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Accidental Happiness ~ the meaning of the Ghost Girl

Well today has been terribly interesting, and it’s only 8:30 am!

I’ve gone through a lot this morning, and I suppose I’ll start at the conclusion and work backwards:  I am a ghost.

Facebook is many things, but for me right now it has been validity.  I’ve had a number of people over the past year get in touch with me, and tell me how much I mean to them, and reach out to re-establish a friendship.  This has been wonderful and made me feel loved.

And confused.

I realize that having my situation – for those of you new to the Denelle-Experience, I have DID/MPD/aka: multiple personality disorder – might be difficult for people to deal with.  I have been very fortunate that the good majority of people I have come out to have been unphased by my declaration of insanity and have embraced me as the same old me I was yesterday, before they knew I was crazy.  But there is always that fringe element; the people who curl up their lips in distaste, the people who think I’m trying to be “special”, or the people who say “let me process that and I’ll get back to you” and then don’t get back to you.  But as I’ve said, I’ve been lucky most of the time.  And especially fortunate for these people that have come back into my life and said “I don’t care.  Have what you want, I still love you”.

And that’s the issue at hand for me;  grappling with this idea that people can love me regardless of my wonky eyebrows, or my love handles, or any of my other oddities.  Not because I think I am not lovable, but because I have trained myself to be invisible.

They say you establish your personality by the time you are five, and today my sister helped me understand why I so often feel like I’m invisble, or feel unloved even when people love me very much.   It’s because I trained myself to be a ghost.  Messages from my surroundings and actions from others bombarded me in my childhood, feeding me information that told me I was disposable, invisible, or ethereal.  Here are a few of those things:

my father left me in the mountains when i was 3 or 4.     my mother sent me away to Mexico when i was 8, without telling me why or if i would be coming back home.     i used to hear a song a lot as a kid that talked about Jesus, and how it’s too late for you, he left without you and “you’ve been left behind”.      my mother sent me to live with my godparents when i was having nervous breakdowns and was suicidal.     my uncle tried to kill me with an axe.      my mom used to leave us occassionally, when she’d had too much of our family, and i never knew if she would come back, which made me feel unimportant, and somehow invisible.     my father abandoned my family to go to another country and help them in a crises, meanwhile leaving us with no money, food or heat in the house.      i was missing in my sixth grade class picture-the year i started feeling strong and powerful and my own person-and there i was NO ONE and INVISIBLE not standing next to my best friend Mary, because i was mysteriously missing.  a ghost of a person, and it’s hard to take pictures of a ghost.        i lost my 7th grade year book full of signatures of all my friends that remembered me, had fun with me….almost as though that year never happened.

For a normal sane individual these things might not make you think you are a ghost.  You would say something like “shit, i hate it when i lose something” or “who keeps old yearbooks?”   For me, this is life.  My life.  This is how it has been for me since the dawn of my time; I seem to evaporate until no memory of me is left, and I was never there to begin with.  Sort of like the movie “The Butterfly Effect” which I won’t even link to because it upset me so much.

I have struggled with feeling like I had no particular place in life, in this world.  Detached.  Dissociated.  But my sis sort of brought that into perspective this morning, when I fretted about friends who loved or didn’t love or remember me.  We came to the conclusion that I am ghostly, and have ghostly work to do.  I have work to do between the worlds, between the realms of the living and dead, between the realities of possible and imagination, which to me are the same damn thing.  It’s become clear that all the things that happened in my formative years instructed me to be a ghost;  and so I must have been training myself in this field for some phantomly lifetime purpose. 

Either that or I’m just not very memorable.   I’ll stick with the ghost-mission.

trapped…

I haven’t had much to say lately. 

It’s not that I haven’t had the creativity, because it seems my creative engine is almost always at a constant purr.  It may be the time factor.  Once I finish off a work shift, I am often too tired to do anything productive, and so if I have days and days in a row (which happens often) I just don’t get around to doing much of anything except watching TV.  But even outside of the time factor, I’ve been having a hard time describing. 

 Lately my communication has been garbled.  I can’t seem to find the words to express what I want to say.  And beyond that, I can’t seem to remember things as well, or grab up the information from my brain that I need to use for various situations.

 And beyond that as well, I seem to be a floater.  It feels like I’m in a vague, non-descript personality.  Maybe one that knows the right things to say, knows the people they should interact with, but doesn’t really own any feelings of her own.  There are just no emotions in there.  Well, I enjoy things, like my morning walks, a good meal, shows that I love, a meaningful chat with someone; but this person that is driving right now feels very far away;  trapped, maybe, like shut up in a glass tower. 

 So maybe that’s why I haven’t been writing much on here; I’m trapped in a tower and can’t get to my laptop?

the Archivist

 

There are many names I had as a child. Nicknames given to me by parents and grandparents, and maybe friends. Names like Nellie, and Bunny, and Big D. Many of my childhood friends called me Nellie, a natural derivative of my full name Denelle. My grandmother called me Nellie Bly, though at the time I didn’t know she was actually sort of naming me after another person. Was my grandmother prophetic? Could she actually see into the future – as I sometimes can – enough to know that this name would fit me so well? Was she prophetically laying on me an adventuresome personality full of spunk and a disregard for conventional roles and behavior, just like my namesake?

My father called me Tiger, and more often Scooter. To this day I’m not certain he remembers my real name, because it is always Scooter from him. It’s a name I’m fond of. My mother called me Christina Marie when I was in trouble. And I used to be called Denny. This was a name I chose on my own. But unlike other names (Sweet Pea, for example, which never really took) I managed to force my family to call me Denny for an entire year, or maybe longer. Other names I used to go by I have found in secret places, like diaries, old coloring books, and that sort of thing. Christi. Sandi. Cindy. I had secret names, and secret codes, and secret lives that I am only now trying to discover and unfold.

But many of my selves have no specific name, though the individuality is very distinct. There are parts of me that existed in the past, and experienced certain things that others didn’t experience. And these people maybe weren’t brave enough, or stupid enough to stick themselves out and demand a different name. And so, to help myself – and my sister – identify these people, we are giving them names now.

Some of these people you will probably get to know over the course of time, if you hang around the blog. Stormy. Joey-girl. Mexico. You’ll hear me talk about Scritchy, and Lil’ Bird, maybe. Or Bubbles. But today you will hear about The Archivist.

Some of my people, like The Archivist, have titles rather than names. The Archivist actually just got her title, and thank the gods for it. One night talking to my sister, The Archivist pushed her way to the surface, angry and tired and frustrated. And swearing. She was nameless at the time, a hidden identity that had not previously surfaced. I have to admit that I must have known of her frustrations and issues, because I’d written a poem a year or two earlier, complaining of the same things she was lamenting.

She was a sort of janitor, this one. For a great many years – I imagine since my late teens – no one in “the system” or “Team Denelle” wanted to admit that we had others running around in there. No one wanted to deal with the craziness of being Multiple. So walls went up, and everyone went into their own hidey hole, and all the innards went into lock down, needing to hide emotions, thoughts, instincts and memories. This made it difficult to recall things sequentially (like which teachers I had in which grades), and immediately (like where did I lay down my keys, or that missing bra?)

This janitor person was probably created to move all the memories around. Some of my people are too little, and they don’t have certain memories like the others, or even vocabulary advanced enough to explain some of the things that went on in my life. Those memories couldn’t be around the littles, because that would be upsetting. So they needed to be dumped somewhere else. Some of my people hated my mom and loved my father, and vice versa. Some personalities loved everyone in the world, and some people would have grown up to be assassins. But everyone, regardless of name, personality traits or clothing preferences, all of my people were plagued by our past. Our history. The skeletons emerging out of the closet, chasing us down, and trying to consume our life. So for years and years, this janitor person tried to bury the memories somewhere, in some hidden compartment of the soul, or under some forgotten year of the life; a giant dust ball to be swept under a rug.

The Archivist came out one night, complaining. There is no more room, she said. There is no place left to go. No place left to hide. We have run from this past so many times, and hid in all the good places. Now there is just shit everywhere, and it’s exhausting. Hiding information from everyone is impossible. Trying to maintain secrecy about this issue is impossible. This personality was at the end of her rope, because she couldn’t keep up with everything. Where do I put all this shit??? How am I supposed to shovel this shit around forever??? Yeah, my sister and I could see that trying to hide reality from yourself was an overwhelming task. Plus there were no good bennies.

So we gave her a name, or a title really, and told her that instead of hiding and burying all of the information, she should catalogue it. We talked to her about some of the movies we’d seen, like Dream Catchers which, though very weird, has a fabulous scene revealing an intricate and complex memory system in someone’s brain, complete with winding staircases, circular library vault, and oodles of books full of collected information. Harry Potter was helpful too, with Pensieves that could reveal the past, but beautiful little bottles that would contain the memories until they were needed. Instead of having all of these horrible memories lying around in the brain, like a barn full of shit, we could organize them, label them, file them away in little bottles, drawers, and boxes. She would be called The Archivist, and it would be her job to retrieve information as it was needed, and she could put it away in the manner she decided.

Wow, sorry. Long story. But since then, since the naming of The Archivist a few months ago, things have been a lot smoother for ‘the system’. Memories emerge in a less traumatic way. Associations are made more easily. I still can’t remember things I want to in the middle of a conversation with someone. I still know that I know the answer to something, and can’t manage to pull it out of the bank in time for the current discussion, but the ebb and flow of my daily existence seems to be going more smoothly. And I am increasingly more able to actually FEEL the things I have gone through. And THAT is a miracle right there, because there has been a need for detachment my whole life. But that is a whole different blog, for a whole other time.

For now, I have to give Kudos to my Archivist, and tell her she is doing an amazing job.  It’s kind of handy, having all these people inside. It’s kind of like being a fabulous museum full of wonderful art pieces, and all of my staff people have their own little jobs. You should try it sometime. Just be sure to include extra closets and basements for the storage of stuff you don’t want to look at, because leaving it around everywhere is dangerous. Or just start off by hiring yourself someone to take care of it all, but be sure they understand their job, and be sure to treat them right. Because it’s an important job, recalling and recounting the tales of life. And everyone could use an Archivist.

dic(taphone)head

 
i’ve heard a million times (wait, a bunch of times, i’m not sure i have the attention span to count to a million)…i’ve heard a bunch of times that the brain is a computer. good stuff in, good stuff out. bad stuff in, bad stuff out. our memories get wired together with emotions. we get programmed by the time we are five. my syntax is incorrect and giving me errors. whatever, i get it.

what i don’t get is the recording button. where the hell is the recording button? i need a damn dictaphone for my computer! this happens to me, i don’t know how many times a week (sorry, the calculator option in my brain’s computer has never been correctly calibrated): i’m in the shower, and come up with a great paragraph for my book. a PARAGRAPH mind you, in the shower. when i’m all naked, and sudsy, and rubbing my hands all over my luscious skin and distractingly plump bosoms and … oh sorry, wrong blog. so i have this awesome paragraph in my mind, and i run to my room to jot it all down, and by the time i sit down wet and still naked and luscious, and get out a pen and paper, well damn! it’s gone! it was this brilliant piece to my book! just vanished!

then this happens to me when i’m driving. who cares where i’m headed, it’s more of the same thing. great idea. great lines. great blog. but then it’s gone by the time i get near a writing instrument.

what happens here? all of the words are right there, coming out of me…flowing out of me like a stream of brilliance. and then i try to capture it and my brain gives me the “i’m sorry, this does not compute” message. or the creepy 2001 message in a deadpan voice, “i’m sorry, dave, i really can’t help you, dave”. but i’m like “HAL, you dumb controlling creepy computer, my name isn’t dave!” (although i could date a dave, i suppose, and then if i married him i would be MRS. dave, but i don’t think HAL actually ever says MRS. dave)

if only i could find the manual for my brain. i’m sure it must have some feature like a DVR, and i can work those fine. i’d just like to be able to hit the back button a couple of times and replay these fabulous stories and blogs and masterfully crafted chapters and revolutionary literary pieces that would surely win me some prize or honor, and i would stand and give a modest speech about how i thought up the whole book in the shower. but maybe that’s mike myers’ thing, making scripts for movies in the bathtub, so i don’t want to rain on his parade. nobody likes a copy cat.

so i guess i either need a dictaphone, a better memory drive in my memory drive, or maybe a personal assistant who doesn’t mind co-ed showers and who also happens to have waterproof ink pens.