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Making Space

On Marriage
 Kahlil Gibran
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. 

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. 

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

We have, as He indicated, both started back into therapy.  We had a relatively calm summer, without many overt symptoms related to His PTSD, and with very little of the acute craziness that I am prone to in reaction response to that (which seems to have no fancy name, so let's just keep on calling it "my craziness").  The therapist (Judy -- as He has indicated) is clearly going to focus on the harms done to Him by His abusive mother.  With me, she seems focused on helping me negotiate my own craziness with strategies and "friendly advice" about how to cope in the event.  While she is clear that I have my own abusive history, it is clear to both of us that my really nutty episodes are wrapped around His.  In general, I'm level when He is, and I am totally nuts if He is mired in a PTSD episode.  I believe that much of what Judy will try to help me figure out is how to make "space" in my life with Tom.  

I admit that I am afraid that creating separation between us will forever push us apart.  She assures me that is not the case.  She insists that a healthy space between us is necessary for us to come together fully again.  I can hear that, and somewhere in my brain, it feels true -- and I am still scared of the actual doing.  

I have, for ten years, lived and breathed inside of Tom's energy.  There came to be, over time, very little of our life together that was not directly or indirectly influenced by Him.  I willingly (for the most part) shifted my physical and emotional world to conform with what He wanted, needed, directed.  A lot of that was my own wish, my volition, my desire.  I wanted to be close to Him.  I wanted His approval.  I wanted His love, and I wanted to live out the love I felt for Him.  It seemed right and good and natural and easy (usually) to move into being "His" in that intense and intimate way.  I knew, as we moved along, through the years, that I was losing my voice; losing my capacity to say "no" in even the most elemental ways.  I understood, that, while He loved me, there were places where He'd let me be desperately unhappy rather than abandon what He wanted in the moment.  I kept on believing that, wherever I would find myself struggling, with those realities, it was a failing in me -- and never about something that ought to be examined and changed between us.  

Now, it seems that if we are to ever find our way to something that is genuinely good and happy again, we are going to have to fashion a different sort of dynamic between us.  Judy believes that we will again feel deeply connected and play again with the power we share, but she is clear that we will have to do that with a new set of understandings.  I think the phrase she used with Him was "codependent psychosis."  Not sure that is a "real" diagnosis.  I think it probably isn't, but it may be an accurate description in my case.  The trick I have to learn is how to express to Him how much I love Him; have always loved Him; will always love Him -- while not getting dragged down into the muck and mire with Him.  How can I figure out a way to make a space to stand that is safe enough for me, without somehow giving Him the message that I don't love Him even as He struggles.  Because I do...  Love Him just the way He is.  

Over and over again, as I have worked with Judy, she has asked me if I would choose this life and this love even if...  Even if the sex went away and was never ever fantastic again?   Even if the spanking stopped forever?  Even if He never does feel sure and confident and secure enough again to take me in and hold me and tell me I am His?  Even if He and I never find the place where we step into the flow of our shared power and soar off together?  Even if...?  Over and over again, my answer has been "Yes."  Unequivocably.  Forever and always.  The rules seem to have changed.  Radically.  I changed them  He changed them.  Maybe they never really were rules to begin with.  I don't know.  I only know that I love this Man.



Court Call Day---Started Again and Resumed

I wrote this yesterday late morning through midday as I was getting ready to head off to my third of my my weekly psycho-therapy sessions since my most recent foray into acute PTSD symptoms.  I had had a pretty good week due to the interactions and expressions sue and I had posted here.  Yesterday, however,
I was starting to feel worse again, and was panicking as I was feeling myself losing the relief I had felt for a few days.  I did post this as I left for the 50 mile drive to my therapist (not only is a good therapist difficult to find, but it is particularly challenging to find an excellent one who is poly and kink friendly, thus the distance we travel to her.)  When I returned home I felt ashamed of having posted it....shame being my primary emotion the last two years.  Too I feared that leaving it visible here and courting reactions from others might damage what I hoped would be a good weekend for the three of us.  As I have processed yesterday's  therapy, and we have embarked on what feels like a nice weekend, and partly in response to ordalie's comment asking what became of this post, I have decided to put it up again, with a slightly amended title.  I have added this introduction and will discuss what occurred with my court call and my therapy afterwards.  The following is the original post which had been here entitled simply "Court Call Day."

Today is the day that I have to phone the court to find out whether I have to report for jury duty Monday.  The call is mandated to occur between 1:00 and 3:00.  Of course I have my therapist at 2:00 and it is an hour drive to her office.  I will leave early and phone them on the way.  It amazes me that now I have almost no time commitments or appointments in my life...typically one or two in any given week..... the court always manages to schedule any mandated activity exactly when they occur.  I had a 9:00 AM Monday appointment with my surgeon who preformed last June's knee replacement this Monday.  This was my 4 month follow-up exam.  I have rescheduled it. Court is of course at 9:00 AM Monday.  The appointment will now be in mid November...... likely that date will be my next mandated court appearance.  My last mandated appearance was at the time of one of my last physical therapy appointments. It is as if somehow they have my calendar to find ways to make anything they require as intrusive and painful as they possibly can....even now that they no longer have charges against me.

I have been feeling pretty well as this week progressed.  Getting to write about the events that happened almost two years ago (two days remain to that anniversary) and their consequences from my perspective made me feel stronger.  Sue commented to me that it is like I recovered my voice to an extent.  It is good to reach out and interact with others somewhat meaningfully even if it is via the internet.  The last two years I feel so ashamed that I avoid facing anyone that I knew before this.  Obviously I relate to t and sue and a couple of times a year to my son.  I'm not agoraphobic.  I go shopping, and buy gas for the car, and go to medical appointments.  I limit my interactions with folks.....but  I am socially pleasant so long as relationships are very superficial.  This is a change.  I was hugely socially interactive before.  In my career I was a small scale celebrity.  I was involved with politics.  I frequently spoke publicly whether to community audiences, or testimony in legislative bodies, guest teaching appearances in universities, etc.  t and sue would joke that if I was alone with someone...say for an elevator ride I would strike up a conversation and frequently have a superficial friendship by the end of the ride.  It was not uncommon for me to be on TV and/or radio a couple of times a year.  Now I can't handle risking interacting. anyone seeing me.  Friends call and I just don't respond.  People who knew me....this year it was a state legislator who wanted me to contribute to (like I can afford that anymore) and work with her campaign call I don't respond.  I answer phone calls from t, sue or my son.  All others I just ignore.  I feel as if I have some horrid disfigureation that no one should be exposed to....or rather that I am too ashamed for them to see.

I am slipping again this afternoon.  Is it the approach of this court contact? Is it my therapy at 2:00? Is it that Sunday is the anniversary of all this followed  by a trip to court the next morning?  Is it that it is dark today?  Is it that I am insane?  Is it that............

My thoughts are invaded by awakening out of being drunk and passed out on my couch, the middle of the night, Halloween 2010, alone in our condo, surrounded by 5 police who pick me up handcuff me and carry me from my home.  I don't know how they got in............I had had no idea they were coming....when I was carried out my front door there were numerous police vehicles with lights flashing and quite a number of police....and to my complete amazement t and sue who were spending the night somewhere else,  or so I thought, were right there with them.  The horrific reality dawned on me that they had called them.  They had made this happen.  My heart broke.  It was only 3 days since sue's 9-1-1 call claiming I was suicidal had brought out the swat team.  I had had numerous assurances from both of them there would never ever be a 9-1-1 call ever again.   Here we were.  Here I was.  Here were the police.

I was fighting and struggling as much as I could in handcuffs carried by five police.  They threw me in the back of a police car.  I tried to kick it apart, beat my head on the window, anything I could do to resist.  I was really not getting at all what was happening or that they had the ability to do this to me.  I actually believed  the crap about your having civil rights in your home then.  I was so naive.  I didn't know that is all drivel and amounts to nothing at all if they and courts want you.  They have carte blanche to do anything they want to you.  There are no limits.

They moved me to a new police car and restrained me more completely so that I could not continue to batter their vehicle.  They drove me about 25 minutes to jail.  I was furious and quite certain this had to be unjust.  I had been asleep in my living room.  I had done nothing.  I was carried out in shackles to be taken to jail.  I was non-compliant when I got to the jail, but finally let them take my mugshot gave them my name etc.  answered the processing in questions.  They took me to a cell.   I was stripped completely.  I was given a sort of padded quilt.  That was my only toilet soap there was an inch and a half thick plastic pad on the steel cot.  That pad and my quilt were the only things in the cell.  I was kept there like that for three days. This was to keep me from committing suicide.  I have never wanted to end my life more.  I was allowed out of the cell for an hour typically at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning when no one else was up.  Then I was allowed to shower, and walk around as much as I wanted in the cell block or watch TV.  The night after the first day they let me call sue. I was forbidden to call t...they had trumped up a domestic violence charge so we could not talk.  I asked her how this had had I gotten there?  The first morning I was allowed a set of orange overalls and sandals and shackled hand and foot to a waist chain I was hauled to court.  I asked what I was charged with and how I had gotten there?  I asked who had charged me?  My lack of understanding was veiwed by the court that I was likely criminally insane.  After court it was back to jail..stripped nude...and back into my cell for what I asserted was solitary confinement...but I was assured it was not solitary it was "suicide watch."

Well that is all for to therapy.

That was the end of yesterday's post.  I phoned the court as ordered when I arrived at my therapy appointment a few minutes before we were to begin.  I reached a clerk who couldn't find my name and asked if I really had been told to call.  I couldn't resist asking her if she thought that I would call and ask about jury duty Monday, in the middle of the two hour window you are mandated to call in, with my prospective juror number, if they had not sent it to me.  She looked further and finally said I did not have to appear Monday she thought.  It is frustrating not knowing, imagining that if I am to be there Monday and don't appear, they will come get me again.....but I will have to trust the information she gave me.  I have rescheduled my surgeon appointment Monday for no reason.

I went into therapy.  I talked about the last week, our posting here, sue's first appointment with the therapist Thursday evening, and we delved on.  The Therapist ( seems so impersonal to refer to someone who has been so important to the three of us as "the therapist") is pushing a lot into the issue of how ashamed  I feel of this whole experience and how crippling that shame is for me.  She eventually into asking me what I had done I was ashamed of.  She cannot see any behavior I engaged in that should have warranted the treatment I had at the hands of the justice system.  She can understand why I would be enraged, hurt betrayed, unhappy depressed all of those feelings I certainly have had and have processed through significantly.  But she is mystified by my sense of profound shame.  The most I can come up with by way of explanation is that people are not treated as I was unless they are profoundly damaged, evil, wrong, guilty, horrid, awful, etc.  She told me (she used to have a practice doing psychology with jail inmates thus she is a credible informant) that that is quite frequently the case frankly that the system does this kind of thing to people unreasonably and without cause.

She wants to explore why it is that this has been so totally debilitating for me.  She can imagine my hurt, pain, expense, discomfort, record etc. but this overwhelming shame-based inability to function at so many levels seems curious to her.

We (well she and I following her) arrived at the realization that the great depth of what I am feeling is not about what happened at the hands of the police, or t or sue, and certainly not about drinking (although she thinks my not drinking is a good thing) but is about a powerful predisposition I have to see myself as profoundly defective as a result of my mother's abuse of me as a child.  She tells me that in 25 years of psycho-therapy the child abuse I lived through is the worst she has ever seen.  She wants to work with me on healing that.  Over the next week I am to work at having imaginary conversations with my mother in which I tear her a new one for the things she did to me.  She has other things she intends for us to do regarding this.

She also gave me a pep talk reminding me that PTSD does not just go away but is rather diminished overtime by decreasing frequency, intensity, and duration, of acute episodes, and how far I have come since she met me a year and three quarters ago.  It was really poignant for me when she told me that I will get my life back.    Judy told me too that if this had not occurred during a three year period in which I had four major surgeries, lost both my parents and my mother in law, lost my career, lost 55% of my body weight, and lost my daughter, I might have had greater resiliance too.  She also told me to ignore the assholes who want to describe this all as a function of alcohol (which I haven't had any of for nearly two years anyway), or being a "dry drunk," or just not letting go (like I wouldn't let go of this if I had a way to do that...this hurts!!!!), or any of the other crap that people on the Internet who are ignorant and not friends will say.

As I have processed this, I realize that I have not felt well, good, happy...since October 28, 2010.
This morning with sue we played and made love and interacted and I felt like there was sort of a small window.  Not that I felt well, but that I could imagine the possibility of feeling well again someday.  I can see how much better I am now even at my lowest points than I have been since this began.  "Well" doesn't feel like something I experienced before all this and will never feel again.

Who knows maybe a corner has  been turned, or is at least coming into sight.



You Sounded So Sad...

Sin, Nancy, and Miranda all mentioned their visceral response to my tone of deep sadness when I wrote "Jumbled Up."  It is terribly difficult to read of someone's pain, and not wish that there be something (ANYTHING) to offer to the sufferer.  It is an impulse that is, at its core, good and kind and gentle and caring.  I am grateful that there are people, strangers except for the words that pass between us here, who are willing to invest so much in my story and my well-being.

I was sad when I wrote that post; terribly sad.  I felt lost, hopeless, and stuck in an endless round of blame and recrimination -- and there is a part of me that deeply resents the share of blame that is apportioned to me in this part of our story.  Whether that resentment is justified in any sense is beside the point -- it is enough to know that I do harbor that reaction in my heart and mind.

I don't know how it works for others that write this kind of personal, intimate narrative.   Most often for me, the words, when there are words, pour out in a great rush and tumble.  I don't sit down at my keyboard with an agenda, or even a theory about what I intend to say.  Sometimes I have a point to try and make, but most often, when I'm writing about my insides, I am simply following the twists and turns of my twisty, turn-y mind.  I seldom consider the people on the other end of the exchange; those who will read and worry...  I really do write for me most of the time.

So, when I write that sort of very sad sounding post, I am sorting and sifting the fussing that is shrieking around in my brain.  In the depths of that internal darkness, the pain is raw, pounding, deafening.  All I can see from that place is the misery that threatens to drown me; and I come to believe, over a relatively short period of time, that it will ALWAYS be exactly as horrible and awful as I perceive it to be in that moment.  I do a really, really good version of "Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I think I'll go eat worms..."  I'm a little embarrassed by it, after the fact, but in the moment, it is the way I feel -- and consequently, the way I sound if I decide to write.

Khalil Gibran wrote that sadness is but a wall between two gardens.  When that wall rises up inside your brain, it is hard to remember to look around and notice the blossoms; hard to appreciate the patterns of the branches against the sky; hard to feel the caresses of the breezes; hard to hear the music of the birds and insects...  Me?  I tend to walk right straight into the wall; plaster myself up against the bricks with my face in the cracks, and then push and shove and grunt and swear -- unable to move forward even a jot.  It never occurs to me, in those spells, that I could simply turn around or back away, and find my way along the wall to a better or more open or more yielding place.  I'm not very wise when I am up to my emotional ass in mud and muck.

This, I guess, is offered as a sort of apology... for the melodrama that I can sometimes fall into.  It is not an attractive behavior.  I am not conscious of trying to manipulate or solicit sympathy or support, but perhaps that set of motives lie under the surface where I cannot see them.  I believe I am just writing to hear myself, but then, I know that I do know that you who read are out there.  I'll work to be more level and more careful about tugging at your hearts.  I really don't need rescuing.  I might, however, need someone to tap me on the shoulder and tell me to turn around and move away from the wall.

Thank you all,


If You Comment -- Things to Consider

As usual, whenever we get back out into the deep, powerful, challenging work of living our lives (and sharing that in this forum), we have run afoul of the small minority of people who choose to comment while demonstrating a total lack of comprehension about what is and is not appropriate, polite, reasonable, or civilized within that context.  Most often, when that circumstance occurs, we are left to wonder what gets into these people, what can they possibly be thinking?  Rarely does that thought process get made clear -- apart from the pretty common assertion that this is a "public" site and therefore we should expect and accept that people have some sort of "right" to say whatever they want.  This time, though, we are given a lengthy, literate, and detailed essay on the motivations and thought processes of one of those "anonymous" commenters.  Reading her latest comment, I was just fascinated by the ideas and beliefs that get all wrapped up in the comments made here.  I really think there are lessons that we might all take away from the words "Miranda" left behind in our comment box.

I want to believe that most people want to help; want to find some way to make things easier or better; want to offer something of value.  It is terribly hard to sit with someone who is hurting, and just be there with them in their pain.  Being thrust into the role of witness, without the power or wherewithal to DO anything is not simply uncomfortable, it is frustrating.  So, the very human impulse is to try to fix it (whatever "it" might be).  There is, I imagine, something that borders on "compulsion" to find words to say what needs to be said to save the person on the other side of the computer screen; to rescue the fellow human dangling at the end of the words we read.  We all do it, to one degree or another -- the trick is to remember what we are about as decent persons, avoiding the precipice that takes us down into judgement and criticism and negativity.

Here are a few things to consider (as I see it) based on false steps / erroneous beliefs outlined in "Miranda's" comment earlier today:

...we feel like we know you. But ... we don't really ... we put ourselves and our own histories into your story. 

This is really important.  I write about my life here.  We write our stories in bits and pieces, all of us.  We've done it for a long, long time.  I can't imagine that there are many who have the time, inclination, or patience to go back through the archives and read the whole story.  However, even if a reader were willing to do that excavation into the story we've been weaving here for so many years, they would still only have snapshots of what and who we are.  There is no way to convey all the minutes, or all the thoughts, or all the interactions that would flesh out the picture for a reader.  You do not know me, and I don't know you (at least in the majority of cases).  We've never met.  We are not neighbors or colleagues, and to the degree that we consider ourselves friends, it is mostly an "online relationship," and likely to never include long, cozy, friendly chats over a nice cup of tea.  We are not close, and we are surely not the same.  We don't have that kind of access to one another.  The other part of that is that we are not simply mirrors for one another.  My life does not and should not be the looking glass that you use to measure or manage your own life.  So, don't make Miranda's mistake ... do not try to use me to mirror your history back to you.  Do not assume that you know what I'm doing ... and why.  

... it's hard for readers who only get bits and pieces of your lives ...

This is hard.  I continually struggle to maintain the balance between what we might share here, and what we really ought to keep to ourselves.  I know, from experience, that this blog does best; thrives even, when I write regularly and at some depth about what is happening in my own personal world.  But I am a busy person.  I have obligations inside of the family, and I maintain a demanding professional career.  I do not have time to give readers ALL of my life -- even if I were so inclined.  The picking and choosing of topics and subjects can vary depending on my moods, and the stresses of my days.  Readers will never have more than bits and pieces.

We read ... and we get angry ... we write to give ... support

Read.  Understand.  Keep a leash on all those emotional responses.  Strong feelings about what is, about who is right and who is not.  If, out of an abundance of sympathy and generosity, you find you want to offer support, consider how you might be supportive without taking sides; without declaring a "good guy" and a "bad guy."  Supporting me "against" Tom does not make things better.  It is not, honestly, supportive.  It undermines the very basis of my life.  So be careful.  I don't need rescuing.

A blog feels like a dialogue rather than a private journal. But it’s not ...

It is not a "dialogue."  Not classically.  It is more than a private journal for most of us, but it is not a dialogue.  What you find  here is private, personal, and terribly desperately intimate.  Be gentle.

... And would I be less anonymous if I made up a name to sign these comments?

Yes!  You are going to be more welcome here if you introduce yourself, and tell us how we might recognize you when we see you again.  Not all anonymous visitors are obnoxious and ill-mannered, but nearly 100% of all obnoxious and ill-mannered blog visitors are also "anonymous.  I know that what you choose to call yourself online will, most likely, be a pseudonym; a handy way of facilitating the social discourse while still protecting what should be protected.  

So there you have it.  I've ranted about anonymous commenters before, but I've seldom had the opportunity or space to help people get ready to participate here and elsewhere around the circle in ways that are positive and supportive.  Maybe the simplest way to think about that thing you are just dying to say -- if the situation were reversed, and you were the one in turmoil and pain, would you find your advice to be helpful?  If not, maybe the better thing would be to listen further, ask an honest question, offer something kind. 



Now That the Cat is Out of the Bag...

We have spent a long, long, lonely space of time in self-imposed silence.  It has just felt way too risky to talk openly here about the hurts and miseries that we've endured -- and sometimes inflicted on each other.  We have not had a good sense of what to do to help ourselves; no real idea about what we might do to help each other; no belief at all that one misspoken word or ill-timed question would not tear us completely asunder.

There is so much of the story of our lives together in the last two years that is dark and ugly, and we have been unwilling to expose our already tender places to the cruel barbs that are the one sure outcome of "going public" with the truth of where we've been.

Silence, however, brings its own kind of pain and crippling.  Like all those before us who have been forced into "the closet" because what they were and how they lived was deemed wrong and bad and unacceptable, we have suffered in the prison of secrecy and shame.  There is no safety in a closet.  There is only loneliness and sorrow and fear and, ultimately, death.  If we are ever going to find a way to live healthy, whole, and happy again, it must be in the light of day.  The stories have to be told, and the conversation has to be joined.  This is our vehicle for that sort of deep, meandering, thoughtful exchange, and I will not have it be denied to us simply because there are some churlish and mean-spirited ones who may chance to read here and feel compelled to judge -- and then tell us about it.  I WILL take back my blog home.  I WILL find my voice again.  I WILL look (hopefully, with clear eyes) at what has been and I WILL talk about what may yet be.  I hope my family, my loves, will do the same...  Those who would stand in the way of that should expect no quarter.

And so, with that admonishment, let me continue our long-delayed foray into telling that which has been kept secret -- letting the cat out of the bag, Heron-style.

I cannot find any reliable information about where that phrase "let the cat out of the bag" originated.  I "get it" that the expression is meant to imply the sudden, surprising, perhaps even explosive exit of a feline from a closed container.  Letting the cat out of the bag implies the disclosure of something salacious, naughty, titillating, maybe even shocking or scandalous.  And, like a cat freed from some sort of confinement, such a secret may take off in just about any direction.  Who knows where it might go?

Our bag of cats has come to be pretty prodigious.  Lots and lots of snarling, spitting, clawing felines -- all crammed, under serious duress, into this metaphorical sack we've been carting around.  There are bits and pieces of our various stories that we have never disclosed, not even to one another...

I'm not proposing to rehash everything that has happened in this passage.  Some of it may very well be better left to pass into memory and from there into oblivion -- and the sooner the better.  However, I think it is important for all of us to feel able to pick up and examine and talk about whatever there is of interest or personal moment in the rubble of these last couple of years.

For me, the unraveling of secrets feels like a knotted up ball of yarn (perhaps it was the cat -- maybe that is why the little devil was in the bag...).

There are the events of that October morning.  He remembers a particular sequence of events, and I remember it in a distinctly different sequence.  It doesn't matter, really.  I "heard" Him threaten to kill Himself in our IM conversation that morning, and then He abruptly severed contact with me.  He would not answer the phone, and He was gone from IM.  He insists that He did that because I told Him I'd called the police, but I remember standing in the hallway, outside of my classroom, unable to figure out what to do -- because all I could see in my mind's eye was Him lying on the floor in the living room in a pool of His own blood.  Dying.  I panicked, and it was only THEN that I called the 9-1-1 dispatcher.  In hindsight, I can see that I should have called T.  She might have been able to come home and check, and we'd have all been spared all the trauma.  I don't know why I didn't do that.  I wish I had.  If wishes were horses...

What resulted from the phone call to 9-1-1 that morning was nothing I ever intended, nothing I had ever imagined might be the outcome of calling for emergency assistance when the concern is that someone is considering harming themselves.  I really did expect, foolishly perhaps, that that 9-1-1 dispatcher would send paramedics and someone trained to help in that sort of crisis.  That a SWAT team was sent to our quiet, suburban neighborhood makes no logical sense to me.  Whatever, that is precisely what happened.  It was over the top, ham-handed, abusive, inappropriate, and probably a hundred other bad things that I cannot even think of words for at the moment.  So, I absolutely understand why Tom feels the way He does about the police.  Even without what one "commenter" called His "political background," it isn't hard to figure out that what was done to Him that day, in those circumstances, would create huge, unyielding rage.  And it is not a "bull-shit" reaction, either.  Maybe somewhere, in some idyllic paradise, the police are all good, kind, idealistic, altruistic, public servants, but not here.  Here they are exactly, precisely as He has described and characterized them.  If there is one decent soul in the bunch, then I cannot fathom WHY that person would continue to work with such a corrupt, unethical, odious crowd of hooligans and hacks.  Their mishandling of what was a MENTAL HEALTH EMERGENCY made everything far worse; created enormous psychological trauma; and practically destroyed us all.

That has all been labeled the beginning point, probably because it is what He points to as the initiatory point.  When I spend very much time with it, though, I know there were antecedents for me, if not for anyone else.  I have plenty of history that helped to set me up for that morning and that decision point.  We are all the product of all our histories.  I am no exception.  I have my own demons -- left overs from a childhood that was not the worst ever, but not the best either.  He brought His own baggage into our dynamic.  Together, we sailed blindly into the perfect storm.  We never saw it coming.  We maybe should have.  Could have ... Should have ... Would have.  He and I, together, set the forces in motion that took us to that moment and that phone call.  Maybe there is some value into looking back that way.  I don't know yet.

For now, it is late ... I am tired ... time to let this go for tonight.



Jumbled Indeed......My prespective

Now that sue has courageously risked sticking her head above the fox hole to share her present reality here, I will follow with my present life experience and reaction to some of what others have written in response to her post "Jumbled Up."

As sue communicated in posts the end of the summer, things here had taken a turn for the better.  It seemed the combination of time, and the love of all three of us, and work with our therapist, and even exploration in the realm of shamanism, had all combined to create a good bit of healing compared to what had been.  We were happier and more satisfyingly bonded than any time since this all began two years ago.  I conveyed this in a post entitled So How I Am (August 29).

As sue returned to school, and I came to be alone again weekdays in my "retirement" I started to slip.  Then shortly thereafter I was summoned for jury duty to court where I was incarcerated.  Being summoned by the court, returning there to the cops and the metal detectors, and that venue triggered my reverting to PSTD symptoms.  That makes no sense.  I know that.  That knowledge doesn't remove the sudden resurgence of fear, paranoia, anxiety, guilt, self-hatred, flash backs, night mares, hyper vigilance, obsessive reliving of events, humiliation, anger, and on and on...As my jury call went by in an abortive call up to serve (I have to go back again next Monday for a new round of potential "service"), we moved on into October.  Approaching the October 28 anniversary of my first dance with the police, my symptoms became worse and worse until eventually I reached out to resume work with my therapist..  I have now been meeting with her again for two weeks and anticipate continuing that.  The last few days I have actually felt some better again.  It is odd the way symptoms seem to come in waves.  Sometimes it is like a fog clearing and suddenly things seem fine for a while and then again, suddenly, just as inexplicably, I am back "in the despair fog" again.

I have been intrigued at the commenters who have questioned what would have happened had there been no 9-1-1 call that day.  I have looked back at my planner page for that day.  What would have happened was I would have gone to Walmart for some groceries we needed, I would have exercised, I would have taken the trash out, I would have gotten the mail, likely I would have read on the Internet a good bit, and  have had further IM chat with sue and phone conversation with t at her work.  It was 10:00 in the morning that day.  I was not drunk or agitated and I had at that point not had PTSD.  Instead I came to be hunted by police and dogs with flak vests and rifles.  I was held in handcuffs and searched amidst a circle of several police cars and about a dozen police, roughed up mildly, and harassed.  I was almost taken to jail but even they could not get me to behave in a way that they could twist into a basis for that.  That is the answer to the question what would have happened without the 9-1-1 call and, in contrasting reality, what actually occurred as a result.

There too are commenter reactions that it is so sad that I can't understand what motivated sue to call 9-1-1.  I do.  Sue loved and loves me still.......god knows why.  She became afraid that I was going to harm myself.  That too makes no sense to me.....but it doesn't, or didn't, have to.  It was her reality.  She didn't understand that police are nothing but highly paid, well-armed, well-trained, abusive thugs who never do anything but make any situation they involve themselves in exponentially worse.  I have had a difficult time imagining that naiivite. My lack of understanding of that reality doesn't matter....she didn't know that.  She actually believed somehow she was being helpful..........protective,  THIS WAS NOT HER FAULT.  SHE IS NOT GUILTY.  MY PTSD IS NOT HER FAULT.  IF IT IS ANYONE'S RESPONSIBILITY IT IS MINE.  I AM THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN FEEL MY FEELINGS, CHANGE MY FEELINGS, BE WHO I AM.  I UNDERSTAND WHY SHE CALLED.  THAT UNDERSTANDING DOES NOT CHANGE MY MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES.  IF I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND IT, THAT WOULD NOT CHANGE MY PTSD EITHER. THE UNDERSTANDING FACTOR IS IRRELEVENT TO THE FEELINGS.

The other huge issue we are struggling with is sue continues to feel that my feeling this way means I don't love her. If I loved her enough, then I would be happy and my unhappiness is, she feels, a repudiation of my feelings for her and our relationship.  It is not.  But that is her perception, belief, and feeling.  She too believes that means I don't trust her and am holding this against her.  She also cannot understand that my "getting" why she did this does nothing to change what I am dealing with.
After the events of that day, I became hugely upset, paranoid, enraged, violent, and quite frankly very nuts.  All of this was worsened horribly by my drinking. The effects of my drinking were ratcheted up hugely by my roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.   I needed help.  I needed treatment....not primarily substance abuse treatment, but that too.  I didn't get that.  What I got was two subsequent arrests, one of them violent,
3 days solitary confinement (labeled as suicide watch), two convictions, probation, and what can only be described benevolently as a program of alcohol forced re-education, mandated participation in an alcohol obsessed religious cult for over a year, months of electronic ankle cuff/breatholizer monitoring, and over a year of probation.  I also then, with help from my family, got therapy.

Despite the best efforts of the alcoholism treatment professionals and the cult members to teach me to become a cyclical recidivist, I am sober today for 1 year, 9 months, and 5 days.  I don't have anyway to extend that time period any faster than 24 hours each day.  I don't know that that is very seminal to all of this, but it does prevent that from being a further aggravation. I feel generally better in overall health without alcohol, and it removes a further source of concern for my family.

So that is where I am.  I want to be better.  My life has not been worth living most of the time since October 28, 2010.  I am trying to do what I am told helps this.  I am so sorry that my family and particularly sue has to live with this (since she seems to be really much more unhappy about all this and spends the most time with me... compared to t who, while concerned, sees progress from where we were two years ago, and is generally optimistic).

I don't know if this does anything but further document this story, but it is what "is" for me now and some of my reactions to what I have read here.



Jumbled Up

I am tired of writing stupid ABC posts. I don't care, and I'm guessing no one else cares either. I can't be jolly, cheerful, upbeat, or hopeful here anymore. I feel like it is just bullshit -- a feeling that He confirms. So, blech... Here are the rest of the letters if you want to pursue it (but I am done trying to fill this space in that fashion)...

And then, today, wondering what I could say here -- because it really does feel like there is nothing at all to say anymore, I found this poem (ironically, a popular piece for weddings), and it feels like the words speak about where life is right now...
Maybe…we were supposed to meet the wrong people before meeting the right one so that, when we finally meet the right person, we will know how to be grateful for that gift.
Maybe … when the door of happiness closes, another opens; but, often times, we look so long at the closed door that we don’t even see the new one which has been opened for us.
Maybe … it is true that we don’t know what we have until we lose it, but it is also true that we don’t know what we have been missing until it arrives.
Maybe … the happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.
Maybe … the brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; after all, you can’t go on successfully in life until you let go of your past mistakes, failures and heartaches.
Maybe … you should dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go, be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you dream of, and want to do.
Maybe … there are moments in life when you miss someone — a parent, a spouse, a friend, a child — so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real, so that once they are around you appreciate them more.

I am scheduled to resume my work with the therapist this week. The shamanic work we got involved with seems to have lodged in my subconscious in a very pernicious way. I now have recurring dreams (every few days or so) that are about making a shamanic journey to the upper world. In the dream, I go through all the steps and stages of making that journey, and when I find myself there, I am standing at the top of a tall, red-brick building. It seems very ancient, and it is stacked up in layers -- like a wedding cake. Standing on the top of the building, I find a man. I can't see his face clearly, but he seems older than me. I ask him what I can do to heal my life and our family, and he tells me that the only way to do that is to kill myself. Then, he outlines the steps that I must follow to be able to do that. It scares the willies out of me, but it keeps coming back...

It is fall. Our summer, although focused intensely on His recovery from knee replacement surgery, was nice and relaxed. Summer ends, though, and the school year starts right on schedule. The PTSD that lives permanently in our household roars back to life and creates chaos and misery. I have to go back to work, and the long, lazy, days shift into the demanding routines of the academic calendar. He feels abandoned, and I feel torn. Then, October arrives, and all the "anniversary" stuff related to our crisis comes into play. I am, in October, the one who pushed us all over the precipice with a phone call. No matter what I might think we are about here, and no matter how well I think things are proceeding, in October, I am reminded that I am a betrayer and a traitor and a woman who can never, ever be trusted. It shocks me. It hurts me. It makes me angry. I know it isn't fair or right, and then I feel guilty anyway -- for all the many, many choices made through all my whole life ... for every broken rule, for every "bad" decision, for every missed mark. In the end, I begin to believe, for myself, that the voice of the man at the top of the building in the upper world speaks the truth. That it would be best for us all if I would die. Die. And, I know that is nuts. But life seems nuts, so why not?

Meanwhile, I come here, day by day (or week by week) and write drivel about justice and joy... Because the stats tell me that this blog is dying. Dying from lack of interest. Dying because the very reason for it to exist has vanished. Dying because I have nothing at all left to say about D/s or M/s or BDSM, or love, or family, or anything much at all. I bang around the Interwebs trying to think of an angle or an approach or a point of view that would be of legitimate interest here -- and I come up blank.
So. Here I am. What would you say here if you were me?


Spiritual ABC's -- Letter J (part 2)

JUSTICESeek liberty and justice for all. Work for a free and fair world where oppression and inequality no longer exist.

If you have not noticed, I am in a dark passage here.  I am not feeling very "sunny."  Writing all sorts of sappy platitudes about "liberty and justice for all," is just beyond my tolerance level I'm afraid...  I do apologize...

But really?  "Liberty and justice for all?"  I say that pledge, every school day, with my students...
And every time, I can hear my mind adding the personal prayer -- "soon, please!"  There is very little liberty these days, and precious little justice -- and none of it is for us "all."  If you, like me, are living somewhere in the middle class, or even worse, over the line into poverty, then there is little, if any, justice for you.  Liberty and justice comes with wealth and power ... and always has done.  For the rest of us, probably Orson Welles said it best:

 Nobody gets justice. People only get good luck or bad luck. 

 I can get pretty frustrated at the injustices in my own little world.  And my issues are minor compared to many of my brothers and sisters around the world.  A little girl, grabbed off the sidewalks of her neighborhood and brutally murdered...  A young girl shot in the head for daring to speak for the rights of girls to go to school...  A worldwide economic system that leaves millions to starve while the very few live in unbelievable opulence...  

Still, of course, the injustices that are close to home are the ones that sting the heart most deeply.  I can look at the things in my world that aren't to my liking, and declare to anyone who will listen, that it is NOT FAIR!  The problem, mostly, is that hardly anyone is listening.  And among those who do hear me?  Many of them, I imagine, would declare, as my mother used to do that I'd, "made my bed and so must lie in it."   I hated hearing that from her as a kid, and I hate the fact that I can still hear those words in my head and my heart.  I don't care what Mother always said.  It is NOT FAIR!



Spiritual ABC's -- Letter J


Rejoice and be exceedingly glad. Find this divine energy in your daily life and share it with others.

That's it.  It is all brain chemistry.  If you are feeling "exceedingly glad," there is nothing "divine" in it.  It is just the interaction in your brain of the chemicals that induce sensations that you interpret as pleasurable.  Too little of one or the other, and the whole business turns into bitterness and depression and a deep, weary sense that there is nothing at all worth fighting for or living for.  

Scientists who study the neurochemistry of our brains are pretty well convinced that anything we get "hooked" on as a pathway to feeling joy and pleasure is probably just our neural equivalent of a lab rat pressing a lever to activate the electrodes implanted in the pleasure center of the brain.  So... whatever your joyfulness thing is -- exercise or alcohol or sex or spanking or hymn singing or doing good deeds or gambling or eating or cutting or...  it is all just the frantic scrambling of a stupid creature trying to feel good for just a minute. 



And, yeah, I know I have deviated from my "letter" image template for this series.


Spiritual ABC's -- Letter I


Give imagination free rein in your life. Explore its images and ponder its meaning-making moments, and it will always present you with something new to be seen, felt, or made known.
Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life" by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

What do we mean when we talk about imagination?  If I try to really think about the WORD, I find that it is one of those things that I think I know when I do it, or when I am with someone who is doing it, or even when I encounter the art, music, literature, dance, or drama of someone who has done it.  Imagining is not the same as perceiving, believing, remembering, desiring, anticipating, conceiving or supposing.  All of those occupations of the mind put some sort of constraint or expectation upon the focus of the activity.  Imagining, it seems to me, does not require that anything at all come of it.  It is what happens when I take the brakes and the filters and the governors off the meanderings of my mind, and simply let it wander where it will.

So does the admonishment to "give imagination free rein in your life" amount to a redundancy?  If I give my mind free rein, do I necessarily need to give the resultant imaginings free rein in my life?  Would it be good if I did?  My imaginings are not always good or sweet or happy.  My imaginings can be dark, destructive, ugly.  The young woman who once dreamed big dreams of a wonderful world waiting to come into being got the snot kicked out of her along the long, long road to this point. I am not entirely convinced that turning my demons lose in the "real" world would be a manageable undertaking.  Not safe.  If I were to spend more time than I already do exploring the meanings behind my imaginings; pondering the possibilities -- I wonder if I could survive it.  

Maybe this one isn't meant for jaded, beat-up, old shells like me.  Maybe it looks toward the young and the fresh and the innocent.  I imagine it might be best to leave the imagining to them.