Archive | May 2021

Horrifying Realization

This past week, I had one of those moments when a whole lot of dots get connected simultaneously and it actually makes me gasp for breath.

I am determined to deal with my issues. I see this as my last chance. I have never had much of a will to live. I have a friend at work that recently tried to kill herself. I know how she feels. She is, I think, 14 years older than I am. Oh hell no! It is unacceptable to me to feel that way 14 years from now. I will shoot myself first. To still be having shame attacks at my current age is bad enough. Whatever it takes, I’m willing to do it because this is my last shot. I am unwilling to continue that way. Feeling like that makes life definitely not worth living.

It was Wednesday. I had seen my psychoanalyst. I have been reading many books regarding trauma. I highly recommend the author Pete Walker and, oh yeah, The Crappy Childhood Fairy online. I was watching Law and Order: SVU. I love that show because it is all about trauma. Detective Benson was in this woman’s house and the living room was a little messy but not too bad. Then she looked at the magazine on the piano: it was from 1979! The suspect kept repeating strange phrases. It hit me. OMG! There is no future without dealing with past trauma! Just an endless repetition of an unhealed past.

None of these ideas are mine. I just finally understood them on a cellular level this past week. The “repetition compulsion” of psychoanalytic fame is nothing but the subconscious bring up the exact same issue for the 523rd time to try to heal it, to get some very basic need met. Karma is destiny. The unhealed elements from the past get endlessly repeated as “fate” or “karma.” Some Southern writer once said, “In the South, the past isn’t really over. It isn’t even past.”

I have been reading “Healing Collective Trauma” by Thomas Hubl. It takes everything I have been learning about individual trauma and ups the scale. It even references Otto Scharmer’s “Theory U.” The problem with these larger scale books is that they seem to assume that the individuals in a system are already healed or didn’t need to heal; in other words: they don’t have “issues.” Hubl’s book makes at least some effort to bridge individual issues to the larger whole. These are the books that will lead to the answers that will help humanity the most in the long haul.

However, before people can be part of the larger solution, they must deal with their own issues first. Or all they do is to project their own crap onto everyone else. Before we can do Scharmer, we need to understand Walker. We need to do The Crappy Childhood Fairy. (This woman actually shows you how to re-regulate your brain/nervous system. What more do you want?) We are not going to deal with systemic racism before we deal with those folks who say stupid shit like, “My father beat the crap out of me and I turned out OK.” Uh…no you didn’t. Soooooo didn’t.

Politically speaking, you know Trump never had anything to offer because his slogan was “Make America Great Again.” The key word is “again.” The slogan makes the false assumption that America was ever great in the first place. For the slaves…not so much. Having a repeat of a dysfunctional past does not appeal to me at all. Malcolm X talked about “chickens coming home to roost.” That day is here.

I am not black, but I live and work in a ridiculously diverse world. If it doesn’t work for everyone, a “solution” ultimately works for no one.

I am unwilling to just keep repeating crap that never worked to begin with. I am unwilling to feel that way endlessly as I age. My life depends on my healing. The future of the world depends on your healing. We can’t give what we don’t have. We can’t teach what we don’t understand. It is so obvious to me now.

Trying to Help From the Outside

The recurring theme is “How do I help others without getting sucked in?”

I have some friends that have gone over the edge. The mental health crisis is real. People without human companionship can lose track pretty easily of what is normal and healthy versus what is not. Quarantine can be just plain ugly. I don’t know how to offer support from a distance. My going over the edge with them benefits no one.

And then there’s my relatives. They would love to have me back “in the family.” There is role for me there. The problem? The role is worthless. I play the game by their rules and the game is not worth the time and energy it takes to play. They are energy vampires. Not intentionally or deliberately, mind you, but energy-sucking nonetheless. I simply do a whole lot better without them than with them, and that is a painful admission.

When it comes to addictions, all 12-step groups tell you the same thing: you have change your playgrounds and playmates. It is not reality-based to think you can go to the bar and drink lemonade. Eventually, you will have a beer in your hand. You have to find alternative ways to spend your time (read: “life”). You must be selective as to where you invest your time, energy, attention, and money.

Because of my time in Alanon and Barry’s three decades in AA, I know from personal experience that a system cannot be changed from within. New members of Congress discover this all the time. They think they are going to change the system; instead, the system changes them–and not for the better. I have belonged to a few different churches and found the same thing. When your time, energy, attention, and money are invested in something, you cannot see it realistically. You have too much invested. It is not until you have fully extricated yourself emotionally, energetically, and financially that you get a clearer perspective. That clarity is not possible from within. You have to be outside the system for a time before you see your former contribution more truly. Systems do not start to collapse until people begin removing their emotional, energetic, and financial support. Fighting a system from within is futile. What you resist–persists. You have to walk away from the battlefield altogether, allowing the other side to have the last word as they talk meaninglessly to themselves. For you, the conversation is over and has been over for a while.

Loyalty must be to truth and reality, as much as you can discern it for yourself. But make no mistake, this hurts. Everyone wants a sense of belonging. Nobody wants to reject/be rejected by everyone. What I am talking about is grief-inducing. The hopes and dreams you had for that membership die agonizingly. You have devoted a chunk of your life energy to these people and you find yourself cutting your losses. But think about it: How much is it worth to belong to a group {or relationship} more interested in its own survival than in what is good for its own members? My answer? Nothing.

Starting to Feel Ready

Something is happening, but I’m not sure what. So many smaller things, all in one week.

I finally was able to do the funeral representative paperwork. It wasn’t that hard, but it required my best friend and I to actually have the same day off and the notary at the credit union. That’s a lot of variables that all had to come together at once. I did that on Wednesday, after I got my second Pfizer vaccination. Later that day, my arm hurt so bad I could hardly raise it. So I went to bed early and woke up late the next morning, feeling amazing. I took the next couple days off work, which I never do, but I had heard nasty things about the second shot and so gave work warning that I would take the following two days off. Feeling great and not working are a tough combination to pull off.

In other words, I’ve been not working the past couple days. Rest! Time and peace.

Also on Wednesday, my mom told me my dad had been diagnosed with heart failure. This is new. They are always tired when they get back from Florida, but this was more serious. More tests have to be run, but you get the idea.

Lately, I have been obsessed with beginnings and endings, like watching the first and last episodes of my favorite TV series.

I could be totally wrong, but it just feels like many things are wrapping up and/or that I am prepared for the next phase. I make no claims. I am becoming very familiar with grief. I don’t know what is happening, but it is hard not to feel the winds of change blowing on my face.

Taking Care of Ourselves and Each Other

I feel like people have gone over the edge. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know.

I have a friend who has a dog. This dog is a magnificent animal. He really is. She thinks his mom is half wolf. as her daughter owns both of her dog’s parents. When my friend came to live with her daughter last fall (because you can “work from home” from anywhere with WIFI) in the thumb, it was a family reunion for Bo as well–with his parents Malik and wolf-dog Lola. This dog is sucking up all of my friend’s time, energy, and money. He needs special, expensive food. Her neighbors on the East Coast seem to be trying to see if Bo can be trained to dogfight. It sounds like they want to steal him. Her fears regarding that look well-founded.

My friend has given notice to the place she lives that she will not be renewing her lease. She needs to be out by the end of June. What she needs is a nice apartment near the workplace for when the office opens back up. What she is looking for is a house with a yard for Bo. That’s a pretty serious disconnect. She makes enough money for an apartment but not enough for renting a house out there. No apartment complex is going to rent an apartment to someone who owns a dog pushing 100 pounds. And, to add insult to injury, her job could end any day as a government contractor.

What scares the crap out of me is that she has expressed a willingness to live under a bridge if that is the only way for her to keep Bo. My term for that is “mental illness.” She is not getting near the edge. She has gone over it and is now in a freefall. I truly feel that the pandemic has forced her to be alone to a degree not healthy for any human.

I work at a Goodwill. Our clientele is diverse. Yesterday, a black family came up to my register. It included an older gentleman, a young lady, and a pre-teen boy in obvious emotional distress. I told the boy it was okay for him to feel whatever he felt. Not all days are great. The older man got all defensive and said, “How do you know it’s okay for him to feel that?” I said, “It’s always okay to feel whatever you feel.” He started talking about being a black man and racial oppression and stuff like that. I felt like, “Huh?” Should I have been obnoxious to a child? Would that have made him happy? It just struck me as a really odd encounter.

I believe social isolation to the degree we have been under for a year now is not healthy for anyone. People are losing it. If we can’t take care of ourselves, we are going to have a rough time taking care of each other.