Self-Care

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I have the most supportive partner possible — she is willing to “do therapy” 24 hours a day, even though she herself has poor health and is disabled. She takes care of me in a multitude of ways.

I understand that dealing with the emotional part of healing is hard for her. Emotions aren’t really her thing, and I don’t want to put more on her plate by demanding that she makes a super-human effort for me.

So, to put it simply, I cry alone. Not often, but I will sneak off to the bedroom and curl up when I need to, and let the emotions out. Usually only if my whole body is screaming to cry, not just my emotions. When I can no longer hold it in.

I used to have the sweetest cats. My orange tabby in particular would cuddle forever. He’s the type of cat to actually give even more love than he gets in return. He hugs with his paws. I used to lie down with him and cry, and he would somehow make it better.

But I had to give him to friends who live far away when we moved. I can’t have cats here, and I don’t know when I’ll be in a pet-friendly situation. My living situation is less than ideal…actually, it’s pretty difficult. (I do have dwarf hamsters, but…they just run around and eat, not being sensitive to emotions.)

I really, really miss my cat.

I need to figure out something equally comforting when I’m upset, because crying alone is kind of awful…but I have very few options. I never use the phone, for instance. I don’t have real-life friends around.

So I’m wondering, what do YOU do, when you’re upset?

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Experiences for the Soul

I often long to be in Algonquin, my favourite place; it’s roughly a four-hour drive from here, but I haven’t been for over a year.

Instead, I find ways to nourish myself, as we all must: I watch the new snow fall. I watch the squirrels. I go out with my wife and we find deer in the woods. I talk to trees and bless the wind. For now, it is enough.

 

 

Pagan Common Prayer

Blessings be

to those that I know are in need,

even those who would not be grateful,

and even those who would not bless others.

Blessings be

not to the favored, but to those in adversity

even if they caused it upon themselves,

and even if they cause it upon others.

Blessings be

to those who would not change their ways.

May this blessing save them from themselves, and save others from them.

May my blessings take root in the souls of others,

and may my blessings transform them.

May I believe and hope and know this is truth.

 

~~Story Kaiora

 

Being a Multiple

I am going to describe my experience of having many, many voices in my head: why I have them, and what it is like.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of messed up people in the world who would rather dismiss this whole phenomenon as fake or psychosomatic. It is in fact recognized as a real disorder by psychiatrists, and called dissociative identity disorder.

But because DID is caused by extreme, ritualized abuse, people want the whole thing to disappear. When a group called the “False Memory Society” manages to get a lot of high-profile people on its side (like Dr. Phil), you have to wonder what’s going on. False memories, if real, would deny everyone their claim to remember anything, because anything could be a false memory. To me, the idea that ritual abuse exists is a lot more believable than the idea that false memories exist. Just think about ISIS and things that happened during the holocaust. Think about the worst, most sadistic things you’ve heard people in power were able to do. Is it really so hard to believe when someone says that they’ve been abused?

So, without too many gory details, I will lay out my truth. I was abused from a very young age. It was a complex thing, because I was surrounded by bad people who had different motives. My fuckhead father basically just wanted a sex toy, and his new baby girl (his only child), was perfect for that. My so-called mother is a hateful creature full of bitterness and anger. She either neglected me completely, or wanted to destroy me. I lived in terror of her.

I used to dream about going to an orphanage. I knew it was supposed to be a bad place, but it sounded so much better.

The voices started from the beginning. That’s how it works. You hurt someone young enough (say under three years old) routinely enough, and the brain can develop a stunning survival mechanism. Dissociation is something everyone experiences — it’s like a spectrum. Most people have felt some degree of zoning out in front of the TV or highway hypnosis where they’ve been driving for twenty minutes but can’t really remember doing it. For me, dissociation is extreme.

I used to be in a haze. When I was in grade 1 or 2, things that were routine (like a weekly spelling lesson) felt like I’d never done them before. I’d “wake up” in class and have no idea what we were doing. I’d just try to play along. I also blacked out. I’d pretend I had a headache so I could put my head on my desk. When I watched a movie, I never remembered most of it. Even today, movies I’ve “watched” a hundred times have lots of parts I feel I’m seeing for the very first time. I can never tell you the plot line of anything. Just pieces.

I experienced life in pieces, but no one would notice because if I was dissociating, someone else was there taking control of my body. Someone else was watching the movie. Someone else was going to school. I split my life up into a thousand pieces. So someone else would get abused, and I wouldn’t have to know it.

All these other pieces have a voice of their own. The trick is to stop dissociating long enough to notice it.

When Willow rescued me, a lot was still going on. My boss of 10 years knew my father, and it was no coincidence. I was being used. People really can be that cunning and sick. It’s not really that hard to believe, it just hurts so much to believe that people would rather say I’m lying.

Willow patiently helped me see my dissociation, but it’s taken years to get to a point where I feel clear on everything. The voices are loud now — they don’t go away, they’re real people who have memories. I’m letting them be who they are and have their truth, and not trying to shove it all down. Right now, letting them exist separately is less dissociative than trying to take it all on myself, because ultimately I’m not ready.

What is it like? It’s like having your inner child jumping up and down constantly right beside you, wanting to play. Wanting a snack. Wanting to roll around on the floor, like kids do. It’s like having 10 year olds and teenagers telling you what they think about everything you’re seeing and doing, and suggesting you build a tree fort in the yard or go paint your nails. Constantly. All the time, unless I tune it out. And tuning it out means dissociating, which I am learning not to rely on. My parts talk to me like separate living people. And I listen. This is the thing that heals me.

I function well because I have a lifetime of pretending to be normal. But I don’t need to pretend anymore. I’m free to live as vibrantly as my parts and I want to. And we all want to be known. We all want to be heard.

 

 

Miniature Altars as Jewelry

Polymer clay is a great medium for making all sorts of things. I love to use it for jewelry, so I thought I’d try making tiny tiny pagan altars that can be worn as rings or pendants! If you like crafts and haven’t tried polymer clay, consider giving it a go.

This first piece is a ring with two tiny real crystals, and the rest is clay: a book, a feather, a leaf, candles, and a mortar and pestle.

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This second piece is made to be a pendant. It’s a shelf with a real crystal and the rest in clay: feathers, an antler, a book, a candle, a goblet, a bird’s nest, a beehive with a tiny bee, and a calla lily.

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Visible/Invisible Disabilities

I don’t speak about this very much, but perhaps I should: I am a young woman with physical and mental disabilities. If you saw a photo of me, you’d never know. Even an acquaintance might not guess. There are times when I look very healthy, and perfectly functional.

I have POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), which has gotten much worse in my 30s, as it tends to do. Basically, it means that my body doesn’t know how to pump blood to my brain when I’m standing. So when I’m upright, I have about a minute before I start feeling ill and lightheaded. Eventually, if I don’t sit down, I will faint. So as someone once dramatically put it, I can never stand still. Walking slowly has the same effect.

For this reason, I often use a wheelchair. In the chair, suddenly my disability is visible. And, I’ve noticed, something else becomes visible — other people’s ignorance and pig-headed rudeness. You’d be surprised how loud my partner Willow has to shout to get someone to shift over so she can wheel me by.

I also have DID (dissociative identity disorder). Yes, I have multiple personalities. A lot of them. But I put a spiritual spin on it and don’t really view it as a disability personally — I’m just “differently abled”.  And again, generally you wouldn’t have a clue. Except for times like yesterday.

Yesterday, we went to the Royal Winter Fair (think hundreds of cows and a petting zoo). I was in a wheelchair, and my inner kids got to “come out” to play. I encourage this, and it’s normal for me. When a four-year-old personality is out, I sound and act exactly like a four-year-old. Because in that moment, I am four.

But the reaction from others is, somewhat understandably, confused. People tend to think I’m developmentally or intellectually delayed, especially when I’m in a wheelchair.

Yesterday, when we were at the guinea pig display, and my inner kids came out to pet them, the lady at the display was clearly uncomfortable. And yet, when we started talking with a seven-year-old boy wearing a paper crown, he barely even paused to notice how we were acting. He just wanted us to know how soft the animals’ fur was, and helpfully pointed out which one was softest for us to pet. He made our day, and I wish more people were like that big-hearted little boy.

Home and Homing

I keep wanting to go Home. I say it to myself constantly, no matter where I am, and I am not referring to any home I’ve ever known…except perhaps some home from another life, that I don’t really remember.

I was speaking of this to a dear friend, J., who confirmed that more and more people are awakening to this feeling. I would love to hear others’ stories of this.

As for me, I once wrote poems to try to settle my wistful heart. I think, perhaps, I once lived in Mongolia. Or perhaps I still live there, and always lived there, in another universe.

1.

Stillness.
Stillness.

Everything happens.

(There is only freedom.)
2.

M. arose from Enlightenment,
deciding, at the last moment, to veer
off-track.
She became a Buddha of imperfection,

breaking quietness
as isness once broke her,
a long time ago,

and headed for Mongolia
in a yellow skirt, choosing, as
everyone did – at every moment – not
to put down her longing.
3.

The train lurched beneath her.
Her pale legs swung out, shuffle-swaying
up and down the aisles –
but she wasn’t walking so much as warping
space, pulling time;
and now leaning out the window, she let her thoughts
stream loose from her skull, wind-swimming behind her,
and she armed each wish
before it tore away, into air, into freedom,
to change the present, the past, and the future.

4.

The train was laid up at break-of-gauge.
The border.

She had the Universe – she had
a paperback, a travel mug,
a teaspoon, a brush.

She had the wait of the wheel-changing,
and someone to speak to:

M., she said to another self in another place,
where trains ran swiftly,
smoothly – another self who had a camera,
a phone, a letter, a pen – she said,
M., between the millions of us
we have it all.

It made no difference that she couldn’t
touch these things,

yet she’d miss Mongolia
the moment she saw it,
and be glad.