Video diaries

As part of the writing boxing workshop, the director and I have asked the participants to do video diaries. Some people are doing it, others aren’t. There’s no requirements per se, it’s suggested but not mandatory. I am really struggling to do this. I had imaginings that I was really going to get into it and the workshop/ doco would give me a great push, but I just can’t bring myself to make a recording. I am motivated with all other aspects but nada with this. I clam up, I feel super self conscious and embarrassed and ugly. I don’t know what to say or talk about. I can feel my parts scared and being weirded out by it and feeling gross.

The workshops have been filmed and I’ve been fine with that so far. I’m not looking forward to how I turn out on screen but I have to roll with it as it’s not about me. It’s about the group and the women. Who knows, they’re stories might be what we focus on. I might not even appear that much. I think I would be okay with that. I want to push myself to do the video diaries but I feel so uninspired and blank. It feels like programming stopping me, but then I think I’m making that up.

I’m not sure what’s real and what’s not.

Theme: Vulnerability

It was always being seen naked.

It was crying after i orgasmed in sex. Like really let myself go and becoming flooded with deep waves of emotion from a place inside me, otherwise shut down.

It’s letting myself be touched softly and delicately and romantically. No thank you. Best be hard with me, I like to feel pain.

It’s looking at your eyes.

It’s holding a gaze.

It’s connecting with how I feel.

It’s having no makeup on, out of the shower and seeing my body in the mirror with you being there to see me. Ugly. Raw. Naked. Nowhere to hide.

It’s being triggered and putting on the wrong clothes in front of you and being so ashamed that nothing seems to fit me or feel right and I just want to lock myself in my room and rip through my wardrobe and only come out when someone’s got control of my body and mind and image.

She talked about being naked and vulnerable today. It resonated. I want to walk freely without worrying about my legs or my ass or whether I look too muscular or fit- like too strong fit- better be weak fit- scrawny fit- invisible body fit. She talked about them bending and twisting her naked body as a child and I know she’s like me, I’m like her and I felt God giving me insight into what is going on for me. Through her. He talked through her. My little naked body. Bent and twisted and shamed. Now it’s grown and i bend and twist it in shame. I tear it down. I refuse to celebrate it. It’s never enough. I’m okay with some angles. I hate photographs. I need mirrors, I want to smash them.

Vulnerability is waking up to you each morning. No makeup. Hair ragged. Embarrassed and wanting to hide.

Vulnerability is kissing intimately and touching you in public unashamedly and showering you with attention and secretly wanting it back but being awfully embarrassed when it’s done so.

Vulnerability is admitting I’m hurt and afraid and ashamed again and again and again and I feel as though you hate me or think I am horribly disgusting. Vulnerability is wanting you but being scared to say it and feel it and stay with it. It’s sleeping in your arms at night dreaming of ways to escape because I don’t believe it will last or my mind flutters elsewhere or I know when I sleep I will dream nightmares. Vulnerability is facing the world, each moment, each day, it’s feeling the space between my legs, it’s accepting my humanness, it’s shifting faces and being needy and incomplete and unreasonable. It’s falling asleep in the day when my mind goes dark.

End of week.

It’s been a big week, transitioning to working from home, sorting staff out and trying to integrate technology and deal with the massive overwhelming nature of it all. So many emails, apps, files etc etc.

My favourite coffee shop is still open, which provides me with great relief for now. It’s getting weirder and weirder here and I’m trying to keep sane, which I mostly am. I don’t feel like things are slowing down though. I feel like they are ramping up. I am enjoying cooking with what we have. Not feeling like I have to go out or be anywhere. The dogs. Evening shut off times with S.

Second guessing myself in all I do. One minute I’m proud of myself, the next I think I am terrible at what I do and completely unsure of myself. I feel slow – stupid – worthless. The voice of the programmers I know. I wish I had clear thoughts and confidence.

I worry I am starting to feel trapped, isolated and scared. Because I am so disconnected from my feelings I think i am feeling that way but it’s removed from me for now. It’s fuzzy. If I breathed I would feel pain, disgust and shame. I tend to stay distracted and don’t notice my breathe.

Rhyme without reason

Frankly I’ve always liked to isolate. I’ve lived in my head for a long time, it’s a relief not to have to see so many people. I like working from home, although I wish my space was bigger so it was easier for S to do things. I feel motivated daily. I feel like a wanker writing this. Today I spoke with a brilliant woman who I hope can run a workshop with my students about “the bystander effect”. She reminded me of all the women stuck in domestic violence situations at the moment in lock down. It made me think about all the kids living with their perpetrators, stuck in lock down too. That’s scary. I feel blessed. I feel grateful God has prepared me for this. Transitioning to “staying put” is easy for me. I like keeping things simple and low key. This year is all about consolidation and hunkering down anyway. But what about all the people disenfranchised? Living in toxic environments and this isolation compounding it all. I pray for them and those in need of light, love and hope.

I did dissociate last night though. I’m not really sure what triggered it. I was feeling pretty crappy yesterday and overwhelmed and not good enough. Then I had a shower and S came home and I was naked and in front of the mirror/ raw- vulnerable- completely bare and I felt so ugly and had complete body dysmorphia. She was being very loving and I was trying to be all cool and accepting and really just battling these very negative shame based thoughts. And later I just disappeared and the littles came out. No one said much. They just took over. It felt easier that way but hard because I was in mental and emotional pain, rhyme without reason.

I woke feeling somewhat better and grateful and empowered. I hope my behaviour doesn’t appear to manic.

I am enjoying doing boxing and fitness classes online every night. I am really getting into it and being pushed- it’s a great way to end the day.

Today I prayed with a work colleague over the phone and that’s what shaped the day. When I draw on God and invite Him in to the picture, things become brighter.

Day 1. Disbelief

Today I just crumbled. Perhaps I’m being a little dramatic but I succumbed to sleep, lethargy and depression. It felt good. I feel better tonight. I slept till about 11am, then basically spent the afternoon on couch, went back to bed, scrolled on phone, ate, relaxed. I mean this is probably a normal Sunday or weekend for some, but this is hard for me. When I stop I immediately think about suicide and mostly hate on myself. The negativity was not too bad I guess, although I did wonder about whether it would really matter if I left the earth. In the back of my mind was this 21 day challenge, “I believe in me”, and ironically on the last day of it, I was in the shower contemplating suicide. Go figure. Anyway I made it. I had one day off – maybe that makes it invalid? I’ve no idea but I’m not starting again. I’ll move onto something else.

I spoke to S tonight about how I was feeling and it was good to talk. I feel better for getting it off my chest. Now there’s less distance which is nice and I feel more relaxed with her.

I believe in me. Full stop. No if’s or buts. I am valuable as R says.

Day 2. Normalcy.

I don’t do normalcy.

I’ve been feeling stifled with S. One bedroom apartment. I need my independence but I don’t really know why and what for. I’m still out and about but working from home, it’s just weird doing it with S always there. I like to have my own space. It’s not just that. It’s the family stuff. I don’t trust it. I don’t like it. I’m not used to it. It’s triggering.

Today I conducted the boxing writing workshop online via zoom. One of the women N came to the gym, so it was nice to have some company. I set her a different boxing program so I could concentrate on training the women online. But first we did the writing and it was amazing. These women continue to blow me away how they express their trauma and write about it in such truthful and profound ways. Hearing them share blows me away. Then I ran a fitness program with most of the women online and it was weird with everyone in their bedrooms or lounge rooms or outside but it seemed to work and we broke up a real sweat. We ended the session on a high and everyone just felt really in their body and grounded in contrast to when we finished the writing / which was sad and depressing and inward. Not that that is bad but it’s good to just be able to not let it “stay in the body”. Exercising helps the trauma move through… its another retelling and re-Storying of the trauma. As I was leaving one of the women, C, rang me. After the online session she’d gone to the beach for a swim and when she got out of the water some guy was masturbating! She told another man nearby and he was really rude and dismissive and she got massively triggered, understandably. C got the courage and told the surf patrol centre and they said they would call the police and then she rang me in tears as she was so upset by it. I talked her through as I really felt like she went into parts (she’s a ritual abuse survivor) and just soothed her little ones and said how brave she was as an adult self to go and tell someone and even though the first person wasn’t nice, the next person said they would help. And this shows the little parts in her that now as an adult she is strong and can speak out but she couldn’t when she was little and that’s sad and I was sorry she was so hurt and that people were mean. And it made me upset soothing her like that because of course my little parts are listening and in so much pain hearing this. Part of the workshop has been encouraging the women to create video diaries and i have really struggled to do them myself but when I got home I sat in the car and did one, but I can’t look at myself because of how I judge myself and so I just talked about how sad I was and how my little parts don’t understand why people can be so horrible. They just don’t get it. They gave up on life so long ago. And men, sorry to those who read this, but why are men so disgusting at times? Why are some men so horrible and cruel? My little parts don’t get it at all and it makes me angry.

So I felt triggered when I got home and we had to go to S’s nephews birthday at S’ parents house. I sooo didn’t want to go but he is a cute kid (7) and I mustered up the energy but I just wanted to lash out at S. Not because she did anything because she didn’t but because I hate playing these fucking family “nice” games and they’re not “nice games”, her family isn’t like that. They are genuine but I don’t get it and I keep waiting for the big reveal. It’s making me sick it’s so fucking sincere. And I felt myself in the car wanting to connect with others – women in the group – and be all nice and friendly with them – but not be like that with S. And it made me think of my family/ how they would be all nice and friendly with everyone on the outside but inside it was dark and moody and mean and unspoken. I realised I’m playing these dynamics out. This is learned behaviour. Realising that softened me a bit and I ended up having a good night and it was okay with S but I feel distant. It’s like I’m blaming her. She’s an easy target. I’m angry at her for loving me. Like doesn’t she realise why that’s stupid? Doesn’t she realise it’s all going to turn bad? Or that I’m not who she thinks I am? But who am I then? That’s a part talking and it pisses me off because there’s something deeply buried and unconscious inside of me that makes me feel so unloveable and damaged that it makes me scared to know the truth. I don’t want to be a mean partner and I know I’m just distancing myself but I feel alone and guilty and aware I am recycling a damaged past. Because it is amnesic I feel trapped and alone in its darkness.

Day 2. I believe in me because I made a connection today about my family dynamics that I’ve never been able to see before. That means the work I am doing is paying off.

Day 3. Hitting things in therapy.

I didn’t want to but I did it. Went to therapy and read last nights post to T and she helped me to connect with the part who came out last night. The part wanted to hit something, so T got me a baseball bat (soft rubber one) and I started hitting it against a pillow and she was encouraging me to verbalise and I can’t recall what I was saying, probably F you or “I am so angry at you” (my family) and then I just buckled over and this pain shot through my body and it hurt so much and I slumped to the floor and just cowered into a ball and shook and cried and my T just sat on the floor with me and rubbed my shoulder and soothed me. The pain was so much, in my stomach but i didn’t get a picture or any narrative with it and so that left me feeling disappointed. T encouraged me to visualise holding the parts hand, which I did, although I had to just imagine it because I didn’t feel like the part trusted me yet. But I was glad I took some of her pain like I said I would and I think she appreciated that I stayed true to my word. I lay on the ground for a while until the emotion and feelings passed through me and then I felt like hitting the pillow again. This time I just yelled about how my family were liars and I was angry at that. I was angry at them presenting one thing and doing another behind closed doors. I hit that pillow until I was puffed out which felt good to express. Then we talked and I said how I felt sad that I had no narrative and it made me disbelieve myself. But T said not to invalidate my parts and that the emotion was real and I needed to learn to trust that.

Then the session was over. All done in 50 minutes. Good to have intention hey. Tonight I ordered Japanese and hung with S and watched a movie. It was good to just relax.

I believe in myself and I believe myself.

Day 4. A well of tears

Dissociative tonight. Went to S’s family for dinner and it was lovely but I guess I just find family stuff triggering. Her niece was there, a one year old baby, and I just find babies so weird and gross. I heard myself thinking horrible things in my head and it dawned on me that what I am saying to myself is likely memory and I am silently projecting it onto an innocent baby. No wonder I keep this stuff dissociated. And then her family is so nice and normal and loving to me, which is beautiful and I’m not complaining, I just find the whole thing a bit too overwhelming. Like, ‘if only they knew’, or ‘don’t get too close’ or ‘stay away from me’… I don’t know where this comes from, it’s deeply unconscious and I just want to sleep when I leave and I go deep inside to retreat because it has been overwhelming.

This virus. I get it’s real but I feel very suspicious of the panic and pandemic and it makes me uneasy. I am trusting God and I have to focus on Him – some days are just easier than others. What is the government planning? What will happen? I can’t go there. I don’t have control over it anyway. I can only trust God.

I believe in me because it’s the only way to stay grounded and healthy and focused.

Part: Who are you kidding? You don’t believe in you. I don’t believe in me. You’re a fucking dirt bag liar piece of shit. Give up now. Cut your losses. Die.

Me: thank you for sharing. You sound angry and hurt.

Part: don’t patronise me.

Me: I can hear you are angry and upset. I feel sad and affected by this because I know it comes from a place of pain and hurt. I need you to know you are part of me and that I am deeply sorry you are in so much pain. Would you be willing to share some of this with me?

Part: you couldn’t handle it, you weak piece of shit.

Me: what makes you think that I couldn’t handle it?

Part: because I have so much pain that it would scare you and send you running.

Me: that’s a lot for you to be carrying. I see our therapist tomorrow afternoon. That is a place where you can share some of it. You don’t have to do it all at once. Maybe you could give me a bit tomorrow at the session and see if I can handle it?

Part: what will you do with it?

Me: I will feel it and let it pass and comfort it. Soothe the pain until it lessens. We keep doing that until it goes fully away.

Part: it is a deep well.

Me: I know and we can empty it slowly and fill the well up again with healing water made from the tears of God. Bless you part. Until tomorrow.

Part: okay.

Day 5. Happy mistakes

Just realised I wrote two day 6’s, so quickly edited the previous post and now I am down to day 5 in my 21 day “believe in me” challenge. Oh dear, the title I have given this is very twee. It’s insta twee. Damn it, I’m running with it. Actually it’s quite sad- a part of me is like “oh you don’t believe in yourself? How sad for you.” But now I’m like, “hey part, you’re part of me. So if I don’t believe in myself, then you don’t either. We’re in this together so just suck it up and jump on board”. She’s pissed, but she’s coming.

Look I’ll be glad when this is done, silly brain games, but at least I’m sticking to it. Better work, even if it doesn’t; what have I lost? Perspective? (Joke), no, nothing.

It’s a crazy time and I ain’t buying it. This year is about consolidation and synthesising for me. I hope to take some time off in the next week and prepare to finish my PhD. I want to knock this baby off during covid-19. We’ll see. My plans may get thwarted but I am sensing it’s going to happen.

Last night I dreamt of spiders and spider programming. I hate that programming. It feels like it keeps coming back even though it’s been destroyed a number of times.

I went to boxing tonight and it felt so good to be fighting. Man I want to smash things. It feels good. Lots of pent up energy.

My good friend J is back in residential care. Poor love. She’s tough tho and will get through it. At least she better. She will. She’s just got to ride it out. Sometimes we just got to ride it out.

I believe in myself because despite the fuckers who played with my baby mind, I got through – I’m drug and alcohol free, in a healthy relationship, and not an abuser and I believe in God and Yeshua even tho they tried to destroy this love and connection. And that is beautiful and empowering and pretty darn amazing.

Day 6.

What a day. A difficult time for so many, and for me working in a university is really difficult as there is so much unknown. We are working hard to shift content delivery online, but because arts education is experiential and involves people, objects, touching etc, it’s quite difficult to deliver an education without being together and kinda getting messy. Things are on hold, but not on hold. How do we make our films? What kind of educational experience are students getting in terms of value for money and how many will stay or drop out? I feel fatigued and drained by it all. I could see things from multiple perspectives (go figure) – in terms of decisions that needed to be made from a wellbeing point of view (mental, psychological, emotional and physical), through to time, resourcing, risk management, financial, schedules, skill set, ethical reasons, social responsibility etc etc.) whatever action is taken is going to and already is having massive ramifications and the real fall out is yet to reveal itself. Frankly I just want to curl in a ball and sleep for days, but life ain’t like that. I got to keep pressing on.

I believe in myself because I know I am part of a team at work and contribute to the environment I work in.