TRIGGER WARNINGS for this post: discussion of cult/child abuse, suicide, captivity
The Internet Age has made writers and pedants of us all. (Okay, not ‘all.’ Mainly me and a certain Cheeto-in-Chief Tweet-twit twat and the YouTube troll-trash as well as other sites’ equivalents.) A lifetime of trauma has stolen imagination, poetry, soul, musicality from me. It has highlighted that words on a page fall flat as sour notes without a point.
Behind them I feel roiling shapes, boiling water under a lid, except it’s blood and gore and the poison and sewage injected into me.
I write but it doesn’t sing out of me, or even bleed beautifully out of me, just runs from me like diarrhea or projectile vomiting onto the page, gangrenous oozing of necrotic traumas.
I kept hoping for such a long while that I could perform a pea-souper exorcism, that if I wrote and wrote and wrote all the arsenic out of me this fog would lift from me and I could return to Oz and Neverland and Wonderland and the greater lands of my imagination. But the more I poured the more the jug seemed bottomless, and the more it seemed life snuck up behind me every night and then more boldly during the day to top it up even as I poured.
I’m aware of how whiny and paranoid and unreadable all this is. I’m aware I’m getting nowhere except a downward spiral. I feel it, clawing at the sides and not even leaving grooves to make some sort of signature that Kassi was here. When I go there won’t be any words worth remembering, no poetry, no song, no story worth telling, just a gas that dissipates and dies and is well gone, something that wrinkles people’s noses and makes them quicken their step a little. I certainly would. I write at breakneck speed to get away from every single word as I type it, even though I’m running horrified toward words I also don’t want to be plunging among, a nightmare forest of thoughts without end.
If I stop I’m stuck, and start to sink into the ground, and that’s even more terrifying. So I get up and start run-writing again, knowing I’m getting nowhere but more trees in blackness and silence, wondering if there is even anywhere to go, or if in this zigging and zagging I’m covering the same ground over and over. Or maybe I’m on a forest moon, or nothing is real, and Strawberry Fields forever.
I write because I feel like I am running out of time and it doesn’t make sense to do anything else. There’s nothing else I really can do. I can’t do this for anyone else or to anyone else’s specifications or satisfaction. I write to try to get the crazy out of my head and onto the page in the hopes of lessening the pressure inside. I write because I need an outlet.
I despair of ever making sense to anyone. Maybe least of all myself.
I want to make sense. Hell, I want to write novels, I want to write songs, maybe even comedy. But I can’t, any more than I could sustain gainful employment, change the past, bring my dead husband back to life, ensure that those that hurt me would feel what they had done to me, or fly.
This is all I can do right now.
I remember hoping once, years ago, that if I wrote enough, purged enough out onto the page, I would come to an end of the hurting. That on the page I’d find answers or relief or both, and in the end I’d be reunited with my lover—my inspiration, my first and oldest and best and real one true love, for whom I saved myself and kept myself alive through a nightmare looking-glass childhood of torture and brainwashing and gaslighting and insanity and captivity—my stories.
That imagination which made life worth living, that made me put down the knife when I was fifteen. The thing that SSRIs take away from me, and the reason why I continually tell my med management nurse practitioner (who keeps suggesting them), “Why don’t you just hand me a revolver with one bullet in it and tell me to play Russian Roulette? It will have the same outcome.” Because even if I can’t write stories I still see beauty in the world, and SSRIs drain all that away, and I become extremely calm and uncaring, very very calm and unattached to life, and calmly begin the calm thinking and planning of all the rational and reasonable things that need doing so I can most efficiently dispatch my life.
And the thing about SSRIs is that when they’ve been in my system long enough that I get to that point, it takes them a long time to drain out after I stop. And every moment I’m still in that calm, relaxed, “Okay, I’m done with the world,” state which is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. Also because I’m not stupid, I wouldn’t tell anyone. And because I’m already worried I’m going to run out of money and not be able to afford to survive, if I were to go on SSRIs now, I might not stop me.
Because I have no income, but I still have expenses. I live in the middle of nowhere and all I have are food stamps benefits. I have to have a car. I also have to pay for my psych meds because I can’t get Medicaid/Medicare/any USA health care benefits.
And no, I’m not going to go into why. There are lots of reasons why some people can’t get those benefits, and it’s frankly not my obligation to explain myself to everyone who demands and expects it, to share every personal detail of my life in order to ‘prove’ anything to anyone. I have precious little privacy as it is. Suffice to say I applied twice, got turned down for reasons I can’t do anything about, and after I applied the stupid fucking Medicaid/Medicare people were so incompetent that they fucked up my name in the Human Services file so now a name that is not mine and has never been mine is on my Food Stamps Benefits mailings and all my attempts to change it have failed. The employees at the Medicaid/Medicare eligibility office are not good at English and grossly incompetent at their jobs, making so many mistakes it gives me a headache, and the more I tried to sort them out the worse the mistakes got.
The point I’m circling back to now is that I thought if I could just scrub away all the bad words and anger and hate that got stuck in me, stuck like ingrown nails and hair because people would chastise me for feeling those things, for having these things happen and wanting and needing to talk about them—I thought if I could clean out those words and really scrub off the grime then underneath I would find the old beautiful places, the sinuous music and tones and syllables and stories and flow of feelings and images and places that used to dance. I would dream on the page, and be fully immersed in somewhere else.
These days it’s like I’m hung with marleys and marleys and marleys of chains, immured in this hell of Earth more with each passing expensive moment. Every moment more money draining away as I languish in limbo imposed by a system designed to care for the disabled but with vested financial interest in denying said benefits to those very disabled, and dragging out the process for enough years that the disabled in the worst shape with no one to care for or support them can and probably do often die.
So not only do I lose money every day I’m alive I am heaped with more words of stress and anger and anguish and bitching and moaning. Feeling helpless and captive and massive triggers for me, and there are no solutions that don’t offer a different kind of helplessness and captivity presided over by a friend who believes themselves to be benevolent enough to not interfere with me or make me feel in any way helpless or captive, but are completely unable to objectively assess how they will treat me once I am under their roof or wherever, and how they will gradually begin to treat me after that, as new rules crop up, new situations arrive, problems arise and their responses escalate out of proportion because they have nothing to lose and I have everything to lose.
And this cannot be conveyed to them because they have no visceral concept of the difference of power between us, nor how what they are doing and saying is changed by that dynamic in our relationship. They can’t see past their own emotions, and trying to get them to makes them even angrier, more defensive and scary-nasty. It is deeply unpleasant to be the one on the bottom having to continually remind the person at the top of their privilege and power, especially because of the response this provokes, the angry lashings-out that come from the shame this reminder invokes, and the resentment of the burden I feel having to tippy-toe around the feelings of the more powerful just to be treated with respect for my boundaries instead of dominated and violated just because I don’t have power and I resent that too.
No one wants to be captive, or have no choices. No one wants to be unable to leave. And no one who is in the other position can be relied on to never behave badly and realize they don’t stand to lose anything by it.
One of the worst things about being a victim of long-term abuse that begins before you even begin to start developing a sense of self and of others is that one winds up having one’s mind permanently stuck on concern and fear orbiting around others’ perceptions and intentions and erratic instability, and untrustworthiness when it comes to their presentation. One of the worst things about this is knowing how awful and paranoid and insane it sounds and feels, and that like thinking too much or scratching a rash or insect bite, it makes itself worse.
Yet at the same time floating through the world in a dissociated haze, my body keeps the score, my body remembers, and keeping my eyes closed makes me just as much a target for bad behavior as being obviously on guard for it. Being unspecific about what was done to me makes me sound completely paranoid, but at the same time, being explicit about what was done to me most often leads to complaints by others that I’m making them uncomfortable, or they skip straight to invalidating me in sociopathic total lack of empathy, the most common response. To which I say, it’s easy to say ‘that’s nothing’ if you’re not the one that was hurt. It doesn’t make the hurt go away, but it does make you an unfeeling asshole, and unfortunately in the majority when faced with a human in pain.
I want to express cathartically all the hurt and poison and pain and torture poured into me from birth that I was not owed and did not deserve and was not nothing. But I am insanely, angrily, frustratingly done with being invalidated by others. This was the appeal of art and story to me as a child, a way of telling the truth veiled in metaphor, in imagery, in code, in story. But now I have gotten to a point where the pain I have endured and am having to constantly endure on an ongoing basis is so screamingly intense I can’t code it. I can’t encrypt it. I have been surrounded by so many naysayers, and the curious thing about invalidation is that it does the opposite of what it’s intending to do: rather than shut sufferers up it makes them fester in silence, volcanoes waiting to explode, camels’ backs waiting for the last straw, all because someone just didn’t want to open their heart and listen, or even admit that the communication failure was their own.
I have done my fair share of dark things. I had a lot of teachers. To unsnarl the hideous tangle of nightmares of my life takes more strength and support than I have, and I fear I don’t have much time either. So even if they’ll never make sense I put words into lines and pour them out and hope they might lessen the painful pressure. Maybe someday sense will return. Or maybe not, and all this will just blow away with the rest of the internet’s nonsense. When specificity is grounds for attack and invalidation, is it any wonder I’m less than candid, even while it makes me sound like I’m jumping at shadows? When I fear what little I have being taken away for one wrong word, is it any wonder my words barely make sense at all?