so Thursday i made attempts at fighting off my “potential-Hoarder” disease. if you followed my recent post Collector’s Anonymous, you know that i am something of a, errrr, hobbyist. i like to collect toys, books, and stupid things that you find in a large landfill. i have label stickers that i rescued from the trash bin and re-use for projects, empty cardboard boxes that used to hold rolls of tape that i will decorate and use to present homemade jewelry in, and a plethora of odds and ends that haven’t yet told me what they want to be when they grow up.
but Thursday i went to work: emptying boxes, tossing old notes, recycling long-forgotten-unused-VHS tapes, and working up a huge sweat. i was at it all day, scolding myself for holding on to things for so dreadfully long, and laughing at myself for thinking that some things would be useful, when they are so obviously broken dollar store rejects. i also praised myself for the excellent odd book collection i’m developing; we have tons of classics and interpretations on classics, as well as art books, film and TV books, and architecture goodies. worth keeping for sure.
by the end of the day i was fairly pooped. so on Friday i gave myself the day and evening to fart around at nothing. which led to the following fun, and therefore this blog.
my nieces showed me a website about a trillion years ago, when they were just little things with no boobies. it’s been in my favorites bar now for years after we played there, http://www.dressupgames.com/
i had no idea this site could actually take snapshots of me and my sister Bodhi (Tobie) but check these out!
this is EXACTLY what my sister Tobie looks like. well, her hair is a little more red and blonde…
and this is a pretty damn good likeness of me,
except that i’m juicier in the mid section and -umm-
yay for lazy computer days and dress up games!!!
today i read a good – but difficult – book. and i cried. and cried more. and wondered why the world is the way it is. why life is like this. why do we have to have death and loss, sorrow and anguish? but even while wondering this, i knew that i wouldn’t trade my sorrows. all of my hurts and pains have made me stronger, or more compassionate, more diligent, or more wise. all of my losses have made me grateful for what i do have, and hopeful that i can appreciate the beauty in life while it is in front of me, instead of worrying about what MIGHT happen, or focusing on the hardships.
and hopefully, as i focus more on the good than the bad, more of the good will come to me, and remind me of the wonder of life, in all its challenges.
still, i wish i could write some decent poetry when i’m NOT depressed
Ahhhh…two of my favorite things today:
Rain and Ephemera.
Sunday my sister and I went to an old book and paper show. Wow. Don’t roll your eyes so hard, they might fall out. It was cool! You should try it before making fun of me and calling me a nerd. Anyway the term is probably geek. Twice a year my town hosts the biggest book and paper show in the “midwest”, and there are treasures like 1st editions, autograhped copies of bestsellers, rare books, miniature books, and loads and loads of ephemera!
I have a thing for ephemera.
I only discovered recently that old crap like menus from resteraunts that are no longer around was called ephemera. Well I’ve been collecting this stuff forever. And at these book shows I get all the coolest stuff, like this fun book on old medicine for animals.
I wonder who this person was, and what there stay was all about. Business meeting? Clandestine rendezvous with a scandalously clad woman? Running away from a gorey murder site he doesn’t want to be connected with? Is that why he lost his appetite and never ate his meal?
And how about this treasure, my little green bottle? What fabulous medicine was in here? Nerve tonic? Opium? (yummm) Laudenum? To add to its personal value, its from an old pharmacy here in my local town.
But this is my great find of the day – nay – of years! My own Penny Dreadful, and he’s a rascally little guy…
i love ephemera. i don’t mean to be obsessed about it, but i collect and gather things that other people would toss in the bin; menus (like, multiple menus. i have a thousand from favorite spots, and ones from places i’ll never go again); seminar flyers; comicon notices. whenever i go somewhere and there is literature lying around, i snap it up. i collect and save books and magazines, old and used.
i take these old bits of book and do something like this with them:
i haven’t gotten much done today. today i was supposed to work on editing a chapter or two of my book, and pretty much the only thing i’ve accomplished so far today is taking a shower. oh, and playing on facebook.
i’m part of a DID group on facebook, and it’s supportive, interesting, and also … weird.
today i was reading posts from people struggling with their condition, and some of them had altars (other personalities) writing, and talking in this weird child talk. spelling all wonky, words and phrases making no sense, and i’m thinking “Jesus, you people are crazy”. but as i read along in the thread, i had to sort of wake myself up. because this is me. they are talking about the things i go through and struggle with, and despite the fact that it does – in fact – sound completely crazy, it happens to also be reality. it sounds so bizarre that people have little four year olds in their bodies, which always reminds me of the commercial for weight loss when i was a kid: “inside every fat person there’s a skinny person dying to get out”. creepy.
but it’s real. i have a little one in there that will only growl at people, and someone who can’t stand up well and would rather just continually collapse to the floor, and certainly several that shouldn’t be operating machinery at work, let alone drive a car. and Christ, then there’s trying to go to sleep at night…
“good night John Boy” “good night Tiger” “good night Scritchy”
“good night Nellie” “good night Rocky” “Jesus, would you people go to bed already?”
i’m supposed to be working on my book today. for those of you who are frequent flyers here at accidental happiness airlines, you may recall that i am writing a book of memoirs. no? oh, well i did tell you, so you must have missed that blog. this was the weekend i intended to finish up the final editing; but life’s little lessons get in the way, and i see i must face some of my demons before i share them with the world.
Demon #1: Shyorcifel (also known as fear of intimacy)
i’ve been getting in touch with friends from my past, and i see that the vast majority of folk my age have spouses and children and homes. i began to scold myself today for not having a lover, and what is wrong with me, and all of that kind of thing. but i realized pretty quickly that the reason i am still single is that i never let anyone get close, and i never let men (or most of my friends for that matter) see the real me. it’s scary to think that you would hope in someone to love you on your worst day, with a big juicy zit on your nose, and no makeup on, walking around in yoga pants with holes in the ass, and then your supposed to trust that this person loves you when they’ve been around you at these times? when you’ve done something sinister or selfish? when you’ve told about your horrid past and how messed up you are? see, it’s easier to just never get to that level.
and that’s why i’m still single. so i have to wrestle with the intimacy demon and work out the kinks in my emotional vulnerability quotas.
Demon #2: Keeperoscipase (also known as Obssessive Hoarding)
ok, i’m not actually a hoarder. i lovingly refer to it as ‘being a Picker’. i collect. and while i love my books and papers and ephemera, my toys and clothes and crafts, i’m not going to be auditioning for “Hoarders” anytime soon. but – having watched my first episode today – i can see that i am made of the same fabric as these others. we are people who are afraid.
afraid of losing someone. afraid of letting go of the past. afraid of living in the now, and the uncertainties of life. afraid of forgetting something, or not having what we need, or throwing away something important or of value.
afraid of letting people in. afraid of looking deep inside. afraid of admitting we’ve been hurt, killed, beaten, worn down, abused, neglected and abandoned. afraid of being seen for what we are: weak, vulnerable, and hurting.
but hey! look at that. the entire human race is in this category. and while i might wash my hands too many times after tucking away another thirty copies of fiction titles i’ll never read, you might be socking down your thirteenth bottle of Labatts, or losing the use of your right arm due to a slip up with a bookie.
we’re all of us broken, wounded, beautiful creatures. and the fascinating part of life is watching each of us uncover the treasure beneath all the outer layerings of crap.
I’m not really sure when it started.
I can’t really put a finger on the day I realized that I have a thing for benches. At some point in my life, I just started to notice that whenever I walked by a bench I tended to sit on it. I would be in the middle of a conversation with someone, walking along a street, and then suddenly they would turn around – mid-sentence – and find me sitting on the bench, swinging my legs.
“Sorry,” I’d say with a big Cheshire grin. “I have a thing for benches”.
It didn’t really matter if it was raining and the other person wanted to run to their car to keep their hair from getting messed up. I just told them I’d catch up.
It didn’t matter if we were going to be late or if we were in the middle of a very serious, vulnerable conversation. It just didn’t matter. I had to sit.
I don’t know what caused this particular neurosis, or if there is a name for it, but I have to sit on a bench when I’m around one. But once I’ve sat on one, I don’t have to go sit on all the rest in the area; that one will give me the fix I need.
Maybe I was a pigeon feeder in a past life, and the fond memory of the birds coming to my feet to eat seeds, bread, and popcorn draws me unknowingly to these interesting pieces of furniture. Maybe my philosophical side yearns to sit, just for a moment, and consider the deeper things in life while my physical side is making its way to the used book store.
I’ve never really known anyone else that has this problem, this “Leg Narcolepsy” that forces me to collapse happily onto a hard, uncomfortable structure. I wouldn’t normally select a long piece of hard wood to sit on, or a cold length of heavy metal. Not my idea of leisure resting. But when it’s a bench I manage to set aside my discomfort for the sheer pleasure of the sit.
So here is my thing with benches, and more to follow, I’m sure. Though very utilitarian and practical, I find them works of art on their own.
My view of my condition is sort of like driving in a carpool. Have I said this before here? Because I sometimes forget. So let’s say there are a bunch of people in a car – a bunch of me, for example. Someone has to do the driving – get me to work on time, pick up some beer on the way home, remember which house to go into. It used to be that whomever was driving the body was the only one I knew about. If I “shifted” from one personality to the next, there was no one else to really understand or observe this. Or at least, no one I was aware of. I left one personality, spent some time at a “wiping clean” place, and then went from there. I might go into this more later because it probably doesn’t make much sense unless you’ve read books about this kind of thing, but basically, most of the people in “my car” were unaware of each other. Like a bunch of kids in the back seat, fast asleep, while someone else drives along. Over time, more of my personalities have become aware of each other, and now it’s more like a Chinese Fire Drill, or a team effort to get things done.
This all probably sounds pretty weird to you, and hey, it’s weird on this end as well. But I’m getting used to it. Still, there is a lot of adapting I have to do. I need to get to know these different personalities, and their individual quirks. Like the person who tries to throw me down the stairs whenever she is out. I’ve had a number of falls down stairs because of this, and frequently miss a few steps at the end of the staircase when I’m not paying attention, because she seems to be into the whole Alfred Hitchcock murder scene or something. I have to look out for the resident klutz as well, as she can trip over extra long carpet fibers and dangerously protruding dust bunnies. I don’t want to say that this personality isn’t bright, but definitely not terribly aware of her surroundings. I have a grumpy girl, who frowns more often than she blinks; a gasping girl, who sounds like she might die if she has to use her own energy to go into the kitchen to get a glass of water; a giggly girl, a tomboy, and Tiger.
Not that there aren’t more than that, but Tiger is the one that really sealed the deal. For a while I was struggling with this whole idea of MPD. Though, if you’ve read my other blogs you’ll know that I was actually previously diagnosed, about fifteen years prior to the more recent diagnosis. Still, one of the me’s out and about didn’t believe there were more me’s than just me. She thought we were making it up. Or trying to get attention. Or crazy. Just crazy in the way that would make you invent something like MPD and pretend that you had it for some reason.
Then one day, on the way to therapy, something troubled me. A car of stupid youthful boys drove by, with their annoying and thumping music blaring so loud that the windows of the nearby fast food restaurant shook and clattered. I was already feeling a little peevish, and that seemed to be the last sudden straw. I started to growl at the car. I furrowed my eyebrows, lowered my head, and began growling a little guttural snarl at the youthful offenders. I growled as we drove alongside them, frowning my eyeballs toward them. I growled as we passed them, and turned down another street. I growled down the road, and past the street lights, and changed my growl to a Cat Woman meow as we drove past a police car (men in uniform. even as a multiple, I still have a unified appreciation for the opposite sex). I growled the entire car ride to my therapist (my sister was driving) and didn’t stop even in my session. My sister went with me to this session, because – obviously – I couldn’t talk for a while. I was too busy growling.
Eventually something made me laugh, and I started to come out of that personality, Tiger. Tiger is just a little scratch of a thing. My father started calling me Tiger I don’t know when. But he used to prop me up on a table when we were out at a restaurant or coffee shop, and call me Tiger, and ask me what I was. And I would growl, and snarl at him, “Rawwrr, I’n a Tiger”, because I couldn’t have been more than two or three. Anyway, Tiger really existed. Probably one of my first personalities, if not THE first. I don’t know. But because I’d already heard these stories from my dad, I knew about Tiger. And here she was one day, growling out of my face.
On some level, it seemed other of my personalities were aware of this. Aware that the physical body was growling, and that someone else had hold of the body, and was making it growl. But the conscious personalities, that might be thinking, “hey, that cop has a pretty nice ass”, couldn’t seem to communicate to Tiger. Tiger couldn’t hear any of these other thoughts people. I suppose maybe it’s like the devil on one shoulder, and the angel on the other. You might want to do something, but doubt you can do it, and then yell at yourself for being a weenie. Your mind can take on a devil’s advocate within itself. My mind seemed to want to snap myself out of this silly growling. If you do something silly in front of people, you mentally scold yourself, saying “crikies, THAT’S not going to go over well”. But I couldn’t seem to stop myself from being this little animal. This frowning, grumpy, snarling little kid that didn’t seem to think it odd at all that a grown woman was emitting these noises in a professional office building.
And that’s when it happened. I finally admitted it. I am a Multiple Personality. And really, being a little tiger isn’t so bad. I’m kind of cute. And finally, after all these years, I’m figuring out how to manage my life. So I guess, despite all my eye rolling and nay saying, getting in touch with your inner child isn’t such a horrible thing after all.
Anyway, this stupid book was NOT Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, but it probably wishes it was. It seemed like it might try to run along those lines, though. But the cover description made me want to chuck the book across the room. It said something horrible like, ‘do men ever want anything more than just sex’? Or an equally bad, ‘women want intimacy and men want sex’. Something along these lines. And I found this horribly offensive and disturbing, for several reasons, which of course I will share.
First of all, men aren’t the only ones who want sex. Ok? Single women want sex too. Apparently something does happen to single women once they become married, and then they no longer desire sex, so sure, if this book is written for married women, then I understand the jacket a little better. But no, men aren’t the only ones that want sex.
In fact, in many of the relationships I’ve been in, (ok, there aren’t really that many, but it sounds better if I make it sound all “Sex and the City”) I have been the partner who wanted sex more than the other person. I’ve dated guys that weren’t terribly interested in sex at all, unless they’d had a nice bottle of scotch or two. And…
I dated a guy who didn’t need to have sex at all. Wait, let me clarify, I wasn’t having sex at the time, which meant HE wasn’t having sex at the time, but he was fine with that. He genuinely cared about me, seemed to LOVE me, and he wasn’t getting any from me. Ok, I guess he was getting a little something, but not the real thing. So it pisses me off that this book makes it sound like all men are pigs. Because, although this guy was a gambling, alcoholic, possessive bigot, he certainly was understanding about not having sex.
Studies show that having sex several times a week increases your life span by several years. Sex also helps combat depression, as there is some magical substance in men’s magical substance that brings the joy back into life. So I can’t understand for the life of me why so many married women complain that their men just want sex. Hello? Your man is offering to help you live a longer, happier life!
But I also am enraged about the ever pervasive assumption that men only want sex, and don’t want intimacy, bonding or companionship. Now I’ll admit, I’ve never been married. And as my married friend advised me today, once I’m married for a few years, then I can see what all the fuss is about, and why women complain about their spouses all day. Well, if I ever do get married, I’ll give her a call after a few years to update her on my potential discontentment. But for now, I have to admit that I’ve met a lot of men that are devoted and loving. I’ve met a lot of men that wanted to be kind to me, and protect me, and worried about my feelings. I’ve met a lot of men that wanted to talk to me about my opinions and ideas and experiences. Yes, they stare at my chest the whole time we talk about these things, but I can’t blame them for that, I have great knockers. And yes, I’ve met men that are juvenile, and selfish, and thoughtless and shallow. But I’ve known a lot of women like that too.
If women only see men as these sex hungry bone-heads, I have to wonder if they are looking out of their eyes correctly. Maybe these women are only seeing what they expect to see, or what they want to see. But hey, don’t change your vision because I said something about it. Go ahead and complain about your man. I’ll be busy getting it on, and living happily ’till I’m 150.