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Haven for the living Princess and the Pea

The power of forgiveness and letting go

I read a quote once which said we should forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness, but because we deserve peace. I found myself thinking about this when writing my previous post, “An invisible scar”. While there is a place for anger, there is a point where anger just ends up hurting ourselves, like punching a fist through a window. There is no finer example than the story of my friend’s mother and the pathological grudge she carried and took out on myself and my family. The woman died of cancer in her forties, an illness that, I believe, does not happen in isolation from one’s emotional life. Continue reading “The power of forgiveness and letting go”

An invisible scar

“All those years drifting in space
I have known you well, yet I’ve never seen your face
You turn around, looking at me, laughter in your eyes
And now I can see”
Hayley Westenra, ‘Across the Universe of Time’

Some people grow up believing they’re dumb or ugly. I grew up believing I was a rapist. When I was five, I was accused of sexually assaulting my friend. The story, woven by my friend and her mother like venomous spiders, spread through the principal’s office, the classroom and the school yard, and I was no longer allowed to see my friend. The story did not end at the school gate too. It spread into the houses of mutual friends, into the neighbourhood which I unfortunately shared with my friend, and other schools we both found ourselves at years later. I had a number of friends taken away from me due to the story. I was watched in the yard by teachers and when I went to play with them I was told I had to play somewhere else. I had my enrolment declined at one school due to the story. I had my reputation stained. My friend and I both went to the same high school- the local, Catholic college for girls. Here the story was used as a reason to bully and exclude me, and a couple of my friend’s friends- her assassins- threatened to hurt me if I were to come near her or if she were to get expelled for her slander. As a child I often had dreams that none of this ever happened and we were still friends. But then I would wake up to this reality again. I was told that I was as good as a criminal, a message drilled into me every single day. My friend’s mother did not drive and walked everywhere with her children. Whenever they’d approach our house, her mother would lead them onto the grassy terra strip on the opposite side of the road where they would pass our house as far away as they could possibly get without trespassing on our opposing neighbour’s property. Her mother continued this routine for the rest of her life. Continue reading “An invisible scar”

Grieving the arrested self

Sometimes I wonder who I would be if life had dealt me different cards… if I had of grown up in the one place or stayed at the one school, if I was not bullied, if I had not crossed paths with the people I did. Today I dug up some old songs I used to play on the piano when I was younger. With these songs came memories from those days, washing over me like ripples through the lake. It was my first year of high school at a Catholic college for girls and the school took us to stay at Phillip Island Adventure Resort. I was down by the lake with some other girls, and we were instructed to build a raft using some pipes, ropes, and planks of wood. After building the raft using our amature skills, we were to test it. We nervously set off into the water on our shonky raft praying it would stay intact; we didn’t want to sink, especially as none of us were wearing bathers. The whole exercise was a perfect analogy of what the first year of high school is all about. Like the pieces of the boat, we were all, more or less, scattered, trying to form bonds, coherent groups and a coherent sense of self. Over the years, most of us would eventually find our place, find a group of friends and the security that comes with this, and grow in confidence. We would set off from the shore and complete our transformation into butterflies, spreading our wings and taking off into the world. I feel like, somewhere, I have missed out on this. While others around me sail into the horizon, I have barely left the shore as my boat keeps falling apart. By the time I reached high school, I had already been to four different schools and my self-esteem had been annihilated. I was also bullied at this school which led me to move again in year nine. When I look at photos of myself, it’s as though my colours have been washed away. It’s as though a part of me has died. To this day I feel like an outsider. I feel like no one really knows me. I feel like I wear many different uniforms. I feel fragmented, lost, confused, unsure of myself. I feel like a butterfly trapped in a cocoon. Or, as Anneli Rufus puts it, a dud popcorn kernal or bonsai tree.

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No Reason

I came back to an old episode of Star trek Voyager called “Meld”. Tuvok performs a mind meld with one of the Voyager crew called Suder.

Basically Suder is a serial killer that wound up being lost on board Voyager in the delta quadrant. Suder murders one of the crew and Tuvok apprends him. When definite proof that Suder is the murderer is obtained Suder is asked what his motive for the crime is. This is his response:

“No reason.”

Tuvok is puzzled and insists on a real answer. Suder respondes with:

“I didn’t like the way he looked at me.” Continue reading “No Reason”

A glimmer of light

“Here I am this is me
What you get is what you see
Look around I am free
And there are no fears in me.”
Delta Goodrem, ‘Here I Am’

It was a beautiful late Autumn day which I spent at the park. After my walk, I wandered down to the lake. I stood facing the nearby path and oval with my back to the lake, letting the last of the light seep into my hungry body. It has been a while since I’ve tasted life without depression. Since I’ve been able to look up at the strangers who pass me by and smile without it feeling phony. Since I’ve wanted to have fun. How nice it would be to play a game of cricket, I thought as I gazed across the empty stretch of grass. How can I play? Who can I play with? When can I play? Will I still want to play tomorrow? These were the thoughts which flooded my mind as I stared, seemingly, into nowhere. Continue reading “A glimmer of light”

13 Reasons Why

I just watched “13 Reasons Why” season two.  It was well produced and intended. It is hyperbolic in that way that afterschool specials are but I got enough out of it. One thing you can’t fault is the intensions of the creators and producers. They seem to genuinely mean well.

Something was bugging me about it though. Many of the plot developements are meant to be rather affecting towards the audience but that really is the point with a project like this. Along those lines I found myself having emotional reactions on a gut level that I usually don’t notice in myself. I am aware, though, that they are there even if only in the back of my mind. Continue reading “13 Reasons Why”

Shadow

Lately I’ve been wondering whether the things that seem to be my main problems really are the problem. There is something beneath these problems which are giving rise to them. I feel like I may need to change my direction / focus completely. Instead of focusing on the depression and apathy, I need to look at my overactive, manic side and my tendency to care “too much”. Instead of worrying so much about my attachment to therapists where they become the centre of my universe, I need to look at what’s going on with my other relationships and my lack of attachment. And, more broadly, to understand my unhappy relationship with life, perhaps I need to look at my relationship with death, for it is our relationship with death that informs the way we live our lives. Never do our lives hit us harder than when we are on our death beds, which goes to show just how deeply entwined the two are. Check out this post by Gustavo, especially the “Write your own obituary” exercise.

For anyone reading this who is similarly feeling stuck, perhaps it is the polar side that you, too, may need to examine. Light casts a shadow. Opposites are more connected than we think.

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lapetus, jpl.nasa.gov

Hip Hop Anthem

I was trying to get some fiction writing done over the last few days and I actually made some progress for once. So many ideas to express.  Science fiction loaded with intellectual analysis that engaged the reader on more than an emotional level. Drama, character arcs… I’ve had all these idea in my head for a while. Getting them on the page is the difficult part. I need some direct motivation to actually force my hands to the keyboard. Sometimes I listen to music. Actually, a lot of time I listen to music. Like many people my tastes are varied but one of those genres that seems to energize me is old style hip hop and gangsta rap. There is something about it… What is it?

Hip hop emerged in the early 80s as an outgrowth of frustration. Like punk music and several experimental art-house styles of music such as techno hip hop grew from a collection of individuals who were at the low end of the social scale. Poorer urban residents combined Latin, funk, bebop and several original styles  and found a new sound, or more accurately a new series of sounds. The effort and the novelty was enough to attract attention but there was something more. The pioneers of this new form of musical expression were often the disenfranchised, the poor, and the most likely to have violence subjected to them. Hip hop was there form of poetry. In many cases it was all they had. it was there platform to complain. Continue reading “Hip Hop Anthem”

An account of a “mixed episode”

This is an account I have written about my recent “mixed episode”. I agree with Kimberly over at themighty.com (a great read by the way) that there’s not enough written about what these actually feel like. I also think they could be better diagnosed; I am only just learning about the mixed features of my own depression which have been overlooked by professionals all these years.

 

It is not ordinary depression nor is it mania

But a concoction of the two,

A mad science experiment,

Where the worst aspects of both have been combined. 
Continue reading “An account of a “mixed episode””

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