Bruce and I start off Hour 2 on Pass The Hat, WHUP 104.7 in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Thanks Bob for inviting us, we had a blast.
Last night, I was feeling some feels. As I went outside to see the Moon, as per my grandmother’s phone call (we (my Grandparents and I) always call each other to see the Moon) I felt the feeling of the ever elusive inspiration. Here are the words:
“Pick up the pen, for it does not rest when it lies still, you must catch it for the muse to wake and stay without dreams, in and from your hand, merely the vehicle.” – Me last night. #WhatComesWhenYouCall You = The Moon = Me
Yesterday, I realized that my cellular memories are triggered by drinking. It lasts for days. Until I can grasp ahold of my moment-to-moment consciousness (and I realize that is a process, not a destination), I really shouldn’t imbibe. I’ve had dreams I’d like not to have, dreams that have me making up with someone who it wouldn’t be healthy to even see or talk to, much less make up with. These dreams and feelings are inspired by a couple of glasses of wine here, one glass there. I quit drinking altogether for about 3-4 weeks and then Thanksgiving had two glasses of wine. Then two glasses the following Tuesday, one on Wednesday, THREE on Saturday night and then another one Sunday. I’m counting because it counts. For me. Codependent behaviors are only amplified with alcohol. Codependent thought patterns are given a megaphone inside my mind when I’ve been drinking, if only occasionally. So again, I shall abstain. Recovery from complex PTSD and depression and being able to actually know, familiarize myself, and sit with my feelings is a tall order! I had a very hard week last week, emotionally and very very busy with work and outside stressors. I didn’t even realize that I needed time to process all that; it was all just GO GO GO! BRUSH IT OFF!! Lesson: slow down, realize when you’re on a hamster wheel and when you need to get off. Last night’s Moon helped me to step off and feel the feelings. Yesterday’s EMDR session catalyzed the awareness that I’d impulsively been masking some significant sadness with booze. I did a hard thing last week, I need to sit with that. Thank you Universe for helping me see. Much gratitude to my friends who I know are there even when I don’t call or talk about this stuff…
I’m seething with caffeine, homemade coconut yogurt, and a shot of coconut water because I thought I was losing it. Turns out, I’m just hungry. Still having trouble remembering to eat breakfast BEFORE coffee, but this morning at least I got up and stretched! 😉
I’m compelled to write right now because I feel as if I’ve turned a corner. Since last I wrote, I have continued with my EMDR and Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, successfully to the point that at times I feel that I’m seeing the other side of the tunnel and understanding how I got on this hamster wheel to begin with, and (most importantly) how to get off. (ha. ha..)
The lessons learned in the past 6 months are jarring, inspiring, gratifying, and surprising. I have felt my way around in the dark, feeling kinda crazy for a long time, when, as it turns out, I had a head-lamp on the whole time and just didn’t know it. I was searching for how to find the light from outside me, “Where’s the fucking light switch man?!” When, over the course of a few years, some heartache, loss, and real-true lessons, I have activated Something inside me that is beaming light from within. I hear Cat Stevens in my head right now “Trouble…. oh trouble please be kind…” then Harold drives his car off a cliff, realizing, and we’re all surprised in the end, that he’s abandoned his death-hearse-Jaguar and turned to the soothing memory of an old woman and his newfound banjo of life.
Here I am – some days are harder than others, but my turnaround time now has lessened into manageable chunks vs. hours of agony and remorse for something that I had no control over and was trying my damnedest to control. Here’s a quote I was given two Decembers ago, as I was headed down deep South to spend a couple weeks on a Christmas Tree Lot, “If you are willing to look at a another person’s behavior towards you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time, cease to react at all.” – Yogi Bhajan. Yesterday, I reacted, I got all torn apart, but here’s the victory: I climbed up out of the well, fingernails still intact, breathed a sigh of relief when I reached the top and sat there, swinging my feet on the sides, deciding what path to take from there. Six months ago I would have jumped back down into that deep, dark well and wondered why I hadn’t figured out how to swim yet; yesterday I stood up and walked away with my banjo. *deafening applause*
This is what steps to victory feel like. This is what all the steps will be, with intention from now on. This is not to say that I will not backslide from time to time, but I seriously am beginning to trust that there is a larger, more powerful force reckoning on a scale I can barely comprehend, and on my behalf. On your behalf. I cannot control it, but I can pay attention. I can love myself for the flawed, passionate, driven, and capable person I am; I can take the reigns and let my tiny-Self know that I am not going to abandon her or let anyone ever do that again, as long as I’m in charge. I get to choose whether or not someone can hurt me. I get to choose how I respond, not how I react. With that right-now-intention. Right now, I choose NOT to respond, and that is my path.
For all the vague as hell shit in here, just know that mostly this blog is for me and trust that it is exactly what I need to say right now. xoxo Still learning, my pain is my teacher and my strength. My pain is my teacher and my strength. My pain is my teacher and my strength. (Write that 70 times on the blackboard.)
(photo from Photo site – not related to my post but this picture literally looks exactly like a recurring dream I used to have except I was in a long white nightgown and about 7 years old. I was also running through a forest with a bunch of ravines, I was jumping, then sailing and flying over them running and running and running away. I love this picture. Much more updated version of how I feel right now and goes swimmingly with my blackboard reference.)
Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
‘Cause there’s a million things to be
You know that there are… – Cat Stevens
Like I said earlier, the term codependency really pissed me off. Even still after realizing that it is something that I certainly struggle with, and that I readily and finally admit that I exude. (in fact they gave me a whole new understanding of myself that was super liberating.) in my research I came across this man Ross Rosenberg who talks about it in a different light. For those of you who are learning about this for the first time just like me, this may be a more acceptable understanding than the seeming harshness of the term codependency. He discusses the fact that there are two types of people who come out of traumatic childhoods, codependence and narcissists. I believe you can insert lots of different types of parents including alcoholics, negligent self-absorbed, compulsive, mentally ill, etc. that create these types of children who turn into adults. That said, here’s a podcast introducing the term self-love deficit disorder.
Also, here’s a song that I’ve written and many of you have not heard. I wrote it about a year and a half ago. Sometimes I feel like it’s full of shit and sometimes I feel like it’s the essence of life. Giving into Love, whatever that looks like…
I walk through the garden alone
where the dew is still on the roses…
After a couple of days of pondering, I’ve come to a place that feels like a developing cocoon, beginning to realize the depth of which I will be journeying in the following unprescribed amount of time in therapy. A question was posed to me about my blogging in depth (in the way I do). I thought about it, hard. Many questions arose: 1. Why AM I delving so deep, so publicly. My original answer? ••I realize how many other humans in my life, in this world, have experienced the same kinds of pain, unexplained behaviors and abuses. There are serious reasons why I want to run for office in the future, the main one of which is that sexual offenders and predatory behavior needs to be brought to the bright light of justice. It will be one of the top things on my agenda when I am elected – whenever that is. The shame, guilt and bullshit silence that we are pressured into feeling, the solitary nature that tells us we are all alone is a perpetuated code of conduct that needs to be broken. Only by being public can we begin to change this.
My other answers: ••After reading about codependent behavior (or self-love-deficit-disorder) and realizing that it is developed BECAUSE of (it’s not my fault, I wasn’t born this way!) erratic, unpredictable, treatment from abandoning parents (for whatever reason: addictions to all sorts of things, substances, gambling… you name it – perhaps your parent is/was codependent themselves, mental instability… ETC ETC) I realized that my own codependent behavior was coming out in unexpected ways now that I’m in this therapy. I’m now living alone with my cat, back in a community which fosters me, along with being just right down the road from my grandparents. I KNOW I am not alone. I know that there are those who would and could do the right thing to protect children from being abused and me from choosing to go dig a hole for myself. I have a few VERY close friends who check up on me and really want to love me all the time, for who I am. Nonetheless, those closest often don’t get the deep stories about what’s going on with my therapy until after I’ve shared it with the world. When I write, it helps me to process. When I write, I feel like, in an eloquent way, I am describing my experience while acknowledging myself as the experiencer. However, after pondering this week, another truth has surfaced. In sharing this journey so publicly, having an unexpected outpouring of response and support (so grateful), I am repeating something that I really don’t want to repeat. The need for external validation. In thinking about social media, encapsulating our lives to snippets and things we choose to share, I think that Facebook has imprisoned some of us to use it as a coping mechanism to feel love from others in an increasingly isolating world. “Who’s liked my post? He didn’t like my post yet… They love me, look how many people have reacted to my post! ETC ETC ETC…”
I am torn (as this Pisces usually is…) between sharing my intimate journey with myself with all of the people who care to read it, and not sharing it, yet. The decision I have made is possibly more difficult than anything I’ve done so far since beginning. In order to, as a dear friend put it, “sit with the discomfort” in order to learn my own truths about what is going on here, I am going to put on hold my week by week sharing and do what I need to do for myself. Like my friend RN said, she is working on a book dealing with this stuff. Perhaps I will be interested in doing the same? Perhaps I’ll make a monthly post, carefully chosen and with love of my political intentions of helping my human community feel brave to conquer their own hurtful pasts/presents. Maybe it’ll only come when I feel like sharing. To be honest, I feel like sharing all the time, but I am beginning to wonder for whom. IS it for me? Or is it for everyone else? a perpetuation of codependent behaviors learned as a child that my needs and feelings go on hold for the benefit of everyone else in order to feel needed and loved…. (I know that’s hella round reasoning…)
I haven’t come to a solid decision about what to do. I don’t have to explain myself – I could just drop off the face of Facebook and blogging with no explanation at all. But I don’t want to do that, specifically because there are those of you who read this and do feel like you can relate. You are the reason for this explicative post today. I care so deeply for the ones whose pain I share, because I empathize and love all of you. So, I don’t know what’ll happen, but here’s to the cocoon. Here’s to the butterflies who emerge, in their own time.
It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s hard to describe. It was hard.
I sat down, we discussed my starting point – one of the most painful memories – a quote from my mother after first being molested by her boyfriend’s son, “If it happens again honey, let me know.” This was the moment, at 7 years old, that I first became consciously aware that I was on my own. That no one was there for me and that God didn’t exist. This was the moment that now, looking back, my mother failed me. She not only was going to ALLOW this to happen to me again, but she didn’t DO anything about it RIGHT THEN. I had no justice. My feelings, experience and trauma wasn’t worth acknowledging. I wasn’t worth it. She didn’t love me, and therefore I was sentenced to feel I didn’t deserve love. How about that for a realization of thought pattern..
I thought about and felt that memory, all the details flowing back, as per usual, this time I was to pay attention to the bodily sensations and all the energy I could tune into. My throat was blocked, like the way it feels when you want to cry but something won’t let you? The way it feels holding back crying – that’s the body’s reaction to invalidation for me. I freeze and stifle my feelings and experience, ignore them and perpetually invalidate myself. I followed the therapists fingers back and forth with my eyes, for several seconds, then she said to take a deep breath, and to let it go. This process was repeated, through several memories, feelings and sensations that arose during the session. Some surprising things came up. I became cold and then oppressively hot. When I became hot, we turned on the fan in the room and as soon as the breeze hit my skin, I immediately was transported back to the room where my step-father first molested me. The memory was not during, it was what I felt afterwards. I was pretending to sleep on the couch under an old blanket, a knit one with large holes. I could feel the fan blowing in that room, through the holes in the blanket, touching every single skin cell on my body. I felt dirty and incapable of moving. It amazed me today that just the breeze from a ceiling fan can transport me back to that moment.
I told her the memory that arose and she did something I will never forget. She said, hold on one moment, I’ll be right back. She came back into the room with a giant, handmade Wonder Woman blanket. She said, “Would you like to use this?” I put it over me and the cold went away. She said, out loud, “See? There are no holes here. You’re safe.” It meant the world, but it also made me uncomfortable. I have a very hard time with someone else comforting me. Hugs when I am upset make me feel very uneasy. It’s almost like even those who do care and trust I have a hard time letting past a certain place before I hole up inside. I have tears in my eyes right now just typing these words. At the end of the session, I said, “I’m feeling like I need to check out.” It just happened to be time to do so.
Today was supremely new, difficult, and intense. Afterwards I still feel uneasy, a little wobbly, and like I need to be careful with myself. These feelings have spaced out throughout the day. I wish for calmness. I decided to cook snacks this afternoon and spend my time in the kitchen after I finished my work with Democracy Matters. Today is also my first day back on the job. I have about 30 students who are or will be starting school soon. I’m glad I’m putting me back together so I can do my best at what I love.
I’ve been reasoning that if I play it cool, being open to all this, magical things will happen. It’s started. Life in general has started over again and I’m seeing more clearly. Things are falling into place and I am grasping ahold of something solid within myself. Here’s to that. Here’s to the learning and dedication. Here’s to todays first EMDR therapy session. I’ll keep this posted. If I implode and crash into a million pieces, I know a couple of people who’ll help me sweep it up. That’s a lovely feeling. Thanks ya’ll.