10.21.2015

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.


10.19.2015

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.



WHAT IS DISSOCIATION?
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.

10.11.2015

Autumn in Utah

I keep meaning to write about dissociation, and also finish my 28 Lessons list, but I can't help it, sharing pictures is easier to talk about and they're so gorgeous I just want to see them on my blog.  Can you blame me?




10.04.2015

Nine Year Anniversary

Conference weekend, (aka "Mormon superbowl weekend") has come and gone again, which means I have now been (mostly) in Utah for nine years.  It hasn't been extremely constant, I've come and gone, sometimes to very far places, but I always come back here.  It is my home, and I feel so proud and privileged when I get to say that word.  I don't have family here, I don't have the childhood experiences a lot of my friends have, but as an adult I still have this wonderful place to feel safe.

And when I feel safe, I get to go do things that are completely out of my comfort zone.  This weekend, that consisted of doing the thing I've wanted to do for years and actually put one pinky toe into the pinup world, and go to a car show.  I think everyone who knows me knows my affinity for the Atomic Age (let's not lie, that's Fallout's fault pretty exclusively) but I never had any idea where to go or how to get started.  Back in April one of my sergeants made a comment to me when I wore my hair in a bun with a flower, "You should do pin-up modeling.  You have the face and body for it."  I was shocked and thought it was a sweet and extremely inaccurate comment, until I talked to a few other coworkers and they all vehemently agreed.  So, with that kind of support, what else is there to do?


Then I somehow miraculously found Lacey Chiffon, who lives in my area, and she was right in the middle of making a brand-spanking-new pinup girls group, the Beehive Betties.  A few emails later and I was scheduled to go to my first event!  It was a blast, the girls were absolutely sweet and gorgeous, it was all-around wonderful.  Despite my horrific social skills and uncertainty in front of a camera and strangers (and strangers with cameras) I think everything went great and I learned a ton, plus I got to see all of the pinup culture I've been quietly involved with on my own for years.  My only question was, why didn't I do this sooner?

Before I show off photos, I have to again thank my amazing support system.  I wanted to take pictures of the two bouquets I received since I've been in a big lonely slump at work.  I know people say that flowers are redundant, but to me they are everything--they make a world of difference.  One was delivered to my work and I insisted on carrying it around like it was a baby.  Some girls really like flowers, okay? What do you want from me.  Anyway, look at these flowers.  Tell me they wouldn't brighten your life.


Derik: "This lighting makes you look like you're in a soap opera."
Me:  "...the lens is dirty."
Derik:  "...oh."

Then my cat had to wander into the picture to remind me that he makes me happiest.  But he knows I know this, he's just pompous.


I love you guys, you know who you are.  <3  And now, onto the show!!

 
BREAK FOR PUPPIESSS!!!!!!


 
This is not a sultry face.  This is my "why is my burger not out here yet?" face.  

 
Ghost Rider!!! My dad would be so proud of me right now.


This was when I broke character for a super authentic smile.  Makes me happy.