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A Way To Life

Multnomah Panorama

I did a very brave thing.  It’s not a thing that seems that brave.  I mean, if anyone else had done it, it would probably have been no big deal.  This weekend, I actually drove down the driveway of the house that I lived in when I was growing up.  Well, was driven down the driveway, to be more accurate.  The point is that I went down the driveway – at my own request.

Now, it doesn’t seem like a brave thing, to go down the driveway of one’s childhood home.  People do that sort of thing all of the time.  I’ve even heard fairy stories about how people return to these places because they feel SAFE there.  For most, I guess it’s not that traumatic or unusual an event.  For a select group of us, however, it’s a bit like going to sleep and saying, “Hey, I’m going to close my eyes and lose consciousness specifically so that the nightmares have something to do tonight; I invite them into my head and my desire is to run the night with them, toss and turn, getting no real rest, finding no peace in the quiet.”

Don’t get me wrong.  My entire childhood was not horrible.  That home where I lived from the age of five until the age of fourteen, it taught me a lot of lessons, and made me fall in love with a lot of things in life that have served me well.  On that forty-acre farm I learned to love the land.  I became a part of the animals, a part of the plants.  I learned to feel the heartbeat of Earth, herself, travel her flowing waters, traverse the very veins of her that give life.  I’m sure that it was there that I began to feel the stirrings of the web that was woven around me, and the particular fibers spun out from me that would be followed by some, tugged on by others.

Many of my personalities were developed there, and they were created to enjoy or perform certain tasks, so in some ways, I think I got a fuller experience, was able to manifest interest in more areas than my friends and family who are all stuck in one mode of being.  If this mental disorder that I have is responsible for making my life today difficult, it also has come with some blessings that I never fail to recognize and even, on the good days, be grateful for.  I’m sure that, on more than one occasion, my dissociative disorder has saved my life.  Our lives.

The thing is that when I return to any place from my past, I’m not only returning to memories of a past time, but I literally become the person from my past.  It’s not the action of watching a movie; it is being the action.

I will attempt to explain for people the difference in how someone might react “normally” (and I use this word reluctantly but can think of none to replace it) to returning to a place that invokes childhood memories, compared to what I experience in such a place.  There are triggers in seeing certain things that wake up in me states of being that were present at the time that memory tracks were laid down.  The Awakened One turns his or her face up and out, vying for a portion of my thinking consciousness.  When I am faced with stimuli that spawns many different presences to come forward, then they are all speaking, feeling, being, all at the same time.  Things don’t feel as if they are in my past, but in a current, present moment of beingness.  That state of being is very different from my “normal” (there’s a form of that seemingly inescapable word again), current self.  My “now” self gets lost and I often can’t even feel parts of my body.  The first things to go are my face and my hands.  My mouth has no feeling, and my speech seems forced through lips of wax that don’t belong to me, my fingertips numb and are unable to send signals to my brain regarding the things that I am touching.  Perhaps my brain is too busy to devote precious resources to things like mere physical feeling.

It works like this:  As I take the gravel-covered dirt-road to the old farmhouse, I see that the mailbox has moved.  It’s on the opposite side of the road – at the top of the driveway, and not across the road.  The Artist me sees it and remembers crossing that road many, many times, admiring the details of everything, longing to take out a graphite pencil and trace the lines of it all onto paper.  She would sit and look at things until she could merge into them and BE the thing.  She‘d then try to spit that experience out on some sort of canvas using all sorts of mediums.

As we turn into the driveway, the Little Girl me who used to walk to the bus, the one who was terrified of everyone and who cried before school almost every morning, is surprised at how short the driveway seems and that it is not at all as steep as she remembers.  The cold feeling, structure, and even the smell of the green metal bus seats come back to her as she recalls boarding the bus, plopping down and immediately staring at the ice crystals formed on the glass of the window.  She loved creating fantasy kingdoms in her mind and making up the people who lived there – while hoping that no one would speak to her and draw her back to the real world where there were no beautiful Ice Castles.  She remembers the tears running down the cheeks of her mother on some mornings, and her mother saying, “But, you HAVE to go to school, Deneen.  They’ll put me in jail if you don’t.”  I don’t know why she was so frightened or upset, this Little Girl me – but I remember her being so as those feelings are brought into the “now” of my existence.  The “now” me feels sorry for the mother, and understands better now the mother’s position.

Glancing at the bank that lines the red-muddied & graveled road, I remember climbing it, pretending to be a mountain climber.  I fantasized about actually being a mountain climber, and in my mind, my feet KNEW where to find the small outcrops to gain leverage  to propel me up the side of steep cliffs!  All of this practicing made me unafraid of heights and jumping off things.  I became one with the earth that I was using as my personal gym.

Once, while I was playing on the bank in this manner, I encountered a snake and met the “Me Who Fears Snakes”.  She screamed her first scream, my not knowing where the sound was coming from until I puzzled out that it was emitting from my own open mouth.  Silly, really, because “I’VE” never been afraid of snakes.

The Male personality, who is somehow tied to the mountain-climbing-person, sees the curve of the drive and pays attention all the way down because he LOVES riding his bike down this road!  He goes very, very fast, can ride with no hands, can ride standing up on the pedals – with no hands – just coasting so fast, the wind whipping through our hair, laying into the curves with our body and feeling the delicate balance of being caught between fast motion and the gentle pull of gravity.  We come to a gravel flinging skid at the bottom of the hill.

The side of me that loves burying her toes in freshly turned soil, who loves picking ripe strawberries, hot from the sun, and popping them into her mouth, who brings her mother the huge cucumbers thought to be past their prime with a request that they be peeled for her, this Earth Connected part of me mourns the loss of her gardens as she sees the barren soil to the left of the driveway, bearing only fences and grass as its current fruit.  Where are her grape vines?  Where are the mounds for the strawberry vines?  Her heart sinks as she recalls losing more and more of her blessed plants on other occasions – but those are other stories and will be told, some god or gods willing, at another time.

The Suicidal Girl barely can stand to rest her glance upon the spots where she sat, wishing to die, trying to not want to die, crying into her skirts, or wetting the fur of her dog’s coat while she murmured and wailed into his side, muffling the sounds from those who might notice or come to ask her what was wrong.  She’d learned a long time ago that she should never REALLY answer that question.  No one really wanted to know what was wrong.  People wanted her to say that nothing was wrong, that she was fine.  She was expected to avoid people, or if caught up by one, to smile and express her joy so, when so caught up, she’d go away and step aside for one of us who could properly handle the social interaction.

There are more people present than these.  Some of them are smiling and playing.  Some of them are screaming.  Some of them are cutting grass or kissing boyfriends.  I think that the above descriptions are enough to reveal to you.  I’m aware that most people aren’t used to dealing with the idea of a constant parade of people marching through their skulls.  Especially simultaneously!

For most people, they may see their childhood homes and be stricken with overwhelming memories and images – but they aren’t thrown into several States of Being at one time as I am.  At least this sort of thing does give all of the people inside of me a chance to try to all be present at the same time so that we can all become aware of one another and the parts that we all play, and that can lead to co-consciousness and better cooperation inside this splintered head of mine.

This visit was only possible for me because I had a strong, accepting person along for support.  It is critical for any person with any sort of psychological or metal disorder to have supportive people around.  Without them, we rarely have the strength to begin traversing the frightening and difficult roads to facing our demons.  After all, my personal demons are so disruptive that they literally split me to pieces – and I have yet to even meet all of the pieces I am, or gaze full-face upon all of the demons who helped create the me’s.

Now that the voices of the people inside me are awakened and all jostling for attention, now that even more memories are pouring in, I wonder how long this road will be and who and what events I will encounter.  Living a life where one can crumple into a ball of dysfunction over things as simple as spotting a certain stitch on a quilt, or hearing a certain phase, enduring the internal screaming and the overwhelming panics that plague the inside of my head (because God forbid that we show the public our ACTUAL state), it all begs of me certain questions.

Number one:  Will I ever be well, or is “normal” (that damnable word again) functioning a pipe dream to me?  Is trying to integrate the right task, or should I further suppress everyone inside of me and smother their voices and panic and build a “functional, dissociated” me?  A walking shell that seems normal?  Should I be the literal manifestation of a zombie?  Living without life?

Number two:  And this all follows the attempted logical thinking of number one – Was going down that driveway, searching out my demons ACTUALLY brave?  Or, was it simply the stupid act of a woman desperate to try to fit into a life that makes no sense?  Am I destined always to be the square peg beating the crap out of myself, trying to get into the round hole that is “normal” functioning?

I don’t even care if I function normally.  Just help me function any way!  Any way at all!  And help me not to die.  I’m not praying to any one.  I’m just making a general request as is my right to ask the Universe since I am a being who has been given the spark of life and conscious thinking.  Help me to use it.  Help us find a way to life in some sort of consistent manner.  Help us to want to live the life we‘ve got – whether or not we can EVER make any damn sense of it.

Dedicated to:  My Support System (You know who you are.)

Thanks as always to:  Jim Dollar Photography We love your work – and we love YOU!

Posted in Dissociative Identity Disorder, My Inheritance, My Life Today, My Personalities, Where Am I Now?.

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