the tao of jaklumen

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


Leave a comment

Breaking the cycle: Another link

This will be a little cryptic as I’m still struggling to process the immediate implications and the long-term, big picture impact.

I’ve been communicating with an estranged family member for a few years now.  Today, I took a gamble, tried to ask questions to figure out more.

I lost.

My instinct said not to go there, that it was the proverbial can of worms.  It definitely was.  Self-imposed isolation.  Pain.  Much like a sister of mine.

I talked to my father after I decided to lock the door behind me and to get rid of the key, for now.  He told me basically what I already knew, but in a little more detail.  This is his older brother’s eldest daughter.  I told him yes, she’s preparing to shut everyone out, including him.

What did I ask about?  Those of you that know me very, very well should be able to put together some of the pieces.  It’s another side of the coin to what triggers me.  My pain.  But more like a mirror image.

I tried to explain myself, but, I still shut the door- probably getting rid of all of my explanations.  Intuition says she’s not ready to hear it.  Unfortunate, but, I prepared for it, at least logically, if not emotionally.

It stings like hell.  But I had another ace in the hole: the mammalian dive reflex, part of the T.I.P.P. strategy.  Invoke the reflex with a cold pack between eyes and cheek bones, bending at the waist, holding my breath for 30 seconds- as if I was diving into icy cold water.  I’d read about it before- it’s saved children from drowning in in the same.  An evolutionary remnant, the reflex shuts down the body, and in a #DBT context, it forces the body to slow down immediately, overriding the fight/flight/fawn/freeze response.  Maybe like a soft reboot- not a hard reboot, like I’ve had when the lights go out, but I stay at home in the back of my mind- if I understand Claire Cappetta just right.

It didn’t work immediately; I’m not sure if I did it perfectly right.  But I feel calmer.  And what felt like a loss at first- feels more like a victory.  I’m one step closer.


2 Comments

I Am So Tired Right Now

If it isn’t already bleedingly obvious right now, I’m on a blogging hiatus.

I am so tired.

 

A quick note- there will be a little salt in the following words.  If coarse language offends you, I won’t be offended in turn if you gloss over the next parts, or even stop reading.  I will be grateful if you continue, however.

Hit the road, Jill

I trounced Boy’s ABA therapist.  As in I told her to get out.  Then, I could only take so much of her boss blowing smoke up my ass.  It’s a semi-long story that I just don’t have time or energy to elaborate on right now.

I am very excited to have a new artist- Saphyre Rain- to write press for We Heart Music.  (What’s We Heart Music?  For those who haven’t been here over the long, long slog, leave me a comment, and I’ll explain.  For now: a music blog I wrote for back in the day.)  It’s comprised of a husband and wife duo singing about hope for suicide and self-harm issues, which are very personal and important to me.  I’ve been corresponding with Amanda, the singer/guitarist of the group, and she’s been very congenial… I’m grateful she specifically asked me to take my time.

Errrrrgggh, this is so frustrating.  I’m really frustrated!

I’m so frustrated, in a certain way.  cough No, won’t elaborate.  It doesn’t help that Cimmorene has a new memory about being molested by a caregiver when she was 3.  Why thank you, fate.  Yes, I will have another bitch slap, please.

More work on this post than I was expecting.  I’m still tired.

It takes effort to distill thoughts to 120 characters, but Twitter is less exhausting… as was discussed in the previous post.


5 Comments

Another catching up with jaklumen & family

Just some highlights:

Neru’s online friend, apparently, is a dirty middle-aged man trying to groom her?  I told my father- how are we going to honestly file a report when we have no return address or full name?

I had a hot date with Cimmorene, a CT machine, a radioactive isotope, and a nuclear bone scanner Tuesday.

Wednesday was meeting with the doctor, getting poked AGAIN for the second day in a row, and showing Dad how my stereo stuff I gave to him years ago works.

Poor Skittles (my parents’ cat).  He skewered himself in the pit of his right front leg, and he has to wear a cone of shame.  He is miserable being confined inside.  If we cat-sit for him next week (parents are going to Utah for my brother-in-law and niece’s birthdays), we may need to spend a LOT of laptime with him.

More to come, dear readers.  Stay tuned


1 Comment

A Blogger’s Journey: The Nadir Before (National Suicide Prevention Day)

What a time for pain to be hitting me even harder, dear readers.

Maybe it’s just as well.

Detail of The Death of Socrates. A disciple is...

Don’t drink the Kool-Aid, Socrates! Not my method of attempting, but I’d rather be a tad whimiscal here, than dark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Suicide is an ugly topic for me.  It cast a long, long shadow and was right at the very beginning of my 30+ years of therapy.  Yes, I mean I considered it myself… and made a very half-hearted attempt.

The bitterly ironic thing was I came much closer when I wasn’t trying as such– like the drug OD, or breathing gasoline fire.  (Yes, a story I haven’t told yet.)

I am a survivor of suicide– one of my dear childhood friends took his own life.  It was very frustrating for me, because I’d had the pleasure of reconnecting with him not too long before, in my church’s young adult congregation at the time (which was huge because it covered over 5 small cities).  The obituary was vague- something about him being stationed in Germany, leaving behind a wife and an infant child.  The horrors of war, with all the PTSD it entails, I can only suppose.

I’ve been harrassed online because I refused to condemn another man who took his own life as selfish.  That too is a long story unto itself– he was a convicted child molester– and many of you may know, that other prisoners view them as lower than the scum of the earth.

But having experienced suicidal thoughts, and other artifacts of the many traumas I have been through– many I haven’t even begun to detail here– I couldn’t.

Image credit: @SPSMChat/#spsm. (Duh!)

Consider joining me on the #spsm Twitter chat to learn more.  It’s intense at times, because the live stream consists of five professionals (psychiatrists, therapists et al) who do talk a lot of job.  But many of them wear pirate hats.  There is good news beyond the lapses into jargon and intellectual words (don’t worry, I freely admit I’m guilty too, especially with technobabble), and there is hope.  Not to mention they are very actively doing good; taking action beyond mere words.

Compassion-Logo-FINISHED1


5 Comments

Descending further down the Abyss (Transitions)

I now have a collapsing disc just above the fused vertebrae, and awful swelling around the bone graft of the fusion.

Just how far can the pain go?

Thinking on my experiences with domestic violence— yes, sadly, that is a thing I’ve witnessed, and experienced.  Lindsay Fischer (then as Sarafina Bianco) and Amy Thompson welcomed me into #domesticviolencechat, another Twitter chat that intersected with the #sexabusechat community.  I wasn’t sure I fit in, at first… much like the other Twitter communities I mentioned.  But I was nevertheless accepted.

We’re all wondering where Timothy (@GerhardTimothy) is and that he’s okay.  I especially value the conversations we had, because then it was easier to feel okay as a man in the chat discussions.

I’ve told Amy a little bit about my experience, but haven’t told anyone else much in full.  That will change, soon.  I think Lindsay and Amy encourage my perspective (they’ve said this to me numerous times in various ways) because it adds more scope to the issue.  It’s not just a woman’s issue, and it’s not just an issue between couples.  In my experience, it involves generations of families- although such matters are usually discussed in abuse contexts (child abuse, adult abuse, etc.)

I think it’s also time to bring out the Redemption of the Four Kingdoms material.  It’s long overdue, actually– if many of you remember my teasings and many cryptic references to it, I’ll be amazed.

But so much of this writing is difficult to do when I am drowning in wave after wave of agonizing pain.  I’ll have to do it in bits and pieces.  I’ll probably write posts that I feel are lacking in quality, although I want to cut down on the perfectionistic traps and toxic habits mingled in such thinking.

I will try to sleep now, dear readers… it’s 02:39 as of this writing where I am.  I hope the pain will ebb, and the terrifying nightmares stop.  Only about a week ago, I dreamt I was molested and raped.  Again.  In a different way.  It felt so real, but I’d never experienced it in real life.  How?


3 Comments

An Artist’s Journey: Get The Balance Right! (redux)

Those of you that are in my abuse and PSTD survivor Twitter support groups might be familiar with my Sanity Sign series.  What you might not know is how it got started, or how far back the inspiration goes.

I’m a big Depeche Mode fan.

There was a particular album cover that I just adored.  Granted, I’d gotten the image during the compact disc era, when gorgeous art that had covered vinyl LP jackets were shrunk to the jewel cases that CDs came in.  This image was for the single “Get The Balance Right“:

This song really resonated with me, and I figured that the Town, Country & Planning’s (TC&P) design for the artwork was based on construction signs (especially as the single was released around the year “Construction Time Again” was an album).

So I did a lot of artwork based on the image- variations of street signs that I could think of, and such.  I don’t think I’ve managed to save very much of it, but there was this:

North Hall Mural 1994

North Hall Mural 1994

North Hall was a dormitory I stayed in, while attending Whitman College from 1994-1995.

Then I decided to recreate some of the images I’d made in 2010, as part of a card I sent to a pen pal Down Under:

Yep, that’s all freehand, and not digitally cleaned up.

About three or four years passed, and I started getting involved in a Twitter chat called #sexabusechat, as I heard about it from a prolific blogger.  A particular quote from this person seemed to fit this old theme of mine. (See Rachel Thompson reminds us that we are a Work In Progress.)  This image was the result:

workinprogress

which was largely modified from the standard US crossing traffic sign, because I wasn’t too sure if TC&P Associates’ designs were under copyright.

Then I found someone on RedBubble doing artwork based on DM album covers.  I figured if any attorneys connected to DM weren’t chasing after him, and the artwork remained up there (and is still there, last I checked), my own use and modification was fair game.

So I grabbed this image:

GetTheBalanceRight-375x360and then created this for #NoMoreShame/Trauma Recovery University:

no-more-shame-we-are-not-to-blame

Sometime later, I went and made a digital recreation of one of my original images, heavily modifying the image I’d taken above.

Get The Balance Right v. jak

As I said, I’d done a number of variations in the distant past, but of course, the Internet had come a LONG way since I started making this image in 1993.  Standard symbols featured on U.S. and international street signs were easier to find by way of Google Images.  I decided that the image above would be my trademark signature, and so I started putting it into subsequent projects, like this one I did for Aussa, based on a comment from one of her readers.

no-fix-for-rest-of-crazy

Like all recovering perfectionists, however, I wasn’t satisfied with the fonts I was using.  I wanted something that was close to Clearview, which is what the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) uses.  I found that a font called “Highway Gothic” had been created, which was free of charge.  And so I grabbed it and started incorporating it into my following projects, like this one:

congruencywarning

I hadn’t had much success in the past using scalable vector graphics (SVG) before, at least not as far as producing images completely from scratch.  But once again, my rabid perfectionism pushed me back to try again.  Since I was sharing these images with my Twitter followers, and I had to resize many of them over and over again, I found raster-based graphics (using the GIMP) didn’t scale very well.  There was too much pixelation, making the work look rough.  Over time, I found many stock images (that is, the standard symbols I referred to earlier) were available in SVG formats.

So I fired up Inkscape and remained determined to make something.  This image was the first result:

abuseisabuse

Yes, I’m showing this image at its original size to show you how clean SVG is.

and used Inkscape again with excellent results for this last project I did:

Negative thoughts in the bin

I hope I’ve demonstrated that my work is improving.  I’m not the same sort of artist as my wife Cimmorene (@wavemistress) is, or my daughter (@YellowNeru)– I think they are much more talented in traditional freehand methods.  But this is inspiring to me.

[EDIT November 30th, 2015] I decided to recreate one of my designs from the 1990s, and elaborate on it a little more:

the-work-moves-on

You can find the Sanity Sign series, and some other old artwork I’ve brought way, way back from the dead to get new life at jaklumen.deviantart.com.