As I go through the files on my iCloud drive and read the things I wrote in the past, it’s a strange feeling. I feel so distant from the author of these ramblings, so inspired by their insightfulness and impressed by their freedom in flow of thought. I’m jealous of myself – of the me I am when I’m not here, of the woman who knows so much more about me than I know myself. Perhaps I’ll regret posting these in their entirety later on…but I have only mysel(ves) to blame, so why not…
I ask myself all of the time – what am I going to do with my life now that I have come to the terms that I am truly mentally ill? Not pretending to be crazy in order to continue collecting disability. Not making up excuses or behaviors to distract people from a truth I was hiding from everyone but God. No longer sure if the voice inside of my head is just my thoughts like everyone else has or truly a someone who isn’t me but also isn’t someone else?
In our last session, I admitted to my therapist that I have trouble discerning reality from fantasy, that all my life I’ve heard voices and that maybe, just maybe, I’m as crazy as everyone thinks I am but that I’ve never wanted to admit. Now, having coming to terms with this only a little over a week ago, I’m making plans to pack everything I own into my dead mother’s car and leave the place I’ve called home for over 25 years. I want to take myself, and all of the crazy within me, to another place and find space in which I can introduce myself to myself; where I can become me, where I can deconstruct the madness inside my mind and find my own story from the composite of the stories within me.
Is it a good idea to admit to myself and to my shrink that I think I’m a total psycho and then skip town? Probably not according to some. But I’ve never been someone who follows the line of what could be considered a “good” idea by others. Instead I’ve followed my madness through my rabbit hole with the kind of certainty that an only be conjured by madness. You see…I have no idea if I’m dead or alive. I don’t know what is real and unreal. I don’t have a grasp on reality because reality is just a mist of consciousness in which others live and I remember as a far distant land that I visited in my childhood.
I haven’t been to that place called Real Life since 1979. And until I find my way back, me and the others withing me are on the outside looking in…on the inside looking out. We are not the woman looking in the mirror or the woman being reflected back from the mirror. We are the vivid reverie in between and we don’t know that woman or her reflection. But it’s time to get acquainted.
Feeling a little lost on how to process all of the things that are snapping into place, jumping out of old shadows and generally creating havoc in my already unquiet mind. Is this real or am I making it real with more mental trickery designed to cover up something else. And if I’m acquiescing to one of my worst fears to cover up another, how bad must that fear be? It scares me too much to think about it. So instead I follow my normal path of submerging myself in a new topic until I know it well enough to, quite honestly, play the part. DID is unsettling for another reason here though; because instead of learning and adapting to play a part, I feel instead like I’ve been given the master script that puts all the parts I’ve already played under one umbrella.
Have you ever tried sharing an umbrella with someone? It never works…shoulders bump, heights differ, steps are taken out of stride, everyone gets a little wet and also stays a little dry. And what about the one who is always just far enough out of the huddle to keep their eye in the perfect position to have an eye poked while also getting all the rain runoff the umbrella directly down their back? I think this is where I struggle…what will get wet and what will stay dry while I figure out all of the Me’s within me and try to put them all together?
Will I eventually be able to have all of my “mutually exclusive” aspects suddenly integrated? Will I be the loud life of the party and the comfortable wallflower? Will I be able to balance my checkbook and paint? Will I be able to love and be brave? Or will I only be able to absorb some of these things about the me’s into an I? And if so, how can I know which are real and can/should be brought forward and placed under my umbrella? How do I deconstruct all of the versions of me and construct the one true me…the me I want to be?
Since the epiphany and my reluctant acceptance of how logical it is that this most illogicial diagnosis is mine, I have only been to see my therapist once and I’m heading out of state for a couple of months next week and won’t get to see her until I get back,..IF I come back. I’ve been asking myself the questions that I feel are important to ask. Am I a danger to myself or to others? Will I ever work again? Should I talk to my sister and let her know? Should I tell my kids? I didn’t PLAN for a major diagnosis to come along like this so suddenly (at least from my perspective(s)). It isn’t a cancer diagnosis; life won’t come to a halt while all efforts are aimed toward the eradication something. From what I’ve read, my goal is integration and not erdication. So where does this start? And am I going to do this on my own? And, if I’m DID, am I truly ever alone?
I haven’t really told anyone except my therapist and my primary physician. Neither of them seem concerned that I’m leaving for a while…so either there is truly no concern or they are tired of my shit and looking forward to having a break from me. Either way – I’m on my own for the next few weeks and will be thousands of miles away from my support network (who are also probably pretty tired of my shit). I keep feeling the panic rise up within me in being faced with several weeks in my own company. I want so desperately to go back to not knowing; to a place where there is still hope a pill and some cognitive therapy will make me all better. But I sense that going back isn’t an option for me now and I need to step up the the plate and manage this mental breakdown like the excellent project manager that I am…or was…still am?
Since I’ve always been able to find at least a passable attempt at sanity by writing, journaling seems like a pretty safe bet at this point. It can’t hurt and it will give me a better indication of my shifts beyond what my Twitter account that reads like it’s maintained by several different people….because, ugh…it is. (WTF???) So surely this journal will help me find the commonalities, the stream of consolidated consciousness and, if nothing else, bread crumbs to follow when I start to feel lost in myself and detached from the world around me.
It’s not a lack of content. I know what I want to say
It’s a matter of knowing which voice, of who I am today
The one in charge, the one who fights, the ones who blushes with shame
Are all competing within me for a chance to be heard; to have a name
A chance to explain
A chance to expound
A chance to be real; to exist
A chance to infuse
A chance to release
And a chance to manifest
It’s not shame, embarrassment or even self pride
It’s lack of continuity; a problem of too many sides
The one who loves, the one who hates, the ones who cry from the pain
They all speak with voices so real, I’m certain I’m finally insane
A chance to explain
A chance to expound
A chance to be real; to exist
A chance to infuse
A chance to release
And a chance to manifest
I may be one of the few people who wasn’t pleased with wordpress’ free advertising feature. One of my primary reasons for starting this blog was finding a space where I could purge myself of all this incredible nastiness within me without wondering what anyone else would think. A space like my journals but without the worry that someday they would be discovered; either after I died or because they are happened upon. Even now, as I type that, my mind goes into a whirlwind inventory of all the places I’ve left my belongings. The closet in S’s house. The basement in B’s house. The closet in C’s house. The thing’s I have with me here in M’s house.
In the last 12 months, I’ve lived in 11 different places. Each time I’ve relocated, I’ve left things behind. And each time I’ve relocated, I’ve changed my appearance dramatically. And each time I’ve relocated, I’ve had fewer and fewer people know how to find me. My phone number has changed three times, is under another person’s name and is known only by a handful of others. I do not have any utilities in my name. My mailing address has changed 4 times between states and I do not have a mailing address of my own. I have property in my name but do not live at that property and instead house sit for a stranger in another state. I do not have a social media presence. I use cash for most of my transactions. I am not employed and do not file taxes.
It really sounds like I have an agenda to be a ghost, doesn’t it? But here’s the kicker…I don’t.
I have lived in 11 different places because I am a house and pet sitter and work has been good. I don’t have utilities in my name, pay taxes or have a job because several years ago, while in the midst of obtaining my PhD and exceling in a lucrative professional career, I had a car accident that resulted in a traumatic brain injury and permanent disability. As a result, I had to file bankruptcy and have utilities in my name requires a huge down payment, so my sister just puts my utilities in her name. And my daughter’s father in law is a big whig at a cellular provider and has a family account with unlimited data for $25 and let’s me have one of the numbers, so I also don’t have cell phone in my name. And after 30 years of coloring my dark hair and growing it long, I decided to give up the battle against age and go natural; cutting off 29 inches of dark black hair and letting the white and silver shine through. Since I’m not doing my hair, I also gave up make up and, to be honest, look like a very handsome lesbian if I do say so myself. And finally, having quit smoking cigarettes and landed a job in Colorado, I picked up a whole different kind of smoking and have gained 25 pounds from acquiescing to the munchies, so my appearances really have changed significantly. And lastly – I use cash for my transactions because one of the things I lost with my brain injury was the ability to manage my finances and checks and plastic spell big trouble for me.
So here I am…unintentionally on the run, with a whole new look, anonymity, freedom, time, …. and not a single clue on what the fuck I’m supposed to do with any of it. I mean for real, doesn’t it seem like the universe has handed me a gift to do something big? A way to really go for IT? A huge chance?
But a chance for WHAT???
What the fuck am I supposed to do?
What is it?
What am I supposed to do?
Am I supposed to follow the anarchist spirit withing me that screams all the things that would probably get me arrested for treason?
Am I supposed to undress the woman I’ve been and tell her stories about the young woman with daddy issues who, after she was raped at 14, never felt clean again?
Am I supposed to describe my journey as I explore that water that flows within me; all murky in it’s glittery mix of every color possible?
Am I supposed to tell the love stories about the ones who I broke and ones who broke me; the one who died and the one never really lived?
Am I supposed to release the imaginings of the those who exist only in my mind; whose voices I’ve muted with my insecuries?
Am I supposed to record what my loved ones would surely want me to say before I die?
Am I supposed to do anything at all?
Am I supposed to?
What has become abundantly clear is this: WordPress is a place where words go to die. As I started this blog to give myself a way to empty my mind of the endless thoughts that shred and lobotomize me, I should see this revelation as a perfect solution. Words of terror, rumination and stress, meet your appropriate ending. Pride, meet your downfall. Inferiority complex, meet your justification.
I’m once again in my mom’s big purple fuzzy house coat. In all my efforts toward minimization, this horrible house coat is completely inappropriate. It’s bulky and takes up entirely too much room in my suitcases. It’s ugly and too short for my 6-foot frame; letting cold air in despite its promise to keep me warm in the winter. It’s haunted and suppresses all plans for productivity; locking me into my dead mother’s sleepy sloth-y depression for entire days. I remember the day after she died and I entered her bedroom and found The Purple hanging in her bedroom. I put it on over my clothes despite the thick midwest summer heat and wore it for hours as my sister and our families explored Mom’s home. My adult children didn’t speak the concern that showed in their eyes as I manically looked through her jewelry and smelled her clothes; trying to reconnect with with a mother who had all but disowned me decades before she died. I went through boxes, opened drawers, peered under her bed. It was the last time I managed to be actively productive while wearing The Purple.
I’m trying to give myself some credit because if I keep looking at the things I’m still not doing right and the things I’m still doing wrong, I’m not sure I’ll continue to stay on the right side of things. I did get up this morning and read a little bit of the good book and I may have even managed a few short seconds of prayer before my mind wondered off down one of its familiar manic routes of worry and consternation (is that even the right fucking word here?) I did remember that I am a mother who is supposed to give a shit about my kids and I texted my offspring this morning and expressed an appropriate amount of concern and care. I ate protein for breakfast and I took my meds and, while I haven’t actually managed to perform any level of physical activity, I do plan to take off The Purple at some point today and go the gym. I must admit, however, that I’m not so much motivated by the desire to meet a personal goal as I am by the realized benefit of being able to walk without pain that riding the recumbent bike has afforded me. It’s a total bonus that this has been achieved without a lot of sweat or effort and I can read a book while I sit there on my fat ass and push the pedals in circles.
I’ve noticed that the super fit citizens of Boulder around me have little respect for my obvious lack of cardio motivation and the way my bottom stomach roll rebounds in a way that can only be descried as “juicy” as it my fleshy thighs come up to meet it at each rotation, but I have little respect for their having so little respect for me so it all evens out. Actually, in truth, I feel completely inadequate in their presence and all this bravado is just a front and I secretly wish I could have been born and raised here by parents who were mentally and physically healthy instead of parents who were obese hoarders suffering from extreme mental illnesses evidenced by the huge “Jesus Loves You” spray painted on the side of my sperm donor’s van. But anyway…I was raised by those lunatics and not by one of the blue haired toned muscled geriatrics kicking my ass and judging my weakness in the North Boulder recreation center, so I will wear The Purple with disdain and envy; crying inside at the unfairness of it all and doing very little to change my own destiny because it’s just so much easier to feel sorry for myself.
At least I don’t hoard…or spray paint my whip.
Fourty-eight hours, two batches of thc infused brownies and millions of thoughts and idea have been consumed. “Take time,” I offered myself graciously, “Let yourself be. Stop beating yourself up for not doing things and let yourself be happy to just be happy breathing oxygen in a sane state of mind.” But is that sane? Is the exodus from unhealthy behaviors into a state of null healthy? Is nothing at all better than all the wrong things?
If you’re of the opinion that life should be enjoyable, fulfilling and exciting for some portion of the time, becoming sane is a journey of nothingness; a task of perfecting the appearance of being happy with the life found on the other side of crazy. I’m sure I’m not alone in having the opinion that sanity in itself, quite honestly, simply does not feel worth the breath it take to maintain its endeavor. I’ve quickly come to realize there is a space between living and dying; a void where I dream of becoming comatose in a deep restful sleep or cerebrally impaired in a way that leaves me giggling at butterflies and farting happily anytime my body feels the need. I realize, as a mother, this is a selfish thought and if it weren’t for this parental role and my fear of pissing off the Creator/Universe with whom I’m trying so hard to connect, I’d probably consider more definite measures to move out of this uncomfortable space. But I am a mother and I haven’t quite figured out how to align my mind, body and soul with my existence and that which exists around me, and until I do I’m not making any decisions about moving out of this tight little space between life and death in which I’ve found myself wedged.
So here I am….a human wedgie. And while it might seem that I feel sorry for myself in this tight little space, I don’t. There are no expectations for me. None. Zip. Nada. Not a single person in my life needs, expects or wants anything from me; including myself. This is simultaneously a relief and a terrifying experience. Without expectations, there is a chance to relax, to reflect, to heal, to reposition, to recharge, to realign, to repurpose and to refresh. But that sentence is a lie. None of these things just happen on their own in a expectation-less vacuum. There has to be some kind of energy to create the momentum; something to start the burn. And, as I’ve found, the only person who can start the fire is me. Me. The one person in this world whose opinion I’ve never trusted and whose fire I’ve always purposely extinguished.
My “fire” is nothing more that some have burnt twigs, soaked with downpours of shame and covered in layers of false personas. I’ve spent the last two years sitting in this stinking mess pretending to others, and to myself, that the little flare ups here and there were great bonfires of self discovery roasting all of my haters and warming all of those who love me and have stood by my side; only to have them sizzle out into little puffs of nothingness in that tight little space between life and death once again.
And it occurs to me, as I watch the woman I’m pet sitting for as she fights for her life with a stem cell transplant in the last ditch effort of her two-year battle with cancer…why have I been allowed to stay in this space when others, with their huge blazing Olympic fires, are facing death? What is my purpose here? Is it true that where there is smoke, there is fire?
There are two parts of me from which I’ve always pulled strength in the toughest of times; my intelligence and my beauty. While I’ve never given myself credit for actually being particularly intelligent or beautiful, I’ve always been acutely aware of my ability to perform exceptionally well academically and for being able to attract (and use to my benefit) the attention of men through my physical appearance. I’ve always known I could outwit almost any other female; pretending to be her friend, convincing her to trust me, discovering her weaknesses and motivations, manipulating her to meet whatever need I had for her and discarding her once she stopped being useful. I would do the same with men – only I wouldn’t have to work as hard because I would just let down my waist length dark brown shiny hair or open my large brown eyes a little wider to gain the trust I needed rather than expend the effort to manipulate him psychologically. In particularly crucial or tricky moments, I… where was I going with this?
If you think I sound proud of myself as I admit that I’ve spent my life being a manipulative user, you might be a little right. It is probably the one thing I’ve been consistent at in my entire life. There are other things at which I’ve exceled and there are even some things I’ve
Skittles are just little round Starbursts with a crunchy candy coating.
The only healthy relationship with a man I had growing up was my pen pal, Derek. I think he loved me but I had no idea. Looking back at his old letters 25 years later, I was so surprised to see what I had completely missed it when I was younger. I remember the one letter that said “Thank you for sending me your picture. I put it in my album on a page all by itself.” If I had known…sigh. But I had no idea he like me because I thought “love” was demonstrated by overtly sexual approaches. Subtly didn’t register with me. I’m friends with him on facebook now and he’s all salt and pepper sexy, has been married for 30+ years and is built like a Viking. Sigh. Daddy issues suck ass.
Do people still do the old fashioned “pen pal” thing? I’ve looked on craigslist and a few other places but it all looks more like people wanting to sext or people wanting to eventually be more than pen pals. Like that one guy that responded to my ad looking for good places to watch the sunset with an offer to let me watch it on his boat on the Blue Springs lake; as long as I was naked and sitting on his lap. What kind of fuckery was that? Sometimes I wish my vagina had teeth.
Are dogs so happy in their lives because they are so blissfully unaware of how bad they have it in our world? And if so, does that make a dog’s happiness at seeing us come home kind of tragic?
What exactly are we supposed to remember on 9/11? That brown people are bad and we should keep killing the citizens of countries who are located on top of large natural reserves of oil? Or that we’re “Americans?” I don’t want to stay mad at anyone. How many citizens of how many other countries has the US killed since the 9/11 terrorist attacks? Or how many US soldiers? How many more have to die? I’m not a hater of the US…I think we have a LOT of wonderful citizens who truly believe we’re the “good guys” in this world. But come on… we’re over here fighting about the right to own guns while we’re killing each other in mass and while holding a nuclear arsenal that could destroy the fucking world. We’re killing citizens of other countries on a daily. We spend more money on war than we do on education and infrastructure. I for one would really like to be part of a country that realizes it isn’t doing the right things and starts doing the right things instead.
Young women of the world, please take it from me. If we’re buying expensive makeup, hair products and clothes while eating fast food, consuming chemicals and wearing cheap shoes, we’re making some pretty poor long term investments in ourselves for the sake of… Someone tell me, why do we do these things?
It’s been so long since I’ve watched television and I’ve grown accustomed to the peace and quiet of a home without the constant noise of a squawk box in it. When I visit other homes, I’m freaked out by how everyone has televisions blaring in at least one room (usually more) as “background noise.” Background noise is soothing music or babbling creeks…some beautiful waves. Screaming commercials, fighting housewives and fear-based newscasts are horrible companions for someone’s life at home. It’s no wonder so many people are stressed out and angry – I would be too if I had a box of anger and doom screaming at me from the corner of the room every waking moment I was in my home.
It’s been 18 months since I’ve had sex and I’m pretty sure I’m asexual at this point. I had an old friend slide into my DM’s the other day and try to turn on the slick charm. He’s an attractive man, successful, single and was only 30 miles away. In the past I’m pretty sure his shooting his shot that night combined with my year and a half dry spell would have spelled out some good old fashioned sweaty f-u-c-k-i-n-g for sure. But all I could think about was how much I didn’t want to have to shave my legs. Meh.
Are slugs just poor little defenseless homeless snails that we salt for an easy kill because their homeless nakedness makes us uncomfortable?
It’s such a stream of consciousness these days. Way too much time on my own. Way too much time in my head. Way too many thoughts. I’m worn out from thinking. I’m tired. I’m a little beat up. I feel like I’ve been working a 5,000 piece puzzle for three weeks straight without even finishing the outside pieces yet. I don’t understnd it. If I spend so much time tyring to figure things out, doesnt it seem lke I would have figured someithin out by now? Instead, I just have more things to figure out…more questions than I had before, more unraveled stiched, more lose ends, more broken threads, more raveled edges. More.
Just a list of topics in itself is a stream of its own. I think about so many things and then I think about thinking about things. I worry, I analyze, I critique I…I wear myself out. I think it’s always been this way….in fact I’m almost certain that it has. But the difference is that in the past, I was able to quiet the sound of my past by spinning a new existence into which I could escape. And, in my endeavor to become a system rather than a fractured chaos, I am not allowing anymore spinoffs. So here I am. Stuck in my own existence, surrounded by the outcome of the life I’ve lived and I’m honestly not quite sure what I’m supposed to do because I have zero experience living a life outside of the fall in love and recover cycle in which I’ve been existing for the past 35 years.
I’m supposed to kick back and believe that something good is coming my way. I’m supposed to believe whole-heartedly that all things are possible and the only limitation to my existence is my own imagination. That’s mostly been
While packing up my belongings recently, I was listening to Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday podcast and stumbled across an episode with Richard Rohr; a modern day mystic and exceptionally inclusive and progressive Franciscan friar. While I never thought I would fan girl over a Catholic priest, I am pretty sure that is where I am with Richard Rohr; having found his books, podcasts, speeches, YouTube videos, and daily emails to be full of all the good stuff and not the usual bullshit that flows from the church-y world. In this particular podcast with Oprah, as he usually does, Richard said something that really struck me. He was talking about the “false self” and the “true self;” identifying the former as that which we project and that which is projected upon us and the the latter as that which we are within our very soul before we were even born and before the world shaped the false self around us,
As I spend a significant amount of time each day identifying which me is me that I am, the concept of true self is fascinating, and tbh tearfully reassuring, to me. At some point, on some level, there is a me that isn’t shattered and fragmented; a common denominator, so to say. A fundamental truth of me that doesn’t change, doesn’t disappear, and doesn’t have to be glued back together. I cried when I heard Richard’s description of true self and suddenly recognized I had one of those too..that there is a Great Spirit in whom I’m fully known. It has been a long time since I have heard or felt anything that made me feel whole and wholly good.
So, having gained my full attention, Oprah and Richard continued to discuss the true self. “For our listeners out there,” Oprah (sorta) said, “how do you get in touch with your true self?” Richard’s answer was “quiet contemplation.” Sitting quietly and away from all others, surrounded by creation and listening to the sounds of nature; immersing yourself in, what Richard refers to as, the original incarnation of God. “How lovely,” I thought to myself, “that’s exactly what I plan to do for the next three months while I sit on the beach and watch the sunset on the Gulf of Mexico.” It’s always a good feeling when the Universe gives you a wink and a nod to let you know you’re heading in the right direction.
After weeks of planning and the last few days of preparing, I’m finally on the road. I had originally decided to keep the details of “Operation Sunset” a secret and tell only my children and my sister where I was going. As usual, however, I told my own secret to everyone because while I (the me that is me at this moment) am a very private person who does not necessarily like to share my personal life with others, there are other parts who do not treasure privacy.
Unfortunately I don’t share a lot of space with that other, so it took me a little while to catch on to the fact I was telling my friends back home about my plan to take out. But one day I stumbled across a breadcrumb left from me to me, right there on my phone; a list in my Memo app titled “People I’ve blabbed to about Florida.” This is where Jan would remind me to draw upon my maternal instincts and recognize that the part of me that can’t keep secrets is a very young part; a younger me that developed sometime in my childhood in order to survive. So rather than being upset upon finding the memo documenting the betrayal of my own trust, I took the opportunity to find room for encouragement and praise of the positives. “Good job making that list of people you told my secret to, Little One. That really helped me out! Maybe next time we have a secret, we can shoot for a list that doesn’t have quite so many people on it?”
So because “I” told so many of my Missouri friends all about my top secret Operation Sunset plans, I spent the last couple of weeks visiting, saying goodbye and awkwardly turning down people who I haven’t seen in many months but who suddenly want to reconnect by visiting me in my beach front condo (because apparently “I” shared ALL the details about my plans, right down to the fact the condo could sleep 7). And while I’ve really been somewhat grumpy about meeting the expectations from others that I make time in my busy pre-trip schedule to visit and say farewell, I was struck today by a realization that humbled me in a way that probably needed to happen.
On my way out of Missouri yesterday, I stopped and visited with an old friend in the Ozarks. And when I hugged her goodbye in my rush to get on the road, I forgot to stay in the present and recognize that I was literally seeing the last familiar face I am going to see until mid-January of next year. From now until then, I am officially on my journey of “solitude and contemplative silence,” as I’ve been so casually spouting to (apparently) anyone who will listen. In all my arrogance and well honed system of denial of reality, I haven’t once truly stopped in my planning to recognize the significance of the fact I am now alone. And for the first time in my entire life, I am alone and away from everyone and everything I know. Even at the Peace Sanctuary I had my neighbors and an endless stream of guests who wanted to soak in the quiet peacefulness with me. Operation Sunset doesn’t have neighbors and I’ve declined the friends who wanted to visit – I’m alone. It’s just me and the other me’s – an contingent of personalities traveling alone together, without supervision, without oversight and without accountability beyond this blog.
In the past, this kind of situation would have most definitely spelled T.R.O.U.B.L.E. and I would most likely have a whole new story to record in my “wild and crazy shit I’ve done” records. Now, today, because I have an awesome shrink and because I’ve worked my ass off to integrate and heal, this time spent alone is likely going to spell trouble as W.A.Y.T.O.O.M.U.C.H.C.H.O.C.O.L.A.T.E. while I’m out here running around without anyone watching me. And while I have to admit the old days of drinking, dancing and fucking were a lot easier on the waistline, it is nice to be able to look my chubby self in the mirror in the morning without shame. Besides…chocolate doesn’t care that I haven’t shaved in 18 months.
I’ll be honest here…I’m still in shock to find myself sitting on the gulf coast. Yes, this is what I planned to do. My shock comes from the fact that I actually did it.
Just two years ago, after my cousin (and caretaker) once again returned to his meth habit, I was forced to make it on my own at the Peace Sanctuary. I’ll never forget that first trip to WalMart just 20 miles away. It took running out of all food before I faced the task of driving myself those 20 miles and I remember shaking and sweating profusely as I got into my car and fumbled around trying to get the key into the ignition. And then, after driving slowly down my mile long private driveway, I sat at the turn off onto the blacktop country highway for at least 10 minutes trying to collect myself.
When I finally pulled out and began my first solo drive in way too long, I started screaming. And once i started screaming, I started crying because I was screaming. And so I drove the whole way into the next town screaming and crying; snot and tears running, hands white and gripping the steering wheel, head throbbing from the sheer tension of it all. When I finally arrived, I opened my door and vomited in loud racking heaves; drawing the attention of even the Mennonites who tied their horses and buggies up to the hitching posts at the side of the parking lot in this small rural store. I was a hot mess for sure and my crazy was on full display.
One (of my many) diagnoses is “agoraphobia.” A lot of people don’t understand how someone can be afraid of the outside and, while I can’t speak for everyone who has this phobia, I have often explained that I’m not afraid of the outside itself. When I was in the deepest and darkest parts of my mental illness, I developed agoraphobia out of a fear of what I would do when I was outside of my home. My behavior, from the earliest I can remember, has always been odd but had eventually escalated from strange to bordering on criminal and downright embarrassing.
I’m still a total weirdo and I still embarrass myself on a regular but therapy has taught me how to better recognize social triggers and find graceful exists from stressful situations. And I’d like to think my growing faith in a kind and loving Universe and Great Spirit has helped me find comfort and the feeling of safety in a world-out-there that otherwise has felt dark, frightening, cruel and dangerous since I “dropped my cookies” and lost my mind almost a decade ago. Finally, once again, I’m portable without overwhelming special care. And it is a wonderful feeling to be able to be out here doing things on my own again.
It may have taken me four days, three overnight stays and a lot of praying and preparation, but I drove myself the 950 miles from Kansas City to the Gulf of Mexico. And last night I saw the Divine in the setting sun on the water, the birds chasing the waves on white sand for snatches of nourishment, the lovers hugging and laughing on the beach and the children giggling as the cold water splashed them. This morning, after a wonderful night’s sleep, I woke to watch the pastel pinks and blues accompanying the sun as it rose again over the water; illuminating the dolphins playing on the horizon.
This is good. This is grace. This is God.
And I am thankful.
When we were writing in a journal each day for the therapist, it was much easier to track the crazy. It is hard to deny the frequent and chaotic “changing of the guard” when it’s right in front of you – documented in different handwriting, tone and even word usage. I assumed I would be able to do the same here – just log in and throw out whatever I’m thinking and whatever is happening in the same way I did before. But I haven’t been…but it’s time that I did.
I had all these grand ideas that I’d drive to the Gulf with my new found calmness and sit in quiet solitude, mediate, yoga and talk to God. That I’d continue to heal and integrate and find answers that might lead me out of this stagnat pace of nothingness that I’ve been living for quite some time now .
Ad I’ve succeeded in some ways. I have been doing a little bit of reading of the good book and digging around in the scriptures for the red letters and other verses that help me see a God of love and peace and forgiveness every day; except for one. And I’ve done yoga (not “yoda” as my fingers keep wanting to type) every day; except one. And, much to my own frustration, I’ve limited my shopping to mostly the kind of guilt free groceries and haven’t been consuming too any calories and then hating myself later; except for one day;
I haven’t been sleeping too much in order to make the time go by faster; except for that one day. And my biggest goal for coming down here – the sunsets, has been my most easily met goal. I don’t have to make myself meet this goal…I look forward to each it. Even after driving several hours and unpacking everything the first day I was here, I still went down to the beach see the sunset; taking pictures and sending then to everyone I know. And I’ve been down to the beach every day since, except for one.
And I’ve had that one bad day, as I’m sure is obvious, where I slept too much, ate too much, etc etc. I more or less did a lot of the things I said I didn’t want to do while I was here and didn’t do any of the things I said I wanted to do while I was here. And I felt horrible and all of the old feelings of self hatred and disgust and “I don’t even deserve to be here” boiled up and made me question everything again. But I recovered the next day and I am back on track and, for the most part, I think I’m doing well.
I think the one thing that I can’t seem to shake off is the feeling of loneliness. I purposely set out for a time of solitude so it seems ridiculous to be feeling so alone, unloved and unworthy of companionship. Isn’t this exactly what I set out to be…alone? Honestly, I need to have a little grace for myself here. I have spent most of the past almost three years alone. Even the past year that I’ve spent living in someone else’s spare bedroom was mostly spent alone with my roommate’s dog while she worked two jobs. So I’ve been alone for quite a while now and I’ve never been comfortable with it – except in one particular mood. Ironically, that is the “mood” in which I made the decision (and the nonrefundable reservations) to come here and find my quiet solitude for three months. Go figure.
So I’m still alone and more alone that I’ve ever been in my life – all thanks to one of my own’s planning and doing. If I had stopped to think about it a little more while i was preparing this sabbatical, I probably wouldn’t have had the nerve to follow through. I mean, logically I know God isn’t gong to swoop down and play a game of cards with me or snuggle on the couch for some Netflix and chill or go explore the town around me and share a laugh over a cup of coffee or an ice cream cone at the local creamery. Yet somehow, deep in my jumbled up subconscious, I truly think I felt I would have that kind of relationship with my creator while I was here. That I would be so filled with the tangible presence of God that I would not notice the absence of others.
Just for the record,..I was wrong.
So, in the throes of my panic over being so utterly alone, I have done what I swore I wouldn’t do. I have explored the new dating app feature within facebook. Now…I have to give myself some credit here. I did not attempt to be anything other than authentic in creating a profile. I did not put up any pictures that make me look anything other than what I look like (no makeup and nothing at all what I consider attractive) and I created an introduction that specifically said I was not looking for a relationship; only friendship and companionship. I expected to have one, maybe two, older men with moles and nose hairs respond. But instead I’ve had a fairly sizable response from a number of men; many of whom I find highly attractive. Uh. Oh.
I woke up this morning and found several messages from men interested in meeting me and “getting to know me.” Several expressed an appreciation of my authenticity in my profile and three of them have already offered their phone numbers for me to contact them outside of the application. Now, in being completely honest, one part of me is thrilled to know we still “got it” and can reel them in even when we’re not rocking 30 inches of black hair, makeup and a push up bra. The more responsible parts of me, however, are fully aware that this is not a safe place for us to play and that falling down on my own expectations in this way will be much more dangerous than just sleeping too much, eating an entire package of no-bake cookies and not doing yoga for one day.
So I’m going to delete that dating profile even though it’s going to hurt a little (actually, more than a little in the case of the gorgeous caramel brown retired air force man with the nice smile and warm brown eyes….but anyway). And I’m going to get back to working on manifesting something real right here in front of me with my creator and with myself. And if I need any reinforcement in that decision, I’ll just remind myself that I met both of my ex-boyfriends and my ex-husband on Facebook. And seriously…on that note, why in the hell do I still even have a Facebook account?
Today is my first born’s, my daughter’s, 28th birthday. I’ve sent her the happy birthday text and I’ve broken my Facebook hiatus to sent her the public greeting that seems so necessary but, in all honesty, doesn’t happen as easily as I would like for it it come. It’s difficult for me to delve into this topic and I’ve never breached this line of silence outside of the relentless shame reel inside of my head, an occasional discussion in my therapist’s office and one or two recent tear-driven break downs at my friend’s kitchen table. I love my daughter so much and i’m so proud and blessed to be her mother. I would give my own life to save hers but because of some events in my own life as well as events during the course of hers, I’ve never felt good enough to be her mom. And because of this, many parts of me haven’t felt like we were.
This lack of self worth has been a barrier between me and my daughter throughout her life. Not all of my parts are fully in tune with being her mother – as in, there are “moods” or altered states in which I exist in which I have felt so distant from a maternal relationship with my own daughter that it has felt outside of me, otherly, more along the lines of an extended familial relationship. Even as I type these words, I cringe out of shame and wish that it weren’t true. My daughter is one of the most exceptional persons I’ve ever known – brilliant (literally IQ brilliant), exceptionally compassionate, kind, outspoken, full of integrity, and loving. She is everything I always wanted to be and has always wanted from me that warm and affectionate kind of mother-daughter relationship she deserves. But I’ve always held her at arm’s length; loving her deeply but never letting myself get too close to her.
I’m sure for any other parents it must seem unfathomable to put a distance between onself and their own child. I mean, what kind of monster would hold her own child at arm’s length away from her? I have to push hard past my shame and fears to find the answer to that question and it really does boil down to one thing…shame. I was raised to think of myself, from a very young age, as bad and dirty. From my earliest memories, I was told to “act like a good girl” and made to feel inherently evil. I never questioned this growing up; having only one mentally ill parent around to set my reality and, as a child, reality is what you’re handed. I always remember thinking as a child that when I was a mom, my kids were going to know that I was proud of them, that they were good, that I would always love them.
I left my mother’s house at a young age and married the first decent man to ever pay attention to me after a long string of abusive relationships throughout my teenage years. I immediately moved out of state to escape my past and become pregnant and worked very hard to “act like a good girl” who was married; all the while secretly worried that I was growing a baby inside my evil self and hoping I didn’t somehow taint this little baby with my badness. When she was born and I looked into her beautiful face, I immediately knew two things: (1) she was perfect and had not been tainted by her time spent within me and (2) I was not good enough to be her mother.
This feeling was immediately reinforced by a visit from my mother, who flew in and within days of my daughter being born. With her actions and her words, she immediately went about letting me know she was worried about the welfare of her new granddaughter in my care. My mother’s worry about my daughter having me as a mother was a constant theme in my daughter’s early childhood. As toxic as my mother had been to my relationship with myself, that toxicity was magnified many times over in my relationship with my daughter. My mother was a constant voice; either in my head or in reality, saying “you’re not good enough for her,” “you’re not taking care of her properly,” “that poor child deserves someone better than you,” and most frequently “act like a good mom so she won’t be ashamed of you.” In my mother’s opinion, “good” was something I could only be if I were pretending or “acting” as she so often reminded me from my childhood all the up until the days before her death.
My mother has been dead for almost three and half years now and taking care of her while she died of cancer and cleaning out her hoarded home afterwards have afforded me a view into her own brokenness that I had never had before; bringing a bittersweet clarity to my own lifelong struggle and mental illness. In my decade of therapy, as I’ve learned more about myself(ves) and the extraordinarily unhealthy and downright insane paradigms in which my young self was raised, it has often brought me to my knees to recognize exactly how unhealthy I was, how much I screwed up, how much I hurt and put my daughter through and how much I missed out on while I operated in a cycle of madness throughout most of her upbringing. Truly, how much my mother, in her persistent unkind assessment of my parenting, may have been right.
As I’ve worked on myself and swam through my shame in moving closer to a relationship with my daughter as a married adult with her own life, she has been extraordinary in her patience and grace in accepting me in her life and affording me the chance to continue being a part of it. Recently, in one of our increasingly candid conversations about all things real, I told her that I’m glad that I didn’t realize at the time how mentally ill both my parents were and how mentally ill I was at the time I married her dad – because if I had known, I probably wouldn’t have decided to have children and I can’t imagine a world without her in it. She sat in silence for a minute and I briefly wondered if I had said too much.
And then. just as I was spiralling down into my shame again, she said “You know Mom, I’ve talked about this with my own therapist a lot. And there is a lot of hurt from my childhood and a lot of things I wish had been different. But I alway knew that you loved me, that nothing would ever make you stop loving me and that I made you proud. There was a lot of generational mental illness preceding me in your family line and being an adult and looking back, I can see that a lot of it stopped with you because you loved enough to make it stop.”
That day my daughter handed me one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given – permission to feel like a good mom. Her mom. And my soul mended in a way that was almost tangible in its impact. And with each step like this, I feel myself become a little more whole, a little less shattered and a little more grateful I never followed the impulse to take myself out of this world.
These are the moments I live for each day. And for each of them, I am grateful.
*real names not used
So late this afternoon, I woke up from a “nap” that started sometime yesterday morning to discover my most mischievous part has been in the driver’s seat. What woke me was a phone call from someone named Rocco. I was a little rude to him and now, after getting a full picture of why I was waking up in the middle of the day on my couch, I can understand why he seemed confused at my bitchiness. In the past this would have really freaked me out. But honestly these days I’m grateful to not be married, engaged or otherwise sore in my sensitive places when I wake up from an extended “nap.”
And from a check of things, it looks like while plans were being made to start spending a crap ton of money, none was actually spent yet…so that’s good. The last time this happened, some serious change had been spent and placed on my sister’s credit card before I managed to get back in the driver’s seat. That was a tough one to swallow but I have a very understanding sister and I’m wintering in a beach front condo on the Emerald Coast as a direct result of that little hiccup, so in the end it worked out nicely.
It is a little scary that I met a complete stranger at a bar last night but I found pepper spray in my purse, so at least precautions were being thought of and, most importantly, I woke up in own place and alone. That is a really big thing in itself and I’m just going to soak in gratitude for that bit of progress. Go. Me’s.
I am frustrated that, despite a successful streak in not posting anything anywhere anytime marijuana is involved, a new post was made and it’s a little embarrassing to read now. But it is what it is and I promised not to delete anything so I’ll leave it up there. Just to add a little something to all of this, if the post before this one was written in my paper journal, it would stand out even more because it would be written in some outlandish vibrant colored ink and would be in a very elegant script handwriting that perfectly imitates my mom’s; a skill perfected to forge signatures on detention slips and absence excuses when that part of me was skipping high school on a regular basis in order to go spend the day with an, undoubtedly, overaged and completely inappropriate boyfriend.
I should have known eventually that part, always a prolific writer, would post on her own. Maybe I should give up trying to control it and “let it flow” like she has declared it should be in her post. I can’t imagine how she found time to go hang out at a bar, get high, eat all my food, blog, watch a couple of movies and make several “high notes” for me to read. But she is the reason I used to have a manic-depressive diagnosis because she is super hyper and never sleeps. When she’s in the driver’s seat, I have to admit…things certainly get done. However, to my continuing frustration, many of the things done are direct conflict with what I’m trying so hard to accomplish. But progress is progress and, like I said, I didn’t wake up married again. So yay!
Real quick, as an addendum to last night’s declaration of “Rocco the Social Experiment,” these are the “high notes” she left for me.
Before dying, must go see the Aurora lights. Also go see the Pompeii Ruins. Eat pizza in Italy.
At what point do we stop wondering what we’ll be when we grow up and start worrying about how and when we’ll die?
I went from being a screwed up kid to a screwed up but wiser old woman. Did I miss the sweet spot in between or is this the sweet spot?
In truth, we would have been terrified of birth, and life itself, if we had had awareness in our mother’s womb. It’s not death we should fear but a life filled with fear is the thing to be avoided. This is why I want to approach my death with same anticipation and worry with which I approached my birth.
What if chickens became infected with a worldwide virus that could be transmitted to all other birds and possibly to humans and the only cure would leave all chicken without the ability to produce eggs. What does our world look like without chickens and eggs?
If God loves things by becoming them (like Richard Rohr says), how heartbreaking must it be to watch you own work of love become so ugly, polluted and corrupt as this world has become.
The Jesus story – there is no shame in being who you are and who you have been. Even if you have lived a perfect life, others would persecute you for being perfect.
So many of my friends talk about Muslims in a way that terrifies me. How did so many of my kind, compassionate and genuinely good friends end up sounding like…Nazi’s? It’s nice to be away from them all but I can’t remain silent. I mustn’t.
My mother placed shame between me and [my daughter]. Just like I was never allowed to call her sisters my aunts, she very much made me feel like [my daughter] was her granddaughter before she was anything to me or I was anything to her. It is startling even today to realize how much control over my reality she had even after I was gone, married and living as far away from her as I could get.
LOL. Watching a movie called “Love, Rosie.” It is a British romcom and the female antagonist s a complete stereotypical American privileged white psycho bitch. Oh lawd…if only those around me could wake up and see the role we are playing in the world. It would be lovely if we could become enlightened and correct ourselves. Or is it too late? Or could America ever have been truly good; considering its start?
Quote from movie “Eat Pray Love” “In the end, I’ve come to believe in something I call ‘The Physics of the Quest.’ A force in nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity, The Rule of the Quest Physics goes something like this: If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting…which can be anything from your house to bitter old resentments…and set out on a truth seeking journey…either externally or internally…and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue…and if you accept everyone you meet along the was as a teacher…and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself…then the truth will not be withheld from you.”
As is my usual, any period of productivity and gain followed up by one to two days of nothingness, I’ve spent the last 48 hour in deep consideration of absolutely nothing. Yesterday I made an attempt at somethingness but quickly fell into my comfortable and customary intentional void of all thought, all hopes, all fears and all attempts at anything resembling a life beyond my appetite and my incessant need for air. And as usual, having spent the better part of these 48 hours mindlessly clicking “still watching” as Netflix periodically checks my pulse, I’ve landed squarely in that space that always follows my time in utter nothingness; a senseless overwhelming fear of dying without having done anything with my last two days alive.
If it weren’t such as well rehearsed dance, I might actually find this cycle of madness something interesting about me – something that could be examined more closely and perhaps an “Aha!” moment gained from it toward further understanding of myself. But without digging to far under the surface, my reasons for becoming a complete sloth for days at a time despite my utter abhorrence at the behavior is known to me. You see, when I do nothing, I can do nothing wrong. Me, being along and doing nothing, is a safe me. I’m alone and safe from the actions and judgements and others and as long a I’m not doing anything more than eating and breathing, there is no chance I’ll get myself into “trouble.” Or at least I believe that is my subconscious logic.
And while it is true, my presence has not made a ripple in the lives of others today and in a completely passive fashion I’ve managed to improve my behavior by simply not having any behavior; by not doing anything at all. In my sessions with Dr. Mary* in the past, I used to say I wished I could go to prison – have my days all planned out for me, be under constant supervision and the luxury of walls and steel bars to keep me from moving about freely and getting myself into trouble. Obviously at the time I wasn’t at all even considering I had a medical condition that might explain my behavior when it was often so far outside of my own personal morals and ethics. I just thought I screwed up a lot and I was tired of wondering how I would screw up next and wanted to find a way to “lock myself up and throw away the key” before I did.
Of course, those days were before I lost my career, before I had an empty nest and before I was able to move away from everyone and everything familiar. Now that I have this ability to simply disappear from life without questions for others, I have created a prison of my own. A prison where I not only don’t accomplish anything but where I am my own judge, jury and prison guard – putting myself into a long grownup time out and keeping myself there for days at a time; chastising myself the whole time (and especially after) for the shame in my laziness and lack of accomplishment, becoming dangerously forlorn at the fact I can disappear for days at a time without anyone noticing.
It feels so completely self defeating and such a threat to my own progress with my bad choices when I check out like I have these past couple of days. I sleep too much and disrupt my sleep pattern; often initiating a disruption that will last for days and even weeks where I get entirely too much sleep and then suddenly start losing the time when I’m awake.
- Dr Mary was my first psychotherapist. After over 8 years of treatment under her care, I walked out of her office the day she told me she suspected a DID diagnosis. “I’m not fucking Sybil,” I had said as I was leaving. And I never returned. My task list has a note “write Dr. Mary and apologize.” Just one of the many tasks I avoided these past couple days as I’ve experienced my nothingness.
This is the first time there has been a school shooting in the US when I haven’t had to suffocate all of my emotions with so much Xanax that I would sleep until the news of it and the echos were quiet. I can remember, from my 70’s and 80’s school years as a young member of Generation X, we would have bomb drills and have to hide under our desks. I can’t imagine the fear that must go through the student’s minds when their practicing surviving such an unthinkable honor; the surreality in seeing that honor unfold as the real thing would be life shattering. Our children are officially being educated in war zones.
I spoke on the phone earlier this evening to a friend from my home town. She and I would like to have a podcast together.
If you make the possession of certain kinds of guns illegal, there will be a large number of white middle class americans who will become felons. And felons don’t get to vote. A large percentage of black males have already been forced into felonious lifestyles as a matter of survival and paid the price in many ways. I say if we restrict guns, we have to dissacoiate the right to vote from a felony conviction. Those two things shouldn’t be tied together. I had a black man (convicted felon) tell me once that the black community is also sending the message “You’re next.” to the white community. I have to believe there is a lot of truth to what he said.
It’s so hard for me to write these days. I spend so much time in my head trying to figure things out that I find myself wanting to document the goings ons like I have been doing in my paper journals. Each week, I would take my journal into my session with my therapist and I would leave it with her to read; taking the one from the previous week’s session home with me and filling it with a mostly unfiltered stream of consciousness about everything and anything in random and switching order. It is hard to dig through these layers and find the real me (or in Richard Rohr’s words, my “eternal diamond.”). I’m digging and finding things that confuse, disorient, scare and shame me in ways it is hard to recover but I’m also finding a peace of nothingness. The nothingness hasn’t been unbearable but it hasn’t been productive at all. I’ve accomplished little other than keeping my little condo clean and fixing some decent meals for myself. I’m thinking a lot as usual; a constant cycle of shame, worry, wonder and, hopefully, some sleep. Sleep has been easier the past few days…maybe too easy. I’ve slept a lot at night and I’ve taken naps two days in a row now. But it makes sense…my stomach is starting to feel much better and I’m coming off the Topimax.
i went and visited Rocco at his apartment tonight to get some more weed. I went into his apartment and then we ended up going for ice cream. It was cool to go but then we went back and smoked together. I was purposely acting “bro-ish” and making absolutely no effort, including appearance and conversation, to seem anything other than myself. But I think he’s attracted to me anyway and it’s unfortunate. He kept talking about money again and I didn’t smart off like I had planned. He really does seem like a decent person but he wants more than a friendship.
See? I start out an essay talking about the shootings and end up talking about negotiating boundaries with my weed man. This is just my norm inside my head and, even with my pretty fast typing skills, I am still only capturing about 1 out of every 5 thought streams I’m churning around at once within my mind. In conversations I also do the same thing but unfortunately find myself often not in the drivers seat when I’m talking – even by phone. Writing seams to be the best way to communicate in a way that I feel like I’m actually in control of how I say things; staying authentic and not “scrambling for my line” in playing a part.
I wonder if, thinking about how I really disliked even being around Vinnie tonight and maybe I don’t need any weed while I’m here. After I was so clear in telling him I have zero interest in him, he asked me to stay the night with him as I was leaving. I couldn’t believe it and my response may have been a little brutal, but it was said as I was walking out and I think I was pretty good natured about how I said it, if not in my choice of words. But what I should have done was stopped, looked him in the eyes and said, “Look, I’m serious. I am grateful to have made the connection but I am not, nor I ever be, at a point where I want to spend the night with you. It’s not going to happen. Ever.” and walked out. But I walked out, so I’m going to grateful for every victory.
In the past I would have struggled to stay in myself once he even started to act sexually interested and than I’m a scared 5 year old who has no idea how to form healthy boundaries but is being sexualized in ways that should never happen to a young child. I go “nasty” and flirt or whatever. But tonight I was a grown woman, with zero interest in this guy beyond a very casual friendship and an occasional bud of weed, setting my boundaries and without any kind of apology or acquiescense. I have no idea where I am but I’m not where I don’t want to be and that makes a huge change for me as a single woman. I’m not sure my progress in not going full tilt nasty after this going on 2 years of no intimate contact with anyone has been so successful behavior modification through integration or have I just lost interest in sex altogether. I am pretty sure it’s the latter and not the former. And if so, fantastic. I only wish I could have figured out the mental stuff while the physical stuff was still rocking it. But I’ve had enough sex, really. I am not interested in a new lover not do I have any room in my life for what comes along with having a lover. But, to give myself some credit, i think I have integrated some. In the past, I would have still started smoking again in order to lose weight and increase my chances in attracting a new mate. And no thank you. I never want to smoke again!
After I finished my last post, I felt elated. Empowered, even. Despite my overuse of semicolons and gerunds, I genuinely felt that for the first time I had finally capture exactly how I felt, what my crazy looks like, and what it is to be me. “This,” I thought, “is where I start to heal.” I assumed that once I knew what it was I was facing, once I had drawn a roadmap for myself, that it would just be a matter of digging a little deeper and finding the core of myself within the madness. I believed that I was closer to sanity and my future held happiness in the form of an integrated me, making wise cohesive decisions toward a singular goal, finally making progress that wasn’t two steps forward and three steps back.
I cracked open one of my old journals and in looking through the entries from about this same time last year, I am fighting the discouragement, the nagging feeling that my epiphanies in “My Mother Told Me So” were not epiphanies at all but were actually repeats; realizations already realized and documented in my journals during last year’s escape to the mountains in Colorado. I haven’t revisited my journals in such a long time and I had an assumption that I would find a huge disparity between where I was then and where I am now a year later. That the switches between personalities (or states of consciousness) as evidenced by the change in handwriting would be much different from what I see in my journal entries today. They weren’t. That my thoughts and realizations would be much less evolved and insightful than they are today. They weren’t.
***Journal entry 11/23/2018***
That voice in my head is me. It’s telling me how to play my part and chastising me when I forget a line or mess up a scene. Even worse, there are times I don’t hear the voice and those are the times I don’t usually remember until a sudden recall and then it’s a dream-like memory. Even while writing this I spaced out. Having a hard time. (handwriting change) Ugh. I thought that out but before I had finished writing it I told myself I was making a scene.
When I was growing up and letting the real me out -> happy, too boisterous and attention hog -> sad, making it up or creating a scene
Mom couldn’t handle seeing the real me. Was I the real me when she was dying? Yes – as far as the way I would have wanted to take car of her.
BUT I KNEW SHE WAS SICK AND I IGNORED HER
Disappear. To where? To do what? Tell my therapist Everything. 100% of the stuff I’ve tucked away. Admit I have DID.
What am I afraid of? That… I’m not as smart as I think I am, I’m a pervert, I’ll never be whole, I’ll die before I figure it out. That in accepting what I’ve been determined to avoid (DID), I am creating drama…creating a false version of [myself]. That I’ll never be able to hide it again. That it makes things real.
It is hard not to feel discouraged when I read things I wrote a year ago and feel they are, in many ways, more insightful than some of the work I’m doing today. It is discouraging the see there isn’t this huge glaring improvement in my madness as measured by the switching and the clarity. It’s easy to feel like I’m just a mad woman running in mad circles of madness. It’s easy to feel like I’m succeeding only at failing to become sane. It’s easy to acquiesce and believe the voice in my head that tells me to just give up, that’ll I’ll never be a “good girl,” that I’ll never know who I am.
The hard truth, though, is that it integration isn’t easy and there is not quick or easy way to overcome having dissociative states of existence. In fact, if I were to truly assess the past year of my life since admitting I do have this broken reality and embarking on my journey toward becoming whole, I would have to say it has been one of the least exciting, loneliest, and most discouraging of any I’ve ever lived. This, as contrary as it would seem, is progress because it means I have not gotten involved in any new relationships or married, adopted any children, been fired from a job, narrowly avoided becoming a felon, spent tens of thousands of dollars, purchased a new home or made the news – all very real achievements of my past. And, to give myself some credit, over the past year I have achieved many of the goals I have myself last year in that I have given up nicotine and caffeine, I’ve taken up yoga and I’ve been focusing a significant amount of my day toward my day toward spirituality.
Last year I was afraid to admit that I had Dissociative Identity Disorder because I feared it meant I would never be whole and I worried I was just making it up. And just as recently as last week I was writing about the same fears and worries. Maybe today, in having realized the similarities over time, I can finally give myself permission to fully embrace this as part of my reality and move on from here. Maybe, just maybe, in accepting that I’m really broken into pieces, the we’s will find a place to start in the journey to a authentic and integrated ME.
It’s not my fault that I am the good one. She could be good too but she keeps doing bad stuff and then I have to make her feel better and fix everything that she messed up. Mom’s always asking her “Why can’t you be good like your sister?” and telling her to “act like a good girl” but she just keeps messing everything up. I mean ALWAYS messing things up. We might have the same mom and we might have been born on the same day and look alike but we are NOT the same.
Monday before Thanksgiving 2019
Nasty was here most of the day, I think. I wasn’t hungry, spent over $5,000 in 2 hours and talked to a lot of people. Also noticed the attractive men on the beach this evening as I was watching the sunset. But I had a great conversation with the my daughter and didn’t suck anyone’s dick, so improvement is happening.
As part of the fun money that was spent, a two month VRBO reservation in LA just 9 miles away from my son. Little studio apartment without an oven but a super cute everything. Still have that voice in my head that is saying “I hope I’m still alive when it’s time to go there.” But I woke up this morning and breathed all the way through and so I’m going to just keep hoping (praying, I guess I should say…and do) God keeps giving me days like today.
Today I was leaving Walmart and I saw a guy sitting by the side of the road. In the past I would have driven on by but I keep thinking about how the bible says we are supposed to care about the poor and the homeless, So I pulled over and asked him if he was ok. He said “Yeah, I’m ok. I just need a tarp and a sleeping bag so I have somewhere to sleep tonight.” I have him all the cash I had ($25, so not much but hopefully enough to get what he needed at Walmart). He seemed real happy and said “Thank you. Here…you take this” and he reached through my passenger side window with a little piece of folded up paper. I am pretty sure it was some kind of drug. I said, “Nah…I’m ok” and he seemed real surprised I wasn’t interested. He even asked me if I was sure. I rolled up my window and was sitting there trying to convince myself that I didn’t just buy a drug addict his next fix. But then I watched him walk away in the direction opposite the store, so I guess I did. Come to think of it, maybe my naive ass literally made a donation to the local drug dealer. Is this what God means when he says to give to the poor? Will what I did today make any difference to anyone or was I just being a fool being parted with her money?