Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ugh. Another holiday season.

Downtown Los Angeles on Thanksgiving evening, 2011
I survived another Thanksgiving. It wasn't that bad, except I listed my brother's Super Nintendo on eBay and that was kind of depressing. I am trying to de-clutter my apartment and I have boxes and boxes of stuff I'm trying to get some money out of. I also like selling things, as opposed to donating them, because I figure someone willing to pay money for them will really use them and enjoy them. I realize some people are compulsive shoppers and that might not be true, but it kind of bugs me to think that stuff that is so hard for me to let go of might go to Goodwill and just be thrown away. Not that I'm against donations. I've probably given Goodwill about 50 pairs of shoes since I've moved here.

So besides the tightening I feel in my chest when I look at the posting of Jeff's much loved 90's video game systems (which I look at a lot, I can't seem to stop checking it) I didn't feel that much angst about Thanksgiving, or as I think of it, the anniversary of the day I was sexually abused at my great-uncles house for about 8 years. One of the things that has struck me about the Penn State rape/child abuse scandal (beside how utterly f-ed up it is) is that many of the articles I've read allude to the way Mr. Better Be Going to Hell or at least Prison for A Very Long Time groomed his victims. I think society generally overlooks this part of child abuse. We like to think of pedophiles as slobbering, filthy lunatics, you know, easy to spot. Obviously this would limit a pedophile's effectiveness considerably. Pedophiles have to be likable, the kind of person you would trust with your children. At the very least, they have to not seem like a pedophile. Otherwise, they wouldn't get access to children, and children wouldn't trust them enough to be alone with them, and look up to them enough to go along with things that feel wrong. Children are not stupid, but the pedophiles that get away with what they do know how to control children, and adults. Sometimes it seems like the adults are even easier to control that the children. Or worse. What can you say about adults who accept and cover up for a child rapist?

Bodies. They can seem like a curse. The sins of the flesh, yadda yadda, but more than that, bodies can seem like the cause of all our suffering, the vehicle through which we feel pain that leads to fear. Our body is where we carry all the trauma we've ever lived though. We can be reduced to just bodies, and treated like just bodies. And when we die, that's all we are, at least that's all we appear to be. That's one of the reasons I like zombies. Death is really horrific. The most horror I've ever felt was seeing my brother's body in a casket, with all the life gone. He looked grotesque. His face was swollen and misshapen. His skin looked rubbery and cold. I don't think I could have felt more disturbed even if he had risen up from the coffin and started lumbering towards me. Someday, we will all be bloated, misshapen bodies someone will look at with disgust. There's something about zombie movies and TV shows that capture how terrifying death is unlike the stylized drama of crime shows, or the romantic denial of vampires. Zombies are flesh, and we are flesh. We live in a world of flesh and decay. I just watched the mid-season finale of "The Walking Dead", so I'm in an especially morbid mood. Great show, completely horrifying.

Los Angeles is a very physical place. There's no end to the things you can do to yourself. There must be thousands of different types of facials you can get here, everything from a gentle cleansing with steam and all-organic products to botox injections and chemical peels. It kind of amazes me that anyone goes for that- we're going to peel your face like an orange! We're going to burn off layers of your skin with chemicals! Fun! It is a great place to experiment with everything you can stand to put yourself through. Since I've moved here, I've tried naked female-only spa-ing, reflexology, all manner of massages, EMDR, self-hypnosis, guided imagery, physical therapy for the shoulder and arm my dad swung me around by, light therapy, psychic healing and readings... I could go on. A couple weeks ago I used a Groupon (one of the ways I've found a variety of interesting local services) for a lymphatic massage, cupping, and a colonoscopy. To summarize the experience, the massage felt very good but gave me a headache, the cupping hurt and made my back look like, to quote my friend Gabby, "I was hugged by an octopus" and the colonoscopy made me throw up for 12 hours. However, I did feel a lot better afterwards. This has been an interesting year of trying diverse ways to loosen up. I say loosen up because it feels like all the trauma and emotional crap I went through when I was a kid and was too young and too in the thick of it was shoved down so hard inside me that processing and releasing it is not like opening a faucet and letting it all pour out. It is like breaking apart solid rock with a pick axe and then passing the chunks like gallstones. It's all painful, and letting it go feels about as good as peeing sharp rocks. Anything that can soften the pain inside me and make the process easier and more effective is helpful.

It also feels like trying different approaches is not such a bad way to go. I do think a lot of what I'm trying to let go of is stuck in my body, and I don't usually feel like I'm wasting my time trying different things. It's like doing cross training or mixing up your work-out when you're trying to break through plateaus when getting in shape. My weekly therapy is a constant, and there are things I'd like to try again and things I wish I could find time for more often, like writing, reading and yoga. All these different "therapies" get expensive though, and I'm about at the point I'd like to focus in on what gives me the biggest bang for my bucks. While I still have some bucks left to bang around. But to get in the spirit of the holidays, I am thankful for all the options I have for approaching my healing, and the support I have from my friends, boyfriend, therapist, and other well-wishers. Hope you all had a fun (or at least tolerable) Thanksgiving!

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