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Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Argument

Adam: Mom likes me best.
DJ: So, I can drive.
Adam: I have two new shirts.
DJ: So, I can drive.
Adam: I've had a steady job for more than six months.
DJ: So, I can drive.
Adam: My birthday comes before yours.
DJ: So, I can drive.

(Long pause...)

Adam: Mom likes me best.
DJ: Are you sure?
Adam: Yes.
DJ: Well, I can drive.

Dear Marvin

It's been two weeks since your last visit and I miss you because, well, you're funny, and also because each time you visit I get to learn more about you.

I'll share some of what I know (because I love to make lists--see, now you know a little more about me...I love mutual information exchange):
1. You like libraries...especially those with internet access.
2. You prefer a lovely library in Davis County (Farmington, to be a little more specific).
3. The IP address within that library is Naturally, the last three digits change daily, but the cool thing is that I can still use the rest of the address to pinpoint a location.
4. Something you might not have considered is that the same general IP is also used for all Davis County government offices, so in essence, you've just come from one of the most trackable places in your place of residence. How nifty is that?
5. Your library has been watched since the first day you threatened me. I'm sure you noticed. As of today, you've been visually identified, but not arrested because technically you're nothing but a public nuisance. Rudeness is annoying but not illegal. However, given the fact that you named my family and friends in your threats, should anything remotely violent occur in our lives, guess who the first suspect will be?
6. I'm assuming you noticed the surveillance or you would have been back to visit me. It's a shame because the FBI agents and local law enforcement people would have loved the opportunity to make your acquaintance. However, I'm certain that at some point in your life they'll have that opportunity--you'll give it to them.

Okay, I can't tell everything I know about you because some of the people who read my blog (and there are more than just a couple) have begun to feel somewhat aggravated at you and would like to encounter you in person. They're fairly peaceable people, but not knowing the extent of their aggravation, I'd just rather avoid what could turn out to be unpleasant to all involved. Don't worry, Marvin. Stick with me. I've got your back.

I have your location. Do you know mine? Certainly you can find it. I've made no secret of who I am, nor has my husband. When I was eleven I felt vulnerable when threatened by a man who needed to prove his masculinity by raping a child--you are just like him. I no longer feel threatened or intimidated by anyone who is trying to harm me--I only feel vulnerable when confronted by the mystery of friends who love me enough to defend me under any circumstance. Vulnerable to love--that's a beautiful place to be--one I expect you'll never encounter. Sort of tragic, but much of life is.

Thanks for stopping by. I'll miss you, but only because as long as you stay away, I can't keep tracking you. Sad...and it's such a fun hobby of mine...I've done it for a few years now...


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Monday, November 27, 2007

I believe I will always be sad about the things that have happened in my life that hurt me. I think that's okay. Those things are sad.

I've changed my focus the past few days. I wanted to look at me.

As a young girl I was placed in a horrifying position. I felt pain and confusion that terrified me. I was lonely beyond anything I could comprehend. I felt completely abandoned. I responded with destructive, but, I think understandable coping habits. But-- in time I was able to discontinue most of those habits, and without help. I did it on my own. I was determined to achieve all that I possibly could. I have beaten the odds many times. I have residual problems, but I am alive and whole.

As a child I longed for love from a mother who had no reserves to give me. My efforts to give love to her were met with criticism, ridicule, or physical abuse. As a result I am reticent about sharing myself with others. I am certain that I will be rejected. I feel that my love is of little worth. But-- I don't allow this to stop me from loving others. I love with my entire being. In spite of the fear that my love is unwanted, I give it freely. I refuse to allow my past to keep me from sharing myself with others. I am certain if I keep trying, that one day I'll be able to believe again that my love is magic and can somehow change a life, even if that life is my own.

A combination of traumatic experiences has left me with PTSD. The most frustrating aspect of this is that I find it very difficult to maintain close friendships. Frequently I feel overwhelmed by the knowledge that someone knows me. I find myself wanting to isolate or stop talking. The compulsion to "test" the friendship feels inescapable, and with that compulsion comes the certainty that no one would ever wish to stay in the type of friendship where one friend (me) is always insecure and fairly unpredictable. But-- I keep trying. I'm certain that one day I'll get it right. And I've had the blessing of friends who have, thus far, tolerated my behavior and encouraged me to continue working to overcome it. Some of those friendships have lasted more than 2 years (for me--an eternity), and I no longer expect that Darrin will leave me. In fact I'm guessing he might stay forever. I like that.

As I've faced the reality that the things in my past cannot be changed, I've found myself doubting every reason I had for living my life in the way that I've chosen. I felt that my life was useless, that everything I had fought for had no basis. It seemed melodramatic, but was, nonetheless, how I felt. I wanted so badly to change things, to have a happily-ever-after. To confront my past and find it less daunting than I remembered. It was, in fact, more so.

Yesterday the ache dulled. I no longer cared that I had lost a non-existent battle. I wandered through the day feeling empty, but at peace. I slept with no nightmares.

This morning I encountered the beautiful sunrise. It lasted a long time and spread over the entire sky. I recalled how as a child, I had lived for the sunset at night after a trying day, and after acutely painful nights, I sometimes arose and waited for a gorgeous sunrise to remind me that beauty still existed. I spent hours walking the fields and mountains behind my house, filled with wonder as I watched the life and smelled the scents around me, and for just a moment I escaped from the sadness and loneliness threatening to consume me.

I don't know why I was given the experiences I have had. I do know that each person's choice is sacred--even when it hurts another person.

And so today I will accept whatever love my mother can offer me. It may not be as I wish, but it will still be love. I will lay my aching and sorrow at my Savior's feet--finally--because carrying it has become too much for me, and I am too tired to do so any longer. I will allow myself to be loved by Him, and eventually, to be healed by Him, because it is all that is left for me to do. He cannot change my past. I am praying that He can heal my future. I have done all that I can do. The rest is up to Him.

I have lost my endless energy. I am no longer driven and full of purpose. I feel powerless to care. And so, for now, I think I'll rest. Maybe it's okay to let someone else do the work for awhile. Someday, though, I would like to cry with someone who will cry with me, because sorrow shared seems manageable, somehow, and I think letting out some of the sad that's inside me would feel better.

This is why I run in the morning

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I suppose at some point everything has to come to a stop. Tolkien Boy has been the unlucky recipient of the majority my ranting and anger and tears for nearly three weeks now. Darrin has had more than his share. AtP left the country to get away from me, or no doubt he would have been on the receiving end of one of my maniacal raves, as well.

I'm finished being angry. Now I'm just sad. I feel that I might be sad forever. Tolkien Boy and Darrin have assured me that someday the sadness will ease, and I'll be all right.

When I was younger, I don't ever recall feeling that my life was unfair. It was life. I remember feeling angry, lonely, worthless, unwanted, abandoned, miserable, confused, unhappy, hurt...but I always owned those feelings and the experiences that caused them. Today I feel that there was unfairness. Today I feel some bitterness about it. It makes me sad.

I understand that my life, as I have made it, is something for which I should be incredibly grateful. Therapist repeatedly tells me that I have beaten the odds in nearly every aspect of my life. People who have experiences such as mine rarely end up in healthy marriages--I attribute this blessing to Darrin. People who have experiences such as mine usually end up with emotionally scarred children--the jury's still out on this one, as my children aren't finished yet. But if they end up well-adjusted and generally happy, I'll count my blessings. People who have experiences such as mine generally don't survive--pedophiles who abuse their victims in the way that I was used, usually take the life of that victim. I attribute this to the age of my cousin at the time...

Okay, the truth is (and I've known this always), that I believe I've been watched over and protected all my life. It's difficult for me to say this because I've also been wondering what kind of sadistic God watches a child be molested repeatedly, but draws the line at death? What kind of omnipotent being watches her confusion at the amount of her own blood mingled with semen and allows her to believe she might die from pain and loneliness? What kind of Creature lets her live through that experience while simultaneously being abused physically and emotionally by her own mother?

As I've watched the flashbacks and nightmares, occasionally I become detached, but in that detachment part of me wants to gather up the tiny broken body and hold it close to me as I rock myself back to sleep. Part of me wants to cuddle the child who hurts too badly to cry. All of me wants to rewrite her story--and I can't--and something deep inside me screams that it's not fair--if I can't change it, it shouldn't happen, and I don't want to live with it for the rest of my life...

A couple of days ago I visited a blog of a woman who has HIV. On her blog she had posted, "I can't be cured, but I can heal."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

This morning...

Tabitha and Adam didn't start delivering their papers until 8:00 a.m. (they're supposed to be finished by 6:30). Something about an alarm that didn't go off...

All the branches of the trees were coated with frost that sparkled in the sunlight--beautiful!!

It was 2 degrees Fahrenheit.

Darrin is watching Sesame Street.

I am playing 13 games of Scrabble on Facebook.

My mother keeps calling because she invited 150 people to Thanksgiving dinner and now she wants me to bail her out. I'm waiting another hour before I answer the phone.

DJ is still sleeping.

My house is a mess and there is a huge pile of clean laundry to fold.

I practiced for two hours, ran for one hour and need to go shower but there's no hot water.

I'm shopping for Christmas presents online while I play 13 games of Scrabble.

The sun is shining, life is beautiful and I am thankful for EVERYTHING!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


It snowed last night. Large lacy flakes whose whiteness reflected through my window, casting dim light in my bedroom. I sat and watched, slightly envious of Darrin's blissful sleep.

When I finally slept myself, my dreams were odd, uncomfortable, sad...AtP met with an accident while on vacation and died...Sully and DJ started a business together selling pies...Tabitha was driving...Darrin grew four feet and kept lifting me up and perching me on his shoulder...I picked up Tolkien Boy from the airport--he allowed me to carry his luggage, sat in the back seat while I drove him home, paid me for my mileage and added a nice tip--but didn't talk to me the entire time...I was outside jumping on the trampoline as it snowed...

Darrin kept waking me up. I was talking, laughing, crying...I finally gave up. Sleep can wait until tomorrow.

I realized this morning that in spite of feeling angry and spiteful, there is much of me that is grateful for things that have happened, and realizations I can't deny even if I want to. I have spent much time talking to the Lord in the past two years. He has never stopped blessing me, even when I didn't deserve it. And so today I will be thankful the following prayers were answered:
1. I told Heavenly Father, one day, that I didn't feel that anyone except Darrin could ever know about me and love me anyway. And so He sent me Sully. I didn't share myself willingly, but it seemed that each experience and opportunity revealed more about me. Bit by bit, Sully learned who I was. And he loved me in spite of me. I believe he still loves me today. Being loved by Sully is an amazing blessing for which I will aways be grateful.
2. I told Heavenly Father that I felt no one could really understand the illogical need I have to draw near to people--only to feel compelled to run away again. I didn't believe anyone could know how it feels to want to weep, but be unable to let the tears come. I didn't think anyone could have a similar sense of He sent me AtP. Time and time again, AtP has shown me understanding and empathy when I am at my worst. He allows me time to regroup when I feel devastated inside. He laughs at my stupidest jokes. He knows when I feel stressed. I think he gets aggravated with me more often than not...but I believe he still loves me. Being loved by AtP is an amazing blessing for which I will always be grateful.
3. I told Heavenly Father that there were many times when I felt I had no value. There were times when I felt I had fallen as low as I could fall, and I trusted no one enough to tell them about it. He sent me Jason. Jason was interested in me enough that he read pretty much everything I had posted online that he could find--and continues to do so today (and he has access to more than two of my blogs, so if you think this and my previous one are lengthy, imagine if you had access to even more...he's sort of amazing...). We communicated by email in the beginning, and more than once I received one of his sporadic communications exactly when I needed it most. Jason would always recount something he had read (usually something I felt reflected badly on me), and then tell me why he loved that particular part and how it made his love and respect for me increase. Today he still manages to say the thing that makes me feel valued...and I believe he still loves me. Being loved by Jason is an amazing blessing for which I will always be grateful.
4. Last year on my birthday--everyone forgot. Even Darrin, who never forgets. There was something about that day--everyone was busy, it was a busy time of year, whatever. Normally this is bothersome but expected. Last year it ached horribly. I fell to my knees and said, "Heavenly Father, I'm sad. And right now, I'm horribly lonely. Isn't there someone who has time to listen to me? Someone who doesn't have to be busy? Someone who can let me say the things inside without being destroyed by them? Someone who wants to spend time with me?" The next day He sent me Tolkien Boy, and TB listened like no one I'd ever met before. He wanted to hear everything--even the horrible stuff. He wanted to talk to me. He spent enormous amounts of time with me. I had (still have) difficulty understanding why he loves me. I had (still have) difficulty dealing with the emotional intimacy our close friendship creates. I had (still have) problems knowing when he was teasing or being serious, and sometimes I was (still am) hurt by things I believed he said with sarcasm when that was not the case. Last week I asked him if he loved me--the me inside--the real me--just because I'm alive, not on the basis of what I think or do. He said he did and I believed him. I still believe him today. Being loved by Tolkien Boy is an amazing blessing for which I will always be grateful.

In every instance during the past two years, when I have told Heavenly Father the things I felt I needed, He sent me a person. It may have been you. I have named the people above because they have been in regular contact with me and still continue to be very close friends today. But I am very aware of those who call or chat or comment sporadically--just checking in to make sure I'm still okay. And I believe you love me. Being loved by others, whether I've met them in person or not, is an amazing blessing for which I will always be grateful.

And so, today I offer gratitude to each person who has shown concern and love to me as I've walked a rather daunting path. And I am especially grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who knows that more than anything else, I need to learn to establish friendships, accept love, and learn that I cannot make my way alone anymore. I know He loves me. Being loved by my creator is an amazing blessing for which I will always be grateful.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

November 20, 2007

I have spent the past couple of months feeling angry and hopeless. It's difficult for me not to think of all the time I've spent in therapy the past couple of years as failure. I find myself feeling more fragile today than I did before I began. My studio was cut by 75% to make time for the emotional crap I worked through. I quit a job I enjoyed because I couldn't concentrate as necessary to complete the projects. I stopped all guest lecturing this year. I am no longer teaching seminary.

I look at what I've learned and I'm certain that it was probably necessary, but I still hate it:
1. I was raped by a person I trusted--more than once. I always knew that. Now I talk about it.
2. I have PTSD. This makes me very angry. I don't want it.
3. My mother confirmed to me that, though she loved me, she didn't want me. She still feels no connection to me as my mother, nor does she want that. Instead I have her respect for me as a person, and admiration for all that I've accomplished. Funny, I'm still left feeling that there is something wrong with me, when in truth, she was the one who could not fill the role she should have. She is the one who could not nurture me. I was a child. But part of me wants this to be my fault because then I could try to fix it. It can't be fixed. I've tried for much of my life to build a mother/daughter relationship. She has let me know this will never happen. I'm a little surprised at how deeply that hurts. And as I watch her interact with my siblings, still caring for them as
adults, still nurturing and loving them, the ache seems to swallow me up, and I despise myself because I am weak--because it matters to me.
4. My relationship maturity equals that of a 12-year-old. I want rules. I have difficulty trusting. I don't believe in forever. Therapist helped me understand my emotional age--he hasn't told me how to grow beyond that. Perhaps that's not an option. How hellishly horrible to be stuck in emotional adolescence for the rest of my life. No wonder I hide from people, or conceal the person I really am behind the mask of a charming adult caricature.
5. Facing reality sucks. Accepting it is worse. And now that I've done all the dirty work I get to live the rest of my life knowing that no matter how magic I thought I was, I couldn't change any of it.

I guess all this means is that I'm still angry. And I hate it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lights, please

A couple of nights ago I woke myself up by running into the corner of a doorway. It made an incredibly loud noise and was followed by lots of blood coming from a 2-inch vertical cut above my left eyebrow. Darrin thought Adam, who sleeps in the room above us, had fallen out of bed. He suggested that next time I'm up, I turn on the lights. Good idea.

I walk in my sleep. It's something I've done throughout adolescence and into my early twenties. Lately it's become a fairly unusual occurrence, though. I usually do something which would cause endless delight for AtP's funny bone (like rearranging furniture or "reading" on the lawn when it's pitch black outside), but I've never injured myself before.

I went into the bathroom and pulled the edges of the cut apart, determined that it probably should be stitched, pushed the edges back together, cleaned the cut, put on a bandage and went back to bed. No way was I going to the emergency room and try to explain how I ran into a doorway hard enough to split my head open, in my sleep.

Today I have a thin red line where the cut was, surrounded by a faint pink skin irritation because I'm allergic to bandage adhesive. No doubt I'll have a lovely scar there.

It's okay. Women my age never have to worry about looking good.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Preaching the Gospel

Recently I had a disagreement with a Brother about a comment he'd made in church. The comment went something like this:
Once you gain a testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel, you will feel compelled to shout it from the rooftops and to do all you can to save your fellowman. You will reject all other ideas and beliefs that are partial truths and cling only to the gospel and its teachings. Anything else does not constitute a testimony.
I have issues with people who speak in absolutes. I have issues with those who tell me what is and isn't a testimony. I have issues with people who tell me what I must believe and do. I have issues...

My disagreement went something like this (in list form, because that is the only true way, of course):
1. A testimony of the gospel is deeply personal and takes many forms.
2. As every person has a different personality and experiential background, some may not "feel compelled to shout it from the rooftops," especially those who have acrophobia.
3. Rejection of partial truths and beliefs, especially if those have led one to complete truths and beliefs, is not only foolhardy, but exhausting. And who is to arbitrarily decide which truth is partial and which is whole? It seems there would be better uses of one's time.
4. If one sincerely believes the gospel is true, it makes sense to cling to its teachings. The problem arises in distinguishing between statements made by fallible human beings and actual revelations from God. And it's also a fact that what resonates as truth with one person might not be the same for another and there are some who have difficulty distinguishing between inspiration and sentiment--proof of this is that some people still feel moved by portions of Especially for Mormons or Chicken Soup for the Soul.
5. At what point does "...all you can to save your fellowman..." constitute intolerance or force? I feel very strongly that "saving" means less preaching and more accepting and loving. I know I have been "saved" so many times in my life by a loving hand, lifting me when I was at my worst. I've been "saved" by conversations which never mentioned my unhealthy behaviors or weaknesses. I've been "saved" by grace, not by those who would have me conform my life to theirs. And in the end, I will be the one who chooses, not the one who is living his/her life to be my "example," nor the one who makes clear that I'm a sinner, or that I don't have the real truth. And my choice will be based on my experiences, knowledge, logic, and love. So please, if you want to know me, that's one thing, but don't try to "save" me. My understanding is that that's Christ's job.
6. Don't EVER tell me what my testimony is or is not.

The ensuing discussion became ugly as the audience took sides. My side "won", of course, because we didn't resort to the emotional tactics used by the other side (you know--I'm a woman so how can I possibly have a valid thought...people like me lead others astray by encouraging them to think rather than follow in faith...testimony isn't about logic, it's about feeling...), but I was left feeling a little embarrassed that I'd caused a ruckus in Sunday School. Just for the record, after stating my points, I didn't enter into the discussion again. I left. I know...cowardly, but they were so emotional...

Later, when I arrived at my Young Women's classroom, I found about six Brothers and Sisters (not Young Women) waiting for me. They wanted to stay. They'd heard from their daughters that we have fun lessons and treats. Since they were parents, I couldn't really ask them to leave. The Bishop joined us as well. As luck would have it, it was a lesson dealing with chastity (imagine that! in Young Women!) and I quickly rethought my planned frank discussion in light of the parental attendance. I decided that they just as well see me at my best, so we talked about sex/marriage/hormones/honesty/chastity/safe boundaries/good emotional health just as I'd planned. I found out later that one couple in attendance (they have six children) has a rather unhealthy sex life as the sister hates being touched by her husband--sad.

So today I'm supposed to teach a lesson that combines two from the book. They're not necessarily spiritual topics: Participating in the Cultural Arts, and Financial Responsibility. Naturally I'm already annoyed that we're not discussing something more blatantly related to Christ. However, I'm also quite certain that before we're through, I'll have twisted everything around so that we're somehow talking about Him. It's tricky, but I'll manage it. I'll probably have to incorporate some ideas and beliefs outside the mormnorm...and I'm feeling a bit spiteful, because I'm wishing that my contentious brother would come...not because I want him to help with the lesson...but just because I'm feeling the need to argue with someone today...

Friday, November 16, 2007

What is real?

Jason and I like to talk. Sometimes we talk for extended periods of time (um...more than an hour) and I feel guilty because I think that's time he should be spending with his family whom I adore. But the thing about it is that when we finally stop talking and I reflect on what we've said (this is when the chat venue is very handy, because I can look back at our log), or on feelings I've experienced (this is when phone conversations are invaluable, because nothing can replace the spontaneity of the human voice or laughter), I learn something. Every time.

When Jason and I met for the first time, I was overwhelmed because not only was I meeting someone for whom I'd developed a great love and trust, but he was sharing with me something he prized about all else--his family. I met those amazing people and felt it an incredible privilege, and then became aware that in spite of a year of getting to know Jason virtually, learning who he was in person was a completely different experience and one that left me feeling as if we both had taken a few steps away from each other so that we could make room for the newness and necessity of becoming familiar with the "real" person. We had the luxury of spending a lot of time together, and by the time our families said good-bye, I felt that the online familiarity was in place once again, enhanced by the reality of an actual meeting. It was for me, a lovely experience.

I realized later that a similar thing had happened when I met AtP, Tolkien Boy, and a few other online friends in person. I'm not sure why it seemed so much more apparent when I met Jason--perhaps because we had been online friends for a longer period of time before we were finally able to meet in person. As I've thought about those experiences, I've come to understand that one can never fully know a person in a virtual setting. There's something about being together physically that lends a depth to any relationship that cannot be attained in any other way.

When I'm actually in the presence of those I love, I'm communicating like crazy--and not necessarily with words. AtP and I can say nothing, but burst into laughter about some hilarious secret we both inherently understand. Last time we were together he asked, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" "No," I answered obstinately, and then we continued the conversation because I was thinking the same thing and he knew it. Once when Tolkien Boy and I were together, I was feeling a depth of love and gratitude for him that was unusual and overwhelming. He understood that something was deeply affecting me. He said nothing, but allowed me to have those feelings without embarrassment or awkwardness. There was something profound in having such respect shown for my emotions. And during my "actual" visit with Jason, in spite of being distracted by an adorable toddler who got into one scrape after another, I found myself learning more about the different levels of who he was aided by my prior virtual knowledge. I went away with a three dimensional appreciation of a friend I already knew and loved.

The opportunity to develop close friendships online and at some point, seal them with physical proximity seems like a win/win situation. Given my problematic background, it's not. While I'm continually amazed that I've been blessed with such patient and loving friends, there is a large part of me that also feels incredible stress that there are people who care about and are interested in me. That stress has been steadily increasing since last May.

I can't elucidate exactly why the stress is present. Therapist has gone through a long complicated explanation about it more than once. I try to listen, but it's difficult not to feel that he's listing my deficits and that I should have done something to make myself more "normal." Things I remember:
1. If, as an infant and child, my physical and emotional needs were left unmet by the caregivers (especially my mother) in my life, I have no inherent understanding as an adult of how to allow others to meet my needs in any relationship. Naturally, my marriage is an exception because after a million years, you kind of figure things out--thank goodness, Darrin says.
2. Because those needs weren't met in my past, I don't trust others, or even want others to do so now. This is a misleading statement because instinctively I want my loved ones to fill my needs, but intellectually, I see myself as having no needs at all. To acknowledge that I can't take care of everything myself indicates weakness.
3. I have grown up with the belief that people love what I do, not who I am. For once, my friendships are challenging my beliefs. That's stressful.
4. I have complicated processes that allow me to have people feel close to me without actually trespassing into the vulnerable parts of me. Jason and I discussed how people often have very close friendships, but don't enjoy frequent contact with each other. But when they come together after extended periods of time, they take up where they left off, feel no distance in their emotional connections, and just enjoy the intimate time together. I have similar friends, but I enjoy being with them because they allow me to retreat behind the persona I've created--the one who listens to their life stories and reminisces about past memories, but adroitly dodges personal questions that might allow intimacy in our friendships. I feel very comfortable and safe in such a setting. But both Jason and Tolkien Boy agree that's probably not a healthy friendship. Under Therapist's dictatorial guidance, I have identified most of the tactics I use to imitate close friendships without actually being a part of that relationship.

There's more--always, but that's enough for now. But in our last conversation, Jason mentioned something that rang true to me. It seemed to help me understand on a different level why I feel stress and fear in friendships that are filled with love and security.

me: I thought I could figure things out. I though I'd understand how to let people come and go the way other people do. But I don't seem to be able to get it.

Jason: So, what do you find to be the area of most tension, then? Because you seem to be okay with friends that you don't see regularly (and some of my closest and dearest friends are those)... is the area of most tension the time when regular contact turns into infrequent contact?

me: Well, that's the problem, I suppose. Those close, dear friends are extremely comfortable to me because they know nothing about me--and they really don't want to. They love that I listen (and so do I), and they are satisfied with short uninformative answers to their questions. And I've become adept at entertaining with a story which seems full of personal information but actually says nothing.

Jason: Okay, we're talking about something different than I thought then, because I definitely understand that. A one sided friendship, really. And some of my dear friends are a one-sided friendship, completely.

me: Yes. But it's such a relief to be with them. They don't ask me questions that make me hurt inside.

Jason: Ah. Yeah, friendships like that are pretty stress free. More so, I'd imagine, for you. It's like you can just play up the caricature they see you as, entertain them, have good laughs, and then move on. I always feel that they know just this piece of who I am. A piece that they find entertaining.

me: And I don't really miss them. I'm glad to see them, but separating is okay.

Jason: Yeah, exactly.

me: Then I have The New Friends (people I've met in the past 2 years). Each one seems to have filled a role in which they've helped me over a hurdle of some sort. They know who I am. They love me. And being with them makes me feel incredibly vulnerable, sometimes sad. And yet I feel tied to them. I miss them. I just don't understand this.

Jason: It sounds like the friendships of the last two years are some of the more real friendships you've had--ones where you actually care if they love you--where it's not a take it or leave it arrangement. I'm imagining that's where the vulnerability comes in. To allow yourself to really connect with someone leaves one very vulnerable. And the phenomenon of being sad when you're with them is probably the knowledge that such a satisfying, real contact will have to come to an end. And not just sadness that the friendship will end, necessarily. Sadness that you have to say goodbye in that very instant, kind of, sometimes. But with a knowledge that it's not the end of anything, necessarily. Is that getting there at all?

me: Yes, definitely. I also think part of it, maybe, is that for once in my life (and this is pathetic) I feel valued because I'm me, I'm real, and it doesn't really matter what I do, these friends will love me. That's a new thing for me.

Jason: Oh absolutely. And what a terrifying thing to think that that might go away.

me: Yeah.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The M.U.N.S.A. test

Have you an unusual Intelligence? Do you find you lose interest in supposedly "Interesting movies"? It could be that you're one of the 5% of the population that has the mental capacity of shag carpet! If so, you may want to join MUNSA - Mentally Unemployed and Noticeably Stupid Association.

Try the questionnaire below. The results could surprise you! If you can't even read the question, you're halfway there already - just get someone to fill out our full color brochure at any trailing chemist, and you'll be in for some, good old fashioned non-challenging material.

1. Which of the following WAS one of the famous Marx Brothers?


2. The number missing from the series (1,2,4,..,16) is:

c. 8

3. The letter missing from the series (a,b,c,..,e) is:

a. z
b. b
c. d

4. A man walks into a Barber Shop, with $5.00. He buys 2 lemons at 45c each, 1 Pickled Eel for $2.40, 4 packets of washing powder for $3.15 each. What will happen?

a. The Barber will wonder where all the stuffs coming from
b. He wasn't in a Barber's shop, it was a Dairy
c. The Barber will ask him if he's from MUNSA
d. Tyre

5. Two trains leave the same station, but moving in opposite directions. The first train is travelling at 50km/hr EAST, while the second one is travelling 50km/hr WEST. Which train is travelling the fastest?

a. The one going EAST
b. The one going WEST
c. Neither
d. Tyre
e. Why aren't there (e.)'s in all the other questions

6. What comes next in the series (RED, GREEN)

a. A car
b. Orange
c. Insufficient Data
d. Tyre

7. Mona Lisa was:

a. A dissatisfied Woman
b. A Song by Billy Idol
c. A painting
d. Tyre

8. The cold war was about:

a. Ice
b. Autumn
c. A few people at the top not liking each other
d. Tyre

9. Complete the following Sequence: (Tyre Tyre Tyre)

a. Tyre
b. Tyre
c. Tyre
d. Pardon?

Ok, time to total up all your marks. Those of you who haven't mastered addition yet, go straight on to the application; you're the sort of person we're looking for. If not, Give yourself 5 points for every D, -5 for every C, (+10 if you can't add negative numbers yet), 0 for every B and 0 for every A you ticked. How did you do?

90 to 50: OK! You're the sort of person we're looking for. Add 10 points to your score if you haven't got the hang of using anything but crayons yet.

50 to -20: Who's been doing late night studying then? Sorry, you're just a run of the mill pleb - push off.

-20 to -90: A computer geek I bet. Go join some place where they talk big numbers and floppy disks!

Is 85 between 90 and 50? Alright! Go to the bottom of the class! You're a leading light in our Association; get someone to fill the form in for you and welcome aboard!

What will MUNSA do for you?

MUNSA is a group of people just like yourself, and as such will have much the same interests. We'll meet once a month to watch American Game Shows (Except for our "advanced" class which will be watching the Australian Imitations), Television Dating Games, and listening to Public readings of Romance Novels. Also at the meetings, you'll have the opportunity to buy:

* Swamp land at ridiculously inflated prices

* Genuine Japanese imports with UNTAMPERED ODOMETERS (with scratches on it)

* Slice/Dice/Mince/Stack shelf-mount food mungers from C-Tel

* "Safe" relocatable houses from Chernobyl and many many more things, as yet not exploited.

As a special initial offer, you will be given a free Brain Warning device which rings an alarm if your IQ gets above 25, in time for you to go back to your local pub for a couple of jugs of your favorite Weasels.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Moving on

The wind woke me this morning with gusts of around 40 miles per hour. I'm still awake because I'm worried about Tabitha and Adam doing their paper route in the windstorm. Tabitha (all seventy pounds of her) assured me that it was a hard wind, but not a cold one, and they'd be fine. I'm waiting for them to come home, hoping that she's right.

I had thought that I'd work on a few things to help my PTSD symptoms over the next few weeks. I realized as I tried to do so that I'm not ready and I may never become ready. I have been successful in learning to reroute my nightmares and as I do so flashbacks also seem to decrease. Occasionally I find myself in a situation that triggers a flashback, but if the situation is not unexpected (like my dentist appointment) I can prepare prior to the visit, which seems to be helpful. I am still lamentably unable to deal with close relationships. I vacillate between wanting to maintain them, knowing they are good for me, responding to the healthy intimacy I find there, and feeling stressed at having people close to me, being unable to interpret tacit inferences that others seem to take for granted, fear that I will lose what I have, desire for everyone to go away.

It is that last aspect of PTSD (which sort of boils down to trust issues) that I thought I would work on. Darrin and I discussed the things I do to keep people at a distance. Darrin says that anyone who doesn't know me well would not notice that these things are happening. Since I, myself, don't even notice most of the time that I'm using these devices, he suggested we make a list:
1. I talk about myself enough to satisfy curiosity, but draw the line at discussing deep feelings or important experiences/ideas. Darrin suggests that in the friendships where I've allowed myself to talk about things that affect me deeply, I am insecure and stressed.
2. I ask questions about the friend, but only to the point where I feel that I understand enough to carry on a conversation. Questions that would allow me to understand his/her roots and background are avoided as are any questions that might have answers that will encourage me to feel tied to that person somehow (childhood/family anecdotes, ideology, personal likes/dislikes, past emotional experiences). Basically, the more I know about a person, the more I care about them. Limiting my knowledge allows me to distance myself at any given opportunity.
3. I take time off. Darrin says I tell my friends that I've very busy (and, indeed, I make certain that I am) so that I can have time to tone down any of my own feelings toward them that have become acute. He believes that I love people intensely, but as long as that intensity is not returned, I feel safe in that level of feeling. As soon as someone begins to care about me in a personal way, I suddenly become very busy and less available.
4. I block friends/family from knowing my personal likes/dislikes and rely on stereotypical things to satisfy their curiosity. For example, on my birthday Darrin asks me what he can give me and I always say, "I'd love some flowers and an evening out with you." This is a truthful statement, but he points out that he and my kids have no idea, other than flowers, what I like. I block even them.

I made a list of people with whom I wanted to maintain an authentic friendship. I made a list of things I thought might make the friendship more genuine on my part. I attempted to carry through with the items on that list. I forgot a couple of things, though. First, sometimes people are comfortable with the status quo. They don't need our friendship to deepen and they're okay if I hide behind my walls. I asked a few well-placed questions and realized that what might be helpful to me, would not necessarily be helpful to them. Second, I can't really work on this because I still firmly believe that when my usefulness or entertainment allure has run its course, there will no longer be a reason to maintain any friendship. I'm not being mercenary about this. I've just realised that sometimes people run out of things to talk about, and regardless of how much they care for each other, when communication becomes strained caring begins to wane. This is not something I've instigated to distance myself from friends, it just happens. I think most everyone has experienced it in some form. As long as I accept that sooner or later all people will become tired of me, it seems pointless to try to strengthen any relationships. It requires incredible effort on my part for something that is destined for demise. In truth, I'm not ready to try. I'm becoming more certain that I never will be.

I was chatting with Tolkien Boy last night. I thought it might be a good time to try something from my friendship authentification (I know--not a word--don't care) list. Last week I mentioned that I might want to do that if it was okay with him. He said, of course. But last night I realized that this is all futile. I don't believe in what I'm doing. I don't want to do it. I don't believe that it's mutually beneficial. It's impossible to accomplish what I'm trying to do unless both parties desire a shift in the relationship--and just how am I supposed to know what my friends really want? I honestly believe that as long as they have access to me, however limited, that's all that's required. And this crap about human intimacy and close friendships is nothing more than someone's way of letting me know that there are things in life that I don't understand. And actually, I've decided I'm okay with that.

Therapist would tell me that I'm spending my life in a bubble I've created to keep me safe emotionally. While that may be true, I don't think anyone in my life is worried about that. People adapt to individual situations. I'm pretty open about my theories of human relationships. I rarely ask people to stay when they wish to go, or to give anything that he/she would not willingly give. I've only had one instance where a friend (Sheila) told me that she noticed I was always careful to keep distance between us. Since I came out to her, she's stopped complaining about that. Nice how life seems to balance everything out.

I suppose what I'm saying is this: I feel that I'm trying to change something that cannot be changed. There is no reason to fix what my friends perceive as whole. I'm not ready to deepen relationships, and probably never will be. It seems much more productive and helpful to simply fortify myself and prepare for the time when life claims my friends and I miss them.

Darrin would tell me I'm wrong--but it takes me about 20 years to believe the things he says.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I will never accept that there is a "reason" I had the opportunity to endure my unique package of trauma. I will never believe that there was a "purpose" or that it was the only way in which I could "learn and grow". I don't believe that. I refuse to believe that I could not become a worthwhile human being without being raped or abused.

When I left Therapist after my last appointment, there was a huge sense of futility. I felt that I was trapped in a life engineered by someone else without my permission. It seemed that everything I had done to build myself in spite of past experiences was worthless. I thought about it for a few days. I realized that the feelings were distorted by distress and discouragement. I wanted to talk but had nothing to say.

Thursday I woke up feeling that maybe things were coming to a stop. I didn't feel like crying alone anymore--I still felt like crying, but for the first time I wanted to share everything that was making me sad. I couldn't, because saying the words was still too hard.

Yesterday I finally felt like me again. I've realized nothing profound. I've made no amazing discoveries. I didn't find hidden reserves of courage. I just waited long enough that I could live again.

I have thanked God every night for the past ten days for beautiful sunsets, fall flowers that last through the frost, music that uplifts, children who love me, a husband who cares even when he doesn't understand, friends that keep being my friends--even when I've forgotten what that means, loved ones who let me say what needs to be said (ugly or not), people who remember that I love roses (thank you--they're beautiful!), those who don't know me but lend encouragement when I need it the most, fresh air, Godiva chocolate cheesecake...

I haven't run for a week. I've been too tired. It's time to begin again. A friend suggested that I make a goal each day to eat more than one meal. I've met that goal for two days which isn't much, but is certainly a start.

In my thinking time I have come to many realizations about myself, and made some decisions about things I'd like to change. After all, I can't change my past, but I have complete control over how much I will allow it to influence me. I told Therapist that I would not live with PTSD for the rest of my life--that I would be rid of it, regardless of the prognosis. He said, "That really wouldn't surprise me. I expect you to keep a journal of the steps you take and I want to see it when you're finished." I don't know if that's a realistic goal--I don't particularly care, either.

There's so much that I wish I could talk to Therapist about. Sometimes I don't want to do things by myself. I'm going to wait, though. There are a few things I want to do before I meet with him. I don't know if I'll have the opportunity, since they involve other people, but I'm still going to try.

There is still a part of me that wishes things were different.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

This makes me giggle

Credit where credit is due

I simply must thank Rude Visitor Marvin for his most recent comments. For, in spite of the fact that his command of the English language is lamentable and would make a third grader cringe, he has reminded me of something in which I am remiss...well, truthfully, it wasn't necessarily him, but the comments that preceded and followed his...


I'm hoping he'll forgive me for being a bit preoccupied, and accept my belated tribute in spite of me. But if you get a chance, please head over to his blog to send felicitations (except for Marvin--I think you should stay here with me because I would miss you so much if you left).

In honor of our latest "scum sucking road whore (thanks for the help, AtP)", Rude Visitor Marvin (hereafter to be known as RVM, which should be easy enough to remember), I will alter my language to reflect his illiteracy, as I don't want him to feel left out.

It's alw--ys a slightly st--cky situation to admit that one is in love with someone else's h-sb-nd, so I'm hoping FoxyJ will f--give me for ad-ring her sp--se. H--ever, I'm sure that ev--yone will agree that to kn-- Mi---r F-b, is to l-ve h-m. So, in honor of his b----day, I have made a l-st of t-n thi-gs I lo-e ab--t M----r F--:

1. He th-nks I'm f--ny (and really, since I have such a need for his adulation, it's only fitting that the first one is all about MEEEE!), wh-ch means he has an imp--cable sense of h-mor.
2. He dr--ses up for H--low-en as a sup-r hero--and makes c--tain that his chi--ren fo--ow s--t (literally).
3. He's a r--l dad! He t-kes his t-rn with f--ding, cl--nup, and wa-ching TV. And he th--ks his chi--ren are ad-rable (they are), as any dad sh---d.
4. He m-kes me l--gh (again--all about me--adulation--you know...) bec--se he's fu--y. I d-n't say that a---t many p--ple.
5. He l-ts m- say wha- I w--t to on his bl-g. Gr-nted, I'm alw-ys courte-us, affirm--ive, and delightf-l, but really, wh-t else c-n one po--ibly exp--t from one as wicked adorable (thank you again, AtP) as Me?
6. He wr-tes beautif--ly.
7. He's hum-n a-d emp-th-t-c without be-ng m--dlin, and I have b--efited from h-s w-rds more t--n once.
8. He s--ms to live in a c-nsist-nt st-te of eudaemonia (so sorry, RVM, for the big words of more than three syllables, but really, stooping to your level can be so tedious).
9. He l-kes av-cados. And s- d- I.
10. He's f-n to pl-y with...and t-lk with...and be w-th...

I r--lly th-nk, one d-y, you --d I, Mister Fob, sh--ld play Scr-bble.

Thank you, FoxyJ, for allowing me to laud your husband. He really is one of a kind. I love you both and I am blessed to know you.

Oh, and Mister Fob--Happy Birthday!

P.S. Ben--If you want the highbrow version, let me know. I'll email it to you.

Marvin said...

you are full of crap.
you get off jerking people around. you incite people's emotions by sharing everything, then when they become solicitous, you cut them off.

Dear Marvin,

If you had the courage to allow access to your contact information instead of being rude and running away when you comment, I could send this to you privately which would be more appropriate. As it is, you leave me no choice.

Normally I don't address readers who feel the need to express pointless negativity, but you give me the opportunity to reinforce some key points which anyone who visits my blog should probably know:
1. Nothing is ever solved through a personal attack. It won't change the situation you find annoying, nor will it make you feel better. It just makes you look like an ass--especially if the person you attack is currently undergoing emotional stress. By the way, thanks so much for kicking me when I was down. Good thing I got used to learning to live with that as a child.
2. I cannot keep you from visiting my blog without closing it to the public. The whole point of this blog was to allow me to access the public in a safe non-threatening way. For the most part, my commenters have been supportive and courteous. If you cannot find a way to be courteous, as well, I would really appreciate it if you'd not comment at all. There is no excuse for rudeness. Use the brain God gave you and find a better way to express yourself.
3. THIS IS MY BLOG!!! Which means that even if what you have said about me is true, it is my right to do so on my blog and if you don't like it, you are invited to leave--and it's okay if you don't want to come back.

I wish you well as you endeavor to figure out how to use human kindness. Should you master the art, I invite you to let me know.


I needed some time to think. And now it's time to talk again.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


There comes a time when it is a good idea to stop talking.