Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’

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.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjPqsDU0j2I

I spent a few weeks wondering how to continue this blog, mostly because I have nothing really to complain about. No pressing issues either really, that I find I must write about lest I explode.

But then one night I caught up with friend back in Canada, who said to me that there is no word really, for the change that’s happened. Not a victim, not a survivor, but something more. I remembered also the moto (?) of my blog: Learning to thrive… I think I’ve gotten to that place where I can honestly say I am.

So… I’ll continue this blog from there. An update:

I’m almost done the ulpan program (learning hebrew) on the kibbutz after 5 months. I decided to stay here in Israel and apply for citizenship. I’m looking into doing a year of volunteer work (instead of the army, which I’m not obliged to do, since I’m 25). I’ve also returned to singing, and have as a long-ish term goal to study voice in university.

I’m in love. A fact I’ve deliberately kept out of my blog the last few months so I won’t jinx it. He’ll be coming here too.

I also discovered Israel has a winter season. I had scoffed at the Israeli idea of winter. But I’m currently huddled in fleece pjs and sweater. I’m still cold.

I’ve also discovered capability that I didn’t have previously – Its not a big deal to work and learn six days a week. I have no money, and that’s also not a big deal. I’m in a new place, with a new culture and new language and the threat of war.

And I find myself extremely happy.

 

It’s weird when you realize how much of the brainwashing still lingers. Even weirder when you have all the evidence you need in front of you to refute what you’ve been trained to think.

Right now, I speak of intelligence.

Being brainwashed into believing I am an idiot really wasn’t that difficult, since I really didn’t think much of myself to begin with, given that I lack basic education from grade 5 on, I didn’t graduate high school, and I dropped out of university and college.

Being in class for a full day half the week is draining. It took a while to get used to. I don’t know how to study or how to have the discipline to do homework. I don’t know how to organize notes, or note-take effectively.

Plus I thought I forgot all the Hebrew I knew. And grammar exercises kill me with their tediousness. I can’t sit still in silence with others. The chairs and desks are uncomfortable. And I hate looking like an idiot if I don’t understand something.

But –

I just got my last test back. I got 82%. Which I found really surprising since I didn’t study. And I got really restless halfway through and rushed through the work so I could leave.

Which makes me wonder –

how much intelligence would I possess if I actually applied myself? If I knew how to apply myself? If I had real confidence in my innate intellect so I could expand on it?

It also shows how deep the psychological disturbance runs. My first test I passed (barely) with a 55%, the second, a 73%. And now the 82.

They weren’t even sure if I would be able to manage the more advanced Hebrew class, a class which I now find somewhat easy, if tedious with all the grammar.

Point is, that my grades and my language skills expanded rapidly once I finally realized that I can learn this and that I am not a moron. Cause I think to myself (or say out loud anyways) that I am intelligent. I didn’t really think this was an issue. But it was.

Makes me wonder how much more I am capable of doing, and excited about the untapped potential.

Every night since I was a child, I would cover myself in piles of blankets. I would sleep with my blankets cocooned around my body, pulled up to my ears. Didn’t matter what the weather was, I needed to have at least five blankets over me.

I never really fell out of the habit of needed to keep myself warm at night. My grandfather joked about it a few weeks ago when I said how cold I was at night, even with my sweater and socks and pj pants. I smiled at his joke, but the safety I find in being buried under a pile of blankets goes deeper then a physical need for warmth.

It’s not something I ever really thought consciously about, even during summers when I’d have to cocoon myself at night to the point where a/c didn’t do enough, but I had to sleep with a fan and without clothes and was still hot.

I get it now that I really have no privacy, living with 40 some other people in co-ed dorm-like buildings. Especially since last night I had the best sleep yet in Israel because I had a real blanket, plus sweater and socks and pjs. It was a relief to wake up in the middle of the night because I was too hot. And I wrapped the blanket around myself even tighter.

I was thinking about that last night, the womb-like cocoon of blankets. It’s something I’ve only ever done when sleeping on my own. Cause once someone else is there, the sense of safety has already fled. Imagination can’t be worse then the reality lying beside me. Or something like that.

Bottom line: blankets equal happiness and love and (mental) safety and (mental) security.

I hate days when I end up craving the oblivion of narcotics and benzos. Today is a day when it feels like it’s all crashing around me. The last two-ish weeks have been really awesome. But without really thinking about it consciously, last night I crumbled beneath the weight of the fun. When I wonder when it’s all going to crash around me, it starts to.

When I start feeling guilty for making friends and having a life that is totally my own, I know how far I still have to go. When I feel trapped and cornered when the barriers are purely in my mind, it drives me even more insane.

So I break under the weight of small things, and the physical pain I’ve been experiencing and brushing aside for weeks flares with such intensity, I curse the stupidity of detoxing this year and wish I still had a bottle full of painkillers.

I napped over two hours this afternoon, a desperate attempt to ease my exhaustion and escape the pain for a while. Which worked while I was asleep, but now I can’t quite move. And not being able to move makes me panic. It means I am trapped.

And so the carousel continues to turn.

It’s the small realizations: how far I am from those I love, how foreign everything and everyone is here, how I still can’t, for the life of me, admit I feel like I’m dying from pain today. How innocent the other kids are here. And I realized yesterday that they really are kids, posing as badass miniadults. While I found it amusing and cute observing this, I can’t help but wonder at the badass stories of those who say nothing, but have the same half smile on their faces. And the thought I love most of all “what the fuck are you doing here, you’re just a whore”

Bleh.

Time to go lie in the grass to catch the dying rays of the sun.

I hate uncertainty. I need clarity in all things. With that in mind, I hate even more when I allow the filters through which I was taught (brainwashed) to see the world to influence me. I know where those lenses came from. I know why I think this way. So why can’t I stop it?

While I feel free here in Israel in a way I never have before, there are times when I pause in terror of conflict or potential conflict. This includes times when I’m asked where I want to eat, whether I want to do something or not, what do I think of (blank)…

Then there are the bigger things. I’ve finally loosened up to the point where I can not only interact with others, but I’m actually having fun. And then I feel like shit for having fun. Like its so exhilarating, it must be wrong. I half expect some sort of punishment to fall on me.

Fun has come in the form of dancing mostly. This week drinking also, since I’ve realized if I’m not set out to destroy myself, it’s okay. And drinking doesn’t mean drunk. Drunks freak me out. But so do clubs.

Anyways. I avoided clubs and dancing for the longest time. My experience of going out to dance included seeing how many guys I could lure at the urging of my ex. This was when I was recently exited, and had turned down stripping jobs (as if that would have eased me out of the lifestyle. NOT). He knew all this. That’s why he got a sadistic kick out it (just like he did when I broke down crying cause I didn’t want to work anymore in any aspect of the trade). Not to mention being molested in clubs by drunks. Which my ex thought was funny.

So. Dancing. I went dancing before I left for Israel. It was a transformational experience. It had nothing to do with seduction, pretense, performance. Just feeling the music. Was amazing.

I don’t think I’d be able to go out now if I hadn’t that night. The only thing I care about is the music. No one else matters, nothing else exists, it doesn’t matter what I look like.

This is intensity. Reaching the moment where I am so overcome by the beat that I lose my Self in the moment. I dance smiling like an idiot cause it’s the greatest high.

Unfortunately, I later come back to myself. And with returning self-awareness there condemnation and doubt, even though I know there is no reason for it.

But I think to myself of the way I have gone out of my way to avoid people who party or drink in any way. Avoiding, but not judging. So why do I judge myself? What am I judging myself for? What is harmful about enjoyment?

I feel like I’m heading in the right direction, doing things I would not have been able to do months ago, even. Its amazing. And terrifying.

It’s a learning curve that feels more a twisted maze.

Free choice. Something that I really didn’t have for most of my life. Whether it was from doctors, being overly medicated, being pushed into choices due to disability, to being dictated to by a multitude of abusers. One would argue I never had to make any real decisions of my own.

I say ‘sure‘ in response to most things. My ‘sure‘ is not an agreement, but neither is it a disagreement. It is a neutral yet polite and positive response to something I have not yet made my mind up about. And it may very well take me a long time to make my mind up, because I like knowing my choice comes directly from me. I dislike any hint of being pushed in a direction I am uncertain I want to go in.

However, sometimes it borders on ridiculous. I answer ‘sure‘ as if I still am somewhat expecting a violent reaction from others. Which, to be honest, I am. There is a tension still there when a decision to be made is directed to me.

And yes, it is a lot easier to just let someone else make a choice, and go along with it. Which is what I typically do. And which is what I can’t really do here in Israel, where people really know their own minds and voice it.

I’ve even been told that being here is good for me cause it’ll force me to learn to make choices for myself. Which I completely agree with. But it is a statement that also makes me feel very much like a child.

Meanwhile, it is my choice to be indecisive about a lot of things. I choose to take time to make my mind up about things.

I was thinking about this cause it’s been really hard and draining, the last several weeks. I had a moderate freakout which lead to a shared cigarette and buying makeup and earrings for the lobe piercings I retired long ago. Which really isn’t a big deal on the surface, but in my mind it was the first step back into oblivion.

However, smoking made me realize why I stopped in the first place (it’s really yuck. I had to decontaminate myself afterwards). And wearing makeup does not make me look like a whore. Nor do multiple earrings.

Which made me look at why I kept thinking like that, and realizing I’m still internalizing J’s abuse long after his exit from my life. I just figured he was right: I was a whore, therefore I looked like one. So I tried to eradicate any lingering ‘signs’ (weight, clothes, hair, appearance, everything). Which is ridiculous. And brings me back to choice. Perspective too, since anyone who is human could be a ‘whore’, and what does that word mean anyways? Cause it’s really not applicable to me, despite what I lived through (circling back to choice).

Anyways.

So I essentially said fuck you in my head, and hoped he got the message, wherever he is. And went late to class this morning just to put on some makeup.

I did my nails too.

🙂