Maiking Life Time Goals When Very Young Can Be Problematic

I remember being about 4 or 5 and deciding that I had to hide emotionally. I remember the day, where I was, etc. That’s fine. That decision that I wouldn’t let myself  “go crazy”  and I’d hide, somehow, has served me very well.

But the 4 year old’s perception has cost me a lot. The “going crazy” that I was so worried about, the losing control, wasn’t going crazy, but depression. It kept me from clinical depression or maybe worse, yes. But being afraid I really was crazy as my abuser said kept me from talking about it for decades.

I’ve just done another thing like this,this week.While at the writing workshop I wrote a poem (so called) about wanting to jump off a bridge and that I wouldn’t. I rarely let people read that stuff, and it doesn’t matter anyway. If I can find it, I’ll post it.

But through one thing and the other it occurred to me that I just don’t  talk about this stuff, the suicide thoughts or violent act thoughts, because. Because? Well, it’s because that little kid decided it was “crazy” and I couldn’t let people know.

For the past few days I’ve been talking about it for a few different reasons. One, I’m sick of being scared I’m “crazy.” If this is crazy, it is, and I’ll deal with it, or not. but I’m sick of running from it. Two, I’m really, really tired of fighting myself and being scared of myself.

I came up with a way to describe this, the pain and the “world” today. It’s sort of like a chord.

top  note what the world sees… the middle (and was MUCH bigger for most of my life) was the pain… and the bottom is the suicide, etc. stuff.

The suicide thoughts are fleeting they pop into my head and then out. Happens throughout the day,  every day — and has as I can remember.

So I finally talked to my therapist about this and she said, “Why would it be crazy? You’re presenting yourself with options. Trauma survivors almost all do suicide ideation. Suicide is the absence of pain; trauma hurts.”

So, again, in my weird, mixed-up way, this IS normal. It isn’t an indication that I’m crazier than I “appear” to be, it’s still part of the abuse/PTSD I already know about.

Maybe, just maybe I can stop being terrified  for the last decade or so of my life. Wouldn’t that be lovely?

Today’s Test

is the new floor treatment. I’ve wanted for a long time a way to fill the gaps between the variable-width pine floor’s planks. It’s another way this house traps dirt and grunge. I found this: (link) and have bought some 1/4″ jute twine as a result. But where to put it?

Most of the planks in this house run 7′ or so, not something I want to do as a test or learning piece. Last night I realized that wasn’t true with the transition between the two main rooms downstairs. So, today’s job was to remove the furniture etc. from the downstairs hall, clean the floor well (in process), clean the bookcase (done), remove everything (done), clean the walls as long as I had everything pulled out (done) and then fill the gaps around the transition board with the twine. A learning experience which won’t take  me all day or moving all the furniture, etc. along a 7′ span!

Of  course, I’ve found stuff to get rid of (at least one book as well as stuff which was dumped here/doesn’t belong. There’s a dumping ground piece here (a lidded casserole) but everything which won’t fit or is obviously trash is going OUT!

Phase II coming up! The floor should be about dry. I need to get a spackle knife and spackle an anchor hole in the wall. If I was truly ambitious, I’d take off the trim, sand it and prep it for painting by using some of the remaining primer. But I doubt I’ll get that involved.

My other job today if it doesn’t rain, is stripping the new metal bookcase I got yesterday. This will be more than enough sanding, etc. for me. Why do people buy nice steel bookcases, let them rust a little and then spray paint them (badly) silver on top of the rust? It looks like crap and probably did when newly done. I now have 2 of these. They were cheaper than they would have been otherwise, but it’s going to take much labor to get the crap silver paint and rust off before painting them again, decently this time!

J

Chump, not Change

I feel set up. Maybe just by circumstance, but I’m there. I thought I was winning, finally. Hah!

Spent 50 years determined to fight the f’n pain. Can’t win against that, it’s the PTSD. It hurts. Can set it aside, partial win. The pain isn’t driving me any more.

Spent 10 years determined to write my story and because it was so hard to do, forget almost everything I know about writing stories. I thought I was done with the endless job of wading through my particular map of hell, but No! Wait!

It needs to be rewritten.

Years and miles away I said to myself that I’d do almost anything to not be a character in an Ibsen play. Win-win-win . . .Big time NOT!

Mr Ibsen must be laughing his f’n head off.

Tricks

The house is getting (and staying!) cleaner. The bathroom and kitchen both are undergoing this transformation. The rest of it may follow suit, I hope.

I figure I can’t really clean the rest of the house decently until the regular day-to-day just works. Until then, everything is an emergency or requires heroic efforts. No thank you. So, I’m sweeping the kitchen floor, most days and finding a new area of the room (largest in the house) to sweep every day along with the piece necessary for health and safety (cleaning up food bits where food is prepared).

Pockets are also a definite plus. Pockets? I have nice deep pockets in my old L.L. Bean robe. I put things in my pocket that need to get put away elsewhere. It may be a washcloth to add to the laundry or a container of spackle, I don’t care. If it fits in my pocket and it’s in the wrong room, into my pocket it goes until it’s put in the right place.

For someone who’s planning dinner, a book chapter, the next vegetable/other garden task, or what needs to be done  for work — pockets are invaluable! Frequently, I forget whatever is in there. But I’m an inveterate hands-in-pockets person. When I do that, even if I’ve forgotten that there’s  an out of place item there, I find it and the piece gets dealt with, so I can use my pockets for what they’re really for — my hands.

Not long ago I discovered a truth for myself, that is, that “maturity” and “coping” aren’t such at all. They’re learning what works with your personality to get things done in spite of yourself. If you always oversleep then you set the alarm very loud and put it across the room. When I was a kid, I thought that somehow age magically brought with it maturity and coping. How lowering it was to discover instead it’s simply learning how to manipulate yourself into being productive or not sabotaging yourself!

My view of adulthood, organization and productivity will never quite recover. I’m much harder to impress now. Adulthood/maturity is covered above. Organization is the trick you play on or with yourself to be more productive. That’s it.

I May Have to Hire a Writer!

Which I find  odd, since, well you know?  I am a writer/editor.

But the backstory stuff, the part of the memoir that’s the lead-up to where it starts, all the junk: neglect, abuse, hormone insanity as a teenager, yada yada I have struggled with for a decade trying to write for someone who doesn’t know me.

It’s better, but it’s still bad.

I know this. Maybe my particular ring of hell (or that for writers?) is being the only person who can tell a story and knowing that you can’t tell it well enough.

I had a friend suggest putting it in 3rd person. Well, actually that solved a problem or two with the first chunk. But overall?  It made it worse. When I switched it back to first person, it is better. But I can’t keep writing and rewriting the same chapters from 3rd to 1st person, and who knows if doing that again would be helpful?

This is the stuff I’d struggle to write and quit when the tears wouldn’t stop. It’s inconvenient to say the least that the thing that traumatized me started so young. It makes telling my story really hard without explaining it, because the memoir is about dealing with it as an adult.  I was 19 where I start the piece. I sure am not Mozart or Beethoven to have accomplished lots of things by that age. What I had done was try to cope with chronic pain, and badly, so that I’d tried to commit suicide twice before I was 20.

Then I turned my life around, and that’s the story.

Maybe I should just rip the thing in 1/2. Instead of telling 40 years , with some (hopefully) funny stories between in 60 pages, I should just do the whole thing in bullet points. I could probably fit 40 years (without the funny stories) in about 2 pages, oh let’s be generous — 4.

I’d give up, but.

But? Two or three things. I don’t give up easily. I’ve got 10 years into this I started writing it in posts. We’ve invested in getting it edited (helpful and not) and 3 sessions at the writing workshop.

I love the new structure (19) (backstory 1) (19-20) (backstory 2) (20+) (backstory 3) (23+) Twenty three is when the whole thing shifts, again. I met the fellow I’m married to.

I had a huge problem with what to do after 25,when we got married. I’m in the same relationship. We’ve lived in the same place for some time. I had the same business for 10+ years, etc. Things got STABLE, mostly.

Stable is also boring btw? Nobody wants to read the story of what you had for breakfast, unless you’re important somehow. I’m not.

I had someone say they thought they knew what I wanted in my class. I expected this would be WAY off. But it wasn’t. What they said was, “You want vindication.” It was very unsettling to have someone I’d basically just met nail me so well, but they’re right.

I want people to see/understand how HARD it was to beat PTSD as much as I have, without consistent support from family, community, drugs, religion or the mental health field.

I want the people who really have PTSD  to know that someone else understands how hard it is and maybe with the drugs and help and understanding now, their journey doesn’t need to be as hard as mine was.

I want the people who get in a fender bender and say, “I had PTSD for 3 days!” to understand that they probably never had it at all, and be glad!

I want the people who told me I was crazy or who backed away from me or who dismissed what I was going through to understand a little.

I want the people who think I’m unstable because I talk about this stuff to understand why I think, no I know, I’m more stable than they are!

And yes, I’d like all those folks who over the years have told me to “Give it to God,” or “Grow up!” or “Just get over it,” to understand that when you have PTSD it isn’t a choice.

Directions

What I need is a new focus or two. One, I think needs to be the finishing up the book projects and others which are midproduction. This includes the memoir, the kitchen book, the current anthology, and websites. The websites need to be purchased, so I suppose that’s the next step.

When I have something to sell, or a link to a website, I’ll post it here.

Otherwise, I’m seriously considering what to do when the memoir comes out. “Taking my emotional clothes off in public” is how I refer to the piece. There are two or three things which have to happen because of this: I need to do a reveal, those of you who know me in person “get” this, but I also need to protect me and mine from trolls and others both on the net and otherwise. Giving people a roadmap into the most tender part of yourself isn’t a recipe for people necessarily treating you well.

So, if you actually know me, in person, and are a friend rather than a professional contact or are both, you may get mail from the fictionalized me in the near future. I can’t contemplate having the memoir out or other projects with it, which may or may not happen, otherwise.

A new or different second focus needs to be home/hearth/health. Because of the abuse I endured, because of its ramifications on me as an adult, I’ve never really let myself focus on my home/hearth. Because of the “I don’t matter” attitude which is under much of everything, even still — I was brainwashed — taking care of myself physically is almost as much of a challenge as taking care of my hearth/home.

A third project is that I need something to DO, something to focus on outside of ME-ME-ME which was necessary for the past several years to deal with the PTSD. Okay, that’s mostly done. Now what?

I have no answers for all of this, just feel like they are directions I need to go. More exercise, working on the kitchen notebook will work on the house food/nurturing, the house clean-up is of course the hardest piece.

Does it sound like I’m REALLY sick of my stupid wounded childhood and how it affects the adult me? If not, I’m a much worse writer than I thought!

J

Today’s Purge

is approx. 4 notebooks worth of info from when I was a day trader, back before people did that. I traded computer stocks, mostly, before the computer dot-com boom/bust. Made money, but not a lot. Always either ahead of the curve or at the tail end — that’s me!

Among the notebooks with my day trading records was one other, a writing notebook, where I tracked what I’d submitted, where, the class comments I got from the writing classes I took, etc. Interesting to see so many “old friends.” That notebook I almost entirely kept intact, unlike the financial stuff.

This writings are over 20 years old, from 1982 or so. I was tech. writing for a living and trying to find a way to free-lance instead. This predates the day trading, by a year or two.

My reluctance to toss the writing is for mining purposes. I may be able to transform an old piece into something new. Everything is fodder for a writer.

My reluctance to toss the financial stuff is that it’s the record of something I did, and did well, if not spectacularly, for a while. Like the cards from my childhood sf catalog, none of it is useful, now — but getting rid of the debris means that the triumph is over. Which of course is nonsense. I still did whatever I did without the artifacts to “prove” it and remind myself.  The catalog cards have been slowly but surely turned into gift tags, Christmas cards and tossed. The financial stuff will get shredded and recycled.

Unchanged are the facts that I made a card catalog of about 500 sf paperbacks in junior high and I made money for about two years day trading. Without the “documentation” to prove it or remind myself, the facts remain. And who cares anyway, except me?  I turned the card catalog into a piece of the memoir. The day trading isn’t important to the growth of my self-esteem, so it’s not there.

But it’s four empty notebooks, about 8″ of paper that won’t need housing any more — and that, definitely, is a PLUS!