How Do I Get Back Out of My Shell?

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and I’m just not sure how to get back out of my shell. For the majority of my life I’ve been a pretty intense introvert, only able to really connect with people when I’ve got them in one-on-one situations. In those one-on-one occasions, though, I have a really good ability to connect with just about everyone, including those whose viewpoints I really don’t agree with at all.

There have been several occasions in my life where this has changed for stretches, though. I’m hesitant to go into detail on the circumstances around these stretches, but I think that it has to do with being proud of where I’m at in my life. During these stretches I’m able to maybe not be a social butterfly, but I’m suddenly much more outgoing, and able to connect with people in larger amounts. I’m not such a wallflower, and I’m able to actually make friends, instead of having to rely on meeting people through existing friends. I’ve even had people comment on my charisma and leadership capabilities when I’m in such situations. Seems like such a massively far cry from where I’m at right now.

You see, right now, it’s pretty tough for me to meet anyone at all. I mean I go to some 12 step meetings and the like, but still I’m having a really hard time breaking through my introverted nature to be able to meet anyone. Even if it feels like there is a connection starting up, I’m unable to pursue it to a point where there’s any chance of being a real friend outside of the initial setting or whatever. Then there’s the fact that I ended up in a place where I have no real [local] friends any more, after I realized that I was better off without the ones that I still had here. When I realized that I was selling out my own personal values in order to hang around a person that was toxic, simply because I was afraid of being alone, I finally made the jump into isolation, thinking that it was the stronger and better thing to do.

Now, while I’m still full of conviction on the merits of having gotten away from that person, I cannot help wonder where it’s put me, and how long this isolated state is going to last. I’m doing better at being on my own, not needing others to fill the ‘gaping void’ inside so much any more, but still I crave human interaction. I’m a social creature, despite my introversion. Then there’s my son, whose only real friends outside of the school setting were the [verbally abused] children of this person that I decided to sever contact with. He’s been isolated all summer long, with no respite except for the other kids that he talks to via the PS4 headset when he’s spending far too much time on video games. I’ve hated to limit him too much on that over this summer, when he’s had no other kids to do anything with at all. We moved around so much for his first few years of life that he’s simply never really had the opportunity to build a decent network of friends outside of the school setting.

I need to be back in a place where I’m proud of myself, and what I’m accomplishing again, so that I can break through this isolation, but I’ve got absolutely no idea how long this is going to take. Or, frankly, how to do it. I’m working with vocational rehabilitation to try to get into a field that utilizes my capabilities, instead of just earning the bare minimum that a warm body can manage around here in manual labor. I think that this is the best place to start. The career specialist that saw me yesterday asked me why I wasn’t earning 4-5x more than what I am right now. She told me that I was capable of so much more, and that I should be earning at least $40-50k/year or more with my capabilities, credentials, and aptitude. I have a hard time convincing myself of that. I mean, I know that I’ve got skills far above most of the other people that I work with, in shuttling parcels around onto different trucks, and others in different entry level work fields, but I have never been able to obtain any work in my field of aptitude without having an inside lead on the job. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing wrong, and I don’t understand how to change it, since I don’t know the nature of my mistakes in the first place. I’ve tried for my entire life to break into the field where I have been working on my own, in my spare time, and I’ve only managed on two short stretches. Unfortunately, during both of those stretches, my life was too chaotic for me to be able to properly maintain those positions and grow from there. My life is stable now, but these opportunities with an inside lead seem so rare in my life that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to break into the field again.

Not sure what I hope to accomplish by writing all of this. It just seems like too much to hold in right now, so I had to put it out there. It sucks not having any friends locally to talk to about all of this. Hope you’re all having a good day, and not having to deal with such heavy thoughts early this morning like I am. Heh. Take care, y’all.


‘Breaking Up’ with a Lifelong Friend

I recently had the opportunity to grow personally in some areas that took me through some remarkably uncomfortable realms.  I had this friend, you see, with some habits that I’ve found pretty horrifying for a very long time now.  ‘Back in the day’, when we were both in our early 20s, I think, we actually had a physical confrontation over it at one point.

I think it’s important to get the backstory on this.  I first met J when we were in a group home together.  Both of us were there because of home lives that were very tumultuous; our parents had signed away custody of us to ‘teach us a lesson’ for our bad actions, as far as not listening to the law laid down by such abusive role models.  When we ended up together there, we bonded in the same way as soldiers do in basic training.  We were subject to the same shared adversity, for the group homes in this area of the country are of the very old school methodology where you’re put through the rigors of a mild boot camp, no matter if you are there for reasons that are under your own control (such as us, despite the debate on whether or not it was strictly our own faults), or if you are there for utterly helpless reasons (such as having both of your parents die, with no next of kin to take over, like another friend we made there).

Basically, you’re subject to a rigorous structured environment, thrown in with a bunch of kids, most of whom have been very bad (not just ones that made phone calls to friends when they weren’t supposed to, like myself [the straw that broke the camel’s back to my parents]); ones that engaged in things like drug dealing, theft of vehicles, large scale vandalism, assaults, or things of that nature.  It’s stressful all by itself; then you throw in the addition of group home staff, whom treat you like you’re a piece of shit, because it’s supposed to help you learn to deal with the ‘real world’ better, and it becomes a boot camp, like I said.

Under this shared adversity, I found that this other kid, J, was like myself in several ways.  We were both horrific social outcasts, ridiculed to massive extents by our peers.  We both liked to read, and to assimilate information (though his own desire for such was purely in the metaphysical and fictional, while mine spread throughout different fields).  We both had already found that we enjoyed drugs of multiple varieties, as they were an excellent retreat from the pain caused by the social abuse and the abuse at home, not to mention the newfound abuse at the hands of custody of the state.  That was really all that we needed; being friends through such tribulation did all of the rest, we’d been tight ever since.

Things took a bit of a change for awhile, while I was homeless and traveled about the country with my son.  I wasn’t able to stay in as close of contact with him, but when I ended up bouncing back to ND, which has always happened at some point or another, he was always here, and he was the one friend who would always make time for me (and my son, after he came into the picture), even after our own families came into our lives, and the years added new different elements to the equation.  As such, he’s been there for me through the brink of insanity, through suicidal depression, and many other extremes, as well as the calmer times in between.

It’s one of the calmer times in between in which I now find myself.  I’ve been an active member of one of the 12 step programs for quite some time now, as a base to my recovery in the different fields, and as a new platform to work on my own self-improvement with.  I’m holding a job better than I’ve ever been able to do so in my life, despite the C-PTSD, and other issues at play, that have always destabilized me.  It’s going slowly, and I’m still only working with part-time hours, in order to make sure that I don’t upset the balance by going too quick, but it’s improved, by light-years, over where I used to be just a year ago, not to mention the rest of my life.

Ever since my friend had gotten married, though, there have been aspects of his personality that I’ve had to ignore in order to be able to spend time around him.  They were irritants before, with how he treated other people (I hadn’t seen him around animals much at that point), but they quickly escalated to the point of objects in his character that I had to strictly ignore, or pretend didn’t matter, in order to be at peace around him.

You see, his father always had a ridiculously out-of-proportion anger response to things.  It was one of the reasons that he’d ended up in the group home, after he stopped listening to the ridiculous rules that his parents were putting down.  Somewhat like my own father, though my own didn’t throw tantrums, or scream verbal abuses, he just internalized it all, after taking away every privilege and incentive to work for rewards that I could possibly have.  Unfortunately, his father’s problem trickled down into J, and only distilled into a higher potency form when doing so.  It’s funny, because he’s totally aware of what has happened with his anger coming from his father, and, despite swearing that he would never repeat the mistakes of his parents, he just continues on with it, even jokes about it, but never tries to do anything to change it.

His children were still small when they got their first dog.  It’s a pit bull, whom has always been subject to a form of ‘discipline’ that, as far as I’m concerned, falls well under the category of physical abuse.  You can tell that the dog has never learned anything except for fear for his owner.  He hasn’t been able to get the dog to modify his behavior one bit, with the punches, kicks, pile drives, or throws.  The dog fears the hell out of him, but hasn’t been able to learn from the physical violence.  Go figure.  I could’ve told him that that was the case; I did, in fact, but he hasn’t listened to anything that I’ve said on the subject of his worldly responsibilities over other living creatures.

This dog has bitten other people on numerous occasions.  The only response that the dog has is abject joy, which is not tempered by any successful disciplinary habits (and can thus border on assault), and utter fear, combined with territorialism, which can result in some pretty terrible actions, because of the constant abuse.   I really can’t tell you how many times it’s bitten other people, because I don’t remember for certain.  Somehow he’s always managed to bite people that aren’t willing to call the police on the matter.  However, the dog is a pit bull, at sometime one of these bites is going to be a big enough matter so that there’s no choice for getting the authorities involved.  He’s even nipped my son a few times.  The dog just doesn’t know any better.

How can you know any better, when the only discipline that you’ve ever received as an animal, has been incoherent shouts of rage, and violent tantrums of pile-drivers, kicks, punches, and slaps?  It’s not like an animal can understand those words, something that I’ve tried to help my friend understand a few times, but somehow the fact that animals don’t understand English is something that always seems to go over his head when he’s justifying things.

This animal, and its compadre, a small terrier whom is also subject to the same kinds of abuse (and is ‘trained’ in the same ways), is one of the survivors in a long line of other animals that have died due to dehydration, veterinary neglect, and potentially raw abuse, though I would hardly be privy to any of that kind of information.  Every time they kill one animal they just get another.  The two dogs have been hardy enough to survive everything that they’ve been through at this point, but when one of their two cats last got into something poisonous for it, it didn’t receive medical attention (both J and his wife were unwilling to spend the time or the money on it), and ended up dying in bed with them.

The children are simply the brunt of massive emotional and verbal abuse.  The oldest has become a massive bully, you can see that in the way that she treats my son, and the stories that she brings home from school.  I guess like father like daughter.

The middle child (the only one that’s really his), just gets the brunt of everything most of the time.  I’m not sure why, but I guess in A Child Called It, and some other works that I’ve read on abuse, it seems like often times an abusive parent will pick out one to be the brunt of the majority of the abuse.  She seems to have gotten that.  It doesn’t matter how hard the other kids fuck with her or assault her, it’s still her fault 90% of the time.  Part of that reason could be because she irritates him by striving so hard for his attention, and because she is always trying to get the other children in trouble, but who can blame her for this last bit, when she’s always the one that ends up getting the brunt of the reaction for what the other ones do?

The last child is the one that I’d say is going to end up in jail (first).  He doesn’t get any discipline at all (well, none of them do, other than the emotional and verbal abuse), and is showing signs of somewhat sociopathic behavior at times.  Again, like father, like child.

You know, at this point I don’t think it’s really the mission of what I’m writing here to just keep going into farther detail about what this guy does to his kids and his animals.  You get the point, he treats other living beings pretty awfully, especially the ones closest to him.

The facts of the matter are that I have a really hard time meeting other people.  At least in this area of the country, where the majority of the people are conservative, have their own established bases of friends by age 20, and aren’t looking to really expand that group, ever.  After the first time that I moved away in my 20s, and came back to find that all of my good friends had moved away or gotten families, he’s been the only real one that’s stuck around.  I’ve been afraid of the isolation, because I go stir crazy, and damn nearly certifiably crazy, without some people to share at least a small portion of my time with.  I’ve always needed to have some chosen family around, since my own adoptive family has been absolutely awful to me, other than when they’ve taken care of the most basal of my survival needs when I was younger.

Finally, though, I realized that I really couldn’t live with myself any longer, on this road of self-improvement that I’m on, if I didn’t take some sort of a stand on this issue with my friend.  I mean the honest facts of the matter are that if I saw any other person walking down the street treating an animal or their children this way, I would not tolerate it, up to, and including, calling them in for the abuse to the appropriate authorities.  He’s just gotten a free pass because of my fear of isolation.  There’s also the fact that I started realizing what a piss poor example I must be setting for my son, ignoring these kinds of things just so that I could have someone to spend time around…  Hell, he even verbally abused my own son on occasion, though I’d challenge him for it, or at least take a very long break from him when those things would happen, depending on the circumstances.

So when, on the very last occasion, we went over to his place when his family was gone, just to hang out and maybe talk a walk down to the river, when something happened I realized I’d hit my tipping point.  Right after arriving there, the pit bull got excited and ended up accidentally stepping on my friend’s foot.  Immediately he slapped the dog across the face as hard as he could, and the dog yelped loudly and jumped back.  He immediately ridiculed the dog about the yelp.  My pulse jumped to about 150 (I’m a pretty good judge of where it’s at after all of the cardio and pulse monitoring that I’ve done), and I immediately realized that I needed to be the hell away from this abusive asshole.  He ridiculed the dog for yelping a little bit more, and I immediately retorted “Well of course he yelped, it fucking hurt!”

My ‘friend’ then justified that what he’d done was nothing compared to what the other dog does to him, hopping around (being a small terrier) and hanging from his face by her teeth and the like.  I didn’t bother to mention that this was because she was a dog, and what the fuck was his excuse for his behavior.  I didn’t want to get into a fight with him, my son was there, and honestly I guess I was falling back on my reaction of stuffing it to make the peace again.

He went inside to get ready to leave, and my son asked me what I wanted to do.  I told him that I needed to leave, because I couldn’t stay around him and pretend that the abuse was alright any more.  He asked me if I was going to tell him why we were leaving, and I told him that I wasn’t going to lie about it.

My friend came back out, and I never even looked at him.  I walked past him and told him “Man, I’m too fucking tweaked out, I need to go.”  We walked out and left.  I didn’t bother to say goodbye.  My son commented on the fact that I hadn’t told him why, and I guess that really stayed in my head for awhile and churned.  Was I a coward?  What was going on?  Why was I tolerating this behavior from him, when I wouldn’t from anyone else?

It kept coming back to me in waves until I went to bed that night.  When I was in bed it was all that I could think about.  It was raising my pulse enough so that I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep without doing something about it.  Still, I kept telling myself “Well maybe it would be better to sleep on it, rather than go off the handle right now and say something that might be said better tomorrow.”  After awhile I realized that this was precisely what I’d been doing for years, and that if I didn’t do something about it tonight, I’d have an even harder time doing something about it tomorrow, and that it was time to get it over with.

I went to the computer and typed up a message to him that didn’t leave out any details of why we couldn’t hang out any more.  I suggested to him that he get some help, that his children and animals deserved better, and I flat out told him that if it was anybody else that I would’ve reported him a long time ago.  I guess I wasn’t very nice about it, but I wasn’t a complete asshole about it, either.  I did understand that, sometimes, he listened to logic from me on difficult situations, ones where he wouldn’t really listen to anybody else, and more than anything I did want to give him the opportunity to confront his own character defects and be able to potentially change his life, and maybe do a little bit better for the people around him.  However, I realized that this was probably not going to happen, given his history, and afterwards I blocked contact with him on the mediums that we have contact in.  I just didn’t want the drama, and frankly, after all that I’ve seen from him, he can come up to see me in person if he wants to re-establish contact that badly, and still I’d probably end up seeing him falling back on the same old behaviors anyway.  In short, I came to the point where, despite my lack of other people to really do things with on the same level with him, I decided that I was better off alone than with his friendship.

This leaves me in a situation where things are pretty isolated this summer.  I feel bad for my son, not having other children to play with, but I know that it’s a better example from me for him to see, about what to tolerate and what not to, in other people, than me standing by and watching those kinds of abuse going down.  I don’t know if I’ve made the right choice all around, but I feel like I’ve made the choice that I needed to, in order to keep working on my own character defects in this situation.  I’m trying to be a better person, and I can see myself making progress.  This step was just a little harder than most.  I guess what I should probably be working on next is trying to learn how to make friends a little bit better, in this isolated area of the country.  I’ve got some good prospects in my 12 step program here, but the anxiety of being around new people keeps winning, and I keep failing at really getting together at them.  Still, what was it that they said at the meeting the other day?  Real change happens outside of our comfort zone.  And it was Einstein who had the best definition for insanity that I’ve ever heard, which is ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’  It’s time to get out of my comfort zone a little further, I think.  I don’t want to die alone and isolated.  I guess if I do at this point, at least I’ll know that I was able to change, and grow as a person, along the way.  Hopefully, though, it just won’t come to that.

 


Prying Open My Throat Chakra to Say No

Meditation this morning was heavily distracted by thoughts of an encounter that I had last night, which should’ve never happened.  After a little over half of the session that I was originally planning to sit for, I ended up putting an end to it.  I wasn’t able to find enough time in the clear/flow state.  Yes, I know that it’s still beneficial, so long as you’re trying, but I guess I let the frustration and impatience get the best of me.  It was exacerbated by too much coffee this morning, as well, so I figured that it’d be better to wait for a time when I’m not having to battle my own body chemistry in order to find the peace that I’m looking for.

After this sit, I decided that it was time to update my ultra sekrit paper journal with information about what happened last night.  It didn’t take me very long to realize that the same pattern of events has been happening for quite some time, nor did it take long for the follow-up to hit: I’ve been battling this, without making much (or quite possibly any) measurable progress for my entire life.

My guess is that the problem stems from needing to be remarkably attuned to the wants and desires of my parents at any early age.  I had quickly learned that if I didn’t attempt to placate their every whim that things would rapidly worsen, and end up biting me in the ass in physically and/or emotionally painful ways.  Hell, I’m still dealing with it, with my adoptive mother, and it’s just bitten me in the ass within the past 2 days.

Though it was a survival issue while I was a child, this quickly became a handicap in my dealings with other people.  I really hit a breaking point in my teens, when I started rebelling against my emotional, and often physical, captivity, and started telling my parents to pound sand, in much harsher terms.  So with them, it hasn’t really been an issue since that point, at least not on as major a scale.  However, when placating every whim became a survival strategy, it didn’t discriminate between parents and John Q. Public.  Hell, there have been multiple incidents in my life where this usually bogus strategy has actually saved my ass, also, due to other people being dangerous, so it’s gotten positive reinforcement on that front, too, making things even more complex.  The main problem with things here is that while I learned to tell my parents to pound sand, I never learned that ability with any of the other people, whom I cave to far too easily.

This cycle, almost utterly lacking in assertiveness, has been in place at least since I’ve hit the double digits in my childhood.  Looking back at things, I know for a fact that it’s caused me to have higher stresses almost every single day in my life.  Barring, perhaps, the days and times that I’ve spent purely in solitude.  I say perhaps because during those times I don’t doubt that, in at least half of them, I’ve spent a portion of the time pondering and agonizing over situations that I’ve trapped myself into, due to not saying my true feelings, and not standing up for my own needs and wants (in situations where wants are applicable).  A good portion of these stretches have been long lasting periods (still occasionally haunting me) where I’m utterly unhappy because of being utterly trapped by not being able to say no.  A few of them have ended in disaster, due to my caving in to people leading me down pathways, and initiating chains of events, that I knew would lead to destructive outcomes.

So I really need to work on this assertiveness.  Hell, it’s a big enough issue so that I think it may well warrant a tattoo, to remind me, daily, to focus on it.  It’s one of the largest catalysts to spawning my own unhappiness that I can think of right now; I’ve got several ongoing issues that would’ve been solved long ago, if only I would’ve done the assertive thing and stood up for the best outcome immediately.  My life would be much better right now if I’d have focused on it.  You can only start in the present, though, so I need to be starting on things now.


Meditation – Just a Little More

I just wanted to take a minute, especially after that last entry that was so full of the ‘mystic’ side of the potential benefits of meditation, to mention a little bit about what I have found to be the #1 reason that I meditate.  It has nothing to do with any sort of mysticism, or psychadelia, so those of you that are ‘heavily wu-resistant’, you don’t need to stop reading just yet…

I found myself in a discussion about meditation with a life-long friend last night.  I don’t remember what prompted it, but at one point I felt it vital to point out that “…when I meditate regularly, I don’t blindly react, I consciously make a choice, and calmly act.”  Now that is not to say that I’ve not had a day where I’ve meditated, and then been triggered into a knee-jerk angry reaction and resultant fulmination.  I’ve had days like that, and some of them have been pretty bad, considering the PTSD-exacerbated nature of some of the triggers.  I do find it important to point out that the really bad examples were, in fact, exacerbated by other ways in which I’d let my defenses down, however.

Meditation has cumulative benefits, though.  I feel my ability to deal calmly and rationally with emotionally triggering events basically increasing, as the weeks go by.  There are local maxima and minima in the trends, of course, but the general trend remains correlated with the amount of time that I meditate each day/week.  I hope you all know how it feels to go through a situation which would have once put you into fight-or-flight mode with only a slightly elevated heart rate, no words stated in anger or other defensive measures, and the ability to [relatively] easily shift concentration away from the event afterwards.  It gives me hope for the future.


My ‘First’ Loss of Self

Don’t worry, you’ll understand why ‘first’ is in quotes in a little while here…

My First Meditation Induced Ego-Death (excerpt from paper journal)

…I did do my morning meditation with no caffeine or anything in me yet.  I also had decided to sit for a duration several minutes above 20– several minutes longer than I’ve done before.  I actually, at 12-15 minutes in, had, for the very first time, a complete experience of ego-death, or loss of self.  It was amazing in its intensity, as well as in the fact that I realized immediately that it was the same state that I used to sink into, and enjoyed staying within, as a very young child, due to the complete isolation and boredom I was often left in, as it was a complete escape from aforementioned boredom, as well as any other negative association.

That being said, it is probably a good idea to note that due to the abused nature of my childhood, I should be aware that it may be tied to negative things in my psyche, somewhere, or it may even be a form of dissociation, masquerading as the loss of self that I felt that I pulled from meditation for the first time.  Though ‘pulled’ isn’t exactly an appropriate word for such, is it?  😉  *thinks fondly of the vignettes in Entering the Stream*  I find that possibility highly unlikely, however, based primarily on the fact that it was far too powerful, and too damn psychedelic, to have anything to do with simple dissociation; though, with the loss of ego, it is clearly related to dissociation, and substances that produce such a state.

As I stated, the experience itself was profound to an extent that I’d never suspected could actually be invoked by something so ‘mundane’ as meditation.  The first thing that I experienced was a ‘whooshing’ sense of almost movement, like I was being released, or pulled, from the shackles of my physical self.  I should’ve tried some astral projection, perhaps, but I will hopefully have another chance soon.  Certainly just being there is enough reason to be there.

My senses, especially hearing, which becomes my primary when my eyes are shut, faded, as if my being pulled away was detaching me from my senses, too.  I could hear the clocks, and other sounds, if I really tried to, but they were faint, far away, and unimportant to the extreme.

My consciousness, constantly trying to articulate things at least a few times a minute in my prior meditations, previously, ended up shutting up completelyConsciousness stopped chasing its tail in my head, as the analogy that I heard on reddit so articulately put it.

As I became familiar with this bodyless state, it felt as if I were moving ‘back’ from where I had sat, previously.  Except the perspective was of everything; almost like with the Ah-Pon experience (I’ll have to fill you guys in on all of that at some point here).  So maybe it was not that I was moving back, but more that my sphere of perception was expanding.  The shifting size confusion was something, also, that was straight out of my parallel childhood experiences in this state, though I had my eyes open as a child, and literally saw the perspective changes in my surroundings, as well.

I felt as though my pseudo-body (am I talking about my light body or merkaba at this point?  I hate to throw those words in and scare those without tinfoil hats away, but perhaps…), that rapidly diminishing and ever tinier spot of awareness, was sitting in the lotus roughly ‘in front of’ (though there were no cardinal directions, to be sure) a giant, almost utterly unbounded, cube.  Or at least that’s what it was for as far as I could follow its edges in my ‘vision’.  I want to label it, to call it the universe, the All, or the Tao/Dao, but I don’t have a clue of how to interpret it accurately.  I kept growing ‘smaller’, utterly dwarfed by this ‘thing’ in front of me, even as it kept getting larger.  It was a strange feeling, my point of perception growing more and more miniscule, even as the cube of [no idea] grew ever more immense– or more accurately, as I grew outward in perception, thus becoming more and more aware of its unending planar surfaces.

Was this cube the 3-dimensional ‘reality’ that I was bound to, I wonder?  What would have happened if I would have turned away from that, into the rest of the void?

I cannot wait to experience it again.  Once this had started, the passing of time had become utterly irrelevant, as the state was beyond pleasant– it was quite awe-inspiring and wonderful.  The only ‘thought’ that I remember bubbling to the surface, the whole time, was that this state was so detached, and so blissful, that there may be a possibility that I could get stuck, either by choice, to stay for the bliss, or because I really had become detached from returning to ‘normal’ consciousness.  Indeed, it was an effort to tug away from that state, when I finally decided that it was time, and to turn back towards the physical.  It was not, however, really difficult, or a challenge.  Just an effort.

[snip]…I could easily see that bliss, and awe, replacing the weak, and dangerous/unhealthy, chemical states that punctuate my roller coaster ride through consciousness on normal days.  Remember what was written in Entering the Stream‘s one vignette…  The more time that is spent in the stream, the closer one gets to perpetual enlightenment, and shedding of pain/desire/attachment.  Each time one is dipped into it, the clearness of one’s ‘normal’ state increases, until one exists in the stream itself.

I have seen a tiny glimpse of nirvana, and enlightenment, and I must continue pursuit of it– and not of the awful & unfulfilling chemical soaring & crashing any more.  Maybe I will have an actual chance of transcendence of at least some of my pain & tribulation that has been my faithful companion so long in this life.


Nine eleven; seventeen years later…

I think it’s only fitting that I take a few minutes today to retell a story that gets me ostracized by nine out of ten groups that I make the mistake of recounting it to.  Well, nine out of ten in the upper midwest; maybe only four out of five when I’m on the coasts.

Yesterday: EMDR Therapy

So yesterday, I was at my second EMDR therapy appointment.  I had originally been told that we would be going over incidents regarding situations of impending or immediate homelessness that impacted me traumatically.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to break down any of those memories and start putting them more into a logical category, instead of the PTSD-triggering, emotional response linked, ‘issues‘ category that has caused me so much trouble, with all of its content.

After we covered the homelessness, and some of my bogus relationship history, we somehow stumbled onto the topic of suspicion and paranoia; specifically, the onset of my largest multiplier for that factor, which was my experience at MiSU while dating the [separated] wife of an airman from the Minot AFB.  I’m not sure if it still is, but on this fateful day in our past (9/11/01), it was the NORAD command and control center, handling all of our air defense capability.

Go figure, it wasn’t long after, though she disclaimed with the assertion that she ‘had no reason to disbelieve anything that I claimed’, that she started mentioning that she thought I needed to be on antipsychotics, and started delving into whether or not my personality had always included certain aspects of paranoia…

Seventeen Years Prior: Shit Hits the Fan

Though the events earlier in the day are somewhat amusing to recount, with the previous night’s massive college binge drinking setting the scene for interesting humiliation and depravity, this anecdote really starts at the point where I finally drug my shaky, hungover corpse out of the dorm room to trudge down to the student union for a meal.

Something wasn’t right, while I was on the way there.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but then again I was busy trying to shove back the massive alcohol withdrawal anxiety to a secluded corner of my mind, where every set of eyes that came near me wouldn’t send me hiding under the nearest rock.  The physical discomfort didn’t help much, either.

When I finally got to the student union, on my trusty mountain bike, I noticed a distinct lack of people in the halls, for that time of day.  That changed when I passed the game room, though, where the big screen television was kept.  The place was utterly packed, with everybody gawking at the tube.  I went in to see what all of the fuss was about, and was treated to my first view of the first plane impacting the WTC.  It didn’t take long for the current situation to become apparent, with the constant recapping on CNN.  Clearly we had suffered a violent catastrophe of some sort.  As the situation evolved, with the second plane hitting the other tower, it became apparent that it was a deliberate attack (if there had been any doubt).

I hurried back out of the student union, to my bike, in order to get back to my dorm room to give my roommate the information as to what was going on.  All thoughts of breakfast/lunch, and going to class, had been dropped on the game room floor at the student union.  I actually was in such a frantic dash to get back to the dorm room that I ended up totally forgetting about the speed bumps throughout the parking lot; I was just passing a group of female students, when I hit the first one at a fast clip, utterly unprepared.  I flew over the handlebars.  It was somewhat humiliating, but the events of that day had an impact that overshadowed that pretty quickly.  I guess it just goes to show how very significantly this event affected everyone that was aware at those times.

My roommate and I shared our shock & disbelief of what was going on with each other, and ended up discussing the matter with some people around the dorm.  That took a few hours.  After awhile, my girlfriend at the time, Ambra, ended up coming over from the Job Corps facility there to hang out and discuss the day’s craziness with us, as well.  My roommate was very good friends with her, so it was a tight crowd.  The conversation went much as it does in these massively significant incidents where you don’t have any control over what’s going on.  We talked about all of the facts that’d been rehashed in every way possible, already, yet another time.  After awhile, my roommate had left, and Ambra and I were laying on the bed together, just enjoying each others’ company.

Eventually, her cell rang, and she answered it, though it was a number she didn’t recognize.  It turned out to be her husband, who was on break from his post at one of the radar stations at the NORAD control center.  She was laying right next to me, and we were intertwined, so she was taking this call with the phone literally right next to my ear.  The first words out of his mouth were “Now do you see why I haven’t been able to get back to you about that stuff you need from the house?”

Instantly, the world folded out into a new, more complex and sinister configuration, and changed forever for me.  “No advance warning,” had been the words out of Dubya’s mouth.  Over, and over, again.  She had the same realization immediately, and sat up straight to take the call.  He proceeded to explain that they had been on communications lockdown for several days, and that nobody had known what was going on, just that there was some type of threat.  Eventually, after being incommunicado from friends & family for so long, one of the airmen (being in a more plush, and less secure environment than I’d been in, in the Army) was able to sneak in a cell phone; he passed it around to the other radar operators in the control room, so that they could all let friends & family know that they were safe, and maybe give a little bit of a clue what was going on.

He told her that he had gotten her messages, and understood why she was pissed about not being able to pick up some more of her stuff from their house, but that he didn’t really have any choice due to being in the military when national security was involved.  He said that they’d known about this threat for weeks (the world went sideways for me again a little bit more at this point), and that he didn’t know when they would be off of lockdown, but that he’d be in more contact as he was able, and that she wasn’t going to be able to get any stuff until then, and didn’t need to be blowing up his answering machine.

So yeah, that was my first big glimpse of the rabbit hole.  I ended up diving in head first, when I realized that I needed structure to save my life, and had nothing to lose, and joined the Army, knowing what I did.  I guess most people don’t really understand the logic that led me to that decision, at this point, but that’s a topic for another day.  For now I’m just going to get this out.  Hell, maybe I’ve already written about why I went into the Army, knowing what I already did; I certainly don’t have a full recollection of all of the posts that I’ve written, since I started this blog in Portland.

I think that’ll probably be next up on the list, if there isn’t already an essay filling that spot.


A Traumatic Experience in Single Parent Vagrancy (#1 of 2)

Part 1

NOTE:  The following is an excerpt from an assignment that I’ve been given by my EMDR therapist, in order to help her get a better view of one of my primary (recurrent) triggers with the C-PTSD; it’s not a bad first assignment, as it also covers what is probably the most commonly invalidated point of dispute that I have with my adoptive mom, thus leading regularly to C-PTSD episodes of high magnitude.  Also, it should be noted that this is all first draft, completely unedited & unproofread material.  I’m just throwing it in as the verbatim journal entries where I started recording the incidents.

So, due to a cancellation, it appears that my first EMDR session is scheduled for tomorrow morning.  That means I need to crack the whip on this essay on the most traumatizing encounter with homelessness that I’ve had, while being solely responsible for my son.

I’ve have a hard time picking between the mid-winter ejection to the lizard’s household in 2012-2013, and the one around the time of my dad’s death, which ended up with that terrifying night in the back woods of Arkansas, and the final mad-dash back to the hell where it all began anew, over the mountains in a blizzard with severe mechanical issues happening in tandem.  How many times has my life, or our lives, now that D is established with me, as well, been playing dice with death for completely avoidable reasons…  (**NOTE**: It occurs to me here that they are all reasons based upon America’s promotion of greed as the number one human virtue to be extolled, and compassion and humanity being looked down upon as weakness, shed helplessly by failures to the unworthy.)

Though the incident was more distant than the winter ejection to the lizard’s place, I believe that our exile prior to my dad’s funeral was far more full of actual increased risk of life & limb.  I also believe it to be more emotionally traumatizing, being as I had only had custody of D for just over a year, so I was still learning the ropes of single parenting, and I was suffering massive emotional aftershocks from immigration separating his mother and I from being married, as well as my dad dying an uncomfortable and protracted death.  Honestly I can’t think of one sector of my life that wasn’t racked by basically the highest level stressors that a person can endure, at that time.

The actual ejection from the premises was much more of a traumatic & emotional/angry mess, at the winter ejection, too, but the original one shattered my heart the most.  Maybe it had to do with the way my parents could so callously scatter me, with an innocent child of <3yrs of age, to the four winds with no place to go and no real safety net in play other than their rapidly diminishing charity.  I don’t even remember the actual event where my mother delegated from my father (too weak to breathe & talk easily at this point), that he ‘couldn’t even take care of himself, so how was he supposed to take care of me’?  Have I mentioned that the only reason that I had no income/stability at this point in the first place is because of the damn IRS computers going down, causing my 1st semester of year 3 of my bachelor’s degree to go to shit, causing the defaulting of my $7.5k of student loans.  Otherwise, the employment situation would have been a million times easier to deal with during the intervening break.

It was obvious that I was being told to get out of Bismarck, and that I had no place to go in the slightest.  The homeless shelters wouldn’t take us because I’d already had to stay at Ruth Meier’s twice by the time I was 19 (their lifetime limit of provided shelter).  My parents had just kept luring me back with offers to help, and then kept throwing me out on my face, in the dirt, when I had absolutely no legs to stand on.  If I were to survive, I would be requiring periodic cash infusions for gas, shelter, food, and absolutely anything else that was to pop up along the way.  How could I get a job while having no support in the vein of helping with my acclimating 3-year-old son, freshly transplanted from Germany?

Needless to say, it worked out exactly as I told them that it would.  If they could have spent the $7.5k for the school, I would have been able to handle the rest, and never had to fight the employment market so very much.  They would have saved countless tens of thousands on assistance dolled out into ineffectual directions at unwise times.  Somehow, no matter how many times repeats of a similar choice in front of them would (or do) ensue, they could never see a long-term trend, or risk factor, no matter how hard they looked.  It was always better to be conservative with the help, and take the rest on faith in their cult deity who had led them down such a path was suddenly going to make things better, instead of doing what it’d done every single other time.

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I still have selfies taken, during the long hours on the endless expanse of highway, down the upper midwest from ND to IA.  I think things were just too razor’s edge dangerous, beyond IA, for me to engage in such foolishness.  I guess I took them because they represented how fucking utterly alone, and helpless, this new father-in-training trying to take cart of a totally helpless, dependent, and innocent life, felt when faced with all of this.  Trekking through economical hellscapes, and wastelands, chock full of physical danger.  There were etched lines of the shared tracks of many tears over the hours behind the wheel in that SUV, standing out in stark relief against the grime, after having no facilities in which to take care of bathing in.

We did have a brief respite from the stress of all of this while we hung out with those chill friends in IA, though.  It was not to be a permanent situation, however.  The first night after we hit the road from Cedar Rapids, I knew that literal death from one of many possible sources was a very real possibility.