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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Psychic Work

I used to be much more religious in high school. I needed the ritual, the sense of normality, some hard edges to define some of the psychological and spiritual mess I was going through. I created my own traditions and rituals, based not on some sense of what the chain bookshops told me, but what felt reasonable and natural to me.

My rituals were grounded in old, recorded traditions. Some were quite contemporary, but made sense. I left offerings of food: bread, honey, milk. Imagine my delight on leaving out a glass of mead to find the whole thing overtaken by ants and tiny sweat bees. Some of these rituals were exercises of memory and focus. I would say a certain prayer when I would first see the sun, I braided white threads around my wrist to remind me of a certain prayer or deity.

I am not nearly as dedicated as I was then, but perhaps I don't need to be. I still keep my altar space deliberately in an obtrusive space so that I don't merely pass idly by: I must notice and appreciate it. I do extensive dream work.

Working with dreams has given me extensive psychological and spiritual growth. Sometimes, the dreams themselves are portentous, other times they allow me to come to a conclusion or realization of an issue that is affecting my growth. Other times they are spiritually revelatory (at least for myself). This isn't to say that it's all smiles and rainbows "down there". Much to the contrary, most of my dreams are harrowing nightmares and lessons in the bizarre. However, I have come to understand even before reading "Women Who Run With the Wolves" that the Dark Man of dreams is not a portent of my doom. He is not my enemy: he is myself. And he is not myself.

The Dark Man has always appeared as a trickster, one who I cannot gauge his overall goal, but for the present seems to be a guide. For many this is not the case, the Dark Man is their personal tormentor. I believed that for a while as well, but after analyzing certain details, I've realized that the Dark Man (whether trickster or tormentor) is your guide to the underworld of dream.

This dark guide doesn't care for your state of mental exhaustion, so by allowing the dream to take shape how it will, I have learned that he is showing me the horror of myself. This horror might not be a lesson of itself, but take the circumstances. If there is a nightmare theme that persists with a certain intensity, it means there is some issue your psyche needs to work through. The Dark Guide is there to show you to the door, but he cannot open it for you.

You will give yourself greater capacity for psychic work only once you give the Dark Guide the tools he needs to show you the way. He will always show up during times of psychological duress, when things are complicated, messy, and dreadful. He is not a devil, but wears the mask of one to force you to see the horror in your psyche. Dreams are the safe zone to get the most dangerous psychic work accomplished in the least amount of time. By enabling the Dark Guide to help you help yourself, he will escort you to greater dimensions of yourself.

The rapturous, blissful, bizarre, and monstrous: you are those things you dream.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I can't say if you're who my mind paints you to be. It's not fair to hold that image against your likeness.

But when I feel your absence the strongest, that image floats back to me, confuses my senses.

Could I be wrong? Do you feel differently than you've expressed or am I merely searching for hope?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Seeing "the Other side"

Something I really take issue to is people who make rape jokes. How shocking! Oh, you're horrible! Look, you're saying something inflammatory and unexpected to get attention. Really, these people are just live trolls or outright idiots, who are using the protections they think that socializing and friendship award them.

I'm here to say that it doesn't make you look cool. Neither does victim blaming, slut shaming, or making light of the situation. The situation being that there is something desperately corrupt about our society, one that does not take the sexual autonomy and sexual integrity of the individual seriously.

Some people may mean well by defending an exclusive situation they know about, such as a false rape accusation. Making blanket statements that are meant to slut shame the accuser does not help anyone. Let me repeat that: Slut shaming does not help anyone. Slut shaming, even if directed at a true case of false accusation, only adds to the con-artist versus dupe mentality of rape and sexual consent, which further stigmatizes the real victims. Also, people are far more likely to hear about a false rape accusation, or where the accusation is in question, than of supposed "clear cut" cases.

It has taken me years to fully grasp what has happened to me and to be able to come to some sort of understanding in a way that I can communicate the incidents with others. There are cases when I did not give consent and verbalized such. I meant it when I said it. The psychological abuse and fear of physical violence of one such incident further traumatized my sexual identity-- something I still have not fully come to understand because of what has happened to me.

I have mentioned before how I freeze up on occasion during consentual sex. Another time when I did not give consent, I was with friends I trusted and was taken advantage of while I was too intoxicated to leave on my own. This such time was one that I also froze up. It further complicates things when emotions were tied into it. Yes, I am resentful. No, I'm not sure I would describe the last such time as a date rape, but I do know that while I never consented and verbalized such, I did freeze up and enable further harm to myself when I was reliving some of those past memories by "giving in", or not fighting when I should have.

However, even though I am resentful, I have never used the situation to slander the other person. I did not even fully understand what happened to me until recently. BUT when I see inflammatory remarks about how so-and-so is just a "vengeful slut", it infuriates me because I feel like I have been on the other end of that misconception. There are many out there who would describe my experience as date rape, and others as "buyer's remorse". This is what I believe it was: my own trauma and years of psychological abuse VS. someone who buys into the meat-market "game".

Ultimately, this mentality comes from the way we are socialized and raised to view sexuality, as well as those who are so absorbed in the self that they are threatened by the concept of no.

So, really, what I'm saying is that I don't need to "see the other side". The facts show that false accusations comprise only 5% of what such crimes are reported. However, the victim blaming and slut shaming does directly adversely affect ALL legitimate rape victims.

Sure, I can be angry at those who falsely accuse, but they don't do nearly as much damage to legitimate rape victims as those who use such examples to cause the victim to prove his/her innocence.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Weird guys.

After my last breakup, a lot of my "friends" took it on themselves to think it was their business to gossip about who it was I was sleeping with. None of them were right. I don't sleep around.

But, this isn't to say that I didn't get involved with someone. I did, and then I felt uncomfortable with an open relationship. I didn't know how I felt about it other than weird, frustrated, distrustful of myself and others. So I ended it. Fine, right?

Well, not exactly. One night, he kisses me uninvited and unannounced, then acts a bit like nothing happened... and two nights later? He kisses another girl in front of me and flirts with other girls like I'm not even there.

Either he is just oblivious, or he's trying to make me jealous. I am confused. But at least I stood up for myself this time. I really don't want to have anything to do with relationships until I figure my own stuff out. Last night and this morning were the first time in a long time I felt comfortable alone in my own bed. It feels nice.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mother Superior

Someone at work today called me Sister Sara because I feel uncomfortable anytime sex is brought up in a conversation.

I've been thinking about my behaviors a lot lately, and I think it's something most of my friends don't realize.
My "nunlike" behavior is actually an avoidant behavior and a symptom of whatever my condition is. I literally cannot stop the behavior, although I can rationalize it.

This is why I have such a hard time even with the concept of sex with the various RPGs and fictional characters I've portrayed. In a sense, my RPGs are theraputic, although that is not the only reason I enjoy them. My fictional characters help me express and explore concepts and ideas without risking my sense of self. It has enabled me to become much more outspoken and bold when dealing with people, but it cannot fix my problems.

My avoidance behaviors are many. Sometimes, I cannot stand being touched. I have reacted with violence on being snuck up on. Other times, I jump or have had panic attacks. Sometimes, I cannot hold the hand of someone I care about and want to be affectionate with. Sometimes kissing feels like I'm being suffocated. I literally feel claustrophobic occasionally and cannot breathe. Sometimes, I feel like when I'm making out or having sex (even if I want to), I black out. Like, I can remember what happens and can react, but I am not present.

This gives me huge problems in my daily life and especially with my more intimate (emotional proximity) relationships.

When the topic comes up, I engage in avoidant behaviors because something reminds me of the trauma. Psychologically, I'm uncertain of what really works for me and what is a part of my fractured psyche trying to figure things out.

I know that it all feels very very personal. Even people that I have had irresponsible "relationships" with (or been with when I psychologically had no business doing) have left this imprint on the deeper trauma. This doesn't mean those lighter indiscretions are less painful, and it certainly is not my fault that other people have taken advantage of my bad situation for personal gain. However, this gradual eating away of my psyche has also eroded my capability of trust.

In those "nunlike" moments, I am at my most guarded for good reason. I don't want you to see how bad it is, because even in moments of clarity like these, I don't even know how deep the rabbit hole goes.

I do know that I feel cursed, like something has been done to mark me out. I don't know, but it sucks that I feel I've given so much to my abusers and to people who cared but weren't able to deal with it (I certainly don't blame the latter), and have such awful things to show for it. I feel this overwhelming need to fill these gaping holes I have.

I also know that one day, my psyche will be immense. So that idea makes me a bit calmer in hysterical moments.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I guess its not surprising that after last night's psychological sifting and sorting that I had a really horrific nightmare. However, this is a good opportunity to share that nights like these are a good sign: it means my brain is trying to sort things out, and that by reliving some of these feelings, I might be psychologically prepared to get the help I need.
This post over at the Yes Means Yes blog inspired me to think about what I want right now.
Well, I'm not really sure.
While I am not a slut, I don't judge people who are.
I don't think I'm in the right place right now to have what the blog post describes as an "organic casual relationship". I'm not sure if I can handle casual. I can empathize with the author when she describes having to learn certain things to be stronger. I have holes to patch, and I'm the only one who can stitch them up. I need to learn how to accept existing in pieces. For now.
I need to accept that wanting help is a sign of strength, bravery. Surviving what I have without being addicted to drugs, alcohol, or being worse off is a sign of strength. I'm not as weak as my abusers are because they are restricted to stagnancy. They will never change because they live in a permanent state of denial where they believe that abuse and rape are minor transgressions, worth less between two people than property damage (and indeed it's no wonder considering the prison time for rape is in most cases less severe than for cruelty to animals).
I need to learn how to calm my desperation, how to fill my need for affection and proximity without risking too much of myself. I cannot have the sluthood mentality because I do not want someone who only wants me for sex, even if that's all I want. The kind of person likely to be that way is less likely to view me as a person, and that is the biggest turnoff I can possibly think of. Even for people that I hate, I still feel enough to feel sorry for the bastards.
Yes, I am that way. No, I can't help it. It is far too indoctrinated in me to feel differently.
Right now, I feel like I can't connect to a lot of people... they seem acidic.
I don't know... I had a strong sense of conviction when I began this rant, but now it's 3AM and I'm very weary.
I just need answers, I guess. I need to let myself exist in pieces.