Wrung Out

I’m crying everyone’s tears
I have already paid for all
my future sins
There’s nothing anyone
can say to take this away
It’s just another day
and nothing’s any good
I’m the king of sorrow
~ King of Sorrow, Sade

I’m suddenly empty inside. Numb. I’m angry and sad and i want to crawl under the covers and eat/drink/drug myself into a coma. I want to be on the outside like i am on the inside. Empty, cavernous, echoing. There are tears on the inside, but they flow slowly down the sheer rockface of my organs and guts. Erosion too slow to be of any note. I remain hard and implacable here.

Whispers flutter up from the deep of me, like little birds that fly into the garage and can’t escape. The door is open, but their panic blinds them. The ceiling is not the sky and they flap around in the corners, their tiny fluffy chests heaving. When i try to help them, say gently shoo them with a broom, it only gets worse. I’ve learned to leave them be, and they’ll eventually make their way out on their own.

I wonder if that’s the answer for the ones caught inside me. I try to focus in on them. I try to find mercy inside me, or grace, but all i can muster is a detached kind of concern. It’s like when an ambulance races by on the highway – i hope the people involved will be okay, but i don’t know them and can’t help them, so that’s as far as i go with it. My casual wishing fades with the sound of the siren.
This is not dissociation – this is emotional flatness.
This isn’t me in any of my iterations.

I am HistrionicaButterfly. Intense, dramatic, passionate. Full of thought and art and creation. I talk i make i hold i care i trytrytry. But i’m sitting here made of stone on the inside. I’ve become a damp cave, with little light and less warmth.

I’m looking at the entirety of my childhood, and i’m wrung out. All the emotions are still there –the various and varying levels of anger and sadness and pain– bits of beak and feather flapping about in a tizzy. I watch from a hard distance. I feel mostly meh, although i sense danger is close by.
I’m standing on ice, and if it cracks, i’ll plunge into the glacial waters of fear that flow through me. Rivers that have carved deeply into me. They rush over me and overflow my banks in their season.

I don’t know if i’m relieved or grateful or if i feel anything at all about it.
I’m dispassionate, and this is not me.
This is the work and i’m doing it.
I check in and stay in it and ask questions and address needs.
I use the tools i have and try new ones too.
I make small adjustments. I get quiet and listen some more.
And then i do more and other things. I give my body what it’s asking for, and i care for the broken off bits of me that bounce around in my head.

I try to stay anchored in the real world. I sleep, i eat, i shower, i cook and clean. I have mundane conversations with those who live here with me. I play mindless games and watch silly programs to distract me from the thing that is happening inside me. I’m turning into a zombie. I do what’s in front me; i keep moving forward. One shuffling foot in front of the other. Neither careless nor carefree. A Borg cut off from The Collective. I wander around inside my Cube with purpose, but minus something that once tethered me. What gravity have i lost?

What me is this, this colourless, tepid thing?

Keep flying for you
Keep flying I’m falling falling
And I’m falling falling
And I’m falling falling
I’ve given you all that I have
I show you how I want to live
How could I love you more
~ No Ordinary Love, Sade

Toes In The Grass

The sadness i embrace is ever present
so very deep
It eeks from my bones and suffuses my flesh with its chill marrow
traveling the rivers of my body, bobbing along in my blood
Morose and resigned
stopping my heart over, and over again
I gasp in pain, wanting to run from it
to drown it in wine
I want to return to the Land of the Dead, where i’ve dwelt all my life
I’ve felt this sadness already, and the pain
But no
Not like this
That was all the voices crying out in my brain, wanting to be heard
to be seen, to be known
That was brain pain.

Now my body cries out from the acres of death where it dwells
No more to be a dead thing encased in living flesh
a golem from the past
I send out tendrils of warmth and light from the Upper Room
They float down the stairs and illuminate the spaces that were once flat blackness
a nice enough place
Needs a bit of work
The rooms are crumbling, although they’ve never been lived in
Like Chinese malls.

Too old to not yet have lived in this body
I was born in a riptide, barely keeping my head above the water
Mindlessly, mechanically,
moving my way through the rushing of the water
Fighting the current that never stopped
sucking at me
One day i grew strong
and broke free of my prison
Building a boat out of hope, i sailed the vast sea of my mind
I charted its waters until i grew bored
Letting the wind and the waves plot my course
I thought i’d found peace
But mystery beckoned me from the shores
The smell of the air promised fresh adventures
I jumped off the bow
and swam for the shore
Dolphin-slicing expertly through the currents.

I stand up on the beach and look round
The sand is not much warmer than the water
Perhaps the green i can see ahead is as warm as it looks
I walk slowly up towards it
When i crest the embankment i stop
My feet step into the grass
It’s warm, it’s wonderful, and i scrunch my toes into its
Toes
I have toes
I look down and see my feet
Feet!

And i gasp myself awake
Only not awake
Not dreaming
My window has crashed inward from the storm raging outside
I’ve been struck alive by a bolt of lightning
What was dead now lives
The tendrils of warm light coming down from the attic illuminate the first floor of my house
I’m sitting in an old chair that’s never entertained a guest
Life is pain, and i ache to find it so
I shudder with the power of the pain that fills me
The sobs that shake me
like water from a paintbrush
The light moves past me, fluttering and waving along
Curious to explore other rooms
Every step, every movement,
Every moment brings pain
But i follow
I follow the light.

Noping

I’ll be keeping this brief and kinda point form.

Adding back in structure didn’t work. My anxiety has me in a chokehold and i can’t stop this therapy. So i’m going to ground.

I’ve done it before, when things got so beyond my control i knew i had to cut my life back to bare minimum.

I can’t leave the house at this current time, like most of you, but i wouldn’t if i could.

Socialising, just my BFF, and even then, if it feels like too much to do anything more than the occasional text – she understands.

Zero news or social media.
We PVR everything and skip ALL commercials. I may have to cut out some of the darker fare that i usually enjoy watching. If it turns out it triggers anxiety, it’s getting noped.

I love cooking, but all the fancy stuff is getting noped. None of my typical careful concern for a balanced meal. I’ll be working with frozen and prepared foods as much as possible, and leftovers will be on the menu whenever there are any.

Personal hygiene is stripped to bare minimum.
Skincare will be a quick wipe and some cream (i have a near-Korean level regime).
Showering: when i stink, jump under the spray for 5mins with bar soap. Shaving is a nope. Exfoliating, nope.
Curly Curl Method is a hard nope. Regular shampoo/conditioner when needed.
All the extra lady things like mini-mani/pedis are also noped.

My new uniform will be comfy pajamas. No more stressing over what to wear and what looks cute and what style will i choose today and trying on item after item that turns my bedroom into a disaster area. Just… nope.

All notifications are turned off on my phone except for my husband, my 2 sons at home, and my therapist.

Housekeeping will be just enough so i don’t get triggered by the mess (my mother’s house was a pigsty).

Blogging will get done, but only when i feel like it, and only as much as i want to do. No shoulding myself to write out of some imagined obligation to my readers. I am going to focus on myself – 100%
The world will keep turning without me.
Other people can manage fine without my help.
I can’t change what’s happening, and frankly, i don’t want to know about it.
I simply cannot handle it.
I don’t need anyone to agree or even understand.
This is my life and i’m noping the fuck out of just about everyone and everything.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but it has become a matter of my survival.

I fell down a hole so hard and fast last week that it came close to ruining me.
No details, but know that i am okay.
A lot of my Facebook friends are regular readers, but i won’t be sharing my blog posts over there. If you’re subscribed, you’ll know. If you check in on the regular, you’ll know.

I have turned my eye inward to the point where i have no room for anything else.
And for the first time in my life, i feel no guilt or shame about it – at all.

This is my birthday present to me.
Happy birfday, H.

Had a (phone) sesh with my therapist today.
Maybe i’ll write about that next
… Or maybe i won’t. *wink*

Low

Today i’m low
Oh, i’m so low
I can pretend i’m not, but can i not pretend?
Dear Ms. Therapist, i am trying
I thought i had it rough, but now i know i didn’t – not really
My brain can do this amazing thing where it takes me out of the shit and fills my face with someone else
I float
I float up here and watch some actressrobotclone do me for the masses
If it’s too much to watch, the door in my belly bids me come
It locks onto me like a tractor beam and pulls me in and slams behind me
I am nothingness
Was it all that bad if i wasn’t even there for it?
I inch my way slowly past the beckoning door, pressed flat against the far wall
I take the stairs down into my guts
It reeks down here. Like the smell of their fear that i could never scrub off me
Afraid of a little girl
The air tastes like salt and metal, like his hands when he pressed them over my nose and mouth
Shh, be quiet, shut up, stop fighting me!
Why do i have to come down here with these old ghosts?
I cleverly escaped their filthy clutches – why should i return?
They paw at me, and they stink
I don’t need anything down here
I look up and see my heart, beating blackly, shivering with pain
Reaching up, i place my hand firmly on it, the muscle quivers like a horse’s flank after a race
I pet my poor heart until it slows
It stops twitching and warms beneath my fingers
Stop running Dear One, i whisper
The race is done
We won a long time ago
I’m going back up the stairs now
Still tired and low, and this didn’t change me
There’s a light at the top that bids me come
Going carefully up over slime covered stone
I look down and say I’ll be back and that’s funny
The bilge water needs to be pumped out
My shoes are soaked and my feet, ice
I’ll bring salt when next i come, to dry up the fine, slick crust
I wave from the last step, and hope it doesn’t take me as long to clean the basement as it did the attic

Tea With A Friend

Some days i feel warm and expansive and guileless
I see the light underneath the closed door
But there are days when everyone’s ugly and everything smells bad
And the door leaks a shadow that runs out like blood

Most days it’s both, as it is today while i bash away at my keyboard
The sun on the snow in the window behind, bathes me in white light
Sylphlike shadow on the cold, black television screen
I glow in the nothingness, angel of endlessness

Grief is due for a visit, in fact long overdue
She’s been busy with other obligations and i have been, too
Lately i’ve felt her absence distinctly, the chair where she sits keenly empty
My list of topics for conversation grows longer and the words gather weight

Anger and Pain have been at me for months now
They want to pop in for a chat, and they promise “Just 1 drink”
I might as well get it over with, as they won’t stop knocking
“Hello hello, it’s been ages, can we come over?”

I won’t shirk my family obligations as i have so few now
It won’t cost me much to have them over for dinner and i love to cook
They’ll rant and they’ll rave and pound their cutlery on the table
But it doesn’t bother me, i know they just need to be heard

And once they’re both gone, staggering down my front steps
Because of course they both had a few more than 1 drink
I’ll clean up the table and put on soft music while i set the kettle to boil
I know she’ll be by soon so i put on my jammies and grab the tissue

Some days it’s all rainbows and ice cream and hope
Some days it sharp claps of thunder while lightning sets fire to my house
Then there are times when the pit of my stomach opens wide and swallows me
I sit across from her in my rocking chair made from old bones and i weep

She listens and sips while she knits me a sweater
Her needles click rhythmically in time with my sobs, her eyes soft and wet
My heart thrums and pumps out its low dirge, dark and heavy
She hugs me goodbye, kisses my cheek, and promises me she’ll come back soon

I miss her already

Promise

WARNING: This piece contains graphic, specific speech regarding child sex abuse.

Also, a brief note: These are the thoughts and musings of my mind, only. This isn’t an invitation to discussion, nor a request for answers regarding any of the “questions” asked herein. I would say they’re better characterised as “wonderings”. If any of this piece triggers a strong response, the place for a rousing discussion/debate on any of this is not here.

Thank you,
~H~

**********

I made a promise, Mr Frodo. A promise. “Don’t you leave him Samwise Gamgee.” And I don’t mean to.
~ The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

People hurt me.

They just do.

I’ve been both irresistibly attracted to and repelled by them since i can remember.
I wonder if it’s like that for most of us, all of us, or particularly those of us who are survivors of abuse, or maybe just anyone who’s neuroatypical. I don’t know. I just know i love people, but i can’t be around them too much.

Maybe it’s because, when the person who gives birth to you does what my mom did to me, it splits you in a way that has absolutely nothing to do with my diagnosis.
I need you, but you hurt me.
I can’t live without you, but you keep putting my life in jeopardy.
How do i reconcile needing people, but also being tremendously harmed by them?

I do not fucking know.

What i’m saying right now feels so deep and poetic and emotional.
Ha.
Not at all. No more than anything else.
My experience
Yours
Hers
His
Beautiful and tragic and transcendent, all. To a one.

Sometimes i feel so alone that i think my life, my suffering, must be some kind of poetry.
But it is and isn’t – no more than yours and theirs.

If i elevate my rape, mustn’t i also then elevate the time you fell and skinned your knee alone – with no one to cry out and care and comfort you? Am i worshipping at the altar of pain? Must pain be pain, regardless, lest i risk the sick admiration -the twisted crown- bestowed to whomever’s been through the most?

1 rape
2 rapes
2 dozen
3 hundred

Baby
Toddler
Precocious child
Does the rape when i was 21 mean less because i was an adult
Does it matter that i’d still never had sex by choice at that point
Does it matter that it was someone who said they loved me
Would it matter more if we were related
Would it have been better if he’d used a knife
More legitimate
More understandable that i’m a total fuckup

Why would it fuck me up that i started sucking dicks before i even had teeth
I was a baby and i don’t remember, so what’s my problem
Or do i get big sympathy points for baby rape
How much of a waste of skin do i get to be that my mom was the one who sexually prepared me to be raped by the various people she gave me to

Cringe
Feel uncomfortable
Stop reading – i totally get it
That’s some ugly, revolting shit to read
To live it, there will never be words

I know i sound angry, and ohyoubestbelieve i am
But that is not my current overarching feeling
When i’m able to speak, to put words to what is my day-to-day existence right now
I say i’m scared
I’m scared all the time

I’ve stopped leaving my house again
I go to my room when someone comes to the door
The phone is an abomination, an affront to nature
I force myself to keep 1 curtain open
Some light

**********

I don’t know what to tell you if you’ve gotten this far. I’m sorry for the words, but they’re mine and this seems to be what i have to do to have the life i want.
Feel what i feel while knowing what i know. Put my pieces back together. Become whole.
TO BE WHOLE.
Oh my, can you even imagine?
I cannot quite, yet. But i aim to.
I am the lidless eye, pouring all my focus into the having of it.

I had to have a phone sesh with my therapist this last week. It’s better than nothing, until i’m able to leave the house. It was way more of a fruitful hour than i’d have thought possible on the phone, definitely the most impactful of my experience. One of the many things i love about my therapist is that she knows what i need to hear. She is not a tough love therapist, or a preachy therapist, or a psychotherapist (i’ve walked out of a few of those offices, heh). She’s not a do this/do that therapist. She’s not a “time’s up, see you next week” therapist.

She’s a mother.
She comforts, she soothes, she loves, she holds space.
She wept for me when i couldn’t shed a single tear for myself.
She’s shelter.
She asks me what i want, what i need, and helps me figure it out because i don’t have a fucking clue.
Soft fury pours out of her eyes as she gently, always gently, speaks her bleeding heart for all of us that have suffered as i’ve suffered, watering the desert inside me.
She cheers me on, she cheers me up.
She thinks i’m a superhero. She said so.
Can you fucking believe that?

So, we’re talking on the phone, which means she’s quietly, calmly asking me questions, and then we wait 1 minute, 2, while i try to make my mouth move. It’s a difficult and frustrating process (at least for me, i can’t speak for her), because there’s pressure inside me not to speak. I was raised/indoctrinated/brainwashed/threatened/beaten to never speak of these things. There are many parts of me who were made to keep the secrets. Not only that, but after all the work i’ve already done, there’re lots of parts of me that’ve been freed to speak, too. My therapist asks me a question and i’m immediately flooded with intense force to keep quiet. Also with words from those who have something to say. The push-pull fills me with distress. Sometimes i choke the words out, sometimes i whisper, sometimes i snark, sometimes i sob them out, and many more times than i’d wish – i say nothing.

I share with her how i’m not sleeping; how i’m afraid i’ll die. How we’re ALL afraid i’ll die. I tell her i can’t leave the house again. I tell her i’m scared all the time.

She says, You’re not scared, H.
You could probably hear the click of my rolling eyeballs over the phone as i spat, Oh really?
She says No. You’re not scared, you’re absolutely terrified. Your little Bits N’ Pieces carry the memories of what happened, but your body carries the memories of how it felt.
She says, You’re feeling terror; you feel in fear for your life because that’s how it felt when you were being hurt.
And the nights are worse because that’s when they came, to which i reply, Mostly.*

After that, we do some work on how to take care of the babies that live in my brain that aren’t real. I cringe at the merest entertainment of the thought that i might share some of how that looks.
I’ll think about it.

**********

I’m sorry for this post in a way, because it is harsh and sad and terrible, but this is how my brain works and this is my life right now and i made a promise to do my best to share. I am getting to the meat of the matter, and it smells of rot and filth and death.

I’m also not at all sorry for this post. One, because i’m a multiple, so i feel/think all the things at the same time (please feel free to join me in a hearty snort here), but also because it’s brought me closer to my goal, it’s made me more present in my mind and body, and it’s brought me precious hope that i can continue.

I intend to crest the peak of Mount Doom, where i shall toss this evil, poisonous thing that i’ve carried all my days, and watch it burn away to nothing in the eternal fire.
And that will be the finest and greatest moment of my life.

If this brought stuff up for you, do what you know to do to take care of yourself.
With Love and Gratitude,
~H~

*Of course my nerdbrain goes straight to Newt in Aliens and i giggle a little inside, because i’m a dark and twisty nerd. Heh.

Curb Appeal

When i was crying in therapy yesterday, my therapist asked if i wanted the weighted blanket. Instant Nope! because i hate that thing. Then she asked if she could come closer and help me feel better. To maybe put her hands on my bouncing knees. No thank you, because touch is too much. Then she helps me find something i can do to honour and respect how my body is reacting. It doesn’t matter how small, she says. All i can muster is 1 foot, up on its heel – a sign. My body is saying Stay away.

I know i’m not saying stay away to her. I know i’m saying it to people who’re long gone from my life. She stands in their stead for me, knowing how much i need to say No, and I don’t want that, and You can’t do that, and Don’t touch me.

My foot, saying Do not come closer. Stay back.
My knees, bouncing. Let’s get the fuck outta here.
My eyes, always glancing between the window and the door. Avoiding her gaze. But it’s not her read i’m trying to hide from. It’s other prying eyes. Eyes that looked into mine and read me to use me better. My mother, reading every book, attending all the conferences, learning how to get more of what she wanted from people through subtle manipulations. People wanted to open up to her. They wanted to give her what she wanted.

I always opened up to her and gave her what she wanted.
Even my brain was hers to poke around in.
She purposely made some of the parts that live here with me.

So i look away from my therapist and calm myself by looking at the door i can rush out of, or if worse comes to worst, there’s always the window.
She doesn’t take this personally. She lets me set fear-based boundaries because it’s symbolic. It’s healing and empowering for me to say No! and set limits, even unreasonable ones.
Don’t touch me.
Don’t talk to me.
Don’t look at me.

This is the beginning of learning to soothe and comfort and care for myself. And this may be the hardest thing i ever do. (Yeah i know i keep saying that, but JFC, if you could “Strange Days” my current experience you’d understand – this shit keeps amping up!)

I was born to be a receptacle for pain, frustration, rage, sickness, filth.
I was taught it was my job.
I was also taught that i deserved it.

My therapist looks at me with care, her eyes are watery.
She says, “I could wind up and smack you across the face as hard as i could, and you would probably be able to handle that more easily than my offer of kindness and care.”
She asks me questions about how i’m feeling, and all i can come up with is a head shake and an I don’t know. But that’s not quite right. I have thoughts and feelings all jumbled up inside me, and words want to come out, but there’s so many i can’t isolate any one thing in order to make sense. It would just be a big, soupy spew.
So i demure, frustrated, and full of vitriolic froth.

This is my life right now. It’s therapy. It’s my absolute #1 priority. I mete out my spoons, Scrooge-like, becoming more miserly with each passing week.
I cannot care about this right now; i need my spoons for therapy.
I cannot share space with this person right now; i need my spoons for therapy.
I cannot deal with this situation right now; i need my spoons for therapy.

This is gonna have to wait.
YOU are gonna have to wait.
I NEED MY SPOONS FOR THERAPY.

I’m curating my life like i learned to curate my social media exposure.
I won’t be making any new friends or any big decisions (hell, even small decisions).
If there’s something not working in my relationships or my daily routines, it’s all getting stuffed in a junk drawer for now because i’m constantly exhausted and stressed dealing with this stuff and there is no room for anyone else’s feelings or issues or problems.*

There’s a baby in my brain. She’s in a frilly bassinet and i have someone that watches over her. Other parts are allowed to go and visit her, but only if they’re in a good place – or at least good enough not to cause trouble. I’m sorry to say she’s not alive, but she is beautiful, and perfectly preserved. Behind her is a vault, where i keep the toxic waste. I thought that was the best place to keep it, locked to all but me. I’ve been gathering it over the years – slurping it up into tanks in my hazmat suit. Hiding it behind metres of steel and locks only i can open. It’s the stuff that killed me as a baby, and poisoned the rest of us. I thought it would stay there, safe and untouched, forever.

But now i know it’s got to go. And i know how to do it, too.
I made a door at the back of the vault. It opens like a big metal one in a scifi show. There’s an episode of Star Trek: TNG, where the ship accidentally travels beyond space and time, “Where No One Has Gone Before”. Beyond my back door lies this place. It will swallow the tanks and they’ll no longer be capable of bringing harm to anyone. They’ll be timeless, formless – existing and yet, not.
I’m preparing to dump them overboard.

*There are exceptions, for instance my kids, or if someone isn’t asking for too much from me and i want to give them some. “Want to” being the important part. Drama is the onion on my pizza right now – and i pick that shit off, man.

**********

I was getting groceries yesterday, and a lovely woman i know commented on my appearance, and asked me how i’ve accomplished my weight loss. I told her, “I changed one thing about the way i eat, and i did that one thing until it became a part of me. And then i changed one more small thing and did it again.”

And that is exactly how i’ve been chipping away at the 100lbs i’ve been struggling with since around 2009.
Yes, 10yrs. Yo-yo-ing the same 30lbs or so, over and over, with diets and food plans and shakes and pills.
But that entire time, i was learning things. About myself, about food, and about how i used food and how i relate to food, and how all of that is affected and shaped by who i am as a person and the trauma i endured growing up.

So while it may have looked like i was stagnating in my 100lbs-overweightness, i was absolutely not. I was tearing myself down to my foundations and building myself back up: Better. Stronger. Faster. (Like Steve Austin, except i’m Jamie Sommers.)
Yes, it’s taken years. That’s okay with me, because i know that i’ll never be obese, morbidly obese, or knocking on the door of super morbidly obese, ever again. My weight might still fluctuate on occasion, but i have infrangible confidence in my ability to handle it, should a problem arise.

As i’ve moved through therapy and learned about who i am and how i work, i’ve been able to tweak what i eat and how i eat. I no longer become despondent when something doesn’t work. I just try something else. I know that i’m in this for the long haul and i can trust myself to stick with it, and everything… Well, everything is gonna be okay – or at least some version of okay that i can live with while working towards a better okay. Or –what the hell– why not try for better than okay?

Then it hit me. I’ve done the exact same thing with my mental health.
It’s been 15yrs of looking my diagnoses full in the face and working on living with my abusive childhood, all to achieve a better quality of life. I’ve lost treasured relationships and i’ve abandoned even more.
I’ve been judged, whether unfairly or justly, to be too fucked up to associate with by many. I started out being devastated by this, but eventually i learned it was their right, and kind of not my business.
Then i thought i could avoid this by starting each new friendship with a serious, candid warning about how i can be a lot, so honest, open communication is helpful…
Sometimes that’s worked and sometimes it hasn’t.

I must’ve seemed like a freakshow that derailed a train.
Well, i know i did, as some people were kind enough to tell me so. /s
Ah, thanks?

I wasn’t any of that, though.
I was tearing myself down to my foundation so that i could build myself back up with better materials, in a style that suited me. Me. Not them. ME.
I was a bit of a fixer-upper, yes. And the renos have taken a loooooooong time, yes.
But i’m no money pit.
And no, i’m not on the market. I do the odd showing, but most people will just have to admire me from a distance. I’m private property.

I’ve been tweaking myself like i’ve been tweaking my diet and my lifestyle and my relationships. I’m just finally starting to reflect on the outside, all the work i’ve been doing on the inside.

So there.
Neener.
And also, How about that, eh?

Happy Monday.
Love and Peace,
~H~