Friday, December 31, 2010

Old Man 2010

Since its the last day of 2010, and my brother's 33rd birthday, I felt the need to recap the year. First, though, how crazy is it that my brother would have been 33 this year? He was 19 when he died. I'm 38 until my birthday in January. Jeff always teased me on his birthday that he'd only be 5 years younger than me until my birthday. My boyfriend is 6 years older than me, except between my birthday and his in May.

This year has been difficult with all the work on my PTSD and trauma recovery, sleep fears and nightmares coming to the forefront, and my hockey injury at the Vegas tournament in January 2010, but not as bad as last year. The biggest influence in my life this year has been JW, my boyfriend. He is helping me heal and work through a lot of my issues. The most dramatic success has been with my sexuality. For the first time, I feel totally physically comfortable with a partner. I was really surprised at how natural and comfortable it's been. Amazing since my first boyfriend in L.A. forced himself on me, and my brief foray into bisexuality with a physically aggressive closeted woman. I think a lot of it is that I didn't do anything with him before I was ready, and he didn't pressure me. It has been more complicated for me to deal with my difficulty trusting and jealousy. JW has been very patient, and it's got a lot better, but it was a slog at times, and I feel bad for dragging JW through my struggles. But we help each other, and our relationship is healthy and strong and worth working for and trusting.

Hockey continues to be a big part of my life, and my relationship with JW. Our first date was at a Kings game last December, and this season we took was seemed to me to be a big step, we are sharing his season tickets. He has a deal with another guy where JW officially has two seats and the other guy has the two seats next to him, but they pool the tickets and each get four tickets for half the games. I have one of those seats for half the games. I'm a season ticket holder! Before that, I got to experience playoff games in person for the first time, with JW, when the Kings played the Canucks in the first round. The Canucks were my team, my first team, but I decided that as an Angeleno and Lady King, I had to support the L.A. Kings in the playoffs. It was painful, but the playoff games were completely exhilarating and worth any team loyalty angst I had. Another first was going to the Vancouver Winter Olympics with JW, and seeing two men's hockey games and two women's games, including Sweden vs Canada where I got to see my friend and teacher Maria Rooth play in the Olympics! I spent the Olympics limping around in my full-leg knee brace for my MCL tear in the Vegas tournament, but by the Phoenix tournament, where I got really drunk and jumped into a pool at the hotel in my underwear.

I wouldn't say this was a major life disappointment, but one of my disappointments this year was the season finale of Lost. I was one of those devoted Losties who watched the show from the beginning and rushed home or to the nearest TV every week to catch the current show. It took me three months or more to come to a conclusion about the way Lost was concluded, but I finally decided that, as a long-time watcher and loyalist, the ending went in such a different direction and dropped so many mysteries without explaining them, that I felt screwed. Fringe filled in the gap left by Lost nicely. This season has been stellar, much more than the it seemed in its X-files influenced beginning. Being Human came back, and was pretty awesome until my DVR failed to record the season finale. Doctor Who also came back, with a new Doctor and companion. Frontline continues to be my favorite show, along with the other PBS news shows Newshour and Washington Week with my hero Gwen Ifill. I also discovered some entertaining, if not particularly deep, new shows- Hawaii Five-0, Burn Notice, and Community. I have to give a shout-out to Walking Dead, which started a little slow, but turned into the show I couldn't wait to watch and stayed up late for (along with Fringe). Damn, I love zombies.

More firsts- went to the House of Netjer annual celebration in Chicago for the first time (amazing, can't wait for next year), joined a new co-ed hockey team with much less drama than my last co-ed team which I quit along with one of my high drama women's team (still a Lady King of course). Some seconds- Comic Con and Christmas with my fantastic friend Beth and her adorable babies (a little over one year old). Also, I discovered Brendan Brazier's Thrive vegan diet, and got a couple days into it before I got super-sick and didn't have the energy to prepare the very nutritionally conscientious meal plan. I felt fantastic for those couple of days, so I can't wait to get back to it. Now, I can't wait to get back to New Years Eve with my sweetie. Happy New Year everyone! Happy birthday Jeff!!! I love you. See you in 2011.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rat Dreams

I dreamt about rats again. I started with two rats, an older and younger one, but then a third, even younger, showed up in the cage of the original younger one. The older one was bigger and looked a little crotchety, and they were both in tiny cages that were way too small. Someone in the dream offered to build them a new cage. He started with the older rat, and used an aquarium. The problem was he actually took the aquarium concept literally and filled it with water, so the poor rat was swimming around with a pathetic look on his face. I knew he shouldn’t be in water, but I had to ask someone else in the dream just to be sure- “Rats can’t live in water, can they?” “No, you need to get him out of there.” So I drained the cage, which worked fine without the water. Then I worked on making a cage for the two younger ones, but I had to do homework as well. I was in school, and the classes seemed familiar. I think I dreamed about being behind in the homework for these same classes in another dream. The first class was for something related to history, or literature, or political history…protesting figured heavily. The political history of protesting? The literature of protest? Something like that. The homework was a combination of reading and watching documentaries. At some point someone from one of the documentaries, about farm workers, came out of the TV and tried to turn it off. I said, “Hey, I’m watching that for my homework!” He said, “You’re building a rat cage.” I said, “Yeah, that too.”

My parents were in this dream too. I was living with them. They didn’t figure prominently. My dad was annoyed that I was up late in the basement doing homework, and my mom was playing supportive. My dad was an additional stressor, but that was about it. I was hiding in the basement from him though. I was always afraid of the basement when I was a kid. I had dreams about being chased around down there.

Right now (in awake world) I’m eating a vegan breakfast in day one of my experimental vegan athlete diet (Vega). It is a twelve week diet from a book. I am trying it out. It is free from common allergens- gluten, soy, corn, as well as dairy, eggs, and meat. I am hoping I might get more energy, be sick less, and lose some weight. If I feel better in 12 weeks I’ll keep going, and if not, I’ll stop. It was time-consuming getting started. I spent several hours yesterday grocery shopping, on top of an hour last Thursday and many hours compiling my grocery list. There is a lot of fruit and vegetables, seeds and nuts, and things I’ve never bought before like hemp protein and brown rice miso paste. Then I spent about 3 hours last night preparing and cooking for today. I made yam pancakes (no flour), energy bars, a salad, salad dressing, and a smoothie. So far it tastes pretty good. I really, genuinely like vegetables and most “health” food, so I am lucky. It’s not such a stretch for me to switch to this diet. I do like preparing food too, although I hope it doesn’t take quite so long every time. This is a pretty serious diet.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

It's a hard knock life

I've got to a point with sleep that I just can't stand it anymore. I haven't been able to get up in the morning; my subconscious won't release me. I talked to my therapist about it, and we talked about what was going on for me when I woke up. She made some suggestions, everything from getting a coffee maker with a timer so it would smell like fresh brewed coffee when I woke up to writing first thing in the morning so I can access the things in my subconscious that are trying to get out in my dreams/flashbacks. JW helped me pick out a coffee maker last night after we had an anniversary dinner (since our anniversary on Tuesday I was on a plane back from NY and he was working). He cuddled me to sleep last night, and then I threw on my PTSD guided imagery mp3's for good measure. I set the alarm for 5:30 am, and woke up by 6 am (I am capable of hitting the snooze for hours so 30 minutes is fantastic) feeling great. I got some coffee and cereal (always ravenous in the morning) and wrote this:

This is day one of giving my subconscious a VOICE. I usually have very detailed and vivid dreams, but I woke up today sweaty but not in the middle of something. I listened to my guided imagery last night, so that might have helped. Last night/morning, I dreamt I was driving a really nice, red sports car, but I couldn’t control it. The brakes didn’t work sometimes, and sometimes they were VERY sensitive. The steering was the same way. I kept thinking how great it was that I had this fantastic car, but damned if I could drive it. Seemed like a pretty accurate metaphor for my life. I have a great life, my dream life in a lot of ways, but I often feel out of control and that it’s not quite working because I can’t get it to do what I want it to do. I’m afraid of crashing and destroying the whole thing. I want to reach into my mind and see what is going on in there. There is a primordial soup of pain and fear and longing that wants to get out. I want it to get out. I had a vision a while ago, in EMDR, of these feelings growing out my back into large, beautiful wings, anchored in my body by a core of strength and resilience that came from my earlier experiences. The wings are kind of a dirty white, almost grey, but they are stunning and gorgeous and strong, and they can do what I couldn’t do when I was a kid- strike back with incredible force or fly me out of there. My rats are like little envoys from that place inside me that the wings grew out of. They are creatures of survival, smart, clever, resourceful, adaptable, resilient, but also full of personality. They are funny, sweet, loving, social, and curious. They survive, but that’s not all they are. They are strong and persistent, but also cute and sweet. They are my spirit animal. We understand each other. A rat in human form has wings though. My therapist thought my superhero power was holding all the pain and anguish and despair of my childhood away from me, but my superhero power IS that pain and anguish and despair. It’s what my strength grows out of. It’s the primordial soup of my life.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


Welcome to December, 2010. Last year, I blogged every day of December because it is such a difficult month for me with visions of Thanksgiving and Christmas family horror and my brother's birthday on December 31. This December, I am still struggling with a lot of anxiety and flashbacks, but when I look back on the year I feel like I've made a lot of progress. I've done a lot, too. Besides continuing with my therapist, I started seeing a psychiatrist and taking anti-anxiety medication to "take the edge off". I tried EMDR therapy for PTSD. I got physical therapy on my shoulder that was damaged in a beating from my dad as a kid, along with therapy on my knee after tearing my MCL in a hockey tournament in January. I think if I had just continued working with my therapist I would have dealt with a lot this year, but throw in the other treatments and this has been an intense year.

I have a new anniversary in December this year- on December 7 I will have been with my boyfriend, JW, for a year. Our relationship has impacted everything for me- he's been my support system, my best friend, the person who is always trying to make me laugh and made the hard times so much more bearable. The man is a saint. He is so patient and kind, caring, and considerate. He's helped me feel less like a problem and a disaster and more like a strong and desirable person. He sees my moods and emotional struggles as normal and understandable. He is safe. I can be myself around him, even if myself happens to be confused, pulling my hair out (or banging my head against a wall), and wailing against the world. He still loves me just as much as when I'm sweet and lighthearted.

Plus, he is sexy, funny, fun, wicked smart, interesting, unique, goofy, and intriguing. He looks like a grown-up skater boy, which is a look I find totally hot. I love watching him play hockey, and he is the most amazing hockey geek and gear head. He knows so much and sees so much. He notices things I glaze over. When we go to the warm-up before NHL games he sees variations on the equipment I would never notice. He thinks I'm sexy and that makes me feel sexy. I'm free to be myself around him, and I've discovered that inspires me to odd animal sounds. I make dinosaur noises after we have sex and it seems perfectly natural. (I didn't even know I knew what dinosaurs sound like before I met him.) We connect with each other. I feel emotionally in tune with him, and his intellect fascinates me. I could learn about the way he sees the world for the rest of my life and it would never get old. He loves animals. I love animals. I love his dogs and cats, and he loves my rats. All these connections and comfort I have with him results in the most amazing physical relationship I've ever had. No one has ever made me feel the way he does. I've never been so present with anyone, so able to really be there mentally and emotionally when being physical.

So this month, December daily blogathon month, I want to write about this past year, how my life has evolved, and how wonderful my year with JW has been. I'm sure I'll still struggle this month with the holidays, but I know it will be a different experience because I won't be alone with it. I'm building a new family to share/survive/enjoy the holidays with. I was thankful for that on Thanksgiving this year and Christmas seems a lot less daunting because of it.