Independence Day

Well today I thought I’d do something different. I find that in my healing process I often ask myself a lot of questions. I also find that I avoid asking myself or “our” multiple system questions sometimes because I usually get the answers and they are difficult to cope with and they necessitate a whole new round of healing. Questions lead to answers and not always comfortable, easy, or healing ones. But necessary ones.

So I thought it might be nice to start this Indepence Day by asking myself what independence means for me in relationship to my own healing, in relationship to helping others to heal and to find their own independence, and in relationship to my country and culture and how to positively influence them toward healing and acceptance of the reality of abuse.

I’ll try not to answer any questions that come up right this moment. Answers are for another day.

I’ll leave it open for each person who reads this to define what their independence from abuse means to them today, its consequences, and the aftermath of coping methods, both healthy and less than healthy and the steps toward healing and away from healing that they each have gone through.

So for me today instead of answering any of the many questions I stand in this moment and honor all the healing that has brought me on this path of healing and an independence from living a cycle of violence and abuse in my life as an adult. That is a lot to be proud of.

I honor my life. I honor my healing. I honor my selves.

As Stuart Smalley says on July 4th in Stuart Saves his Family, “Today I declare my independence.”

To independence for us all.

Family of Origin and Stupid Suggestions

My brother left me a message yesterday, very excited, wanted to suggest something. I called him back. Sometimes we have an okay conversation and sometimes he just wants to argue. I hate arguing, that is an old family tradition.

First let me say that he knows I am multiple, that I am a ritual abuse survivor and has sometimes called me with suggestions or questions. None of which are helpful, understanding, or healing.

He started out by asking me if I know any ritual abuse survivors who are healed and not having any abuse related issues. I told him no I don’t. He kept asking me over and over.

The hard part about dealing with him is that he gets a little knowledge and goes a bit berserk about it all. He once listened on the radio to an interview with a therapist who worked with multiple clients. I was thinking oh this is one of those times, someone told him something and he is trying to make a point.

He didn’t want to believe me. He said well there must be some out there. I said yes, there are. I just don’t know any of them. He said well there must be survivors who heal and have a life and all of that. Yes, I affirmed, there must be. Some of them write books, I just don’t know them.

He said well I have a suggestion for you. He didn’t say where he got this suggestion. I should have asked. But every time I tried to say something he would just talk over me.

So his brilliant suggestion for me was to take a drug called MDMA. I wasn’t online to check out what it was. In trying to get some information out of him, I asked is it a hallucinogenic? Thinking this is the kind of thing he would suggest. I asked him is this a psychoactive drug? He said no. Well it is, he just doesn’t realize that it is.

He said it is ecstasy. I told him no. He continued to highly recommend it, because “it could help open up parts of my mind.” Apparently that is what it has done for him. That it could help me with healing.

He said that it was used in couples therapy. Yes before it was criminalized.  Online it says depression as well. Though the efficacy has never been proven.

Apparently someone is looking at clinical uses for the drug, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and anxiety for cancer patients. No results have been published yet. Not one study.

Told my brother no. I am anti-drug and anti-med and he knows it. I told him that medications that others might be able to use are not necessarily okay for someone with DID to use. He still believes I should try it. I assured him that parts of my mind were opened up enough.

This is the level of familial discourse I have. I’m not sure if it is better or worse than the silence I get from others.

Body Esteem Part 1

A long time ago I read a book called Transforming Body Image. I liked the book. I wanted to try the different exercises in it, but really they didn’t feel right for me and they didn’t work good.

Eventually I decided that it was because I needed something more geared toward child abuse survivors. And I have found myself really wishing hard for a book like that. In the meantime I am trying to find ways of approaching healing that gives me good body esteem, ways that go around my roadblocks, and if they work for me, that is great.

There is an exercise in the book called The Square Inch Exercise. Every day for a week you are to focus on one square inch of your body, to be loving towards. You do nice things for that body part.

I tried that exercise many times. It didn’t go so good. Sometimes touching my skin, rubbing in lotion turned out to be more triggery than healing. So it turned out some ares were not good to focus on. I would put the exercise away and bring it out again years later.

Finally I did focus on my knees, well it seemed like a fairly innocuous spot to focus on. I would rub lotion on them every evening. I found a spot that seemed to be okay to focus on. I stayed there for a couple of months, well it was safe, and I wanted to do something that helped my body know that I loved it. After this time I noticed that when I was doing the exercise I was starting to feel a fondness for my knees. It was quite odd. I mean knees, really! I still have an inordinate fondness for my knees.

So that was the last time I tried that exercise. Instead I decided to try to do something that I felt more comfortable doing.

I started telling my body that I loved it out loud. The first time I did it I was flooded with joy, soon to be following by hysterical tears. The feeling of disconnection moved and I felt closer to my body. I have been working on doing that since. Not every day and sometimes I forget about it for weeks at a time. But I’m trying to remember now.

Recently another idea struck me. To go under the skin and tell my body that I love it. Not in one inch squares, but in body parts. It seems to me that part of the resistance to this other exercise was that I have big issues with my skin and the outer surface of my body. To go inside, I thought, might bring better body esteem results. I mean, really, what could I possibly have against my pancreas?

I decided not to focus on one part of my body or for any specific length of time. I think that is what I don’t like about exercises and what doesn’t work for me about them. I don’t like being bossed around on how to do something, when, and how much.

So I did and I will have to say that it is going great. On the first try I told my heart that I loved it. I put my hand there and touched myself lovingly. I got the same kind of reaction; great sorrow and great joy.

Now when I think of a body part I try to acknowledge it and tell it that I love it. Today I told my lungs, I got this incredible floaty high feeling from it. It was incredible! I love you my lungs.

A Love that Heals

I want a love that heals. I want a family that loves me in a way that heals. I am working on finding my family, my true family, the ones that love me in a way that brings me further and further into the life I am meant to live, into who I was meant to be if abuse had not been my life, into a family that loves me and brings me joy, into a life and love that heals.

I saw a video about Christian the Lion this year, around Easter time. Christian and his two human friends were a family. It was a beautiful love. They raised Christian in London. They realized that he needed a home in nature, where he could have the life of a lion.

They bring him to Africa and through training with George Adamson he is able to assimilate into a wild life, finding a mate, having a baby, making a life and a new family.

They are parted from him for a year and they return to Africa to see him. Their reunion shows a kind of love that I have never had. I start crying every time when the three of them are re-united.

The love that is seen between the three of them is so beautiful and something that I have never experienced with my own family. It is a love that empowers and heals. I have that kind of love with some of my online survivor friends.

I want that kind of love in my daily life. I want that kind of love, that kind of family. I want a love that heals.

Self-Loathing

I looked up the definition for loathing. It said great dislike, abhorrence, and, extreme hostility. Other words found in the thesarus included abhorrence, abomination, antipathy, aversion, detestation, hate, hatred, horror, repellence, repellency, repugnance, repugnancy, repulsion, and revulsion.

That pretty much describes self-loathing. To loathe yourself you are fixating a hatred upon yourself and your own body, the body in which you live every moment of your life in, to the level of repulsion, revulsion, and repugnance. That’s a lot of hatred.

I don’t remember at what point in my life I truly knew that I was full of self-loathing. I just know that when I found the label, I knew that I had felt that way the whole of my existence.

Hardly that surprising when your own mother told you over and over that you were unworthy of the air you breathed, the food you ate, and the space that you took up.

When that level of hatred and loathing is expressed at you consistently and over time, your mind believes it, your body believes it, and others around you treat you like they believe it.

I loathed my existence. I can say with all confidence and accuracy that I loathed myself down to my cells. My hatred was so strong, so stringent, so constant.

I imagined during my waking life that I was another person with a different life, any other life, than the one that I had. Even in my dreams, I wasn’t me, the level of disconnection was so strong. I dreamed of being someone else, I was aware in the dream that it was me, that it was a dream, and yet I couldn’t be myself, even there it wasn’t safe to live in my own skin.

I can’t remember when exactly I stopped loathing myself. It was probably after about ten years of healing work, therapy, seeking survivor friendships, reading several hundreds of books, going to support groups, and living my life. Slowly the loathing drained away out of me.

I can now say that I do not loathe myself. Self-loathing is a thing of the past, my past. And I am proud of the work that I have done to close that chapter of the aftermaths of abuse that is my life.

But I still have a lot of self-hatred. I wish with all my heart that it wasn’t there, but it is. And I would love to see that disappear from my life as well.

Self-Esteem

Some time ago I read in a book about healing about a survivor of abuse who used to pray for low self-esteem. I thought that this was a horrible thing to pray for or to want. In the book the woman relates that she prayed for low self-esteem because she had no self-esteem at all.

I can’t remember the first time that I knew about the phrase low self-esteem. But my recall is that in my early twenties it was a phrase that was around and often spoken of.

I remember being accused of having low self-esteem by some of my siblings. Like somehow that was my fault and I needed to get with the program and stop doing that. It was usually a part of a session of verbal abuse by one of them.

For the life of me, I can’t imagine how verbal abuse, issuing commands and lack of love and acceptance was supposed to bring me any further along on the path of higher self-esteem. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t.

It was so much like my mother’s threats to have me locked up in mental ward. That was terrorizing and abusive and never got me the healing assistance that I needed. It only tried to control and silence me. It was not healing in any way to be ostrasized, threatened, and lied to.

It was so much like my ex-boyfriend’s comments that what I needed to do was go to therapy. Unsurprisingly he got cagey and distant and paranoid and unsupportive when I did in fact start going to therapy.

It was so much like other people’s unsolicited comments about me that were cruel and started with the phrase, you know what your problem is?

You know what your problem is? Yes. Yes, I know what my problem is.

My problem is people who have so much gall they can actually bold-faced ask me, do you know what your problem is. That’s my problem. After all these years there is still someone who is willing and happy to emotionally and verbally abuse me. That’s my problem.

Amazingly after I told a couple of unsolicited psycho-babblers what my real problem was, they stopped trying to boss me around, trying to psychoanalize me. I think they sent out a memo.

Well I have never prayed for low self-esteeem. But I had it. For decades I had it. I worked on healing, went to therapy, went to support groups, had survivor friends, read survivor and healing books. It was hard to believe or take in anything nice anyone said about me. I tried, but I was a fish swimming against the stream, tsunami level.

I will have to say that it changed because of online support and online friends in the last eight years. At first I was very tentative in believing anything nice another survivor told me, even though I desperately hoped that it was true. It took a while.

I think right now I am more in the category of medium self-esteem. It might be nice to go higher, the view must be lovely up there.

Star Trek

I saw the new Star Trek movie today. It was great. I got very emotional several times. I usually do. And it was hard to calm myself down. There was a lot of action and a lot of things to feel anxiety and fear about in the film.

It is odd, but when the Enterprise gets fired upon, I react as though it is a person, guess I love it as much as the other characters in the show.

I remember in Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country when the Enterprise gets fired on and part of it explodes outward, I get a little hysterical each time I see that. Thankfully they didn’t show a shot like that, though there were shots and there was damage, just no exterior shots of the damage with huge chunks of the Enterprise flying away in an explosion.

But to the beginning of this story. I wasn’t very excited about going to see this movie, thought I would catch it online. I am a huge Star Trek fan and have found a lot of healing from the shows and the movies and a lot to admire in the ideals of the show and the Federation. I can’t go into huge detail here, mainly, because when I want to be very articulate I get stammering about things, so I will leave the articulate explanations of what Star Trek means to me for another time, perhaps, if I can figure out what to say.

So my plan was to catch it online. I have low back pain and often going somewhere, standing for any length of time and sitting in uncomfortable seats that are too tight causes a lot of pain afterwards. So I am an online girl now, it doesn’t guarantee a pain free existence, but it also interferes with making things worse.

Those were my plans. However it is clear to me now that I am home again that my system had all-together other plans. I guess I just didn’t take into account how many of us inside our system are Star Trek fans, and my guess now would have to be, a lot.

It started early this morning with an over-riding desire to watch film  clips. They looked great and there were several that were hilarious, I thought, with Kirk and Scotty and Bones and Spock. They really stayed with me.

Then the requests to go to see the movie “today” started. I had plans for most of the day, ride my bike to the bank three miles, go to coffeeshop, have lunch, go home. But other forces kept imagining what going to see the movie today or tomorrow would be like. I kept having these very pleasant fantasies playing in my mind.  🙂

I was about a mile from home and going past the closest movie theater. It had Star Trek on the marquee. I told the system well it will probably start at seven and that is really too late. I will be tired out by then. I was up all night, so was already planning ahead. Not being able to sleep is a big issue and one that I kind of plan my life around.

At the coffeeshop they convinced me to check in the paper for the times for the showing today. I saw there was a showing at four, so thought I would try to get to that one. All the way biking there I kept thinking, don’t be disappointed, it might not have a matinee on a Friday, but it did.

We went and it was great. We had a great time. The theater was very sparsely populated, thanks to the matinee time. Most of the people were quiet and respectful most of the time.

We just got home and we are so looking forward to seeing it again, very soon.

🙂

Live long and prosper.

Fun Stuff. You Know… For the Kids.

So, I don’t have enough fun. I am very bad at making sure that I do fun stuff. Usually time and daily life seems to overwhelm me and the day is gone. I am trying to change that. I am trying to do things that I enjoy. And to find time to put them into my daily life.

My Littles sadly get less than they deserve when it comes to the fun stuff that I do. I love coffeeshops, reading, and very boring things, like English period piece movies. Well, to me they are not boring. I am trying. But I am just horribly pathetic in my efforts.

Play is healing. It might seem like a waste of time, but it isn’t. I know that and yet I have so much trouble letting myself go and enjoying silly things. I think it is worse for me because I am multiple and should really let my littles out to play consistently and whole-heartedly.

So I added a new link section here at my blog, called Fun Stuff. You know… for the kids. I picked out some sites to put there as links. I checked out each site again. I have been to each of them, though not played at each of them. Some of them are on things that I have always liked, paperdolls and crafts. I threw in some other stuff that I like too.

Putting the links here is a way to remind myself to click on them and do things that are fun for the kids. I hope that everyone who stops here to read my blog can check them out and see if there is something that they might like. And search for some more sites where you like to play. Because we all need and deserve to let our inner kid(s) out to play. You know… for the healing.

Fan of the Boss

I love Bruce Springsteen. I really do. I have loved him since I was 21 years old.

I chose this topic because my mind was blank. It has been rainy off and on all weekend and I am kind of tired out. As well. I’m taking a muscle relaxant for my high pain issues (thank you abusers) and it makes me kind of weird, dumbed down, numbed out, disconnected and tired.

My last post was kind of rambling for me and difficult to give it a good flow and make the right kind of sense. Considering the topic it is not hard to understand why it was hard for me to focus, to write, and to get through it. Considering the topic it is not so hard to understand why I haven’t posted in a couple of day.

I’m not upset about anything. I haven’t really talked or interacted with a lot of survivor friends online over the weekend so I am not being fueled.

Tossing around a topic in my mind to write about brought me to Bruce Springsteen. I love him.

I love him as a singer and a poet. He is so fantastic to watch on-stage. He is incredibly gifted but also a working artist. One who works hard at his talent, developing it, thinking about society and issues including the imbalances in power and money, one who is courageous in feeling emotions and in sharing his thoughts, beliefs, and feelings.

I like to think that the kind of poet, the kind of person that I am today was shaped in some small measure by being a fan of his and the kind of human being he is.

He shows an understanding of power and the abuses of power, of money and the uses and abuses of money, of how a society can harm and aid its citizens, of what we as a people, a nation, a human being should be and do. He is an ethical and moral person. I feel a great connection to him.

I have never met him. I have never written to him. I have never gotten a front row seat to see him. I have sat in huge stadiums screaming for him, clapping for him and loving him. I sing every song, well the ones that I know the lyrics to. I have a concert tshirt from the last tour.

So I have never been in the position to ask him if he understands the issues and reality of child sexual abuse. Though he has written songs professing an understanding of abuse and standing up for those who are being violated and abused.

I have not ever gotten to ask him what he thinks about abusers and survivors. But everything that he has ever said about other types of abuse leads me to believe that he knows or would easily understand. That he would care and that he would offer me a hug, that he would sit with me and hold my hand and make me feel accepted and loved, and that he would write a song for all of us who have been hurt. If he could write a song like Tom Joad, an altered version of the end of the movie, The Grapes of Wrath, he understands and he is here with me, he is there with you.

Lyrics to The Ghost of Tom Joad:

Now tom said mom, wherever there’s a cop beatin’ a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby
cries
Where there’s a fight against the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me mom I’ll be there
Wherever there’s somebody fightin’ for a place to stand
Or a decent job
or a helpin’ hand
Wherever somebody’s strugglin’ to be free
Look in their eyes mom you’ll see me.

That is why I am posting about Bruce Springsteen. And why I am proud to say that I am a fan of the Boss.

Fun and Games

I have been trying to think of fun and games lately. I don’t have enough fun. I don’t go out enough. I don’t play games much. I see that as an issue relating to being a child abuse survivor.

But I love fun, going out and games. So I have been thinking about doing more of these things. When I often think of this, I always plan on making a list and then typing it and then having lists printed out so that I can often refer to it when I need ideas for something good to do. But I never do.

I caught myself again yesterday talking to myself, trying to convince myself to start making a list. Then I thought I was thinking of this last week and probably haven’t done that many more things this past week and I still didn’t have a list.

Actually I have done a few more things this past week. I am proud of that. So before I go on about what I plan on doing this week, I am reviewing what I did do last week.

I took a bike ride, went to the closest coffeeshop, one I have never been to before, and had coffee and read. Really this is my speed. I love to do this. Oh, they had comfortable chairs and I was so happy sitting there.  The coffee was great. The atmosphere was inviting. The staff were warm and polite. The music was world music and some of my favorite stuff. The volume was not too high. All great things. Done just right.

They had a couple singing and playing instruments for an hour and though they weren’t exactly my type of singers, there were quite a few songs that were very nice and I loved the flute playing. So overall I had a great time.

I went and had ice cream twice this past week, another fun activity. Okay, I have such low expectations, but I love ice cream and it brings me a lot of joy. Maybe that is a multiple thing, but I see lots of adults going out for ice cream.

I went to the new bakery in my area and really was excited that I had. It took me some convincing to get myself to go to a new place. I felt uncomfortable there, very. I got a sugared donut and it was huge and tasted good. I plan on going back there again.

So far this week I went out to eat after my chiropractor appointment. I had Chinese food, one of my favorite foods and something that I often yearn for.

Before the appointment I went to my favorite coffeeshop and had coffee and read. It was lovely. They have big leather chairs to sit in. I get to look at the huge windows, stare at the busy downtown block outside the shop, watch the beautiful blue sky and the clouds. It is always a breathe deep kind of time for me when I am there. I feel so happy and really it might only be a small small thing, but it is a huge thing for me and it makes me happy. Sometimes I feel so happy sitting there I start tearing up.

I went online and watched funny shows that made me laugh. Did that yesterday and today. It was great.

My plan for the week is to get out more and also to get to the local store and buy another board game. Called someone and asked them if they would play with me once I get it.

So in the meantime of ever getting a working list of fun and games, I will keep trying to keep coming up with more things to do and to keep reminding myself to do them. Because in the meantime life goes on and fun and games are out there to do, every day of the week.