debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
This post is mostly me musing on myself, but I'm making it public because people might have things to add.

While making dinner tonight, I found myself thinking back on a disturbing episode involving unwanted physical contact that happened a few years ago. I'm still very disturbed and deeply ashamed of this episode, and I did a little thinking about why. After all, I was raised on the philosophy of "my body is my own." Why hasn't that translated into a stronger sense of my own personal boundaries, and more ability to stand up for myself?

I think maybe it's not enough to teach kids that they can say no or talk to a trusted grown-up. I think a kid also needs a sense of his or her own body as a worthy object of protection. I developed, somehow, a deep dread of appearing selfish and making demands on others, at a very young age. I also developed a lot of shame about my body, and a feeling that the mind was the worthier part. I could point to a lot of reasons for this, but most likely it was a combination of all of them, plus some that I haven't thought of. I have been lucky to have, in [livejournal.com profile] papertigers, someone who helps me to understand that I am allowed to feel angry and ashamed.

It also makes me think of a parallel incident, when I was in Mauritania. In this situation, a young boy of between ten and thirteen years old hit me on the back with a stick while I was walking down the street. Mauritanians find this sort of thing tremendously funny. I found it deeply shaming. When I told one of my friends about the incident, she told me that of course I felt ashamed, that racially-motivated violence in general is meant to keep people down by making them feel ashamed. I'm not sure that I agree with her whole analysis of the situation, but I know that it gave me a new perspective, not just on my life, but on my own society. That perspective has been really important because it has allowed me to see how people work, consciously and unconsciously, to control each other and keep those they see as their inferiors down. It's given me insight into myself and my own less-than-beautiful motives, too.

Yet all the insight in the world can't keep me from feeling somehow responsible for being hurt. Why is that? I wish that one could conquer pain by understanding the reasons for it, but it takes more than that.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Fr. J's reply to my inquiry about the nature of forgiveness and the situation with my parents was, boiled down to basics:

1) Make sure you pray every morning and evening - it doesn't matter which prayer;

2) Reading the psalms can be helpful;

3) We should talk about this face-to-face on Sunday;

4) Your mind is a bad neighborhood which you should stay out of (OK, he actually said not to dwell on this too much and to do relaxing, distracting things - basically [livejournal.com profile] papertigers's advice).

I am confirmed in thinking that, quite apart from having a wife who is very smart and lots of fun, he is probably a very sound priest.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Happy new year, everyone.

I worked today. There were few students, but I hope the ones who were in class got a lot out of it, for all that.

I've been thinking about 2009 as a year ever since [livejournal.com profile] melebeth mentioned something about its not being so good.

She's right. I started the year with a sprained ankle that acted like a fractured ankle. There have been health problems for me and mine - everything from cancer to bad teeth. There have been emotional upheavals. There have been family upheavals. There was even a fire.

Still, I will say that some things have gone well. I've continued to learn just how valuable my friends and (extended) family are. I've learned, too, just how strong the support of my Family-of-Choice is. [livejournal.com profile] papertigers and I have drawn closer together, and (not coincidentally) I have grown a lot less emotionally dependent on her. I have been lucky in many ways. I still have blessings to count when anxiety tries to keep me awake.

Tomorrow, we will continue our Christmas celebrations with [livejournal.com profile] scooterbird and [livejournal.com profile] efbq's oldest, redheaded child. (Though I suppose, at 16, she is almost not a child anymore!)

Tonight, we have a clean house and Christmas carols on the stereo, good food, and cute cats. We are going to have a quiet and relaxed New Year's celebration with just the five of us (two humans, three cats). That is my favorite way to mark the change of the year. I feel good about this. May 2010 be a year of blessings and favors, joy and goodness for everyone who is reading this.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I've been having nightmares nearly every night since we got back from Los Angeles. Sunday night's was awful and had me up every hour, and I decided that this could not go on. I called my friend A., whom I have known since high school, and told her all about it.

She said that my parents are toxic to me right now and that it's good that I've decided not to pay any attention to their communications. Somehow, this made me feel better enough about things (she knows my mother very well) that I was able to sleep last night and my dream was only vaguely disturbing rather than a full-blown nightmare.

I have not been doing well, and I feel that this is wrong of me, somehow. I feel that I ought to be feeling fine. Yes, I am in the realm of metafeeling - the feelings that I have are much sadder, angrier, and darker than the feelings that I feel I should have. Some part of me thinks this should be over already; it's been two weeks, after all. How long am I going to hold on to this?

I also feel that I should be using this moment in my life to help myself, to feel and act more free. Yet it is probably a bit early for that.

Two weeks should be long enough!
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I am feeling stressed to the breaking point. We dressed the tree today (artificial tree, but a very nice one - this is its fourth year and it shows no sign of letting up any time soon). It snowed. We spent most of the day with friends. We watched White Christmas, which I had never seen before (though I had seen Holiday Inn).

I have mostly found relief today via snuggling. I've been taking a lot of baths lately. Hey, at least I'll be clean. A lot of things seem to be falling in pieces at my feet. I'm scared to death, but I know that I will find something new when the debris is cleared away. Getting to it is scary and painful and fills me with self-doubt, though.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
... have all been fed by the man with the knife. (Thanks to Matt Gould for those lyrics.)

I am home.

Grandma was glad to see us. Now my wonderful cats are glad.

The rest was a truly terrible ordeal.

More when I feel that I can write about it without bursting into tears, going on a murderous rampage, and having a panic attack, all at once.

Final Day

Nov. 25th, 2009 06:46 am
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I woke up this morning at 5, unable to breathe. I got up at 6:30. I still can't breathe. However, I did have an interesting dream that one could speak an entire language by spitting watermelon seeds.

Lots to do today; we're leaving tomorrow.

✓go to Target for charger
✓buy cat food
✓make cat food
✓clean litterboxes
✓fill cat water
✓clean stove and counters
✓finish packing
✓print airport and car confirmation
✓print mapquest directions

Then I think we're taking off for Baltimore, though I'm not sure where we're staying tonight. We're out bright and very early tomorrow morning. *sigh* I hope I sleep, because I'm going to have to drive quite a ways after we get to L.A.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I was whining - I admit it! Oh, it's a sorry state for a person to get into. Then my cousin M. said, "You sucked up a cord? While it was plugged in? You're lucky you didn't get shocked!" That was the cold water of perspective thrown onto my bad mood. After that, I was referred to this page by [livejournal.com profile] seraphimsigrist. I encourage you to read it - especially those of you who are puzzled that my brand of Christianity isn't quite what you might have expected. Reading it made me happy enough to giggle and dance.

And it is a relief to have a clean(er) house.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I managed to reserve a rental car for Thanksgiving weekend (next step, see if my parents can send me the money in advance, as otherwise I won't be able to pay for it). I am getting very excited about going back to Idyllwild, where we spent most of my childhood Thanksgivings. So that's good.

Also good is having gotten two packages today containing my anniversary presents. Hooray for Pollyanna! That would cheer anyone up.

Overall, I have to keep reminding myself that I am a very lucky woman. Despair is not good for the health, mental, spiritual, or physical.

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