A Shaman Daughter
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Today Ramona is going to help me do the application history for the past 15 years for the social security application. It’s like looking backward through a long very dark tunnel. I think anyone with the inability to tell a coherent life story has great difficulty with a task such as this. Obviously I made it through and came out intact because I am here now. My children survived also. But my life is nothing I would want to repeat. It’s hard for what was (as is beautiful) not to be completely swallowed by what was hard and wrong.
For me, going forward has always been about going where angels fear to tread. Going backward has always been the exact same thing. Standing in the present moment has and is about “having no choice.” It’s about being here, being alive.
Safe and secure has to be about things being “good enough.” Being OK. For someone who does not have a history of severe trauma, being OK and having things be OK is no big deal. It is a given, comes along with the “territory” like an instruction manual that comes with a new appliance. It’s just THERE.
The rest of us operate without OK-ness EVER truly being there. That’s connected to the chronic and constant fear and sense of foreboding. Everything is always an unknown.
There are no rails for our lives all laid out before us that we can follow. Our lives are full of not understanding things, not having the ability to understand the world others live in with their laid out tracks they can follow along. Are we always running beside their moving trains?
I see ER riding along in a club car, cigar in one hand, high ball in the other, all relaxed in a beautiful world riding smoothly along with all the “givens.” I find him and fall in love, and I want to be there with him. But, no, here’s me, like George Clooney in “Oh Brother Where Art Thou,” all chained to the dead weight I didn’t ask for, just getting on board and “Whoop!” out the door I am yanked, back into the world I was made in and made for.
You can’t get there from here. How does it help to write a book and describe this awful circumstance? To let others know what is going on where love and concern exist. In that better world, ER would know what was happening and love me enough, care enough, to rush to the engine and the front of the train and demand that they stop it. And then what? Me get on? How would that happen? He get off? Why would anyone ever do that? Who wants to get off the track of the good life and join with me? Impossible? I don’t know, but I think so. At least at my age I see it that way.
I told Ramona, it’s like I have to focus on something, wait for the water to still itself completely so I can see the reflection, but always the tiniest thing, a bug, a tiny pebble thrown in destroys the image and it’s gone before I understand what another is saying, what they mean, what’s important to them, how I fit into their picture, what’s going on here? Tell me that doesn’t create stress-distress-duress!
The normal world does not move that slowly.
When you take the people from their ancestral lands, you take them from their history, from themselves, from their ancestors and place them in a world of make believe. They may now tell the story of when so and so walked past the big rock, but there is no rock nearby or in sight, so the rock becomes a fiction and not a real place within the world.
We now have our inner worlds and our outer worlds, and who cares if they really match. What was once an open field is now a parking lot. Ancient trees are killed and removed. In their place now stands something a man has built. Who remembers the losses as the changes sweep over us as tidal waves created by forces removed from our understanding?
Do you then have a cultural attachment disorder? Cut off at the main stem so that something else might grow off to the sides, but it isn’t the direct link to the essence within.
This detachment, derealization, depersonalization they talk about. A detachment disorder. Perhaps when an attachment disorder gets severe enough, that is what you have: a detachment disorder. When the soul of a person, or a people, cannot, as Hillman might say, grow down into the world.
I think that is part of why I like to make something with my hands. That we are connected, this thing and I as I make it, form it, shape it. I just told Ramona the dream in SF when Grandmother Moon handed me the stone she had spit on and turned into clay, as she showed me how to shape a human face in it and handed it back to me and said, “That’s how you do it.”
From Ramona’s perspective she says she lost me as her mother when Mel came into my life. My attachment – detachment disorder was activated and she was left an orphan. Or at least a motherless child. She, the shaman daughter’s daughter with her own story to tell. Me, unable to feel love, or to truly give it.
I have an article about attachment somewhere that talks about how when a person’s attachment system is active they cannot nurture another.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
There’s a difference between organizing one’s time and attention around something or someone, and organizing one’s identity and being around the same. I’m thinking about being at the gym when I got the cop call about Kerensa shop lifting. I finished the workout, went down to the station to attend to her, and never went back to the gym.
When ER told me he was done winter 2005, I wasn’t losing him, losing my relationship only, I was losing myself. When Jered left home I lost myself. When I was no longer a fulltime mother, there wasn’t anything left to organize myself around. I’d done that for 35 years.
Now I organize myself around simple projects as well. I can’t lose those things. Even the guitar.
Not having our own identity to organize our self with – like chemo and not having eyelashes. Putting on mascara is not about enhancing because we have NONE.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
I feel like I am fading away, sort of like colors left exposed to the intense desert sunlight fade away, but more like a spot of wet watercolor paint in the center of a cloth or paper would wash away if you poured lots of water on it before it dried.
Bleeding out around the edges, indistinct shape that finally washes away. I felt that yesterday and left ER at the shop early after we passed Mari in his new truck coming out of Safeway and she followed us all the way back to Naco. That was really unfortunate for me. I have no idea if she threw another fit to him about it, and if she brought it up at all I know he had to have lied about who I was and why I was with him. I was afraid she was going to come over to the shop and throw a fit. I have no energy to deal with it. I feel like I have lost the game.
How would a sand castle feel as its being washed out to sea, dissolving in form until nothing was left, as it was returned to the nothing it was before it existed?
Being a puppet body with strings attached….
It’s almost like both my passion and my life force have wandered away and are lost from home.
Friday, May 02, 2008
I am so glad it is Friday. I don’t feel well physically, and being near people is awful. Yappers, snappers, crappers – making constant stupid noises with their nonsense, useless (to me) chatter, doing their passive aggressive control whatevers, or crapping all over themselves and others and not even knowing it. I am sick sick sick of them.
Harlowe, move over. I didn’t get the wire monkey, not even the wooly soft monkey, and I know I am not a normal member of the pack. In many ways, I would say that is just fine and absolutely great and fantastic with me.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
What if, as Chrissie says, there are those among us who are part alien? What if I am one of those? What if I fell in love with a human, and he has to do what humans do? What if the part of me that is 35% human and indigenous likes it here right on the border where the indigenous are everywhere? It is easier on me than trying to live around the reservations. I tried that for many years and they ran me off. Here? They don’t have a clue. They simply know I do not speak Spanish, I am white and I have blue eyes. That is enough for them to keep me on my side of their wall.
There are not many people I have seen the angel in, but ER is one of them. I saw it when I returned here from Clifton and saw him for the first time after. Perhaps I am supposed to be able to see the angel in everyone, but I evidently cannot do that.
So I have to be patient while this man I love finishes whatever it is that he has to do here, and know that it is not something, evidently, that I can accompany him with/on. To. Yet so painful – how is it that he does not miss my company?
I would choose to be alive only because at least my daughters still want me here, need me. I am not sure about Jered. I think he is quite self sufficient, and ER certainly is able to take care of himself without me.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
I’m listening to this song “When Your Mind’s Made Up” from the movie, “Once.” Am attempting to locate within myself what it is about the song that attracts me, enough to want to learn to play it.
It makes me think of my brother John – I think there was a time in my infanthood when he came when I called him — and with his help I think there was a magic moment, a quickening, where I came to realize on some very deep level exactly what it was I was up against, but I decided to survive at any cost and made my mind up to do wo. I have this deep sense that that moment came while looking into my very young brother’s eyes. I think he made an agreement to help me, to be there for me, to come when I called him.
Then I began to think about ER, how he calls me and I come, yet he has made his mind up to not let me in, as horribly, unspeakably painful as that is for me. He made up his mind, and that is that.
Monday, May 05, 2008
I guess it feels like everyone is in their own dimension, and I’m in mine. I think they can share dimensions with one another. I feel all alone in mine.
I went to Tucson to see the plastic surgeon today. He showed me a picture, and it looked ugly to me. Long scar all the way across the back, scars on the fake breasts. Not at all natural. I guess I thought somehow that they could make things better. But they can’t. Cancer has done its damage. And my strange brain has had its damage done to it. I don’t think it can anymore be reversed than can this cancer damage.
I am agonizingly alone. I feel like a pet – and I don’t say this lightly for it is a tragedy – that just as humans cannot understand say a cat or a dog or a horse or a bird or a turtle, my brain is different enough that I am like a member of another species. I cannot understand humans and they cannot understand me. So when ER and my sibs and my children wanted me to fight this cancer, and I went along – I am not afraid of dying, I am afraid of a horrible and agonizing dying process. But my living process is mostly agony as it is.
ER will never know what it is like to be this alone and not be able to do anything about it. This is not about achieving some physical access to another or to others. This is about a brain that cannot make the connections within it of being with someone else.
Friday, May 09, 2008
I went for the psych evaluation[for SSI disability determination] yesterday and that had to be about the hardest single hour of my life. I left that office a pool of melted butter like in Black Sambo.
Boy, the trauma of my childhood sure toned down the effectiveness of my life, I have no doubt! My childhood has caught up with me. All those long long days and nights, all those long long weeks, months and years. I might not be the dissociation queen, but I must certainly be in the running! What damage has been done!?
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Looking back at my life, is it possible for me to see how this dissociation has worked so that I can learn to manage better with it in the present and in my future? Like not going back to the gym, like something snaps and one thing is not hooked to the next.
It bothers me greatly that I can’t figure out what ER wants from me now. I can’t tell if part of what I sense is that he isn’t feeling well. Is that why the spark is gone at times, or is it something else? How do I not take things personally?
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Mother’s Day. Jered deployed 6th time
The trick with memory, I guess, is to know something is in the past and not in the present. When the brain cannot process, integrate and store traumatic memories, they become “intricated” in the present because they cannot be extricated from it. Everything is concurrent and simultaneous.
Like images drawn on two (or more) panes of glass, one past, one present, and laid on top of one another. How to distinguish which lines belong to which image?
But maybe I am haunted by the memories from mother’s litany because they were so reinforced over time. Maybe otherwise they would have been recorded as implicit memories, and perhaps not even stored as explicit (as per fried hippocampus). Because my traumatic past is like a haunting, like there is a whole tribe of nasty experiences present with me all of the time, a whole village, a nation. I guess I need to make some kind of peace with them, smother this whole thing – my life – with respect like butter on toast or frosting on cake.
I don’t think this life is meant to feel like a prison, but for some of us it does.
RETURN TO MAIN PAGE: