Playing Music I Don’t Know

I have been superglued to my piano keyboard the past week or so.  Christmas carols.  That I’ve heard all my life but have never played before, nor seen sheet music for before as far as I know. 

I decided to teach myself piano a few months ago.  Got a keyboard and a How To Learn Piano beginner’s book.  I caught on pretty much right away. Scarily so.  It was as if I personally wasn’t hitting the keys in proper sequence.  I understood the basic music theory, basic chords, both staffs…..as soon as I sat down.  I was playing some pretty complicated stuff from the get-go, headphones on so nobody would hear.  I tweeted at the beginning only the songs I was playing, not the Mystery Player inside. 

Tinylittles seem to be entranced with the music as it has turned to the Christmas season.  I know they’re very young, two to fourish I’d say, because they don’t carry any splints of the Christmas Eve Horrors that began when I was five.  It’s a nice thing because their enthusiasm is really helping me shed my traditional Christmas Hell this year.  We’re doing a bunch of cool stuff this year, and I find that I’m really enjoying it. 

It is freakish, though, that I can sit down at the keyboard, stumble thru three or four repetitions of sheet music on a given song, then just put the music away and play the song.  I did that with Little Drummer Boy and Silent Night last night.  Knew them both and was improvising on both pieces within an hour.

I have never had a music lesson on piano or anything else to my knowledge.  The Ones Who Play keep saying something about how music is just Base 8.  Which would put me somewhere around the third grade or so when I learned about Bases in math.  I was a very advanced student.  Anyway, perhaps some math teacher taught me music as a way to better understand Bases or something, nothing I’m aware of but this is really very odd.  My father is a jazz cornetist, mom was a first soprano, and sister was a near prodigy on the violin.  ]

So it could be that my genes suit me to musical expression, I dunno.  It’s one of those mysteries of the chronically dissociated.  I can sense being completely enraptured by the notes that I am playing, even though I have little sense of what note goes where in my fingers. 

I’ve talked this over with C.  I adore her because she is not so much into diving into who The Player is, what age they are if they have a name blah blah blah.  She’s only concerned with how cool it really is that I get to do music too.  It disturbs me though.

I’ve been co-conscious since seeing C, so since last….when did I get dumped, April or May?  And even though the tinylittles are entranced and even though this is all a really pretty cool thing, it feels like there’s abit more oversharing than I would like to have.

In the end, I suppose it doesn’t really matter.  I can still function, not getting my painting done but it’s really making this an enjoyable part of the year for the first time in my memory.  I am having fun with my wife and that’s just priceless.

So I suppose I’ll just continue on, playing music I don’t know.  It’s fun and it’s pretty.  And it’s helping me get thru a really rugged time on the calendar.  I would like it if the tinylittles weren’t so constantly jumping up and down, pleading to go play christmas music pleeeeeeeease.  It’s hard to take a nap when you’re seeing endless chord progressions in your head.

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Call for submissions-Carnival against Child Abuse

I will be hosting the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse for November. Our theme, which you can choose to address or not, is….what else….ta daaaaaaa…..drumroll please….. HOLIDAY TRIGGERS! It’s a tough time for many survivors and thrivers. We’re shown all these images of perfect, happy homes, fried turkeys Santa Claus and dredles. Which for so many just didn’t ever exist. Oftentimes the abuse was ratcheted up a notch. Happy Holidays, indeed.

Feel free to say whatever the heck you want to about the Holiday Season in this month’s Carnival. Ranting and raving is allowed, please add “trigger” to rough stuff. It’s also a great time to talk about how you cope with it all (hint for you professionals out there especially!).

Your submission doesn’t have to be original, you know. You can submit something you wrote five years ago that works for you. Participatiuon is the buzzword here. Of course, you can just ignore this month’s theme and talk about any of our regular monthly topics:

-Advocacy and Awareness
-Aftermath
-Healing and Therapy
-In the News
-Poetry
-Survivor Stories
-Art Therapy

The purpose of the Carnival Against Child Abuse is to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse. All forms of abuse – physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, verbal – are discussed. We highlight blog posts from child abuse survivor stories, survivor art and poetry, child abuse as a topic in the news media, as well as PTSD, dissociation and other areas of the abuse aftermath that adult survivors are forced to deal with. We link to hopeful posts about therapy, recovery, and healing from abuse. All forms of child advocacy and awareness are included.

I’m looking for new posts that you have written specifically for the carnival, or an old post from your archive. You are not limited to just one submission! I know that (surprise) I have alot to say about all of this stuff, so expect to see it. Again–participate! It’ll help you feel better!

You can submit your posts here using the form, or you can email your links to me at splinteredones@gmail.com

I’ll be taking submissions until midnight Tuesday November 23rd and the Carnival will be posted on Friday the 26th.

Thank you! I’m excited to read all of your fabulous submissions this month. Namaste _/|\_

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It’s not U it’s Ur Illness

So I’m in therapy with C last week, talking about this awful depressive state I’ve been in for awhile. I said it feels like something just takes over and smothers me.

C looks at me for a quick second then says well that’s because this is exactly what is happening. It’s not you, it’s your illness. Like a fever is not you, it’s an illness right? This is not. You. This. Is. Your. Illness.

CLICK. you mean I’m not totally fucked in the head, there’s a Me that is separate from all the shit that’s in my head? Yes, exactly. That is what your illness is. The fear, the heartbreaking sadness, the panic/anxiety. That’s. Not. You.

Wow. So just like if I had the ‘flu and I go to the grocery store to get Nyquil or whatever. Treat it. This is the same thing? C says well it’s abit more complex than the ‘flu of course but the principle applies.

Wow, this completely changes the dynamic between this cPTSD Dissociation blah blah and my head.

I have always thought of myself as being just a total whackjob. That I am harming myself or I should be locked away because there is something just too wrong with ME. I am the mess. I am responsible not for what happened to me perhaps but how I have been unable to handle it well.

But this idea that it’s something that is outside my humanity. It makes so much more sense to fight it now. CBT has a framework that I finally understand. So when I get a panic attack I can say this is not me. Self-hatred, you no longer belong. I can say panic you are part of the sickness that was brought on by a bad bunc of people in my kid life. Stop it. Breathe meditate run paint play piano do whatever else.

It’s a wicked cool perspective for me. Pf course I have to wonder why this has never come up before. Smartass me says why have I paid out well over two hundred G’s and nobody has ever explained this to me? C says well probably because they didn’t know you as well as I do. My therapists of five years? Ten years? C says well that can be true. We click and I know what I’m doing. I can tell you’re a cool chick, maybe they didn’t see that.

Grr Whatever I know she’s right about that. This isn’t important. What matters is that I am able to truly set myself free.

Because it’s not me, it’s my illness.

What kids think

What does a two-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHH

What does a three-year old think when somebody rapes them?AHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a four-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a five-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a six-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a seven-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does an eight-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a nine-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a ten-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does an eleven-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a twelve-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a thirteen-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a fourteen-year old think when nobody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Dissociation Time and Hope

If you look for it there’s alot out there about dissociation. Are trauma memories real or not, is DID real or not, how trauma exposure at a young age causes children’s brains to store traumatic information and subsume it into Alters, little timebombs of memory that can sit forever in one’s mind and impact their entire life of choices, social capabilities, and of course sex.

But there’s a crushing aftereffect of chronic dissociation that isn’t much discussed that requires a great deal of understanding if any therapist is going to be helpful to the patient. And that concept is Time.

I do not have a concept of Time as something that marches forward. I understand intellectually that it’s the year 2010 and I am a grownup. I know that my perps are dead and they can’t come back to get me. I know too that at any moment I can stumble across a trigger and be suddenly thrust back to 1965. Literally, be there in that year. I have smells and sights and feelings and sounds and physical pain exactly as it happened so long ago.

In my world, things are coming at me constantly bombarding my body and my mind. My job is to quickly sort out what goes where. ice cream, for example, doesn’t need much fending off I can let it in without much of a thought. But these split-second evaluations of people interactions, messages in the media, seemingly “safe” video…..much more challenging. I imagine myself in a particle accelerator, tiny pieces of who knows what constantly assaulting me. My job is to fend off the bad stuff before it gets to my hypervigilance zone.

It’s not easy, but it’s how I grew up. And even now, 45 years and more later, processing in the same way. Permanent victim.

There are many, many ways this perspective on my life is not such a great thing. One, as I say, is the permanent victim status. Things coming at me, assaulting me, and all I can do is to fend off the worst of it and dissociate thru innocuous information. But the real biggie is that I have no sense of future. Of an awareness that time passes. I have no timeline in my head, just a series of still shots.

This fucked up lack of understanding of time gives me no ability to dream. To want. To really understand what improvement means. To envision goals and meet them. If I can’t look forward how then can I make plans? How can I say oh one day I’d like to xyz? How can I have any sense of a purpose for my life? and if there is no purpose, how then do I ever dig out of the nightmares of my kidhood?

If time doesn’t go forward, how do I go forward? It’s a tough question. I can look at this moment and decide how safe I think I am, that’s about it. I can’t say in ten years I’d like to be xyz. I can’t say I have a purpose and it’s to help people in abc ways. I can’t think well I’d really like to retire to a ranch in New Mexico or Idaho or wherever. Because that time doesn’t exist for me.

We never hear about the consequences of lack in fluid timeline but it is an integral part of real healing, or so I believe. Looking beyond the past or this second and making any kind of real decisions about my life. If my traumas had started later in my life I might have a sense of something to go back to, to recover. But I am building from scratch.

I hear letting go of the past and it’s consequences are the key to getting beyond mere survival of trauma. That things need to be of value, that I need to let happen a sort of letting the shit go. But it’s really not that simple.

It is all about learning about time. About how to go about incorporating a clock in my brain that goes forward. That is the real trick.

I suppose I will have to write about this, describe it, get it out there that time bends for child survivors. Because I just don’t really see it anywhere. C gets this as much as one can and I am very fortunate for that. She’s constantly asking me what I am going to be doing…tonight or this weekend or whatever timeframe. My inability to picture the meaning of her questions is how I came to understand that I don’t know how to do that. I have a calendar and I put stuff into it and every day I do those things that pop up. But this is the way I’ve learned to manage the world ahead. I am still a slave to my calendar, events are still happening TO ME.

Dissociation. Time. Hope. This is the real key to healing. What I’m saying here probably makes no sense to very many people, but the mental health community has to get this perception in order to do much good to those of us who missed this part of development.

Not The End.

A Bad Joke

This is my favorite joke of all time. My father has told it a million six times. For some reason I remember him telling it from when I was a kid. I’m guessing that’s what memory is anyway. Not like a newsreel but more like I can see his face as he tries to not bust out laughing. Anyway, here’s the joke.

There are these twin brothers, Sam and Fred Fram. They grow up as identical as two peas in a pod. Nobody could tell them apart by sight. They dressed the same, even sounded the same.

The only difference between the Fram brothers was in their behavior. Fred was a tireless worker for charity, gave all his money to good works and was always, always right in speech. Fred never told a lie.

Sam however, was the Devil in disguise. He gambled he drank he took up with ladies of the night. There was no drug left undone by Mr. Sam Fram. He never, never told the truth.

The brothers were born at the same time and likewise died together. Fred took the express elevator straight up to heaven, where there was a huge brass band playing beautiful music for his arrival. He settled in just fine.

Brother Sam, as you can imagine, went just as quickly to Hell. And there he was for all eternity.

After an eon or two, God came across Fred, who seemed to be in a bit of a funk. God was disturbed, as he wanted his Best Angel happy forever. He inquired as to what was bothering his favorite cherub.

“Well God” says he. “I love it up here in Heaven, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that I worry about my twin brother Sam, steaming down there in Hell, and I’d like to know how he is doing”.

So God says “well I want you to be happy. But I fear somebody will knock you on the head and will steal your angel’s wings and harp and cool little angelic shoes. If that happens they might sneak in here as you and there you’ll be, stuck into all eternity”.

So God and Fred made an agreement. Fred would be allowed to go down to visit his brother in Hell for 24 hours. And when he came back up to Heaven he would have to bring with him all of his angelic accoutrements.

So Fred shoots down to Hell. He spends alot of time wandering around, trying to not get burned. But he has no idea of where Fred might be. Hell is, after all, a very big place.

Time is ticking away and finally Fred gets up the nerve to ask a ghoul if he might provide a clue as to his brother’s location.

“Sure” says the ghoul. “Everybody knows Sam. He’s got the best humpy-thumpy bar in all of Hell. Two blocks down and take a left”.

And within minutes the brothers were in midst of a joyous reunion. Turns put that Sam just loved Hell. Prostitutes were everywhere, coke piles were up into forever, and he was a very successful businessman.

The brothers talked and talked and talked. When it came time for Fred to return the two men shared a great big hug and ZIP up went Fred to heaven.

God is sitting at the Gates of Heaven, waiting to hear about Fred’s state of mind.

“Well God I feel much, much better. My brother is happy as a clam and now I can be truly happy too.”

God says “well I’m happy to hear that, Fred. But remember our deal. Prove to me that you’re you and not some demon in disguise. So..got ur wings? Yep check. Nifty angel sandals, right.musical instrument?????? Where is it?”

“Oh no!” Says Fred. “I left my harp in Sam Fram’s disco!”.

LMFAO. The end.

Monkeys are language fluent

Soo….been out of it for a few days there. It’s always great coming back because it happens almost as quickly as falling down does. But it’s a bitch trying to piece together what kind of damage I’ve done and to whom (including myself). Looks like this time we went private in our communications, which helped some. At least we didn’t do any physical damage or anything either.

Being out of it is such a hard place to be. I had been getting pretty good at recognizing the Slide and not putting my thoughts in it. But the totally innocuous thing that sent me off to triggerville this time came out of the blue. And I was off to the races almost immediately.

I am very very good at faking where I am. We have worked very hard over the years to “mask” ourselves. So the bad guys know exactly how to sound like me. Which can be very confusing. But it’s their job to protect me as they punish, lasts longer. Sheesh.

When I can see something coming it usually means there’s no surprise attached. That’s what I lose my grip on, any kind of surprised perception that I am not being valued cared for betrayed. It’s obvious why this is. It’s what I grew up in, betrayal. Abandonment. Blah blah I can describe it ’til I’m blue in the face but my CSA survivor friends know all about it.

All I know to do when I feel my tiny little budlets of boundaries being stepped on is to throw up big heavy walls that nobody can penetrate. Safety first. Flight first. Unfortunately I can’t get thru them either, which is inconvenient to say the least. Autopilot clicks on and they’re off. I am completely unreachable.

This time was a teeny bit different though because somebody inside was saying this will pass, this will go away. Just because you’re furious and frightened out of your wits, unless somebody does something, or you do something, it’s just thought and emotion. Don’t take any action and you’ll get out of it more quickly. This is new; they typically haven’t ever let that happen. They block out any thought that they’re even running the show. But I’m somehow getting the point that I am only triggered and I just have to hole up for awhile and I’ll come back. How that message is now coming thru I have no idea. None.

So, progress I suppose. It would be nice to be able to learn these things thru other means than practical experience but is what is. It’s moving forward I think and I think that’s a good thing.

It gets so, so confusing getting better. Such risks on a daily basis that I’ve frankly never taken before. Excellent fodder for the Bad Guys when they come screaming into my head like a thousand screaming howler monkeys.

I was watching National Geographic channel the other night and this fact came thru: small monkeys who live in rainforests, capuchins and the like, are able to understand specific warnings that other species’ of monkey scream out. So our little capuchin understands some dozen or so different monkey languages.

Maybe that’s just what I am learning to do. Interpret correctly the various screaming voices in my brain and evaluate them. This would be a very good turn of events I think. To be able to sort out who is saying what so I can internally put them away or otherwise deal with them. Speed up my recovery quite abit I think.

I’m tired. And I have therapy today, not sure how to explain what’s been going on. Just open mouth I suppose.

Too many Heads

So I haven’t seen my therapist in two weeks. My shrink is out of town and wife has been on business trips. I have been left to my own devices to survive. And there has been increasing weirdness going on.

I don’t feel abandoned, oddly enough. A little bit neglected, but that’s very understandable. I am, after all, alone and a touch lonely. But I have been trying to stick to a structure everyday to keep myself occupied. Which has been helpful much of the time.

I’ve been getting up by 7, working out for an hour after waking up, then meditating getting cleaned up and working for some hours. Take a little break then practice plinking on my new keyboard. My efforts in all these areas seem to be paying off, albeit more slowly than I would like.

I have been trying valiantly to appreciate all these baby steps forward. Moving in the right direction able to do so much more now than just two months ago getting physically spiritually mentally and emotionally stronger blah blah blah di dah.

My problem is just this blah di dah thing. One head says stick to your new neural pathways, you’re growing a ton in the right direction and each little win is a huge victory at this point. It says your clothing doesn’t fit even if you’re not really losing weight. It says you have discovered that you have the family “gift” in music. It says you’re doing stuff to promote and take care of your business like you’ve never been able to do. Be excited by each of these gains, jump up and down, celebrate them. You feel great, right? and feeling great is, as the wizard of oz says, guess what it’s great. Whether you acknowledge it or not. It’s fabulous.

But another head says so you can run five minutes at a time with a minute’s rest before running the next five. You should be running triathlons like you used to do. Loser. It says you should be making over 300K like you used to. You should be able to play whatever you want, this stupid fucking plinking around is just ridiculous. You should be you should be you should be lots of negative stuff but primarily you should be feeling llike the loser idiot that you are.

There’s a head who already knows how to read music. It wants to be taken seriously and doesn’t like many of the songs we’re learning. Sometimes it pops up to share it’s knowledge and sometimes it doesn’t. Often it will show up for awhile, get disgusted with me and vanish to whence it came.

Heads say just shut the hell up man. You are so far down the loser ladder there’s not climbing up out of the pit. You’re just being a jackass by taking any pride in this stupid little shit. You should be you should be you should be.

It was mentioned to me by a wise friend that I am going down the self-flaggelations because it’s a familiar pathway. So in a sense, even though it doesn’t work out this way, I am trying to do a self-soothing thing by following the same old road I know.

That the new stuff, the feeling good about myself over anything is so new it appears to be dangerous. But it feels better.

Too many heads. Without a support system it could be alot worse than splitting off like this. I mean, I could be dead or in jail or drunk or something. But I’m not I am doing my best.

I will get to see C (the wizard) next week, then we’re off again for another two. I’ll be at my other house with my wife for some of that time, which will be very helpful. But it is hard to have everybody gone. Not a crisis or anything, just starting to get me down. I suppose that the idea here is to keep my head above water and hope the others drown along the way.

Friday Favorites

I love the #FF tradition on Twitter. It’s a great way to connect with people I would otherwise not have known about. It’s great to see that you are publicly valued by others. But every Friday when I sit down to do my list there’re a hundred people on it. I have very diverse interests and friends here from Buddhists to comedians to mentally…challenged people like me to MH professionals. And animal people for my cats.

So to do a traditional #FF is just about impossible for me to convey my sincere love and admiration. Hence this blog. I know that I will forget some folks, I always do. It does not mean you are any less important to me, just that I’m getting old and forgetful. So, here goes:

@MoreVoices, my bud. I love you. You know.

@ssanquist you are such a stabilizing force in my life. You are very very dear to me chick. I feel very protectively of you, which you know frmo my constant bitching when you’ve not felt well. i have said this before and it remains true: You make my soul hurt less.

@Darlene Ouimet you have a way of speaking my truths. I know that you get it totally and I love the way you just…are. You have done so much for me, gosh thanks. You are very important to me.

@SarahEOlson2009 dear. You keep my head on straight and that’s a very rare gift. Your happiness is very important to me. Plus, your Friday thing is just about my favorite part of twitter. If you ever wonder if you matter, know that you do immensely.

@SpiritAli you teach me every day. You remind me of my path. Ur also just a super-cool tweeter. Thanks for the teachings.

@LisaKiftTherapy love touching base with you. Your stuff on relationships is coming in really handy now. You have true gifts in what you do.

@zebrapolkadots fun. sweet kind positive. I love to see you in my tweetstream hon.

@SWYMontgomery honey. Thanks for being in touch every day. and for the great lessons I have learned from you. You’re aces.

@karennmonroy the things you have to teach pull me back in to Flow time after time after time. Thanks for this and for your friendship

@Narkyness what a riot you are girl. I just love you.

@Aliquant you know. Love you. You are the funniest thing on the planet and your humor has saved me many many times. You’re very precious.

@FindingMelissa My path twin. It’s just amazing that while we each have our specfic path to walk ours are very near to one another. I love that. You’re a tremendously gifted writer, never doubt yourself.

@HopeForTrauma the world is so pissing on you right now honey. One thing at a time. Ur my bloggobuddy and I value that friendship immensely.

@Tigerbean can’t wait for my niecey’s camp to be over. Miss your exploits

@IAmEchad just stick with it honey. Be honest with yourself as you can be and the recovery will be there to meet you.

@chaosandcontrol so glad to be back with you hon. You have this quirky sense of humor that I just love.

@woundedgenius so glad we’re back hon. You are a keenly bright and creative woman and I love your humor too. People are out there for you on the days that suck, it’s okay. Love the cartoon thing.

@Dom1985 you funny funny boy. Your yoga inspires me to do the same. And I dont’ believe the notion about Scots being cheap. 😉

@drcmblake you’re great. You tell it like it is and that is a rare gift. Chin up hon.

@serial_insomnia I am worried about you just now gal. One at a time that is all you can do. Your writing style is just brilliant. Love you.

@dragonheartsong Namaste my lovely. Om tare tutare ture svaha. You know.

@MarjieKnudsen love being in touch with you. I learn so much about how to parent myself from your stuff. Sooo helpful.

@Acrimonia love chit-chatting with you honey, you so funny

@VoiceinRecovery you’re an inspiration to me hon. Take care of yourself. Love the twits.

@simplykathryn feel better hon. Your positive outlook inspires me to look better into my own thing.

@sarge481 Seriously woman. You need to get on the stage. You are hilarous.

@magic plum we’ve been passing in the night but I love your outlook and content. Keep writing, the goodies will come.

@fmbeeperlife we’ve only just met but I like your style hon.

@shiv379 still chanting for you buddy. You’re very much in my thoughts.

@ all my kittie buds Great entertainment!

@heathcrush, @argylestyle because you’re cool dudes.

@TheGodLight for reminding me of my path

@gayea You make me laugh, thanks for that.

@VictoriaGreen you need to get your ass on stage too, woman. You’re just too funny for words.

Okay. I know I have forgotten a bunch of people so will probably be editing all afternoon. You are all such wonderful people and each of you in your own way brings joy to my life. Peace Out V

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