Memories

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It is high summer. Day temperatures are in the high 80ies – which is a record breaking high in our parts of the world, thanks to #global_warming. I’ve always loved summer. For a number of reasons. One being that I got to look forward to the summer break from school. As troubled as my upbringing and childhood may have been – and was! – summer always meant a time away from all the harrowing routines. Summer meant: Going away on vacation. I come from very modest, short of saying poor means in my family. But they managed to take us somewhere abroad every summer, although modest destinations as well. I’m grateful for that. So, summer meant: Getting up somewhere in a foreign land with hosts not speaking our language and breakfast basically consisting of a strong cup of coffee / espresso – even for us kids. Summer meant: All you had to put on to be “orderly” dressed was swimming shorts. And flip-flops, maybe. Sun glasses, if you wanted to be sophisticated. And then after coffee and the sun already high up in the sky the only other “to do’s” on the day’s agenda were: Head to the beach, bring your beach mattress, your frisbee, softball tennis rackets and ball and other toys and – enjoy yourself to Kingdom Come! (Only to be topped by snacks and soft drinks carried on in a cooling bag and the perspective of dining out somewhere downtown at night, preferrably at a place where the locals meet in all their life-embracing enthusiasm!) Summer always meant the best approximation to that which others know as “innocence”. I do remember that I always felt like I was on top of the world!

It is summer now. I’m not a kid anymore. And for the life of me – I can recall those memories, but barely any of the feelings. They somehow got buried in the debris of what my life has become or rather: Has been from the get-go. There is only this thick, muddy, murky sewer-pit substance of darkness engulfing me from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I close them (and the latter only being possible with a pretty “fair” share of inebriation as of late). A depressive episode, you say? Well. Fuck me, then! It feels like it’s never been anything else, but that. And I’m just done and spent with the hanging on and waiting for that day that will never come: The day that my being will feel worthwhile exploring. It’s not. None of it is. Life is absurd and always was as we’re only here for one tiny moment – and some of us only for “reasons” of enduring inexpressible amounts of pain – and the next moment, we’ll be gone for all of eternity.

I am pondering getting my things in order. Last will and such things. (But before that: Seeing to it I don’t inherit any debts to my family for the series of poor choices I’ve made in my “adult” life).

Well. Whatever. None of it ever mattered. Or will matter. And that’s perfectly alright.

 

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Tune In, Turn Loose, Cop Out

Humor me please and let’s call it a paraphrase of the refrain in this song, shall we?

But not so fast just yet, please. Let’s take a closer look:

Tune in. Ahhh…. OK. I’ve been already failing that part for most, if not all of my life. I don’t say this in a way of meaning to whine about myself or my life. It’s just a barebone observation. I’ve never been completely tuned in. With just about anything. But I got very good at pretending that I had. (score 1 – or maybe not even scoring at all…? Beats me).

Cop Out: Yeah. More like it. I got that part down pretty well. Pretend to be tuned in, then cop the hell out while you can. Also and at the risk of flattering myself – on second thought: why should it be a “risk” and not a “trait”? – I’ve become an expert on this. Tune in just far enough so you get the idea of what life might actually feel like – then dash off as fast as lightning! Yup. And good timing is everything, baby!

Turn loose? Hm. I’m drawing a blank. Don’t think I’ve ever come even remotely close to any of this. Turning loose as in: Relinquishing all control, all imagined “power” over anything or anyone, deliberately and consciously giving in to the experience at hand? In other words: Living in the so-called “now” (we’d have to have another lengthy debate about exactly how this now is established – or its closest representation of it). Nope. Never been there. BUT:

I think that’s exactly where healing starts. Give up. Give in. Relinquish all the need to hold on to whatever it was you thought you had to hold on to. Come on, let’s just face it: At the end of the “day” – which actually means at the end of our lives – it’ll be like we’ve never existed. Noone cares for much of anything we ever think we’ve accomplished, now do they? If you want your name on a tombstone for a little while, you have to be able to afford it. Which means: You have to have the means to pay for it. If and when you don’t – sorry, pal, you’ll go unnoticed for the rest of eternity. (as will). Besides: A tombstone? Come on! For what: Another 20, 30, 50 years? And then? Your kids, your grandkids, your grand-grand kids will have passed on, too. And your name is … lost in the interaction of quarks and stuff.

So, at the risk of being boring (which would bother me a lot more than the risk of being a narcissist – because we all are): Why. The fuck. Not. Turn. Loose?!

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I Think, Losing Your Dreams…

… is the worst loss of all. A loved one, a parent, a relative, a pet – when you lose them, there’s always someone to console you and help you through those tough times. But your dreams – are only known to yourself. No other person can relate 100%, hence they can’t understand, can’t console. Losing your dreams equals your soul starting to die.

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Redefining Oneself

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“I am redefining myself”, people sometimes say when one walk of life or one career path ends and the new one isn’t in sight just yet.

I’ve always wondered what people meant when uttering this statement. For: How do you go about that, i.e. re-defining yourself? What aspects of you are at stake and can be voluntarily redefined? Is such a thing possible at all? (Yes, says this gentleman)

Off of the top of my head I’d say, identity is at stake to an extent. Which begs the next deeper question: Exactly what is this phenomenon called “I-dentity”? Wikipedia has this to say about this concept. In their article, I find this finding particularly valuable – and conclusive, if I might add:

Sociology places some explanatory weight on the concept of role-behavior. The notion of identity negotiation may arise from the learning of social roles through personal experience. Identity negotiation is a process in which a person negotiates with society at large regarding the meaning of his or her identity.

“…in which a person negotiates with society at large regarding the meaning of his or her identity.”

Interesting. So now – and quite “impromptu” (=all of a sudden), though -, identity is no longer about what _I_ think as to who I am. Now it is about them and what they think I represent? Did I get this right? So, wouldn’t it then be technically more appropriate to call it “we-dentity”? Or rather: “Them-dentity”? Naw. I agree. Doesn’t sound good. Doesn’t sound good at all. OK. So for now and for the record: Wikipedia abruptly makes “I-dentity” into “I – plus more.” Huh! I never saw this coming!

Now: Be this true or not – at the very least it offers – me, personally! – a very handy explanation as to why it is I’ve been feeling so alienated from everything and pretty much everybody (with another particular stress on “body“. Sorry, John Mayer! I took your breakthrough song and shrunk it to the size of the singularity for no other reason than to serve my personal micro-nano-super-small-scale purposes when I should know better than that… particularly when considering that I’m a “string-“slinger” myself…[Psssss: Will do better in the future! [[NOT!!!]] ])

So, sociology posits the societal role someone embodies when negotiating identity at large. The “I-thing” somehow became a “we-thing” or rather “them-thing” along the way. And them decide over who I am? Am I following this right for just now?

If I did: I currently play no role in society (other than being a burden) – where does that leave me, sociologists? Nowhere? For real, now? (That was a rhetorical one. I know-know that I’m currently nowhere, o.k.? Thanks, no thanks!). No role, no place in society. Got it! (Socioligists? You weren’t exactly helping. Can I say this without sounding too rude?!)

Psychologists most commonly use the term “identity” to describe personal identity, or the idiosyncratic things that make a person unique. Meanwhile, sociologists often use the term to describe social identity, or the collection of group memberships that define the individual. However, these uses are not proprietary, and each discipline may use either concept and each discipline may combine both concepts when considering a person’s “identity”.

“… most commonly use the term “identity” to describe personal identity.” Ah…. huh!!!! “Personal” as opposed to …. what?! “Collective” identity? (Yay!!! I got this one right, at least!) But still… uhm… collective and at… the… same…time… “unique”? Can I just say: We’re not getting anywhere with this, aren’t we?

Finally, we might be gettin’ somewhere:

Another issue of interest in social psychology is related to the notion that there are certain identity formation strategies which a person may use to adapt to the social world.

Aha!! And they go on to describe “archetypes” such as e.g. the Refuser, the Drifter (uhh… sounds like I might like him! 🙂 ), the Searcher, the Guardian (shut up! Had my fair share of “Good Samaritians” in the sack! Hint: DON’T!!!!) and – drum roll – the RESOLVER! (“Accepts personal skills and competencies and uses them actively”).

Was it too obnoxiously self-flattering to say that I’ve been living my life like this? Even a long time before knowing I had C-PTSD working against this approach and idea almost from day one?

Back on the topic at hand: THAT – i.e. the “Resolver” – was the role I had been adopting ever since finding that I’m different. And different for no reason of my own choosing. And then that role fell apart. Or I did. Or … oh, goddamn, fuck all this “I”-dentity business altogether!

Now – anyone got a “redefining myself” blueprint somewhere at hand? And can spare one for an early impoverished, but still clean and headstrong boy? Thank you. Really.

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“And so I Radiate Love”

I knew he had contracted skin cancer a while ago. They removed the bits from his nose. Skin cancer. A late “postcard” from his time in New Mexico in the late 60ies, early 70ies with massive UV radiation all over the place and taking pictures in some of the nuclear bomb test sites. That and UV reflecting back from the “White Sands”. Guess, that could have anyone done in, much more so a fair-skinned European. Even some 50 years later. Our skin has a memory of its own, I hear. Doesn’t take things easy on “over-radiating”…

Doctors thought they had it in check. That is – until three massive tumors showed up around his neck. “Your body has created a recipé for cancer from the skin cancer”, said the oncologist. I think I can see George scoff upon this very unscientific assessment. Treatment: Cut half his head off to remove the tumors, stitch him back up and – hoping for the best. At age 92. I suspect love to have gotten him so far. His wife’s love who stood by him for 66+ years. Spent time knitting while he was busy squeezing the last bit of horsepower out of his race-grade tuned motorcycles – and racing them and winning, too! (on a shoestring, as he called it himself). Love got ’em a good while further – almost until her 93rd birthday and some way past his 93rd one. Beloved, beautiful wife passed only days shy of her 93rd birthday – which clearly must have broken his big heart. Would have cut mine into a gazillion pieces from only looking at her, let alone getting to spend every waking and sleeping hour with her.

And then: Tumors removed, some permanent malfunction to the facial nerve from that, wife dies, gets buried. And now: Brain tumors! “It’s big,”, he went upon sharing the news with me out of the proverbial blue one late Friday afternoon. WTF?! I’m up to my ears with crap myself and you pester me with your little dying episode? No. Of course, not. It was my way of not going crazy from hearing it.

Couple of weeks later… we lost him. I have been a lousy friend in your remaining weeks, George. Hope, you’ll forgive me one day. R.I.P., brother!

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NDEs

The more I hear and read about NDEs, the more convinced I become that they’re really just a by-product of acute physical and emotional stress in the face of getting annihilated. Understandably, for some. Personally, I seem to learn more and more towards the idea that going back to non-being and thus to unawareness holds an aspect of relief I seem to begin to treasure. Just my 2 cents.

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Resonating With Other People

Recently, a new therapist enlightened me on the fact – oooh, drumroll, newsflash! – that much of human connection hinges on feeling resonance. We didn’t go into detail as to the specifics of what this very ambigious, poorly defined term that is very much en vogue in New Age circles actually means. But I’d like to state that I’ve heard it before – resonance, I mean – and so played along with that concept while displaying what I thought to come out as an understanding face.

Resonance. Let me try to define it according to what I’ve gathered so far: You feel in resonance with other people when the nature of mutual experiences and their emotional outcomes in each of the conversants match. No? I look forward to your comments corroborating or arguing the idea. But for now, let’s just employ this concept as a working idea, shall we?

OK. Experiences plus emotional outcome(s). Let’s break that down for a sec: Experiences. Let’s be easy and say: Common experiences. Experiences “everyone” goes through at some point in their lives. You with me? Let’s try and find one: How about – school? Ah! Yeah. Most people – in the western world at least – have attended school, right? No? Beginning to see my point? Maybe no. Then …. how can you resonate with anyone who’s been attending school as if it was a given?

Next: Emotional outcome. Aha! Now, there’s some common ground, right? As we all experience emotional states. And those tend to run a sort of predefined gamut. No? Ha! Again: See my point?

Resonance, my fucking ass. As a trauma survivor you’ll be hard pressed to find any-effin’-single-one person who even has the beginning of an idea as to what that trauma actually encompasses, let alone feels like. However – somehow having survived the agony that trauma leaves behind is the first “off-the-mark” phenomenon many of us were forced to learn to navigate in order to…. well, yes: Survive. Sometimes very verbatim as in: Physically. Sometimes “only” emotionally (quotes because science e.g. know of the “broken heart syndrome”. Not a syndrome at all, but a real physical response to what goes on in your life). My point: YOU CAN’T RESONATE WITH THE BULK OF MAINSTREAM as their lives have ZERO semblance with ours!

I’m taking liberty to place the concept of resonance with where the rest of unfruitful concepts already reside, the latter of which so many – well meaning, though, gotta give ’em that – “experts” tried to shove down my throat. (I have a very… nasty … idea as to what enacting the reverse of that concept might entail…. 3:) )

Your take?

P.S. Very much politically-incorrect encore (and fun): I’ll gladly – no sarcasm, intended, I mean it – listen to a – say – Holocaust survivor and their take on feeling resonance. Maybe I should do that exact thing: Find me a still living Holocaust survivor and listen to them as to how they managed to overcome their experiences. In my book, noone can be an expert on anything unless… they lived their field of expertise in their own flesh and blood. The rest? Imposters. With a state-approved paper in their pocket. Con-artists, actually.

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Glimpses of the Life I Missed Out On

It’s the most bizarre experience next to the NDE at age four: I’m back in my home town, even back under the roof where I grew up. I’m seeing old friends and making new ones. We’re on the verge of summer. I feel my body for the first time. I’m getting glimpses of what life could have – should have – felt like: Innocent. Unencumbered. Carefree. Sensual. I’m feeling my body for the first time in a way I have never felt it before. All I’ve ever felt was distress, anguish, allergies, physical discomfort to the n-th degree. And now there is the promise of summer upon us, upon me, with scents so manifold, so tempting, so sweet I never even had an idea that all this existed. Life …. is – or let’s say can be – one ongoing sensation of sensuality with each following sensation trumping the previous one. It truly is a miracle, a gift, one I had no idea existed.

How bizarre. I’ve lived to see half a century. And haven’t lived at all. Until now. (Hopefully).

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