A college student's journey to put herself back together
So I haven’t been functioning well recently. Between my family being jerks (silence your cellphones, turn off your iPhones, and silence your pagers, because the latest film installment of Brain Wars is about to begin! * Kidding aside, it sucks), my memory playing tricks on me, and me getting headaches (plus my sense of self taking a beating from my family. **), I’m not doing well. And I’m realizing something…I think in between stuff like Dad insulting me and Mom getting in my personal space, they’re trying to get a rise out of me, and I fall for it every time or I back away in fear. I’m thinking of striking a balance here. I might have to talk with my for-the-time-being therapist (as I’m switching to an adult one and I’m scared shitless) about not only staying in my body but learning how to be around my “suspects” (because I’m kind of still on the fence, which makes things worse. If I was sure, it would be easy to just say, “Fuck them, they’re assholes”, but I’m not. Not really) and not rise to the bait.
And the thing is, I seem to alternate between being optimistic and being a cynic. There’s a scene in Storm of the Century where Mike Anderson decides to call out Andre Linoge on the latter’s main shtick: basically, reading their various sins (ranging from selling drugs to just really, really heinous shit. Because it’s kind of one of Stephen King’s…well, King-isms. Basically, towns with a lot of skeletons in their closet that just seem like every other town you drive through). Mike accuses Linoge of seeing only the bad, none of the good, and Linoge says, “By and large, Constable, the good’s an illusion. Little tables folks tell themselves to get through the day without screaming too much.”
Honestly, I seem to alternate a bit. I think by and large, I am a Mike Anderson at heart — trying to be the good girl, believing in the goodness of people, etc. (Seriously, Mike’s worst sin? Cheating on an exam in college. *** Pretty bad, but it doesn’t even come close to some of the more repulsive shit that comes up in the miniseries — and believe me, some of the more repulsive shit that comes up really makes up a good chunk of the horror, besides Colm Feore playing sinister to the hilt. It’s sort of like shining a light on the worst of what people can do) And then there’s moments where I just get really sick and tired of bullshit and end up being Linoge (though I don’t read minds. It could be a nifty tool, but I think it could also lead me to dealing with truths I could do without). I think in a way, both sides are right — there are assholes out there, and there are assholes who kind of use the good as a rationalization. But there are good people out there too, and when they’re good…well, they’re amazing.
So I guess here, the bad and good do coexist. There were wonderful, beautiful times, but there were also times I’m questioning. And conversely, there are grade-A douchebags out there: Donald Trump, possibly Hillary Clinton based on stuff I heard about her recently (seriously, is there a politician out there who isn’t somehow a scumbag?), the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (a friend of mine filled me in on the details of these guys and yikes. **** I’m all the more grateful to my brother for telling me, when I was first doing my research, to stay away from those guys. God bless him), and a lot more. But there are good people out there too, and we should definitely hold onto those good people for dear life. Good people are pretty valuable; we definitely shouldn’t take them for granted.
So yeah. Good and bad. Light and dark. I admit I’m still trying to incorporate that into my search. It’ll be hard, but hopefully, I can make it.
* I mean, I swear, I can just see the opening credits. “Not so long ago in a suburbia far far away…” (Yeah, it’s either start cracking jokes or start breaking down, and I’d prefer it not to be the latter) And the title: Brain Wars, Episode Eight: We’re In Deep Shit.
** I mean, there were some golden years in there, I won’t deny. A lot of golden years. But I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t have moments of feeling minimized, etc. I guess some of that is to be expected (I mean, Linkin Park and Simple Plan wrote songs about that sort of thing), but it doesn’t make it any less shit. So I guess I have a balance of golden years, shit, and what-exactly-happened-here.
*** Although (and this is where ladyrevan21 gets her analysis on) if I were to pick out Mike’s worst sin, it would be that he seems to be really naive/not the best judge of character. Good in a crisis, but he kind of downplays or denies some of the worse stuff he runs into (Jack Carver’s secret, Reverend Riggins’ crime). Then again, it could be interpreted as Mike saying that Little Tall Island isn’t just filled with assholes.
**** Basically, the board has enough skeletons in their closet to make a graveyard.
Let’s say that I should be asleep, logically, but was woken up in the middle of the night by more bits and pieces of memory:
New memories that I recovered:
-Needing Mom to keep me company after I started worrying that Woundwort from Watership Down was going to come and get me (even listening to my Enya music — I used that at the time as one of many methods of sleeping — did not help). I know that it sounds silly (I’m…not quite sure how old I was. Middle school-ish? Fuck, even saying it aloud is embarrassing) but I do remember that I was just really freaked out by Woundwort from what I saw in a music video for the cartoon. Don’t really know whether I slept on the floor of her room or not, actually. Speaking of which…
-Mom might have actually been pretty good about the boundaries in regards to the Freddy incident, the incident with C, and the incident with the Reavers. She let me at least sleep on the floor. And she didn’t really seem to approve much of it — she did acknowledge that I should be able to sleep by myself. I think my dad did similar stuff when my brother and I slept in his room while Mom was out on business trips. He let us sleep on this mattress in the back room, similar to when I was at some of my relatives’ (unofficial aunt, uncle and cousins; let’s say that my mom has a bad relationship with her brothers and is in VLC mode at minimum, and my dad has a brother but I only saw him occasionally, although that said, Dad’s brother was a very nice guy) house and I’d be reading my Deltora Quest books (which I also read on the way to dance class and such), just engrossed, horrified and enthralled with the adventures of Lief, Jasmine and Barda. In one of those instances in Dad’s room, I’d read a book of unsolved murder cases that happened to be lying around my Summer S (yeah, real kid-friendly, right? /sarcasm) and not be able to sleep very well because I was afraid of someone breaking into our house or something. That book of unsolved murder cases was, incidentally, how I learned about the Zodiac Killer, so…yeah, I learned about the Zodiac Killer when I was little.
Like I said, real kid-friendly. /sarcasm
-Another piece of the tampon incident: Mom might have been a bit frustrated that I couldn’t put it in myself. Not in terms of trying to punish me (unless my mind was trying to shield me from something, she wasn’t trying to hurt me. I actually am not certain of how much of the helping she did. Hopefully that will become clearer as I work on the damage). In terms of the first one I remember (because there’s one with a teacher that is like a black hole in my memory), my mom might have been saying something, but it’s like the audio in there is muffled and unintelligible, same with the cleaning memory. I also remember that with the cleaning memory — it was like I actually chose to forget it. Shove it away, act like nothing happened. Like nothing was wrong. But it still kind of kept lurking in the back of my head, very subtly.
-Better times, like watching movies on the old boat we had (that got sold recently). Going swimming. Drawing in shaving cream at that old pre-K that I went to. Playing in the sink with sponges — at least I have a fuzzy image of it.
I guess the weird thing of it is that there were definitely some wonderful, beautiful times woven in with things that are…well, questionable. And that I’m still putting together. My mom, who’s a suspect at most, doesn’t really fit the pattern, so to speak, of the sexually abusive mothers I’ve read about. And my dad, also a suspect, doesn’t really fit the pattern either, I don’t think. But my mom especially — the thing that kind of gets things fucked up a little is that she isn’t narcissistic, sadistic, anything like that. She was in my corner when I needed her, very encouraging of my talents as a writer, things like that. I honestly don’t want to have turned out to have been sexually abused. It’s too horrible to wrap my mind around. It’s too big. And I guess there are times when I’m wondering if I should feel guilty for being uncertain. It reminds me of one line that Mina says in the Francis Ford Coppola adaptation of Dracula that I watched for a college course: “Perhaps though I try to be good, I am bad.” I know that I do feel like it sometimes. No, even before that, I felt like it. Usually thanks to not being good at following directions, doing something unintentionally hurtful when I was a kid, not agreeing with something, losing my temper, things of that nature. Maybe I can just work on some of the flaws I do know I have to be accountable for, and try and do some deprogrammjng on the “I’m bad” thing. It’s the best I can do.
So, my psychiatrist, who still thinks my problems are OCD related (riiiiiight. /sarcasm), decided to up my medication. Still a little pissed at this. I mean, maybe she was trying to help me, keep me happy, etc., but the truth is, I’ve been trying to keep myself as happy as I can. Doing shit that nourishes me. I just happen to (understandably) not be comfortable around my family members at the moment. Unfortunately, that seems to translate into them thinking I’m a crazy person.
(Besides the obvious I’ve-got-no-job thing, I don’t think I’m emotionally ready to go VLC/NC. I’m going to have to practice. Build up my skills, stuff like that. I have certain disabilities re: independence skills, so that does not help)
So…I found new layers as well. They’re small layers, but they are layers nonetheless. I’m thinking of them more like fine-tuning — the whole thing with the Critic I was talking about earlier? Well, it reminded me of something from my childhood — not necessarily traumatic, but just an annoying thing: it was my mom telling me that I needed to keep my skirt down because people could see my underpants. (I used to wear dresses when I was a little girl, absolutely loved them. It’s safe to say I was kind of a girly girl — loved the Disney Princesses, stuff like that. Just general “little girl” things. It was as I got older I got more inclined to start wearing pants, which…honestly, I like. I remember liking to wear jeans because they thought they made me look “grown up”, and liking to wear long yoga pants when I was nineteen because they made me look grown-up. When I was nineteen, I actually went through a period of hating shorts and T-shirts in the summer because I thought they made me look like a little kid. * I wear yoga pants most of the time because they’re comfortable and I like being comfortable, and yet I do actually remember that there was a girl in my Film and Lit class that wore this dress and I actually kind of envied her. I wished I could be as glamorous as she was. I’m not exactly pretty, and even my mom’s attempts to boost me up…I can’t tell if they are the attempts of a loving mother or inappropriate at minimum. Christ, I don’t think the books I read when I was younger even covered this shit)
But yeah, let’s say that that moment caused a bit of Squick in me when I first saw it. Which probably makes me some sort of sick bastard. *Sighs*
I also remember that it was after accidentally seeing my dad naked in the shower, full-frontal male nudity kind of started bothering me a little bit. Which…honestly, is a pretty disproportionate reaction to accidentally seeing my dad in the shower. I just don’t know if I was sick somehow (then again, there’s no way I could have seen anything sexual in this at eight or nine) or if there’s some sort of buried trauma in there. Or if, for all intents and purposes I’m overanalyzing — I’m just finding my responses kind of odd because I don’t think I got the same reaction with female genitals and female nudity. I guess that’s where things get confusing because…well, I don’t know if I ever had a sort of anger/hatred towards breasts (faithallen, of Blooming Lotus, did a bit of an inventory of Aftereffects of Abuse By A Female Perpetrator and that was one of the symptoms) or anything like that.)
I guess I better go into the symptoms (and I’m going to have a link back as credit: https://faithallen.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/aftereffects-of-sexual-abuse-by-a-female-perpetrator/):
Alter parts (or imaginary friends) who are/were male:
I don’t have alters, but I do remember when I was fifteen or sixteen, I had Freddy Krueger as an imaginary friend. That might have grown out of a bit of a writing exercise I did for a fan-made script I had to the 2010 Elm Street remake (which has its moments, my script, but it’s generally kind of crappy). As a kid, however, I did have a female imaginary friend, named Isabelle, so…I guess that in and of itself doesn’t mean much.
Aversion to oral sex:
Yeah, but mostly of the fellatio variety. (It’s kind of weird that this is pushing me towards a possible male perpetrator?)
Extreme discomfort discussing periods, bras, and other coming of age issues with your mother:
As a kid, no. Ever since I got that flash back, yeah, things have been very, very uncomfortable.
Gender confusion in childhood and/or adulthood:
I went through a brief period of it, but mostly it was
caused by something else. Basically, it was someone
back in the TGWTG fandom — people were freaking
out at the Nostalgia Critic for ragging on TMZ and
someone else said that basically, TMZ is a feminine
thing and watching reviews is a masculine thing,
never mind that I just don’t like this sort of crap.
It’s a freakshow; I remember the extensive coverage
of stuff like Britney Spears’ mental breakdown and
I don’t want anything to do with that coverage. She
was clearly suffering from severe psychological
issues and yeah, maybe I am a bit of a Chris Crocker
here, but I just don’t like how the media turns
celebrities with clear mental illnesses into some sort
of point-and-laugh show. I mean, they’re people; they
aren’t animals in a zoo, for fuck’s sake. And even
putting that aside, I don’t want to hear about
everything a celebrity did. Life is too short.
But yeah, I do remember after that, those words did
a lot of damage. You hear enough of what women are
“supposed” to think, feel, like, dislike, etc. and you
start wondering if there was some sort of glitch in
your system. Or if you had Internalized Misogyny (TM).
Either way, it sucks. And it seems to be a running theme with me and other stuff “aimed at girls” — I didn’t agree with the idea someone else put out that drawing curvy women was objectification, I didn’t agree with certain interpretations of things…I guess it was stuff like that that made me wonder if I was doing something “wrong” as a girl and a woman. Even though…I am who I am, aren’t I?
Inability to be responsible for yourself (abusive mother encouraged deep dependence):
Actually, the irony is that she’s been encouraging me
to be more independent, things like that. It’s my dad
who’s been doing the majority of treating me like I’m
some helpless child.
Insomnia when mother is in the same house:
Honestly, I think I’ve just always had sleeping problems. I don’t know how much of them are tied to my mother being in the same house as me. I do know that when we went on a trip to London together for my twentieth birthday and had to share a room, I slept okay. Maybe it was me needing a change of environment.
Nightmares about mother hurting you (not necessarily sexually):
I had one. It involved me using stuffed animals to
fight her off. And me telling her to stay away from
So yeah, I’ve got a lot of damage to deal with. Not even from what I came here for in the first place, but other stuff.
Damage to heal:
-Setting boundaries with my father
-Figuring out this whole sexuality puzzle
-Gaining more confidence in myself as a woman
-Issues with self-care
-Emotional abreactions re: male equipment
I don’t know what happened, but hopefully, I can at least heal the damage. And who knows? Maybe the stronger I get, the more I’ll actually get some clarity on. But most of all, I’ll get past the aftereffects. And that…that might do.
Yeah. That might do.
*Of course, considering how I freaked out on my nineteenth birthday because I thought I was “getting old” (nineteen is hardly old in the slightest, honestly)…yeah, what exactly did you want, nineteen year old me? Honest to God.
I swear it’s like ever since I recovered that one flash, they’ve been acting creepy. I remember come 2015 in December when my dad was just…looking over my shoulder, waiting outside the bathroom as if waiting for me to take a shower and put down my phone (which I finally put a stop to just by telling him to back off) and things like that. Not to mention my doctors are being jerks. My psychiatrist, for example — she is a nice woman, don’t get me wrong (most of the time she is), but she’s assuming it’s OCD that’s causing my problems. No. It’s. Not. It’s not like that at all. And frankly, that’s kind of insulting. I mean, yeah, I might have anxiety and OCD but that doesn’t mean that my perceptions are fucked up; it doesn’t mean that I’m stupid, for God’s sake. Times like this is why I trust the Internet more than my family. I think that’s why they hate the Internet so much. They want to stay as ignorant and close-minded as they can and because I’m stuck in college trying to get a degree and such, I can’t just go very low contact/no contact. I can’t just get out of here. In addition, they’re trying to control my sleep schedule like I’m some sort of child even though I’m in college, for Christ’s sakes. My dad’s even said, basically, that I don’t deserve to be treated like an adult (and this coming from the man who basically throws tantrums when he loses an argument with my mom, so…pot calling the kettle black, Dad).
I shouldn’t say any of this, but my family are just being incredibly. Goddamn. Creepy. It’s not enough that they don’t believe that I have good fucking reasons to be worried about things, but then they have to stalk me, treat me like a child, things like that. Then again, Dad’s never given a shit about what I had to say, so…must be a day ending in “y”, I guess. I don’t even want to believe the worst of them, but they’re giving me good fucking reasons to hate them. They’re ignorant, insensitive, they’ve got their heads in the sand, they actually do think people lie about child abuse…all that crap. They’re assholes. I mean, fortunately I get to possibly get away from them in two months (July, to be more precise) so…I can at least keep counting down the months and try and take care of myself. And while at camp, I am going to make a point of having as little contact with them as possible.
-So when I got back from the psychiatrist’s, I took a nap and had a pretty disturbing dream about the apocalypse, and a girl molested and raped by a teacher getting revenge on him.
-I worked more on the writing exercises in The Courage to Heal, more precisely the “I Remember/I Don’t Remember” part and…well, I might as well copy and paste what I’ve got (can’t use real names, though, so I’m changing that):
I remember generally having a happy childhood. I remember some of the stuff on the tapes, really, where I was running around laughing and happy. I remember playing dress-up. I remember writing a lot. I remember messing around on the computer in the back room. I remember that school was actually the hardest thing for me, although I do wonder if I might have maximized the impact that Mrs. T’s stuff had on me. I remember watching movies in S. I remember that I watched movies at home. I remember that Ms. H was very nice to me. I remember a lot of my drawings, none of which really had genital elements or called up stuff of sexual abuse. I remember that I used to pretend a lot. I remember that I used to hate my name because I usually associated it with me getting in trouble/getting picked on. I remember feeling like a doormat in elementary school and Summer S, even missing out on certain opportunities because of it. I remember sleeping on the floor of my mom’s room when I was a teenager because I was scared of Freddy Krueger, Reavers, C coming to my house to hurt me, you name it. I remember being occasionally intimidated by how dark it was in Summer S. I remember being into the Goosebumps books, though it was pretty much the ending of “The Girl Who Cried Monster” that I basically said, “I quit.” I remember being moved by the ending of The Ghost Next Door and it helped that I could relate to Hannah — very very well. I remember actually thinking Joselle Stark was supposed to be a role model because I was so ashamed of how timid I really was, even though there seemed to be nothing in the house to suggest such a thing. I remember asking my mom if I might be autistic, and she said no (later I learned that I was on the autistic spectrum and Mom had just denied it because she didn’t want to make me feel like I couldn’t do anything). I remember working with Mrs. R on stuff like the advice column and how people gushed over me. I remember — and after the traumatizing memories of elementary school, this is a fucking relief. Like, holy shit — that there were some teachers who doted on me. I remember falling off the monkeybars and scraping my knee really badly. I remember once, kissing my mom on the mouth (I think I did, at least) and her making a comment that I don’t know was appropriate (though then again, this is probably the matter of my whole “seeing double entendres” thing so who knows).
I don’t remember second grade. It’s like a giant blank in my mind. I mean, I remember my teacher Mrs. A and how nice she was, but maybe it’s just what was recounted for me. Aunt K says that it’s not really a big deal, but combined with everything else, it’s unsettling. Plus, she’s like, in her fifties. She has more room, so to speak, to forget certain things. I’m 21-going-on-22. I should remember more, at least. Memories may not be video recordings but still…
I don’t remember what exactly happened with the cleaning/cream memory that set off this madness, which is scary because I swear that as it was happening, it was so vivid and so clear and I could remember Mom’s hands spreading me. I remember the pain. I remember feeling almost like I was torn apart. I mean, I wasn’t being invaded (I don’t think) or digitally raped (I don’t think) but I can remember pain. I also remember feeling like an older kid in the dream — elementary school age? For all intents and purposes, the damn image might as well have been…oh, I just don’t know. Mom basically fondling me. But there was medicine there, wasn’t there? Some sort of ointment? I don’t know. I know that in general, the only assistance Mom gave me in terms of baths was just me washing my hair and that was because I couldn’t do it very well myself. I don’t know if that makes it better, but that’s what I remember. I remember…chronologically (I think) it seemed to happen after I read some stuff in Chicken Soup for the Soul about sexual abuse, etc. Could I have superimposed the events that I read about on my parents? I just don’t know. I have no idea. I just don’t. And considering sometimes the flash varies (I see Dad’s hands, or something like Dad’s hands but more weathered and with skin a shade darker than my Dad’s, but only a shade. Did I superimpose my parents on a complete stranger, or the other way around? I just find it all so weird), I don’t know what’s happening. I don’t remember any weird questions. I think Mom might have been trying to explain something to me, but I don’t know what, exactly. Someone suggested that if I was calm and comfortable and not being asked weird questions, I was probably recalling experiences that weren’t abusive, but then why the horrible pain?
So yeah. I found another piece. I dredged it up. There it is. I realized the other pair of hands that flickered in the initial flash were more paper-y looking than my Dad’s (my Dad’s are a bit bonier and paler) and that’s when I went, “Hold on a minute.” I guess I can’t chalk it up to The Power of Suggestion either, because I know that there was some element of those hands also in the flash that set it off. If I opened it up a little further, I could definitely see those hands. Problem is, I don’t know anybody in my life who has those hands…hands that don’t even look three-dimensional, just paper-y and flat. Maybe my kid brain couldn’t think of any other image of that than the sort of paper-bag hands? They didn’t look very big either, and I know my dad has some pretty big (not giant, but rather big) hands. Best I can describe the new glimpse of hands I got in my flash were that they were kind of average, not very hairy. So…great. For all intents and purposes, I could have superimposed my parents over a stranger or vice-versa. This just plain sucks.
I’m also wondering if I might have jumbled up several events into one memory (as this apparently happens), because Mom did say that there was a teacher who helped me out with a tampon when I was…probably young-ish in Summer S (based on what I can remember, it was probably when I was taking swimming classes — I remember that I broke a pair of glasses there, that I was scared of wasps and actually fled to another table to get away from them, that the food there was probably made by Satan, that I was looking forward to when I could stop swimming with the younger kids in the shallow end — stuff like that involved putting your head underwater which I don’t think I was the best at. I also remember, on a more thematically related note, a girl I met on vacation teaching me how to swim to the bottom of a deep pool and me initially freaking out and worrying if I was going to drown. *) and she was actually freaked out by that. She did say that she was worried quite frequently about me possibly being molested. (Not…all the time, just frequently) She also said that she worried about me getting raped by a friend of mine, which is honestly ridiculous just because that friend is very much a gentleman and probably wouldn’t even dream of doing something like that. (Plus, either gender can be a perpetrator, and either gender can be a victim. And that’s the fucking truth)
I also heard that I got the good-touch-bad-touch talk when I was in pre-K but I can’t remember a thing of it. And I heard it again when I was eight or nine, but I don’t remember that either. I do remember that I got into Greek mythology in fourth grade after watching the Disney version of Hercules, and that when I had issues sleeping in fourth grade, I actually read just to help me sleep. (I kind of do that now too; I didn’t read much when I was nineteen because I was so overwhelmed by everything else but now I’ve gotten back into it) I also remember my pre-K years and the school I went to, and how it was kind of intimidating but also really comforting in a way. I remember that I met my best friend there. We hit it off, and we didn’t live too far away from each other, so the drive over there was pretty easy. And I can pretty vaguely remember stuff like the Christmas party at my pre-K school, chatting with the individual Santas (at pre-K age I talked a lot about my issues, but at probably four or five, that’s probably normal). I can also remember that from the videos of myself at four and five, I was a generally happy kid. Very bouncy. Had a good sense of humor (I think at one year old judging from home videos, I also had it, just a very silly streak). I also wrote my first story at age four, “The Tale of Little John Miss” (because from what I can recall, I was fascinated by the stories I heard and wanted to write my own. Emphasis on “from what I can recall”). It was pretty fun to write. I don’t know what age I was exactly (might have to double-check) but I remember going as Marie from The Aristocats for Halloween (wow, I actually remember quite a lot when I really think about it! My memory would probably extend at minimum to age four) and being kind of scared by something and nearly (emphasis on nearly; I’m telling it as best I can) falling down the driveway. I also remember from the videos that I watched that at one year old, I was pretty playful, easily excited, had issues with my sleep patterns (the more things change, am I right?), and was a generally sweet kid. A lot of messy hair as well — even when I was born, the doctors said I had a lot of hair. I also remember some videos of me at two or three years old, where I was very cheerful and chatty. (That was when I actually started talking, because at one I was mostly saying a few words, and at two I had to have someone else coach me back into talking — and according to Mom, we got on well, me and this tutor. I could be a defiant kid, but I could also be a friendly one. I guess — and this is something that’s poured into adulthood — I like to see people as generally good. I like to be idealistic about things. Being cynical can lead to moments of humor, but otherwise? Not fun at all)
As I wrote about the whole my-experiences-with-water bit (and even after all that, I love swimming, which is pretty amazing), I also remembered a bit more about my mom helping me with a tampon when I was…probably a preteen or early teen. Jury’s kind of mixed on that whole thing — some people think helping’s gross, some people don’t. (There was someone else who said that there are circumstances where helping with a tampon can be normal and non-abusive, God bless, with normal being explaining it calmly like a doctor would and it being medical and objective and such. My memory is fuzzy, but I don’t remember a feeling of being pressured into it, like it was my mother’s idea. I remember that tampons fucking sucked, though. Those monstrosities had to be designed by Satan, I just know it, and anyone who designs an alternative to tampons is one of my new heroes. Swear to God.
So yeah. I got a lot of pieces. Holy shit. I’m at least clearer on my history, even if I don’t know…everything that happened. Best I can do is take care of myself, and keep working on stuff that has to be improved. That’s the best I know.
*In terms of other bad experiences with water, I remember that when I was six or seven (hey, remembering something when I was seven!) and on vacation with my family and their friends, my brother’s paper cup got swept out to sea and I, probably thinking I was invincible, tried to brave the waves to go and get it — fortunately, one of the friends was wonderful and vigilant and managed to pick me up before I got swept out to sea. The most harm I got was having my dress soaked and a lot of embarrassment. I think that was where my fear of sharks started really kicking into gear, because someone told me, I think, that the sharks could have gotten me. Nothing involving Jaws, just a pretty terrifying childhood experience. Like, if that family friend hadn’t been so vigilant and wonderful, I wouldn’t be here right now. And I know that I used to have recurring nightmares about big waves (one I had this year with a scene from the TV movie Storm of the Century and a giant wave climbing the fence) and tsunamis — one instance was actually really bizarre, because I had a dream about a tsunami when I was a teenager (probably fifteen), and later logged onto my email to hear about an earthquake and tsunami in Chile. That was pretty much how I found out.
It was, ironically, speaking with my psychiatrist (and granted, she didn’t quite believe me. I guess it makes sense; I don’t believe myself, honestly) that got me to recover this next piece of the image (the one with my dad) — basically, that the image cropped up not long after (from what I can recall) I accidentally walked in on my dad showering. It’s not reassuring (I mean, I have OCD, but I doubt even my OCD is capable of that shit. As far as where my OCD came from? My best bet is that I inherited the damn thing, considering that my mom also has it), but it is heartening that I can get a chronology. That definitely helps. It’s not much, but it helps. It also brings up the possibility that I could have drawn a picture in my mind (weird, but it happens) to explain something. Still not reassuring, but I got some chronology on the thing, which is a pretty important clue.
Honestly, I’m not going to be jumping to too many conclusions here. I’m still figuring stuff out. Which is frustrating, but it’ll have to do. But it at least means that in acknowledging it that I can tell myself, “It’s okay. You don’t have to have the same kinks as everyone else.”
Also, from what I remember of my sessions with my psychiatrist (and I’m not ruling out anything, honestly, I’m just making some notes on what I was like as a kid to make some reference), I started meeting with her at eight years old for anxiety, and I don’t think I ever worried about anything bad going on at home. I guess it’s just recently, I’ve been reexamining some things that I don’t know are normal or not, and considering certain issues I have, it makes things more complicated. Best I can do is follow the psychiatrist’s orders and get some good sleep, get outside (I mean, it’s not winter anymore. I guess I’ve been afraid at times to leave the house, for a long while. I don’t know what it is, but it is some sort of anxiety) and generally do stuff to nurture myself. I deserve that much. I guess I’m so used to “I’m going to kick this thing’s ass” that I don’t know how to react to the idea of something that came naturally.
But I can do this. Still investigating; hopefully it’s not as bad as it seems.
First off, I want to thank Ellen Bass and Laura Davis for this. I mean, if they hadn’t had that whole “Breaking Silence” exercise I kept putting off, I wouldn’t have actually come to this realization. I mostly did it as a memory retrieval exercise, as I was incredibly fuzzy in regards to details on the shit that I was worried about. I wrote about the context of my childhood, and it was there that I dug up two pieces that were more related than you think. Probably trivial ones, but interesting. (Every piece counts, after all)
The first one was that I used to be in the TGWTG fandom, and in 2011, Suburban Knights came out. (Those were actually good times; I actually looked forward to when each installment would come out. They weren’t Shakespeare, but to a sixteen or seventeen-year-old, they were entertaining enough) And there’s a scene where the Nostalgia Critic kind of sits improperly (sort of the skirt of his costume — it was a Link costume, just to be more specific — flipped up exposing his underpants) and along with some amusement I guess I also felt a bit of Squick. Some of the people I was friends with at the time found it a turn-on/Female Gaze-y, but I didn’t. There was just something about it that kind of made me uneasy.
The next piece is something that is probably inconsequential but I just have a creepy feeling about (and that newly recovered what-is-this-image doesn’t help at all) — basically, an incident where I might have (and the details are fuzzy, so bear with me) accidentally walked in on my dad showering and…let’s say that I don’t know how old I was (probably eight or nine because that’s when Mom said I had issues with boundaries), but I accidentally got the full-frontal view, and had some reactions that…I can’t quite remember them, on second thought, but they were kind of odd. Not like running away and crying hysterically, but just…odd.
Like I said, details are fuzzy, but it at least makes sense. Whatever happened, it definitely left its share of trauma (as I think accidentally seeing your dad naked would definitely be enough to freak a kid out. I’ve heard of families who shower or bathe with their kids and though by and large it is normal, I don’t know if I could do that. Mom actually said she didn’t do the co-bathing thing with me because (a) she had a UTI at the time and (b) the idea of co-bathing kind of Squicked her out. *) which makes at least one part fall into place. Considering that the whole sexuality aspect played a good if not big part in my current estrangement from the TGWTG fandom (and I say that because if you take a good look at things now, you’d get why I walked away), that one incident might have had a bigger impact on me than I thought. It can’t be possible and yet…it kind of makes sense. It at least makes me feel less freakish. Like, prior to this, I would have felt just downright awful for not falling in line with the Female Gaze. But now…now I can accept it. It’s okay, eighteen to nineteen year old me. Not everyone in the world likes the same stuff. I don’t know what happened — for all intents and purposes it’s just good old fashioned Brain Bleach worthy stuff — but I can at least comfort that part of me. It’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with you. Honest. Granted, you lost your temper, but the matter of the genital stuff…not your fault.
*I guess it’s all right. I mean, not every family in the world enjoys co-bathing.
So, I had a pretty interesting session. Sad thing is I might have to transition at one point to another therapist, as my therapist at the moment is lovely, but she did admit she mostly works with kids and teenagers and I’m an adult now (she started seeing me as a senior in high school), and so I might have to see a good adult therapist. I guess I’m just worried about the next therapist — what if they either think I’m stupid for “not getting things” earlier or they kind of laugh off my situation? I know I already wonder if I’m crazy. Maybe I am. Maybe this is the story of one woman losing touch with reality or something. I know I’ve had periods where I feel…detached from reality. (I might have to deal with that and the matter of the anger issues)
I guess I just feel stupid. Defective. Maybe it doesn’t help that when I was first doing research there was this one webpage who called victims (or people in the investigative stage, where I am) things like weak, stupid, bad people, things like that — which really isn’t true at all. Then again, I guess feeling stupid and defective started at…probably the age of one, actually, thanks to a daycare worker who thought that one year olds could feed themselves on their own and there was something wrong with me for not doing so. (I spoke with my guidance counselor, and she said that that was ridiculous. She happens to be a parent herself)
And I think that feeling of being defective or stupid might have carried over into my anger issues, which I think are partially a self-protective sort of thing.
So yeah, I have…shit to deal with. Hopefully I can deal with it however I can.
Let’s say that starting out, I’m definitely excited about this, even if I’m not exactly feeling too great. Best I can describe this is that I feel pretty sniffly and ill, which, ever since I started out on this whole journey seems to be frequent. I tend to get headaches when bits of memory are coming up, and I tend to get more short-tempered and irritable, although that just seems to be my default mood.
Best I can do for the backstory is that I have a fear that I may have been sexually abused. It’s mostly a creeping feeling; I don’t know for sure. It’s something I would not have even thought twice about if not for a flash that came up last year; it’s something that I’ve always had, but I felt a new sort of terror just seeing it again. It’s basically me in a bathroom (I must have at least been a kid — doing some meditation for my headaches suggests that I might have been elementary school age, but that can’t be the case because I can’t remember any procedures that might have happened then), getting cleaned or having cream put on my genitals by someone (I know my parents are there, but I’m not sure who was doing the application) and I’m having a creeping sort of fear of being inappropriately touched. (Closest I can approximate from my parents is eighteen months, but eighteen-month-olds aren’t usually worried about this shit, at least not in concrete words) I’m also very disturbed by my mom. I love her dearly, but some of her actions, reflecting back are a bit…questionable.
To make things “better”, I have a new piece that I don’t know if it’s a memory or not but I’ve had it since I was quite young, of having oral sex forced on me as a kid. I don’t think it actually happened, though — I didn’t know what oral sex was until middle school. My guidance counselor suggested it was an intrusive thought, but…I dunno, whatever it is, it isn’t good.
What I do know for a fact is that when I did the research, I did learn that I had a lot of issues common to people who had gone through abuse (things that can be connected to other factors, but combined with my first emerging memories got me on edge). So far, I’m in neurofeedback and seem to be fighting a losing battle with trying to get new memories to come out, even if they do actually surface. It’s frustrating, honestly, and made worse by the fact I’m still in community college and jobless, so I can’t really leave.
So yeah. Best I can do is work on my issues and hope for the best.