I told my therapist last night that I feel like what I am struggling with right now is understanding the scope of my life. I want to feel like I really understand kind of "my position" in the realm of trauma.
All of my life I have had people telling me that what happened to me "wasn't so bad" and I should "quit whining". First my family and then as an adult people have practically fucking lined up to tell me I am hysterical and I should "just get over" my childhood.
I told my therapist that I feel very self conscious but it feels like the only people who may have some idea of what my childhood was like is people who grew up in war zones. She asked me if I have ever known someone who grew up in a war zone. I said no--that is a lot of my guilt. I'm one of those white American--who in the fuck am I to act like my life has been as bad as someone else.
She said she knows quite a few people personally and professionally who have grown up in war zones. She feels quite confident telling me that any of them would say that hands down my life experiences were out-of-this-world traumatic compared to what they lived through.
How do I assimilate that?
It was hard watching her face as she said it. Like she was breaking bad news to the poor bereavement victim.
She said she knows a Tibetan man who lost his entire family. They were all blown up in one go. She said that she is pretty sure he would feel great compassion and tell me that what he suffered was nothing like what I went through.
He had a community who reached out to him and mourned his loss and grieved with him. He was supported. It was awful but the people around him helped.
I cry alone in a room. I have for my entire life. There is no community support in that. There is no reason for my brain to treat me like someone who should continue living. I am given no data to support the premise that I deserve to live.
It makes a lot of sense that I am suicidal. I am treated like I am disposable in the world I was born into.
Have you ever watched chickens go at each other? I am at the bottom of the pecking order. In almost every other species I would be dead already. It is kind of weird knowing that it is not hyperbole.
I was a high school teacher. I am quite familiar with the depths of despair into which people throw themselves. I hate feeling like that kind of whiner.
No, recovering from trauma is not whining. It is.... wait for it.... recovering from trauma. And sometimes it takes a long time. Sometimes it is impossible to move past. That's only about 6% of people who end up with PTSD. Only about 20% of people who live through trauma move into PTSD. There is hope.
I have to trick my brain into believing that I should be here despite this many years of evidence that I shouldn't be.
It is normal for my species to be pack animals. I have to not need that in order to feel worth. It's kind of weird but I have try and gain a more masculine approach to life. In general (certainly not in all cases across the board) it is more common for men to eschew the societal view of them than women. Women need the herd for safety more than the men.
I feel inadequate to the task of demanding a seat at the banquet of life. I feel like my responsibility is to carry platters so large and heavy that I can't see past them and accidentally fall down the stairs and break my neck. The big loss will be the meat I'm carrying on the tray. I am more easily replaced.
I think a larger chunk of that feeling than I would prefer to admit comes from my internal misogyny. Especially given that I have now successfully contributed to the gene pool my entire concept of self says that I have no further use. There are people more fit to perform the tasks I perform. Better to cull the herd for the good of the herd.
It's kind of weird but I have always kind of wished that I felt less comfortable as a girl. This fits. I am absolutely cisgendered. I'm a girl. I'm a chick. I'm a woman. Those fit. Maybe if I were more androgynous, maybe if I wanted to reject this inferior female body and instead I tried to move towards being a man then maybe I would be worthy of respect. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to work out a lot of the time either. Nothing about me makes sense as a man. I'm just a woman.
I feel actively demeaned by my lack of ambition. It shows how generally low in character I am. I have interest in money only in as much as it is a means to an end. I am pushing my family into excessively frugal living because I prioritize lowering our overall expenses. That is my first, central, and most fiercely held current life beliefs. The only way for us to be safe is to lower our monthly expenses.
We spent over $90k last year. Noah made a lot more than that. (I feel startled by him.) That is not something I can count on forever. In my defense 54% of our spending went towards mortgage/house. I did have to replace the washer/dryer and both heaters this year. If I don't have as many home repairs I anticipate putting at least $40k towards principal next year. Right now our mortgage is around $230k. About six more years. About two years before we want to go overseas.
For the year we are traveling I want our mandatory unavoidable expenses to be under $1500/month. That's an amount of money we can just float from savings for a year without it mattering. See, this is why it feels like it is inappropriate for me to talk about any part of my life is hard. Right now I have an easier set up than 99.99999% of all humans for all time. But that wasn't true when I was a child. How can a person have such completely different life experiences?
I don't know how to reconcile being at the bottom and at the top. It feels like I am unworthy of being on the top so I should jump off a building and let someone more deserving move into my place.
I feel very weird about so much of my psychological safety coming from Noah providing money. That seems prone to be problematic. I'm trying to play my part and rapidly pay off the mortgage so that the pressure is less extreme. When the mortgage is paid off I can support my family in this home without Noah forever if something bad happens.
I will have reduced my life to a scale appropriate for me. I feel kind of weird about what that means in terms of my life. My status. My right to live and take up space. My right to pursue happiness.
I feel stupid and weird because the things that I want in my life are common things to want. They are common hobbies and past times. But I hold tremendous shame for wanting them because I was told over and over how stupid I was for wanting them.
When I was a kid I would try to get excited about moving. I tried to put plants in a bunch of places we lived. I was mocked and laughed at. My efforts were kicked up or ground into the ground. What the hell did I think I was doing? Stupid bitch go back in the house and shut up.
Why did I read all the time? Because I had to stay in a room silently all the time. If I made noise or a mess or was even seen doing anything other than going to the bathroom or fetching food I was yelled at or mocked or made the butt of some joke.
I'm having a hard time with a lot of my male friends. I don't particularly like being the butt of the joke. Yes, I'm over-fucking-sensitive. But they want me to know they like me. So they are sure to denigrate me as much as possible as fast as possible.
"Wow! I'm surprised you can get that!"
"Oh I'd better help you. You know how women are."
No, motherfucker, I don't know how women are. Why don't you fucking explain it to me.
But I want to have friends. So I shut my mouth and I bite the insides of my mouth until it bleeds.
I'm really tired of people telling me I have no tact. You have no fucking idea. I want friends. I want friends so badly that I hide for months because I am in a phase where if someone makes me the butt of the joke I am going to hysterically scream at them for an hour straight and possibly have to be pulled off of them as I beat the shit out of them.
I'll just stay home. I'm over-sensitive and folks are sure to let me know that it is my problem.
But I'm not supposed to talk about having issues with men. It hurts their feelings. All those poor innocent men who have never done anything feel terrible guilt when I talk about this and I am a mean person for hurting them.
I'm sorry I forgot. I wasn't silent enough. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid me.
Sometimes Noah will lean in and lovingly stroke my face and tell me that he likes that I talk. He likes what I think. No, he isn't tired of listening to me.
Honestly I think it makes him feel a lot more ok about the level of distrust of men I have because he has raped. He doesn't get to retreat into the shell of "How dare you say that about me" which makes him a lot more sympathetic to my struggle.
He is at least willing to admit that it happens. Men who have not raped are often not willing to admit that this is even a problem. They point at the fact that they haven't done anything and that means that people who want to talk about it should shut up because it isn't their problem and it makes them feel bad.
I think that men who have not raped are aware that the line between having not done so and having done so is not always as clear as one would hope and you don't always notice when you have done it. Whoops.
So how do you know you are a good person as a man? How do you know you have never raped anyone? I don't fucking know. I wish I did.
I know that one of my lovers told me this week that I am the only woman who has ever asked for his consent before having sex with him. I feel so sad about that I don't have the words.
When I was in kindergarden I had a "boyfriend" and I gave him a blowjob--like you do. When we were in sixth grade I moved back to the area to find out he had told all and sundry that I raped him.
I ask for consent before I have sex with people. I need people to tell me that they want to be there. That's a lot of the reason I haven't had sex with more women. They aren't willing to admit they want it. So I don't fuck them.
I told my friend's sister this weekend: "You need to go make a lot of mistakes. I get that. But only do the things that you feel drawn to. This 26 year old "Dominant" who is "training you" by making you deep throat him for excessively long periods of time even though you don't enjoy that activity... he's not a good person. Ditch him.
These guys who are older than you don't have the key to the castle. Find out what you like. If you want to have recreational sex it is a lot better to do it with guys near your age. Yes it is annoying to help them through the training wheels stage. But that is how you end up with a good man. The older guys hunting for 18 year olds who won't tell you anything about themselves but they expect you to show up and enthusiastically suck their dicks? Yeah they aren't nice men. They never will be. You can have a series of dicks that way and to them you will be just a pussy. Can you live with that?"
I think that people should have the logical results of their actions explained to them in meticulous detail so they can see the pattern emerging and make choices. When I was 18 and I came into the scene and I met up with a 30-something year old woman she introduced me to a series of men (including my shaman) and told me to have sex with them because I would learn. She told me that she appreciated the status bump she gets for bringing them fresh meat.
Can you live with being just a cunt?
There are no take backs. You can never un-live your life.
Last night as I was leaving I walked through the incest support group my therapist runs right after my session. I stopped and told them, "I hear she told you that my book had a nice ending. I don't know why she lied to you. It has a terrible ending." Then I laughed. One of the women jumped up and hugged me. She said, "Oh my God! That is you! I can't write about any of what happened to me. She (pointing) wrote a letter to her abuser and that is the most intense of anyone I have ever heard of. How could you write that book?"
I felt kind of stunned. I write because I can't not write. For me to not write would be for me to cease to exist. I mean, sometimes I have to give my wrists a break or life gets busy... but writing is how I live. Without writing I do not exist as a whole person. I only exist as fragments because in any given environment such a small part of my life is relevant.
If I look forward into the future, maybe what I really need is a Magic 8 Ball. I would put it on my desk and consult it regularly. Digression!
If I look forward into the future I try to imagine what kind of worth I might have. What good can I do? That is going to play a big part in me not-dying. I will have need to feel like I have work I am unusually well suited for. I need to create a life where I am important. Even though that feels weird and like I shouldn't say.
I have a very unusual set of life experiences. How can I use them to do good? I don't know yet. I'm not in the future yet.
It's kind of weird. When I look at the people I know I don't resemble any of them much. I don't have an even vaguely similar life path. How can I find a way to make it safe enough for me to exist even though I break all the norms of the herd?
I think the misogyny is part of it. How do I start valuing myself and other women equally as men even when they do not have the good fortune to be computer geeks. Many years ago a friend (a woman--of course) told me that I should expect to deal with sexism because I wasn't a geek but she was shocked and appalled that she had it happen to her at work. The strong implication (to me) was that she was obviously so much more on their level...
Yeah. I wonder why I value women less than men. Maybe because I live in silicon valley and even my female friends tell me I should. Unless someone is an engineer they just can't be all that bright--right. Oh I guess a lawyer would do. Or a doctor. A teacher is a lame person--"Those who can do; those who can't teach" and a stay at home mom is significantly more of a loser.
Why is the only work worth doing about sitting still and staring at a screen?
I think I want to step outside this hierarchy. I've been trying since I was fifteen and fucking the president of the computer club. I SAY AS I STARE AT THE FUCKING SCREEN. My hypocrisy must be lost on no one.
I feel like the path to self-acceptance for me has to be some kind of divorce in my head from the normal rules of status. I need to treat myself as more of a free floating free radical particle. I am potentially destructive to people around me. I just don't exist inside their system. There isn't a place for me. I'm just... kinda there.
There is no deserve. There is no should. There is only what is. I'm not dead yet. It feels like there are a lot of good reasons why I should be. But I'm not.