Black Rock Utah, 2016

I've posted photos of Black Rock before on this blog, but now I have a fancy new camera that I am absolutely clueless about how to use.  Professional I am not, but the important thing was that I had fun.  It was definitely the breath of fresh air I needed.  Although I will say, climbing Black Rock itself is much harder with a gigantic hunk of expensive equipment around your neck.  Worth it.


(This is Saltair, just a short bit away from Black Rock itself)

The history of the place is absolutely fascinating to me.  It used to be a resort along with the dozens of abandoned others along the shore of the unforgiving Great Salt Lake.  I hate that now it's a quiet, ghostly abandoned shell of a meeting place, but at the same time I love the big middle finger the GSL gives to society.  It basically says, no, you can't come here and have fun.  Go away.  And I can really admire that.


Goodbye 2015.

I seem to perpetually go through patternless cycles of destroying parts of myself, re-examining what's left, clinging onto some shards of what I believe or feel that I am, and the rest of the time, assuming I know the answers to things I don't know the answers to, and learning the hard way that I know nothing and should better prepare for the unknown.  And this year more fervently and with more reckless abandon than any other, I seemed to tear down those old parts and ended up building something that I no longer recognize as either good, bad, myself, or not myself.  I don't know what I am or who I am.

I don't believe I have the answers anymore.  Maybe I was myself from the start, and I'm just in a boat, drifting farther away from whatever that was with each passing year.


My Father's Regret

I didn’t really intend to write this down or share it, but honestly it’s touched me so much that I feel compelled.  

Most of my readers know I come from an abusive home, and my dad in particular has shown more cruelty and unnerving violence than I’ve ever seen from anyone else.  Physical, emotional, mental, he had it all covered, and his favorite way to teach me lessons was either by inflicting massive amounts of pain and suffering on me, or on another person or creature that I cared about.  Most of my friends know this as well, though none of them really know the whole story, you can gather enough from the bits and pieces to see just what a viscous person he was, how badly he damaged me.  

I think most of us from abused homes have a touchy spot for loved ones calling our parents negative names.  It used to infuriate me when my friends called my dad a jerk, or mean, or made threats against him.  People never try to reason out what he’s done to me, they just abhor his actions and make that clearly known.  This does me, someone who has spent her entire life questioning her father’s motives, and his hatred both of life in general and of me particularly, absolutely no good.  I know he is bad. I can’t explain it, I just don’t want the pity.  I don’t want the negativity.  To most people in my life, my dad is a villain.  I deal with this the best I can.    

Years ago, I went to Tennessee and visited my lifelong neighbor, Phyllis.  Phyllis had two sons, both older than me, who both died--one in a car accident, one from drug usage.  She and I spent time catching up on her front porch in the humid Appalachian summer, and she asked me--had I tried talking to them?  (at the time, my mother was still alive.)  I could look through the treeline and see my old house, I knew my dad was standing outside listening to our conversation, but he’d made it clear that he didn’t want to see me.  I told her I had tried, to no avail.


PTSD and Dissociation

I've been meaning to write about this for awhile; sometimes I just think this blog gets so heavy (if you think that's bad, imagine what it's like inside my head.)  But it's important for me to talk about these things for a few reasons: one, it removes the stigma and explains so much about those of us dealing with mental illness, and two, it's something that people really do need to know--I had no idea, for years, how my 'mental fog' wasn't just me being stupid.  It was my brain's response to years of trauma, both physical and emotional.  Keep in mind I'm not a professional here...I'm just trying to help make sense of this from my own point of view.  I love learning about why my brain does the things it does.

It's defined very simply--a "disconnection."  You hear all the time about people, specifically in sexual assault situations, saying something along the lines of "I felt like I wasn't even there.  I was a spectator/I was out of my body/I couldn't say no or fight back."  This is a pretty severe example, but it's nonetheless a good example of what it means to dissociate.  Maybe you've been drooling at the wall during a lecture and somebody says your name, and you snap out of it, realizing that all noises for the past five minutes were a dull roar?  You were dissociated.  And it happens to all of us, and it doesn't only happen in traumatic situations.  After a long hard day at work, you might hop in your car or on the train and then end up at your house without remembering the steps it took you to get there.  Again, you've experienced dissociation.  I like to use "detachment" to explain it--you can still operate or function in some way (you're still breathing, possibly seeing, etc) but whatever is happening around you, you are detached from.