Warrior Princess

September 30, 2004

Qualities of Resilience

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood, Faith and Spirituality — ggirl @ 11:39 am

Just to cheer myself up, here are the qualities psychologists have found which enable children to survive serious, long-term abuse with some measure of wholeness.

independence
insight
creativity
humor
the ability to develop relationships
initiative
morality

I’m profoundly grateful to have received these gifts.

Just the Facts: A Timeline

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood — ggirl @ 11:38 am

“You white people are so strange. We think it is very primitive for a child to have only two parents.” ~Australian aboriginal elder

“One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.” ~ Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) French philosopher & physician-missionary to Africa

I’ve decided to try once again to set down an autobiographical timeline. I’ve tried to do this before, but I haven’t been able to withstand the pain. I’m always afraid people think I’m crazy or just making it all up when they learn of my childhood experiences. I suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and major depression, but I’ve never been delusional. You can’t make this shit up; it’s too bizarre.

The timeline.
I was born in 1953 in a city in the deep south. In 1956, we moved to a different state. The
first episode of violence I can remember was my dad’s attempt to set my mom on fire. I can’t recall the timeline for all subsequent violence against my mom.

In 1961, I began elementary school. My father was having an affair with a woman and he took me along when he went to her house so that he could lie to my mom about where he was. I was expected to go along with the lie. Eventually, he stopped lying and started fucking her at our house. He beat her up pretty regularly, too. I think that went on for a couple of years, maybe. Then I think she got pregnant and my family drove her to some place in another city. Probably a home for unwed mothers. I never saw her again.

In the second grade, we moved to a different house. At some point my dad’s ex-wife came to live there and my mom moved into a little apartment located on the same property. I had to continue to live with my father. It broke my heart.

His ex-wife used to try to get me to do things, like let her give me a bath. That pissed me off. I spent as much time as possible with my mom. My father had some real issues with jealousy; I was keenly aware of that. I think maybe he asked me (or maybe I just volunteered) that some guy had been over. He beat her up really badly in front of me. She left rather abruptly and my mom moved back in. I never saw her again, either.

This is about all of the timeline I can manage today. It’s very emotionally difficult, because when I remember, I relive. It’s hard to really identify when one’s personal history begins. Obviously, there was a specific time and place when I was born, but I’m not certain if one can just start there and expect to make sense of personal history. My parents lived through things that created deep and irreparable damage. Some of that damage no doubt was inflicted because of the woundedness of their parents.

Maybe the events that define our lives will always be a mystery, because of the impossibility of gaining reliable information about their roots. In addition to that problem, there’s also the nature/nurture question. I know for a fact that my father’s family has some serious mental illnesses which are generally considered to be genetically-linked. On the other hand, to say they received inadequate nurturing would be a profound understatement. I don’t know of any mental illnesses present at an early age in my mother’s family. She did have some traumatic events early in her life, though she would not define them as such.

I suppose I will speak to some of those issues as I explore my life. For some reason, I believe if I can just create this timeline, it will be healing for me. That remains to be seen.

September 28, 2004

Perfection and Dilligence

Filed under: Marriage, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 11:37 am

“Thank God every morning when you get up that you have something to do which must be done, whether you like it or not. Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance, self-control, diligence, strength of will, content, and a hundred other virtues which the idle never know.”~ Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) English clergyman & writer (let me just add, hell yes!)

I’ve been feeling like I have cotton stuffed inside my head. Taking care of hubby when he’s sick is a major undertaking in itself, leaving me fatigued and more than a little impatient. I hadn’t slept well the night before (that would be Sunday) becauseIi was having my little flashback/panic attack.

I started out the day yesterday feeling worn out, but god forbid that I should miss my regularly scheduled work out day. I argued with myself about it for a while–should it be a demanding, high-energy workout or could I just make do with my new bellydance tape? I finally went with the bellydance tape and tried not to give myself a hard time about slacking. Unfortunately, the workout didn’t energize me. Other than that, I can’t really say why I’m feeling sluggish and stupid today. I guess that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

My therapist, psychiatrist, family and co-workers would take great exception to the word “slacking.” They tell me I never give myself a break; I’ve been trying to come to terms with that thought, but I have to admit it’s not easy. My therapist says that sometimes people who have been left to raise themselves demand far too much from themselves. Sounds right to me, but I’m just not sure I believe it fits for me.

I also get accused of being a perfectionist, to which I generally respond, “No one can ever do anything perfectly, certainly not I.” I’m told that being a perfectionist just means that I try to do my very best at every thing I do. What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that what we should all do? It’s my firm belief that self-esteem grows from that desire. Effort is the key, not execution. I may fuck things up, in big ways or small, but as long as I’ve done my best, I can feel good about myself. I forgive myself for fucking up, sometimes I’m even amused by it, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t try to do better.

Trying to mediate between what I see as two extremes (me: slacker; everyone else: too demanding) makes me crazy. I end up spending way too much time trying to find ways to lighten up without actually have to lighten up. Finally, I pick one or the other and spend the rest of the day quieting my inner voice telling me I should have done more/less. I’ve got way too many problems to devote that much time to every task. I have tried to change my ways by cutting off the critical voices in my head when I need rest–emotional, physical or intellectual. If I’m having a particularly difficult time figuring out what to do, I try to step outside myself and respond as I would for someone other than me. If a friend told me she was too tired to do laundry in the evening, I would most definitely tell her that rest is important and laundry can be done tomorrow. So far, this works better than any other tactic.

Now, since my head feels like it’s stuffed with cotton and the day is getting late, I would tell my friend that she should stop looking for an organic way to end this entry and just stop typing, for god’s sake. that’s what I’m going to do.

September 27, 2004

Haunted

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood, Marriage — ggirl @ 3:39 pm

It occurred to me last week that the seven year anniversary of my father’s suicide is coming up in October. I wasn’t really sure if it was the seventh or eighth, but I checked with my mother. She advised me it was 1997. I guess that’s why I’ve had some flashbacks over the past several days.

Last night, my husband was late returning home from a recording session. I kept telling myself that he was definitely okay; he had my cell phone to call for help if needed. I tried breathing techniques to calm down, but they didn’t work, either. Then, out of the blue, I remembered that feeling I was having. When I was a little girl, my father was both actively psychotic and was self-medicating with alcohol. Not a good combination. He always became very violent when he drank. He was supposed to be home around 5:00 p.m. every day, but when he wasn’t, you could pretty much count on the fact he was out drinking. I remember, as every hour passed by and he still wasn’t home, I got more and more afraid. There are many old movies and television programs that I still can’t watch because they trigger flashbacks.

I remember sitting on the living room floor once when i was maybe 9 or 10 and i was watching the Twilight Zone. It was a television program that came on around nine-ish, I think. I kept watching and trying not to seem afraid, but I had my eye on the time constantly. I was not only afraid of the bodily harm that would most assuredly come to me and/or my mom, I was also afraid that someone might have killed him. Even now I can remember with startling physical clarity the icy feeling in my stomach and the almost unbearable anxiety. I don’t specifically recall just what horrors were visited upon us that particular night. After a while, incidents of horrific violence and sadism are difficult to place in time. They happened so often it was sort of routine–if one can call torture routine. There’s also the problem of dissociation. When things became too unbearable, I would lose all feeling and numb out. There are huge chunks of my life that are inaccessible to me. I’m just as happy not knowing, though.

Anyway, it was this flashback that I endured last night while I was waiting for my husband to get home. I hate it that these emotions and memories superimpose themselves over a life I’ve taken so much care to make safe. No one hits me anymore. No one yells at me anymore. Nor does anyone hit or yell at anyone I love. And yet…the past is alive, in a way. Those images of violence and the overwhelming emotions that accompanied them still haunt me. They always will.

Middle Ground

Filed under: Marriage — ggirl @ 3:38 pm

“The modern sympathy with invalids is morbid. Illness of any kind is hardly a thing to be encouraged in others.”~ Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish writer, & playwright

I was supposed to take the rest of the week off, but now I’m not sure if that’s going to happen. Hubby came home last night from the recording session with a stomach upset. Here’s the deal. My husband (like many men, I think) completely collapses anytime he isn’t feeling well. He hangs around in bed, watching television and groaning periodically (no, I’m not kidding).

On the other hand, I am very stoic. I never thought of myself that way until my psychiatrist and my therapist pointed it out to me. I had a serious bout of IBS that raged on for three solid years. I got up and went to work virtually every day. I continued to function no matter how sick I was. I empathize with my husband, but I also just want him to get up off the sofa and stop moaning. I really have no desire to spend my vacation time listening to him moan, so I’m reluctant to take the week off, even though I really need a break.

You know, it seems to me that we (meaning both of us) should be able to find that middle ground between taking to bed for a couple of weeks when you feel bad and acting as if everything is absolutely fine even though you’ve been sick for three fucking years. Ah, the middle ground…astoundingly difficult to find and even harder to stay there.

I’m resuming my rigorous workout schedule this week, after my standard one-week hiatus. I’m always a little ambivalent about it. I’m really tired today, so I’m not all that enthusiastic. On the other hand, if i don’t resume my workout I’ll feel worse in the long run. I’ve been trying to figure out which video tapes to use for this six-week stint. Last cycle i focused on Pilates and bellydance. Unfortunately, bellydance, though great for abs and hips, doesn’t really get my heart rate up to the required level. I have a new Pilates tape that’s very fast-paced, so I may try that out this evening. As for strength training, I’m tempted to stick with the Pilates mat work exercises. My only hesitation is that one’s body stops working when you do the same things over and over. I know this is just fascinating, but it’s very important to me. By the way, have I mentioned lately that my butt is in fantastic condition? (Do note that i’m laughing at myself as I type this.)

I watched Holes this weekend with my mother. One thing you can count on with Disney is they’re not going to put in any explicit sexual scenes that are going to embarrass me to watch it with my mom. I made the huge mistake of going to see Bad Santa with her this past Christmas. I knew it wasn’t a children’s movie, but I had no idea there would be blow jobs and other sexual activities. Holes started out slowly and it was difficult to sustain my interest, but it got better as the movie progressed. Enough trivia.

Fuzzy Blankets and PTSD

Filed under: The Trouble with Boys — ggirl @ 3:37 pm

This weekend, appropos of nothing really, I remembered that the person who assaulted me had one of those vellux blankets (those soft, fuzzy, lightweight blankets). Suddenly I remembered that I’ve only Recently been able to sleep with one because of the memories of that night. It’s amazing that I could have forgotten that.

When I told Gabrielle that she was the first person I’ve ever told about the experience, she told me to expect some emotional fall-out. She said it’s a little like opening Pandora’s box. The funny thing is, aside from the blanket memory, most of my ptsd difficulties this weekend were actually related to my father. But more of that later….

September 23, 2004

What’s Rape Got To Do With It?

Filed under: Faith and Spirituality, The Trouble with Boys — ggirl @ 3:35 pm

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”~ Helen Keller (1880-1968)

Okay, back to the examination of sexual history in light of my new-found admission that I was raped in college. So russ and I were together and he broke it off and I went absolutely crazy. Then I got strep throat and was quarantined in the school infirmary. Russ’ friend, David, decided that, since I was available again, he might like to get some kind of relationship going. Big mistake.David and i never actually had sex. I don’t think I liked him very much and I’m pretty sure he didn’t like me, either. Just a sexual thing for him, you know. We went out together a couple of times and it became abundantly clear that I needed to make him go away. Luckily, as it turned out, the end of the semester was at hand. I left school for the upcoming semester on the urgings of my parents. That worked out great. I didn’t even have to be mean to him…yet.

He wrote letters to me that spring semester and I responded. I really don’t know what prompted me to do this, but eventually I pointed out to him that he should just go ahead and have sex with Russ and cut out the middle(wo)man. He stopped writing to me. It seemed like a logical thing to say (even though I’m sure I knew he’d be upset). It wasn’t like we were in love or anything.

I didn’t date anyone at all that spring, but when summer came around I registered for some classes at a local college. I had a job, working at an electrical supply company. It was there that I met my next mistake. This guy used to come in regularly to pick up parts and I was immediately attracted. Somehow I managed to get him to ask me out. Right here you might say, “Hey, probably not such a good idea.” Good point.

I had absolutely no intention of getting emotionally involved with him. He was a blue-collar guy, not much interested in knowing anything and not much interested in ever leaving my hometown. Totally unsuitable for long-term relationship, but quite suitable for sex. Notice how every time I pick the guy it turns out the only thing I’m looking for is sex? Hmmm…seems to be a pattern here.

At first, I refused to fuck him because I wasn’t doing any kind of birth control. At some point in our “relationship” he told me he was using a condom, but that was a lie. Everyone I knew at that time of my life was baffled as to how I could be fooled. They didn’t really know my history though. I was adamantly opposed to actually touching penises…it was far to reminiscent of the abuse suffered at the hands of my uncle. No touching. Ever.

As you might guess, I became pregnant. So what the hell, Don and I spent the summer having incredible sex whenever we could. There was absolutely no way on god’s green earth that I was going to have that baby and be forced to live in my hometown permanently. No way I was going to marry don. I knew exactly what I had to do and I did it. All alone. I paid for the abortion and I went to have it alone. All of that part of the tale occurred when I went back to the other university. Once again, just like with the date rape episode, I accepted total responsibility for my mistake. That’s one of the good things about me…I don’t shirk responsibility. After i went back to school, I didn’t really need don anymore. Don’t get me wrong…I doubt that he missed me at all. I’m sure I served the same purpose for him as he did for me.

I’m not so sure that my need to be in control of sexual relationships has anything to do with the date rape episode. I think it’s probably more a product of my upbringing, which I will get around to talking about sooner or later. I guess the big revelation for me is just how angry at men I must have been. Had you asked me about it then, I would have said i wasn’t angry at all, except in a broad feminist context. I don’t feel particularly angry now, either, as I contemplate the past. I guess mostly I feel sorry for that young person who suffered through such great difficulties.

September 22, 2004

Cretins and Feral Kitties

Filed under: Crazy Land, Destroying My Childhood — ggirl @ 3:34 pm

“Odd things: animals. All dogs look up to you. All cats look down to you. Only the pig looks at you as an equal.”~ Winston Churchill (1874-1965)British prime minister during World War II, winner of Nobel Prize for literature 1953

My husband is at a sound studio somewhere on the west side. He and his co-author have been invited to write liner notes for a cd still being recorded. There’s some possibility that Bob Dylan might show up. I have to admit I’m a little envious, but whenever I think about what it would be like to meet Dylan (or any number of other artists I admire) I can’t imagine what I could say.

“Oh my god! You’re Bob Dylan! did you know that?” that’s pretty impressive, right?

“I’ve listened to your music since i was 13.” Never heard that before, I’m sure.

My other experience with meeting a musician I admire happened about 20 years ago. I was working at a fundraiser where the artist was performing. The concert was over and I was looking for my supervisor. I went flying into a room somewhere backstage and came face to face with the artist and someone with whom he was talking. I’m sure absolutely every bit of blood drained out of my face. I mumbled something about looking for Anne, but no one there knew where she was. My husband was with me and Murphy and I leaned against a table while my husband talked to him. When he put his arm around me, it was the only thing I could focus on. I didn’t say anything. I was mortified that I’d inadvertently invaded his space. I also just couldn’t think of a thing to say. And, of course, there was that arm around my waist.

My hubby is having a pretty good time, whether Bob shows up or not. Meanwhile I’m stuck at the company from the Crazy Land. I haven’t had much contact with my co-workers today; I’ve been trying to limit contact lately. Too much negativity.

I did get to spend some time with the feral cats I’ve been feeding since they were babies. So far, I’ve managed to tame four of them. One of the little guys allowed me to pick him up and put him on the bench where I was sitting. He lay down next to me so that his whole body was touching my leg. After about ten minutes of petting, he started grabbing my fingers with his paws, claws in. I wish I could take him home with me, but my beautiful huskies would kill him in less than five minutes. I’m going to try to get him neutered next week. I hope to get all of them spayed or neutered, but I don’t want to rush the getting-acquainted process. I’d like to try to minimize the trauma, if i can.

I’m so happy some of them started trusting me. It’s far more important to me that animals like and trust me than humans. Animals are completely predictable. They won’t hurt you unless they’re scared or injured. I suppose the same could be said of people, but it’s not so easy to intuit their fears and wounded places. I think I’ve always preferred animals to humans. I spent most of my life as an only child, but I had animal companions from the time I was very little.

My experiences with other children didn’t inspire a lot of confidence. My mom started taking me to daycare at some point. She says she was afraid we were too close and she wanted to try to help me individuate more before I entered grade school.Unfortunately, those experiences at day care did little to move me in the direction of sociability. There wasn’t much adult supervision at any of the day care places I was in. It was a little like Lord of the Flies. Kids would just come up and be aggressive for no apparent reason. (I don’t know…maybe there was a reason and I just couldn’t see it.) My solution was to stay as far away from them them as possible.

Another critical incident occurred at home (Big surprise, right?). I was friends with a little girl who lived across the street from us. one day, she had a cousin (I think) over and I was going to go over and play. The girl I knew told me not to come over. Well, hell, I just thought she was kidding. I think I was laughing as I crossed the street. When I made it to her side of the road, she picked up a coke bottle and slammed it down on my head. The coke bottle didn’t break, but it caused a deep cut and I started bleeding heavily.

I was infuriated. I went into my house, blood streaming down my face, and demanded a coke bottle. my mom says I was white and shaking. Fortunately, she didn’t give me a weapon. Her primary goal was to make sure I wasn’t going to bleed to death in the kitchen. When my father came home, he was irate. He made me sit out on our back porch for about a week with a huge stick, waiting to beat the shit out of the little monster child. I never was very good at that sort of thing, though. I hit people when they hit me first, but if they cried, it made me cry, too, and I would try to comfort them.

By the time I got to the first grade, I was extremely wary of other children. My mother says my dad would drive by the schoolyard sometimes at lunch or recess to find out how I was doing. I was doing fine. I immediately crawled up to the very top of the jungle gym and hung out there until it was time to go back in. He told my mom he felt really sorry for me. As far as I know, that may have been the only time he had compassion for me.

When i got my first report card, all of the grades were a’s except for one that must have had something to do with socialization. I got a “needs improvement” on that. That really pissed me off. I was forced to start socializing with the little cretins. I don’t think anyone ever did me any harm, but I really resented the teacher forcing me to do something that didn’t even seem germane to my education. (Yes, I thought I was imminently qualified to make that judgment.)

My relationships with people never improved much. There have always been one or two people I trusted and cared for. Of course, Becky was one of those few. As an adult, I have many acquaintances (who would probably call me their friends) but few friendships. I’m a very unusual person, in part because I have a rare personality type and in part because of my highly unusual history. I like most people, but I maintain an emotional distance.

September 21, 2004

Love and Despair

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood, The Trouble with Boys — ggirl @ 3:32 pm

I started the morning by reading some email from a post traumatic stress disorder group to which I belong. It’s amazing…even that made me quake inside. None of the posts detailed the causes of people’s ptsd; they were descriptions of the challenges people still face in their lives many, many years after the traumatizing event(s). I haven’t contributed to the list yet and I may never do so. I fear the possibility of triggering more symptoms, which I have pretty regularly without any clear reason. I mean, I know the reasons why I have ptsd; I’m just not always sure how reactions get triggered.
Yesterday I was talking about trying to fit the “new” rape information into my understanding of how I became who I am. After the sexual assault, I embarked on a relationship with a guy who was a junior at the time. We dated for a while before I agreed to have sex with him. Finally, I decided to go over and spend the night.

In retrospect, I’m not sure why i made the decision. It may have been that I believed he cared about me or it may have been that I just wanted to have sex. It was less than fabulous. I remember thinking “hmmm…this doesn’t really feel very good.” I was very aware of a faucet dripping in the bathroom and I knew that sound would lodge in my memory. I think I was probably dissociated. That would be a good guess considering my childhood and my recent experience at college. I was really good at dissociating…I still am, as a matter of fact.

I’m not sure how long it took to become proficient in slipping away from my body. I know that when I was left alone with my uncle when I was five, I decided that, though he might be so big as to make physical resistance impossible, I could prevent him from having access to my mind and heart. The television was on and there were cartoons, so it must have been a Saturday. While he proceeded to do as he pleased, I turned my head away from him and concentrated on the cartoons. He didn’t like that. He wanted me to pay attention to him and what he was doing. After he turned off the television, I started studying the ceiling. After that, my memories of that episode fade away. I was very angry with him and I knew that by ignoring him, I was in some way thwarting his desires. A little child’s body may be easy to control, but it was not in the least bit easy to control my mind. I guess he made do with what he had because he did not stop.

There were plenty of other times in my life when I continued to practice dissociating. So many, in fact, that I ceased to recognize it as an altered state of consciousness. by the time I got to russ, I could choose to not be present without actually realizing that’s what I was doing. I know that’s very paradoxical, but I guess learning to regularly survive dangerous situations at some point becomes commonplace. Being absent from self can also become mundane and difficult to identify.

Russ and I continued to see each other for a month or so. I recall being very intellectually competitive with him. He was an engineering student of some kind, but I didn’t have much respect for that kind of knowledge and I strongly suspect I let him know that. Some people who had known him for a while told me about his history. The semester before he met me, he had been involved with some young woman who had become pregnant. She had an abortion before she left to continue her education somewhere else. Apparently, the breakup wasn’t his idea. I do know that she didn’t wish to have further contact with him. According to his friends, he was still trying to regain his bearings. Starting a relationship with me probably wasn’t the most mentally healthy thing for him.

Eventually Russ decided to break it off. It was then that I hit the wall. All of my feelings of abandonment rose up like some monster inside of me. I thought about suicide a lot, but didn’t attempt it. Since my attempt when i was 11, I had managed to stop myself from trying to die. The lack of russ. I wanted to get him back…really, really badly. Other young men, including David, wanted to get to know me, but I was angry with them and I didn’t trust them. I guess I wanted to get Russ back so I could continue to dislike him.

I must go now…the person I’m supposed to meet has just shown up. more psychobabble later.

September 20, 2004

One Damned Thing After Another

“Rape is a culturally fostered means of suppressing women. Legally we say we deplore it, but mythically we romanticize and perpetuate it, and privately we excuse and overlook it.” ~ Victoria Billings (1856-1950) Pseudonym of Henry Wheeler Shaw Irish playwright & critic

“Life is just one damned thing after another.” ~ Elbert Hubbard

Last week the topic of conversation with my therapist was the ways sexual abuse altered my life. The obvious first answer to that would be the profound lack of trust I have in men. That doesn’t mean all men, nor does it mean that I’m unable to be emotionally close with men. After all, I’ve been married for almost 31 years now to the same man. It’s further complicated by the fact that my upbringing and the years of abuse I suffered in my childhood has also had a very negative impact on my ability to trust, generally.

In the course of exploring this issue, I related to her the circumstances of my first chosen sexual experience. The boy I dated in high school applied a lot of pressure to get on birth control pills so we could have sex. I didn’t do it, in part because I thought there was a very strong possibility that sex had become so contaminated for me that I might find myself hating anyone I slept with. I loved Michael, but I broke up with him because of that fear. I decided that the best course of action for me was to find someone with whom I had absolutely no emotional connection and use that person as a test case.

My first week or so in college gave me the opportunity to carry out the plan. I kept seeing this great looking guy around campus, but I thought I probably wasn’t good looking enough for him to notice me. One of my friends and I ran into him (Dave) in one of the co-ed dorm hallways and he invited us back to his room. Needless to say, we went. I’m not exactly sure of what the sequence of events were, but finally we were alone. We had been making out before, but when everyone else left, things just naturally proceeded down the road toward making love. That was fine by me. However, as he entered me, I began experiencing a lot of pain (I mean a lot). I asked him to stop, but he didn’t. at some point, I began screaming for him to stop, but he didn’t.I slept over that night and when we got up the next day, it was apparent that he wanted to have a relationship with me. I gave it my best shot, but I think I was enraged with him that he didn’t stop. (Unfortunately, it’s taken me 30 years to figure that out.) He continued to call and we continued to hang out together, but we never had sex again. After a couple of weeks, I managed to extricate myself from the situation.

The curious thing about all of this is that, up until last week, I didn’t really count that experience as rape. If anyone else had related the same events, I would never have any hesitation to label it as such. I’m a feminista….how could I not see it as rape? Well the answer to that question is obvious in some ways. Gabrielle, my therapist, had no trouble whatsoever in identifying it as rape. At some point Saturday, I started to try to put that experience within the context of all of my relationships. It was quite unsettling. It was so unsettling, in fact, that I was too overwhelmed to continue. I think I need to make this exploration slowly, but now isn’t the time. for now, I’m holding it in my heart and allowing things to come to fruition without intellectualizing.

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