Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Offline but still writing...

I've decided to take my blog off line for awhile, but will continue to write about my process as I find it useful for me. I just realized that I was getting tired of hearing my own whining and spinning around the same subjects. So, until I am "back" I'm not sharing my process.

I also didn't feel like being so exposed while I go soul searching. When I am entering new learning I don't like an audience. I like to put things together and share what I've learned once I've learned it. And right now, I know the only person who can get me out of this funk I'm in is me. There are choices to be made. Crap to work through. Beliefs to confront. So while I'm off doing that I'll be writing but not sharing.

I hope to emerge the butterfly from the cocoon--complete with new shiny wings. And maybe even a new hairdo. :)

See you all soon. Feel free to email me in the meantime. You can do that through my profile. Warm wishes (sans advice) are always welcome.

With love & even a little bit of hope,
tall penguin

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Patterns...

As I look back on my life, I see patterns. Patterns of behavior, patterns of relationships, patterns of outcomes. No matter how "self-aware" I become, how much I change my world-view or how much I change my thoughts, I still end up in the same place. I am not convinced that my not being a jw has improved the quality of my life. I am not convinced that being a jw was any better either. I am not convinced of anything.

Nothing makes much sense anymore. Nothing seems real to me. I feel like I am hovering over my body watching it all, but somehow still caught in the patterns that play in my head. It all seems like bullshit and yet I can't seem to change it. The movie still plays out as it always has. No matter what I change, no matter what I do, no matter who is in my life, I still end up here--lost, immobilized, sick and confused.

I see everyone walking around all day, going to work, maintaining their existence and I don't see the point. I don't see why anyone does anything. I just see futility and waste and illusions and hopelessness. We are the same humans we've always been. We keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again, individually and collectively.

I hope we can evolve beyond the brains we have now. I see our current brain as seriously lacking. Or is it that we haven't evolved the tools to use it yet? Evolution is so very slow and disappointing. No wonder I really wanted to believe there was a god.

tall penguin

Friday, September 21, 2007

What I want...

A friend asked me today what I want, what's my heart's desire in life. I got angry and frustrated in thinking about her question. It's the same question the ex asked me all winter. Like a rat on a wheel, he would not stop badgering me. "What do you want to do with your life?" So fuck all of you. Here's my list. Read it or don't. I really don't care.

I want all advice to stop. I want people to stop telling me what they think. I want to know what to do and not be afraid to do it. I want to be able to try things and not be afraid of failing. I want to be able to make mistakes and not have my whole world come crashing down because of them. I want to be able to not know what to do and be okay with that.

I want to have a family. I want to love someone who loves me in return, someone devoted to staying with me, watching me grow, giving me the space to discover myself each day anew. I want someone to co-parent with, someone who believes in the value of parenting. Someone who cherishes me for my nurturing skills. Someone who sees my open heart not as a toy to be played with, or as a sign of weakness, but as a beautiful open flower, a heart willing to love and give. Someone who values having their dreams supported. Someone who values me and who I am behind all the story.

I want to share my life with someone who believes in commitment, who sees relationships, not just as temporary learning classrooms, but as lifelong learning gardens, places to grow, to love, to nurture and be nurtured. Someone who realizes that relationships can be hard work and that sometimes the passion fades, but that it can come back again if you want it to. Someone who won’t leave when the going gets tough. Someone who believes in love, the love that requires time to grow, the love that requires you to love yourself and to know who you really are.

I want to know what it’s like to get up every day and feel content. To feel as though my life is worth living. I want to know what it feels like to wake up beside someone who wants to be with me, who I feel safe to be me with. I want to know what it feels like to live my life with one person, to look back on 20, 30, 40 years of a relationship, to survey the highs and lows and still look at that person and smile and be glad that we’re together. I want to know what it feels like to love with all my heart and have that returned. To see my hard work and efforts pay off for once. To have memories that I can keep without being traumatized in recalling them. To have pure joy, untainted by loss and disappointment.

I want to know what it’s like to look back at an accomplishment, trial or challenge and feel proud, feel happy, feel delighted with myself. To feel a sense of worth and value in myself. I want to know what enough is. I want to know that I’m enough. I want to feel “enough” in every cell in my body, every breath in my lungs, every beat of my heart. I want to know what it’s like to put my head on the pillow at night and feel content with my day and be able to fall asleep without worry, without flashbacks, without memories. I want to know what a restful night’s sleep feels like, without nightmares, without panic. I want to know what it feels like to wake up and feel grateful to be alive, rather than praying for death to overtake me while I sleep.

I want to know what it’s like to give birth. To raise a child. To teach a child, to create a safe space for a child to love, live, laugh and grow. I want to know what it’s like to say, “This is my son” or “This is my daughter.”

I want to know what it’s like to feel like an adult, to feel like I’ve arrived on this planet and that I’m fully present and alive. I want to know what it feels like to take a vacation, to own a house, to have satisfying work each day and not be worried about bills and basic survival.

I want to know what it feels like to give love and feel like it’s not killing you slowly to give it. I want to know what it feels like to be alive every day and not feel so damn tired all the time.

I want to know that even if I don’t accomplish any of these things, that I’m okay, that I’m loved and that my life is worth living.

tall penguin

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Why a broken heart feels broken...

Thanks to Eric for letting me know about this interesting study done a few years ago on rejection. According to this study, the pain we feel after being rejected, by a love, friend or through shunning (like the jw's do), is processed in the same part of the brain as physical pain. So a "broken heart" indeed feels like it's actually physically broken.

I find this interesting because it's been proposed that Fibromyalgia, a neuromuscular condition I was diagnosed with at age 17, may be caused in part by a sensitivity in the brain area that detects and regulates our response to physical pain. I know I've always been acutely aware of my own and other's pain, both emotional and physical. I've been known to "vibe" the pain off others and spend hours in agony after being with someone who is experiencing physical or emotional distress. It affords me deeper experiences of love and empathy but rejection hurts like hell. I feel some days like carving out my heart, just to make it stop aching. Sigh.

tall penguin

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

So get this...

As you know I got busted by the pharmacist and have been without my sleeping pills for over a week now. I finally saw my doctor today and told him how much better I feel mentally since stopping them, but how sick I've been. So he figures the sick is from withdrawal, and it's quite possible they were actually making my emotional state worse not better, especially once I started abusing them. I've never been a huge fan of pharmaceuticals. They have their place I guess, but I always wonder if they're making matters worse rather than better for me. Now, I wonder even more.

So I've been working to reset my body clock and my sleep patterns. It's going well. There's been a few rough nights but I'm surviving. It's the physical withdrawal I'm feeling that is harder to take than the not sleeping. I wake up at 4 am with flu-like symptoms, panic and flashbacks. Then I get nauseous, have an upset tummy and shake a lot. It's not fun. I guess this is what they call addiction. Hard to believe after only a year on the stuff. The brain is a funny place. You just never know what's really going on in there.

tall penguin

"Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters"

I've recently been reading Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, by Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa. It is basically the evolutionary psychology stance on a number of very interesting and controversial questions. Evolutionary psychology differs from the social science standpoint of tabula rasa, or the idea that we are a blank slate at birth waiting for our environment to shape us. Evolutionary psychology sees human nature as greatly hardwired by evolution, and only slightly modified by environmental factors.

Here is an article adapted from the book from Psychology Today. It outlines "Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature" including: "Why most suicide bombers are Muslim, beautiful people have more daughters, humans are naturally polygamous, sexual harassment isn't sexist, and blonds are more attractive."

Interesting stuff. Just makes me realize even more that we really have very little clue why we do what we do. Science has so many different standpoints. Who's to say what's accurate? Who's to say what I or you are more influenced by, your evolution or your environment? How can we possibly ever know for certain which of the two has influenced which life choices? How can we ever really know, as I like to say, "what's driving the bus"? It all makes my head spin. And makes me want to cower in a dark corner and never read again. Sigh.

tall penguin

Monday, September 17, 2007

For the Asshole(s)

There seems to be a rash of breakups of couples I know. So here's my tribute to all the jerk, asshole men who don't have their shit together. Ladies, we're stronger than them. And better off without them I do believe. Keep your power. They don't deserve it.

Sleep to Dream
by Fiona Apple

I tell you how I feel, but you don't care.
I say tell me the truth, but you don't dare.
You say love is a hell you cannot bare.
And I say gimme mine back and then go there - for all I care.

I got my feet on the ground and I don't go to sleep to dream.
You got your head in the clouds and you're not at all what you seem.
This mind, this body, and this voice cannot be stifled by your deviant ways.
So don't forget what I told you, don't come around, I got my own hell to raise.

I have never been insulted in all my life.
I could swallow the seas to wash down all this pride.
First you run like a fool just to be at my side.
And now you run like a fool, but you just run to hide, and I can't abide.

I got my feet on the ground and I don't go to sleep to dream.
You got this head in the clouds and you're not at all what you seem.
This mind, this body, and this voice cannot be stifled by your deviant ways.
So don't forget what I told you, don't come around, I got my own hell to raise.

Don't make it a big deal, don't be so sensitive.
Were not playing a game anymore, you don't have to be so defensive.
Don't you plead me your case, don't bother to explain.
Don't even show me your face, cuz its a crying shame.
Just go back to the rock from under which you came.
Take the sorrow you gave and all the stakes you claim -
And don't forget the blame.

I got my feet on the ground and I don't go to sleep to dream.
You got this head in the clouds and you're not at all what you seem.
This mind, this body, and this voice cannot be stifled by your deviant ways.
So don't forget what I told you, don't come around, I got my own hell to raise.

Both Sides Now

I learned this Joni Mitchell song in seventh grade vocal music class. It has stuck with me for years and once in a while I put in on and belt it out with Joni. Seems timely.

Rows and floes of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now its just another show
You leave em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's loves illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say I love you right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all
I've looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

Law of Attraction...

So, there's a new age/self help principle that talks about the law of attraction, that we attract what we think about into our lives, or we attract lessons we need to learn to us. Not sure I buy into this. I've been thinking of death and suicide for over 15 years. Why am I still here? Surely by now, I should have attracted some sniper or disgruntled postal worker or some loathsome disease to take me out of the game. But no, I'm still here.

The self help gurus say to focus on the positive and all will be well. I find it hard to buy into that either. I bought into so many ideas as a jw. I believed that Armageddon was coming and that the earth was going to be made into a paradise. I believed that I was going to find someone to love and be with my whole life. I believed that the people I looked up to were telling me the truth. I realize I've given way too many people in my life too much credit. I have been blinded by a person's potential and forget to see who they are now. I have ignored behavior I shouldn't have. I have tolerated abuses. I have allowed people to manipulate me. No more. So, forgive me if I don't buy into the "just think positive" mentality. It just feels like more mindfuckery to me.

tall penguin

Friday, September 14, 2007

"If it makes you stumble..."

I have gotten used to cutting people out of my life. The jw's taught me well. But I don't want to cut people out of my life anymore. I'm learning that relationships can be worked with. They can grow. They can change and shift. I realize there's a balance here of course, that sometimes relationships can be unhealthy and need to be reexamined. But I don't feel so in a hurry as I once did to clear people to the side and "move on".

I have these images sometimes of these strewn bodies on the roadside of my life, the bodies of those I've cut off or lost along the way. I feel some days like I am grieving the loss of all these people now, all at once. It is a lot of grief. Today, I am glad for the process. I am glad my body is working through all this stuff, as painful as it is. I feel hopeful, like maybe I'll be better off for all of this. Like maybe there is a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. I don't know. Maybe it's just the meds finally kicking in.

tall penguin

Monday, September 10, 2007

What remains?

Of all the people I've lost, all the beliefs I've shed and everything that has come up for question in the past two years since leaving the jw's, what hurts me the most is that I feel myself losing faith in love.

I have always been a hopeless romantic, perhaps bordering on idealistic, but the one thing that always kept me going in life was the idea that love existed and that I could find someone to love and be loved by--a companion, a fellow journeyman. Now, love seems like just another chemical reaction in my mind. It seems meaningless. A futile pursuit like all others.

My unending belief in love has been what has guided my spirit through these many years of depression. Now, it seems like an illusion. Just another one to throw on the pile. What is left?

tall penguin

Perspective...

For the past four months I have been helping a new mother with her twin boys, now aged 13 months. I love children. Having studied infant development, I find it fascinating to watch these little guys grow, explore and learn. It's funny to sit back and watch them interact. They love playing peek-a-boo with me and each other.

Since I was a young girl I have wanted to have children. Yet, I wonder if that's just what I've been conditioned to want. I wonder what I would do with my time if I decided not to become a mother. How would I fill the next 20 years of my life? And I wonder how many people have children for these reasons. The factors seem complicated. I just wonder whether more children is what the planet really needs.

I have just come from taking care of these sweet little boys and I am exhausted in every way. I don't know how mothers do it. I am gaining a new empathy for my mother. Knowing her mental/emotional state at the time that she had my brother and I, I can imagine how difficult raising us was for her. Perhaps that is the context for why I would often find her lying across her bed at the end of the day crying. I find myself suffering the same universal exhaustion daily.

I am beginning to let go of all the preconceived notions I have had for my life. I have no idea what I'm doing. I have no idea where I'm going. I take each day one minute, one hour at a time. It's all I can do. I trust it won't always be this way. But I don't know for sure. I don't know anything for sure.

tall penguin

Visiting my demon-haunted world...

I took my last little blue pill of somnolence tonight. I got a few hours sleep and have awoken, probably for the night. It is 5 am.

My brain spends a lot of time ruminating in the past or worrying about the future. I believe it is the plague of humanity and our greatest disease. We spend so little time in the present moment. Children, or rather, very young children, know the power of being in the moment. They have not yet gotten drawn into the "adult" world of ego and mindstuff and mental constructs. They have not bought into the idea that we are what we think. That our thoughts are worth our attention.

The more I journey into my mind and question what I find there, the more I see a web of finely constructed memory, emotion and thought--all of which are the result of chemical and electrical processes. What makes me think any of it is real? I make it real by lending it credence, by weaving this large story around it. But that doesn't make it any more real. What is real, all that is real, is what's here now.

All the people from my past live on in my memory as this construct of interactions and conversations, but memory is a tricky thing. It is rarely accurate. It becomes overlaid by further experience, by time, by emotions. It becomes this entity, this frozen capsule of what once was, but it is not real. I don't even know these people anymore. Whether it's been a month, a year or ten years, if they are not part of my present moment experience, they are just my own mental construct. It is not real. And here I am giving away my time and energy to what is not real, to these constructs of past and future.

Over the years I have spent much time in various forms of therapy. Some of it has been useful. But I'm beginning to wonder if it's not just reinforcing my tendency to live somewhere other than now. There is this tendency to enter "analysis paralysis" where the meanderings of the mind become so dissected and analyzed that the mind becomes tricked into thinking they're real, that they're somehow more valid than what is happening right now. I realize how I have become paralyzed by my own thoughts, by a bunch of stuff going on in my synapses. I have become a slave to my own mind.

It's funny. Over recent months, I have craved sleep. I have craved an escape from my mind. And yet, sleep has eluded me. Perhaps it is my body saying it is time to wake up and face reality. To live here. Now.

Some people try to run from their past. I have been running from the now. It is scary to face what is. To learn to no longer derive your sense of self from the constant circus of the mind. Once again, the question stares me down from all directions...who am I really?

tall penguin

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Now what?

I had a major panic attack as I wrote yesterday's entry on suffering. Today, I realize I'm the only one who can free myself. I have spent enough time giving my power away to people and situations of abuse and trauma. I have kept the stories alive for so long now that I don't even know what's real anymore. All I feel is the raw pain of grief and anger. Not even sure who it's towards or what it's about. I can project it on any number of people and situations but it is becoming enough to just acknowledge that it's there and breathe through until it passes. Eventually everything does.

The pharmacy would not refill my sleeping pill prescription. They've figured out that I've been taking more than the recommended dose. When I started the anti-depressant, they began losing their effectiveness so I began to take more and more. Apparently I'm now up to triple the maximum dose. Probably not a good thing but when you're suicidal you're not much concerned with maximum dosages and long-term repercussions. So I face some choices. Do I seek out more drugs? Or do I detox and see what I can manage on my own with the other resources I have in place (therapy, friends, etc.)?

I feel like I'm at a major crossroads in my life. There are people I've been striving to keep in my life who either don't want to be here right now or can't be here or would be better off not being here. And there are a whole wealth of new friends who've come into my life and offered me their unconditional love and friendship. It is hard to let go but I've been carrying so much dead weight for so long, leaving doors open that should've been closed long ago. I have been gathering strength. The strength to know that I don't need these people and that I'd probably be much better off without them, as painful and harsh as that may be. I have made it this far without people I thought I couldn't live without. Fuck it. Let's keep moving.

Life continues to surprise me. I continue to surprise me. And so it is.

tall penguin

Saturday, September 8, 2007

How to make it stop?

J is gone from my life. He was my best friend. We will probably never have another conversation. Even if we did, what really happened will be so mottled up that neither of us will see matters straight. How can we ever possibly sort out what is real? Once the moment is gone, memories get overlaid with other memories. Time changes conversations. It changes people. More experiences happen. Nothing is real anymore. There is just this story that we think happened sometime at some point. But what of it is really true? And how can we ever know? Stories within stories. Days, months, years pass. The story grows. I don’t know what’s real anymore. Did he say that? Did I do that? Did I allow that? Did he mean to hurt me? Did we mean to hurt each other? Why am I still hurting if I don’t even know what’s real anymore? How can any of us know? I feel my sanity slipping away. Nothing makes sense.

What do I really want here? I want J to know how much he hurt me. I want him to feel the hurt. I want him to feel the hurt he’s been through in his life. I want everyone to feel their own suffering so they can stop making others suffer. I want everyone to feel their own grief so I don’t have to feel it for them.

I don’t want to feel for other people anymore. I don’t want any more pain. I don’t want to walk into a room and have people tell me their stories, their pain, their grief. I don’t want there to be any more suffering. I want suffering to end. I want back my illusion that suffering will end. That there’s a god who cares. I want back my solution. I hate this helplessness. I hate this powerlessness I feel. To heal myself. To heal anyone else. We are all suffering. And we pass it on to our children and they onto theirs. To what end? Where does it end? I can’t make it stop. I want it to stop. All of it. I want the hurting to stop. For me. For everyone. And I can’t do it. How do I make it stop?

tall penguin

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Special Thanks...

...to B and G for reminding me how sexy I am. I needed that.

tall penguin

Curse

This black day
This black hole
Shattered pieces
Never whole

You lied to me
You lied to you
There never was a dream
There was only two

Your mask wore thin
The blood smeared your face
You ran away
You fell from grace

I believed the lie
Twice around
Steered the ship
And ran aground

Fuck your sense of self
You were never worth knowing
With your lips open
Your arrogance showing

Finish the job
Carve out my heart
Finally close off
Something you start

Then leave me to die
Be on your way
Put on your show
Pretend away

You were never real
Not even now
Look in the mirror
You sacred cow

Hope it was worth it
Your game of sport
If fate is kind
It will be short

And you will suffer
The same as I
You will heave
And you will cry

And you will know
You killed what was good
The naïve little muse
Who did what she could.

tall penguin

Monday, September 3, 2007

A long update...

I haven't really addressed this specifically as it's been in process. I'm currently being treated for Major Depressive Episode and a relapse of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have been in and out of doctor's offices, in and out of hospitals, seeing specialists, having tests done, telling my life story again and again and this is the current diagnosis for where I'm at. I am struggling.

Each day is a psychological battle. When my eyes open each morning I am plagued by flashbacks of people from my past, things they said, things they did, things they did to me, things I did to them. And for the rest of the day, I have this movie playing behind my eyes of every hurtful thing that has ever happened to me. Sometimes I will be out and a song or a picture will trigger something I haven't thought of in years. And the flashes of memory will overtake me.

My days are punctuated by crying spells that seem to come from nowhere. If I'm out I retreat to the nearest ladies' washroom and curl up on the back of the toilet, sobbing. I feel overwhelmed by life. I find going outside to be a challenge. The sights, smells, sounds, it all feels like too much right now. Like I can't filter the externals because I can't even filter what's going on internally.

Some days I just lie in bed all day and stare at the walls. Curled up in the fetal position I appear catatonic. But inside my head, the memories, the thoughts, the guilt, the shame, the anger, the grief all swirl around. And the thoughts of death. I have had periods of my life where I've felt suicidal. But never felt like acting on them. This is different. Every day I think about how I would do it, down to the minutest detail. I've never been in such a deep place of hopelessness.

I think that leaving the jw's is only really hitting me now that J is gone. He was my last safe space between me and the outside world. When he left, the world rushed in on me. It's big and it's scary and I'm totally unprepared for life in it. I feel like a child, taking its tentative first steps, ever wary. Yet when I look back for that mother to reassure me that everything is okay and I can keep going, there is no one there. I have never felt so alone. I have never been so aware that you are the only one that can choose to live, that can choose to keep going. No one can make that choice for me. At this point I feel pretty indifferent. I feel my life to be insignificant, meaningless. Who is one person in the grand scheme of things? If I were gone tomorrow, life would continue on.

I have lost 30 lbs in the past five months. People keep saying how great I look. Little do they know why I'm not eating. That I have no desire for the foods I used to take such pleasure in. That some days I don't even feel that I deserve to eat, that I have failed so miserably at life that my body does not deserve any further sustenance.



Our lives touch each other every day. J touched my life so profoundly that his absence has kicked up every hurt, every abuse I've ever gone through. Is he responsible for that? I don't know anymore. I just know that seldom do we stop to think how our choices will affect people now and down the road. There is this great web of which we're all a part and we can trigger off any number of outcomes by a word or deed towards another human we share this planet with. It is another reason I like to spend my days in bed. I have weaved enough of a web, hurt enough people, been hurt by enough people. I do not want to have any further impact on my environment.

I am angry at those people who choose so wantonly. Who do not consider what impact their actions will have on others. I am angry at me for having been selfish on occasion in my life and for having hurt people along the way. I am angry at my abusers, angry at those who took my heart for sport. I do not know what to do with all of this emotion sometimes. It runs through me like fire.

Unfortunately, the meds I am on are still not working. It's been two months now. The idea is to give these ones a couple more weeks before moving on to another. I feel like a pharmaceutical whore. And yet I know that I need this intervention right now. I know that I am not fully in control of my actions. My parents bought me a knife block as a new apartment gift. I haven't been able to open it yet. I'm scared to. It sits on my floor in the kitchen. Still in the bag.

My parents have no idea what I'm going through right now. I don't see any point in telling them. I fear receiving the "Well, if you'd just come back to THE TRUTH (the jw's), then you'd feel better" speech. Yes, and that would lead to me spontaneously combusting into a fit of rage where I outline how almost every issue I have stems from being raised in their stupid cult to begin with. Sigh.

In all of this I am blessed with a good support network, people who give a damn. But as I said, I am alone in my head. I am the only one each day hearing the thoughts of suicide. I am the only one having the memories triggered.

From Metric's song "Grow Up and Blow Away":

"If this is the life
Why does it feel so good to die today?"

tall penguin