Friday, June 26, 2009

HellO LA! I am such a sap. I cried from the in-flight movie- Hotel for Dogs. shesh. Now I'm crying bc my feet hurt.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

in Houston! Had homesick moment when Pearl Jam came on my iPod & saw Seattle on next gate. Dixie Chicks next tho. Ha!
on the plane. Don't see any snakes. Signing off...
People gathered around tv; MJ died. Getting anxious. Don't deal w/ death well, even tho has nothing 2 do w/ me. Panicky.
LaGuardia is crappy. Hiding in bathrm. 15 m delay. Hope this is the worst of it. Layover in Houston. LA in 9 hrs, hope.
at NHL store, got "vintage" Canucks sweatshirt for $30. Canucks t-shirt was $78! WTF. Bag has a big pic of Crosby. Hot!

My blue hotel room in NYC (sideways). I like it!
drinking black coffee and people watching in midtown New York

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Good luck tonight Culver Blue. Kick some ass!
love my tiny blue hotel room. I could live here! so compact. and blue.
My fav thing about NY so far- Armani billboard with guy in his undies. Yummy.
wish my hair was a color not found in nature. why can't I be an accountant with turquoise hair? not fair.
I sure do get a lot of double takes when I'm in short sleeves at the airport.
Kias aren't much for acceleration. or brakes. Still, I can't drive 55.

Monday, June 22, 2009

in Denver- mountains are beautiful. I miss hockey already! & my rat Jason. Looking forward to going back to sleep.
headed to Denver. Had to get up at 3:45 am! blech. Start training at noon. Listening to Fleetwood Mac and Bad Religion.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

What's done is done

I've gotten to the first writing exercise in The Courage to Heal:
Write about the ways you're still affected by the abuse. What are you still carrying in terms of your feelings of self-worth, your work, your relationships, your sexuality?
The biggest way I can think that I am still affected by the abuse is in the difficulty I have with incorporating my sexuality into myself. I had to disassociate myself emotionally from my body during the sexual abuse, and I still find it nearly impossible to feel my emotions at the same time that I am sexual. So it's like I'm another person when I'm with someone. And I'm ashamed of that person. When I was sexually touched and fondled as a kid, it was humiliating, disgusting, terrifying, and degrading. To want sex, or even to want physical attention, seems like a betrayal of myself, of the child who went through so much pain because of an adult's sexual desires. I know intellectually that sex is natural and an important part of an adult romantic relationship, but emotionally I don't separate sex from abuse. And I can't separate my adult self experiencing sexually from my childhood experience of sexually. So I revert. I flash back to being a kid, and the terror and discomfort I felt, and I cope in the same way that I did as a kid, I disassociate.

It's bad and scary when I go someplace else when I'm making out with someone- I sort of blank out. I don't know that I'm doing it unless the person points it out. What's worse is I get these feelings in the back of my mind, feelings of sadness and abandonment. Instead of feeling closer to someone I'm having a physical relationship with, I feel more alone. I guess because when I flash back to being a kid, I re-experience the isolation I felt of not being able to tell adults what was happening, and even worse, when I did I was yelled at and punished, not rescued or supported. Some of the abuse happened in front of other kids in my family, which made me feel deeply ashamed and embarrassed around my peers.

I think sexual abuse is usually, if not always, extremely confusing for the child- the abuser often grooms their victim by initially being very nice, even doting on the child, using the child's natural need for attention and affection to build trust and loyalty. Then, when the adult crosses the line into sexual attention, something they were planning to do all along but is completely foreign and incomprehensible to a child's understanding, as a child you think you must have done something wrong. I thought I had been too receptive to this man's attention, even though I had no way of knowing or even understanding that an adult would target a child for sexual gratification. I thought I could get it to stop by making it clear that I didn't want his attention anymore, sexual or otherwise, and continued to blame myself when I couldn't get him to stop.

So for me to even be receptive to someone sexual advances, even now that I'm an adult, somewhere in the back of my mind it reinforces the idea that I am responsible for other people's sexual desires and I am leading them on. Even worse, if I initiate physical affection with someone or express that I like or want it, I feel like a WHORE. I feel so disgusted with myself. My sexuality, in the immaturity of my child's mind, caused these horrible things to happen to me. Any acknowledgment of my own sexuality feels like self-betrayal and evidence of my culpability in what happened.

I feel like I'm the prosecutor in my own trial, or the defense in my abuser's. I'm still fighting this one out, and losing. Actually, the prosecutor/defense is winning and I'm paying the price. I don't know how to stop though. I keep playing this out in my relationships, where I date people who are pushy and aggressive, making me feel re-victimized but also in some sick sense easing my guilt because clearly the other person is driving the relationship and anything that is wrong is their fault. I am conditioned for those kinds of relationships. In "normal" childhood development, you are supposed to be self-absorbed and focused on your own wants and needs when you're young, the me me me stage. Then you learn as you get older to take other people's feelings and needs into account. In abusive and otherwise dysfunctional families, the parents are the self-absorbed ones and the children are taught to meet their needs, not the other way around. I, like many people out there with less than ideal childhoods, reached adulthood without a very clear sense of how to get my own needs and desires meet. This is the big challenge with relationships; they have to be two-sided in order to work. I usually end up feeling drained and unsatisfied, not surprisingly, since I tend to have one-sided relationships that are driven by the other person. And I still blame myself when they fall apart.

To compensate, I'm then attracted to people who are emotionally unavailable. They don't force themselves on me, which is good. But these relationships are not satisfying either because I'm still not getting my emotional needs met. So I try to win them over by being really great and charming and irresistible, which never works for some reason. (That's a joke, by the way. I'm not that irresistible.) I feel ashamed for even having needs and wants and desires, and working that hard trying to get someone to pay attention to those is embarrassing to me (and, again, makes me feel like a whore. What a terrible thing to think about anyone, especially myself.) If I am having sex with someone who is emotionally unavailable, it also reinforces the idea that I am only good for sex, another really damaging lesson I took from the sexual abuse. I am especially haunted by my parents' reaction when I told them about the abuse (my dad threatened to beat me senseless and throw me in the car if I tried to resist going to the abuser's house, and my mom had no discernible reaction) because message I got was that I really don't have any worth beyond satisfying the needs of other people. I tried to confront my mom about this just a couple years ago. I asked her if she and my dad believed me. Her response devastated me and destroyed any trust I was still holding on to towards her or my dad. She said they DID believe me. I asked, amazed, why didn't you do anything? She said she thought I could handle it myself.

I've gotten to the point in my life where I can reach out to friends for emotional support. After everything that's happened in my family when I was child, and then losing my biggest source of support when my brother died and realizing that my dad has no empathy for me and my mom is incapable of being there for me, I feel a lot of insecurity about my ability to have relationships that go any farther than that. I doubt my ability to trust and rely on other people. I really want a meaningful romantic relationship with someone, maybe even a family, but I feel SO far from that. Sex is like a giant obstacle to a "normal" life. If I could have a sexual relationship with someone without flashbacks and it triggering all these bad feelings I associate with my childhood, if I could feel good about wanting physical affection and not be ashamed or guilty, if my relationships weren't dysfunctional reenactments of the wreckage of my inner life, maybe I could grow into something better than what my upbringing set me up for.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


In November, 2005, I bought The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis. It is THE self-help book for survivors of sexual abuse. For a year, I picked it up, flipped through it, read some part and got freaked out and put it down. Then the end of 2006, I started reading it. I got to page 92.

Last week, I realized that it was unlikely that I would ever feel comfortable with my own sexuality, not regard it with disgust and respond to my sexuality with self-loathing, unless I really committed to dealing with what happened to me as a child. (To be clear- I don't have a problem with other people's sexuality, just my own. So other people don't disgust me, I disgust myself.) I've thought about the book a lot in the past couple of years, and told myself about a thousand times that reading it, all of it, and do the writing exercises, working the book and using it to really deal with all my feelings around the abuse, was something I had to do in order to move on. But I find the whole topic abhorrent. I hate thinking about it at all. I feel angry that I was given this burden, but not that angry. Mostly I feel really, really sad.

The pain is somewhat similar to the pain I feel over my brother's death, overwhelming, limitless, like looking at the ocean disappear into a thin, watery blue sky, but it feels very different. I think of the loss of my brother, and it feels like someone is beating me over the head. I think of the sexual abuse, and I feel like a jagged, serrated sword is twisting through my internal organs. When the despair of Jeff's suicide washes over me, it makes my head feel like it's going to explode. When the despair of the sexual abuse overtakes me, I catch my breath and my chest tightens.

Yesterday, I started over with the book and made it to page 37. Laura Davis, who was sexually abused herself, says in the preface that:
"It's been my experience that every time the subject of incest comes up in any kind of personal way, I reexperience the terror I felt as a child being abused." (page 22, third edition)
Of course reading a book about it brings it up a lot, which is why I avoided it. While reading those 37 pages, I wept, especially when reading the experience of someone I could relate to. I stopped reading after a half hour, and went to the kitchen to get a bowl of cereal, weeping the whole time. I sat on the couch and cried. I packed my hockey bag and drove to practice, crying the whole time. After practice, I cried while I drove home. I feel like I could keep crying like this forever, and never stop feeling sad and hurt and damaged. I feel like I could grieve for the rest of life over what was taken from me, over the way I was introduced to sexuality at such a young age, over how I was forced to separate myself from my feelings and my body to survive, the numbness, the twisting up of my insides, the betrayal. In that way, it is like the grief I feel over my brother being taken from me, that it goes on forever, but the sexual abuse cuts deep into my sense of self. It is shame over who I am down to the core of my being.

Even though deep down, it is not about anger or revenge, if I could have one thing it would be to be able to give this pain back to my abuser, to give all the pain to all the abusers out there. Abusers minimize what they do, rationalize and make excuses, but if they knew what this felt like for their victims, they couldn't do that. If they knew and felt this despair, they wouldn't be able to live with it. Live a life of sickening terror.

I made a 4 month plan to finish the book this time. I have other books, about being sexual when you are a sexual abuse survivor, about rape and recovery and PTSD workbooks. If I can make it through this book, the book that's scared me for so long, I think I can take a step forward in getting better. I'll never be "normal" but maybe I can be happy with who I am. I don't think the people I know realize how far I am from that now. I have an idea of what I'd like it to be, though.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Korean spicy beef soup=way good; kim chee, seaweed & other sides=way awesome. Still a yogurt.
Sore muscles from hockey+1 hr deep tissue massage=way painful & GOOD. I feel like a yogurt. My eyes won't focus anymore.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The coin purse Carrie got me in Brazil


Don Cherry after Game 1 of the 2009 Canucks - Blackhawks playoff series: "Here's Wellwood, seven-and-oh in the faceoffs, plus-two, two assists, played 20 minutes, drew eight minutes on the power play, lost a tooth and a pint of blood. What a guy."

Thursday, June 04, 2009

No more time machine

I've been slightly bemused with the traffic my blog has been getting due to a post I made last year- How to Build a Time Machine. While I would love to think this is due to my amazing writing, it actually because I linked to a picture of a time machine, and people searching for a picture of a time machine have been ending up on my blog. This is great and all, except it makes my site meter stats completely inaccurate as most of my traffic is in fact NOT due to my amazing writing, rather to Google image searches. So when I look at the detail for the blog stats I get a little depressed at how much real traffic has dropped off due to me not posting regularly.

I totally understand this, as there are websites that I check regularly, and if the author isn't posting I get disappointed. I wish they would post something, anything, so I know they are still out there thinking of me, their loyal reader. Then I feel guilty about how I'm not writing on my blog, and the emotional distress causes me to decrease the regularity with which I visit the site. Then I turn to Facebook, the social networking site for those of us with short attention spans and a passion for spending way too much valuable time marveling over the coolness of our friends and collecting electronic flowers and minions for our zombie/vampire army. (Last night, Conan O'Brien made a joke that Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube were combining to make the biggest time wasting internet site ever- You Twitface.)

So I bit the bullet and cut the link to the time machine picture, which I anticipate will reduce my traffic significantly, but hopefully motivate me to post more often, thereby generating actual traffic from people who might like my writing or something. I feel apologetic about my writing right now, though, because I am so tired of myself that I don't imagine anyone would want to read more than 140 character Twitter-limited musings. But here goes.

In other news, I am planning my annual Denver-New York travel whirlwind of standing in front of lots of people I see once a year for the purpose of lecturing them about Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulatory compliance that you should care about, just maybe not as much as I do. My work group (Internal Controls & Compliance) travels a fair amount, not as much as Internal Audit but still a lot, and we have already exceeded our annual travel budget. This is not a monumentally big deal since we can't help it that we are so awesome that people keep asking us to do special projects for them that require more travel than we budgeted for, but in the interests of being a good corporate citizen and team member, and since I am a manager now so I should care about the budget, I put my thrifty skills in action planning this trip. With only one layover (in Houston, on the way back from NY), my plane tickets from LAX to DEN to LGA back to LAX are less than $400, which seems pretty cheap. That's about $28 per hour of flight time. Unfortunately for me, that's almost 14 hours of flying, not counting driving to the airport, security, boarding, waiting, etc.

I'm leaving L.A. Monday morning (June 22) and leaving NY Thursday evening, which saves the cost of a hotel room Sunday and Thursday night. (Plus, it doesn't cut into my hockey that Sunday. I have two games.) I'm only in New York for one night, which is kind of a bummer except that its so expensive and I don't really like New York. Last year, $320 for the hotel per night x 2 nights; this year I found a room in a nice hotel in midtown for $169. I don't know which is more shocking- that it cost that much last year, or that I found a room at Dream hotel for $169.

Since I won't have time to check luggage with my tight schedule, I'll be trying to get my best score yet on the "how light can I pack?" game. My products have never been so tiny. My clothes have never been rolled so small. Those security guys at La Guardia can kiss my hiny.

Some other work related observations: I really don't like working alone. Spending all day by myself in my office is really boring, despite all the work I have to do. I don't like spending all day in meetings either, because I get nothing done, but I guess I need some balance between the two. Productivity is such a tightrope walk.

On the subject of productivity, my work computer, just today, started making a little pinging noise every time I get an email in Outlook. It is kind of cute. I don't know if there's any connection, but at the same time my volume controller disappeared from lower bar and my computer is stuck on mute, and the Java symbol appeared for no apparent reason. The symbol is adorable and all- I guess it's supposed to be a coffee cup with steam coming out of it, but since the "steam" is red it kind of looks like an oil lamp or a volcano teacup. Mmmm, volcano tea. I don't really understand why it is there, though. and where is my volume control? Time to call IT.

Go Penguins!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Navel Gazing Numbness

Yes, I am in this photo but the other women can distract you from me, who I'm sure you are sick of just like I am, and I am posting a picture of other people on my blog but not actually writing about them so it's okay. I don't sound too neurotic, do I?
(The Chill in Phoenix, May 24, 2009)

I think about stuff to blog about every day, but my writers block lately is me. I'm sick of writing about me. This is kind of a challenge since my blog is about me. I could write about people besides me, but I feel sort of ethically weird writing about other people, especially people who might read my blog. Not that I want to rail against people I know, I just don't want to gossip about my friends on the internet. It seems not so right, a good way to alienate people, and would make me resemble a character on the TV show 90210. I'm not morally opposed to declaring that show is even stupider than the original, so I would like to avoid resembling it in any way.

I'm just generally tired of myself and my problems. This hasn't been helpful in trying to find a PTSD doctor. The bigger problem is that all the people recommended to me don't take my health insurance. I didn't think my insurance was so crappy, but apparently you have to be independently wealthy to get mental health services in this town. I am so fed up with dealing with the PTSD every day that I don't have the energy or desire to spend my free time calling doctors from my insurance's website and trying to figure out if they have any idea how to help me. This is starting to remind me of when I was living in San Francisco and my stomach, migraine, and anxiety problems were, like, MAJOR, and I went to all these doctors who were supposed to know something about this kind of thing, and none of them could help me. (Except a homeopathic doctor, who was trying to treat my migraines and ended up fixing my thyroid, which had a lump in it. I was really impressed when the stuff he gave me totally got rid of the lump, and so was he, considering it wasn't supposed to do THAT.) So I ended up taking matters into my own hands, read a bunch of alternative medicine books, figured out that by cutting dairy out of my diet the migraines almost totally went away, which lessened the stomach and anxiety problems considerably. Recently I thought that maybe a good idea would be for me to actually read and use all the PTSD books and workbooks I have. and I totally intend to, it's just that I am too tired and tired of the PTSD and tired of the inner workings of my emotionally damaged brain to motivate myself to do that right now. Blah.

If only hockey was a treatment for PTSD.

I think it's helping me at least keep my head above water, but I could just be thinking that because I am a total hockey addict. It does get me out of my head which seems to help. Not just because it is physical, but also because it is so social. and maybe even because it is a lot of other people's drama, which gives me a break from my own. I feel bad admitting that I find distraction in other people's problems. I dislike that aspect of sleazy talk shows. It is different in that I am also participating and sharing my own difficulties, and I empathize with my friends and don't look down on them. So I hope it's not the same. It's just nice to focus some of my attention on other people. I was in Phoenix last weekend for a hockey tournament, and I spend the whole time with my wonderful hockey friends- playing, cheering for friends on other teams, driving (really slow, since they are HARDCORE about the speed limits there), eating, sleeping (I had 2 roommates), getting carbon monoxide poisoning- good times. Exhausting, and now I am sick with a cold, but so totally worth it and I mentally feel a lot better having that break from my "normal" life.

I'm even starting to like guys again. I feel bad admitting that too- that I was not feeling so great about the male gender. I hate feeling that way. I am not at all comfortable with stereotyping groups of people, and very critical of myself when I do that. It's not that I changed any of my basic beliefs. I still think that there are good people and bad people and almost 100% of people are shades of grey regardless of gender, and the only difference is what you're able to get away with and what you choose to and are interested in getting away with depending on the social standing of the various groups and circles you're a part of, and you're own moral compass. My co-ed team seems to have a lot to do with my growing comfort level with that other gender. Kind of funny since it's not like my team is entirely made up of well-behaved gentlemen (not surprising since it's a HOCKEY team). All the fighting and stick-throwing temper tantrums aside, most of the guys are really pretty nice, funny, and good humored, and almost excessively apologetic when I am taken out or "JFK'ed" (my teammate managed to hit me in the head with his shot after I was ran into and knocked down by another teammate, followed by 2 defenders from the other team falling on me- good times.) Most of all the guy who got me on the team, who's response whenever I ask him if he regrets getting me on the team since I am by far the suckiest player and I am convinced the center who keeps running into me would love to have me off his line, is something along the lines of- yes, you suck but not that bad for someone who's only been playing for a year. I asked you to be on the team because I thought it would help you get better and you will and its just for fun anyway so don't worry about it. HONESTY. I like that in a man.