If you have ever studied Buddhism you are probably familiar with the story of the four horses. There is the excellent horse, the good horse, the poor horse, and the terrible horse. The excellent horse is attuned to his master and anticipates his/her needs without any physical reliance on the whip. The good horse only needs the suggestion of the whip. The poor horse needs to feel the sting of the whip before it responds. The terrible horse needs to be beaten within an inch of its life to get moving. It is no surprise that I am the terrible horse, hell I might even go so far as to say I am the Zombie horse who could give fuck all about anything but the braaaaaaaiiiiiiinnnnnns.
I don’t believe in original sin. I do believe that we all share a common misunderstanding that in order to be happy we have to escape pain/discomfort. Our bodies are conditioned to withdraw from pain. If I stick my hand in the fire fear and/or pain will cause me to pull away. That response makes sense, my survival depends on immediate responses like that, on instincts that bypass the slower analytical processes.
The problem is that the mind can’t always distinguish between growing pains and genuine danger. I suffer from dissociation. Sometimes I leave my hand in the fire. Sometimes someone says “hello” and I run screaming in the opposite direction with my hand’s over my ears. I hate to be embarrassed and I get embarrassed easily and for no discernible reason. That is why being in the moment, being present comes in handy because then one can better distinguish between a challenge and a catastrophe. We live for the diversions. Work, chores, learning we don’t consider that life, that’s the pain we wish to escape so we can get to the juicy stuff like watching television and eating fried chicken. One of my objectives in therapy is simply to be more “present”. I don’t want to be smarter, more charming, more outgoing, thinner (yes I do lol). I just want to be awake a little longer each day. I admit I still want to be more productive. I still can’t shake the impulse to beat myself with that damn whip whether I am moving or not. Where are my brains anyways??!?!!?
As Pema Chödrön’s says “True nature is not some ideal we have to live up too” We are already ourselves, we already have everything we need to awaken.
I have been looking through photos and stumbled across a few of a table Sam was working on for fun. He tends to make very practical (albeit beautiful) items but this was something he wanted to try. I am not sure if he will finish it or not, he did meet with some problems (for example working with metal without the proper tools). It was his first attempt at a mechanical table. He made all the wooden gears and such, which was a pain in the ass haha. In normal furniture design he wouldn’t use screws, nails and such he would use joining. Right now his work space is the size of a very small closest (this isn’t the room), his work bench is falling apart, and because of size constraints he doesn’t have access to many tools.
Sam found a trauma specialist, she is a private practitioner and I’ve been there twice. I admit I have agonized over the cost because I do not have an income aside from my book sales. I haven’t sold many books. All I want to do is write, writing is not profitable at least not the way I am going about it. I have entertained the possibility of teaching a creative writing class but I have no idea what kind of credentials I would need since I don’t have anything to recommend me. I also love inspiring people. Speaking of writing I have selected all 100 poems for the new book. I have to read through them before I send them off for editing. I am proud of what I have written, not because it is exceptional, but because I have written what I wanted most to write.
The room is different. The new therapist has a room full of instruments and art supplies. She even has a xylophone and I am a natural xylophonist according to a middle school music teacher. Oddly the only instrument I can play is one I have only played once and I assure you that was a fluke.
She seems nice. I always say that because everyone is nice when I do not know them well enough to have an opinion. She seems kooky, I like kooky. I have not told her much about my trauma yet. We are working on building trust. She gave me some questionnaires about PTSD and Dissociation. No surprise that I suffer from both. I rank very high on the dissociation scale. That’s not surprising but it is scary. One of my biggest fears is developing DID. The type of trauma I have is more or less a recipe for its construction. I have always bottled up my emotions. Pushed them down by either bulldozing through (staying busy) or by simply disappearing. When no one is around I let them out but there never seems to be an end. I really do think I could cry forever. I am afraid that when I can’t “hide” I may “fracture”. I don’t like the idea of someone else using my body, fucking up my shit, messing with my loved ones. Right now I don’t seem to be anyone when I am dissociated at least not generally. Generally I am just offline, like a mannequin that walks ferociously if highly agitated. The walking thing is kind of concerning because I do get lost and a body without a brain can get into trouble.
The last two days I have been extremely depressed. Working on the book keeps me going and Sam’s love and support keep me “alive” but I am in a very dark place at the moment (Sam is sweet he came home early with flowers and sweets when I told him I was sad and he picked me up from therapy for a cuddle). I am just really sad, weepy, guilty, irritable. I imagine that is the therapy at work, there is no way to escape that part, it is part of the healing process. I am not good with emotional disclosure. My body is vicious at the moment, a lot of pain, pain is how I cope with stress apparently. Not how I want to cope with it but when I get stressed my muscles get so tight that they pull my joints out of place and tear themselves.
Speaking of pain. My appointment was early this morning and I could not get Isadora to cooperate and get ready for school. I had to take a shower and it is a 30 minute walk to the therapist. It was also raining a bit. Well I had to run part way but the graceful creature that I am, I tripped over my own pants. My pants are always too long and my boot got caught in the cuff anyways I went down face first and I went down hard. Somehow in the fall I pivoted my hips to avoid my knees and turned my head to save my nose. I took the impact on my left calf and left wrist I landed in some weird pushup and kept my weight up so my breasts didn’t get smashed (I think reacted as I do to my HIIT training). I have a bruise on my calf but it was my left wrist that took most of my body weight. Nothing is broken I have bones like rubber bands. If I don’t break anything jumping out of a car at 25 miles an hour, falling off roofs, or rolling down countless flights of stairs I am probably not going to break myself falling on the sidewalk. Oddly no one noticed they all seemed to be looking somewhere else when I decided to plow the pavement. I think I sprained my pinky though it bends of course but it is sore. I might have also slept on it wrong because it didn’t hurt at all until I got up from my nap (which was several hours after my accident). I often injure myself in sleep. It would be funny if I took a fall that hard and then hurt myself during a nap.
This is just a drawing of the violet normally so I would have a base of comparison for the 4 remaining challenges. I realized while drawing this violet again that each time I look at it I notice something different. I am not very attentive apparently because some of the things I was missing were pretty fucking crucial to the flowers anatomy! I think this will improve my sense of direction because my lack of attention means that I constantly omit things from the environment including massive landmarks! While I am limited by my artistic ability in that even if I see it I can’t necessarily draw it I am learning a tremendous amount from this exercise. I am still not good at seeing visually how things connect which is probably part of the reason my artwork looks so wrong but if I keep practicing who knows? I am drawing this image based on a drawing not a natural flower because the natural flower is still too complex for me and I am just not able to see it clearly enough to make sense of it (in time I hope to base these sketches on real flowers). This time I tried draw in what I thought were freakish exaggerations and turns out they weren’t really that freakish.
First let me apologize for the blurry image I am taking photos with my webcam and I simply can’t hold things still lol I figured I needed a baseline for drawing with my left hand. Both my eyes are open. I use my left hand to open jars but that’s really all I ever do with it specifically. I have never broken my hand or anything that would require me to rely on it so I have not learned to use it. You can see the lines are shaky.
I chose a violet because it is a relatively uncomplicated flower and it wouldn’t do much good to have an elaborate mess. I tried to add a few details though they didn’t end up in the right place but I did not bother with shading so as not to obscure the image, I am using a mechanical pencil and it has very thick lead, if you are wondering why my lines are so hefty (damn thing is basically a crayon lol). I didn’t alter the image after I’d open my eyes except to darken the lines a little because otherwise it would be invisible in photo but I followed the lines just as they were and didn’t try to correct them in anyway. I didn’t erase as I would if my eyes were open. I really like how that one petal turned out haha The stem ended up quite bizarre and the flower center isn’t located in the center at all! I have to figure out how I am going to cover just one eye for tomorrow. I think it is going to be harder to draw with my left hand then with my eyes closed.
Just a little update from me. I took my Swedish test today to determine what class I will be placed in. The classes are A B C D. A is the beginner level, D is the advanced placement and it has employment opportunities (not sure if you get paid or not). I will be in C just as I was before but it isn’t quite that strait-forward. I mentioned to them I have a social phobia (they could tell I was nervous obviously) and they noticed that my written Swedish is significantly better than my spoken Swedish. This is rather unusual as most people learn to speak before they can write. They don’t want to put me in a normal class with 20 to 30 students because I am so shy I will get swallowed up. So they want to start a class with 4 to 5 students. They have small classes for people who cannot write but this will be the first time they have a class for people terrified of speaking. I think I will start in October but they have to first organize this, if this is possible it could be a very good thing. Of course I am scared shitless because I can’t disappear in a small class as I would do in a larger one but I do need to learn how to speak. It is either that or pretend I am mute and tote around a notepad for the rest of my life.
This is a poppy because that might not be obvious. I found the poppy exceedingly difficult (to me poppies appear particularly flat and dimensionless) and this is all kinds of wrong. I asked Sam to take a look at my drawings because as a woodworker he draws perspective sketches regularly and he told me the angle on the flower core is off which is causing the wonky perspective in both my images. If possible I will attempt to rectify the angle issue in future attempts. He thought I did a good job with the petal in the front though.
I am thinking of doing a series of challenges
I will draw with both eyes closed using my dominate hand
I will draw with my dominate eye closed using my right hand (dominate) and then another picture using my left hand
I will draw with my lazy, poorly functioning eye closed using my right and then left hand
I will draw with both eyes closed using my non dominate hand
Then I will probably revert to normal again. Should I draw the same flower for this over and over again? This might seem a strange thing but I want to see the impact my lazy eye is having on my perception.
That’s me being creepy and unstealthy in the background. My new soap seems to have improved things at least I don’t look like Freddy Kruger. Anyways I rarely draw maybe once every 5 years or so? I am not good at it so I am just going to tell you that this is supposed to be Lotus. I had thought about drawing a different flower everyday as like a meditational practice in patience, who knows maybe I will eventually even improve. I was also hoping it might strengthen my eyes somehow. I am not sure if I will go through with it yet though. In the comments leave the flowers you want to see and feel free to try this.
This is not another angry rant.
When I was a baby I was allergic to just about everything. Soy was my only source of nourishment. I couldn’t use scented products without developing a painful rash. I grew out of most of these allergies (thank God because while I do love tofu I wouldn’t want to subsist on it) but my skin is still sensitive. When I lived in the states I found some soaps and shampoos that worked pretty well for me. I had great skin. Since I moved to Sweden I have had a very hard time finding toiletries and my skin is a nightmare. My favorite brands aren’t available and the cost is fairly high so it’s not like I can just go out and buy everything at once and test it. For the first few years I had bright red armpits thankfully I have sorted out the deodorant situation. I have one deodorant I can safely use even though it is scented.
When I get out of the shower lately I look a bit like Freddy Kruger. My face isn’t just flushed it is a very dark shade of red, it looks like I have been on the wrong side of a flame-thrower. My skin hurts (it is super tight), my scalp hurts. I hate taking photos because I have to find filters to cover up the unnatural color. The soap I have now I got on discount. Isadora uses it with no problems so I figured it would be okay for me but it has only made the situation worse. On top of that I think the reason I am losing my hair is because I am allergic to the products I am using. My scalp hurts all the time, it’s itchy as hell even though I don’t have dandruff or lice or anything else that would explain it (trust me I have Sam checking my head constantly).
I went out today and bought a soap with no perfumes or paraffins. I was so happy to have found one that doesn’t smell. Most of the unscented products smell like a hospital and because I have such a mild natural scent I end up smelling like a hospital.
I still haven’t figured out what to do for my hair because I have coarse hair so I need something both heavy and pure! If anyone knows any brands shout them out they might not exist here but it is worth a shot.