Express yourself

For a very long time I had difficulty expressing myself. Because I lived in my head, it was difficult to untangle my thoughts and put words on paper. The conversations were all had in my mind, probably between all my parts, although at the time I didn’t know that’s what was going on. I think there was a scramble program in place anyway, I remember feeling confused a lot.

For a long time too I struggled to think that I had anything original to say. I would often plagiarise. I felt like everything had been said, that I had nothing to contribute. I still struggle with that at times and will fish out things on the internet to act as stimulus when writing papers or reports. Partly that’s to do with me developing a professional language related to work things, so I am still honing a style here. But it’s also to do with me feeling as though I am not very clever or that I am a bad writer (insert not good enough etc). The more I get to know myself and let my parts talk, the more connected and confident I feel to express myself. The negativity aside, I know I am developing and getting better.

This weekend I have been participating in a PhD thesis writing boot camp. It started Friday and ends tomorrow and is very intense. But you know what? I am doing it! I have written 17,285 words so far!! Some of it has been compiling and inserting stuff I have written in other pieces, but it’s all coming together and I am getting on with the task. I am also not judging the process. I think that I am going to actually complete an 80,000 word thesis. I can’t wait. It’s another 62,725 words away… but hey, that’s less far away than it was two days ago!!

Now I am tired, so tired. It’s been a long day.

and here is a part expressing herself last Voices clamour.

Poetry from a distance.

I remember when…

Hot breathe on a neck, holding, tasting, biting.

Never satisfied.

Now I desire from afar.

Is it the romance of a memory or the childish need of wanting what one can’t have.

I woke from a dream. Her body pressed against mine.

Hell screams out from under the covers – I have succumbed to the flesh.

I am the flesh.

What lovers teach you

I was thinking this week about what lovers teach you and how thankful I am of the many things I have learnt and discovered along the way, despite the pain each time they ended. My first real boyfriend taught me about independence and music. My second, about being a woman or at least beginning to own and embrace the concept. He introduced me to travel and photography and intelligent people who could party all night. We stayed up till dawn often, danced hard, drank hard and were wild in bed. My third taught me about emotion and intimacy and appreciating silence, even though I got so scared I ran away from it. My fourth taught me about writing and creativity and critical thinking and communication and buying houses and managing money and life- all things I didn’t do very well at the time, but the lessons have stuck with me. My fifth, about boundaries and loyalty and motorbikes and being grounded. He helped me to become an adult and responsible, yet encouraged me to be silly and carefree. All things I struggled with. My sixth, taught me about self reflection and loving my parts and happy socks and kids movies and embracing creativity again. She made me begin to learn to like myself and consider that I was strong and inspiring, even if I didn’t fully believe it.

And my dogs, who I consider my non sexual furry lovers, they have taught me how to smile every day and laugh and be loving and dominant, yet soft. They have taught me how to care and think about them and their needs, not just mine. They have taught me compassion and warmth and kindness.

Love is a journey. Some people may find one person to take them all the way through life, I needed lots and each person taught me so much. I hope I left a nice impression on my lovers the way they left one on me.

Collective memories

I stand outside of myself – watching. A de-realisation of self.  My disconnected feelings form flashbacks, emotional memory.

It is easier when I am alone. Things are less heightened. I am in more control. Not everyone is listening in, watching, judging, conflicting. The voices are softer. They don’t need to be on the lookout as much. Perceived danger.

Yet there is no threat. At least none that I know of. That I consciously remember. Everything seems to follow a general routine. Time builds, fades, transforms, changes. Distance creates memories.

A desire to say something profound, muddied by those inside who sit in the dark, cold and confused – who were told to shut up, who were hurt for thinking, who were silenced in shame. Now, you encourage their voices and they look at you confused. Where do they start. It is not as easy as sitting around a campfire and telling stories. There is no language for these things, no oral tradition. Just fragmented histories, collective memories; shared but buried knowledge. She wants to dig it up. Like an archaeologist on a mission. She prepares her toolkit to unpick her mind, she has a flashlight, her first aid kit, her notepad and pen. She dives in to the abyss.

A poem from a part.

Town cries. Empty streets. They say a 5 year old boy is killed mercilessly today. He was innocent.

They are not ready to hear the truth. This is what they do. He is not the first nor will he be the last. He had someone try and seek help for him. Many don’t. No one can protect the little ones. They are mutilated and sacrificed and no one runs to the neighbours to get help. No one sounds the alarm bells. They just chant to the beast. To the rhythm of the blood. They say they must die. There is no public outrage. It does not hit the news. No one weeps. Day breaks and it is like nothing ever happened. What kid?


Becoming more self reflective

I have been banging on lately to my students about the benefits of being self reflective. I can understand the advantages of doing this in my professional life, but when it comes to my inner world and feelings, I find it very difficult to apply this feedback to myself.

At the moment I am being pushed into a corner and i don’t like it. Husband wants to go slow, understandably, but not good for someone like me, who is action oriented. Beyond that, the process of going slow is very triggering. I discussed with my T tonight that it causes all sorts of chaos inside. Parts who have been programmed to never stop, others who think if we do stop we will die or get killed or the memories / pain will be too intense, we won’t be able to handle it. Even writing that, I notice the fear- otherwise labelled anxiety- it has a pulse. It threatens to consume me. T reminded me tonight I needed to breathe through it. We talked about strategies I could implement to manage what’s going on. I agreed to write myself an agreement to not act out for four weeks (I will review accordingly when time is up). Instead, I will respect his wishes, be the best person I can be and avoid trying to pick a fight or make an attack. I want too sooo bad. I want to have a temper tantrum, but that would be embarrassing, so I would stop myself in time. Besides, I have signed an agreement with myself now. I am also going to use the time to focus on my PhD and the film and also trying to be more self reflective.

So the format is folks:

  • What triggered me?
  • What did I think or feel?
  • What was my physical reaction? Fight, flight, freeze
  • What resources or help do I need or what strategy could I implement to respond differently next time?

I got these questions from a work book “Coping with Trauma Related Dissociation”

It’s a very practical book, quite dense, but with many useful exercises.

A quick self reflective response using the above model for my current situation is:

– Husband wanting to go slow. Not giving me a firm or solid answer to what he thinks or feels about us. It’s a “let’s wait and see” attitude.

– It makes me think that he doesn’t love me, he is abandoning me, he is rejecting me, I am bad, my D.I.D is too much, it has gotten the better of him, I have ruined it. I feel anxious and scared and upset- sad. (Note: it doesn’t go unnoticed that these are the feelings that he and S would have felt too throughout the whole affair and indecision making).

– My physical reaction is that I first want to fight- get angry, be snide, tell him to fuck off. Then I want to flight- run away. Start a new life: get far far out of my skin as possible.

And when I know I can’t do those things, I guess I just go internal. Escape inside my own head. Go silent.

– I talked about it with my T and she helped ground me. She suggested breathing, meditating on God’s word (which I am doing every day) and trying to connect more with my body. I can do that by stretching and exercising.

I know God has my back and will use this for good. It’s like He’s had to get me alone and in deep pain before I would practice this stuff. These are hard lessons.

the unknown.

I am trying to do the best that I can at the moment, as I sit in the unknown. Unknown as to whether my husband will take me back, unknown as to whether it will work even if he does. Unknown about my inflated living expenses and whether I will sink into this nagging depression. Unknown. What is known is that this unknown is a deep trigger and it makes me want to run. I want to escape – out of body, out of mind, out of sight. Which parts are involved, if any? The little’s feel abandoned and scared. The protector parts are the ones that want to run and create distraction and wreak havoc. Cause drama. My dog is keeping me sane at the moment. She is so beautiful and loving, I would be truly lost without her.

I am trying my best to keep busy and distracted and focus on my PhD, and to be honest it is working, but sometimes, things just feel sad and too hard. As I write this, I beat myself up – for being self pitying, for feeling. I deny myself the ability to express emotion by doing that. I am fine with other people feeling sad or depressed or upset, but when it comes to me?! No way! I am not allowed to connect to how I feel. I must hide it, cover it up, shame it. It is wrong for me to feel – I am wrong. I wonder why I feel that way? Intellectually, I can reason that it is likely programming. That is what the abusers did to me – but emotionally, I cannot connect with this. I just feel dead inside, black and darkness and then my thinking just turns inside itself.