Daily Archives: September 24, 2013


For me, cycling is transformative. I have written in the past about how my mood changes within the time it takes to turn the wheels a couple of times. I may have been feeling irritable – forgetting stuff I need to take with me, going backwards and forwards to the house several times while I retrieve – one at a time it feels like – stuff I need to take with me: wallet, phone, a book, a bottle of water in good weather, a flask of tea when it’s cold, while my mood closes in on me. Moments later a metamorphosis occurs and I am, if not the greatest bike rider of them all, Eddy Merckx, then at least Half Man Half Bike (as his British biographer William Fotheringham described him). Even the shadow I cast fools me into thinking I am someone else (well, in somebody else’s body at least). My profile looks, if not sleek, then at least  more the part than my merciless lycra will allow.

But a change like this – however wistful – never lasts. The bike goes back into the garage, the lycra in the laundry basket, and no matter how long I spend in the shower, the lactic acid in my legs finds its way into my bloodstream, and into my brain.

There are times when I have gone to bed feeling perfectly fine. In a good mood, frankly (it does happen) only to wake up the next morning unable to recognise myself, or to recognise myself all too well.

The Czech author Franz Kafka (1883 – 1924) wrote about this transformation process in his novella ‘Metamorphosis’. The main character, Gregor Samsa, wakes one morning to find himself transformed – into an  ’aungeheuren Ungeziefern‘ -  a ‘monstrous cockroach’. Lying on his back with his legs flailing in the air, struggling to understand how this change could have happened, first his family, and then his boss, call out to him through his locked bedroom door. First with concern from his family and later with threats from his boss.

Samsa’s story will be all too familiar to those of us who find ourselves unrecognisable to ourselves, and to our family, friends and colleagues. I won’t spoil the rest of the story – it’s well worth reading – and only 67 pages long it should be manageable even to those of us with short concentration spans.

Last time I wrote about the nightmares that I have been plagued by in the past; dreams of my impending death. There’s another one of Kafka’s short stories called ‘The Penal Colony’ which deals with an elaborate and torture and execution device; a theme which is all too familiar to me. In these dreams I find myself in the death cell on the eve of my execution, condemned to die for an unknown crime, the only certainty shackled to my mind is that I am guilty and that the verdict of this unseen, unheard court was just.

It took me years to work out what these recurrent dreams were saying to me. They were, as I said last time, just too vivid, a blurring of savage realities, for me to want to understand them. I just wanted them to stop.

They weren’t about me, after all, were they. There was no ‘eureka!’ moment in the bath, like the Ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes  (c. 287 – c. 212 B.C.E.). My understanding of those dreams came to me gradually, as cold and brittle as the emergence of light on winter mornings.

I am guilty. In those dreams, and in my chest heaving waking, I knew it. Only the charge, the crime, remained obscure, Kafkaesque. But prison gives the gift of time. Unwanted, lumbering, and as cold as iron. Time to think. Awake, thoughts pacing across the flagstones of my Death Row mind, realisation, like a prison warden appearing outside my cell, rattles its bunch of keys. Guilty for just being born.

‘Self pity!’ I hear your think, too decorous to actually say so. Maybe I’m being unfair. Let me explain what I mean. Behind that weary cry stalk historical facts. Had it not been for the inferno of anti semitism that engulfed the civillised (and not so civillised) nations of Europe coming to a crescendo in the years following Hitler’s rise to power in January 1933 and its waning with the death of Stalin in March 1953, I would never have been born. My parents are both refugees from both those regimes. Had the combination of economic, historical, political and social factors not coalesced to herd millions to their deaths by bullet, fire, gas, rope, starvation and suicide my mother and father, together with their parents and siblings would not have come to these shores.

Do I value my life above what happened then (and still swirls around my mind now) above the survival of just one nameless, faceless victim of these regimes? Even if I did, could I tell that to the 33,771 men,women and children from Kiev  who met their deaths in the Ukrainian forest Babi Yar on 29 – 30 September 1941? I could not.

Philosophers, Psychiatrists, Psychologists and others talk of ‘coming to terms’ with our past. What negotiation could I pursue with all that happened that would mean that I could betray those people by my psychological contentment?

The Stalin Epigram

Our lives no longer feel ground under them.

At ten paces you can’t hear our words.

But whenever there’s a snatch of talk

it turns to the Kremlin mountaineer,

the ten thick worms his fingers,

his words like measures of weight,

the huge laughing cockroaches on his top lip,

the glitter of his boot-rims.

Ringed with a scum of chicken-necked bosses

he toys with the tributes of half-men.

One whistles, another meows, a third snivels.

He pokes out his finger and he alone goes boom.

He forges decrees in a line like horseshoes,

One for the groin, one the forehead, temple, eye.

He rolls the executions on his tongue like berries.

He wishes he could hug them like big friends from home.

Osip Mandelstam (1891 – 1938)

All good things come to an end

So it's over. I knew right from the start that it was just about sex and nothing else. Doesn't mean I'm not upset. I'm pretty gutted really. I knew that having sex with a guy so much younger than me was never going to go anywhere. I don't regret a single second of it but I'm struggling to get him out of my head. It was all so exciting and such fun. It's not that I was secretly in love with him  but I do have feelings. I'm just not really sure what they mean. It's the fact that he made me feel young and full of life. What if I never have that again?  When I was with him I felt no different to how I felt when I was in my twenties. In fact I felt better. He made me feel special. I felt totally at ease with myself and totally normal. I'll never forget that.
Sometimes I still can't believe it even happened, let alone carried on for so long. Eighteen months is a long time. I don't know why a young guy like that would want to spend time with someone like me. Not when he's so drop dead gorgeous and has the pick of virtually the entire female population! 
There were times when I wished I was younger but I would definitely have wanted more and spoilt it. That's why I think it lasted as long as it did.....no hassle, no ties, no pressure. I think if we were honest we were maybe both a bit lonely and both getting over someone else, so didn't want all the crap that goes with conventional relationships. I don't know if relationship is the right word. I don't really know what you'd call it!  Some people might think he was using me or that I was using him. The truth is we took advantage of each other and it suited us both at the time.
I don't know what I'll feel when I bump into him. Our paths will always cross, so it's inevitable. I'll probably want to hide but I'll hold my head high and smile. I fucking hate getting old but I'm determined not to let it end in tears. I wouldn't do the same with anyone else. He was special to me at the time and the situation was special to me and it will stay that way until I die. Yes, I will miss having the best sex I've ever had but I will miss him too. Maybe a bit more than I ever thought I would but it's ok.
A part of me hopes we will just pick up where we left off one day. Another part of me knows its for the best to quit while we're ahead and have nothing but good memories.....well that's what I keep telling myself. 

The Adult Survivor: Remembering the Truth vs Longing for What Could Have Been

Reblogged from The Invisible Scar:

Click to visit the original post
  • Click to visit the original post

Some of the best content on The Invisible Scar is in the comments section. In reading them, I've seen myriad themes emerging. One of the most powerful ones is an adult survivor's longing for a loving family vs the truth of what their family is really like.

The desire to be part of a loving family; to have parents who are loving, supporting, and caring; to have siblings who love you and care for your well-being; to have family members who listen to you, who share themselves, who make your life happier by being in it (and who are happy in your being in their lives)....

Read more… 1,077 more words

Mourning the loss of a mother I never had..."Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, a long way from home..." and a home I never had. I have been mourning all my life, but only conscious of it for the past 30 (thirty!) years. Still I have gone back and back, tried and tried to appease with accomplishments (such a good, talented daughter), gifts, flowers, baskets (such a thoughtful, generous daughter) but what is lacking here? "Such a loving daughter." Why? Because, in essence, since I don't have a real mother, I can't love her like a daughter. And that, too, I mourn, especially when I see mothers and daughters who are close, who share their feelings. My mother always told me, "I'm your mother, not your friend." And now I think she regrets that. She wants me to be her friend, to like her, to love her. But since she was never a mother to me, there is no basis for that. And since her cutting tongue and unpredictable rages have caused me to always be aware of my boundaries and try to keep a healthy distance even when in her presence, she feels my distance as coldness, rejection, and as we know, certain people are extremely sensitive to rejection, real or perceived. So then she gets very sad, and cries, and I feel bad. But I know from bitter experience that the first minute I let her inside my boundaries, WHAM I will get smacked, verbally, or subjected to a screaming fit, belittled, mocked...so I keep my distance and mourn for the mother I never had.

Neat and Tidy

Our apartment will never be featured in Better Homes & Gardens.  Maurice works long hours and I am terrible at housework.  It’s all or nothing for me.  I try to keep the place tidy, but, once it gets a little messy, I start to feel overwhelmed and let it go.  This goes on and on until it’s a total disaster.  That’s when I throw in the towel and say, “To hell with it.”  But, what is it about housework that makes me completely lose it?

It’d be easy for me to say I’m lazy.   I wish that were true.  My guess is, if I am lazy, that it would be relatively easy to kick myself in the ass and get to work.   I do feel lethargic, but I also feel my heart racing, I have a hard time breathing, I get that sense of impending doom and feel my life is out of control.  Okay, let’s all say it together……..”Panic attack.”  Now, why the hell would I have panic attacks just trying to do housework?  I think it comes down to how I try to eat the elephant.

dinnerYou’ve probably heard it before.  ”How do you eat an elephant?”  Answer: “One bite at a time.”  Well, I have a very difficult time with that.  I want a big jar of BBQ sauce, a napkin and a bib and just plop that big pachyderm smack dab in the middle of the table.   The second it comes over me that I can’t have it all in one bite, that’s when I panic.  As I type this, my mind is racing over the absurdity of it all.

When I was in a recovery house, for my alcoholism, we were required to clean the house twice a day.  I’m pretty sure the reasons were to teach us to be humble and obedient.  I also believe it was to teach us how to keep things under control and not get overwhelmed.  Take a small bite of the elephant a little each day and things won’t get out of hand.

Maybe I am just lazy.  Maybe the panic attacks are symptoms of laziness.   I don’t know what to think.  All I know is want to get over it.

Anyone else struggling with this?

Slow Ride

Adjusting to mornings continues to happen/not happen at a super-crawl. I was wondering this morning if it is harder ’cause it’s only an hour shift; I found making the three hour shift from noon to nine tolerable. Granted, I also wasn’t medicated then, not that I can say yay or nay to if that has any blame in the current adjustment phase.

The courtesy copy letter about my last appointment showed up a few days ago. Whenever my psychiatrist updates my GP, there’s a letter. I’m guessing that’s a common thing, but I wouldn’t know either. It made me smile to see it there in text that I’m doing alright. Yes, there’s still some low grade depression, but it’s tolerable and muted, and is more likely than not to be related to my physical condition than my mental condition. It makes me happy that I’ve got my plan of action laid out — another pregnancy if possible, and then a hysterectomy. Oh sure, the best laid plans of mice and men, but I can’t see why (at least) the latter won’t be able to happen. I will have to make sure to stress how huge a quality of life issue it is. Because of the they-won’t-diagnose-the-damned-thing endometriosis, I’ve returned to a state akin to chronic fatigue. As I said to a kinnie in Lord of the Rings Online yesterday — I did dishes and folded laundry. That made yesterday a resounding victory. I don’t think it’s wrong of me to want slightly more, especially since I’m very positive there’s that actual solution.

I guess that’s about it for the moment. My brain continues to stay blissfully blank-esque. It might make writing harder to do, but hell… it sure beats jagged abusive thoughts pounding me.


The post Slow Ride appeared first on The Scarlet B.