the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


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Inactivity.

Yes, it’s been a year and a half since I’ve written here.

The post A shout-out for new followers… still applies. Chronic/persistent pain is such a terrible beast.

Then there is Binge eating — one of the last of my dirty little secrets. I’m going to meet with an RDN once again. I have to do it with the intent of diabetes education, first and foremost, because health insurance simply demands it be that way. But I got a referral to meet with someone who also has training and expertise in treating eating disorders. To sum up the post, yes, I got diagnosed with binge eating disorder by a previous RDN I was seeing for diabetes education. I went on to look into bariatric weight loss surgery, specifically the sleeve (think of it as stomach stapling 2.0). I went through the process they have all patients do, up until it was time for me to take a psychological evaluation (which is probably the VERY same one I took before having a trial neurostimulator implanted in my spine- see Electric Fences and Spinal Cord Stim and The trial version of the electric fence). I then decided I needed to get a better handle on my binge eating disorder before having the size of my stomach reduced.

This is all aside from losing weight on my own after many years, dropping from 383 pounds down to 286 the last time I stepped on the digital scale at my physician’s clinic. It didn’t happen all at once. I was at 316 for a long while, but this was after following the counting carbohydrates system the aforementioned RDN taught me- the one that gave me my eating disorder diagnosis. Then I did some intermittent fasting, and my newest physician started me on an injectable diabetes drug.. but I digress.

Then there are new developments that I think will give new posts for the A Blogger’s Journey series. I did start blogging at LiveJournal in 2002 to try to unpack all the abuse my mother heaped on me for many, many years. But it was SEVERAL years before I had a name for a lot of the abuse: narcissistic abuse. And it took me a while to realize that narcissists were ALL OVER my family of origin. Not just my mother, but my maternal grandmother, both my aunts, and at least one cousin. Not unique or unusual, no, but I am coming to understand my particular experience of family dysfunction. I had to find new online communities to better process this, because… I was blacklisted from one I’d been with for about 5 years. That was what Return to Path of the Sage was about, although I was very cryptic at the time. I was scared that I’d catch more ire from the host of that community, or any of her active followers. It’s not a story I wish to recount right now. But it’s the same story I’m referring to here:

Yes, I have a huge winter beard here. It’s not quite that long this winter season… but that’s another story.

Anyways, I hope to get back into the swing of posting again. I wish to welcome new readers! And to one in particular (you know who you are)… do you see what I mean when I told you “oh, this is just the tip of the iceberg”? I mean, I still haven’t mentioned the half of it!

But such is blogging.. I have time to unpack more of it. And finding the right balance to heal and grow, without oversharing, is tough. The masses on the Internet can be pretty vicious, and that’s counting a LOT of stories, including the one about my Internet stalker. I’ll do my best to write more. Thanks for your patience!


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A Blogger’s Journey: Seizing the Sword/Grasping the Hammer

JOR-EL: The Kryptonian prophecy will be at last fulfilled. The son becomes the father – the father becomes the son.

I am one with my father. Our struggles are now acknowledged to be intertwined. But it is not so… elegant as Jor-El and Kal-El becoming one. We are united in our pain (and I could sense it for so many years).

United in abuse.

My friend Bobbi Parish told me last night that his immune disorders, the pancreatitis, and so on– are marks of long-term abuse. Abuse from his father, my grandfather, who beat him when he spasmed in the night, not knowing what else to do. Abuse from my mother and her parents, my grandparents, who witheringly disapproved of him for many, many years.  And more… more I am probably unaware of consciously.

I see abuse as a corruption to our natural weaknesses, marinating in fear, hatred, and evil suffering. In Superman III (sadly, mostly a really bad film, due, I think, to the wrath of the producers), August “Gus” Gorman analyzes the known kryptonite sample from a meteorite crash in order to synthesize it. Finding a portion is an unknown substance, he replaces it with an ingredient he finds on a pack of cigarettes– tar. After exposing the imperfectly synthesized kryptonite to Superman, Gus realizes it didn’t have the intended effect. Instead, Superman is vulnerable to the toxic emotions and vices of mortality. (See also A Hero’s Journey: Superman & the Ordeal.)

So Kal-El had to grapple with that weakness, and fully reconcile Clark Kent with Superman.

Thus I have realized my quest to overcome childhood abuse is not just for myself, but for my family- generations before, and generations after. The goal is not only to Seize the Sword, but also to grasp the Hammer that will rebuild.

So I stumble through the #CSAQT and #sexabusechats, watch the Trauma Recovery University Google Hangouts, make my Sanity Street Signs to understand it all (drawing deep on past art projects), cry, rage, and carry on, as best I can.

campbell-cave

See also

An Artist’s Journey: Get The Balance Right!

and

TToT: Seizing the Sword of Trauma and a path to healing


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[WIP] A Blogger’s Journey: Seizing the Sword/Grasping the Hammer

Work In Progress v. 2

Coming soon…

for now, please see

An Artist’s Journey: Get The Balance Right!

and

TToT: Seizing the Sword of Trauma and a path to healing


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Canary tweets in the Abyss

Twitter seems to mean more now that I see blogging friends are there.

But oh, what a very frightening ride.

The tragedy in Santa Barbara is shaking the Internet right down to its roots.  The blogosphere and Twitter are lighting up, ablaze with #YesAllWomen hashtags and thoughts about how women face harassment on a regular basis.

This was right before I was starting to open up about the horrible abuse I faced at the hands of women.

(leaving out some tweets mentioning harassment at work by women, catcalls crossing the street at uni, and my LiveJournal stalker)

As Suzie said at her blog:

No means no if you’re a man or woman.

The cutting truth is abuse is still abuse.  And we’ve got some double standards in Western society.

The girl at LiveJournal that stalked me, once I wandered into her online community, decided I’d be her little slave for her sex jollies.  Was I aroused?  Disgustingly, yes.  But that didn’t mean I really thought it was enjoyable.  I was relieved, actually, when Cimmy found out– sometimes, a person doesn’t stop until someone of their same sex or gender sets them straight.

And Cimmy is curious and stubborn enough that yes, she’ll help me out.  Incidentally, it works both ways.  It’s not always about the hulking white knight saving the lady from a boorish ruffian.

Some folks think flirting is a game.  I don’t.  So it was exceedingly irritating for girls at a couple of jobs I had to flirt with me when I really wasn’t wanting it, and it was just for their own amusement.  The rough, crude way of saying it is “cocktease”, but actually, I wasn’t interested.  It was even more irritating when I was dating someone and the girl still wouldn’t stop.

The sorority girls at Whitman were a nightmare.  I sincerely regret saying what I did– it was very much a mistake– but that harassment genuinely didn’t end until I pulled all my contact information (including from the alumni database) and left the school, and the town of Walla Walla.

Don’t get me wrong, dear readers.  Elliot Rodger is a detestable conceited douchetanker and it’s unfortunate he died before the cops could get to him.  It’s even more of a tragedy no one took his mother more seriously– she had warned people he could be dangerous.  I hope his father’s Hollywood career is busted, if he’s even the least bit accountable for Elliot’s disgusting attitudes– and yes, I mean before the crimes were committed.

But this opens deep wounds… I can see people crying vengeance for women, but… the three people he stabbed were men.  No means no if you’re a man or woman.  Violence and abuse is wrong, whether it’s by men or women, and whether it’s towards men or women.

Sure, abuse, harassment, and bullying disproportionately affects women.  That doesn’t mean it’s less significant when it does happen to men.

 


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Which Basic Instructions Character am I?

I like to follow webcomics as well as blogs in my feed reader. I found out about Basic Instructions in an interesting way– it was through a goals site called Joe’s Goals, created by a guy who’s not even named Joe! (His name is Ian Smith.)

Scott says he doesn’t actually know of a “Which Character from House of Cards Are You?” quiz, but instead says there is a quiz from his webcomic series. See below.

I was sufficiently bored and curious to see what this quiz was all about. If you recall previous posts in The 10 Year Blogging Journey series, I mentioned that a LOT of posts I made (and other bloggers I followed) were comprised of these quirky, silly little quizzes.  (Thanks for the flashback, Missy, if you by some strange cosmic coincidence, happen to read this.)

The Emperor of the Moon

The Emperor of the Moon

You’re always coming up with plans; some small, some grand, some sheer elegance in their simplicity. Unfortunately, the incompetence of your minions and the sheer determination of your foe defeat you every time.

Which Basic Instructions Character Are You?

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The warrior-priest of the sagebrush steppes

I am fighting off terrible pain today, as well as nausea and other consequences of that pain. Here’s a post from the archives– something I wrote when I was still blogging at VOX.

the tao of jaklumen

Read this as an epic tale, or a real life account, as you will.

Once, I was an Idealist, but not in the Platonic sense.  I still believe in the spirit element of all things material, but I was as Troile’s children, who fought for the ideals of an ancient kingdom, or even a world, like Caprica.  I was wont to despair if others did not share my ideals.  I was prone to pontificate, or at least to preach those ideals boldly.

But I was to know pain.  Seeds of destruction planted in my youth began to grow to fruition, and my dreams seemed to shatter against the rocks.  Although I wrestled with demons and claws of damnation, I had vowed to never forsake the Light that had shone in my soul, though I might chase through clouds to get to it again.  But a growing sense of iconoclasm…

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A 10-year blogging journey: New Life and the VOX years

So next was a post about fleeing the terrible fourplex.  I’ll just link to it, since I don’t feel like summarizing it much.  Then there was a post about crime at the apartment complex (the new place).

After the miscarriage, my next big LiveJournal post was Bun in the oven.  This was nine weeks in, yet I knew it was going to happen.  Right at the moment of conception, even– with me grunting “have my child” at… well, you get the idea, right?  It was like the stars aligned and I knew it had to happen, right then.

October 28, 2006 I left the Camarilla.  Toxic people, toxic effects, but sadly it happened because I realized I’d alienate my sister if I stayed.

by distemper at DeviantArt-- presented by claim of fair use

This was as close as I could get to a parody some LJ’er in the Camarilla made of the old TNT network logo (it said “CAM” instead of “GOTH”). So true, it hurts.

Then we got confirmation the little wombmate was a boy.  We knew this already, as I said– our kids made themselves known.

Twenty days before he was delivered cesarean, I started blogging on VOX.  We were nervous up until the delivery day:

Well, not much of anything of import to say, save that my wife’s recent pregnancy has been a rollercoaster lately.  Last Saturday night and Sunday morning, we had a false alarm– 11 hours in the hospital during nighttime hours, only to find it was likely a UTI that triggered contractions. (March 14, 2007)

It’s down to the last week or two now, but babies do come when they want to. (March 20, 2007)

I felt a mixture of emotions when he finally came out.  He was so quiet, even when I was helping one of the nurses clean off the white stuff off him.  (By constrast, his older sister wailed.)  I was so impressed.  But later, I wondered why I didn’t feel as much excitement with him as I did his sister.  I thought, “If they took him back, that would be okay.”  What was wrong with me?

The Hero's Journey: Ordeal, Death, Rebirth

The Hero’s Journey: Ordeal, Death, Rebirth

Next post in the series: The son becomes the father…


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A 10-year blogging journey: Woman as Temptress

This is another one of the stages Campbell lists.  EDIT: I have just recently received some kind support from a blogging friend that remembers me telling this story before.  I remember some discussion on hers and other blogs that creepy stalkers can be male OR female!  Never fun when that happens.

My first Internet stalker was female.  I didn’t think of her as a creepy stalker at first– initially, I wanted to think of her as an online friend– but she was definitely predatory.

Homestar Runner

Homestar Runner was a very popular animated series site at the time, and the creators decided to promote it on a LiveJournal feed.  I seem to remember there was also a community for the site, or something like that, and that’s where she said she found me, when I asked.

No biggie, I thought at first.  But then came the first red flag.  Maybe you’ve noticed, dear readers, that most people read the latest posts on a blog, and it’s unusual for them to dig into the archive, unless older posts are promoted.  I was flattered at first that she was reading and commenting on older posts– but then, when I saw how far back she was combing, I was a little disturbed.

Maybe you remember that quizzes used to be a trend on blogs.  Out of misplaced curiosity, I’d posted one from an LJ friend… and this stalker answered.  Then I decided to visit the talker she was a part of.  I was curious– it reminded me of Grex (and their old protocols) and the community was also in the Midwest.

I’d never used a talker before, but I was familiar with the MUDs they were based on.  Think Second Life, but all text.  Once I got there, she’d whisk me away to a restricted room to cybersex me.  She wouldn’t take no for an answer and didn’t seem to care that I was married.  I found out she was engaged, too.  What the hell?

I made the unfortunate mistake of going along with it, and Cimmy was understandably upset when she found out about it.  I don’t mean to excuse myself, but this wasn’t the first time I allowed a crazy woman to grab attention from me, and in much that way, too.  (One of many reasons why I regret being part of the LARP and Camarilla scene.)

But Cimmy didn’t stay too mad for long and she definitely found ways to help me get even.  She cornered this woman and turned on the bright interrogation lamps, so to speak.  We also wanted to see how far she would push this to real-life, like with a telephone call.  sigh It turns out she was pretty cowardly.

The frosting on the cake came when she found out her fiancé was cheating on her– and then she ranted about it at her own space.  Oh, the hypocrisy.  This upset me a great deal, but I didn’t dare to comment too much, lest I be lambasted for my own part.

But now it’s out in the open.  Think of me what you will, I guess– this predatory behavior was more subtle, and I got emotionally hooked.  I am grateful that my wife helped me break out it.

Next post in the series: A 10-year blogging journey: New Life and the VOX years


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A 10-year Blogging Journey: Death, before Life

In my LiveJournal blogging, I never mentioned my “Sifu-of-Sorts”, whom I met online through the Camarilla.  I call him “Sifu-of-Sorts” because he balked to be called a sifu or a sensei, but, he was my Meeting of the Mentor (stage four of the Hero’s Journey, per se Vogler) regardless, and that was the name, “Sifu-of-Sorts”, that he reluctantly approved.

Research Association of Laozi Taoist Culture

In the Mage venue, I was playing a member of The Akashic Brotherhood (which refers to the akashic record in Eastern reckoning).  I had some interest in Eastern paths, so my Sifu-of-Sorts recommended that I read the Bhagavad Gita and the Tao Te Ching.

I did not get too deep into the Gita, but I read the Tao Te Ching like a man dying of thirst.

Jan. 7th, 2005 — “Still grieving”:

You know, oddly enough, Julie is dealing with the loss pretty well. I haven’t been handling it so well though.

Many tears were shed; I had really wanted this after all. They say it’s good therapy to try again but a part of me is reluctant. The doctor said after four weeks was okay.

I try to keep remembering that the child will come when the time is right; we do have a feeling this next one is very patient. But I still feel so much.

We knew that we would have another child after our daughter.  Both of them made their presence known a long time before they were born, somehow: there was excitement, anticipation, near impatience with our daughter, and more patience and gentle love with our son.

Perhaps Boy needed that patience, because he didn’t come right away.

We waited a while.  I wasn’t sure we were ready– we were in that crummy fourplex and things were difficult.  I remember my father coming to visit to help Cimmorene break the news to me that she was pregnant.  “She really needs your support,” he said.

But it wasn’t to be, yet.  My memory is hazy, but I remember Cimmy saying something was wrong, that she was bleeding for some reason.  She rushed to the toilet, and miscarried– and I saw the process in all its ugly, gory horror, blood and all.

This was The Ordeal.  I was devastated.

I blamed myself.  I thought that because I wasn’t supportive enough, that I hadn’t wanted the pregnancy at the time, that I was to blame for her miscarrying.  I cut myself, many times, scoring the inside of my forearm with a razor blade.  I wept.  I brooded and stewed as I often do.

I e-mailed my Sifu-of-Sorts about it.  He was so sanguine, as he often is.  He explained that miscarrying was the body’s natural way of dealing with a faulty pregnancy.  I already knew that was true, but I had an emotional dissonance, as I often do.  I may know something logically, but emotionally– it’s often a different story.

But Boy did come, two years and a few months later.  That, of course, is the subject for a future post.

The Hero's Journey: Ordeal, Death, Rebirth

The Hero’s Journey: Ordeal, Death, Rebirth

Next post in the series: A 10-year blogging journey: Woman as Temptress


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12 Steps Into The Special World (A Closer Look)

In the previous post I looked to the Outer sixth stage: Tests, Allies, and Enemies– what Campbell refers to as “The Road of Trials”.  Indeed, I was looking at my 12 Step work on a much deeper level– and I eventually cross-referenced the two books (He Did Deliver Me From Bondage and Clean Hands, Pure Heart) a lot.

I figured it appropriate to look more to Vogler’s Inner sixth stage, here: Experimenting with new conditions.  I really started to put the Steps through their paces.

I feel it necessary to point out that the 12 Step program has been interpreted many different ways, for people of very different belief systems.  “Higher Power” is often substituted for “God”; the founders did use the words “as we understood him”, and I think that’s fair leeway.  Anyways, because religion is a touchy subject, I want to be sure that what I say of my own beliefs is just that– my own.

What I should also point out was that Cimmorene walked me through these months and months of posts, and decided to work along in the book with me.

What Phil introduced me to was counseling with Jesus Christ, or God the Son.  I had not known that our leadership (even Brigham Young, our second president of our church) had taught the importance of doing so.  Perhaps it is easier for me to say that I developed a closer relationship with my Master.  It was hard– really hard, because for so many years I had stuffed my emotions and I deemed myself unworthy– “pride from beneath”, as Phil and Colleen put it.  It would be easy for me to continue feeling that I would be divinely condemned, but as I worked through these journals, I felt an incredible sense of love, mercy, patience, and understanding.

That became the essence of the sixth step: “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character,” and the seventh step: “Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.”  The fifth step was hard for me, because it was very easy to write that fifth step inventory and to be too caught up in the shame of the trauma of that.  I didn’t realize until many years later (I think it was this year?), attending a meeting with the LDS Addiction Recovery Program, that I was not fair with myself, not counting how I had wronged myself, and that I needed to forgive myself.

I also had glossed over a few details– Clean Hands, Pure Heart wasn’t released at the start of these posts.  Phil was still working on publishing the book, so I didn’t start writing about it until September 3, 2004, approximately when I got my physical copy.  But he referenced a lot of what was put up online as sample material.  I don’t have our e-mail communiqués anymore, but I had saved some of his responses as comments to the posts.

And there were also hints of other changes– weight loss, better physical fitness– that I’m not sure I wrote much about.  At one point, I lost 80 pounds.  Let me say this: I was concerned about how 12 Step work would affect me overall, not just recovery from sexual addiction.  Yes… I guess this is the first time I’ve referenced that, that my support group and 12 Step work had largely to do with sex addiction.  This was my way of coping with the abuse, with what for a time seemed like a conflict between my beliefs and my sexual orientation.

There was also more problems with mental illness, more specifically BAD side effects from psychiatric drugs.  It’ll take me some time to pick through all of that.

But I made it through.  Most of my 15 years of marriage have been swallowed up in that journey, and so, there’s more to come.  It’s a slogfest, but I’ll get to the VOX years eventually, the birth of my son, and some REALLY exciting stuff about blogging some life-altering events.

Next post in the series: A 10-year Blogging Journey: Death, before Life