Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.

6Jan/210

What Ifs

At therapy today I had a round of "what ifs".

What if I hadn't been born to a family with intergenerational trauma going back who knows how far?

What if anyone in my family took my side.

What if support within my family wasn't always transactional, if it was offered at all.

I noted, and my therapist agreed, that these part of my grieving. She reminded me that having a supportive family doesn't yield a positive results. Well-off people from loving families end up living on the street, alone.

They came up after considering how my Mother would say to me when I was an adult how hard she tried to be a good parent, that she did the best she could. As I process new trauma I'm once again angered at this, that this was the best she could do.

My therapist said that, sadly, this was true. She really couldn't have done better than what I got. It brings up the grief for a childhood that I never got.

I started the year by making the best gluten free cornbread ever! Bubbles!!! I'm making it again this week to try and replicate, then document!

30Dec/200

Kindness is a Warm Blanket

I made it out of the house with all my things, even though I tried to leave in my slippers!

I got to OHSU South Waterfront, where the diagnostics lab is, and got myself checked in.

There were a lot of kindnesses that helped so much.

The staff folks checking me in were very sympathetic and understanding of my anxiety about risk. They had me wait separate from the open atrium waiting area so there wasn't anyone coming by me.

It was a bit of a wait.

Being inside a closed up medical building waiting for a procedure is a whole new level of anxiety.

Once in I was delighted to find out that the scan used a CT, so I could wear my high-protective mask, didn't have to worry about my nose/ear piercings, and I even got to keep my bra on since it didn't have underwires! I kept on my tank top too since the electrodes could be placed around and under my clothing!

The very tall, kind man, Brandon, who conducted the test got a pillow to support my legs so my back was comfortable. He also brought me a warm blanket, which helped my anxiety hugely!

I told him I have Complex PTSD, he'd not heard of it before. I noted that for me it's due in large part to developmental trauma.

"My Mother had a personality disorder.", I said.

I've come to find that telling people that just lets them know enough to realize that I've survived some terrible stuff. Usually no one asks more, which is fine.

Brandon nodded, "Yeah, I hear you. That's too bad. You just let me know if you need anything else to make this easier."

Then three electrodes and lying still and breathing when the machine told me to. About five minutes.

We chatted a little at the end about why I was there. He laughed, "You mean you're here because you're being proactive about your heart health?!"

I said that was about it. I was keeping ahead of my family's genetic issues, where possible.

He told me he was proud of me and that he wished there were more patients like me.

That was pretty awesome!

Now I wait to hear from my doctor about the results.

23Dec/200

Tenacious

I rather loathe that words like resilience and grit have lately been co-opted to be another way to make individuals responsible when they fail to overcome systemic injustices. It's so fucked up the way this country wants to blame victims of oppression.

It cheapens the words.

I was punished often for being stubborn, for resisting the world view I had imposed on me.

I'm able to steer my EMDR processing now; finding instances where I'm exhibiting creativity, ingenuity, resilience, intelligence, and so much tenacity. All these things my Mother and family labeled, "stubborn", were there behaviors that kept me alive.

Age 6 today; last session of 2020. Still pieces coming in, new sharp slivers of adults being terrible.

Realizing I was groomed for months. That I've not felt safe sleeping for most of my life.

My Mother knew I was molested and was incapable of responding responsibly. Instead she made up excuses, shamed me, blamed me.

Rage, rage, and more rage at all the terrible adults I encountered.

21Dec/200

Funk

I've felt blue and unmotivated all day. Of course I didn't really become fully aware of it until I was crying.

I got stuff done, but everything felt hard and wasn't satisfying. I just feel like a useless jerk.

Christmas Blues and anticipatory therapy angst? Already going into a schedule crash since I'm not teaching for a couple of weeks?COVID despair?

I wish I knew. I think I don't tell CK when I feel this way because I don't understand the cause and don't want to say, "My mood is off and I don't have a good reason."

19Dec/200

Fraught

I responded to a Tweet the 16th that asked what mundane thing you missed from pre-COVID.

I miss going to Powell’s Bookstore and browsing. Really, any bookstore, but I recently had a wave of longing to sit at a table in World Cup Coffee, the place in the corner of the first floor of Powell's, and peruse books I'm considering purchasing while watching people.

Just the joy of walking along the tall stacks to see what jumped out at me. To look for bargains among the used and remaindered titles.

I then expanded my comment to say that really any shopping where I could just casually browse without being hypervigilant for people too close to me. Without worry that some white woman is going to pull her mask down because she just has to open up a bottle of lotion and smell it (recently seen at a New Seasons Market), the bro who just has to get his poke and gets too damn close, or the elder woman who bumps into three people on her way down a narrow aisle.

Complex Trauma means I'm always a little vigilant about people in my personal space, much less touching me. COVID has taken what was a little tickle of irritation and turned it into a bullhorn. Robot yelling, "Danger! Danger!"

The past couple of days were shopping days. I often come home from them and just lay across the bed for a little while. What was once something that could be a pleasant diversion and has made it an exhausting chore fraught with strong emotions.

13Dec/200

COVID Close

This morning I found out a friend has COVID. A good friend I've had a relationship with for close to 30 years! A friend who is at high risk for Long COVID fallout, who has a yet to be fully understood heart condition.

A friend who was by for a visit 20 days ago. She's roughly 10 days into it and the most likely contact point was from someone who'd isolated, tested negative, and came down from Seattle to visit after she had seen me. She's very mildly affected, in large part because she's been so diligent about isolating and wearing a mask.

It was a driveway visit and I wore my respirator/mask combo, but it is still the closest exposure I know about. It rather upset my apple cart, as CK says. That's on top of a truly lousy trauma body freakout the night before.

This led to me not being as prepared as I like to be for my Saturday Yoga of Freedom class. I wanted to talk more in depth about Larry Ward, but I just didn't have it in me.

So I talked about all this and less about Larry Ward's work. I still included it and I focused the physical practice on how to care for knees, since a friend who comes regularly has been having a lot of knee pain all week. It was a small group of students, so it worked. We all felt the support of community.

This all helped me, although I've felt significantly tired all day long. We're going to press hard tomorrow to get several things prepared for me to mail on Monday. I'm very aware of how late it is and how much I want to do tomorrow!

11Dec/200

Body Freakout

It happened. It was only a matter of time. Someone peed on the new sofa.

Dora is getting a little incontinent as she ages and this shows up when she either gets so relaxed that she just releases or she licks too much when she's needing to go. Anyway, she was snuggled up against me while I played on our Switch. When she got up to investigate what CK was doing in the kitchen I was suddenly very cold!

Upon inspection there was urine on the sofa and along my side! We dealt with it quickly, but as I came to realize how much urine was on me I began to feel really anxious.

Buy the time I got into the shower it felt like the area that was affected was so gross. I felt shaky and it seemed like I couldn't get the affected skin to warm up or feel clean. I was flooded with the maelstrom energy from the therapy session.

When I got out i explained to CK what I was experiencing. She asked what would help then went to turn on the kettle and brought be back fleece to put on. After some ginger tea and digestive biscuits I'm starting to feel like I can make art.

What a perfectly miserable way to end the week. I'm staying focused on how supportive CK was, how I articulated what was happening, asked how grateful I am she turned up the thermostat for the water heater! I'm also grateful for the long cat and all his shenanigans.

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11Dec/200

The Red House

A Black family is being evicted after a long, fraught journey with the housing courts and criminal courts. Protestors have surrounded the house with barricades and have so far kept police at Bay.

It's a public face to the crises of evictions happening all over, and an especially complex story. I'm trying to read what activists after writing about it all, especially at how Black people are expected to turn to systems that have repeatedly betrayed them.

The eviction crises is bringing up some lingering sadness. I can tell the memories of my own experience of eviction and homelessness aren't flaring to life, only the grief remains like a cinder with a little glow of fire left.

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10Dec/200

Unsolicited Diet Propaganda

Today an order of supplements arrived for us. The red rice yeast compound I take that's a precursor to statins I'm taking to address my cholesterol and a new formulation of zinc that should be easier on CK's digestive system. Great!

Given it was 2 pill bottles the box was very large and heavy. Inside, carefully packed in a plastic bag and under plastic pillows, was a complimentary copy of The Longevity Diet.

Yes, there lurking under stuff we need, a book promoting fasting. Diet Culture propaganda from the Wellness Industrial Complex.

I was so grossed out by this unsolicited material. Like Diet Culture aren't a dick pic to me!

I ultimately hurled it into the garage. I'll grab it and put it with the other diet books I've boxed up. I'll be writing a letter to the company; give me free shipping for fuck's sake, don't send me propaganda.

Not the way to start the morning after trauma therapy. I'm sure that made it feel all the more disgusting.

I wanted to do more today, but I ended up laying down after lunch under my weighted blanket. Yesterday's session has left me feeling especially drained and wrung out.

Ursa napped with me and Bertie. It's the first time he's done this and it was just what I needed.

9Dec/200

The More I Know

Some days I think I've uncovered all the things I'm angry at my Mother about. Then I start to unpack another memory that feeds my false belief that I'm so profoundly toxic that it makes sense that everyone leaves me. I'm not worthy of real love because I'm terrible.

On days like that I wish she was still alive so I could rage at her. There is part of me that feels really angry that I don't get to really tell off any of these terrible people in my childhood. They're all dead.

The best revenge is living well, so they say. I guess that's why I do this ugly work of letting these memories out so that I can integrate them.

⚠️Content Warning: Child Sexual Abuse, Neglect, Emotional Abuse, Verbal Abuse.⚠️

⚠️Content Warning: Child Abuse⚠️

⚠️Content Warning: Child Abuse⚠️

⚠️Content Warning: Child Abuse⚠️

⚠️Content Warning: Child Abuse⚠️

Age Six Sherri believed it didn't matter what happened to her. She was that worthless; she believed her Mother who told her over and over that she ruined everything. Whenever things went wrong, it was always Sherri's fault somehow. She got into everything and didn't respect her Mother's personal property. She talked too much and was too nosey. She got what was coming to her.

Two sessions in with this memory and I know that I was sexually abused over a period of weeks, months. My Mother was alerted to it by a doctor, possibly even school. She totally denied it could be possible in any way and fabricated the notion that I wasn't fastidious about my hygiene. She regularly left me home alone at night to go on dates and I was home alone after school.

I was SIX.

I wish she was alive so I could rage at her.

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