RSS

Tag Archives: trauma

Retrospection

            My decision to blog again has much to do with the tenth anniversary of 9/11.  I didn’t go into detail about how that day influenced my life in my early posts, truthfully, I skipped the experience entirely.  Everybody has their own version of that day, and each one carries a unique burden in that experience.  Those experiences should not be trivialized or diminished as so often happens when comparisons are made.  I have held my memory of that day close to my heart, protecting it from cynicism and recrimination.

            I avoided all media exposure on the anniversary.  Instead, I sat outside in the sunshine and read a romance novel, avoidance in a truly self-indulgent fashion.  When I had read the last page and the sun had dropped below the horizon I felt ashamed.  Without my distractions I began to feel that I had desecrated the sanctity of that day, that I had disrespected the memory of the lives that were lost.  Some days later I read a memorial blog that changed my perspective.

           From ‘Ephemera and Pseudo-Events’ by J.N. Nielsen:

                        “An anniversary is an arbitrary thing – the length of a year is utterly arbitrary – but it is natural to want to commemorate a loss, as it is natural to want to celebrate some joyous occasion. … To memorialize an event is to prevent its repetition, the render it singular, although we must relive the trauma in each memorialization.  Failure to memorialize an event means that it will be visited upon us time and again, though we will be spared the retraumatization of the continual consciousness of the event.”

             My experiences of that day have shaped every aspect of my life, but not in a negative way.  I honor the memory of that day by living each subsequent day with deep appreciation in my heart.  When I remember that day I don’t linger on images of destruction or fear, I am overcome by the humility and compassion I felt all around me.  I tremble not with grief, but with awe.  Remembering now feels like a renewal of hope, and hope and shame cannot coexist.

Advertisements
 
Comments Off on Retrospection

Posted by on September 20, 2011 in Coffee Shop Whore?, Confessions, philosophy, psychology

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Letter – a work of fiction

Dear Julie,

     I couldn’t help but notice how nice your hair smelled today.  It was so beautiful in the sunshine, it took all of my self-control to not run my fingers through it.  I also couldn’t help but notice that you had lunch with that man again, I thought that my previous letters would have alerted you to how disastrous a relationship with this person might be, surely he could not love you as much as I do, but that is beside the point, I am sure you will realize that I am right on this point.  Have you told him about me?  Silly me, asking such questions, he would know better than to intrude on our relationship.

     I have been trying to decide what I would get you for your birthday this year.  I never see you wearing the earings that I bought you last year.  I have been trying to think of something more personal, something that you can cherish, something to remind you of my love.

     The first time we met my life changed.  You were so young and beautiful.  You were wearing that little pink sweater.  I remember how pretty your hair was in that ponytail,  I thought it a shame that you cut it all off.  I know you didn’t mean it to be hurtful to me, after all, I did say how much I liked it.  I am glad that you are growing it out again.  It’s much better looking when it is long.  It would have looked so beautiful streaming down your back at graduation.  But that was a long time ago, I barely knew you then, not like now.

     I hate to keep harping on about it, but that man you had lunch with… he is so much like that boy you were dating back then.  Richard something or other.  I tried to warn you about him.  You wouldn’t listen then either, I don’t know if you know, but I finally had to talk to him, I mean, really, even then you knew that we were destined to be together.  I know you had to have your fun, but he was getting a little too serious, he thought he could steal you from me.  I hope this one doesn’t make the same mistake.  Richard whatshisface just wouldn’t believe me when I told him you were mine.  Even after you moved away, I knew you were getting away from him, you knew that I would find you, no matter where you went.  The connection between us is too strong to ever be broken by miles.  Richard didn’t have that connection with you.

     Anyway, that’s all in the past.  We are the future.  I should go now, I will see you soon anyway, but I wanted to tell you that I love you and think of you always.

                                                                                                                                     Love and Devotion,

                                                                                                                                     Your Secret Admirer

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Computer Issues

Just when I thought I was getting things together… my ONLY working computer, STOPPED WORKING!!!!!!! As I have no library card – and therefore a miniscule amount of ‘guest’ access – I am once again delinquent on my postings. I have six minutes remaining on my borrowed computer. I want to cry.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 25, 2010 in Confessions

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Alphabet Fiction

I mentioned something I have named ‘Alphabet Fiction’ a while back.  Well, now I am going to expand on it a little bit.

As you may know, I have a slight obsession with the dictionary.  My Handy-Dandy is a source of comfort, security and wisdom.  Oftentimes, it is also a source of inspiration.  Some of you may remember The Dictionary Distraction (https://missfionna.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/the-dictionary-distraction/) well, Alphabet Fiction follows a similar thought process.

Choose 5 – 10 words that begin with the same letter.  Even better if they are within the same dictionary page.

Use the definitions of these words to create a story line.

The title of the story MUST begin with the same letter as the words chosen. (the main title word… not ‘A’ or ‘The’, etc.)

The idea is based on flash fiction (500 words or less) but I bet that longer works could easily be developed using this technique.  I haven’t tried anything longer… but one day I will make that attempt.

I am interested to know if anyone gives it a try.  I am on outline phase with “D”.

Hope all is well,

Fionna


 
3 Comments

Posted by on June 14, 2010 in Confessions

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Media Misunderstanding and Modern Inspiration

I firmly stand by the idea of Escapism…. especially when I don’t like myself very much.  I have been irritating myself recently, delving into self-pity more than usual, and that is just a waste of time.  So, as a way to occupy a few hours of my time, I decided to watch a movie.

One thing that I am not sure I have mentioned before:  I take movies VERY seriously.  I give myself over to the story completely, I take no aspect of the creative process for granted.  I savor lighting, camera angle, score, dialogue…. ALL OF IT.  I view movies as vehicles for emotional exploration.  To me, there is no such thing as a bad movie, for that label is much to vague.  Much like every other statement or opinion, I want support and specifics.  There are very few movies out there that I honestly view as ‘perfect’.

When I feel like my life is difficult or that I am fighting against terrible odds, the true obstacle is (as Richard mentioned in his comment) my perspective.  Specifically, I have come down with a case of the ‘poor, poor, pitiful me’ narcissism.  The perfect cure for this ailment:

If you have not seen this movie, I definitely recommend it.  The fact that is a true story only makes it that much more of an inspiration.

I am in awe at the power of the song, Amazing Grace, more so in the story of the man who wrote it.  But I am humbled beyond measure and forever grateful for the man who was inspired by it.  For those of you who are not familiar with the movie, it is the story of William Wilberforce, the politician who dedicated his life to ending the slave trade in Great Britain.

It is possible for one person to change the world.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on May 28, 2010 in Confessions

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Truth About Social Self-Concept

This is not an easy post for me.  My last little post was optimistic, but it was not really how I was feeling.  Yes, I have been having an interesting week, and yes I have  had many great ideas, however, I have not been able to act on many of those ideas.

The truth is, I have not been liking myself this past week.

I am in a new place where I don’t know anybody.  I have never really had that  many ‘friends’ per se, but I usually have people who know me and who accept my eccentricity, despite the nature of eccentricity, mine is rather consistent.  That is no longer the case.  I find myself having to explain myself once again.  There is nothing quite as disheartening as justifying why I am the way that I am.  And, no, I can’t just ‘be normal’, it is far too late for that.

For all that I have learned so far in my life, I am still frozen in fear when faced with a job application.  Somehow I find it difficult to fill those darn things out.  How do you explain gaps in employment in three lines of ‘additional information’?  How do you explain that you haven’t known someone for two years but that  you know more about them after two hours of real conversation.  How do you ask that person to be a reference?

How do you explain that you have a phone number from one state, a mailing address in another and a driver’s licence from yet another.  These have been the circumstances of my life for as long as I can remember.  In fact, I  have never lived at the address on my driver’s licence, but I needed a stable street address, I had to give the DMV my mother’s address.  Why can’t I stop moving?

I have no reason to stay other than to stay.

The jobs that I have had in the past – well, since the Navy – have been dissatisfying.  When I am hired, I am told the guiding mission statement for a company – and I believe it.  It all seems to make sense, yet as the month’s go by, a corner is cut, a shortcut is taken, the bottom line comes to light.  I find that I no longer respect the company I am working for… I move on.

Does that make me a runner?  I guess so.  Perhaps I have held on to the dream of purpose and of pride in accomplishment.  I like to think that it is more important to lose a sale and keep the customer than the other way around.  I like to think that people are more important than  profit margins…. this does not make me a team  player.

I have hidden in academics, a way to avoid disappointment in the working world, but more and  more, the lines are blurring.  Textbook costs are through the roof, teachers are disenfranchised by limitations on what they can teach, they are stressed about how to stretch their  paycheck a little further because number crunchers say that it is more important to buy the new computer thn it is to invest in creative minds.  Frustration rolls down hill and students seek a piece of paper rather than information and education.  Conversation and curiosity dies.

I fill out applications for jobs that minimize my exposure to hu,man beings, not because I don’t like people, but because I don’t want to have to explain why I am the way that I am.  I don’t want to be asked why, if I am so smart, why am I doing this job or that job when the answer is very simple.  I need to eat.

I think about applications, and then job interviews and I wonder where I missed the lesson on the ‘right answer’.  Is there such a thing.  What do  they want to hear?  What do you want to hear?  What do I want to hear?  It all gets so complicated… I want to hear silence.

I have tried to stop apologizing for myself, but in this case I am sorry to be so morose.  Normally I am pretty good with me, but on paper it is difficult to see much that is redeeming.  I guess that is what happens when you only look at the bottom line.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Space Around Anger

A Statement of Personal Self-Concept

One thing that I am not always happy to admit is that I have a lot of anger.  This is not to say that I am an angry person.  In the past, I have been an angry person – I allowed my anger to control my vantage of the world and those who inhabit the world.  It was a familiar filter through which every decision, every perception and every relationship would have to pass through.  I was not a happy person, nor was I a  pleasant person to be around.

These days, I try to pass the world through a different filter – one of optimism.  You see, optimism is the space around anger.

Anger is not a primary emotion.  I learned this through acting.  When you are angry it is in response to something else.  Surprise – say, when someone cuts in front of you on the freeway – leads to fear at the possibility of harm, and then anger at the individual that presented the threat of that harm.  The anger is not really at the individual, but rather the aggressive counter to fear.  Fight or Flight.

Frustration is another good instigator for anger.  For me, ignorance and social injustice are mammoth triggers of frustration.  Mostly because the aforementioned evils serve no real purpose other than as camouflage for the further aforementioned fear.  Become a bully before someone else is given an opportunity to bully you.  When faced with ignorance or social injustice I am faced with two options.

Option One:  Make like the Unibomber, wrapped up in isolation and my own sense of superiority and proceed to destroy all those I deem unworthy.Problems – aside from all illegality murderous,  sociopathic, hypocritical and generally not productive or helpful.

Option Two:  CHOOSE to assume that ignorance is not self-imposed and can quite nicely be swept away with knowledge and/or constructive disapproval.  Social Injustice – well, can be solved with a little active justice – don’t you think.  A big rally is not always necessary, a single person saying, that is not acceptable – and then calmly explaining why it is not acceptable, that can work too, AND ANYONE CAN DO IT.  Problems – takes an awful lot of patience and extremely thick skin.

Option One is a choice made within anger.  Option Two, a choice made from the space around anger.   But how do you find the space around anger?  That is the big question, isn’t it?

Think about a fight with a loved one.  JJ can make me so angry that I see the entire color spectrum behind my eyes, I lose any and all ability to string words into a sentence (that is a BAD thing with me) and I lose motor function beyond banging my head (fist/foot) against a wall.  But the thing about it is… I love the man.  As social creatures we always get angriest with those we love the most, but we still love them.  We forgive them because of that love.  With JJ, whenever I am the most angry – and this is a direct result of my time with the Medical Examiners Office – I think of him as no longer there.  I have no choice in this vision, my grief for those lost in war has become the home for my anger.  Whenever I go down that slippery slope of rage, it is here where I settle.  In that moment where I envision JJ as no longer alive in this world, my anger cannot survive – it is after all, a secondary emotion.

My love, my grief at the loss of the man far outweighs any temporary anger I feel toward a situation.  And in an instant all of the anger I was feeling vanished, replaced by an overwhelming gratitude that he is still in my life, alive – pissed beyond all measure – but breathing.

This works with JJ, my mother, my sisters, my friends…. heck… if you think about it,if I want to stay away from the hypocrisy of the Unibomer (isolation, absurd sense of superiority) – it can work for the entire human race.

The space around anger

 
12 Comments

Posted by on April 29, 2010 in Coffee Shop Whore?, Confessions

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,