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Clenched Fists

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I think anyone that knew me would be shocked to know how angry I am. All the time. I can feel it inside me.

I don’t even know what to do with it. I feel like it is compressed into this tight ball of pure, raw emotion. It’s boiling inside me.

I don’t act angry. I don’t seem angry. I am kind. I try to be thoughtful and considerate.

I like to think I keep it tightly wrapped up. It is usually under control. It is just another part of my personality that I hide. But lately it is feeling dangerous. Like I am walking around with an unstable nuclear reactor in me. I don’t want to lose control of it.

I am afraid I am going to hurt someone. I am afraid of my angry desires sometimes. My punching bag used to help. And yoga. And meditation. But hitting things has lost it’s appeal.

The thing about anger and nuclear reactors is that they are hard to control. And being out of control is the scariest thing ever to me.

So, ideally I need to stop being angry. I WANT to stop being angry. It’s exhausting. But I also don’t know how to let it go.

My fist has been clenched so tightly for so long. My whole life really. Holding on to that anger feels like I am holding on to my entire life. I literally do not know how to let it go. I can’t figure out how to unclench my fist.

I have been talking to my therapist about it. She says the key to working through it is finding out where it stems from. Finding out what emotions are behind it. Generally fear and sadness. And I so get that.

I know why I am mad, sad, and afraid. The injustice of my life has made me feel that way. And I know that.

But I am also weirdly afraid to go down that road. I am afraid to really examine the injustices of my life. So the real issue is, am I afraid of the examination process (which is unusual for me)? Or am I afraid of losing my anger?

In one way, I don’t know why I would be. I hate it! I am actually angry about how angry I am.

But in another way, I get it. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t angry. Sometimes, I am afraid of who I will be at the end of all this.

I know these changes are good and healthy. But trying to figure out who I am is so scary sometimes. Knowing who I am, even the bad things I don’t like, is at least a known entity.

What if my anger is what fuels my passion? My strength? My fierceness? What if without it I become some wishy-washy pushover? What if I stop liking who I become? That’s a scary, intolerable thought.

What if I do all this hard painful work and the anger is still there? What if I try and fail? What if my anger is such a facet of myself at my very core that I wind up not letting it go? What if I suffer and work for nothing?

Those things are all possibilities. And that’s a lot of fear to be carrying around in one clenched fist. But, in the other hand, I hold hope. Hope of having a life without a nuclear reactor core of anger inside me. Hope of not having to keep tolerating this intolerable anger.

And just writing about this thing that I have been so afraid to talk about has made me feel a little better.

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Anxiety

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I don’t know why I am suddenly feeling so anxious all the time. I never had anxiety issues before. Or maybe I did but didn’t realize it because of all my other issues.

I know it is mostly the PTSD, but lately I have been having mini panic attacks. It feels so stupid to be feeling this way. I am actually ashamed of myself for not being able to handle things.

I look back on all I have been through and I think: I went through all that and now I am afraid to answer my door? Or go grocery shopping at night? Or talk to another human being?

It feels idiotic and paranoid and silly. So silly.

I know I am just being hard on myself. The truth is, I’ve always felt this way. It’s just that now I have resolved so many issues, this is one of the last few left. It seems to stand out.

I am embarrassed to mention it to my therapist. I am afraid she thinks I am making all this up. I am afraid she will think I am just trying to get medication. I am afraid that she thinks I am self diagnosing myself. I don’t want medication. I just want to stop feeling so anxious.

It has been so bad a few times that I can’t sleep all night. Every noise has me jumping. Exaggerated response and all that. I have been sleeping with my baseball bat again.

I’m not sure where it is coming from. Except, that is a lie. I do know.

One year ago this month I was battling my ex in court. Getting a restraining order. It was difficult and scary. The things he said and did…

And I have recently ended a casual relationship with a man. I am worried he will take it poorly. I am worried he will retaliate. I am worried that every relationship I end from now on will be a trigger. I am worried I will never truly know someone or truly trust ever again.

I am so tired of having so many problems. Some days I just want to wallow in self pity and wonder why it all happened to me. But that is pretty useless. It doesn’t help me. And it never makes me feel better.

Another Liebster!

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Hello everyone! I know I have been taking a break from blogging on this blog. I have been feeling/doing really well. That’s actually why I have been staying away. This blog is very difficult for me to work on most of the time. I know it is important and necessary to grow, but I just needed a break. To be fair, I have also been taking a break because I know some of the issues I need to start on are going to be very tough and I am avoiding them a little bit. Sorry about that.

However, apparently me staying away has worked out in my favor as I was nominated for a second Liebster Award by Disordered Self. Please take the time to read her blog. Being nominated pretty much saved me from having to write anything too serious. So thank you! I really do appreciate it. I still can’t believe I actually have readers sometimes.

So, here are her questions and my answers:

1. What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a writer. Alone on an island with a dog. I didn’t really expect to grow up so thinking about the future was never my strong suit. I’d still like all that. Maybe a relationship too, though.

2. What non-family member had the biggest impact on your life and why?

I don’t know if I have to use someone I actually know… There were many many amazing writers that made me realize I wanted to do what they did. I wanted to affect someone’s life the way they affected mine.

But maybe as far as someone I actually know. This is very hard for me as I want to use a positive factor. I had a boss at my job a few years ago. She really took me under her wing. She taught me about leadership and helped me see the direction I wanted my career to go. She gave me books to read and advice, even fashion advice (which I desperately need!) She made me stop drifting from position to position and really think about what I wanted for myself. And she made me believe I could attain it. She was amazing and beautiful and I appreciate her so much.

3. Do you believe there is life after death?

Wow, these are some tough questions! I don’t know. I have written about it before. I don’t believe in Heaven/Hell. I do believe our energy goes somewhere. I actually like not knowing. I wrote in this post that I feel like it is the final and ultimate adventure. I’m in no rush to know, but I am interested in finding out. I am also a bit obsessed with the occult, and there are all sorts of interesting theories there.

4. What is your creative outlet?

I have many. But I find writing to be the most rewarding. And I do a lot of writing.

5. Do you still watch cartoons?

Hell yes! Many of my favorite shows are cartoons. I’ll never be too old for cartoons.

6. What was your first pet?

A cat. I prefer dogs, but I have never thought it was fair to keep one in an apartment. Especially with how busy I always am. Someday, when I have my island, though…

7. If you could learn a new language; which would you choose and why?

I am already decent at Spanish and I know lots of curse words in French and German. I really want to be fluent in sign language. I actually think everyone should learn it and it could be an international language.

8. Do you have a sport?

I used to be an avid runner before I got sick. I’m thinking of taking it up again. I also used to box, but I don’t want hit people anymore. I do yoga and lift weights now (I am not sure if any of these count).

9. If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be?

I would probably change almost everything about my past. I try to not regret it, because it has made me who I am. But there are many many things I wish had been different.

10. If you had one day to do things for yourself and money was no object, how would you spend it?

24 hours? I would love to go to Europe. But more realistically, I would spend 24 hours online buying everything! Especially from Etsy. I could easily spend a million dollars on that site. I know I am boring.

11. What is your absolute favorite book?

This is actually too hard for me. I have so many. But I’ll say this. There are two books, relevant to my blog, that had a major impact on my life and I read them every year now.

Why Does He Do That? By Lundy Bancroft

The Gift of Fear By Gavin DeBecker

I believe they should be required reading for every woman. That’s how important they were to me.

Well, I hope all of you liked reading about me. If not, I’ll be posting again very soon. Time to knuckle down and face some hard stuff.

Forget

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It’s weird the sort of short term memory loss that seems to come in an abusive relationship. When things are good with him it can be hard to remember how bad they were. It’s hard to believe the man I am with now is the same person that was abusive to me.

It doesn’t help that this is part of his plan. He tells me it was a mistake. Just an accident. A one time thing. He got carried away. Because he was mad. Because I made him mad.

It’s so easy to believe it will never happen again. It is easy to forget. Because I want to forget.

I don’t want to dwell on negative things. I want to believe him. I want the past to stay in the past. I don’t want him to think I’ll hold a grudge forever. Besides, he said he was sorry.

Or did he? He said he was sorry IF he hurt me. When he know damn well he did. And that type of apology really isn’t the same thing. He says “Why can’t you just get over it? Why can’t you ever let things go? It’s over and in the past.”

And technically it IS in the past. Even if it happened 10 minutes ago. That’s the past. Maybe I should just get over it.

Except it’s never the last time. In fact, it seems like he gets progressively worse. But that makes me cling even more tightly to the times he acts sweet and caring. And it’s not like I want to cause problems with him when he is being nice by bringing up something that will upset him. That will only start a fight. A fight which he will then blame on me.

And I want to believe him. He says he loves me and I want to believe he does. I don’t want to have to end things. I don’t want to admit I was wrong. Again.

But I am wrong again. And eventually I can’t keep choosing to forget. I have to remember. I have to keep catalog of everything he does. I have to stop forgetting. Because that is the only way to get the strength to leave.

But, once I leave, there is an more insidious type of forgetting. The forgetting once the relationship is over. My mind starts to forget why I left. It starts to remember only the good things. I start looking through old pictures where we are smiling and look happy.

I know we weren’t happy. I remember that picture. But there were plenty of times where we were happy. There were plenty of good times.

Every month that I am alone gets harder. I know he’d take me back. And I wonder if I will ever find someone that loves me. I wonder if I will ever believe I deserve to find someone that loves me.

Corporal Punishment

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I have told a few stories now about my father. But I felt like I really wasn’t painting a complete picture here because my mother was also involved in a lot of these stories. So here is another one:

My parents were both big believers in corporal punishment. Unfortunately, I just read a whole wiki article on child abuse that I probably shouldn’t have. But I wanted to get the terminology right.

I don’t want to get too political here and I know I don’t have children, but I don’t support the idea of causing physical pain to a child intentionally. And even if I did, I don’t know where the line is drawn between punishment and abuse.

Neither one of my parents particularly cared about responding to an offense in an appropriate or rational way. I certainly misbehaved on occasion, though not often. The punishment was always too severe to be worth it for me.

My mother was generally the one that ‘punished’ us. It just occurred to me that she may have been protecting us from my father’s wrath in doing so. But her punishments always crossed the boundary.

She would slap us in the face, even from a very young age, if we said something she didn’t like. Especially if we hurt her feelings. She would force our heads under running water and wash our mouths out with soap if we said something offensive. She was vicious and inconsistent in these areas. One day she didn’t care if I cursed and the next she was dragging me by my hair into the bathroom.

She was big on hitting us with things. Her hand was only satisfying if she was hitting our face. And not always even then. I think she wanted more leverage than her arm could give her.

At dinner she would hit the backs of our hands with wooden spoons for something like playing with our food. Or not wanting to eat something (which with my pickiness was all the time). When we didn’t want to take a bath she would hit us with a yardstick. I actually remember she had to replace several old wooden ones that she had broken on us. The new ones had a metal spine that would cut our bare skin.

Once we got a little bit older, she stopped hitting us with things and starting throwing things at us. I can’t tell you how many glass coffee pots my siblings and I have had broken over us. Dozens.

She would get so angry at us. Or in general. That she would pick the nearest object and throw it as us. Or hit us with it. Sometimes, if I was quick, I could avoid it. But other times, she would catch me off guard. Or my back would be turned.

She suffers from severe depression and that probably actually helped us. Some days she was too depressed to get out of bed. Or care what we were saying or doing. Or hurt us.

There was never any real rhyme or reason to her violence. That was one of the scary things about it. My father was almost always angry, always volatile. But my mother would seemingly choose random things to lash out at us.

There was always a catalyst. A minor argument, saying the wrong word, laughing at the wrong time. I think she always intended to be violent and abusive, she just like to have an excuse. And if we hadn’t done anything wrong lately, she would find an excuse.

I think this casual, ongoing violence in my home is one of the reasons why I have touch issues. Even to this day, if I am arguing with someone and they move their hands or move towards me, I flinch. I am mentally and emotionally preparing for them to hit me, or find something to hit me with. I don’t know if those instincts will ever disappear.

Depression

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I don’t know if anyone has noticed that I haven’t been around as much lately. I have been extremely depressed. I know everyone’s depression is different. We all experience it differently.

Mine has been so bad. And when I am in the middle of a depressive spell, I can’t tell anyone. I don’t even recognize it as depression. I think that I am just awful and miserable because my life is terrible and I have no friends. I think I just suddenly hate my job and myself. I think that everyone would be better off if I wasn’t around.

I have had a really bad two weeks. I keep thinking that this blog is pointless and that my life is pointless. And that I really shouldn’t even be alive anymore. I don’t want to kill myself, but if I could just stop breathing or stop living, I would.

I have been doing so well for so long, I almost forgot what it looked like to be in the middle of a depressive spell. And the forgetting, made it so bad. I couldn’t understand why I was so unhappy.

My life is actually going really well. Which made it even more confusing. Why was I thinking about killing myself when I had finally met someone I liked? Why was I wanting to call out sick and sit at home alone all day? Why wasn’t I writing?

And I haven’t been sleeping. Which makes me feel terrible physically too. I’ve been having horrible anxiety at night. I’ve been sitting awake in my bed with a baseball bat for hours instead of sleeping.

Last night, I kept jumping at every noise. I thought there was someone in my apartment (even though I logically knew there wasn’t). And this next part I feel ashamed to admit. But it’s the truth and this is all anonymous anyway.

I thought someone was whispering in my ear. A man’s voice was saying something. It was rhyming words over and over. They were nonsense sounds. Like ooh, boo, woo, too. That has never happened to me before. It really upset me and freaked me out. I also felt like something was crawling up my back. Like a hand sliding over me. But I was alone. That has also never happened before.

Maybe I was dreaming and just thought it was happening. Sometimes my dreams really like to mess with my mind. But if I wasn’t…

I don’t know what it means. It might sound funny or silly. But it really upset me. Am I having auditory hallucinations? I never have before. What does it means? I don’t know.

There is no need for anyone to worry at this point. The very fact that I can write about it is proof that I am feeling better. And I’ll be back to my cheerful self in no time.

Laughter and Shadows

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I guess it is time now for another story. I don’t know if these stories are doing anything for anyone else. They are helping me immensely to write down and share. I spend so much time trying to be positive, trying to not think about them.

I think it is good for me to focus on them and get them out. I worry that thinking about them too hard will damage me in some way. But then I realize that I am always thinking about them anyway. These stories are always inside me. Maybe if I let them out they will go away. Or at least be easier to contain.

I was 10 and we were living in a tiny house. There was only one bathroom and no dining room. My sister and I were in the kitchen. We were getting ready for school. It was still in that quiet grey light of dawn.

Mornings had been tense lately. My mother suffered from severe depression. And it was my job to get my sister and myself off to school.

A few weeks previously, my mother had called me into her bedroom and told me she wanted to die. It was science fair day. I had spent the whole day on the verge of tears wondering what to do. I wasn’t even really sure what she had meant. I wound up doing nothing, hoping it would pass. It did.

But this morning my sister was waiting to use the bathroom. My father was in there, getting ready for work. I was pouring a bowl of cereal.

She was wearing these slippers we had gotten only a few months previously. They were fuzzy dog slippers. When you squeezed the ear, they barked. She was 8 and was delighted with them. I secretly felt too mature for them, but knew better than to complain. Plus, I didn’t want her getting too cool too fast.

I normally was not very chipper. I wasn’t one for joking. I was so quiet and shy and secretive.
But that morning, I could see my sister was upset. She was getting impatient. And I could hear my father’s voice behind the door. He was agitated. My sister didn’t seem to recognize the danger. Not like I did.

I took the little plastic ring off the gallon of milk and threw it at my sister. It landed in her hair. She had thick, curly hair and the ring stuck. We both started cracking up laughing. Hard. It was the funniest thing that had happened in a long time.

I was on one side of the bar counter top and she was on the other, right in front of the bathroom door. That door swung open so wide and hard. I immediately stopped laughing. My sister didn’t.

My father stormed out of the bathroom. He saw my sister standing outside the door, laughing so hard she was almost bent over. He started screaming at us for being so loud.

I was too far away to intervene this time. He grabbed her by the wrist and shook her, hard. I can still see him yanking on her arm. She had always been smaller than me. She fell down and landed painfully on her ankle.

She cried out in pain and he took that as her talking back to him. I don’t even know what he was saying by this point. Scary things.

She started to cry and that seemed to satisfy him. He went back into the bathroom. My sister was bawling on the floor.

I went over to soothe her. Really, it hadn’t been so bad. He hadn’t hit her. Or thrown anything at her. She wasn’t bleeding, nothing was broken.

And that’s when she told me; she had gotten so scared she had urinated on herself. She had peed all over her slippers. They were one of her favorite things in the world. Part slipper, part stuffed animal and all little girl magic.

I tried to hand wash them for her. But couldn’t get the smell out. Her fear was soaked into the fabric of those sweet slippers. I wound up throwing them out and giving her mine. But I never saw her wear them ever again.

That day my father taught me that it didn’t matter what we did. It didn’t matter how good we were, how smart we were, how responsible we were. We were going to get punished if he felt like punishing us. He didn’t need to justify it to himself or to us. We were never going to be safe as long as he was around.

That day my father taught me to be a shadow. And I stayed a shadow for a long, long time.