Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Late Night Rage

Another Collage Journal Carousel entry. This one's theme is, "Imperfect".

Today felt hard and then i found out a dear friend has a meningioma, a kind of brain tumor. As we were trying to talk folks showed up to fix my picky issue with the cement repair in the basement.

My professional org still hasn't commented on the response to a sexual misconduct incident. Three weeks after telling me it was coming very soon and convincing me to come to the online conference.

Getting CK's lumbar puncture scheduled has been ridiculously hard and involved gaslighting.

I'm not surprised there's late night rage today.

Trigger warnings for sexual abuse, child abuse and neglect.


Hello, rage about my Mother. I thought you were biweekly in response to therapy, bit as my therapist was sick this week it appears you're just biweekly because there's still so many prickly opportunities for me to recall the ways in which you harmed more.

Rage because it still continues to unfold. Rage that she refused to believe I was sexually assaulted as a child until she casually asked me about it while I watched her eat food at a Wendy's. Rage that she knew all along and instead told child me that my discomfort and UTI was due to poor hygiene.

Rage about the man, my Mother's shady boyfriend, who repeatedly assaulted me at age 6, into age 7. Rage at the hazy glimpses of passion and terror that imply so much more than the horror I already remember.

Rage at all the other sexual misconduct from men, from mere lewdness to a child, to outright assault, physically and emotionally.

Hair curling rage. If she weren't already dead I'd wish for her death.

It's an ugly feeling. I don't like my rage, I'm frightened by anger. However, I'm learning to love it, to acknowledge it as a true, reasonable response from my spirit to the terror I've survived.

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Donuts and Friends

Monday I decided to take donuts to several friends. It went mostly well; I failed my timing in getting CK something special as well as forgetting to even stop at the bakery. Since I had picked up something especially delicious for dinner, she wasn't too sad.

Seeing friends, albeit briefly since the weather shifted to cold, windy, and hailing or sleeting, and the super special treat of fancy donuts, was pretty delightful. I also got to exchange presents with a friend; she gave me topographical maps, old library catalog cards, and a few computer punch cards!

I started listening to an audiobook called, "Laziness Does Not Exist" by Devon Price Ph.D., and it talks about how so many of us who come from poverty, blue collar families, or are queer, are even more likely to be pulled into the lie that we're lazy if we're not spending every waking moment producing. I absolutely see myself in this book; all the times I'm up at night half convinced I haven't done enough to deserve rest. I call it the "Productivity Trap", the author calls it the "Laziness Lie", which is pretty powerful!

Last night, realizing I was tired but hadn't made a blog post yet, I decided it was ok to skip it and just get to the restorative yoga pose that would help me sleep.

Tonight my mind's still buzzing a little, so it's post time!

Had a therapy session today where I kept being struck by how alone and lonely I am as a 6-7 year old kid. The memories of the specific instances of trauma weren't as present, so much as the aftermath. I realized how largely absent my Mother is, she shows up in brief explosions of anger, but I'm often so isolated and longing for connection.

None of these memories will ever be transformed into something beautiful, but as I integrate them I am discovering my child self. I'm seeing how creative and inventive I am, how tenacious, and how I find or create, cultivate resources that help me feel safe, comforted, and nurtured. Sometimes it was actual people, more often than not finding adults who cared for me in ways both small and great. Or just making a part of my bedroom really soothing.

I love my child self and appreciate her. I'm proud of what a clever, resourceful, resilient human she was and I remain.


Expressive Writing

I made an effort to spend all my accumulated Audible credits today. It's a step in getting rid of my account. Next I need to have CK show me how to get all my books downloaded into our NAS. Then the account goes away and that's one more monthly expense that's reduced. When I want a book, I can give money to CK and she'll get one and put it into the NAS.

Yes, it's more overhead, but having 2 accounts isn't really cost effective. I don't listen to one book a month. I am also happier to get some books from the library anyway. It's a step towards less money being spent.

Along the way of doing this I found a book about the "Laziness Lie", as the author puts it. It's an excellent look at what I've called the "Productivity Trap". It's an excellent listen for someone who's often up past midnight worried that've not done enough to merit going to bed to rest, resenting that I need to rest when I have so much to do.

In it the practice of Expressive Writing is mentioned and it piqued my curiosity. It's an approach of writing non-stop, without editing, for 20 minutes about your feelings. Then, at the end, you've the option of just throwing it all away. It's been used a lot with vets and populations that have often struggled to connect to emotions.

It made me think about some of the ways I'd try to "trick" my brain into letting me express to another person some of the things that had happened to me. Using my touch typing ability and making the font too tiny to read or/and taking my glasses off and just typing as fast as I can. Printing it out and giving it to my therapist. I wouldn't really look too closely at it myself and often I'd not save the file.

In another kind of expressive writing, I find myself thinking more and more about poetry. Perhaps I've taken enough of a break from writing it that I'm yearning to return.


Another Disappointing White Man

Today I caught the news that a teacher I've drawn inspiration from was investigated for sexual misconduct in 2012.

The claim was found to be valid and a mediation occurred. Later, when the person harmed left the teacher's foundation, she was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement about the whole thing.

I'm so tried of this same old flavor of disappointment.


So Smart

I don't remember the number at the end of all the interviews, tests, and meetings where the adults talked around me, but not to me.

I do know at the end of it all I was treated awkwardly by teachers who either expected too much out of me, wanted me to help run the class, sometimes they felt a need to make sure I knew who was in charge and they were the smart one. A few wanted me to explore intellectually, but provided to support or guide rails to set me up for success.

Perhaps they assumed I got that at home.

At home it was never the same. Out of the meetings where my Mother was told again and again how remarkable I was. The message to encourage and nurture, provide support and new outlets for my voracious curiosity, was there. Suggestions for additional outings that would encourage me, museums and more books.

The thing is, my Mother already want capable of doing that. All along she gave me the childhood she had wanted. I got a little wiggle room in colors, including bright yellow linens for my bed in highschool. I got to make choices within tightly closed sets.

The sets all taken from an idealized notion of what my Mother wanted her childhood to be.

Out of the IQ testing arose a new, hateful thing to say to me.

"You think you're so smart."

"You think you're better than me/us."

The thing is, looking back over it all, I am better than them.


Celebrating my Healing on my Mother’s Birthday

I got through my Mother's birthday, sheer would have been 78, without falling apart. Might be the first one in 7 years that hasn't included a meltdown.

And I had a hard week and a busy day! Honestly, I did fill the week up a bit so I couldn't get stuck in a wallow of anger and grief. I told my therapist it could either help me get through the week or be terrible.

It's turned out positively. I got sushi and tempura takeout for us (yes, did my Mother didn't like) and made the fancy cocktail I made up. We played our video games and watched summer Netflix. Ursa was a delightful good.

I know some of this success is from therapy and my commitment to keep going during these times. I don't fully grok why facing and integrating the horrors of my early childhood makes it easier to be present and start the challenge of moving to another country, but it does. I'm just grateful.

Our realtor came and we reviewed the bottom floor today. Really, it's more of the same; get rid of stuff, pack, and get out of the house. Then more serious work to repair, clean, and present can be done without us in the way.

My first project is to clean up the yard a bit in preparation to get landscaping folks hired. I'm hoping to be to this point by April.

I also want to have a goal of getting rid of things weekly. Maybe a daily task too. I'll find some way to use those habit tracking pages in the calendar!

In a couple of weeks, since CK's current manger had a health need scheduled, she'll ask for us to be connected with the relocation manager. Then we might start sharing the news more.

While this is public, we discussed it and this diary isn't well known, I haven't really shared much that I've been doing this, so the only folks seeing it are making a point to do so and/or an old RSS feed started sending it to them again! Those folks have heard the rumblings that we're slowly doing a big thing.

I heard from the Oregon Health Authority; no, hospice volunteers, even if they're actively working with patients, after not eligible for the vaccine. June it is, still. I got is both in the system though!


Emotional Detachment

Our amazing realtor came over with an N95 mask and walked around the property and the upper floor of the house. I have a plan to move us towards vacating for sale. I know what clean up to prioritize, what contractor to get going first; landscapers.

There's so many things happening for CK at work, including her manager taking a few days off for a health need. When they return CK will ask them to connect us to the relocation support folks so we can start to get a timeline.

Since we're with the same amazing realtor, he recalled leaving us with this great house that we were moving my Mother in. When is mentioned her upending our life and then dying a year later, her assumed that was recent. I gave him a high level and noted that within a year of our doing everything to move her in, she had a massive temper tantrum and left.

I told him we had a lot of shame over not taking better care of the house. He told me that from now on we work to emotionally detach from the house, the yard, and all the dreams we had for it. From now on, it's a business to get it ready to move us on to something that's better for us.

I definitely made up a cocktail tonight! It needs work, but it wasn't bad.


Soothing to Avoid

At therapy today something that came up, likely brought on by the proximity to get birthday, about my Mother's inability to soothe herself.

I am often uncovering how I taught myself emotional regulation of a kind, like finding outlets for the anger I was not allowed to show. I also found ways to soothe myself beyond just venting the anger through physical exertion. Comforting myself when no one offered comfort that was safe or without strings attached.

I struggled to even call my Mother's use of shopping, romance novels, soap operas, gossip, food, and pills "self soothing".

My therapist noted that my Mother found these things soothing, bit perhaps the difference I was looking for was that she soothed to avoid being present or taking responsibility.

I soothed to comfort and encourage myself, to get rage out of my system since letting it be seen was dangerous. I soothed to compartmentalize, lock away incomprehensible horror so I could live.

Animal Crossing remains a favorite soothing past time, nearly a year into playing it! Ursa likes to "help" me play.

Tomorrow will be a long day with my respirator mask and airing out again after having someone in the house. We'll be doing this a while since it might be July before were BOTH vaccinated.

I'm firmly focusing the positives, knowing what we need to prioritize doing, and how much CK and have gone through since buying the house.


Ghosts of Storms Part

We didn't lose power for long, but I've felt so turned about by it!

I have hazy memories of terrible winter storms during my childhood. Huddling under blankets, sleeping bags, and layers. Boiling water in pans to wash up dishes, teeth, and bodies. My Grandmother having some type of oil heater that was (supposedly) safe indoors to warm her manufactured home. Using the flat top to heat canned soup and boil water.

The memory of needing to heat water to do anything is so deep rooted that I always start to do this each time we've lost power here at the house. CK noted it over the weekend, that she reminds me we have hot water every time, usually after I've boiled water to do dishes. I don't even think to turn on the hot water, I just "know it's not there".

I was saying to CK that while I don't have specific trauma memories around storms, I also find it easy to assume that it was very stressful being trapped without heat, power, hot water, or easy ways to make food with a parent who time and time again took little to no responsibility and was unable to self-soothe. It was probably confusing, frightening, and physically uncomfortable.

That's enough. I don't need to hunt for terrible memories. If there's something that needs attention, that story will come up. I'm slowly learning to trust the process.


Poverty in the 1970s

As I continue to work through early trauma I am connecting to the particular wounding of poverty that runs through my earliest years. There's the trauma of my unstable Mother and the intergenerational trauma of my whole family. There's my mostly absent, addiction-plauged Father.

Then there is the kinds of brutality that arises out of poverty itself. Desperation and worry recoiling out of adults like knives or whips. Other adults preying on the most vulnerable. Like me.

Then there was the time itself. Generation X remains the most under parented generation ever. Even kids from good families were getting meals together and walking home from school alone at age 6. For those of us from trauma-filled homes, we were practically feral children much of time.

Today's SAFE session was hard. I feel exhausted on multiple levels. The grief and anger feel as though they've merged into a hard, spiky mass inside my upper body.

My float after was also too cold. I need to let them know that I was really not able to relax well because of it.

I forgot my respirator mask today and it really hurt my anxiety hard! I had quality backups with me and where I was today was very low proximity to people, but it was nerve-wracking. Being out in public with that level of mask feels way too risky now.