First Things First
Getting Down to Basics
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Ponder This

This area is reserved for the tidbits I know hope will be of interest to my readers. Check back often for regular updates. 


Check out this article about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena, including a list of organizations which strongly oppose this sick trend, and have implemented various means of helping women who have been sexually victimized.


Were you raised by a narcissist? Chances are you were if you suffered any form of childhood abuse. The Little Red Survivor website is filled with excellent articles examining the many faces of narcissism.


It's been a long time coming---7 years to be exact---but finally email notifications for new BD posts is available. Sign up today and never again miss another post. You know you want to!













Kate Is Rising has an excellent Survivors Resources page which directs you to numerous websites dealing with issues of abuse, healing and recovery. Please bear in mind that the information on these pages may be triggering.



There's lots of good stuff at the Dissociation Blog Showcase, including a list of 180 blogs dealing with some aspect of this disorder. 



On the Overcoming Sexual Abuse site there's an article entitled, "It's Not About You Mom" which I could have written myself. I bet many of my readers could say the same!








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In Which I Make My Escape

I was fifteen when I left my stepdad's house forever. For 8 years I'd held on to the fantasy of my real father arriving on the scene to vindicate and rescue me from my abuser's clutches. Suddenly, half a year before my 15th birthday, I was unaccountably granted permission to resume contact with my dad and brothers. During this 6 months, something which had been festering inside of me for the past 8 years flamed into a rock hard certainty: I was leaving my prison, my house of incest, for good.

With the wild abandon of one whose freedom lies within view and who has no intention of ever looking back, I parceled out most of my keepsakes and other belongings to my younger siblings. What did I want with these relics from my shameful incarceration in that incestuous home? What prisoner, upon an anticipated release, desires to hang on to mementos of his private hell? And so I divested myself of every unnecessary weight, nearly giddy with relief. My writings, my cow's skull, my collection of Barbie and Ken dolls and paraphernalia--of what use were they to me now, striking out on this new adventure I thought of vaguely as the rest of my life.

 An irritating truth about fantasies is that they rarely live up to our expectations. While I lay in bed nights dreaming of just how my dad would rescue me, he was dealing with his own personal demons and stresses. At loose ends ever since the decimation of his little family 8 years before (and in truth, he'd been at loose ends ever since his stint in WWII), there is no way he could have lived up to my Knight in Shining Armor imaginings. Though he still remained my Knight--for the tight bond we'd shared for the first 7 years of my life was forever etched on my heart-- his armor was dull, if not downright rusty.

 I fled the scene of my childhood tortures, leaving behind walls and ceilings and furniture and nooks and crannies as the only witnesses to my perpetual shame. I fled with little more than the clothes on my back, for I knew that to drag my feet, or to look back with any kind of regret at leaving would result in a fate worse than Lot's wife. I fled with a sense of having escaped with my life by the skin of my teeth . Joyfully I fled, joyfully I slept once again beneath my father's safe roof: no midnight molestations here! The very rooms of our small apartment oozed safety to me, for they were occupied by the male members of my family who would not let anyone desecrate me.

Deep into the night I could hear the rumble of my dad and brother's voices from the living room, feel their masculine laughter envelop me like a warm blanket. I was the odd man out here, so to speak, the only female in a household which for 8 years had housed only males. Some nights we stayed up late talking, sharing old memories. But to my frustration, many of our memories didn't match. Most of theirs had been formed during the years of my absence; my heart ached hearing about their financial difficulties, about the donut shop Dad had bought and lost, of tooth aches endured because there was no money for dental emergencies. My heart ached, as much for myself as for their tribulations, for I ached to have been excluded from these struggles. I couldn't share the intimacy which often results from shared hardships. I couldn't even remember half of the stories they recounted from the early years when I was still a part of the family unit, for being the youngest of the family had the disadvantage of not always being aware of the myriad nuances of daily family life.

 My poor, well meaning Knight found himself a bit befuddled at suddenly having a teenaged daughter on his hands. He didn't quite know what to do with me. He showed me affection (and oh, the bliss of pure affection untainted by lust), but beyond that, seemed quite stumped. Though neither of us knew it at the time, we both suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We both suffered from our 8 year separation as well. So much had been lost to us, forever, and we stumbled around clumsily, not sure how to regain the footing of our original relationship. How effortless and pleasant had that relationship been in the days of my early shining childhood! And now I stood before him half-grown, with secrets I couldn't divulge, secrets which had fractured my mind and taken me to places inexpressible.

 I had won my freedom from my stepdad's perversions, never guessing that I was still very much emotionally and psychologically his victim. Moving from that dreary household was merely the first necessary step in a lifetime struggle to reclaim myself, it wasn't the whole journey. Many more abuses and sufferings awaited me, how could it be otherwise? I was operating from the mindset of my own deep sense of shame and worthlessness, and these would prove to be stronger than my father's love for me, and his efforts to understand and deal with a very troubled teen.




Dissociation and Denial

"Coming home from movie tonight driving through dense fog, there was a concrete building of some sort, I could barely make it out. Way up high a blue light shone through a tiny distorted window. This spooked me. Once home (we were lost in the fog for quite a while) I went into the garage for a smoke. Nothing seemed real. The back of my neck tingled, then everything shifted and suddenly seemed too real, almost like I was in my body completely which never seems to happen.


I thought I would black out, so put out the smoke and went upstairs to my room. Tried to write some e-mails, atrocious spelling, thank goodness for spell checker. Headache and neck still tingling. An odd smell in my nostrils. Something about that abandoned looking building in the fog sent me somewhere; what is it about some atmospheres or colors or lack of…of something tangible that causes me to dissociate so? A memory trying to surface maybe, but I’m not ready. Not now.


My entire head now hurts, it’s so heavy. This is curious, switching isn’t usually so noticeable to me. Everyone here at home is sleeping; I wouldn’t tell them anyway, it’s not something you can casually share. TV on in background, some inane hairdressing show. Tonight at the movies I had to constantly bite the inside of my mouth to keep from roaring with laughter as didn’t know it was going to be a musical, and I can’t stand them. Well they make me laugh uncontrollably. Didn’t want to offend my friend who brought me. What if everyone went around breaking out into dramatic song whenever they felt like it? What kind of world would that be? And how come when that happens in a musical no one cracks up, they just take it all in with a straight face? No one says, "Hey you idiot, stop bellowing in my face. You got something to say, say it  like everyone else."


This is not helping. I’m not distracting myself from anything. I wanted to write this down, I want to remember how this felt because tonight as always I asked my friend if she really thinks I’m a multiple. I see her and feel compelled to ask this every time. She finds this amusing. I keep trying to trip her up, but her answer never changes. No matter what I say she isn’t the least taken by surprise. She has never once hesitated and said, “Oh, well now that you told me that it changes everything. Now I know you’re not a multiple, you just want attention.”


Now that I think about it, how odd that my step dad’s actions from like 4 decades ago could cause me, today, to call myself a multiple. Isn’t that a bit farfetched? Doesn’t it seem most unlikely that I would have those 2 bizarre things happen to me? 1) sexual abuse 2) becoming a multiple. Talk about dramatic, I don’t see how one person has so much over the top stuff happen, so maybe the DID thing is questionable after all. I think I would have known it much sooner, at any rate.


Outside my open window a dog barks. It’s always hot up here. I don’t mind, just keep the window open. There is something to dread about tomorrow but I can’t think what, and don’t really want to obsess bout it anyhow. I should just go to bed, I’m never afraid of the dark. But tonight may be an exception. That blue light high up in the window, barely discernable through the fog. How eerie, and how odd was that. A strong, nauseating smell of onions half the way home too. Better not forget that, it adds to the whole surreal experience and I think I decided already to remember it. I don’t know why I wanted to. (Maybe for the story I’m working on?)"


(I wrote the above last night while in the grip of strong dissociation. Usually my parts switch back and forth pretty effortlessly, but last night was different---totally bizarre. I found myself very freaked out and the only thing I could think to do was to record the experience.)




Come Back, Jenny




(Come back, Jenny, and we'll do some artwork together.)





Beverly Cleary Gives Advice

Sometimes I'll have a dream so particularly meaningful that I jot it down. Yesterday I came across my scribblings about a dream I'd had about 6 months ago, and totally forgotten about. I find it especially meaningful as I labor away at my memoirs:

I ran inside a house to retrieve a file folder of my writings and discovered Beverly Cleary (my favorite kids' author) sitting indian style in the middle of the floor, holding the folder in her lap.  I gasped, and she motioned for me to sit down across from her.  As I did so, she reached for my hand and held it while she opened the folder.

Right on top was an old black and white of me when I was about 3.  "That's me when I was little," I said, and she nodded as if to say, I know, I know.

She removed the photo, and went through the papers underneath, setting aside the bottom most papers which were fiction.  She scooped up the rest, which was the unfinished manuscript of Beautiful Dreamer, and as she began reading it her whole face lit up.

"I keep trying fiction," I explained, my hand inside of hers hot with embarrassment, "but I keep going back to my memoir.  I can't seem to stay away from it."

She looked joyfully into my eyes, and leaning forward said with intensity, "Oh, always go with what's in your heart, with what's begging to be written. Go with your heart!"

(I know, it's such a short simple dream, but I cherish it nonetheless.)


(Thanks, Beverly!)






Old Moldy

Today I took a ride in Old Moldy. Sad to say, that's what I've recently dubbed my car. Someone attempted to break into it months ago by using a crowbar to bend the steel framing around the back windows. As a result, every time it rains the backseat gets soaked. No one noticed this for some time, as hardly anyone ever uses the backseat. When it was first noted that the car leaked, the mold had already set in. My son has been using the car for his long commute to and from work. I had to laugh today when I saw the little face masks he uses to protect himself from the nearly debilitating odor.

Have you ever seen mushrooms growing in a car, or seat-belts furry with mold? I am not making this up. I spent a lot of time in that car today running errands and, let me tell you, my tummy protested all the way. This is a good little car, running-wise. I've never had a problem with it until now. Doesn't it just figure that something like this would happen? I mean, what is it with me and cars?

Back in the 80's my ex gifted me with a car whose horn blared every time I made a right hand turn. Naturally he failed to mention this little quirk; imagine my consternation the first time I turned right into a filling station and the horn blasted my arrival. This was the busiest time of day for the gas station, and there was only one guy on duty pumping gas, a surly teenager with a short fuse.

"Hey lady!" he hollered over at me as I waited my turn in line, nearly dying of embarrassment. "Wait your turn! Can't you see all these other customers were here before you?"

I stuck my head out the window to explain, but he'd already stomped off to wait on someone else, all the while throwing me contemptuous looks. Some of the other customers were giving me none too friendly looks as well. When it was finally my turn, the attendant stomped over to my window, shoved his face close to mine, and said, "I told you, wait your turn!"

I explained the situation and he stomped off to fling open the hood of my car. Yanking on this and that did no good. He slammed the hood shut, breezed by me long enough to demand how much gas I wanted, and tried to unscrew my gas cap. Oh naturally it wouldn't budge! By this time I was ready to simply drive off, but he was swearing so profusely I thought better of it. When he finally succeeded in unscrewing the little bugger he threw it on the ground with all the force of his wrath.

As I said, what is it with me and cars? I couldn't help but laugh today while riding around in Old Moldy with my daughter in-law and granddaughter. It's one of those situations you have to have a sense of humor about or---well, or--- react like the surly gas attendant.

I'm taking Old Moldy in for a professional cleaning and electronic deodorizing on Monday. I know better than to get my hopes up. Some days all you can do is try. Laugh and try, and hope for the best.