Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jason's Excellent Adventure

I tried to post pictures while I was at Comic Con, but it didn't work for some reason. The one to the left is the best. We were wandering the floor and I saw 2000AD! They are a British comic book publisher that does Slaine the Horned God and Judge Dredd, among others. I haven't seen their comics in many years (since the early 90's when I first moved to Seattle) and before the internet got going I had a hard time finding anything, despite that I worked at 3 different comic book stores in Seattle and frequented others and comic book conventions. Oh, how times have changed. It used to be that I was the only girl for miles at comic book conventions and I was treated completely different at the comic book stores than the guys, and now I can go to Comic Con, which is HUGE and absolutely crawling with fantastic women. God/Goddess bless progress.

So anyway, I started talking to the genuine British guys at the 2000AD booth (they all had killer accents) and they told me to come back later because a lot of their titles had been held up at customs, including Judge Anderson. Judge Anderson is a character that basically works alongside Judge Dredd, although I wouldn't really know since I could never find her comics back in the day. So when I heard that I could get possibly get a Judge Anderson graphic novel if I came back later, I swore I'd be back. So we went to find hats with ears and eat lunch, and then went on a quest to find the 2000AD booth again. If you've never been to the San Diego Comic Con, the floor is massive and it's so crowded you are literally inching along, and we mis-remembered the area the booth was in and had to look it up in the guide, and they put it under "T" (two thousand AD?) and my cousin was giving almost nil odds that they actually got their shipment, and yet, lo, we discovered the elusive booth hiding in the corner, and lo! The table was teeming with shining graphic novels and Mr. Pat Mills and Mr. Clint Langley. (Look them up, oh comic book geeks.) As the universe shone upon my enthusiastic endeavor, I struck up a conversation with a graphic designer for 2000AD who found me my Judge Anderson graphic novel, D.R. and Quinch, and recommended his favorite Judge Dredd story, and asked if I might like Clint Langley to do a sketch for me. Why, HELL YES I would! So Clint Langley proceeded to take up assorted sharpies and draw, in front of my very eyes, the picture of Judge Anderson you see above.

I officially declare it the most AMAZING INCREDIBLE MIND BLOWING memento of any convention or other such event EVER.

Random naked angel chick, with kitty

In other spectacular news, my oldest rat Jason escaped from his cage the other night and had an excellent adventure. At least, I assume he did. I woke up and he was running around the living room. I startled him and he ran under the couch, but when I called his name he came over, and I scooped him up and returned him to his cage. I actually keep his cage door open most of the time because it is up on a table and he usually shows no interest at all in doing anything but standing on top of his cage and waiting for me, or staring down at the little rats. But I'm glad he got to break out and be free. He had a special gleam in his eyes when I put him back in.

This is actually Miroslav and Zeus in the picture, my little ones. Miroslav is getting quite large, almost as big as Jason. Zeus is the little one, but he keeps out of the way. Miroslav and Keith are boxing rivals, and Miroslav and Jason spend a lot of time squeaking at each other in between the cages. Keith is not particularly social, but Zeus is even though he is shy. Miroslav is not afraid of anything, and Keith is just not that interested in hanging out, but Zeus tentatively looks for attention. If you hold your finger out to him, he almost always licks you. This morning he was pressed against the cage so I rubbed his belly. He seemed to like that very much. Jason's big thing is having his ears rubbed. He closes his eyes and gets very relaxed. Even after having pet rats for so long, I'm still amazed at how individual they are and how much personality they have. Rats are my animals. Social, inquisitive, shy but outgoing at the same time- they are the ultimate survivors and can adapt to any conditions. They are my little superheros and inspirations.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I recently finished EMDR and physical therapy. It is kind of a relief. I was going to physical therapy during lunch, but since two new people started on my team at work, I haven't been taking lunch most days. The good news is that my shoulder seems about a million times better. The bad news is that my knee started hurting again after I went down on it last Sunday. The additional bad news is that I am out of physical therapy sessions under my insurance, and that my insurance sucks. The good news is that I have exercises to do at home that should help, and ice. After 4 months of physical therapy, I'm pretty clear on the process.

The EMDR is meant to be limited to about 8 sessions. I am a little worried about backsliding. It seemed like the EMDR really loosened some things in my brain up, and I don't want to feel like those things are hardening up again. I am a big fan of progress. I am also a big fan of inertia though. With everything that I was doing, it seemed like I was constantly running to appointments. Now I only have my regular therapy once a week. It is a lot less hectic. Only without an appointment or something planned after work, I have a tendency to just keep working, especially if I'm engrossed in a project. I dislike multitasking. Actually, I think it's a crock. You don't really do two things at once, you just switch from one thing to the other. Often times, I spend most of my day at work running from one meeting to another, so spending an hour or two on one thing and getting something completed is almost relaxing by comparison. Plus, I get a rush of anxiety-relief that is much better than any of the drugs I'm taking when I get something off my plate. Chow down.

It's not just work though. If I'm awake, I want to stay awake. If I'm in bed, I want to stay there. If I'm eating, I want to keep eating. If I'm reading, I don't want to stop. Whatever I'm doing, I usually want to spend more time doing it. I'm constantly leaving for things late because I don't want to stop what I'm doing. I linger. I want more. Even when it comes to grief. Sometimes it seems like I don't want to stop grieving. I feel like if I stop grieving my brother, I'll loose the immediacy and powerful feelings his death hold for me, and his memory will become pale and thin. I might forget the little things- the way he spoke or laughed or was like to be around, and he will just become a distant memory. Who he really was will be replaced, the way that when you haven't seen someone in a long time in person but you've seen their picture, you'll think of their picture when you think of them. It's a memory of a memory. If I let go of the anger at my dad, I feel like I'd be letting him off the hook. I want to seethe at him a little longer. I want to send him my psychic disapproval until I get results. Since the EMDR is supposed to be time-bound, and it is supposed to lessen the intensity of the traumatic memories, and the power they have, it does seem like a conflict. I feel unsatisfied somehow. I haven't discover how to feel at peace with things that will never be resolved. I will not get justice for the wrongs that happened. There are things I don't remember. I remember how I felt when I was 7 or 8 years old, how afraid I was of my dad, the things I did to protect myself like keeping my room messy so I could hear him come in at night or the mess would just dissuade him from coming in, hanging bells on my door, and hiding in the closet. I even woke up before dawn and hid in the yard even though I was allergic to the grass. I remember doing those things, but I don't remember what happened that made me so afraid of sleeping. Memory of a memory.

I have intense dreams. I have quest dreams where I'm searching for answers. I had a dream last week that I was on a crooked game show, and I decided to investigate the host. I walked around with a tiny video camera and filmed places he'd been. I gathered enough evidence to go to the FBI, and he was arrested for some type of financial fraud. Even after the arrest, I felt there was more. I looked back at one of the films I made, of women who were being arrested for prostitution. There were signs that they were human trafficking victims. I saw his face in the background and decided he must be involved in a human trafficking ring. I went back to my investigation. I woke up wanting a tiny video camera, and wondering if there is any way to get the police case against my dad from 20 years ago reopened.

In my last session of EMDR, we revisited the first memory we did the treatment on, of my dad beating me when I was 17. She asked me what bad feelings I still had about myself connected to that memory. I told her I still felt shame. It triggered a memory from when I was about 8 years old and we were at my grandparents. I was upset about something my dad did (I think he yelled at me in front of the whole family and I felt scared and humiliated), and I started to cry. My family walked away and ignored me like I was a little kid having a temper tantrum about something stupid. I couldn't stop crying and I didn't know how to comfort myself, and I rubbed my feet together, almost like it was involuntary, until I rubbed the skin off and they started to bleed. I felt the most intense feeling of shame, like all my feelings and everything about me was entirely worthless. I wanted to float away into the sky. In the EMDR, she asks me to focus on the feelings in my body and let them develop. I felt tightness in my throat, like I was being strangled, and pressure in my temples. The feeling moved down into my chest and shoulders, where it felt heavy and painful. Then my elbows felt tingly, and my hips ached. It moved into the tips of my fingers, where it felt like electricity, and the back of my knees itched.

Instead of flowing out of my body though, it took root. Little wisps of energy turned into cables that reached into my hips and elbows, and met in my chest. There it fed on the fear and smallness I hid inside myself, along with the light airy silliness I kept from my parents so they wouldn't pick on me and my vulnerable places. The strength and resilience I used to protect myself on the outside fused with the delicate and creative inside me, and wings grew out of my back, supported by a structure inside me that reached from my toes to my fingers, anchored by my hips and my chest. The feathers on the wings were delicate and beautiful, but even if some were bent or came out, the wings were still glorious. I had a helmet on my head, but it was flexible, like a leather aviator's helmet. It didn't cover my eyes or ears, so I was protected but not blocked off from the world.

It was a complete reversal of everything I thought I had to be to survive. I thought of my strength as being on the outside, like a suit of armor or a box, and my feelings as a little mouse, suffocating and near starvation in the protective prison inside me. Instead of feeling mushy and empty inside, I felt solid. Instead of feeling hard and inflexible on the outside, I felt open and tingling with energy. The wings felt so strong and resilient but flexible and airy. Their structure infused my whole body with their power. Their beauty glimmered around me. I was transformed.

I turned to my family, smacked my dad down with the wings, and flew away.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

let’s not forget – that keeping wildlife, an amphibious rodent… uh, that ain’t legal

I was all excited because blogathon 2010 was coming up, and suddenly it's not on anymore. It was going to be July 31-Aug 1, and they were blogging about all the new charities you could blog to raise money for, but then the website announced that they were taking a break until 2011. Needless to say, this was very disappointing. While staying up for 24 hours to blog every half hour was challenging, and I was getting a little loopy around 4 am, it was also rewarding and fun. It was a challenge I enjoyed, and definitely inspired the "blog every day in December 2009" personal blogathon I embarked on. Those two blog fests were responsible for 49% of my blog posts last year, and I was hoping to up my numbers this year with their help. Alas, I am undone.

I have no idea why blogathon is off this year. (The website is quite unhelpful- legal issues, burnout, the entire team went to Haiti to do relief work, zombie attack...we may never know.) I was all excited to do my thrilling essay, "Why my life is like an apocalyptic zombie movie, with rats". In this 48 part series, I would explain why horror movies are the perfect movie metaphor for child abuse- the isolation of no one believing you or being able to understand, the terrorizing of children by the superhuman power of adults, even the non-abusive ones, trying to communicate with zombies, the false rescue, the desperate struggle for survival, resolution and determination (the "attach a chainsaw to your arm if that's what it takes" effect), living in an alternate reality, difficulty in living a normal life after battling flesh-eating savages (the "get a motorcycle and wander the desert looking for people to save" effect), companionship with rats- it would be a masterpiece. The follow-up essay, if I ran out of stuff to say before I hit 48 posts, would be "Conclusive evidence that 'The Big Lebowski' is a brilliant send-up of 'Chinatown', and how I can't believe no one else thought of this". I really have to write both these essays, like, right now.

"Hmmm, as soon as I poke that army guy's eyes out with my thumbs, I'll write a brilliant essay and be the toast of the blogosphere."

Oh well. At least Comic Con is still on this year. This year the goal is to not spend the whole time in line. I am going with my cousin and meeting up with my friend Lori. She will be dressing as slave Princess Leia, and has been dieting for about 3 months so she can look fabulous in her costume. (I think she would look fabulous anyway.) I, on the other hand, was going to make a punk-rock Alice from Alice in Wonderland costume, but got exactly zero percent of that project done with my volumes of free time, so I am going in the same Elektra costume I wore last year, only 10 pounds heavier thanks to the weight I gained when my knee was injured and was never able to lose. The goal is make Lori feel especially good about herself by wearing a skimpy costume even though I totally don't have the body for it anymore. However, I do plan to achieve a goal even more important than avoiding lines, which is to spend the one magically day I have at Comic Con with people who don't ignore me the whole time while texting people they'd rather be with. Of course, last year I had blogathon 2009 to amuse me while waiting in line and feeling lonely.

So, I am expecting a better Comic Con experience this year, but still missing blogathon. Actually, I just had an idea. I could hold my own blogathon on August 26-27. See, I created "blog every day in December 2009" to help get me through the month of December, since I hate Thanksgiving and Christmas because of the sexual abuse I was subjected to at my great-uncle's house on those holidays, I miss my brother, who I grew up with, especially intensely at that time, and Jeff's birthday is December 31. August 26 is the anniversary of my brother's suicide, and what better way to get through a day of horror than to write about horror films. The only problem is that it's a Thursday. Back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Destroyer (or Transformer)

My therapist and I have been struggling to communicate lately, and I think we finally figured out why. I told her a couple weeks ago that I felt like her and my other therapist (for EMDR) keep wanting me to be angry at my mom. It seemed they were always changing the subject back to my mom, especially when I was talking about my dad. Saying things like- how does it make you feel that your mom stood by and witnessed you being beaten, and did nothing? Meanwhile, I'm thinking that the bigger issue is the terror I'm feeling towards my dad. I get the idea that mommy issues are much more compelling, not just for my therapists. What can you say about a man who beats his own daughter? Not much. He is a monster. He is hard to even think about understanding. Plus, it's disturbing and shocking and the kind of thing most people don't like thinking about. Mothers, on the other hand, we just love to dissect under a microscope. Was it her mental illness, her upbringing, her ambivalence over having kids, her denial, her fear of my dad, her confusion, her love for my dad, her jealousy? We could psychoanalyse her all day. Plus, most people has mommy issue to some extent, whether its that they were too critical, distant, overbearing, guilt-trippy, excessively open, needy, etc. It's a lot easier to relate to difficulty with your relationship with your mom than with a father who beats you, whether you are a therapist or a friend. Lots of people have tried to give me helpful advice about my mom, everything from being understanding because she's mentally ill and she wasn't the abuser (not exactly true since neglect is abuse) to cut her out of my life. Most people don't have much to say about my dad.

That might not matter much except that I'm still waking up in the middle of the night terrified of my dad. I go to bed afraid of him. I'm still keeping my room/apartment cluttered to alert me if he tries to sneak into my bed. I'm suppressing rage towards him. I still get a sick feeling when I think of him. I blame him for corrupting my brother and taking him away from me. I resent him. I hate him. I fantasize about the day I can spit on his grave. I'm afraid of being like him. I'm terrified of what he did to me that my mind hid deep in my subconscious. I wonder if I'll ever know. All roads lead back to him. I wonder if I'll ever be free of his influence. I wonder what life would be like for me if I no longer cared. I carry his threats and mistreatment around in my heart like a cancer. His demeaning of me still motivates me to try to prove my worth. He is the monster under my bed. He is my nemesis.

So I want to talk about him. I want to talk about all the fears that twist me up inside. I want to talk about how I don't feel good enough because he didn't love me. I want to talk about all the ugliness inside me, and how I'm afraid his hatred will infect me. He scares me so much.

It took me the whole hour, but I finally expressed that to my therapist. I'm sick of talking about my mom. I want to talk about my dad. Even with all the issues I have with my mom, my dad was the one who made me fear for my own life. Most of the odd things I do and illogical ways of thinking I have come from coping strategies I used to survive him that are holding me back in the present. The chaos in my life comes from him. He is the biggest monster in my life, the biggest mountain to climb and reach the other side. I don't even have a clue who I'll be if I can do that, free myself from him programming. I will be different. Maybe more confident, less suspicious. Maybe happier.