping up. That happens in most of my dreams. I’m a multiple – that one’s easy. The only other point i brought up earlier here that i see as significant is the Reese Witherspoon thing. I’d been told more than a few times that i look like her. I always thanked them graciously, but inside i thought they were off their rocker. I’d stare at pictures of her and i could never see it. She is the embodiment of Southern grace and charm, and besides her strong chin and jawline, very delicately featured. And she is lovely. I didn’t see those things in myself – i couldn’t.
I wasn’t ready. I hadn’t done the work.

A few weeks back, a friend of mine told me she’d watched one of Witherspoon’s movies the other night, and said how much she reminded her of me. Again, i went to the pictures, particularly stills of the movie she mentioned. And i’ll be damned if i didn’t see it. Her appearance in my dream is further confirmation that this work i’m doing IS having an effect. The scales on my eyes that i was born with, are falling off. The veil that was placed over me, to hide me, that i thought was my shield but was actually my prison, is slipping off, and it won’t be long…

Oh my, how much i want to believe it won’t be long.
Let’s hold on to that wee bit of hope today, shall we?
That stuff’s in mighty short supply in my life right now, so i’ll take any and all that i can get.

I’m just a fucked up girl looking for my own piece of mind, i’m not perfect.
~ Clementine Kruczynski

If you read this kinda weird stuff, thanks.
Love and Peace,
~H~


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.

Dream Shifts

This post might only be for me, but i’m sharing it just in case. I’ll put it in a new category, labelled Dream Journal. It’s weird, but what’s new?

So, i guess i’m dream-journalling again:

Been struggling with insomnia, and when i can sleep, it’s either for 8, 10, 12hrs, which is uncharacteristic, or frustrated tossing about and cursing, punctuated by brief, unsatisfying dozes.

And always whatever sleep is filled with dreaming, and the days, with headaches. The headaches can be mild, like an ache in the base of my skull that spreads cloudy pain in a band around my forehead. An asteroid belt orbiting my brain. There are worse ones though, and they’ve been more frequent. The band tightens and makes my brain feel like it’s swelling inside my skull, there are screws of intensity at my temples. These days those are near-constant. I can feel my eyeballs, 2 hot stones that bounce around and make my sockets radiate ache.
Plus, my dreams are escalating.

After weeks of struggle, i’m thinking my dreams are telling me they have something to tell me. Maybe they’re trying to get my attention. Weird, not-my-usual sort of dreams have been happening. I’m remembering a lot more of them too, when for years, outside of maybe a dozen or so a year, they were like trying to grab wisps of smoke upon waking.

I spoke of my dreams just a few posts ago, in “Mindful Dreaming”, so this journal will only include mention of dreams or fragments of, that i’ve had since.

Dream #1:

– Husband and i are at the neighbours to pick up something i left the last time i was there. They are wealthy, hospitable people, and invite us to stay for a cool drink by their pool. Hubby obliges with the man of the house, poolside, and i proceed to the kitchen with the lady. She’s kind, petite, elegant, the epitome of gentility and graciousness. We speak as those who don’t know each other well, but like each other much. We bring a plate of snacks out to the men, whose number has grown to 3. I sit beside the one that’s mine, who’s got a 6-pack of beer at his feet, and is tucking into his second. Odd, because he rarely drinks, and when he does, it’s only a couple, enjoyed slowly.

I’m looking around at all the lovely things they have, so tastefully decorated and well-maintained. Then i’m talking to a few other women and we are no longer by the pool, we are in a gorgeous living room. It’s sunken, with deep pile white carpeting. There are banisters providing a broken border on 3 sides. One side provides entrance to a luxe dining area. There are tables laden with an incredible array of desserts, including what look like driftwood logs that have split open long ago and spilled their contents. But the logs are made of chocolate, and what spills out are dozens and dozens of the most delectable looking chocolates – a veritable chocolaterie. And there are exquisite tea cakes of every imagining, served on tiered plates made of fine china and gold. I make a note to GTF over there and get me some as soon as this person stops chattering at me.

One side of the room steps up and opens to a door leading to a hallway, which i know leads to other apartments like this one, although none of the rest have a pool, and this couple has the best apartment of all. (We don’t live there, we live in our own, much more humble home next door.) The door suddenly opens, and this guy comes in, looking like he just walked in from a retirement community in Florida. He’s very animated and blustery, and he emotes to the whole room about how he’s confessing that he’s the one who stole from Mister’s humidor. Further, he states that he’s not sorry, and proceeds to steal another box of cigars and runs back out, giggling gleefully. Mister laughs and says to the group of us, which has become more like a crowd, that he isn’t going to bother himself with that.
At which point, conversations and indulgences resume.

I then hear a voice coming from my right, and i cringe immediately because i know who it is. My mother is sitting in a chair above the sunken area, at one of the openings. I can’t remember exactly what she said, but i know it was bemoaning her life. I see she’s settling in to a speech: she sighs dramatically and stretches back. Her legs open, exposing her panties, and her gathered top comes undone, but she only pays it the barest attention. As she’s sighing deeply and fixing her soulful eyes on us, she makes a half-assed attempt to hold it up with her hand, but it falls open on one side, exposing her breast.
I said something like, This didn’t last long, and get up and head over to “handle” her. I’m burning with embarrassment.

Suddenly Missus gets my attention and hands me a beautiful piece of clothing. Taking it from her and turning it about in my hands i see it’s old fashioned type knickers, but the kind we wore in the 80s, that have a frilly sleeveless top attached. These aren’t ridiculous though, they’re perfectly stitched, frothy perfection. She tells me they’re a bit big for her and she thought that i might like them. I chuckle at her and say, A bit? and Thank you! Then she hands me a piece my own lingerie that i recognise immediately. I wondered aloud how the heck she found them, but that got lost as she handed me more lingerie, all in a rosegold satin pouch. I thought it contained one thing, but it was a complete matching outfit. Tasteful, well made, and obviously expensive. Then i saw there was another one, and another. Every time i finished looking at one, there would be another underneath it. They were all as exquisite and detailed as everything else, and i still remember many, incredibly minute details, which is odd for a dream, i think. I mark as of this writing, that while every outfit i saw was of a different colour: white, cream, gold and black, only one mostly white set, had any red, and that was merely a few stripes along with some black ones. There was nothing aggressively sexual – it was more like the wedding trousseau of a lady of some means.
I also mark that everything was a very average size, and i wasn’t worried about any of it fitting me, which has been the case for most of my life – whether asleep or awake.

I’m holding them up for the assemblage, and a beautiful woman who’s standing over a sofa filled with other ladies and talking animatedly with them, oohs and ahs, and comes for a closer look. It’s Reese Witherspoon, and she’s a dear friend of the lady of the house, and a minor one of mine.

I wake up.

Comments, Thoughts, Meanderings, Ponderings*:

– There is a quality in many of my dreams that particularly stands out in this one. I often have a tonne of backstory with both the people in interact with, and the places i go. I don’t know if it’s like that with other people, as i’ve never asked. In fact, i don’t think i’ve told anyone this before. There are long histories that are very clear and intricate, and well-known to me while dreaming, that mostly fade upon waking. Lately though, i’m starting to remember them, as i have here, although not quite as intense.

For instance, there are 2 trailer parks i’ve visited repeatedly: 1 is my own childhood home, but the other is an old, rundown, and vaguely sinister one with only a few, set far apart, with large, equally unkempt bits of land, where once were kept chickens, maybe rabbits, definitely sad, old dogs on chains in the hot sun. I’ve been there countless times, but never in my waking life.
Thankfully.
I don’t care to visit my childhood one at all, either.
Brains, huh?

– I think it’s obvious all the clothing is significant.

For one, the fact that i don’t fret about my size or the size of the clothes, which are obviously NOT plus-size, speaks volumes to me. It confirms that my image of myself IS changing. The last time i lost a lot of weight, i couldn’t see it. I still had what i now refer to as “fat eyes”. It’s like how i see other friends looking at pictures of themselves from years ago and saying God, i thought i was so fat back then, but i sure wish i was that weight now. Poor self-image, coupled with eating, food, and body/sex issues, made sure i basically couldn’t see myself realistically.
Screw lousy parents, and screw mean girls and bully boys, too.
Just sayin’.

For another, i think it’s significant that everything is tasteful and demure (as far as lingerie goes, heh) and beautifully made, and very expensive. Except the panties of mine that she found. They were more bold, say? Some might say bawdy. This lovely, sweet and elegant lady that everyone liked, was giving me something of hers, and then an incredibly generous gift of so much more. As i stated some time back in my piece about my husband’s and my relationship regarding intimacy (it wasn’t a big TMI, it was more vague references and euphemisms, also heh), we have stripped ourselves back to our beginnings, to figure out what we like/want, and don’t like/want; that includes as sexual beings. I won’t get too personal here, except to say i’m experiencing myself in a way expressed by those pretty, frilly, softly coloured, luxurious items.
I think it speaks both to who i am, and what i’m worth.

– Next, what about the barging in, rude dude?

About this, i have no clear inclination. I’ll have to marinate in all the questions i have for a bit. It’s like no one was put out by his loudness, or brashness, or confession, or his continued inappropriate behaviour. Well now, writing that out certainly gave me some ideas.
That’s why i’m doing this.
Is it me, and that no one minds my mental illness, my strange ways of behaving, my quirks and oddities?
I’m also reminded now that no one reacted to my mother at all.

– Let me tell you about my mother.

Just kidding. I’ve probably shared way too much for anyone’s level of comfortability or interest about my mother, but her appearance in this dream is significant, regardless.
It’s one of her rare appearances where she’s not the size she was when she died, around 500lbs. She was more of her size when i was 6 or 7, i’d guess around 170 or 180 (for 5’8″), which is not much over, in my opinion. She was younger and still had her looks. She was a pretty woman, before what was inside her began rotting her outsides.

She was removed from the rest of us.
She was above us.
She didn’t look at me or address me directly.

I was embarrassed, yes, but it wasn’t like in my childhood. The feeling i had was more like how one might feel when a sick relative who can’t help themselves does something. Like when i’ve been in full mania, walked up to random people, and asked them to score drugs for me. I wasn’t angry, either. She usually pisses me right off in my dreams of late – and i tell her so, which has been therapeutic as heck. But no, i was more resigned to the fact that my afternoon fun was over because i had to get her out of there and take care of her.
Weird.
Weirder still, but easier for me to ken, was the interference of the lady of the house.

Does the first mean that my rage and pain are finally dulling some? I mean, they have faded over years of therapy, but this new work i’m doing has brought the feelings back. It can feel fresh and intense at times. Am i letting go of things? Is my brain doing that, or my body, or both? And if it’s both, is it because i AM mending the connection between them? Something to ponder.

And further, who is the lady of the house?
That will require some time and more writing still, methinks.

Every single night
I endure the flight
Of little wings of white-flamed
Butterflies in my brain
… every single night’s alight with my brain
~ Fiona Apple, Every Single Night


*I’ve titled that as i did, because it’s what my therapist, the wonderful Ms T, asks me at the end of every session. Seems apropos.

 

 

Love Goggles

I think i’m having an epiphany.
Are you allowed to have those when you’re down a rabbit hole and swimming around in a bottle?

I don’t know, but my inclination is No. It’s not legitimate. You are in your cups and so you cannot trust any thought or feeling you have.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
~ Inigo Montoya

This has been the hardest year of my adult life. No, really. I went back to therapy, and BAM! my beloved Ms T tells me i’m looking for homeostasis, in other words, a return to what i was meant to be under ideal circumstances. The word some might use is integration, but for me it isn’t that. That word means an end to the split off parts of me that saved my life. They made a childhood full of torture, survivable. Yes, they make me (diagnosably) crazy and frustrated and put me in embarrassing situations and make messes i have to clean up. Yes, they drive me nuts (diagnosed). But they stepped in, when i was a child, and took unspeakable, excruciatingly painful, evil things so that i didn’t have to. I owe them a debt i can never fully repay. Yes, i know they are me. I don’t mean to sound arrogant or superior here, but in all my efforts to communicate my experiences, i’ve come to believe that no one can fully understand what it’s like to be a multiple unless you are one. (And thank you, for every bit that you do get, and/or at least extend yourself in the effort.)

Homeostasis means healthy, to me. My body and my mind working at peak capacity. So, my Bits N’ Pieces will still be a part of me, but no longer able to take over the face and cause difficulties. No more lost time. No more reflexive disappearing. I will still feel them and maybe even hear them in my brain, but they will just be for me. No one else will have to encounter them, or deal with them. I am not in danger anymore. I’m in a safe, good, healthy place. I want them to know and feel that, and i want to take good care of them, like my children (they are), for the rest of my life.

It’s a lot of work, and it’s constant. The choice to be present and feel my feelings, experience my physical sensations, and think my thoughts in real time, is all the time. It never ends. I’m always exhausted. I struggle with insomnia, but when i can sleep, i can sleep for 8,10,12hrs straight. I have to commit and recommit to what i’m doing every day, all day.

And then this pandemic hits.
It engages me on every level i’m working on. I’m trying to be a better, kinder, healthier human, and it challenges me at every point.
People not thinking what i think they should think.
People not doing what i think they should do.
Trying to escape from religious and tribalistic thinking confronts me at every turn.

A couple of posts ago i talked about seeing people through love-goggles. It’s been seeping into me ever since. As i do the work in front of me, i’m learning who i am as a person. Shucking off all the protective measures that are like reflex. This isn’t just about my system, it’s about every breath i’ve ever taken. I had to fight for my life from before i could walk or speak. This stuff is ingrained. It’s my skin. My armour is my skin, my breath, my heartbeat, my blood. Every minute of every day, for almost 2yrs now, i choose to let go. To trust. To believe. To aspire for better and actively work towards it. To see myself for who i am and acknowledge it to others.

And this pandemic, now. FFS.
It has neon-signed every issue i have. It has Sisyphused all my burdens. I’m in constant crisis.

I’ve found the blessing in it. I had to. I want to live, and more than that, i want as much quality of life as i can get. Yes, i dare it. I want more, and more, and better. And this is what i’ve learned from doing the work. There is more, and better, and i can have it.
But it requires great effort and intention.

So, the pandemic. Yes, it highlighted all my issues and exacerbated the stress i was already under. And i backslid into old ways of thinking and acting. I was angry –enraged, even– at everyone who wasn’t doing what i thought they should do. I lashed out, with provable justification, at everyone who wasn’t behaving correctly. And every time i did, i felt like a bag of shit. Then i’d chide myself, because i was clearly in the right, so i was doing/saying what people needed. I was being brave.
But i kept feeling awful about it. So awful.

But i’d written this piece about love-goggling, and i kept thinking about it. I kept thinking about my son who believes things that i know are dangerous and provably wrong. I kept thinking about my friends who are taking terrible risks that i would not take. I kept thinking about how, when my mental illness overtook me, how those friends were the ones that were there for me, in the flesh, to help me when i could not help myself.

I asked myself: Is my rage helping me, or anyone else?
Is the fact that i can prove my rage is justified making me feel any better?
Does my tsk-tsking and finger-shaking make me feel good?
The answers were No. No, and Only for a very short time.
And that is when my mind and heart turned to love-goggling.
How am i going to be in a good relationship with my son when he believes things that actively put his family and others in danger? Love goggles.
How am i going to live in a community that largely believes in and supports political viewpoints that i find abhorrent? Love goggles.
How am i going to engage with an online audience that seems consistently arrogant, cruel, judgmental, and tribalistic? Love goggles.

I may be a Pollyanna. I may be a Milquetoast.
Maybe.
But today i can live in my own skin and i can give a shit about everybody.
Every. single. body.
And that feels good and right to me.

Ode to My Sinful Nature

Thank you Envy,
for getting my ass up off the couch
for wanting what others had
for wanting more and better

Thank you Gluttony,
for giving me what was denied me so long
for filling me up to the brim
for the luxury of more than enough

Thank you Greed,
for helping me get more than i was told i was worth
for insisting on what i deserved
for pursuing superior quality

Thank you Lust,
for keeping my sex alive
for invigorating me with desire
for setting my loins on fire

Thank you Vanity,
for showing me i’m pretty
for getting me in the shower
for taking me shopping

Thank you Sloth,
for providing me with much needed rest
for making my limbs so heavy
for the call of quiet nothingness

Thank you Wrath,
for gifting me the words No and Stop
for filling me with fury
for showing me it wasn’t love

~ Mine
July 17, 2020

IMAGE: The Seven Deadly Sins, Hieronymus Bosch (1500 – ’25)

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~

Blind Date

Twenty-five years ago today i went on a blind date. We weren’t set up, we found each other. Back in those days, we didn’t have internet dating, but you could find someone by dialing various phone numbers that hosted dating “profiles”, done by recording your voice.

Yes, i’ve told this story dozens of times, and i’m telling it again. It’s one of the best things about getting old.

Although i’d had a number of relationships of a sort, and even been engaged, i’d never been in love. Obsessed? Yeah, once. Regular bedmate that i found tolerable to hang out with for dinners and such? A couple of times. Infatuated? One time – the last guy before the blind date guy. He was a bad boy type, and my first and only experience with such. He was handsome and charming and funny, with a predilection for older women who’d pay for his addictions and tolerate his constant cheating. He’d done jail and prison time. I was the first relationship he had with someone his own age. I met his family and they were obviously surprised. I had a little money, and when that was gone, it wasn’t a month before he was, too.

I cried and felt heartsick for a day or 2, but it didn’t hurt that much – i knew who i’d been messin’ around with. I put down the ice cream and called up a local telephone personals number and got back to dating. I recorded my own little advert, but i quickly discovered a problem. Guys were mostly looking for hookups, and i didn’t work that way. Yes, i had relationships that were primarily sexual, but i had to like you as a person first. Not too much like, because i didn’t want anyone to cohabitate with me. Try to tell me how to live my life or raise my kids, and i’ll yank your tongue out through your nostril. (Not really, i just thought it sounded funny. Also, my church could tell me how to raise my kids and i never questioned them. So i guess, if i was sleeping with you, you had to STFU? Weird because, according to my religion i was fornicating, and that conveniently never occurred to me. Anyway, sorry, sidetracked – back to my story.)

The other problem is my voice. As a multiple, it can shift around and sound all sorts of different ways. Due to some of what i went through that caused me to split off into my Bits N’ Pieces, i tended to have a high, very girlish voice around strangers generally, and men particularly. So, i was attracting lots of pervy types. We’d go out for coffee, or a walk in the park, and they’d say it went great but they’d never call back. It only took a few before i knew it was because they were looking for sex, and i hadn’t put out. I decided to yank my ad, and choose for myself instead of waiting to be chosen. It suited me better anyway. (Okay, brief aside again: it’s interesting/peculiar that i was taught to be so subservient to others, and yet, once i ditched my first relationship, which was sick and abusive, i, albeit unconsciously, always assumed the power position. I know now that it doesn’t have to be that way, but back then i didn’t.)

To navigate, all you need to know is, you pressed 3 on the phone to advance to the next ad. None of them were appealing, and every one of them started with, “Hello, ladies… ”
3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3… Ugh. So much ugh. And then i heard this guy’s voice, and he didn’t say Hello ladies. He said he’d been focusing on his work for a number of years, and decided he was ready to make some room in his life for someone special. He said he thought he had a heart of gold, and said, If you think you do too, leave me a message. I listened to it half a dozen times, not just for what he said, but because he had the kind of deep, deep voice that makes me weak in the knees.
I left a message.
I have no idea what i said.
I didn’t think i had a heart of gold either, but i wanted someone who did.

He called me and we talked. And talked. He didn’t try to arrange a meeting immediately. He seemed to be genuinely trying to get to know me. It was around 2wks before we met, and i agreed to dinner and a movie. He picked me up in his work truck, wearing a silk shirt and a skinny tie. Big, horn-rimmed glasses and long hair in a ponytail. For someone as dissociated as i can get around strangers and potential boyfriends, i remember quite a few things about it. I remember thinking Uh-oh, because he was my type. I didn’t date my type, because i wanted the power position. I didn’t want my feelings hurt, so i chose to date men that could leave me the next day and i wouldn’t care much. I also remember not being nervous around him, which was most unusual. I was constantly picking at myself and scrutinising every word i spoke and everything i did around others. But i wasn’t like that around him from the beginning. We ate, saw a movie, and then went out for a drink and a snack.

We saw each other frequently after that. He’d take me out for a drive, take me to the park, take me out to eat. I didn’t think much about sex, i was making a friend. I found him so interesting and i was comfortable around him.
I wasn’t comfortable around anyone –even my closest friends– and i had a couple of them at that time. I was hypervigilant. But with him, i didn’t fret or freak out. I could just BE.
And Yes, i’ve said this 100+X, but it bears repeating because it was and still is, the sweetest and most lovely thing…

We were 6 dates in before he even held my hand.

I had been used as a sexual thing since before i could speak, and when i finally got out on my own, i saw potential partners from a mostly sexual POV. I wanted sex, but i didn’t want attachment. I didn’t know what attachment was – i had no experience with it. I wanted what i thought of as a “boyfriend”. A title and a function that had nothing to do with emotions or bonding.

But then he went and treated me like a person and not a thing to be used. He spoke to me like i was interesting and he treated me like an equal. He didn’t try to get me into bed – he tried to get to know me. He showed me kindness, generosity, and RESPECT.

And then one day, after he had taken me for a drive, to see the view from a part of our city that i’d never seen, he held out his hand, and lay it down, open, on the seat between us. He said, Put your hand here.
I said, Huh?
He said, Give me your hand.
I put my left hand down on his open, up-ended right one.
He knitted his fingers through mine and squeezed, and then he asked me, How does that feel?
I could feel my face flaming hot red, and i stuttered out, G-good.
He said, Yeah.

When he dropped me back home that night, he escorted me to my door and hugged me for the first time. I wished he would kiss me, but he didn’t. He took his time with everything, like i was worth it. By the time he had me over to cook me dinner, i was hooked. When he answered the door fresh out of the shower, and his hair was down for the first time, i was done in.

This is all sweet and romantic, it really is, but let me tell you, it’s more than that. He’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I could tell so many more stories, but today is about our first date. The kindness and gentleness and respect for me as a person, that utterly disarmed every protection i had. They were all unconscious and based in dissociation; i didn’t know i had them. All i knew was that i felt good, i felt safe, when i was with him. I felt like i was pretty and smart and funny – i felt like all the things i’d ever wanted to be when he looked at me, when he listened to me. I felt like i was enough.

He’s been nothing short of a superhero.
He couldn’t save me. No one can but me.
But he gave me the first safe place i’d ever been in, and gave me the time to figure out how to save myself. And as you can probably imagine, someone with a history like mine, with diagnoses like mine, requires heroism. Sacrifice, patience, commitment, gentleness, and unbelievable inner strength.
He is the best human i’ve ever known, and 25yrs later my estimation of him has only grown. I hope we get at least 25 more.
It might take me that long to get my poop in a pile.
Heh.

My little fairy tale that became real life.

Peace and Love,
~H~