Posts Tagged ‘abuse recovery’

I just returned from my voice lesson. A very disappointing lesson. Let me start of by saying I found the best music teachers here in Israel. It is my goal to be able to apply to university to study music next year. This means a lot of work on my part.

I’ve also improved more in the last two-ish months of lessons then I did over the span of a year in Canada. I think part of it is the assertive (aggressive) Israeli spirit. There is a certain lack of tact that is very refreshing (which also took a while to get used to). But when my teacher is communicating (yelling) at me, I have no choice but to listen. And it works, wonderfully.

Today, however, I encountered some difficulty in my lesson. My back’s been hurting, probably due to the oncoming winter and the sporatic torrential rainfall of the last few weeks. I don’t know if its a real pain, or a body memory. For 14 years any change in weather meant increased pain levels and limited mobility. I suspect it is a mixture of both.

Anyways – it is my body that is the instrument. Which means I have to feel 100% in order to get 100% sound. The tension in my back threw my ear off. I couldn’t breathe properly, and I could feel I was forcing my voice too much, and as a result, I was off tone.

My teacher asked me about that. And I didn’t say anything. I didn’t say the truth. It wasn’t until I left and walked towards the bus that I realized why:

I didn’t want to come off as weak. Or like I was making excuses for myself.

So instead, I left my teacher with the impression that I’m working on this beyond my current capability. And I left that lesson extremely disappointed in myself. Doubly so when it hit me that I reacted as if I would be penalized for being in pain. And then I wanted to cry.

So.

I have to own up next week. Because I am capable.

 

I’m now almost a week in Israel. Which is awesome, and beautiful. And hot. Omg, the sweat. The heat sinks into your skin and clings to you, even in air-conditioned spaces. Worth it, totally. Even if I occasionally wonder why I thought it was a wonderful idea to come in the summer.

I think I’m finally getting the picture for God’s plan for me here. The earthly plan is for me to go to a kibbutz, study and work for a couple months. Which is not 100% precisely my idea of a vacation. BUT! I get why this is such a genius plan for me.

Basically, I need to know I’m capable. And I know, I really do know that I am a capable and functioning person now. This just throws me into life. Putting theory into practice. Cause that was a huge fear of mine for years — that I would forever be trapped in a drug addled mind only able to stare into space and act out in destructive ways.

I proved myself wrong on that front. But 1. I’ve never had a normal job. Was never capable of having one. 2. I tried and failed to go back to school. Several times. 3. I had no sense of worth.

The third point is the most important one. That’s taken care of.

Its the doing stuff that I (now) know in my mind I can do. I’m no longer functionally handicap (by which I mean I could pass, on occasion, for being like any other healthy person for short periods of time and a bit of creative thinking with what I said).

But being here, healthy, is weird. In a good way. But weird.

I went today to a village in the north to see some artwork. The same village where my family wanted to send me to ‘get better’. This was, like, 6 yrs ago. But they couldn’t deal with me. And I couldn’t even being to think of how I would deal with being around other people in a foreign country. I could barely leave my house. So that trip was spent pretty miserably. I thought I hid my rage well. I probably didn’t.

Last night, walking in the dark with my aunt, she asked me in a couple different ways what happened? how did I change? She came to visit my family 3 years ago. She pointed out that she could hardly talk to me, I was so out of it. Totally true. I also remember that at the time I put in massive effort to appear normal (functional). Also a fail.

It’s a really weird question to answer. What happened? I was raped again, moped around, and woke up.

Its the “woke up” part I have trouble explaining. I was made to be chemically brain dead by psychotropics and narcotics.

Yet, this is what I knew:

1. God was there while I was being raped. God loves me. God hates seeing me in pain. For once, I wasn’t angry at God.

2. My mind cleared once I realized I wasn’t angry. The zombie-making effect of the drugs left enough for me to really focus on and grasp the things I was compelled to research, some of which is somewhere on this blog in a rant. Something stuck, and pieces started falling together. I knew how fractured I was, and how, systemically, every part of my body and mind and spirit had been rapidly breaking down.

3. I finally found the will to live. This was different then my willingness to simply remain alive, and if I die… whatever. Everyone will be better off anyways, right? I began to burn with a desire to LIVE.

4. K, so, it took 6 weeks to detox. I was getting off everything at once, which was comparable to getting off herion and/or cocaine. And the psych-meds are supposed to take a couple years to totally leave the body before it’s able to rebalance itself. Six weeks. Seriously. At the same time I changed my diet, so I had the carb-flu at the same time. But I’m fine.

5. Really, God wasn’t there? How easy would it have been to give up, to go back to shit that would eventually kill me but that I was used to. This was before I managed to repair the fragmented parts of myself. Through the worst of my self-worthlessness, I’d remember almost dying, and God’s loving embrace. And the words that it’s not my time yet.

What happened?

Um. Transformation that has lead me here, to Israel. To accelerate an already rapid journey in becoming all that God intended.

I saw my gp yesterday, since I’m leaving the country and all. I used to see her at least once a month (narcotic refills), sometimes more often cause there was always something physically broken with me (a reflection of my mental state).

She walks in, stops, and comments about how happy I look.

Yes. I am. But I wasn’t happy to be there. If I still took valium, you can bet I would have downed a couple.

She’s nice. A good doctor in that conventional way, where drugs are the answer for everything, and she thinks my getting off all my meds and firing my shrink is extreme. And I guess I can understand that. People diagnosed as bipolar and borderline aren’t exactly known for clear, rational thinking.

Anyways, I just smiled. I’m not gonna get into my issues with the pharmaceutical industry. Especially cause I know my words can be twisted into paranoia. And therefore I should take a mood stabilizer.

Whatever. I find it really triggering. So I was in that kinda antsy mood all day where I felt I had to shake myself off to feel better. I always feel violated when seeing a doctor.

My day turned out to be really awesome though. There’s a young adult service at church on tuesdays. My reserve is (incredibly slowly) crumbling. But considering I used to be unable to leave the house, and my pathological silence several months ago… It’s not that bad.

What was really awesome about last night was that I allowed myself to actually sing. Turns out I’m a lot more comfortable singing when my voice is drowned out by everyone else. That’s not the awesome part though.

I never trusted my voice, that was the problem. My former vocal coach would always be telling me to ‘release the brakes’. When I can’t hear myself, I can just let go in a way I’ve rarely been able to. Actually, its more then that. Its the need to join in song. A feeling that’s stronger then my need to hold back.

There are notes in the upper register (think soprano), called head notes. You know your singing them when it’s like your head is vibrating with the sound of the note you’re singing. It’s really cool.

That’s the place I got to last night. Where I could feel every note ringing true. The music was alive thrumming through my body.

I’ve talked before of my love of intensity. And my need to lose myself in what I’m doing.

Who knew I could find both at church?

About the song posted, it’s one of my favorite arias. I used to sing it for fun. I haven’t tried to in… years. I still love it. Also, it seems more appropriate then metal.

 

Twice this past week I had someone mention the advocacy work I did as a teenager. This is something I tend to forget I ever did. It’s like the way my life veered off track undoes all the good I did. That I am unworthy for giving up and not finishing or returning to the work I started.

I was a youth advocate for those with chronic pain. I had the first website written from a child’s perspective on living with pain, and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award when I was 13. I gave speeches to hundreds in various health care professions and was featured in various forms of media.

Then, you know. Sh*t happened.

Anyways, my buddy on the west coast was saying I’m becoming that person again. I had to have him elaborate cause I had no idea what he was referring to. I had shut out all that good stuff. I didn’t think it was relevant in any way. To my thinking, I failed. The end.

He pointed out that the person I was becoming then is the person I am becoming now. More of that ‘reaching my potential’ he’s been telling me about for years, and that until recently thought was total bullsh*t.

Then I had a new friend at church comment on that previous work, since apparently I linked to it on FaceBook and promptly forgot about it.

It was another one of those moments where it’s like being hit by a two-by-four.

BOOM!

Ya, I get it.

The positive direction I was going in to help others is exactly the direction I’m heading in now. Just different area of interest.

But the me that I was becoming is the same me that I am now. Just a bit older, bit wiser, bit more confident (okay, a lot), and more filled with purpose.

Thinking on it, the way I am now is very much like the way I was as a kid. And I like that. A lot.

I got a bit of a shock this morning when I saw my reflection. I reverted back to my natural hair colour a few days ago.

Where as the blonde hair was a passive fuck you to people no longer in my life (which actually just harms me, so what’s the point?), the red hair was trying to find comfort cause I like red. But red dye fades fast.

I ended up with a feeling of wrongness whenever I saw my hair. It’s inauthentic. That was the problem. I feel the same way when I wear heels, or makeup, or when I say/do something I’m uncertain off. That sense of obligation I cannot stand. How red hair equals obligation I’m not 100% sure. It just does.

So ya. Shock this morning in the mirror.

I haven’t had my hair my natural dark brown since I was 13ish. I’ve coloured it black, which is close, and which is why I was taken aback.

That first glance didn’t show my appearance as it is now. All I saw was me, anorexic with heavy eye makeup and short, straight black hair and a bunch of piercings.

I blinked, and it was me again.

It’s still a bit jarring. Like a part of me is expecting to get a verbal lashing for not having my hair straight. My brain is still catching up to my current situation, which happens to be Freedom and Confidence and Love.

I can’t run away from myself with dark hair. I couldn’t when it was blonde or red either. But it stuck a bandaid over my emotions regarding my appearance. I can confront myself now. I can look in the mirror and see exactly who I am, know who I am. So it’s okay. It’s safe, in a very scary way.

I think I finally get it. I’m not 100% sure what it is I get. I just know it all finally makes sense.

So my best friend lives out on the other end of the country. I got to talk to him a couple days ago. And got to hear his I told you so.. Not smugly, just pleased. He’s seen me as the person I am now, the person I’m becoming, for about 5 years now. Which in the past would anger me to the point I would completely stop talking to him. Now, I’m just really thankful that there was at least one person who didn’t see me as I was, but as I was meant to me. I know you’re reading this. So huge hugs and thank you 🙂

So ya. Everything makes sense. I cried for the first time in years last week. It was amazing. Like huge sobs wracking my body. In church. And I had strangers hold me and pray for me. It was awesome.

I saw a guy in the mall on the weekend who looks just like J. Who nearly killed me. Instead of running off (which is something I usually do when I see anyone I used to know, may know, or reminds me of someone I knew), I went up to him, introduced myself, and blessed him. And then ran off.

I’m also going overseas in a few weeks. Til the end of October. I’m super excited. I’ll be there for my birthday. So I’m expecting to have an incredible celebration. Which includes not being raped and having to pretend everything’s okay and then pressing and dropping charges.

So since I’m leaving, its given me a chance to rediscover the city I’m in. Which is kinda what prompted the post titled My City. It’s actually a nice place. Which I never really realized before.. I was so focused on getting out, running away, escaping, that it’s beauty completely passed by me.

My friend told me I should document all these changes that have been going on with me. Which is true. But I still have to catch up to all the changes.

I saw my therapist yesterday. And she was floored by how different I look. She stared at me and said You look like you’ve been reborn.

Ya, I have.

I need to unload a bit here.

My house is currently undergoing renos. The whole main floor, the spare bathroom in the basement, and the stairs going to the bedrooms upstairs. That is just the first phase. Second will be the rest of the upstairs. No idea about basement plans, but its already been tinkered with.

Anyways.

Having strange men invade my living space is disturbing to me. My old-ish line to myself of “I’m too fat to be attacked” or “They can clearly see my sister is the pretty one” (don’t judge me, I love my sister, but it’s true) can’t quite work for me anymore. Obviously, rape/assault has nothing to do with sexiness or attractiveness. I clearly know that. Doesn’t stop my thinking. Doesn’t help my discomfort.

So –

I’ve kinda been hiding out in my room since they started. And my room is not a place of comfort. It started getting really messy around the time I was almost strangled to death. Actually, mess is putting it kindly. It looks like a hurricane tore through. I guess you could say it’s now an outward reflection of my inner turmoil. Except I’m not sure how much turmoil I’m actually feeling anymore. So I’m not sure the mess really does anything for me anymore.

Even my bed has been a source of triggers. This is something I don’t talk about to anyone – the why’s of how I wound up crashing for over a year on the couch in the living room. Which I can’t do anymore. But, it being my bed, it not much of a stretch to imagine what has gone on in it. Shudder.

Which brings me to my next thought.

I f*cking hate – HATE – the city I currently reside in. I’ve lived here forever, and so many places here bring back things I do not care to be reminded of. Tonight reminded me of that. I was out with my parents, just to get a break from my room, and we went to pick up some stuff for our makeshift kitchen. Would not have thought that would be a source of triggers.

But as soon as I walked in, I wanted to get out. I looked longingly at the bus stop. Then it hit me. I had been there before. Why I would have been in that area, I have no idea. Not an area I would normally frequent. Regardless, in a flash it all came back. An seemingly innocuous memory… I was there with the same ex mentioned above, and he was telling me about a cosmetic procedure he wanted. Ridiculous – the guy was freaking gorgeous, but whatever. We then went in for a space heater, I think. No memory of what happened before or after that. Just the place. Which was enough to make me feel like I was about to pass out while in the store. I guess being stoic is both a good and bad thing. I panic, and no one can tell. Not that I would want anyone, especially my parents, to clue-in to my feelings. I was very glad to leave, however.

Sigh –

That’s been happening more and more. I wouldn’t call them flashbacks, because I associate flashbacks with the symptoms of PTSD… It’s more fragmented memories surfacing. Memories I didn’t think I had anymore.

Memories I do not want.

Because with the memories come uncomfortable feelings. Shame, guilt, disgust. In myself, mostly. I feel very uncomfortable in my own skin.

But I guess that’s part of the process, and I can accept that.

Stay safe ❤