Nero

May. 7th, 2017 05:26 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
CW: Violence, Anxiety, Depression
 
Time for another weird one. (Feel free to blame The History of Rome podcast, which I've been re-listening to over the last week. Or, if you want to go meta, feel free to blame my anxiety, which has been spinning out of control the last couple weeks and demanding constant unhealthy input leading to re-listening to The History of Rome podcast?) Anyways, here's a weird one. It's going to be a mix of my typical status blogs, and a bit of unexpected empathy yet again. Think something in the vein of Orlando.
 
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Anxiety has been beating the fuck out of me lately. >.< I've had a few good days, but quite a lot more bad ones, and even though I'm making major progress in my therapy as of late, I'm just about ready to collapse. >.< From shame about my sexuality and very identity to depression that won't let me feel anything at all in the last two days, it just keeps coming. It feels like I'm being physically hammered on, as though someone is trying to break me with iron when they couldn't break me with tears. >.<
 
(Author's note: Yes, I am getting better, but it just doesn't feel like it right now. >.<)
 
Therapy on Thursday this week was particularly bad, and I was actually unable to get unstuck when we went searching through my past. (My therapist performs EMDR, meaning we go back and reprocess things, then return to the present.) In many ways, I'm still stuck there today, and it doesn't feel very good. >.< [VIOLENCE WARNING] I'm still lying there bleeding on the cold concrete floor, crying in a pool of my own blood and vomit, stab wounds oozing from my back, unable to do anything else but die. I'm still freezing, unable to see past the pain and tears, everything so, so dark. >.<
 
And so when I found an unexpected feeling of empathy yesterday, it really really shocked me. Because I wasn't the only one hurt, pressed into a life I only ever hated, and that ripped my soul apart. I wasn't the only one who wished she could hide from all the world, her music the only thing that kept her going. And you know what? I'd have made a terrible emperor too.
 
I feel very much like a dragon who's had her wings ripped off, and is bleeding out despite her best attempts. And it *hurts*. >.<
 
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(Author's note: It feels out of place putting this here, but I know I'll be asked if I don't say. No, as far as I can recall, I've never been physically abused, but apparently that doesn't stop my dreams from ripping me apart. >.<)

Shaking

Mar. 25th, 2017 06:15 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
(CW: Anxiety, Depression)
 
Been having a real shit couple of weeks, mental health wise. I've started to feel my anxiety more viscerally than before, rather than it just being something that influenced my actions and caused me paralysis. I suppose that's progress of a sort, but it hurts *so much*. >.<
 
Some of this is burnout, because some things at work have come to a bit of a head as of late. Though I was asked, as opposed to my last job, I'm still on the hook for far too much at the moment, and it's breaking me down. There's a ton of reasons for that, but I need to somehow have a conversation with my boss about trimming down my role. Needless today, I'm scared as fuck to have that talk, and the fact that my boss is a friend makes it even harder. >.<
 
But there's a lot more to it than that. I haven't been feeling myself in weeks, and apparently haven't really been listening to music for a couple months. I knew I hadn't been listening a lot lately, but when Dakota told me it was months, I was honestly shocked. I can't even remember the last time I felt this disconnected from it. >.< Considering that music is probably the main reason I'm even alive to write this, that's not a good sign. >.<
 
It feels stupid that I feel like this right now, because I've made so much positive progress as of late. My name change is more or less done (just the passport left). I've written more than ever before, and read so much more, too. Even my finances are finally recovering (slowly, but thanks to a now-healthy cat and a fantastic car mechanic). I even bought a portable A/C unit so I don't roast this summer, something I desperately wished for last year. >.<
 
But when you can't even feel safe and warm at home, cuddled up with your kitty in your arms, something's really, really wrong. >.< When your gaze just slides off, without really registering the joy and happiness in your puppy's eyes, something's *horribly* wrong. >.< And when you feel like crawling back into bed and just shaking until you die...  >.<
 
I don't know what's wrong with me right now, but I'm going to have to start taking drastic measures. The last time I felt happy and safe was back when my phone broke and I was "stuck in the 90s", having cut myself off from my laptop that same week. Pretty sure I'm going to have to do that again. >.< Hopefully the lack of insane amounts of input will help. >.<
 
Anyways, suffice to say that I have been having a horrible time as of late. Guess it shows a little in the fact that I'm at Wicked Grounds as I write this, because goodness knows it's been a long time since I wrote a ripped-open journal here. >.<
 
Anyways, I just wish I could wake up one morning refreshed. That I could have one good day to put myself back together. I hope it doesn't wait too long. >.<

Chaos

Mar. 5th, 2017 01:41 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
(Content warning: Depression, some politics, maybe anger? EDIT: Yeah, a *lot* of anger.)
 
I wish I could stay that the start of this year was going smoothly.
 
I kinda wish I could even say it was "Meh."
 
In reality, it's been absolutely fucking terrible. One of our kitties has been on death's door far too many times in the last few months; hidden memories are resurfacing, and it's taking everything I've got to just keep going. It's a heavy weight -- to keep moving forward, day after day.
 
Oh yeah, and the world's apparently gone mad.
 
I had such hope once, and things were genuinely getting better for people all across the world, and especially here. Yeah, some stuff absolutely fucking sucked, from violence against minorities all the way to the archaic and dysfunctional school system that we desperately need to rip apart and rebuild.
 
But we were making progress. People were safer. People were kinder. People worried less about what the future held. We were cleaning up our pollution, and breaking down walls, and even breaking down hearts.
 
And that's changed now.
 
All because of fear.
 
We have an administration that is utterly determined to destroy things, and the damage already hurts my heart. And it's brutal, because I know those affected by almost every one of these things. And because I know what it's like to be a child and to desperately need help and not receive it.
 
Here's the list so far:
 
* Revocation of Title IX transgender student protection guidance.
* Halting intake of all refugees while those programs are restructured.
* Muslim travel ban.
** Swatted down by federal court, luckily, but version 2.0 is due tomorrow.
* H-1B premium visa processing suspension.
** This immediately threatens the livelihoods of thousands and thousands of people.
* Massive immigration crackdowns, sometimes picking up parents after they drop their kids off at school.
* New this week, plans to intentionally separate undocumented children from their families at the border.
* Nationwide (state-level) assaults on abortion access and voting rights.
* Massive attacks against news agencies, calling them "The enemies of the American people"
 
And this is to say *nothing* of the abuses of power in state governments around the country.
 
How you can call yourself a human being and do these things? How can you even call yourself a human being if you don't fight these things? Forgetting even the effects these things are going to have on the adults, can you imagine what this is going to do to the children? This is going to break so many tiny minds, minds who have no capacity to understand why someone would wish them pain. It will ruin their lives to their have parents lose jobs and be deported, to have them disappear shortly after dropping you off at school, to have them ripped away and held in separate facilities, to be stuck in limbo while on travel and unable to return to safety. It will rip the hearts of teenagers from their chests when they are terrified and shaking, when they learn that they are pregnant or beaten for their eyes.
 
We are so terrified of their eyes, their eyes that only ask for hope and compassion. We are terrified of ourselves, and for ourselves, and for others that we care about. And we have to stop this, however we can, and with all the fury we can muster.
 
I swear by all the gods and men and stars now in the sky that on this day when hope was lost I would not let it die.
zetasyanthis: (Default)
I haven't been taking care of myself again, and now I'm paying the price. Been missing my meds here and there, letting other things like work become more important than self-care. (Note: not a lot of misses, but more than I should have.)

And so I'm pretty messed up.

The damned thing is that I usually can't tell immediately, or even quickly, when I've gone off the rails. It takes a while for my brain to clue in that something is wrong. And something is wrong today. Something was wrong yesterday, too, which is why I've forced myself to stop today when I'm supposed to be working. And stopping is really, really hard. The last two days, I've spent, respectively, ~14 and ~10 hours working, way too many hours in too short a period of time. I've been hyper-focused on it, and even now my brain is chewing on what I was working on in the background, refusing to stop. I justified that time, saying that I wanted to learn what I was working on, but it was still far too much.

When my brain gets like this, stopping is really, really hard. I could literally kick my VM back on, or boot up my work laptop and work until I literally self-destruct, much like I did around June, 2015. If I gave in, I'd work until I cried and shook and shattered, crying into my pillow for my terrible shattered mind.

And so, I'm trying not to get there. I'm trying, as hard as I can, to stop that cycle.

I already took a couple of steps today to take care of myself, but I'm not quite sure how not to shake right now. I'm trying to sit here in Starbucks until I can relax, but it almost seems like I need to go take melatonin and crash out to sleep. (I'm trying not to do that, too, since messing up my sleep schedule will make things even worse.)

And so, I sit here, hurting. >.<

Tired

Nov. 13th, 2016 01:58 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
As you might guess from the title, I've not really recovered from the last week, or even the weeks leading up to it. It still feels like a dream I don't know how to wake up from, a knife lodged deep within my heart.

I don't know how it came to this.

Intellectually, I do, but emotionally, it hurts too much to think about. To think of those we've already lost, those we will lose, and all the pain and suffering this has already caused. The price we pay for this mistake is not just in property. Not even just in lives. The price we will pay is the heart-breaking of an entire generation.

My heart is already broken. I don't know what to do. I know what I should do, what avenues there are to help comfort and fight against what is and white will be, but it hurts so much I can't even move, hurts so much I can barely get out of bed in the mornings. It is as though I have an anchor chained to a bolt embedded in my heart, and I have not the strength to remove it.

I keep trying to piece it back together,
how such a terrible thing could be,
but my heart just keeps on bleeding,
hope draining out of me.

I know I need to fight this.
I know I need to stand,
but I'm not sure if I could cry
without a helping hand.

This heart-pain is the deepest
that I have ever felt
that dark and cold and terrible
pain that will not let me rest.

Broken

Sep. 25th, 2016 04:26 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
For Makyo.

Today my heart broke for a friend
for one I care for deeply
one who struggles with bitter curse
one that would end her cheaply.

My heart, thus broken, sang and wept
for deep depression's mire
for manic impulse, shattered mind,
that seeks the garrote wire.

But this I know, and this I seek
the heart behind the pain,
that brilliant shining wondrous light
that crystal without stain.

For in her heart, and in her mind
there lives a greater beauty
than all the world itself yet knows
though her pain keens acutely.

I know not future, know not past,
yet this, at last I know.
This fox with shining purple hair,
she must not ever go.

For in this world there are too few
too few hearts yet so fine
and it would break my heart and yours
if hers no longer shined. >.<
zetasyanthis: (Default)
Finally cried last night, and boy did I cry a lot. I know I've talked about tears before, after Kubo, and after a few other small moments here and there. Up until now, though, I haven't cried tears for me. I've cried situationally, cried for what I saw and what it made me feel, but never for myself. Never.

Last night, I cried, and it hit my like a truck. Wandering though files on my server, I found first AMV Hell, and then the Read or Die OVA, something I've watched many times before. Last night, though, it finally cracked me.

I've seen it before and laughed at the exploits of "The Paper!" and the trouble the rest of the crew goes to to keep her alive. I've watched a story of pain and seen the terrifying power of kindness, a story that breaks the world. And yet, I never saw it, never felt, never saw my heartstrings. I never saw them cut before, and never fell while dreaming.

There are yet more tears to come,
but these ones I will cherish.
They gave me back the life I lost,
and without I would perish.

Because if I am honest now,
if I can really feel it,
I did not know I breath today,
and I cannot believe it.

A resonance of pain and blood,
of love and horrid sadness,
has broken my heart open now,
and I weep tears of gladness.

I don't know how I'm going to live.
I don't know how I'll now heal.
But this I know, and this I cry,
"I'll not follow death's peal!"

More words will come,
words that explain,
words that I'll try to speak,
but now, today, and for a while,
I'll lie here, hurt and weak.
zetasyanthis: (Default)
This is another rough one, I'm afraid. Not sure exactly where it's going, but can just tell. Maybe the little girl crying next to me in the coffee shop as I write this is influencing me, or maybe she's just reminding me of the little one in me who's also suffering. (Poor little thing is struggling mightily with her math homework and her dad's trying his best to help.)

It's been another week, and maybe not a good one. I slept a whole lot, and did make a bunch of progress, both at work and at home, but I'm still as tired as ever. I keep hoping that'll change, and sometimes it does for brief moments, but they are far too few in between. (Yesterday was mostly okay, thankfully.)

So let's deal with the elephant in the room. Therapy was brutal this week, another deep session to try and work through some of the things that have been killing me over the last little while. As opposed to previously, where I'd made contact with some memories at the age of around four, this time I was faced with memories and emotions from around the age of six. And holy crap did they hurt. >.<

[Author's note: This one hurts. A lot.]

You see, my brother's always been a destructive force in my life, even from the time I was little. In this particular memory, though, destructive isn't quite the word, as he was too young (5 to my 6) to impact me directly. Instead, his impact was felt in the extra time and care he needed from my parents... time I never got.

Between his ADHD, school troubles, and many other issues, most of which I won't go into here, Andy always needed more. The problem is that I needed more too, and the giant hole where that love should have been ripped me apart. >.<

You see, Zoe (my therapist) says that when you're that age, the only way you can interpret that kind of thing is in terms of love. Attention, time spent, and emotional support translate directly into a child's perception of how much their parent cares for them. And she's right. At the age of six, and maybe even well after that, I had no other way to process that, even if I didn't understand how it was hurting me at the time.

A momentary aside: I know *why* my brother needed needed more help than I appeared to, and knew at least a little bit even then. I've talked in the past about being the 'golden kid' in the family, and I'm realizing more and more that I put myself in that spot in trying to take a load off my already overburdened parents. I pulled the stoic-little-kid-who'd-soldier-through routine, trying to make them proud, burying my hurt as deeply as possible, and trying to find some way to stand out in the hopes that they would see me.

I still struggle with that today. >.<

"I couldn't feel that they loved me. I still needed them... but I wasn't important."

And so I slipped away. >.<

[Author's note: There will probably be more posts in this series, but I don't have the heart to go on today. >.<]
zetasyanthis: (Default)
Man, it's been a year.

Early for retrospectives, I know, but *sheer sigh of exhaustion* holy moly. This hasn't been an easy one. It's been 20 months since I moved from Arizona and started this whole crazy adventure, and I'm pretty lucky to have done it when I did. I say that because I honestly don't think I have the strength to  do it again. If time reversed and I found myself back in Arizona with all the memories and knowledge I now have, but having to go back through all the hard times I've been through since, I'm pretty sure I'd kill myself. A lot of days I wonder how I never did. >.<

As much as I'm improving, and as much progress as I've made, this is still hard... every single day. Crushing pressure the likes of which not even the oceans can summon has given way to the kindling of a soul, but one who has been horribly mauled in the intervening years. Shards of self, like pieces of a broken crystal, have been slowly reassembled, but their glow still hurts to look at, the pain obvious in the broken light they cast.

I'm still here, and I'm still trying; but the body-blows have been devastating. I feel like one often does after a hard day of physical work: beaten, sore, and exhausted. Always, always tired. I know what this is, and I know I have to fight it, because I am improving, but there are days I'm still not sure if it's going to win. There are times (like now), where I would give anything to just stop hurting, to stop being afraid. All I want to do is shake myself apart, to scream and cry... but those tears still aren't coming. Some have, but there are many more to come. >.<

I didn't really mean for this journal to go in this direction, but I guess it had to be said. I'm still hurting, and I'm still hurting a lot. Maybe it's just that I can see it finally, but I'm a fucking mess at the moment and could really use some help. >.< I just want the pain to stop. >.<

(And yes, I am seeking medical help... just still feel like shit. >.<)

Hurting

Aug. 20th, 2016 05:43 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
I'm not exactly sure where I'm going to go with this one yet, but I feel compelled to write, if only to try and make sense of what I'm going through at the moment.

As a caution, I'm going to try and connect as deeply as I can while writing this, so this is liable to get pretty dark and upsetting. If you're in a bad head space yourself, this might not be the post for you. >.<

--------------------

Anxiety has been killing me the last few days. >.< It's been orders of magnitude higher than... well, I want to say "ever", but that's probably not 100% accurate. This is terrifyingly reminiscent of what I went through in my sixth grade year, the memories of which I'm still pushing away. (Some, because it's subconscious, and some, because I apparently can't face them quite yet. >.<)

With that said, I'm going to continue discussing this as though it is the worst, because those seem to be the words I need to use to connect with this and validate my feelings...

The last two weeks have been the worst two weeks of my entire life. I've made so much progress, connected so much better than ever before, but there is always more pain. Visceral fear and terror, the likes of which should make me cry and shake until I feel better, if only the tears would come. But they will not, and it is killing me. >.<

I know I'm getting closer. I know I'm getting better, and that this is the dark before the dawn... but this darkness is so vast that I do not know how to navigate it, the pain so deep that I absolutely cannot cope. >.< I'm doing what I can to remain functional, to go to work and come home again, to do all those things that life demands of us, no matter our condition, but I feel like I'm failing. There is a hole in my heart, and all beauty seems to drown in it. >.<

My tremors have been getting worse. They encompass most of my upper body now, especially my neck and head, and I'm sorry, but I've been hiding them. >.< I'm as scared of them as I am of the things that are causing them, and the pain that will not cease. How much longer I can go without them being noticed at work, I'm not sure, but I'm in a pretty bad way.

I am still broken. >.<

I am healing, but it hurts. So much. >.<

This pain has always been here. But I pushed it away, hurting myself even worse in the process as I kept myself apart from whatever I have been. I am trying, desperately trying, to just be myself, but it is terrifying, and I hurt so much. >.<

*Her* pain (a fragment of myself, aged about four) to *my* pain is a *massive* breakthrough, even if it's killing me. >.<

I might yet end up in the hospital here, and the thing that scares me most is that *I have to be okay with that* in order to get through this. I'm not yet there, but I made it half an inch yesterday. >.<

*curls into a ball with her kitty* >.<
zetasyanthis: (Default)
This one might be a bit disjointed. I've been trying to write the past few weeks, but my energy levels just haven't been there. Maybe it's the medication (Zoloft). Maybe it's the phone call from my sister last week. I just don't know. Whatever it is, I've been nowhere near 100% for a while.

Since I need to write, but am not sure what to write about, I'm just going to start with a bit of a status update. The last few weeks have been rough. I started deep DNMS therapy shortly after my last post, and while it's really helpful, reaching back to comfort my earlier self is a hell of an energy drain. In fact, the first session, combined with an event that happened shortly thereafter (~3 hours or so) knocked me out of commission for a good week and a half. :/

I'm going to try and talk about the therapy a little bit here, but I need to acknowledge, at least in a little detail, the aforementioned event, because it's had a profound effect on my own mental state the last couple weeks. I've learned a lot about the true depth and power of depression and anxiety in the last year, but never more so in the depths of my own mind last October. On that night a few Thursdays ago, I learned a different lesson along the same lines as I spent more than two hours trying to talk a friend down from committing suicide. I learned what it meant to fail. I learned what it meant to fail another, to fail myself, and what will happen if we fail each other.

While she survived the night, I had no way to know she would when she finally disappeared on me. As I laid there, texts going unanswered, I finally collapsed, energy levels flat-lining after far too much energy expenditure in one short span of hours. I awakened to find her alive, and I am eternally grateful for that, but I am scared now. Scared for all of us. :S We have got to do something about the hate and violence directed towards us. We have got to do something about the way we teach children that they are broken in so many ways. And maybe, just maybe, we can find a way to teach everyone else that they can be safe and happy along the way. >.<

This cannot happen any more. We have got to help on another, to help ourselves, and to reach out to those in need. The next few months, and perhaps even years, may be terrible ones, but we can make it through this. We must. We have to teach the rest.

...I guess I didn't talk about therapy, but that's okay. Maybe next time. :S
zetasyanthis: (Default)
I guess I'm writing a status update?

Basically, I don't know how to find peace with this, and I really, really need it.

Needs:

 1. I can't sit around like this forever not knowing what to do about it. I need closure.
 2. I need their presence in my life dramatically reduced, if not eliminated.

What are the options?

 1. Let it drift without doing anything.
   - See need 1 above.
 2. Just cut off communication, declare them effectively dead.
   - Likely to result in a flurry of contact attempts, and pissing off my sisters.
 3. Break of the relationship officially, but without a real explanation.
   - I don't trust my ability to not be pushed into explaining.
 4. Break of the relationship officially, with explanation.
   - I don't have the energy to properly communicate with them about this.
   - Could I try to summon it? What happened last time I did?
   - Don't be an idiot, self. Don't open and be vulnerable with them again. That ended really fucking badly last time.
 5. Talk to my sisters and explain the situation, ask for advice.
   - They may not understand. Even if they do, this is really heavy duty.

How do I feel about them?

 1. Brother
   - Not safe to have a relationship with. Can be distant (indirect) contact as he is now, but that's about it.
 2. Dad
   - Very depressed just thinking about him. Nothing I can do to help.
     - Am I even willing to try at this point? No. I HAVE to self-protect here. Realistically, I can't help, and even trying will hurt me whether I want to help or not. (Note: I'm enmeshed, and so part of me really wants to even though it would destroy me. Boundaries... ouch.)
   - Therapy is a per-requisite to having any kind of relationship.
 3. Mom
   - I'm very angry with her. That toxicity growing up really fucking wrecked me, and I don't know how to explain that. Trying will only cause more harm on both sides.
   - Reminder to self: She doesn't want to understand and won't put in the effort! She won't! You've tried for 10 fucking years!

Decision Timelines

 1. Communication
   - My birthday
   - Their birthdays and holidays. (They won't forgive me missing them.)
 3. HRT start and effects
 4. Name change

Do I feel safe doing X?

 1. Sharing my new name and identity? No. I wish I hadn't given her my new first name. (See boundary issues!)
 2. Traveling home and staying in the house. No.
 3. Traveling home and being in conversation for any significant duration. No.
 4. Traveling home and seeing for lunch. I don't really want to. Not sure if it's safety though. I just don't want to see them.
 5. Talking on the phone. Not really?
 6. Inviting to a therapy session in San Jose. I could force myself, but I would be messed up the entire time either of them was in CA.

I guess that means we're done? :S

Why can't I close the door then? :S
zetasyanthis: (Default)
As usual, expect this journal to be a bit rough. Discussions of abuse are contained within. (Note that I have not yet internalized a lot of what I'm writing about, but *am* trying to come to terms with it. And yeah, I'll reach out when things get bad, because I have a feeling they're going to...)

---------------------

Today, I need to talk about abuse. I don't want to, desperately do not want to, but I have to, whether I like it or not. Today... I have to acknowledge a lifetime of abuse. And even as I type this, I have to acknowledge that I keep trying to sugar-coat it, to some way or somehow make those who are responsible somehow not at fault, but... we know where that path leads.

Today, I need to talk about two forms of abuse.

--------------------

If you're reading this, there's a chance you've heard me reference my father's anger issues. There's a good chance you've also heard me dismiss them, often with words like "but he never struck me" or "I can understand why...". It's hard not to think like that, when you grow up in a randomly hostile household, but those are classic responses by victims of abuse.

It doesn't matter why someone abused you, what limits they set on that abuse, or even if they fought with themselves and hated themselves for doing it. It doesn't matter that your other parent defended you over and over whenever they were there to see it, or that they had heated arguments "outside your hearing" as a child about these things. It doesn't matter, because the consequences don't care about any of that and are just as devastating. They could be even more devastating, because those rays of hope kept you coming back to experience it over and over rather than finally breaking fully away.

[Editor's note: I've read a lot about these behaviors, but sure as hell never expected to be writing these kind of words about myself. >.<]

My earliest memories of my father are not happy ones. I don't remember a lot of what growing up was like. But I do remember some things. I remember, way back in early grade school, my homework assignments being torn apart in front of me because I failed to sign my name at the top. (I had to redo them completely.) I remember my father so angry he chased me around the family room of our house. (This happened multiple times.) I remember the night he got so angry he left me idling in the car, driver's side door wide open, sitting in the passenger seat as he walked towards home. These are not normal memories. And these are not things that should ever happen to a child.

My father may hate himself thoroughly for a lifetime of choices he wish he could undo, but there was no excuse for treating me in such a manner. I was innocent, and did not understand why these things were happening to me. I could not understand why someone who loved me could suddenly flip from Jekyl to Hyde, and so, I lived in fear.

I guess it's no wonder that I tried to build myself into a weapon... Fortress walls are awfully comforting when there is a real monster on the loose. And though you might yell "Fuck you!" or other such things from the top of those walls, you're still just as vulnerable if you step outside them. It's no wonder that I locked those doors. :S

I don't know what else to say about this for the moment, so I'm going to leave it here and switch tacks to my mother, and the environment in which I grew up...

--------------------

I am not precisely sure how to describe what's wrong with this, but I need to try. I guess I'll start with my mom being Catholic, and very, very conservative. I've been trying to make peace with that world-view for about 29 years now, but I have failed, and this is why...

My mom's branch of conservatism is the one everyone commonly associated with Fox News. When I say that, I mean it pretty literally, as that channel was on in the kitchen, and in the upstairs TV room pretty much every hour my mom was awake. (She'd leave it on high volume so she could just walk through the house listening. When the TV wasn't on, Rush Limbaugh was, the radio in the kitchen blasting his broadcasts loud enough to be heard through a closed door. Now, I'm not going to sugar-coat this one. That stuff... *all of it*... is extremely toxic. Without even touching on the political content, which has its own problems, the way things are framed to create constant anger and feelings of victimization create an /extremely negative/ environment, 100% of the time. The simple lack of any real source of inspiration in that media is /itself/ astonishing to consider.

Bluntly, my mom is anti-gay marriage, anti-transgender rights, and quietly racist to boot. Some of that is theoretically because she is Catholic, but like many conservatives, that's not really the underlying reason. She is uncomfortable with anything that violates tradition, and uses her religion as an excuse to disparage anything outside the sphere of what she deems acceptable behavior. (See prior journals re: shame and passive-aggressive behavior for context there.)

So... Is this abuse? I'm asking honestly, because I don't know how to think about this stuff. Is it abuse to bring your child up in a house where there is a constant influx of anger and hate? What if your kid is (as I was) a member of one of the groups that is being attacked? What if you don't know?

Just to give an idea of where things are currently at, I need to share my mom's words to me when I told her I was transgender. No words of anger were spoken, but words of devastation were. "I wish I had died not knowing."

Those words have not changed since.

--------------------

At this point, I'm seriously considering cutting off all contact with my parents, permanently. I'd be willing to revisit that in a few years, provided some serious on-going therapy work, but I don't know that they have that many years left. (They're older than most folks assume.) If I cut contact for 5-10 years (the kind of time period we're talking about), it's pretty likely that one or both won't be alive at that point.

Basically, I'm still processing all this, but I sure as hell don't know what to do. Input is welcome. >.<

--------------------

Links:
 - https://drsharongalor.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/why-do-trauma-survivors-blame-themselves/
zetasyanthis: (Default)
I was reading a few things today and they got me thinking.  I want to expand on my previous discussion about shame.  I'll start by saying that shame is absolutely *the* thing that has crippled me from a mental health standpoint for years on end.  It still is impacting me, and though I'm now getting professional help in dealing with it, it's something I feel a need to talk about.  Why?  I know I'm not the only one.

---------------------------------

So let's talk about shame.  Shame is one of society's ways of saying "No, that's wrong. That's not acceptable here."  And, in all fairness, society does sometimes need the ability to say that.  It should be fair for people who care about each other to communicate about harmful behavior and attempt to come to a resolution.  But... shame isn't the way that happens.

Attempting to influence someone through shame is, quite possibly, the most toxic and passive-aggressive thing you can do.  We've all been guilt-ed by shame at some point or another, and we all know how it goes.  Disapproval of personal behavior can start with as little as a nasty look, and can, in time, escalate full blown social isolation.  Rather than addressing the underlying problem directly, shame relies on the person performing the undesired behavior to eventually become uncomfortable enough that they chose the group dynamic over their own.  Even worse, since there's no direct communication about the cause of the disapproval, the person subjected to it is often left in an anxious state, trying to guess what they might have done wrong.  Sometimes it's clear cut, but not always.

So let's talk about the toxic effects of shame.  It's not like we don't know what it does to people.  It's not as if we don't know it drives them to anxiety and depression, to self-hatred well before it makes any change the person outside sees.  This process of internalizing the fact that something about yourself is wrong can take years to unravel, and that's only assuming the person in question actually manages to reach out and ask for help.

I guess what I want to say here is this.  Shame sucks the life out of the person it is directed against.  It is the tool of those who do not have the courage to speak out and actually say what they think problems are.  "She knows what she's doing wrong." and "He's getting what he deserves." in reference to these kinds of actions are an outright cancer, and we need to start cutting it out.

---------------------------------

With that out of the way, I'll add my own story here.  This is something I've never written down, and I'm honestly not sure how it'll come out, but it's a start.

I grew up in a household that used shame and passive-aggressive behavior as a method of control, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.  It's been ten years since I left home and I've barely made a dent in the damage that it did.  Though I'm working with a wonderful therapist on this and other issues now, I still can't function entirely normally in relationships, to say nothing of my issues with gender and sexuality.

In that household, like many others, we were taught from the time we were little to not "air our dirty laundry in public".  Basically, if you had a personal problem, you were not to discuss it or otherwise let on that something was going on around anyone outside my immediate family (the unspoken idea being that to do so would bring shame upon all of us).  In practice, this extended at least somewhat into discussing issues that affected us within the family as well, leaving us alone an isolated with our problems, repressing and pretending like everything was always 'fine.'  That's a word I can hardly use anymore, as it and the corresponding "It's nothing." are now huge red flags for me in any conversation.

Here's the thing.  Directing shame at 'undesired' behaviors (sexuality, gender, etc) inside the family, while directing those within it to never speak to outsiders for support was a fucking terrible system.  It created a self-reinforcing feedback loop that turned anything outside 'normal' into self-hate, and forced me to emotionally disconnect from my family and wear a mask at all times in order to self-protect.  I understand *why* they did it, that some of these things (religion especially) bring into question their own sense of identity in a way they're not comfortable with, but it's still not something that's easy to confront.  Or forgive.

I'm still fighting these demons, and I don't win every day.  Some days they best me, and it's everything I can do to force myself to go to work.  I'll talk more about my response to anxiety and the accompanying depression in future posts, but suffice to say that I think I understand why anxiety and paralysis are linked for me now, largely as a result of managing to write this out.

---------------------------------

I want to leave with a few resources that have helped me over the years.  I'll be talking about these more in future posts, but for now a short description (and the links) will suffice.

QC is a story about a group of friends in the northeast US who move into an out of relationships with each other.  All of the characters are 'real' in the sense that they all have issues, some of them very serious.  Running the gamut from anxiety to control and OCD, to outright grief, this strip will make you laugh and cry in equal measure.  And all the time you'll be learning, about both yourself and others.

http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1

Venus Envy is recent find, but one I wish I had found ages ago.  Both the artist Erin and the main character Zoe are transgender, and though Zoe's struggles take place way back in high school (well before I managed to break out of *any* of my shell), they still mean a lot.  If you've ever wanted to understand a transgender person's desire to just fit in, be normal, and be accepted, you'll want to read this.  Beware though, it's not an easy read.  Lots of tears ahead.

http://www.venusenvycomic.com/index.php?id=2

Sunstone is another recent find.  I've actually never considered myself to be interested in BDSM-related material, but this comic caught me a bit by surprise.  The way it portrays an alternate lifestyle in such a positive and loving way, with no fear or judgment, is absolutely huge.  Learning new ways love can be seen and experienced is never a bad thing, and as much as it surprised me, I think it might surprise you. 

(NSFW link warning) http://shiniez.deviantart.com/gallery/35675685/chapter-1-completed?offset=0

The Rain

Feb. 7th, 2015 11:16 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
Sometimes, it rains... Sometimes.  But that's not the point of life, now is it?  It may rain a while, but there's no sense in it, no thing, no thought to find within.  Sometimes, it just rains, and that's it.

Today, it's raining, and I find, maybe so inside myself as well.  For the last few days beauty has been difficult to touch for me.  There have been moments, but they've been fleeting, leaving me feeling... not so much myself as I should be.  I'm not sure what it is, but I'm writing this in the hopes that that can change.  A friend of mine did something similar, and if he still can, with all he's been through, I damned well should be able to.

Thing is, this week has been stressful.  Hell, this whole month...  Moving is hard; leaving friends is hard; and surely, trying to find a new balance for yourself is hard.  This week particularly, I've not really been balanced, working more than 50 hours (one 30 hour shift, among other things) during a crisis at work.  I didn't have to do that, but I was needed, and so I stayed.  The problem is that that crisis isn't even over today, wasn't over yesterday, and probably won't be for another two weeks at least.

I've made it a policy to not respond to email during my personal time, regardless of the fact that I now have a company cell phone.  If I'm needed that badly, they'll call, which, so far today, they have not.  But the crisis weighs on me today, since I did reach for that phone and saw the problems that are occurring, even though I said I wouldn't.  I haven't done anything to fix it, haven't called or got on my work laptop or gone in, but it weighs all the same.  I know I can't though.  I need today for myself, needed yesterday, really, though I didn't have it.

I've been feeling depressed this week, and I'm not sure why; but I need time to recover.  I need today and tomorrow with no demands, and to find a way to create and be able to enjoy things again.  I know it's bad when I try to read and it's just words on a page.  Hell, I watched Rent last night with Dakota, and it was just images and noise.  Not good.

I slept in this morning, felt a bit better, and even posted about writing a bit while making some boba tea.  But by the time I was done making it, I felt wiped out again, and haven't put a single word to page besides these few, not exactly what I was going for.  I'm hoping the rain will pass.
zetasyanthis: (Default)
This is going to be a somewhat-sequel to my previous 'Touchy-feely' journal from way back in November, which can be read here: https://www.furaffinity.net/journal/4068006/. ; I'm not sure exactly where it's going to go, but it's important for me to write it out, as I need some help.  It may not make a lot of sense at first, but bear with me if you can, as I could use some wisdom just now.

This story, such as it is, will mention a few individuals anonymously.  The point of mentioning them is not to single them out, or blame them for anything, but rather, to thank them for things that I doubt they understood the importance of at the time.  Their small, caring actions fundamentally changed both myself and the way I look at the world in a way that's going to take quite some effort to describe.  Unfortunately, there are a few complications whenever something like that happens, and this story is no exception.  Let's begin, shall we?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am a furry.  Silly statement, I know, on a website such as this, but it means a bit more to me than people realize.  (It perhaps matters more than it should, but that's not the ground we're going to tread tonight.)  To clarify, that doesn't make me an otherkin, therian, were, or anything else of the sort.  I'm just a human with a stranger side than most, and a healthy respect for legends and the power they command.

Unlike most furs I've met, I didn't self-identify as a furry for a very long time, though in hindsight I can say that I've been a furry since I was old enough to get on the internet, starting at about 13 years old.  That age is known for a few things, and I was no exception.  I found a few sites and ended up hooked quite deeply into the adult side of the fandom, choosing a female persona in my online interactions from day one.  I didn't know why, but somehow it just felt right.  Years passed, and as I mentally fought with my religious upbringing, I turned away and back several times.  As time passed, my 'sona also changed, from mostly human, to naga, and then finally, to the bi-gender dragoness I've now settled on.  It's taken years for me to come to terms with this, and most of my progress on that front has resulted very directly from discovering other people like myself, in terms of not just furry, but also not-quite-standard gender identity and sexuality.  I still might be the strangest person in the room, but I'm among others who are okay with that, and that means the entire world to me.  Specifically, you guys reading this mean the world to me.  You are kinder, more thoughtful, and all have your own little twist that makes life a bit more interesting!

Back to the subject at hand...

Since my last post, I've had a bit of a hard time dealing with some things on the emotional front.  My barriers have been crashing down right, left, and center, and leaving me quite exposed to a lot of feelings that I'd sealed off without ever meaning to.  Can you imagine what finally recognizing affection means to someone?  How about how confused they are when they find themselves physically attracted as well?  It sounds crazy, but I somehow lost this a long time ago, and have only rediscovered it in the last two years or so.  It's come crashing in, shaking apart many assumptions I'd made about myself...  (Can you believe I thought I was straight as an arrow until two years ago, even while having a herm 'sona?  WTF, past self, wtf?)

You guys helped with that, and I'm very grateful, as I really did need that part of myself to be a healthy whole.  All the little playing, teasing, etc, helped break through walls that all the gunpowder on the planet could never have hoped to breach.  It's also left me in a very serious bind.

Imagine, for a moment, that you wake up for the first time in your 26 years and discover that you've been missing something all your life.  Imagine having drifted away from family for various reasons, and somehow never having had much beyond fairly good friends in the meantime.  Add to that never trusting anyone enough to tell them your secret, that you are a fur, and of the type that the stereotypes warn about.  Imagine that somehow converging into a mental place where *it never even occurred* to you to date, or seek out a serious relationship with someone else.  Imagine thinking that you were strong enough to handle everything on your own, and then imagine those illusions shattering like a fortress constructed entirely of glass.  This is my problem.

In all 'normal' respects, I appear perfectly fine, my life in general being considerably less complicated than for most.  However, this recent internal turmoil has damned near brought me to my knees a few times in the last year.  A few months back, a friend of mine simply held me for a few minutes, snugging up and giving me a hug.  She didn't know it, and I was so surprised that I didn't realize it at first, but it was the first time ever in my life that a friend had done that.  It shattered me.  I had no benchmark, no yardstick for that level of geniune affection, and I broke down crying.  It was the second of three 'happiest moments of my life' that seem to be coming at an alarming rate as of late.  In answer to the obvious questions, nothing 'untoward' happened.  It was a simple hug, letting me know that she cared, and even that nearly broke me.  Weeks later, as my mind caught up with that simple act, I realized for the first time in my life that I was deeply lonely.  Not only lonely, but that I had been for a long time, and had never known.  That realization hit me like a cannonball to the gut, and I was still trying to handle that when...

...a few friends, and even a few strangers have recently complimented my appearance or made advances towards me.  Holy crap, batman.  What does do?  Brain what now... *faceplant*.  I'm blushing even as I write this damned text.  I was, and am utterly flattered by those remarks, and in most cases was far too embarrassed to return them, even though I felt the same.  This sounds crazy, but I've never had that happen before either, and I sure as hell don't know how to deal with it.  Physically, I am a 26 year old virgin, but mentally, I've been involved in the adult side of the fandom for the better part of 13 years, RP scene included.  One side of my brain turns into a gibbering idiot, and the other... well, let's just say my fursona is a hermaphrodite for a reason.  That side would like nothing more than to... *clears throat*  Back to the subject...  (To note, I am genuinely gender-confused, and that seems to be the happy medium as far as I'm concerned.  I don't consider myself fully trans-gendered, but I certainly fall into that spectrum somewhere...  That's a big part of the reason this has taken so long and been so difficult.  >.<)

I'm just very confused...  I don't know what to do, and I've been afraid to even write this for fear of scaring friends off.  There are way too many furs out there who write journals similar to this, tending towards the emotional vampirism state in the process.  I'm not that, and will never be.  I just need some help...  I need someone, someones, or even everyone, to talk to about some of this stuff, and I need some feedback (preferably not of the "you're fucking nuts" variety, though that may also be fair :P).  I know I don't always come off as touchy-feely, either, but I could really use a hug as of late.  :s

This is probably the single hardest thing I've ever written, and every word of it is true.  I'm writing this, not to just vent and be all 'woe is me', but in the hopes that at least one of you will have some idea of how to help.  I sure as hell don't know what the hell to do...
zetasyanthis: (Default)
This is going to be a weird post, but I'm weird, so I suppose that's appropriate.  I've no idea how this is going to come out...

So, there are some things that everyone's bad at...  Personally, I'm terrible at letting others know how much I care about them.  I used to know, but at some point along the way I closed up and hid myself.  I sealed something away, and though I'm not sure exactly how or what it was, I know I need it again.  I want to share myself, share
what I've become and what I've only started to be with someone special, but I don't know how to start...

For a long time, I felt uncomfortable in my own skin.  Before I even knew what furry was, I tended towards the outcast roles: computer, math, and science.  Though I'm happy to claim to be pretty decent at those things, implicitly choosing the outcast role has ramification just like anything else. With the terms 'geek,' 'nerd,' and later 'furry,' I built myself into an impregnable fortress, someone who could not be hurt, but someone who was also deeply alone and unable to recognize it.  I turned to online RP, among other things, to satisfy some of the physical changes I went through in those years, and somewhere along the way the real world and online divorced each other.  They would not speak again for over 12 years.

Approximately two years ago, I began to slowly awaken again.  I'm not sure what it was, but I'm thankful for it, and my friends who saw me through that time.  It may not have been as dark as it could have been, but they certainly helped with the healing process, just as making new friends (you all) has.  Part of that time was spent dealing with my own sexuality, which is incredibly complicated and something that I'm terrible about talking about even to this day.  I'm still decompressing and working on losing most of the absurd cultural background that has held me back, but I'm not afraid myself anymore, and damn if that doesn't mean the world.

My sexuality, especially as a furry, is something that few outside this community can understand, and even fewer would probably want to.  As a result, I hid it and myself from the world, quite unintentionally transitioning into full-blown asexuality in real life.  It wasn't a conscious choice, but somehow I ended up with a complete disconnect between the side of myself that I let show online and who I was in real life.  I think I've managed to cross that bridge, but now I find myself in vast unknown territory.  I worry about alienating the friends I've made by going too far too quickly, since I basically don't have a good sense of boundaries, or how interest of various kinds might be taken.  I tend to go full-reverse, or into Ultra Professional Mode (tm) when faced with a situation I don't know how to handle (physical contact especially), when I really am very open and it's really the opposite.

I guess this is an admission of sorts, as much as anything, but I hope it's something more than that.  If I ever seem kinda distant or isolated, don't take that as a hint to stay away.  Hugs are better than distance, and questions are better than silence.

"Something my father said. He was old, very old at the time. I went into his room, and he was sitting alone in the dark, crying. So I asked him what was wrong, and he said, "My shoes are too tight, but it doesn't matter, because I have forgotten how to dance." I never understood what that meant until now. My shoes are too tight, and I have forgotten how to dance." - Londo Mulari, Babylon 5

I want to learn again.

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Zeta Syanthis

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