Discovery.

We are thrust into this world with heavy expectations waiting for us. How many people can say they were a purposeful pregnancy? Or the expected and even wanted gender?

I was always soft. Impressions left marks on me that saturated my personality, my likes, my ideas… I know I followed much more than I led. Most of my life I just wanted people to be happy with me. I never recognized the pain of individualism until I had no one left to impress upon me.

I hid a lot of the small weird intricacies of myself in journals and loose leaf sheets of paper that gathered in folders and scattered around my room and bags. I hid my real interests and passions unless they seemed acceptable. I dressed like the people around me. I did like the people around me. Its not uncommon to do so. I imagine most animals, especially humans, feel a need for inclusion and so do what is necessary to be accepted into the herd. Unfortunately mental health is a monstrous issue, and herding often encroachs upon you and leaves you defenseless.

Every time I got to my worst I broke out of the herd. A rather chaotic and dangerous way but habits are hard to break. I do not look lightly upon my suicidal tendencies and psychotic breaks, but I understand I needed them, in a way, to forcibly break myself out of my own prison.

Over the years the more myself I am the less my brain yells at me. Suicidal thoughts and feelings happen less and less. Anxiety dissipates quicker. I am starting to become my own safe place.

I think I’ve always known my tastes and interests were obtuse. That I would likely outcast myself to a much much tinier herd, if even there was one for me, by pursuing my passions. Or by wearing what makes me comfortable. By looking how I’d like. That even my thoughts and feelings may not be “normal”. I will not be accepted or be seen as a valued human being by all. A majority of people will bring judgement before they’ve even laid eyes on you. And I’ve long since grown tired of figthing against those heavy expectations I was born to.

I will be me. More and more. Androgynous creature loving thing that I am.

“Be who you are and say what you mean. For those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter won’t mind.”

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Lovely, lovely.

Things are wonderful right now. In a week I’ll be teaching classes to 2nd and 3rd graders about hermit crab care, in a month I’ll be taking a week long teach er trying course and then have my first class as a self defense teacher, I love my job and I lover my partner.

I still have troubles. Of course. Relationships are still proving a bit difficult. My ptsd is triggered a lot and I find myself dissassociating at the smallest things. But for the first time I have a partner who is patient and encouraging, even if he doesn’t always understand it.

I have also been looking to get a therapy animal. I had a rabbit on the community but couldn’t take him with me. Where I’m at I don’t have much room. Bunnies and rats need a lot of space. I have cats but they are not outdoor cats, which is what I need. So I finally decided to get a snake.

So I bought a young Albina sand boa. Small breed. I tried to adopt but they are not easy to come by. I have a Sandy hot desert tank set up and on tuesday I will offer him food for the first time.

Things are still hard sometimes but I finally feel like it’s all worth it. I can finally make plans for the future with a partner and not be scared shit less or full of anxiety.

Life is lovely right now.

Surprise.

I like sitting in traffic. Driving is calming to me. Freeing. Traffic allows me focused thought.

I sat recently and had a series of realizations I hadn’t given much time to where before.

There are two things I consistently tell people. I hate surprises, and my sister is more my mother than my mother ever was. Seemingly random, I know. But the two thoughts struck me. Why? To both. What is the core reason I don’t like surprises? What did my sister do to make me feel her maternally?

Growing up my mom never played with us. Not that I can recall. She locked us out of the house or locked herself in her bedroom. I can’t recall a time she was ever engaging with us except at holidays when the whole family played board games.

My sister however encouraged so much more play and imagination. She walked us to the creeks nearby. To pick blackberries or visit stores we loved. Sometimes she engaged us in video games even though I suspect she never enjoyed it much. One of my fondest memories of her is when she helped my little brother and I cut and paint huge Gatorade bottles to make them into terrariums for caterpillars we found.

She encouraged my first experiences with jewelry making.

And here my thoughts tie in with surprises. My mother was always terrible with surprises. She always took words or ideas of things she thought I would like or wanted me to like and bought and gave items that way. I don’t know if my mom to this day understands what I like, because she’s too busy pushing what she likes on me.

And when I obviously didn’t enjoy what she’d gotten me I was relentlessly guilted. How could I not appreciate something she’d spent so much time on? How could I not love and adore anything I was given by her?

So I learned to hate surprises, because I hate disappointing and letting people down.

My sister, however, liked to play a game with presents. She liked to have me ask questions. Try and get me to guess what it was days and weeks before I opened them. The gifts were always in themed layers. Small but bountiful surprises in many boxes and bags. I always loved what she got me. And to this day I still do.

But ptsd makes the bad linger more than the good. I love doing things and surprising my loved ones. Yet I often refuse or deter them from surprising me. My surprises are often done with deep asking and consideration towards the person wants and needs. Never random. But, I think I often feel no one would put that much energy into surprises for me. If my mother couldn’t even be bothered to, why would anyone else?

But people have. My sister did. Still does. And even if she does something on a random whim and I don’t like it? She never guilts me. Never makes me feel like she’s wasted time or thought on me. It’s as simple as being mistaken. Because everyone is wrong sometimes, even about loved ones.

Testing the waters.

Unfortunately there are some things I cannot do myself. It’s been a life long journey to realizing and accepting that. Especially with mental help. I would not be so stable without having had so much help.

Even now my new partner is helping me work through a lot. I’ve always felt it was not fair to have anyone work through my panic attacks and triggers with me. Now I’m realizing I don’t think I would ever be able to do it alone. Not codependency, but nurturing and support. He holds my hand and tells me I’m not scary. That I’m okay. Reminds me I’m safe. And when I’ve calmed down, however long it takes, he helps me dissect and feel out my reactions. He doesn’t make me feel guilty. He doesn’t make me feel like a burden.

So much feels like progress. So much feels so good right now. I love my job and make good money. I moving into a new apartment at the end of June. So much is going so well. It’s almost unbelievable.

Sentimentalities.

I wrote this a month ago and feel its validity but also only hear it as whispers:

I’m a hugely sentimental person. And I hate it. I grew up being told its a weakness and useless. In turn, it makes me uncomfortable when lovers have been sentimental with me or when the feelings have worked their way to the top of me.

Its even worse when I’m down. The forces within me that fight and use reason to keep all the squishy silly sentimental thoughts at bay start to lose their strength. And the dam starts to crack and out forth falls the river of thoughts I hate thinking but can’t hold back any longer.

The people you imagined your life with don’t usually go away. They haven’t in mine. None of them died. They’re our there living and breathing and I feel it. I feel the saddness of what could have been. My brain still goes through the possibilities. I get stuck and obsessive.

I don’t think I’ve ever considered my emotional side as a strength. I’ve struggled my whole life to be rid of it. And to be rid of aspects of life that encourage it. But so many things lately have made me feel otherwise. Where my jobs used to punish me for being too affected by it, my current job has me work with it. Besides care giving, my boss is getting my involved in teaching martial arts classes that are specifically for teaching self defense against sexual assualt. And the fear and emotions that surround it give me strength to learn, teach and share with the people taking the classes. They appreciate the emotion. They find comfort in it.

The relationship I find myself in has turned out to be one that encourages the emotional side as well. Where once I felt cumbersome and overwhelming, he makes me feel appreciative and encouraging. Sentimentality seems to be a core strength between us. And it’s nice. Nice not to feel codependent but still have that openness I’ve been craving.

I still have that sickly feeling that the ball is still just going to drop. On eveeything. My job is too good. My relationship it too good. I feel too good. But instead of self sabotaging I’m just trying to ride this wave of happiness.

The Rift

I’ve discovered recently how much I disassociate in the day to day doings and interactions with people. It’s alarming to me as I try to identify triggers and work through the disconnect it creates.

I’ve starting seeing someone romantically and so often I’m triggered by his good nature. I realize I still feel unworthy of good things. Still feel deep down I deserve all the bad things that have happened. When I feel a little overwhelmed by work I can feel myself slip into disassociation. I haven’t worked full time since I was 19 and even though I’m achieving above and beyond what my boss expects I still feel like I can’t do it. I just never quite realized how often I have to leave my body to function.

I feel guilty when it happens. The man I’ve started seeing admitted he can tell and that makes me feel worse. I don’t like feeling like my mental illness affects other people. I don’t want him to think I don’t care. I’m terrified, but so adoring. I just don’t handle my own emotions very well still, apparently. I’m not really sure how to deal with the disassociating that happens around him. Sometimes I feel like whats happening with us isn’t actually happening. Not quite a dream but still not real. As I write this I have to remind myself that hes indeed real. And his feelings are true.

I’ve come a long way but I still have a long way to go. I have so much trust building to do with myself. I have so much trust building to do with relationships. But it’s all stuff I’m open, willing and trying to work on. I like to imagine one day not being so plagued by PTSD and anxiety. Being able to get through a whole day still in my body and connected to all the feelings I get. Maybe it will never be like that, but I like to think about the possibility anyway.

Spirit Animal.

Tired and rundown right now. Nothing is wrong or difficult. Just measly things I know will pass. I let myself be bothered by people a little too often, but I’m slowly working towards letting go of those who show no gratitude or respect towards who I am.

I’ve often referred to myself as a dog. More as an insult. I’ve been beaten emotionally and physically but I would defend and love those who did it to bitter ends. I’m starting to realize that it’s not such an  insult. We love dogs for their unending loyalty and perceived love. Most recognize them as silly or stupid animals that just love everything. And maybe it’s the lack of intelligence that gives them the blissful adoration or maybe they know something we don’t know. That love and loyalty brings more joy than fear and  hate.

I reckon I’m not the most idiotic person. Nor do I pretend to be a genious. I recognize I’m human and choose to do stupid things and am working on realizing when I make smart choices. I used to hate the side of me that always saw the best in people. I felt it got me into horrible relationships and situations that I was then too loyal to leave. As I get older and the experiences multiply and I see that this quality is never really going to go away I’m trying to learn from and harness it.

I know, now, that to not hate myself and my choices, I need to first be loyal and loving to myself. I know I can’t force my loyalty and love on another because it will never be cherished. And I know I need to recognize it as something to be cherished and not as a heinous quality I should mock.

If I’m a dog it’s not because I’m as stupid and silly as one. It’s because my affections run deeper and are more lasting than the average animal. Its not a bad thing, but not everyone’s a dog person.