Things that happened today, so far.
At therapy, the session opened with her saying we were going to start working from Amongst Ourselves,
I've vaguely heard about the book before, from the online DID community, but I've never looked into it. Still, she gave me some papers photocopied from the first chapter, and we discussed it a little already, so we'll all start working from this together. I'm glad; this really feels like a big step forward in terms of where we can go from here, with understanding and management and coping and the like.
We also unearthed a big
connective point, which is the main thing I want to record.
I've known for a while now that I associate pain with corrective love (childhood discipline), and retributive healing. When I am not punished for a wrongdoing I fear that I am either irredeemable, or that those who know and have not punished me are manipulating me into committing wrongs. This is a rather paranoid mindset and it is not often true outside of headspace. This is also why our protectors in headspace (Laurie and Knife) are also persecutors in their own right-- under that mindset, those who protect must also harm. ('Bleeding' is viewed as beneficially purgative, etc.) I seek out abusive relationships because I feel more cared for in them. I freak out when my friends don't express disappointment or anger with me, because then I think they have no concern for my welfare or even would prefer that I become a delinquent. And this explains why I am the closest to Laurie upstairs, above everyone else: she pushes me around, she insults me, she used to actually beat me up, but there are NO vicious motives there (motives are very important!!), and she has ALSO made it VERY CLEAR that she adores me and she would do anything to keep me safe. So, to me, the 'violent' side of her personality actually supports that. I know she cares BECAUSE she treats me roughly. This may not be true for people downstairs, but the mindset is there, and has been for as long as I can remember. "If you truly care for my well-being, you will punish me when I do wrong."
I've also known that I feel obligated to take blame from other people, in order to end fights. In my house, people wouldn't take responsibility for mistakes, big or small-- "I forgot to do something important because YOU distracted me," etc.-- and so things wouldn't get settled. I was frequently told as a child that things were my fault, even if I had nothing to do with them at all. Still, although this was emotionally frightening for me, I learned very quickly that if it was
my fault, truthfully or not, I could then act as a peacekeeper, taking the brunt of all the anger and guilt that no one else wanted to face. As I grew older this made me become very diplomatic as well, but as a child, it just made me feel like I WAS solely responsible for everyone else's pain. My obsession with "being good" BUT also feeling that I could only be truly good if "my sins were purged" through punishment or pain, made me feel obligated to become the literal scapegoat. Therefore, "you must be punished for causing such pain in others."
But today, in therapy, I realized that this second mindset ties into the first one in a way I never noticed before? This constant feeling responsible for my family's suffering, on top of my associating parental love/ my own worth with pain and punishment, is what caused my problem of thinking "I'm incapable of making correct choices on my own." See how it lines up? The negative reinforcement smothered any positive reinforcement I got for my own choices. Usually, if I asserted myself, or voiced an opinion, or anything of that sort, I was told that I was "hurting someone else" in the process, "being selfish or manipulative," etc. That also explains why I rely on headspace people for inner choices, because I've had this internally too. So instead of choosing on my own and hurting people, or causing more trouble, or making everything worse... I learned to just give in and do what I was told.
I daresay that sounds familiar too.
My therapist reached that exact same point. "You learned to just give in, to get it over with."
As soon as she said that, the panic alarm went off, and I started slipping badly. However, SHE NOTICED! And she called it out, which was enough of a distracting surprise for me to struggle back into decent enough control to finish the session.
I'm glad it happened though. I didn't realize THAT was so strongly tied to THESE concerns, too! Go figure. I'm hoping we can pursue that line of thought in the future, safely. Healing is a long and involved process but we are getting there, wow are we ever.
I was too shaken up from the session slippage to drive afterwards, so Laurie decided to. As usual she lectured Knife and I the entire time, but in doing so in light of therapy we discovered something else: that weird dissociation I get doesn't go away when other people front. Headvoices are better able to manage it, though. I wondered what it was, and then suddenly, Laurie got it-- since we're all anchored in headspace, THAT'S where we naturally ground! When we front, we are SPLIT between being in the body and being 'upstairs.' Laurie instinctively talks to us aloud when she fronts, even though we aren't 'in' physical reality. When she stops, and 'thinks' for herself, she says 'the silence and disconnection bothers me.' Because in order for her to REALLY front, with her own private thoughts and actions and choices, she HAS to temporarily 'unplug' from headspace. That's somewhat jarring for a headvoice to do, and so they typically keep that connection when fronting... which causes the dissociation, and the tendency to suddenly 'switch out' if someone else is triggered, or wants to talk, etc. There's simply not a strong enough anchor for the traditional DID complete fronting when our people front. It's part of our rules, of course-- always having backup and people watching prevents total pandemonium, as well as sudden dangerous switches-- but it is highly problematic because it makes body functioning dazed all the time.
On that note, I needed to pick something up at the mall for my bro, so Laurie phased out and then asked Knife if he wanted to try fronting? I think there was a bit of lighthearted bickering here, but then Knife said sure-- and he did something REALLY interesting. Instead of jumping right into the body (which would involve a pause and shivers and a blurry few-second transition), he PROJECTED? Like we do when the AP is running, and we just program commands into it. He stayed upstairs with us, but he began sending programming to the AP to make the body act more like he felt, and THEN he jumped in. That eliminated the total stop we typically would need to switch! So that was cool.
Anyway, I know he was fully fronting once we entered the mall, as I remember he was staring at the map and asking me where we needed to go. That moment struck me as very interesting, because I guess I was far enough 'out' to not be bleeding over into his mindset, and since I'm usually not, it actually shocked me to see that he was 100% unruffled by all the people around him. I usually worry on the behalf of other system members, as I tend to feel trapped, self-conscious and overwhelmed in public, especially with so many people! And always being aware of headspace makes it feel like people can see
all these others surrounding me, although I don't know if they can. But Knife was standing there, arms stiff at his sides, calmly reviewing this map, oblivious to whether or not people were looking at him oddly. It was really cool. Then Laurie told him where to go and he set off, all of us hanging back and watching to see how he handled fronting in public for the first time. Honestly, he did surprisingly well. He walks in a very dignified manner, holding himself straight and formal, with none of the walking trouble that I have when I do that. There was no arm movement I think, but every once in a while someone would approach the body and trigger the instinctive 'they're trying to hurt you' response, but Knife didn't panic or back out (he knows it's not always warranted too)-- instead, I noticed he only clenched his fists like he was holding two knives. The first time he did and felt no actual weapons, there was a slight wave of real concern and hesitation, but it faded quickly enough. But that wasn't the best part of him fronting-- mind you, when a headvoice fronts, the entire inner perception of the body changes to them. So Knife is walking down the hall, formal and stoic, his coattails trailing behind him, and all of a sudden I realize that he's wondering what to do with his teeth. I had no idea what that was for a moment, and then I realized, he DOES have fangs!! He was shadowing fangs, and was slightly distressed by the fact that he didn't actually HAVE any, but he could feel where they were 'astrally,' so to speak. Laurie and I thought this was hilarious, and she teased him about it a little, to which he actually started nervously biting the inside of the mouth. I felt kind of bad because it's always disorienting when your body doesn't match, but it was kind of endearing seeing Knife act so human, ironically, even if just in a little way. (Also I hope he doesn't mind my mentioning this, but after noticing the teeth thing Laurie joked that we should buy him some plastic vampire fangs since it's almost Halloween anyway. I laughed at that, but Knife didn't respond for a few seconds. Then he said, somewhat wonderingly, "do they really make those?" Laurie cracked up of course, said yeah, decided on the spot we were going to buy him some ASAP. I thought it was adorable.)
Anyway. On the way back out of the mall, Laurie decided to front for a bit, so Knife graciously phased out and let Laurie phase in, allowing the few-second AP gap as usual... and the switch from his affect to hers when she settled in was striking.
when she walks. It's both awesome and hilarious. Honestly, Knife strides along like an aristocrat, all stately and somewhat aloof... but Laurie just ambles around like she owns the place. She's simultaneously relaxed and battle-ready. Just picture a debonair entrepreneur and a nonchalant gang leader walking side-by-side, and you've got a pretty accurate image of the difference between how they each carry the body. (As for me, I'd be the five-year-old kid running along behind them, grinning from ear to ear and probably tripping over curbs, haha.)
I'm curious who else can front in public, now that we're aware of what causes the system-wide dissociation for non-public alters (in other words, most of us!). Usually only strong-minded people can do that, as they don't have to worry about major triggers... so Mulberry is definitely a candidate. Problem is, she might be the ONLY candidate. Razor is NOT, despite her unnerving calmness, because she has the moral compass and social comprehension of a two-year-old. The first and only time she's fronted before (the only reason I even know it happened is because there's a VOICE FILE of it on Mitchell), she literally wondered aloud how I resisted the urge to "cut things" when there were so many things to cut around me. You get the picture. But then we only have the kids (who HAVE fronted but have been emotionally damaged by the experience), Jeremiah (who is NOT comfortable around people at ALL), and Sugar (who will attack anyone who she perceives as the slightest threat). Everyone in Central used to be able to front without the slightest problem, but... I don't know if any of them are still alive, besides Laurie.
Still, I'm curious now. I don't know who the public fronters are and I don't think I can; that would impede on their function. But I wish there was a more coherent system for fronting. It's not easy to live upstairs 95% of the time, and then have to deal with the consequences of the other 5% if someone manic or self-destructive comes out. Not fun, dude.
I'm laughing though. I just brought up the old adakias
journal to review some things, and already, I DO NOT REMEMBER THAT STUFF. So soon, so suddenly! But I guess it's good. I needed new energy, some new place to let go of the mess that happened this year, with the resets and people getting hurt and tossed around. That's about all I know about it though, just that painful things happened. Couldn't tell you what though, and I'm thankful for it. Now we just have to help everyone else heal.
That's something I haven't mentioned yet either. Knife's new anchor is that of a healer. He can actually do that now, heal people who have been hurt in headspace. I don't know if anyone could ever do that before, so it's pretty amazing. He and Laurie are basically BFFs now (well, as bff-ish as those two can get) which is brilliant as well.
I miss seeing people get along like this. I miss feeling like headspace is a family. I'll tell you what, these reset things may have been traumatic, but now, Central and the Underground are connected. There's no split between us anymore. We all work together. And personally I think that was worth it. Everything works out in the end. I really do miss this feeling of togetherness. I can't remember the last time I felt it.
On a similar note, in light of yesterday, I think I'm going to practice energy sensing again. I've been so shattered internally that I've forgotten how. But I miss being able to perceive things subtly, and in strange ways. I miss tasting color, and smelling auras, and seeing sound. I miss being able to reach out and get this sensory rainbow from anyone upstairs whenever I tuned in. I miss my creative side, too. That same side of me is the one that can shape words into similar sensations. "Poet mode," you know. I haven't been anywhere near that in at least 6 months, I'd think.
But now, immersing myself in the literature I adored as a child, in all those ideas and images that helped me become who I am today... I wonder, if both of those sides of me are coming back now? It sure feels like it! It's exciting, actually.
I'm currently on Animorphs #17,
which was my first favorite book of the series-- it's this glorious shade of pink, and Rachel turns into a BAT on the cover, for heavens sake! (You may not know, but I actually loved the color pink as a child; it didn't become "evil" until Julie stole it. I even used to pretend I was a pink pterodactyl in 1st grade, haha. And of course I have always adored bats!) I don't remember the actual book-- I don't remember the series at ALL so re-reading it is so awesome-- but I'm excited to start it, especially since the next one is #18, where Ax turns into a mosquito, and I LOVED that one as a kid, for many reasons. One of those reasons, amusingly enough, also ties into the reason why I haven't started reading #17 yet... which is that lately, I've been busy soaking up the beautiful words of Madeleine L'Engle, my biggest childhood literary inspiration.
I mentioned that in my previous entry as well, but... reading the Wrinkle In Time
quintet over again, revisiting the worlds and remembering the messages within it-- it all makes me feel that I'm not as lost as I feared I was. No, that's not quite right... it makes me BELIEVE it. Meg is so
much like I was as a little kid: stubborn, impatient, and angry, sure, but she loves her brother, and she has a good heart, and even though she feels she is inadequate she is shown to be an important individual in her own right, inherently worthy of love. I'm not like her now, and I don't even remember what it was like to be
'childhood me,' but still, following her footsteps, I'm finding strength and hope, too.
How do I explain it?
Really, this is when I wish I had friends, who weren't overwhelmed by me. I get SO enamored with these books and things, I need to just effervesce this joy, with someone who feels the same about it! Bursting with affection and admiration over music or art or the like, and having someone just nod and say "okay" in response, really makes me feel tired and sad. I need the reflection, the sharing. Because I do NOT feel this way about things easily! Sure, I can say I liked this or that about a lot of things, but when it gets down to total sparkly bliss and inspiration, there are only a few things on that list. To my surprise. L'Engle's books have stayed on that list!
But it's oddly personal, too. It's personal in an oddly close way, where it feels too intimate to talk about it casually. When I really love things, it gets like that, which is hard for people to understand. Even Nier! I can't play that in the same room as other people because their world is BEAUTIFUL and the music is GORGEOUS and I feel SO much like Nier himself and Grimoire Weiss is the COOLEST... you get the idea. I love that game. So I need to share it with someone else that loves it so. Which is very hard to find, because when I truly love something, I love it intensely, with an ardor that's inherently tied TO my creative, poetic side. And that depth makes it something really special to me. But most people just say "okay, I can see you like it," without FEELING why... and it just sucks me dry, like a black hole. I'm essentially showing them something that has affected me deeply and strongly enough to light me up like a supernova, bright-eyed and laughing from the wonder of it, and they can only see it as another point on a list of interests... Nier, FROST*, Klonoa, A Wrinkle In Time. You get the idea.
On that note. (Perhaps somewhat disconnected, but it's close enough to me.)
I am halfway through A Wind In The Door
right now. Meg is currently trying to figure out which Mr. Jenkins is real, standing in the schoolyard, backed by Proginoskes the cherubim. And up to that point I kept wondering just how
fluffy those feathers were and just what
those lovely eyes looked like, et cetera, and then suddenly Mrs. L'Engle reminds me that manifested cherubim have circulatory systems and I was like whooooa dude okay I'm sold
. Honestly I crack myself up with this. I've been obsessed with hearts since I was a tiny kid and really I used to be ashamed of it-- that's the real
reason I loved Animorphs #18, now you know-- but now I embrace it as this odd but quietly honest weakness of mine, something that fits perfectly into my forever-naive compassion for everything. It just hurts that, for years, I got it confused. I got a lot about myself confused. Not anymore though, we're cool. Now I'm just blushing like an idiot at the thought of cuddling up to a huge fiery fluffy cherubim, aha. Especially one with an attitude like Progo, he's adorable, I love him.
I have forever been enamored with how L'Engle portrays cherubim, though, as you probably have gathered. THIS
is the image of them that I grew up with. That is GORGEOUS.
You've probably noticed that is most definitely where Infinitii anchored aesthetically, too.
That's why this re-reading is hitting me so hard. Yes, Progo is brilliant, but he keeps reminding me of Infi, this strange and beautiful being. But Infi has intimacy going against him here, ironically. Isn't that weird? I can be as affectionate and loving as I want with a total stranger who is open-hearted to it. But when someone gets close to me, and starts returning that to me, I freak out and push them away, then run when they try to get close again, even if I still love them with all my heart (although I will likely bury it in fear). I've never understood that.
Maybe it ties into the old love=pain thing for me. Maybe. It would make sense, at least on a basic level. But the fear
? Is that because my family was emotionally bereft when I was growing up? No one was close to anyone else, any gestures of such were viewed with harshness. And then growing up with a non-traditional gender and romantic orientation made it impossible to show feelings towards anyone, on any level, without being rejected in disgust and often hate. I did it to myself, I would know. But it's sad. Maybe I just learned to be scared of it, without knowing why.
All I know is that I miss that weird little angel with his creepy toothy grins and big gray-red eyes and echoic voice in my head. I don't remember him either and I miss him. It's so odd.
Chaos too. He's all three-pointed stars, except fluid, all oceanic and blue and a strange lovely fusion of points and curves. He's hard to describe and it's awesome. But I miss him too, and I don't know who he is, but something keeps pushing me really quietly to maybe find him again. I can't be sure.
I just want to find out why I'm more comfortable with welcoming strangers than I have ever been with close friends. Maybe that's why I like Laurie, too? Because she never gets too close, and when she does, there's always that edge. Always that slight brutality to it. Won't even kiss me without pulling my hair. Gotta have that pain somewhere, or I get scared. So odd. At least she understands, and doesn't want to get emotionally close anyway, and neither do I.
Emotional closeness and emotional openness aren't synonymous to me, I just realized. I can be an open book with anybody, entirely trusting and vulnerable, but there's a childlike quality to it that, when disturbed, SHATTERS me. I can be the most affectionate person in the world as long as you're treating me like I'm younger than 12. Once you start seeing me as an 'adult,' once you start trying to pull me into 'mature' relationships, I get terrified. I run.
Oh hey. That's probably it. What if I had my perception of friendships and partnerships and romance corrupted so badly at such an early age, that I never learned what they really were like? And now I don't know how to fix it. I've been trying, I've apparently just made it worse! That's what the Undergrounders keep saying, "be careful," "the hackers go after you because you're fragile," "you can't trust people like that." And I know that's true. But it's tough for a soft-hearted silly person like me, I guess. It hurts for me to not trust people, or to realize that yes, there ARE people inside our head that want to hurt me. Naturally I want to love them, and help them heal. But they take advantage of me, so other people have to protect me a lot. Otherwise... well. Bad things happen.
Laurie says that's my biggest flaw and my biggest blessing, my inability to stop being so childlike. She loves and hates that about me, but she always says, "kid, never lose that." Always.
Sorry, it's late and I'm starting to fall into "I don't know how to speak in written language because words are confusing and I just want to feel at people" mode. Kything!
But yeah. Fluffy gorgeous cherubim and hearts and eyes and fire and smoke. So nice. I can't help but laugh when I realize that THAT'S my ideal aesthetic, no wonder people look at me funny! I don't mind though. We'd be best friends and it'd be great.
I can visualize exactly what I want to say, and what I need, and what I feel. Isn't that unusual? I can think in pictures just fine, but I don't know how to put that into words! It's why I struggle with writing stories down too. How do you put an expression, or a feeling, or a sight, into words? You lose what you're actually trying to describe, limiting it to written language. it's so frustrating sometimes it makes me cry. why can't i just show people these things, watch their eyes light up and they'll laugh too, what beautiful stuff that is, thank you for sharing it with me. and i'd smile, hey do you like music, do you want to hear some of the symphonies i hear in my head? oh yes please theyd say, young and old people alike, businessmen in top hats and little kids with gaps in their smiles and old women with thinning hair. yes please, and then i'll share my dreams with you too.
that's the kinda world i want to live in down here too, in physical space, in the waking. i want to live with people who all love and trust each other and everyone gets along. i want to be able to walk down the street and know that everyone is my friend and i am everyones friend too and we all do what brings us joy and share it.
oh and a world where when the cold autumn air whips around the moon and clouds like crystal, like it did last night, i can go outside and really fly instead of wodnering why my arms wont carry me up into the sky unless my eyes are closed.
sorry. i am very tired. this got really disjointed really fast, thats what happens when theres a switch in consciousness.
dont worry though this is j, at least a deeper part of me i guess, the part that doesnt like having a name. but its "me" if that makes you feel a little better.
hmmmm i want to give you a song of the night let me find a nice one.
OH here have some glitchy choral things because we're talking about angels and this is my favorite genre ever.
plus it sounds like infinitii if that makes sense. you'll see what i mean.https://soundcloud.com/forss/lux-aeterna
g'night everyone you're all lovely have sweet dreams and all that
today's been beautiful, tomorrow will be too, see you then!