TRIGGER WARNING: DISCUSSION OF PHYSICAL ABUSE AND SLIGHT SEXUAL UNDERTONES
So, there’s a lot going on with me (none of it horrid–it’s all good), so I can’t imagine how long it’ll take to write this blog post. It’s 3:47 now, so let’s find out.
First of all, the fishies are all dead. (Oh. Actually, that is sort of bad.) The stress of the new adjustment was too much for them. They were acting like there wasn’t enough oxygen in the tank water, but I did everything I could to remedy that, and they were still acting that way. I had an air bubbler in there, I tested the water, the temperature was fine, the filtration was adding surface tension, and so on. It was heartbreaking for me. Earlier this week on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I just watched them helplessly as they all died.
I won’t be getting more fish. 😦 I think I have more luck with puppies and kitties.
So I felt like a stress mess for a few days. Yesterday, I went to therapy, and it went… oddly. I’m not sure if this is good or bad. We were doing EMDR, and she asked me upfront how disturbing the memory was, from 1 to 10. I said around 3. Maybe half an hour later, she asked again, and I said around 7. She halted the EMDR. I realize now that the number’s supposed to go down, not up. She thought (I presume) that the EMDR wasn’t working, or that it was being counterproductive. In reality, I was focusing as hard as I could on the memory, and the harder I focused, the more clear (and therefore disturbing) the memory became.
Because for whatever weird reason, I can’t induce flashbacks of it at will. [Shrug.]
So we started talking, and she said, “I’m concerned that you think the event you experieced was sexual. As an adult, do you still think it was sexual?”
I told her no, that my dad’s not a pedophile, and she said, “That we know of,” which caused me to raise an eyebrow. But I explained that regardless of his intentions, I felt like my sexuality was violated even if it wasn’t felt on his end. And that I have no evidence now or as a child that my dad shared my fetish, so… we can assume that it was not sexually intended by him. But still.
“This could be why the EMDR isn’t helping,” the therapist said. “You’ve got your wires crossed so that spanking becomes a sexual violation. Do you think most parents intend to violate their children’s sexualities?”
“No,” I said. “Most parents are ignorant and clueless of what they’re doing, and they’re so small-minded that they assume children have no sexuality and that kids should be forced to just deal with the violence and humiliation. It’s an unfair world.” I told her how hard it is that everyone universally is against sexual abuse, and that sexual abuse victims never get triggered by angry parents threatening to molest their kids if they don’t behave. (No glibness intended. It’s a very serious issue for me.) Or, “Just wait until your father gets home. He’ll rape you good!”
The therapist said, “Right, I’ve never heard a parent threaten that.” Because everyone’s against sexual abuse (except, I guess, actual sexual abusers), but many people aren’t against physical abuse.
I hadn’t gotten home and realized that she was probably worried about the numbers going up instead of down yet. I’m going to explain that to her next week. But she asked me to consider how the trauma would’ve been different if I’d been wearing underwear. Fair enough, but the answer’s too easy to help me:
- It would’ve hurt less
- I would’ve been far less humiliated
- I wouldn’t have felt so violated
- I wouldn’t have felt so vulnerable
- I wouldn’t have felt so horrified and terrified by events as they transpired
- I’d hate myself less, because I blame my stupid self for not having any undies on, irrational though it may be to blame myself
However, I think the therapist is wrong if she thinks the EMDR isn’t helping. I need some time to see if it’s helping, especially since I can’t seem to induce flashbacks. I might need extended EMDR, but I’m not sure. She seemed concerned and booked me for the next several weeks. What the heck? It’s all on my guilty father’s dime.
I’ve also been considering going back to work at the reading center, but I should make it clear that this would require them to be onboard with it. My employers are something else. They’re snooty, stuck-up, arrogant, beautiful and naturally blonde, class-conscious, and convinced that their employees should be perfect at all times. It occurred to me that I could offer to return on a volunteer, nonpaid basis for three months. This would give me a chance to prove myself sane (which I’m not… shh…), but it would also take the pressure off me to be perfect, because what the hell? I’m not getting paid. Something about getting paid puts too much pressure on me, and I implode.
(And yes, this is definitely Brutus’s influence. Damn that man! He backpedaled the next day after we discussed it, as a good friend should, but the idea had already taken hold in my psyche.)
Imagine it, though. In some ways, it was perfect employment. It’s a few hours a day during daytime hours, Monday through Friday. Nothing hard about the schedule. And you can tell the scheduler if, say, 9:00 AM is too early for you. They really only want you to be available from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM, the primetime afterschool hours.
I’ve been turning the idea over and wondering how on earth to present it. My employers know that I’m mentally ill, but it was never discussed between us. I always tried to hide it, but they could see through me. Maybe I should just own it. I don’t have much to lose here, and I’m pretty much an open book anyway.
Oh, yeah, that reminds me. When the therapist told me to “journal” about the underwear issue, I replied, “Oh. I’ll blog about it,” and she had some sort of freakout. “No! You’ve got to protect your privacy! Don’t blog about it!”
“I add trigger warnings,” I assured her, but she didn’t seem all that relieved. Well, I guess I understand her concerns…? But I’m of the belief that if I can help anyone out there who’s reading this by showing the integrity of my experiences, then we can eliminate shame and enter into an era of open sharing instead of feeling secretive and embarrassed. Shame, in my opinion, is a very skillful enemy. Shame needs to be annihilated across the board. It’s possible that I’m an advocate for that without ever having realized it. Go Meg!
So, where was I? Okay, going back to work. I could try it. I’m still thinking about it.
Then, last night before bedtime, I got the results of the flash fiction contest, round 1. Holy shit. I got fifteen points! I took first place in my group! New accomplishment! I’ve never achieved that previously! I was stunned! I was shocked! I shrieked and then ran downstairs to find my dad. In the living room, I fell to my knees, bent my body back at a 45° angle and raised my hands over my head. Then I just cheered a lot. Sort of like this woman, but with my hands over my head.
Yeah, I’m really a party animal. I can also pray behind my back like this woman:
I’d like to thank everyone out there reading this who’s on my beta team. Thanks for all your thoughts on the last story, and you should take some of the credit for its first-place finish! Yeah, all of you, thanks!!
I get my next assignment tonight at midnight EST, and I’ll write a story of similar scope (1,000 words) in 48 hours. Looking forward to it!
And then there’s intermittent fasting. I want to try to fast from bedtime to when I wake up the next morning to 4:00 PM. So, like, no eating or drinking anything flavored to start the day. This will allow me to have late-night snacks aplenty. I’ll have to show discipline at the top of the day, and then it’ll be downhill. Easier. So, that’s what I’m wanting to try. It didn’t happen this morning. I woke up at 9:30 and mindlessly drank some Gatorade remaining in the bottle. Oops. That breaks the fast your body’s been in all night. Oh well. I can try again tomorrow!
The book says to do the fasting every day for the first 28 days. Sorry, but I can’t expect it of myself next weekend while I’ll be writing a novella in three days. But I’ll go ahead and start practicing! Why not?
That might be everything that’s going on with me lately! It’s a lot! Holy flip. It’s now 4:35. Wow, I’ve been writing this for an hour!! That’s one mighty blog post.