Sunday, February 01, 2009

Analysis of a Struggling Mad Scientist

Though it is the first straight 'photo post' on this blog, it mostly consists of an introspection that should help shed some light on why this mad scientist has been struggling all these years.

Watch out, it's a bit disturbing.

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009:

balconycats
When I woke up this morning, the snow was just beginning to fall - of course, I'm out in it on the balcony with the cats. And a piece of slightly-damaged Styrofoam. Why am I out here?

Because I'm on a mission.

A mission to get my life in gear. You know, I got all these projects going, but they're not going so smoothly. I keep getting stuck.

So, I thought, must be the madness gumming up my brains. Since I'll fail the whole 'life test' if I continue to let this happen, I've created a sort of gear shift for my brain so that I can get enough leverage to unstick myself.

Let's shift to first gear:

In the long and distant past, up until a few months ago, I didn't have the benefit of personal space or privacy, or a place to put my lab equipment/other belongings, much less organize any of it.

When my lab was set up in the lonely 7 x 11-foot 'closet-without-a-closet', this was my first opportunity to learn the lesson of 'cause and effect'. Needless to say, it was a huge hurdle in my chances of ever obtaining a science degree.

What I mean is this; When I fixed up the cabinet and put dishes/flasks in it, there they stayed. When I cooked dinner and washed the pots and pans (before eating) they stayed clean and I got fed.

No dirty dishes anywhere.

When I cleaned my floor, it stayed pretty clean until I decided to do it again. Garbage? It was either in the trash can or outside.
` I was learning to meticulously vacuum my rug and arrange my science literature, food, and other essentials in a useful and practical manner.

Mind you, this was the first time I'd ever bothered to learn about myself, rather than just science - boring! - and seemed to have no idea about how to express myself.
` Even so, I was amazed with this idea... 'cause and effect'.

If I went to the store and bought three yogurts, I had one for today, one for tomorrow, one for the next day. Same with recipes and things - in other words, I was learning the skills I needed to make an effective plot for world domination.

And all this before I'd turned 24!

Best part was, I lived right next to QFC (or "Quffk"), so I could waltz right in there with all my meals planned out and my food card would last me for most of the month.

The food card was actually the great Lou Ryan's idea: He got me to apply for one at the time when he did as well. It was great.
` I would actually take pleasure in browsing the huge store, especially late at night, though I had trouble admitting it to myself, or even feeling it.
` In fact, I was paranoid someone would think I was a stoner considering how long it sometimes took me to figure out what I wanted.

Indeed, I have found this figuring of things out to be the greatest pleasure in life. Must be because I had never been permitted to do so before. At least, I had been downright discouraged from it long enough to think it was wrong.

That's right, it is wrong to think! Now eat your vegetables!

First off, whenever I would voice a thought or observation, the PsychoDad would tell me it was wrong. Just wrong. Didn't matter what it was. If I was a worthless piece of trash (and I believed I was, thanks to him) that made everything I ever said or did also worthless.
` No matter how I tried to please the guy, he refused. Of course, he treated everyone this way, but I took it personally because I thought he was the only one who loved me. He told me so.

For several years, until shortly before the beginning of this blog, I clung to this guy named Phil because he was very nice and didn't reject me.
` Unfortunately, he gave very little in the way of constructive criticism, and that is precisely what the hulking science freak of my chewy center craves so desperately.

That's right, I am truly mad for constructive criticism, which greatly amazes people.

I remember when I first discovered this phenomenon, also called 'critique'. It was back in the days of the Medina County Writer's Club, where I was inundated by suggestions from all around the table.
` I was made aware of what I was doing, and how to fix what I was doing wrong. Taking it all very seriously made me a much better writer.

On the other hand, Phil literally coddled me, talked to me like I was a child, and he didn't seem to expect that I could do much of anything.
` Worst thing was, he continued forcing me to suppress my very being, and without that, I could barely survive.

Feeling as if I was on my last legs, I only stayed with him because he often talked about how happy he was to dedicate his life to me. At least I could make someone happy in my life, and I didn't even have to do anything!
` However, communicating my own interests was not precisely something I could do well, and it's no wonder:

For one thing, I was suppressing massive amounts of mental activity at all times. While I could divine some vague intuitions, I had no idea how to talk about them.
` On top of that, the Voice of PsychoDad, still prominent in my mind, demanded that I needed to 'justify' the act of thinking that something was bothering me. It mocked my every want and need, with an "I want what I want, when I want it, and I want it now!"

But I'm innocent, innocent, I tell ya!

And so, I forgot about what I wanted, what were in my interests. I couldn't even make myself a cup of tea without anguish.

On the other hand, when one of my most urgent wants finally made it through the DadBarrier, Phil quite often didn't take it seriously.
` Because of that, I didn't either, believing myself to be a whiny bitch.

"I want what I want, when I want it, and I want it now! The world doesn't revolve around you."

That's because the world actually revolved around PsychoDad. And he was psycho - both psychotic and psychopathic, not to mention also bipolar and narcissistic.

And it is also no wonder that Phil did not often take me seriously - I barely stood up for myself. When he did things that offended me strongly enough where I felt like screaming "NO!!" I would finally try out my "No"s and "Don't"s and even short sentences like, "That's a terrible idea that makes me sad" and he would just whine, in baby-talk, "Why not?"

By that point, I would feel as if put on the spot. Surely, my dilemma was self-evident, whatever it was, but he did not seem to notice what was freaking me out. Even if he did, he often laughed as if it didn't matter.

One of the more bizarre things he did which offended me was to jokingly treat me like some unfortunate object or twisted creature, as in saying of my head; "Your pubic hair is very nice today" and insisting that my head was actually my crotch, and that my legs were arms, etc.
` Did he not see there was a person inside who is struggling to get away when being pushed, slowly, closer and closer toward a hot frying pan right there on the stove? If I'm not supposed to scream in panic, then how am I supposed to scream?

Not thinking that this person inside was worthwhile for consideration, I did not bother asking myself who it really was. In contrast to the way I was being treated, this person was ruining my life with its dreams and desires, and worst of all, its needs.

Needs? Emotions? Blasphemy!

Though I wasn't terrified of the threat of being murdered each day, I wasn't precisely happy with Phil. I mean, after a few years of 'DadDeprogramming', I thought I must have been getting 'almost better'.

Not even close.

And so, every non-productive day I would have (practically all of them) I took the blame. After all, I should have been happy, shouldn't I have?

I recall writing a post about about this before, back when some of these connections had dawned on me. While typing this message into the computer, I stopped to read it and found that it is packed with insights that are more coherent than I would have expected, including a few things I've forgotten explicitly, such as;
I've spent all this time trying to ignore everything around me that bothered me - complaining doesn't seem to be a virtue, does it? - and at the same time I was shutting out anything I could have possibly enjoyed.
That's right! Blocking out unpleasant things also causes a blockage in all things, including ones that are pleasant. Even so, I now have a very much larger perspective on things, and that is key to this mind-rant.

You see, I used to be 99% irritated all the time: My muscles literally never relaxed. Until I discovered Benadryl. (The post I mentioned talks about this.)
` I was amazed by the feeling - my muscles stopped being completely tense, and a mental health professional actually suggested I take it as a sleep aid.

It was the only way I could stand sleeping next to Phil. Especially since his breath was very cold on the back of my neck and I cannot, even today, sleep without extreme warmth.

Taking the Benadryl let me see that there was more than just being 99% irritated. I at last began to see variations of mood in which my irritability became more or less.

Think about that! For most of my life, I was never not irritated. Like, NEVER. What kind of fucked-up life is that? Can you imagine?

I really didn't know any better.

My clothes were one thing that irritated me. (Also in the post, I found.)
` I kept telling myself, "Oh, my clothes? Being so irritating that I feel like I'm going to explode into a rage? Well, that is silly. Grown-ups just aren't like that. That is a childish thing. And so, my clothes simply cannot be bothering me."

What the f**k kind of logic is that?

On the other hand, I'd walk around all day pissed off because my hands were never free and the pimples on the back of my neck were getting clawed, somehow.
` Then one day, I made a connection. My hands weren't free and my pimples were hurting, because I could not keep my hands from scratching where the tag was digging into those pimples.

Big breakthrough... for the girl who wrote blog posts about critical thinking! What in the f**k? Like, DUDE!

Yes, it was a staggeringly tremendous task to finally MAKE THE CONNECTION - this tag's bugging the crud out of me!
` "Oh, but that's silly, tags can't possibly -" BAM! I totally bitch-slapped that piece of dogma!

F**ker.

The tag was really bothering me and I needed to do something about it!

And I did - I got rid of all the clothes that I noticed were driving me nuts... and in one case driving me to rip the front of my shirt open, exposing... (well, that's in the post as well!)

So, when an outburst such as this happened, I would tend to say, "No, bad dog!"

But why? I was ignoring the millions of irritations and distractions in my environment, instead of recognizing them, and thus I could not control my unconscious reactions to them.
` Whatever reams of whiny excuses I had for feeling irritated ("This is bothering me!") they could not be justified. Ever. Especially when it would piss off EdgeWalker.

I felt like such a freak.

Little did I know, if I just followed my wants and needs, I'd end up here, with two wonderful BalconyCats, a man who takes me seriously, a gangsta chef, all in a house that's being remodeled.
` And a piece of scrap Styrofoam.

balconycats and styrofoam
The truth was, back then, everything in my whole life irritated me. I had no control over anything... except for, that is, my blog. Seriously.
` I squashed any of my ambitions, hopes and dreams, plus my life was filled with things that really 'bothered' me in some way or another.
` Absolutely packed.
` And yet, for the longest time, I refused to take care of myself. Why?

I was faced, in a life-or-death kind of situation, with the daunting task of collecting the scattered pieces of my very fragmentary and confusing memory (of more than two decades) and figuring out how they affected me in the present.
` Lacking abstract thought or even a coherent picture of my life situation, much less the rest of the world, I had to pick up those pieces and put them into some kind of framework where they could have meaning and be useful for my recovery, rather than be a source of raw reaction.

The way it happened was this: Some activity in my daily life would evoke strong negative emotions, specific memories of my dad, etc.
` Sometimes, my head would stop spinning enough for me to attempt to think about why that might be, working with the little bit of structure I knew: 'Dad or someone did such-and-such, and that's why I keep running into this roadblock. I get it now! So, therefore, I can get better, if it hasn't already happened automatically.'

These, however, were very tiny, miniscule details. Since my memory had virtually no structure, connections could only be made between two or three items at a time.

It was as if I were looking out at a landscape through binoculars. I might say; "There's a pasture behind that house" or "There's a cow in the pasture" depending on what I was looking at.
` However, saying "There's a pasture behind that house with a cow in it" would most likely be beyond my capability. I had yet to lose the binoculars, or in other words, remember more of the picture in my head when I wasn't carefully examining only one part.
` To put it another way, most of the picture in my head did not seem relevant when I was thinking about one section of it, and so the rest was invisible to my awareness.

It was a very trying task. I kept going over what I thought of as familiar territory, and yet was constantly discovering new surprises, which energized me and helped me understand what was important to my identity (and what wasn't).
` I knew I was doing the right thing. In fact, I'd actually read about abuse victims describing recovery as a spiral - each time you go over something, you discover new aspects because you're re-examining it from a 'higher' vantage point.

Wider views, of course, require making new connections, which requires looking over the same disjointed memories until more of it makes sense, and that is very much like putting together a humongous jigsaw puzzle by finding each piece by accident.
` You keep many pieces at your side, but you don't always know where they go, and the only way to find out is to keep on looking at all the other pieces you've already found. Over and over, every day, each time holding your attention upon another piece with which to compare it.
` I was forced to do this so constantly that just when I thought I 'got' something over here, I went over there to work on something else, and when I came back I had such a different perspective that I would say to myself; "I barely even understood this when I talked about it before! Now, I really get it!"
` Interestingly, the next time I would come back, I would say the same thing about that level of perspective. Just how many layers of understanding were there? I couldn't even see.

Much like clawing one's way out of a long, narrow hole in the ground, it is difficult and painstaking, but it must be done at a steady rate if you are to survive.
` The most frustrating part is discovering how deep the well of your ignorance has really run. And yet, it isn't as if you could stop finding more ignorance, or else how else could you know what all you don't know now?
` (I guess this applies to life in general, but when you are clawing your way out of hell a million miles an hour, you feel as if you're moving very fast, yet barely moving at all when you look back on it.)

This is a very tiring process and can make one feel like they're falling apart, even when one is pulling oneself together.
` I would recommend that whomever is going through this kind of recovery process get the most support and guidance in the right direction.

I say this because quite often Phil - and especially EdgeWalker - would keep telling me to stop the train.

Apparently, they didn't realize how deep my ignorance went, though they still treated me like an ignoramus when it came to personal matters.
` They'd heard all the individual things before, made the connections themselves, seen the big picture, and then couldn't figure out why I claimed not to understand what they did so well.

So, the problem, they decided, was me.

To them, I apparently understood everything well enough, so my insistence that "No, this is totally new! I couldn't have said it before because I didn't even know about it" were seen as some kind of excuse to obsess over my past.
` And yes, any appeals to spirals and new aspects were met with harsh criticism.

To confuse the matter even further, I sometimes even would say the same sentence as before, but each time with a new meaning. You know? At first you 'get it', but then later, you 'really get it'... and then later, 'you completely get it', because one's understanding deepens over time.
` Not to mention, I was forced to redefine my entire vocabulary along the way, and today, a dictionary is a must for reading!

It was very, very hard work, and it paid off, and I knew it was improving my life.

I actually tried to do things to help myself, besides throwing out the clothes. (I originally intended for them to be donated, but that's a long story.)
` I tried sleeping on the couch, but couldn't, so Phil did.

Thanks to the Benadryl, I discovered that relaxing was not only possible, but so much better than being wound up tight as a tourniquet. It was good for me, I knew, and even brought me a vague inkling of the most elusive emotion I knew - pleasure.
` And when my body relaxed, when the nervous grin vanished and I could just be myself, what response do you think I got?

"Are you alright? What's wrong?"

If you will notice, on the post I mentioned, I implied that this was a major feature of my trying to grow some willpower, mentioning, for example, this:
There are three computers in the living room, though Phil was on the phone in there. Now, before, I would have just tried to go back to sleep, but this time, I asked him to go into the bedroom so I'd be able to concentrate on thinking up words to type rather than not thinking at all and winding up typing down what he was saying.
` He seemed quite confused about the whole thing and asked me what was wrong, but luckily, he did as I asked.
` The next thing that bothered me was The Dog That Rarely Stops Yapping. (I theorize it only stops when its voice starts to get hoarse.) I could hear it because six of our windows - the ones that came with screens - were open. Two of them are misaligned for some reason and require special treatment to open and close. Luckily, I managed to shut all of them, although the loud banging sound when one of them suddenly fell shut caused Phil to come out of the bedroom and wonder what was wrong.
This reaction to my changing behavior was also specifically part of the reason why I couldn't shake the feeling that there was something wrong with taking Benadryl to 'chill out'.
` After all, 'drugs are bad', right? So how could it be?
` Add one more to the three million and twenty four neuroses I had at the time.

It was wrong. It was all wrong. Recovering was bad. But I wanted it. I needed it. I was dying without it.
` It also turned me into a whiny, obsessive freak.
Sure, the Dog Who Rarely Stopped Yapping was highly annoying, as were the visions of my father and other people stepping into my path every three seconds. It was if my mind were in a constant footrace where my willpower would find ways to dodge, climb, and outrun these barriers.
` But barriers don't go away - otherwise they wouldn't be barriers, would they?
When I would finally try to bust through, I would find myself experiencing a confrontation and my mind would turn inward.
` Too often I refused to fight through the intellectual death-match of wits, however, thinking that it was wrong, and even if it wasn't, I didn't deserve the help.
` Each time I was told to 'forget' or 'don't pay attention to' a seemingly random span of distractedness, or memories that were triggered seemingly at random, I was highly vexed with the question, of how exactly I was expected to keep ignoring all the stuff that bothered me every single day if I couldn't even recognize what was bothering me?

The part of me that wanted to help kept getting squeezed day by day. I could let it do its job, just as long as it was useful enough to justify it. As it became increasingly useless from being kept out of the loop, I clamped down even harder on its progress.

After all, if you did not know, the 'mental health professionals' (i.e. health professionals who have gone 'mental') were not terribly helpful, either because they denied that my problems were what they were (and not other things), or because they could not answer my questions.

Without a place to grow, it got out of control. Until I grabbed it, recently.

So, I get it now:

I didn't want to approve of my own realizations because I wanted to trick myself into following what another person said I should do. After all, I'd take another person's advice, if it was sound, unless it came from myself personally.

The tighter I squeezed on my own self-confidence and self-awareness, the more my wanting approval for ideas would shoot out in the wrong situations. There was always that voice deep inside that pleaded, "tell me I'm not crazy, this is a normal idea, right?"
` I actually became unenthusiastic about thinking to myself, because I was unsure whether or not others would ridicule me or not. I sure hoped not, but if they did, I immediately jumped into a tirade of critical, or at least semi-critical thinking out-loud.
` After all, I was determined not to shut my mouth when someone said I was wrong, ever again.

Friggin' bastard PsychoDad.

Where was I? Oh yes, back in the Phil days, there were those who called me 'The Virgin Sex Goddess'. They encouraged me to dump Phil, especially since... well, I wasn't really into him physically, if you could tell from that.

My Big Decision to finally Help Myself and move away from Phil (and EdgeWalker's) place, came out in a phone conversation with someone who was about my closest friend at the time. I was joking, somewhat, about being wild and crazy, too.
` Come to think of it, I had also been talking in an outrageous French accent, as I had been continually for the past three days.
However, since he told this to someone whom I had told him not to, I made up a really lame excuse about how I was making part of it up just to manipulate him, and thus he felt very used and betrayed by me.

I guess one could say that he betrayed me first - can't completely blame me, can you?

On looking back at this, I probably should not have done this, if only I had not needed to tell someone so badly. After all, I didn't trust my own judgment, and I didn't think that I deserved to help myself.
` I mean, really, after a lifetime of PsychoDad damning me for failing, or succeeding - all the same!, I felt both fear and dread either way.

Luckily for such a novelty-seeking individual as myself, I preferred to dread the unknown rather than having to continue putting up with the dread I already knew.

Even as I struck out on my own, these conflicts and uncertainties tended to drive me towards using the 'me' who would run and hide, seeking refuge. (Using Ritalin later on helped to show me how to use this part of myself to improve my own concentration.)

When I moved into 'the closet', I would let myself discover new ways of helping myself, although I was 'tough' with those ways I already was familar with (and thus already refusing).

At least I had bare-minimum survival skills - only necessities allowed.

I did what I needed to do. I got out and learned new things about taking care of myself. I was so liberating. I finally started to feel the oppression lift. After all, I should live, right? Right?
` Briefly at first, I began to have emotions that I didn't remember having felt before other than vague impressions, as if the last time I'd felt them was when I was a small child.
` Even so, I was not especially nurturing towards myself, and was sometimes suspicious when others were.

Back to where I was previously, I was fairly contented with having an easy-to-manage space. It sucked to have to pay 20 bucks a day just to check my email and put a blog post up (long story), but it also taught me to plan, by putting my files on my Crappy Digital Camera, using it as a memory stick.

Lou Ryan, whom I had met just after moving out, actually helped me get my car back from EdgeWalker, in one of many attempts to encourage me not to be trod upon. Since E.W. did not answer his phone, I tended to text him messages instead, which also got no response.
` Thus, I became increasingly aggressive and sarcastic with these messages until I got a message back saying; 'Who are you? What do you want?'

Whoops. I'd been texting the wrong phone. For like, weeks.

Two phone calls later and I got my car back, fresh from not being maintained for about a year. It barely ran, but I managed to keep it going a good long while.

Anyway, I liked my small space o' closet. It was a good micro-environment for learning how to take care of my life, as I'd mentioned earlier.

Moving in with (superhero and rock star) Lou Ryan changed all that. Amazing man though he was, and is more than ever, I seemed to have lost most of what I had gained from my 'closet life' experience.
` This time around, if I bought three yogurts, I would have none. So then I would buy five. But still none for me. If I so much as wanted one yogurt as soon as I bought it, and one the next day, I had to buy at least ten.
` Oh, and he used up my food card in about two days. Literally. Nearly every month.

There went my hopes of maintaining a food budget.

Not only that, but, besides living in the crappiest, tiniest, old apartments that lacked things like ventilation, heating, ovens, normal bathrooms, etc. I eventually came to have roommates who would help to eat the two weeks' worth of MY breakfast in one day.
` Next day, I'd go to school hungry and have to spend my money on expensive cafeteria fare or some such, then after school buy two weeks more worth of breakfast.
` By the next morning, that will have either disappeared or almost disappeared, and I'd have to buy more, and after a couple more days of this, I would literally be unable to buy more due to being completely broke.

When I had been living on my own, I was also learning how to cook. Living with Lou Ryan, there was only a filthy stove, often with dirty dishes or garbage on it, and the counter was even worse.
` "You can still wash dishes when the sink is full," he would say. I didn't see how, considering that the sink faucet was usually so buried under dirty dishes that I couldn't even see it.
` Even worse was the garbage situation - I've mentioned it recently - and if things were going to be thrown away, it would usually be up to me. My survival instinct even drove me to buy new garbage cans, but to no avail.

Showering was an interesting thing, at first, because the bathtub contained a carefully-balanced arrangement of objects. I usually just waited for Lucas to shower to take my own turn because it was difficult for me to move so many things out and then put them back in without anything falling and breaking.
` Later on, however, after all that stuff had been gotten rid of, I got the bright idea of taking piles of dishes into the shower and washing them in there.

I did this every single day. Or at least every day that I remembered to shower.
` However, being obsessed with only allowing myself the bare essentials, I usually did not allow myself the luxury of staying in a short time, with no dishes to do, no matter how exhausted I was or how dry my skin was.

The floor also did not typically stay clean. I vacuumed the carpet weekly and yet was always disgusted that it didn't seem to help.
` I later came to understand that vacuum cleaners only work about three times or so before they mostly serve to make noise and push dirt around, no matter how well you unclog them.

As for the linoleum, I gave up on it for most of the time that Lou Ryan was working construction.

It was continually caked with mud at least one centimeter thick. If I cleaned it in the morning - usually on my hands and knees because apparently mops are only slightly more reliable than vacuum cleaners - it sure didn't look like it when he came home.
` I was so sick of seeing all those clods of mud, every day! The part of me that just wanted to make an improvement told Lou Ryan to please take his boots off before he came in, or better yet, on the porch, because it was a huge embarrassment for me to have the only apartment in the ghetto house with a muddy trail leading right up to the door.
` Since Lou said 'no' because it wasn't very convenient for him, that part of me stepped back, only to yell "You have to do something!" from a distance.

And the other part would tell it, "You're overreacting."

And what of my bookshelf? I would have loved to just look at my bookshelf and see what was on it, since I was constantly forgetting.
` When I lived in the closet, I'd go through the day, constantly looking at a particular book I wanted to read since I had tremendous problems keeping things in mind unless I kept looking at them.
` By the end of the day, I would try not to keep changing my mind again and again and just take it of the shelf and read it already.

What happened when I moved in with Lou Ryan? He insisted on positioning my bookshelf so that it was facing the stove only about three feet away, and then stacking five guitars in front of it.
` Well, there went that routine, unless I were to actually take the time to pick up all his guitars and find some place to put them, go back to the shelf, sit on the stove so I could see the whole shelf at once, figure out which book was the same one I was trying to think of, then put the guitars back.
` Since I found that, in order to keep in mind the fact that I even was trying to remember a book to begin with, I'd have to remind myself to do it every few minutes, meaning that I'd have to take the guitars away, sit on the stove, put them back, take them away, sit on the stove, put them back, etc, etc.

As this was extremely distressing to me, I pouted and whined and sometimes bitched about it for months on end before finally giving up on ever reading those books until we moved back out.

In other words, my bookshelf went from being a living library that I had begun to learn how to access any time, to just some abstract storage space that I had virtually no connection to.

"Oh, you can still get to your bookshelf" Lou insisted. "What do you mean you can't see it? It's right here! All you have to do is move the guitars whenever you want a book."

Duh, how am I supposed to know I want a book if I don't know it's there? HELLO? Severely lacking in abstract thought here!
` I mean, if I can't clearly see most of my books, then how could I be expected to see the book I want if it's behind a guitar? Moving them without damaging them/throwing them out the window/smashing them to bits was extremely difficult and I didn't think it was worth the trouble, seeing as I obviously didn't know enough about what was on my shelf to elicit excitement.
` However, the part of me that wanted to go on bought him some guitar hangers, and when he finally used them weeks later I still found the bookshelf too hard to see because there was no way to get a view of more than one tiny bit of shelf at a time.

Also, sitting on the stove was getting ridiculous. And perilous.

Unable to persuade him to let me move my bookshelf, I felt that he thought my wonderful books were worthless especially since he didn't take much interest in them. This also reinforced my thought patterns about not being important enough to have some fun - and make connections with my books!

Just when I thought I'd get a break from this idiocy when we moved into the downstairs apartment, he put his guitars right back in front of my bookshelf, as if that was their proper spot!
` This incensed me so. Enraged me, even. I just wanted to smash his guitars, especially since that time around he didn't even put up the guitar hangers.
` In an attempt to protect my bookshelf from this, I placed my computer in front of the bookshelf, though that didn't seem to help much, plus I was sitting square in the center of the room where all the action would happen (to me).
` Remember, this apartment had one room, really, so when someone walked in the front door, they were already in my personal space.

After I moved my computer, I eventually replaced it with an endtable and moved the guitars again, making a big hissy fit that went like this, "I now understand why I kept telling you to move your guitars - I need constant access to my own books! I have to move the guitars every five minutes, and I can't do that! You don't store stuff in front of something you use every day! So, can I have my own space now?"
` Though I felt like a huge bitch just for saying that all, I think I got the point across after some argument.
` This wasn't enough, however, because with the guitars gone, I didn't get a chance to use the endtable or any of my school stuff that was organized on it, because that all got buried under other people's things.
` Why would that happen? Because apparently endtables that only have a few things on them are still flat enough to store duffel bags and heaps of other things, and there were no more places to put them.

Well, I could just put off school until we moved out, right? No wonder I did terribly that quarter! It also didn't help that Lou criticized me for having my school folders on the floor where constant foot traffic would destroy them. Well, my spot to put my homework was buried, and there was no flat place to put it!

But no, apparently I was just careless. Careless and lazy and irresponsible with my own things. What good was I? Why wasn't I keeping my things scrupulously organized as I had done in the closet?

By the way, I'm still struggling to get back into the habit of looking at my bookshelf, but at least now I have a clear view of it.

This clear view is because of the fact that I finally have a large house to live in. Not only that, but I am capable of abstract thought, which greatly improves my life, critical thinking skills, etc, and helps me have a better relationship than ever with Lou Ryan.
` You know, because I finally understand how to tell him things, so I'm not afraid to try harder without being ridiculed.
` Poor Lou Ryan has been working his ass off to make our house liveable since October. The landlady continues to be insane, saying that she is going to do something, buy material, etc. and then at the last moment complain that her boyfriend, who she claims is a maniacal tyrant, tells her not to.
` Of course, when Lou speaks to him, he finds that the landlady has just been making things up.

It's really crappy, yes, but at least I know that he can relate to my frustrations. After all, when he would tell me how to make progress and I followed his advice, these difficulties made me feel as if he were betraying me and I'd want to give up.
` Organize my school stuff? Keep it off the floor? Keep better track of the food I buy? How can I do that if you're stopping me? How can I look at the whole white-board when you've nailed it in a position where I can only look at it from two feet away?
` No, I can't see it! I need to see the whole thing to be able to remember everything that's on it! No, you don't understand, I can't SEE it! I don't know how to explain it and I don't think I should have to!
` But anyway, that's why I didn't get your reminder! Why do you think I've used been using it at all? I keep insisting that I can't see it, so how can I be using it? Why don't you just nail it up on the living room wall? There's nothing else on it! Absolutely nothing! And there never will be, who are you kidding?
` Just put it up there so I can see the white board! No, I can't SEE IT! I need to see the whole thing! Stop laughing! STOP LAUGHING AT ME!!!

Alas, the white-board.

I have it in my office, but it's so darn hard to use because it's not Lou Ryan-Attached to the wall; it's on the floor and propped up on end so that the top of it is four feet high, just high enough for me to write on.
` However, it's too narrow to be useful, plus I can't write anywhere near the bottom, nor read down as far as I can write unless I sit down on the stuff on my floor that's supposed to be on the shelves that aren't up because he hasn't attached those into the wall, either.
` Hyperactive as I am, having to sit down on my own things and even then have to stoop over to write on an inadequate space, which moves out from under me if I'm not careful, is not acceptable by the way, as I've tried it several times to no avail.

He doesn't seem to think that I need shelves and a white-board up, though I have asked him to give me a hand with them! How can I use my lab for world domination if I don't have either of those things?
` Sure wish I still had some of my mechanical henchmen around to give me a hand, but I'm afraid they've joined the union.
` Anyway, I see how this parallels the fact that I didn't have any control over the most basic things back then, so it was even hard to care about me most of the time.

Why does he do this? My only guess is; he has Superhero Senses which are meant to thwart my Evil Instincts of Doom. Or, maybe he just doesn't care because I'm not open enough with how I feel about things.
` No, seriously; People don't tend to equate startling politeness with frustration, do they? However, they also don't like it when I show that I'm frustrated because I threaten to use my Death Ray on them. That's no good, either.

In fact, until recently I didn't think I deserved to have anything for myself other than to stay alive. I was adamant about not ever letting myself do anything for the purpose of enjoying it.
` When I started going to school, the first thing to go in my life were my friends. I needed to do homework, and that's what I did every night rather than take a break.

Oh, and this is great - I'd be constantly interrupted from my homework. You know, because we used to have only one room.
` If someone walked in the front door, they were in my work space, and homework was over. I was afraid to say anything, because whenever I did, I thought I came off as acting like a bitch. Was I?

In any case, I would spend several hours trying to read a handout or something, just because it was always noisy, even when no one was home. It was absolutely horrible.

What I didn't know was that I can't read right. I tried to tell Lou, but he didn't believe me.
` So I told myself that I was making things up.
` He often made the suggestion of reading aloud to myself, but when I 'read' something aloud, I can't understand what it means, which probably has to do with the fact that I learned words by mimicking, not understanding what they meant. I'm not sure, really.
` It is still a struggle for me to understand what someone means when they talk to me, though not all the time anymore.
` Yet, I still don't get the whole reading aloud thing. If I try to actually understand what is coming out of my mouth, I have this thought: "How am I supposed to understand sentences if this bitch won't be quiet and let me?"

Lou Ryan, unable to comprehend this, has tried to 'prove' to me that I'm wrong and that I really do know what I'm reading because the words are coming out of my mouth, just as EdgeWalker insisted that I must have known what I was talking about because he understood my whole life from what I was saying (and meanwhile, I didn't).
` And, as with EdgeWalker, I cannot even articulate why this is, though I can describe it at least. And the only word that really comes to mind is 'dissociation'.
` I can't describe what dissociation is like, other than running into 'dead areas' of oneself, but I know it's the reason why I have numb spots all over my body. (Come to think about it, I used to have to remind Lou about those as well, and at first he insisted that it couldn't be true in some way or another.)

What's clear to me now is that I do deserve acting on my own impulses. In late December, I was still denying my needs and wants.
` If I said to myself, "I'd really like to do some homework/housework/take a break from all this, etc. or even collect something I needed for the task at hand, I'd have to perform all these crazy mental backflips to coax/trick myself into doing it.
` Sometimes, when I was too tired to fight and just wanted to be left alone, Lou Ryan would tell me that I was sabotaging myself, and so I would work even harder to suppress it rather than pay attention to what was going on in my mind.

Finally, I have paid enough attention to understand what I've been fighting with all this time, and the dread has passed out of my life.
` It's that simple - finding the truth really set me free. After all, I've long known what is in my best interests, what I can do and what I'm not yet capable of.
` The mental juggernautry going on in my head, making me too stubborn to feel positive about doing something that made my life easier or happier was the one thing holding me back.
` Sure, Ritalin could hold my focus long enough for me to do many of those things for the first time ever, but hell, I felt like s*** the whole time I slogged forward.

I thought I just needed some shaping up, and so would pummel the helpful part of myself anytime it said "Hey, I wanna do that!" or "Hey, I got a great idea!" or "Hey, I need this to complete the task!" or "Hey, I need help from someone!"

And what about the first couple of weeks of college this quarter? How could I possibly like myself if I was 'pestering' my humanities instructor, J. Walker, with not only wanting to understand the academic concepts better for teaching others (such as whoever is still reading this post), but with my own workings-out of my own problems?

What was that all about? It really annoyed me. But then, after five or six days of doing this, I realized something: I didn't think that I was really worth being myself and helping myself out. I needed someone else to tell me that.
` After all, myself was the one with the annoying behavior. How can one accept oneself if one is making an ass out of themselves?

Okay, maybe 'pestering' is too strong a word, but that's how I felt about it. Several more times, I continued to discuss things with her, but I still kept gravitating towards my past rather than my future, because my past explains my future, doesn't it?
` But something she said to me on Thursday finally got me thinking. Upon leaving her office, I realized that that it was Phil and Jason, not to mention the reams of 'mental health professionals' who had rejected me, who told me I didn't need to talk, or think, about my problems, and if I just stopped, it would all go away.

Certainly, a lack of thinking about the problem caused by how they made me fight with myself and disrespect myself more did not make THAT problem go away any more than my other problems.
` Nosiree.
In fact, my desire to help myself and turn towards others rather than myself used to be downright disruptive in school, and it embarrassed me all the time because I looked like some worthless, whiny brat.
` Or so I thought I did. I don't know. I mentioned the fact that I don't hate myself anymore to my former art instructor and she said, "Other people don't see you the way you see yourself." Hopefully that's a good thing.

It was a hard thing to do, but finally I made myself look at that wretched-looking mad scientist whom I'd left torn and bloody on the ground, unable to stand, and instead of rolling my eyes, I bent down and lent a helping hand.
` It was that person who flailed and screamed for help, but what had my opinion been about what was happening? "Oh look, what a dramatic bitch! Stop ruining my life! Go away!"
` And then I'd wonder why I wouldn't do what I wanted to, or even take pleasure in things with a clear conscience.
` After all, that would help 'the bitch' out, too, the one who's been pushing me through all these hard times, moving out of Phil's place, learning to cook well, buying garbage cans, getting myself enrolled in school, etc.
` I mean, really, we can't reward people for being disruptive and annoying, can we?

So it was then that I had unbridled motivation for the first time I can remember in my whole entire life. All the time. And what is this motivation? It's the Power of the Whiny Bitch, channeled into useful purposes!

Who knew a whiny bitch could be such a great asset?

That's right, I've given her the right to say and do whatever she wants to do, and because that whiny bitch is me, and I can consciously control it (a.k.a. being myself) instead of putting up with the uncontrollable, ever-present and tiring protests.
` There's no feelings of anxiety or dread that plagues me every time I get a great idea or a compulsion or some beginnings of another plot to take over the world!

But I still bugged J Walker after class for a few days more until she brought up something about 'processing'. Yes, I wouldn't let myself process it.
` Phil and Jason. Why was I engaging her in my own personal life when I was consciously trying to avoid that and talk about other things.
` I felt that I didn't need a counselor, or wait, maybe I just felt they were useless and didn't expect anything from them. After all, I shouldn't be obsessively ruminating about my problems.

But I hadn't been. And now that I've accepted that and taken that into my conscious control, I can actually use this need to get help, instead of force myself into it. Once I grabbed hold of this need, I could steer it out of situations where it's not needed and into ones where it was.

And so now, I still clean the house. And yes, I still get overwhelmed sometimes.

The other day, I was about to fold my second load of laundry on the clean carpet and shining hardwood with my cup of cocoa of course, and who should show up with his two screeching kids?
` Even more, how does he always know I have cocoa and things to do?
` Anyway, I very nearly managed to keep the kids from getting hurt on the stairs, ubiquitous things being remodeled, etc, and thank GOD the boards propped against the wall with nails sticking out at exactly small child eye level had been done away with!
` Those things used to give me a heart attack every time the kids came over.

I also almost kept them from destroying anything, though the boy started trashing our camping equipment and ripping up a piece of Styrofoam insulation, so I held it above my head and ran up to the kitchen, only to be yelled at by Lou.

That's why it's propped up on the balcony.

However, I'm now indoors, hiding from the row between Crazy Landlady and Lou Ryan.

So, what was I outside for, again, before I went on rambling for an hour?

Oh yes, I'm on a mission, to care about myself, and, well, when I wake up in the morning and people are talking/playing music when I want to think, I just put in my earplugs and walk to the quietest place I can find.
` Which happens to be the balcony sometimes. Rain or shine, I'll go out there because I have crap to do, like read and write and do homework.
` When Gangsta takes the headphones off the piano and cranks it up, playing music, which still sounds like tuneless elevator music no matter how much better he gets, I either have to do something that does not require mental skills, like cleaning the floor, or just go outside. Even if it's cold and sh***y.
` The other day, I couldn't even figure out how to arrange my utility belt until I got on my shoes and coat and sat outside on the wet, cold plastic chair. Thankfully, the circular saw screaming outside was oddly less annoying.

It's currently 6:37 pm and I still have my earplugs in. Nope, haven't taken 'em out since first thing this morning.
` Plus, I've been writing all this crap over a timespan of... all day, in between bouts of homework assignments, and workout sessions at the gym!

Am I nuts or what?

Maybe so, maybe not, though B-Gangsta sure is baking a mega batch of nutty and rich chocolatey goodness - pecan brownies!
` Mmm! One bite now, the rest will wait until I'm done with my homework, which needs one more final touch, with the help of Lou Ryan.

deskbrownies
That's right, the brownies go into my desk. The same desk, in act, that a guest recently left a funny-looking pipe on top of, which briefly made me wonder if I had an alter ego I didn't know about.


And that is all I had to say on January 25. Isn't it terribly long? But wait, there's a bit more I have more recently wrung from the recesses of my mind, from this Superbowl Sunday - that would be February 1.

Why is it that I always used to have problems with asking questions? It certainly didn't help my prized critical thinking skills at all!

Well, when I used to ask questions, something bad would happen. If I asked my PsychoDad, he would either yell at me or give me some huge rambling, endless lecture that went on and on about many unpleasant things.
` This, of course, was another source of confusion in addition to my being punished if I did right or punished if I did wrong, all the same.
` This also had profound consequences when I was around other people. Like, they expected me to know everything that they knew. Give a kid a break! At first, I actually had the balls to ask about something so obvious that, oh, I'm just being an arrogant punk.

Apparently, asking honest questions was the same as being a smartass, because it was evident I was pissing people off on purpose. Consequently, I never did understand what a smartass was.
` "But mom, no I don't know what I did. Here, I'll do it again. See? I did it right! No! I didn't? No, I don't know what I did wrong! You have to tell me! I was just having a friendly, innocent conversation and you ask like I just did the worst thing in the world, so what is it, Mom, what?"

More than ever, I learned to just copy other people's behavior, whether I understood it or not, and that just led to more problems.

On top of that, I remember how it was so tough to do things by myself. When someone told me they were in a play and I wanted to go to it and told them I would, I didn't, because Lou Ryan didn't want to go since he got it confused with another play that was completely different and also depressing.
` To the unskilled mind, it would appear that this is but a lame excuse, but in fact, the opposite is true: Since I didn't believe I should act on my own impulses, I was trying to get Lou to go with me as an excuse to go myself!
` Remember? I had to deceive myself to get me doing what I wanted to! Otherwise, how could I possibly justify pushing myself into a theater to see a play?
` Some things were just too tough of a con to trick myself. I'm a smart cookie, remember?

And so, friends and unwilling subjects, I hope that anyone who reads this finds it to be informative, in case they need to know, on some future date, just went wrong in my head when I finally snap and start shooting people up with Hershey's Kisses from an overpass.

Rich chocolatey goodness, oh my!

And, one more paragraph: Since I haven't been letting myself have fun all these years, I think it's about time I brought some to blog-land.
` I'll be back with the rest of the week's news, which by the way is 99% Introspection-Free, and is instead filled with jokes, candies, and a good many photos.

3 comments:

Galtron said...

Whooooooaaaaahhhhhhh. That was a long read.

How the hell did you figure all that stuff out? It's because you're a genius, right?

I'd write more, but just reading it really tired me out.

Kingcover said...

Holy smokes, I feel as if I've read an entire book with this post. I made a cup of coffee in the middle of it all just to give my brain a rest from all the words. Haha *snort* ;-)

Anyyyyyways ..... I don't think Lou was being uncaring when he couldn't understand why you needed to see ALL of your bookshelf ALL at the same time. I think it's actually more to do with different people having different interests and motivations in life. I mean - what is interesting to someone will not be interesting to someone else. And if you want to take the example of books and reading I really have next to zero interest in reading books (I'll clarify - I do like to read picture illustrated and general knowledge books - ya know the sort that improves my self awareness of the things around me and helps me understand why things in nature are the way they are. You know? I really do love reading those books). However reading books that just have one word after another after another after another that have no real meaning in getting more out of life are in my humble opinion a complete waste of time, not to mention producing deforestation because of it ;-). Whereas you do really enjoy reading a much wider range of books. 'One man's pleasure is another man's pain' :-)

Your paragraph:
"It was as if I were looking out at a landscape through binoculars. I might say; "There's a pasture behind that house" or "There's a cow in the pasture" depending on what I was looking at.
` However, saying "There's a pasture behind that house with a cow in it" would most likely be beyond my capability. I had yet to lose the binoculars, or in other words, remember more of the picture in my head when I wasn't carefully examining only one part.
` To put it another way, most of the picture in my head did not seem relevant when I was thinking about one section of it, and so the rest was invisible to my awareness."
.............. I call this 'tunnel vision' ;-)

S E E Quine said...

Tunnel vision... it's amazing I've survived with it so long and still wrote some good stuff, eh?