The Journey of “metoo” to Healing and Empowerment


Some of you came to this page without an external link coming from another blog post, while some of you did.  For the newcomers, this serves as a Content Warning but not a Trigger Warning, for there is NO graphic imagery here.  For those of you who came here from another post,  when you get to something you think you already grok, just skim until you get to something you don’t recognize.  Mind you, it is and isn’t necessary to read all this in order to understand me, yet because it ends in an extremely important Point that Everyone is somehow Talking about, the “metoo” movement onto which I have latched the “I am not ashamed” movement, the perspective offered really is important.  There is no graphic imagery in this story, just impressions and generalizations, so while it warrants a Content Warning, I do not believe it needs a Trigger Warning.  Please also understand that this was written nearly two weeks ago while everything was still fresh, so I do apologize for the repetition.  It all comes to bear, I promise.

Part One

This is the story of how I, a neurodivergent American, woke up on May 21st with the world looking different, seized by a vision of fire and water which nearly led to insanity.

This would only be stopped only by the power of friends, family, and a person I will only refer to as my companion, who helped me find what I had lost along the long path of their life.  Beginning with a long ago ‘metoo’ moment I thought had been dealt with but would would be triggered again by a very innocent and harmless sight that would bring me face to face with that “metoo” moment not just once, but again and again, this would cause me to slam the door on not only the sight, but also the memory of and therefore any hope of truly experiencing joy or love, eventually resulting in “a caged bird that no longer sings”, a road that can lead to many bad places.  I’ve been to many of these places, dark doors where secrets live and can ultimately destroy a person.

And so this is the story of healing and recovery of me, a person very nearly destroyed by the things hidden behind those dark doors, things that caused me to manifest ideas and images that at first seemed inspiring, then worrying, then concerning, followed by alarm as people began messaging my companion to ask if they were seeing what they were seeing expressed on the internet and if I was okay.  No, I wasn’t, and it would be several frightening days of re-establishing focus on the most basic of questions, themselves devolving into a horrifying question: do I even exist?

Imagine waking up and not knowing not only where or when you are, but IF you are, never mind WHO you are.  Sleep disrupted by the utterly terrifying notion that you are lost and alone with no idea of how to focus. Then imagine somehow managing to re-establish a foothold in the real world, however tenuous, only to fall asleep and have it happen over and over and over again.  Somehow a quiet presence constantly reinforcing reality would penetrate the fear with its calmness and say “just reach out, someone/thing is there”, and so I would stick my hand out and always find my companion, who struggled repeatedly over the course of one awful night to help me find my way back to my nice safe bedroom.

That is beyond fear, beyond panic, beyond horror into the face of sheer terror, unsure of your own existence.  If you need another description of how this can manifest in someone’s life, sometimes on a nightly basis, please read Wil Wheaton’s article “Panic Attacks Suck”.

And so this is the journey of how my companion along with family, friends, and the power of music helped me find my way back to a fixed point in space and time when I knew true happiness, and allowed me to dwell there in that place no matter how many times I got lost until the world finally cleared and all of the lenses that painted my world black began to fall away and I emerged in the stillness of morning, unsure of what day it was or what time it was, unable to be left alone for several days until I was certain enough of reality to move about on my own, often rooted by the sight or touch of a family pet or family member.  Following these pages, and the links they end in, will lead you to how my personal Muses ultimately guided me back to reality through their music that leads to many other important worlds of music.

This is the story of unavoidably confronting the consequences of a long ago “metoo” moment and shattering into a million pieces in the face of the truth, yet saved by the power of a neurodivergent mind inspired by many people both real and not real, narrowing down to one person in history who everyone knows led by the manifestation of reality of yet another real world person.  Anchoring me to reality was my main companion who never lost faith or love in me despite the fact that I essentially “left” many years ago, my greater circle of companions both imagined and real, and a helpful medical caretaker I can’t help but apologize to, knowing that he understands and that no apology is needed. Such is the life of many neurodivergents, constantly focusing and self-soothing and worried that they’re screwing up somehow.

I would like to take a step and borrow an increasingly known phrase in the neurodivergent world based on the notion “I am not ashamed” and state the following:

I could be anyone, even a child, and I am an inspired GenX American neurodivergent “metoo” survivor, and I am not ashamed.

Before we begin, I leave you with two images, one of a well-known painting that tells the story of a neurodivergent painter we all know well, and another of a person known to history as the person who nearly single-handedly, yet with help, led his country to independence driven by the vision that one person can change the world.  Together they create my own driving inspiration.

The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

and Mahatma Gandhi

Part Two

My journey ultimately began an unknown time ago, but it culminated in the question many of us are asking: what the hell is going on, what are we doing, and where are we going?  This drove me to seek out places of open discussion free of negative judgment, and I finally found one. I joined and settled in to engage in the discussions or just watch them, and gradually I began to realize that many of the same once-judged people were using that judgment that had been used against them, and had in turn used it against others that they further perceived as being “not one of them”, often for bizarre reasons.

And I watched in horror as people who should know better, who belong to many groups of people, turned around and excluded people based on the basic notion that “our suffering is greater than your suffering, and therefore you cannot join us”, even people who technically bore the same label as they did.

Shortly thereafter I began to be somewhat obsessed with the notion of a world set afire that could only be extinguished using the power of water, with the fire and the water manifesting as many possibilities.  And slowly this vision of a burning world potentially extinguished by water manifested as being sure that one person had the power to change the world, as had been stated in so many tales I had read.

The vision of a world on fire isn’t important, only the message: danger is coming or perhaps already here but it can be avoided or disrupted if the path is diverted in time.

And so I woke up on Monday May 21st focused on what I could only continually describe as “the point”, which everyone but me seemed to be missing.  And I can only describe getting lost in the point using the words of a popular song:

Kinda like a cloud I was up way up in the sky

And I was feeling some feelings you wouldn’t believe

Sometimes I don’t believe them myself

And I decided I was never coming down

Just then a tiny little dot caught my eye

It was just about too small to see

But I watched it way too long

That dot was pulling me down

I was up above it

I was up above it

I was up above it

I was up above it

Now I’m down in it

 

Only I hadn’t sunk into the chaotic version of reality that is current existence, I rose above it in order to avoid what I referred to as the Voice and the Conversation, both of which were obscuring an underlying scream they would not yet identify: the cry of “metoo”, which I struggled in vain to escape until I was finally confronted with many doors leading to a final door we all know as Fear.  And here I relied on words that I had not memorized yet understood the message: that it is possible to overcome many, but not all, fears and emerge through them relatively safe on the other side.  Many people will recognize these words as the Fear Mantra or Litany Against Fear from the world of Dune.

I must not fear.

Fear is the mind-killer.

Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

 

I would unconsciously manifest the possibility of these words as their mental journey took me further and further from reality, showing me one door after another until I finally faced my Fear, at which point I began my descent back into chaos despite struggling against it, repeatedly getting “stuck” in perpetual motion interrupted by my own will to either stop when I no longer could, or keep going when I became truly “stuck”, ultimately ending in two or three terrifying afternoons during which my companion slowly watched me lose one self-identifying feature after another, until I was left not just without words but even the conception of a word, then without sound, and then without motion, frozen in time on the couch sensing and even hearing my companion’s terror, yet utterly powerless to do anything about it.

I will not be specific in the things that I do remember with one possible exception: the moment I became “lost” in a world beyond the potential beauty of gray into a zone that defied definition and shape, a fuzzy world beyond which there was nothing, not even the Earth let alone anyone on it.  You’ll have to ask my companion, if they desire to discuss it which they may not, what I sounded and looked like when I was “lost”, or even when I was not “lost” but had manifested as some different character, usually a hero of some sort, but for a few terrible minutes repeatedly manifested in random outbursts of emotion directed at my companion, in a desperate effort to maintain faith and hope in a strange world utterly defying any notion of accepted existence, except for maybe in books and other stories.

I would literally lose my way repeatedly over the course of a few days, occasionally and sometimes frequently manifesting as various characters from the untold stories I had absorbed throughout life, until they cohered enough to make a trip to my medical caretaker of several years.  When I came out the other side, I was able to draw on the images and characters of all of those stories and see them as guiding inspirations representing hope and faith in the face of fear. In such a way many of these stories became realnotreal, that is to say that the point of the stories is not just to create a new world for people to explore using their imagination, but also to send the most basic message that exists in all but the most dystopian stories: eventually light overcomes, yet does not banish, the darkness, for there is no light without dark, no clarity without shadows.

Part Three

Here I return not to May 21, when I awoke with the world seeming different, but to two days later, when I made a post that outwardly appeared to be inspired genius, albeit a rapidly thinking genius, but was a massive warning sign of the road my mind was leading me down.

And here is where I introduce you to someone I showed you a couple of pages back, as well as what I consider to be the most beautiful of his paintings: Vincent van Gogh and the Starry Night.

What I wrote was this:

Vincent van Gogh looks out of his asylum window at night and sees things no one else does and knows no one understands what he’s showing them but he paints anyway not knowing that someday someone will look at his vision and say my god that’s fucking beautiful I have to show this to everyone and the Starry Night sky is revealed to the world and they love it and wonder why such obvious genius went so unappreciated for so long and now almost everyone knows who Vincent van Gogh is and most of us know he cut his ear off and killed himself when he was way too young and recognize the tragedy without fully grasping that his torment at least partly drove what he saw as well as his will to paint and so a lot of us look at Starry Night and see a unique vision of the night sky but some people can see a bigger picture of a tormented man looking out of the window of an asylum and painting a night sky he thinks no one will ever appreciate because it’s the only way to find peace unaware we will all someday see with his eyes and marvel quietly.

Looking back on it, it is *painfully* apparent that my thought processes were running away from me in the form of run-on sentences that did ultimately present an image of something.  However, a good friend pointed out a very necessary yet unseen element in The Starry Night.

There are bars on the window of the asylum he painted The Starry Night from, bars he knew were there, yet he possessed the ability to see beyond the bars out into the vastness of space to create what we have today.

That was the final piece of a ball of energy just waiting to be released, and my brain launched itself into orbit, much to the horror of everyone I know watching me on social media slowly making less and less sense until they were all messaging my companion to see if I was okay, including one good friend who suffered the ultimate manifestation of a loved one losing their mind: suicide.

I do not know at what point I stopped making social media posts, whether it was my decision or my companion’s to shut the computer off.  I do remember making a series of bizarre statements about “doors not to look at too hard”, wherein I must explain that my world had indeed devolved into an infinite set of “doors”, each one representing a choice of whether or not to deny or accept someone’s reality, and every range in between.  These “doors” were powered by moebius loops, one-sided three-dimensional objects that represent the physical manifestation of a paradox. Using the power of what I could only then describe as infinity, I had the ability to pass through these “doors”, which ultimately led me to many places both strange and familiar as my mind spiraled counterclockwise, in my mind, until the very borders of existence were stretched thin.  It was through my knowledge of these places as depicted in various forms of media, both printed and otherwise, as well as a solid background in hard science, that ultimately saved me. Eventually I will reveal the many people I manifested as in an effort to process what I could or would not deal with, ultimately manifesting as a particular fictional character who always travels with a companion, because bad things can happen when they don’t.

As it was, I was stuck in a constant cycle of self-soothing and attempting to re-establish self-identity and therefore reality.  Eventually this manifested as my actually speaking words like “self-soothing” repeatedly in an effort to do just that, yet ultimately failing.  I was also speaking ridiculous words like “stop” and “go” because I had completely lost myself in the concept of “truth is a moving target”, which meant to me that I could no longer exist in a point in time like anyone else just standing still.  In my mind, I was either frozen or perpetually moving. I knew I was caught somewhere not good, and I used the people around me to touch base, sometimes unconsciously walking towards the nearest person until I was able to put my hand on them. At one point, I asked another person in the house to “catch” me.  I’m still not sure what that meant, but at the height of my separation from reality, I really would need someone to “catch” me.

Here is where memory gets fuzzy as I became increasingly separated from reality and existence.  I know I tried to watch familiar movies only to watch them without really watching them, the world inside my head blurring my true Sight, occasionally emerging to acknowledge what was on the screen only to recede once again into a land just beyond perception.

Here I will skip the terrifying steps to the moment I felt myself “fall” and suddenly manifested as what Whovians, Doctor Who fans, will recognize as regeneration: the process by which The Doctor becomes his or her next life.  Only in my mind, I was trapped in a ball of neverending regeneration, constantly manifesting yet never made whole.  And it “burned” for lack of a better word. As I fell, I screamed out the name of My Favorite Doctor and he reached through time and space to catch me.  In reality it was just my companion, but it didn’t matter.  In my reality, I was The Doctor caught in eternal regeneration and they somehow manifested to catch themselves/myself.

Here I have to stop and show those of you who are not familiar with the world of Doctor Who an explanation of an episode that shows how a person, in this case Sally “sad is happy for deep people” Sparrow, can save The Doctor who can in turn save that same person using the power of what you will see described as “the big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey”.  If you’re confused, and I know you are, just read about the show and you’ll understand.  Better yet, go find your Whovian friend and watch it.  This also happens to serve as an excellent introduction to The Doctor’s world that doesn’t require you to understand how he operates yet somehow still conveys his very important message.

Blink

I will unpack the message of The Doctor, which Whovians should already know, for others at a later time.  For now it will only serve as distraction.

I didn’t yet know it, but the burning ball of regeneration would not be my last manifestation of terror through the loss of not only self-identity, but self-existence.

I’m not sure how many days passed between “falling” and ending up at my medical caretaker’s office on what would be a Tuesday, although I thought it was Monday.  I had completely lost all sense of the passage of time. I truly had zero idea what time of day it was and was constantly shocked when I looked at my phone when I was present enough in reality to notice things like phones, and there were many periods between “falling” and my shrink’s when I very much wasn’t.  And even then I was confused because my phone did not have the day of the week on it, so that was another way I was out of touch with not only the passage of time, but of other things as well. Again, that’s something you’d have to ask my companion about, because I don’t remember. Truly I don’t.

Note: my companion tells me that my timeline is off, which is not surprising seeing as how I had lost all sense of time, and that my “fall” into regeneration did not occur until after I had seen my shrink, as you will see in a moment.

Meanwhile my companion was posting on my behalf to ensure others looking inward with growing concern that I was being tended to appropriately.

The next Tuesday we arrived at my shrink’s office where he was able to verbally engage me within reason (I had the day wrong) and do a series of finger and eye tests to make sure I had not had a stroke.  He gave me a med and we went home.

Apparently not long after I got home and took the medicine along with some other stuff, I had another psychotic break that lasted about an hour during which I did not even recognize my companion.

You’ll have to ask them what happened because I have zero memory of this.

Next thing I knew I was sitting on the bed where I thought I had never left, but it was Wednesday and I was busily using music I liked for the purpose of possibly starting some kind of political movement to push back against the fundamentalist forces in the country that are a huge part of what drove me nuts, even if only for a few days.  I didn’t have a side project into which I could put all this information, and found myself clicking on song after song after video after video, often enhanced by images and GIFs from the internet and sometimes other links, which I poured into my social media feed. I was making mostly music posts when my companion told me I had lost a day, and I got really freaked out and stopped posting.

My companion had me speak to my shrink because I was terrified the drug he had given me had caused me to lose it the day before.  I remember shouting at him “You fucking doctors are fucking with shit you don’t understand!” I kept trying to make my point which meant I kept missing his, and finally I got so mad I just threw the phone to the side before I threw it across the room and broke it.

Ultimately I wound up making a social media post that basically said “I’m processing major fucking shit and if you can’t handle my thought processes then you need to go, because this is my processing area now.  Unfriend me if you like, I won’t be offended, but this is now My Safe Zone.”  I unfriended, unfollowed, restricted, and blocked a number of people I did not feel safe expressing myself around, as well as checked my privacy settings, in order to establish this Safe Zone, which I continue to use as a trail I can follow to analyze my thought processes.

I have no idea who unfollowed me, but no one blocked or unfriended me, and many friends, both old and new, check in to see what I’m posting and make remarks, in particular people who either are or live with someone who is neurodivergent.  Their outreach has been of the utmost value.

Wednesday night was very bad.  I will try to describe it as best I can beginning with the words you have already read back on the page that links to the article “Panic Attacks Suck”.

Imagine waking up and not knowing not only where or when you are, but IF you are, never mind WHO you are.  Sleep disrupted by the utterly terrifying notion that you are lost and alone with no idea of how to focus. Then imagine somehow managing to re-establish a foothold in the real world, however tenuous, only to fall asleep and have it happen over and over and over again.  Somehow a quiet presence constantly reinforcing reality would penetrate the fear with its calmness and say “just reach out, someone/thing is there”, and so I would stick my hand out and always find my companion, who struggled repeatedly over the course of one awful night to help me find my way back to my nice safe bedroom.

That is beyond fear, beyond panic, beyond horror into the face of sheer terror, unsure of your own existence.  There is no time to recognize panic and somehow avoid it: you’re just in it, gripped with terrible fear and uncertainty.

Again and again I would think I had fallen asleep, then suddenly jerk awake in terror and isolation with the knowledge that my mind had wandered again and snapped back into my body.  I have no idea how many times this happened and I only have a vague and iffy memory of my companion.

After what seemed like an eternity, I emerged through that terrible night and sat virtually trembling with the fear it could happen again.

I was very fragile for that first day.  At some point in the previous days, my guts somehow got involved in what was happening to me and I spent one night spewing from one end or the another, luckily with warning so I was able to get somewhere appropriate in time.  The result of this was that just about everything sounded absolutely disgusting to me. Finally I focused and said “I want milk.” So I drank nothing but milk for a couple of days despite repeated efforts to get me to eat something.  Finally I decided cheese sounded good, so my companion plunked a tub of cheddar cheese chunks near me, whereupon we established that I should always have food within reach, because I will unconsciously reach out and eat it. This tells me that there’s some inner awareness trying to take care of me.  Eventually I decided bananas sounded good, and until a couple of days ago, that was all I ate or drank: milk, sometimes coffee, occasionally water but increasing in frequency, cheddar cheese chunks, and bananas.

As for my emotional state, it was very tenuous.  I could not be left alone or I would get scared. It was at this point I realized that I may very well need an emotional service dog, because as you will see, my pets became a major grounding and focusing point.

My companion and other family constantly checked on me.  I’m not sure how, but I wound up wanting to listen to music again.  No, I was compelled to listen to music, as though an inner voice said, “Sit down in front of the computer right now and just go where it takes you.”  And so my musical journey to healing began with this song, some of the lyrics of which are vital:

well I guess we all have these feelings
we can’t leave unreconciled
some of them burned on our ceilings
some of them learned as a child
the things that we’re concealing
will never let us grow
time will do its healing
you’ve got to let it go
let it go
I find no absolution
in my rational point of view
maybe some things are instinctive
but there’s one thing you could do
you could try to understand me
I could try to understand you
you could try to understand me
I could try to understand you

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/2QLQ8R0UbYX5iNNTgmR7V6

The music was filling my soul nearly to the bursting point, and I suddenly began to move with the music, in particular the guitar solo which follows the lyrics I posted, which grabbed me and made me fly.  I was afraid at first, of the intensity of the emotion, but I realized that all my life I had been blocking the intensity of emotion, and so I let go and flew with the music, tears of…something…slowly running down my face.

I sat there “flying” through this little world of existence manifested as a song, my hand on my companion’s body, struggling not to burst into uncontrollable tears, knowing that I could avoid that if I just went with the music.

Finally the song ended, and I sat there again, virtually quivering from the very intensity of my existence.  I found myself wanting more music, and thus began my journey of using multiple common social media platforms to “drive” or sometimes “fly” through my past, its memories, and many other things combined.  As I reached a new song, image, movie, or other piece of information that I connected with, I posted it, leaving a trail behind me to follow when I could focus on manifesting all of this into something tangible.  Remember, I’m gripped with the knowledge that one person can change the world. Note that I did not say “belief”, though belief does play a part in this that I will get to.

I spent the next several days like this, and early on I discovered something magical: deep inside me I was truly dancing like no one was watching, a phrase almost all of us have heard before and have various reactions to.  This inner knowledge transferred to my body, and I found myself “dancing” while sitting before my computer screen, plowing through my memories at varying paces depending on the song or image.  I didn’t always know where a song would take me, and I found myself veering from one musical style to the other. I just went with it, knowing my brain was showing me the way back.

As this went along, I was a baby learning how to eat again, resulting at one point in my being fed a piece of very benign bread.  I sat there chewing it until I realized suddenly “I don’t want this in my mouth anymore” and promptly spit it out. If this sounds disgusting, let me put it in a funny context for you using The Doctor as an example.

Here again we are at the world of Doctor Who, which may or may not by now be obvious to you as a necessary component of recovery, because The Doctor represents seeing beyond the possible into the impossible, therefore giving you the key to your own rescue.  My companion reassured me as I immediately apologized for doing something so gross.

And so milk, bananas, and cheese became my “fish fingers and custard”, at least for a few days.

That night I almost got lost again, yet I did not stray nearly as far and I found myself face to face with my companion, and together we found something that had been lost long ago beginning with a misunderstanding that resulted in fear that frayed the cord of our love.  That cord would fray repeatedly over the course of our partnership until one day there was no more real love, just the memory of what once was. In the words of Trent Reznor, “every day [was] exactly the same”.  Truly, one day blended into the other until one day I went to get dressed and said “ah fuck it” and just stayed in my robe.  That was several years ago.

Many things have happened since then, including a much-needed move from a small house to a much bigger one.  Yet my companion and I felt isolated from one another.

We finally connected that night at a fixed point in space and time far in the past when we first met, which I will only call “the tent”.  I’ll leave it to your imagination as to what may have happened in that tent. 🙂

The next morning I emerged in a world of soft light and shadows born of early morning light filtered through the dark curtains in the bedroom.  I wandered a bit making coffee and such and at one point found myself gazing at my sleeping companion laying in the softly lit shadows, and he became what I can only describe as beautiful.  Here I can only express that moment using a song called Available Light:


That’s a place you really need to stop and listen to the song in order to understand the world I live in.

I spent the day sitting in My Spot on the bed exploring my emotions through old long forgotten music, and I melted into my past as I posted one link after another to my social media feed.

That night I woke up and felt a little lost again but not so much that I couldn’t get out of bed and go do something.  I found myself feeling unfocused and unsure in the bathroom and suddenly there was a bonkbonkbonk at the door. I opened it and there was my cat Bhakti, a Sanskrit word meaning “devotion” as well as a life path guided by devotion.  She stood at the door for a moment, not coming in until I reached my hand down and spoke to her, asking her to come in. She did, and I looked at her, and suddenly part of me zoomed down to her level and she became much more than a cat.  I can only use the word frequently used to describe cat companions: a familiar.  She truly manifested as the Egyptian goddess Bastet, here to help guide me until I found my way back to bed.  She stayed with me until I focused enough to return to bed, where I felt it necessary to say a few things on my social media account.  Every now and then I would think “cat?”, turn my head, and she would be sitting right there gently looking at me, patiently waiting for me to finish.  Finally I finished posting, and I turned and gently picked her up and laid myself down while curling her into a ball on my chest.

She stayed there until I was finally asleep, for real.  I don’t know when she left, I just remember really enjoying having my cat curled up on my chest.  And ever since that day, she just shows up to check on me, it seems, and I can’t help but call her Bast.  Then I had to listen to a beautiful tribute to a person’s cat a good friend gave me years ago that I could only recall by its first line: “she’s got big green eyes and a long Egyptian face”.

My musical journey intensified slightly the next morning and I continued along the path, knowing it would lead somewhere eventually but not knowing quite where or what or who I would find.

After several days of my self-defined “baby diet” during which I slowly increased my food intake, I suddenly found myself actually hungry, and scarfed down a bowl of clam chowder.  The next day I ate a fried chicken drumstick.

I began to realize that I was focusing too far ahead on something too big that was unlikely to have the impact I desired upon people.

Then I remembered the concept of “dancing barefoot”, which I remembered not only from one of my favorite bands, MC 900 Ft. Jesus,

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/6AfTWdEaRfFWGd2E6Dv63O

but also from the author of a book I am privileged to own, seeing as how it seems to be out of print, who also has an increasingly well-known message of having mental illness and refusing to be ashamed about it. I became possibly inappropriately focused on speaking to this person and ultimately tagged him in a social media message that basically said “I understand what you’re going through and I’m here to talk if you want” along with a video that I realized had truly instilled the notion of dancing while no one is watching, both through the music and the video associated with it, and I wanted to share it with them in the hopes they would see beyond their fear through the power of the music.

And here I am once again stating what I stated at the beginning:

I could be anyone, including a child, and I am a neurodivergent GenX American “metoo” survivor and I am not ashamed.

The next part contains the ultimate sources of at least part of what nearly drove me crazy, and I want to state clearly right now that there is ZERO graphic imagery in this story.  It is written sheerly in vague terms and emotional impressions that leave the reader to process the information through whatever perception lenses you find necessary to recognize the reality of my particular story, and that of perhaps many other people.  And that’s why I went ahead and let you know that this is a “kidstoo” story: I don’t want anyone to worry that they will see any depictions of childhood sexual trauma in anything other than the vaguest terms.

Part Four

I want to state right up front once again: there will be NO graphic depictions of unwarranted sexual advances.  I will speak only in generalizations and impressions, because a) I want others with their “metoo” story, which ultimately devolves into a “kidstoo” story, to perhaps see themselves and follow me through the door to healing through music and dancing and love, and b) I want others who may or may not have a “metoo” story or someone who lives with one, perhaps in secrecy, to see how the most innocent of situations that never even involve violence can ultimately trap a person behind a wall of isolation they cannot escape from.

And here, as I was contemplating writing this story, is where “metoo” becomes “kidstoo”, and a “kidstoo” situation can play out before them without ever physically touching them.  I leave you with a verbal impression using the words my mother used to describe a terrible moment so far back in time I could not possibly remember it, yet it remains as a scar, “a missing part of me that grows around me like a cage”:

A small child stands upright in their crib, holding onto the rails and screaming as their father, usually a source of love and comfort who calls them Squeaky Bear, physically rages against their mother who will be so battered and broken by the end of this violence that she will need to go to the hospital. Meanwhile the fight rages and the child stands screaming, faced with a fear they cannot comprehend.

 

*pauses a moment to reflect, take your time*

 

CONTENT WARNING: SUICIDE

 

 

 

My father would commit suicide on October 25, 1974 amidst a nearby high school’s fireworks show to hide the sound of his Vietnam War service rifle he used to kill himself with.  This would be shortly before my 3rd birthday.

Here a series of pretty fucked up events involving blaming my mother for his suicide culminated in her sitting by herself, alone at her husband’s funeral.  Further events would see her face a terrible choice: marry a man who was nearly a stranger to her, or lose her children under the premise of being an “unfit mother” according to the definitions of the time.  This man would become my “metoo” face that lay behind all of the other “metoo” moments I encountered over time, and hereafter he will only be referred to as The Affliction, which can be further broken down by the descriptive title “Drunken Wife-Beating Alcoholic Pedophile”.

Here is my original “metoo” moment, which I will not describe other than to say that at age 4-5 I saw something that instantly gripped me with an all-too-familiar feeling to most women and some men: “this isn’t right and I don’t like it and I want to leave”, at which point I walked out of the room, unconsciously shutting a “nope door” behind me that I would be forced to look at again and again until I was finally kicked out at the age of 17, mostly for daring to exert my boundaries against forces trying to overpower me.

I will not speak for the people who did not have the power to walk away when they were gripped by that feeling, if they even recognized it at the time, leading to ugly situations only those “metoo” survivors can share, if they wish.  Looking back, despite the overt sexual predation present in my life, it’s clear to me that I was very lucky many times in that I could leave without immediate repercussion. And too many of you cannot.

There were other “metoo” moments, some involving inappropriate touching by an adult when I was a child.  Others revolved around growing up in a country where it is deemed appropriate to leer at and even grab other people, mostly women but also some men, which manifested in high school as feeling constantly predated upon.  I was afraid to look nice because I didn’t want the attention.  Other “metoo” moments actually manifested through the way my parents, in particular my mother of all people, chose to approach sex education.  I essentially grew up living a perpetual TMI moment punctuated by “metoo” moments.

As I moved through life, eventually I would meet the people who would be my primary companions until I felt that “I don’t like this anymore and I want to leave” feeling, which ultimately devolved into avoidance and then actually leaving people who probably still don’t understand why I left.  More than once, the process of leaving would take months, a reality faced by so many people trapped in situations where they are overpowered and controlled, denied access to avenues of rescue and potential freedom.

Here we come to the slow loss of intimacy and true love I experienced as my own partnership manifested truly loving and innocent behaviors, such as my companion putting their hand on my leg to acknowledge my presence.  Unfortunately that particular sensation of contact took me back to another “metoo” moment and eventually I could no longer bear to have them touch me in such an innocent way. We passed through a number of partnership doors that represented “metoo”, ultimately devolving in a complete lack of ability to like, let alone enjoy, intimate contact.  I was dead to pleasurable sensation and could only react to it by cringing.

And so was the state of my partnership until my mind shattered into a million pieces beginning on May 21 and slowly we regained trust and intimacy in a fixed point in space and time known only to us that I will only call “the tent”.  One day I will share the story of “the tent” and how we got there in general terms and you will contrast it with what became my reality and perhaps be just as horrified as I was at the slow onset of anhedonia, or the inability to experience pleasure, let alone joy.

I’m sure I could add detail to my story but that would only be like increasing the resolution on an already defined picture.  I believe I have conveyed my message, whatever it may be. I just felt compelled to share my story so everyone can see how it doesn’t take a violent attack to utterly fracture someone’s perception of their own existence.  Sometimes all it takes is witnessing something, which closes a vital door that we all need.

And so partners, people I call Real Partners, or in the terms we now understand, a Companion, people who continue to love someone even if they’re “lost” to them, if you’re with someone who you’ve “lost” along the way and have a frayed and tenuous connection, maybe there’s something about them they’re hiding, and for good reason.  Your job isn’t to make them reveal their secret, but just to acknowledge them and really SEE them and HEAR them and let them know that they’re safe. Maybe all they need to do is read this post. I don’t know what will happen when you tell them this, but it seemed to me that the thing people everywhere are saying is that no one really SEES them, not even when they come seeking help sometimes.  And so to whoever you may be, trapped inside “a missing part of me that grows around me like a cage”, I SEE YOU. I HEAR YOU.

 

And this is my clumsy attempt to open the door on the “metoo” world, which seems to be a bizarrely confusing point of contention amongst people that befuddles every person wearing a “metoo” label, which as I have shown you, sometimes comes from or leads to a “kidstoo” moment, one that sometimes extends for years.

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