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In which I think about middle school

Last night, I was in a conversation with my aunt and dad about former teachers, and I got a random thought about my former middle school art teacher. It occurred to me in that exact moment how fucked up it was that there would sometimes be whole class periods where we couldn't work because he would be ranting and raving angrily.

He'd talk to us at the beginning of class before we started to work, and usually then a lot of the students would already have their assignments in front of us, like.. our clay pieces, drawings, whatever. If he had something important to say, he'd tell us to put our work down and listen up. However, in times when he was pissed off about something, it would be a long time before he gave any signal for us to finally begin work, and sometimes it seemed to last almost the entire class period.

It never happened quite often, but it did happen more than once and I remember it being annoying. If it happened often enough for it to be annoying rather than threatening, then there was definitely a problem. How did I not realize how screwed up that is before? Like... I always knew that it wasn't right, but I didn't realize HOW not-right it was until last night. He should have retired a lot sooner than he did.

Sep. 16th, 2012

I remember a few months ago, there was this really awful day and the conclusion I got at the end of it is that the relationship between my mom, aunt, and I are basically more like roommates than family. I keep thinking back to that because, when that conversation happened, it feels like something permanently changed in the way I feel about my mom and aunt, and I don't know if it's just from growing up or what... but it was not good. I felt like shit.

And I'm thinking about the past couple days because mom has been angry non-stop for them, and tonight my grandma finally talked her off the ledge and she came downstairs. We all tried to carry on like usual but I find myself lacking hope that things will go back to exactly how they used to be. What it comes down to is that I feel like I can't trust my mom or my aunt, but moreso my mom and that fucking sucks. I haven't stopped loving her but I just don't feel the same about her that I did, say... a year ago, or two years ago. I feel shitty about it because I know that a lot of it is from her dealing with things beyond her control, but her method of dealing with it includes taking her anger out on me, her sister, and her husband and that is not right. She knows it. She's going to be going to therapy but I feel like it's kinda... too late? I don't know what it's too late for exactly... I guess how this has gone on for so long that I don't want to wait for things to get better because the damage has already been done to me. They can carry on in their own way, and I'll do the same.

Out of everyone in this family, I am the one whose feelings on the matter are still a mystery. I express the least out of everyone in how I truly feel or think because it feels safer to keep it inside. The fact that I have started to walk on eggshells in my own house and even draw comparisons between how I feel here versus how I used to feel at my ex best friend's house is what tells me something is really wrong. The fact that other friends can draw those same comparisons tells me that something is very wrong, and so... I'm trying not to let the guilt get too bad. Living here hasn't been this difficult since my sister died. I can't trust my own fucking family right now, I can't feel free to express how I'm feeling without bracing myself against someone jumping down my throat, it's to a point where it feels like I can't hardly fucking move without worrying about waking someone up or something. I think I need to bite the bullet and be open about this but I don't want to cause more arguments. So, I'm fucking stuck.

I love them, but I just don't like them right now. I haven't liked them for a long time.


In which my homelife is unsatisfying

And if I had a Breakfast Club icon right now, it would be perfect!

Before my dad moved back, I thought that if/when he did come back, it'd solve mom's anger and the arguments would stop and things would settle down 'n my aunt would find a different job 'n my mom would maybe start seeing a counselor and and and

none of that has happened

it's still basically exactly how it was, except my dad is living here again.

Though, my mom and aunt don't vent to me that often anymore. However, when shit is going down and it makes me nervous, I end up asking them what's up and saying they could talk to me anyway because that is the only thing I can do.

My jumpiness is back again, kind of. It didn't occur to me until this morning, but I wonder if the high stress in this house could cause a PTSD relapse. I was talking with my grandpa and my dad this morning and it was nice to get validation from them that things are fucked up right now, my mom is obsessive over her celiac disease, my aunt needs to see a counselor too, and that all of the above is causing a lot of negativity in the family.

Though I said at one point "I didn't even realize how bad it was until like a year and a half ago" and dad literally patted me on the head and said that he's been dealing with it for the past 8 years, basically... since we moved out of California. Way to be patronizing, dad! Good job. The point that I had been trying to making with that specific time frame is that a year ago I was dealing with PTSD and the constant arguments and tension in the house was not helping in the slightest.

Earlier this year I had a problem with plugged ears and had gone to the grocery store to get out of the house, and I saw a couple friends there. When I started to tell them about everything I started sobbing and one friend said "What you're saying sounds like you're describing my house. I thought your mom was cool.", meaning... it sounded like, to her, my house was an abusive environment. I don't know if I want to go that far yet, but I can't deny the fact that I am not happy here like I used to be and that I am constantly walking on eggshells. It got to a point over the past year that when I was telling T about it, she said 'Do you, uh, want to come crash at my place for a while?"

I'm thinking of trying to stay at friend's houses more often in the future. I start school on the 24th but if I can stay at friend's houses in Everett or at houses of friends that also go to school, I might do that. I want to show them that I am not okay with how we've been living and that it's not only poisoning them, but it's poisoning me too. I just finished therapy in July and I don't want to go back.

In which I shake it out, again

I think I need to start talking about sexual harassment and assault again, like when I was in high school. Back then, I was at a point when a friend-of-a-friend said to me "You're obsessed with rape." I never said it was an inaccurate description of myself or what I was doing because for a few years... I really was. As it turns out, with the hindsight I have now, I think I was standing at the edges of realizing what rape culture is while also looking at the horror/truth of how common sexual harassment and assault are. I think the reason why something like sexual harassment isn't taken too seriously is because of how common it is, but that kind of attitude contributes to rape culture. The realization that I think almost every time I've been harassed and when I was sexually assaulted were seen as actual, literal jokes to the men that did it to me is what is problematic. To these guys, the things they said to me or the ways that they touched me were jokes, and that realization is enough to make me feel less than human. I can't imagine the extend of dehumanization that comes with a different kind of assault or with rape, and I don't want to. What happened to me was enough. I'm not a fucking punchline.

I stopped my tyrade of sexual harassment and assault stuff because I was mainly over what had happened to me in high school. This was before the assault after Pride, and the main reason why I wanted sexual harassment awareness at school was for the benefit of my own healing. It was selfish, mainly, but also with the knowledge that when it happens it can be fucking painful and I wanted to make sure that when it would happen to other people, they would know what to do. I wanted to be a person that said "What you're feeling is normal--I went through the same thing". Eventually, I stopped feeling scared and angry, and I just... moved on. It was no longer part of my life as I began dealing with other things, like how I was treated in middle school or, more recently, the 6 months of therapy I took for PTSD. My "thing" became child abuse and PTSD for a little while.

Now I'm post therapy. To be redundant, I am post-PTSD. I am post child abuse, I guess... maybe what you would call a survivor of those things, though my kind of abuse was not life threatening until December 2008 when thinking about it hurt so much that I wanted to just stop breathing. It was only life threatening after I realized it was abuse, I guess. I am post-sexual harassment and post-sexual assault. These are the things that happened to me--actions done to me. I read a piece about sexual assault about the passive and the active voice... discerning the difference between saying "I was raped" and "A man raped me". Men touched me. A man assaulted me. Teachers abused me. A man abused his child and I overheard it, leading to PTSD.

I forget why I started this post... before this, I made a post on Pandy's in the thread for people who've been assaulted with witnesses present. My sexual assault happened in a car with about five or six other guys around, and as I thought about it, I realized that almost every single time I was harassed before, there were witnesses. There was only one experience where no one was around. It was always friends or family that witnessed it. The first time there was an outcry about it was when it had been my grandpa, and my entire family started making these noises of disgust/outrage, and my dad immediately decided that we needed something important at the grocery store and invited me along. Really, I think it was to get me out of the house.

Now I can't believe I just told that story. I don't think I posted about this publicly--that one of the men that has sexually harassed me was my grandpa. He was devastated when I came back from the store and told him that I had been sexually harassed before, I mean... he was really, honestly upset with himself. All it had been was a crude comment about aspects of my body, so... not like he touched me, but it felt fucking awful. He said that he was a navy man, and that things like [what he said] were just aspects of navy speech, like it was a habit hard to break. Alright.

I guess I'm just sick of being touched and harassed with people around, and being surprised when someone speaks up on my behalf before I have a chance to even open my mouth. The second and last time someone was angry for me right when the sexual harassment was happening was during the Day of Silence my first year of college.

In which I think about artists

A couple years ago, an artist named Angel Yates passed away. She was the writer and artist for the first webcomic I ever read, called Wicked Alchemy, and it wasn't until maybe a full year after she died when I realized what a huge influence she had been on my own artistic development. A long time ago, she had done a tutorial for coloring pictures in photoshop and I remember that being one of the first tutorials I ever followed... and I ended up using the same set-up of steps for coloring my pictures even to this day with very few differences. I got interested in webcomics because of Wicked Alchemy, and the story was shaping up to be really awesome. I loved how there were angels and demons, but it intermixed with futuristic techology and old mythological creatures. I like it when fantasies don't just stick to the vague medieval period.

I remember when I checked my dA and someone had posted in her journal with the announcement of her death and it felt like I'd been punched in the gut. Some time after her death, almost all her art was taken off of the internet and the Wicked Alchemy archives disappeared.

Then, quite later, when I had that realization over how big of an influence she had been, it made me wish I had told her that when she was still alive. I was 13 when Wicked Alchemy started, and I followed her art up until her death.

Fast forward to several days ago when Knights Errant did a batch update that revealed a major fact about the character Oswald, and I was floored. Knights Errant is a webcomic I'm pretty new to, but the update was still met with much excitement and muffled screeching on my part because it was amazing. I waffled over sending theyoungdoyley a message over tumblr about it since she's probably been swamped with messages, but then I thought about Angel. I asked myself "So, if theyoungdoyley passes away next week without warning, how are you gonna feel about not telling another artist about how you find them inspiring?" I ended up sending them a message saying the batch update inspired me to push myself to finish just ONE update for Soldier Heart, and went on.

Then tonight, I just sent a message in Russian to Phobs... another artist that I admire. I want to make a habit of this.


In which I think about PTSD

And I am rather pissed off that there is always a possibility of a lapse/relapse of symptoms in the future.

This is something that is always going to be part of me, even though right now I am technically past it. I will always know what it feels like to have it, and the possibility of a resurgence in symptoms later on down the road is anger-inducing.



This is a part of my life.


In which I am just here.

After the events of the Terrible Weekend, I had experienced stuff that is pretty normal after a traumatic event: nightmares, feelings all over the place, constantly hearing it happen over and over in my head, etc. The nightmares stopped after a few weeks or so, and I stopped hearing it when I didn't have music playing... eventually, I started to feel the anger. At least, I think it was anger. I think I was just... hurt.

Strangely, I could not feel angry towards the stepdad or the mom in that family.. it was all directed towards my ex-friend and all I could focus on is that I felt like she betrayed me. When I'd try to think about the parents, I just couldn't feel anything.

Eventually, this anger or hurt feelings or whatever faded, and now when I think about her I just don't feel anything. The more I think about it now, the more I realize that I have started to feel things less and less actually. The last couple times I had feelings that seemed strong were when I started working in the gallery (and I felt so happy and fulfilled) and when I went on that date (so nervoushappy).

I began thinking about this and how in the past, such as when I had been sexually harassed, I got so angry. I was bursting with rage towards the guy and towards myself, and admittedly it made me feel self-destructive. At the same time, I just realized how it boosted my creativity like woah. I was using all that anger and pain and channeling it into hundreds of drawings to try to get me to STOP feeling it.

Now, I want to feel that again. I want to be able to feel it because, though it sucked big time, I realized that it made me feel so alive. I was in pain and often wrote about how I felt isolated from other people, but compared to what I'm feeling (or rather, not feeling) now, I find that it's difficult now.

I wake up, go to work, and feel pleased at first to see my friend/co worker T... I fake the smiles and thank people for coming in to visit, but I can't get enthusiastic. For fuck's sake, we just had the artist reception for our current show and T was like "Aren't you excited?!" and I was saying "Sure" but in reality I barely felt any excitement at all.

Plus, in the months since TTW happened, home life got a lot stressful and trying to interact with my mom and aunt was getting... tedious. I certainly felt emotions, but they weren't necessarily good. The worst happened a couple weeks ago when mom was pissed off about something and I plucked up the courage to try to say something (I said "Maybe we shouldn't have agreed to take the dog" since we're currently dogsitting for the grandparents) and she just got even MORE angry. By the end of this, I was sitting on the piano bench completely GONE and she was able to see it. I was just not there.

It's gotten a little better, but I'm still finding my diminished sense of emotions a little um... disconcerting. I've been like this before but it just seems like I'm feeling like this more often than ever.

Then when I do feel something, I feel it strongly and I get this impulse to just not hold back. The other day, this guy came into the gallery when I started to work on a poster for the next show (which I was not looking forward to because I had absolutely no fucking idea what I was doing) and this dude started to talk to me. Now, he had been in the gallery before when I was there with my other co-worker S and we had been watching funny videos, but when he came in and was like "WATCH THIS STUFF" he ended up kinda creeping us up. It was dumb shit like animals singing holiday carols, but then he had us watch these Sonic the Hedgehog things and it was just weird. It was uncomfortable as shit.

So he returned to the gallery and just started talking to me, and I started to get VERY fucking annoyed. I don't even remember what he was saying but my patience instantly dropped and I felt like I was going to snap at him any second and tell him "get the fuck out of here. seriously." which is... you know, not a good thing for an employee to say to someone.

It fucked my concentration up completely, but luckily S came to my rescue (literally--I had posted on twitter "send help" and she actually left her class to come see me :3) and gave me a pep-talk about the poster and everything, so it got better.

So yeah. Bluh bluh, stupid emotions, I don't know what's happening. The other night I even sent a huge long facebook message to my friend and basically spilled my guts and said I missed him and I hate how we've drifted apart... normally the sort of thing that I'd feel terrified to send out, but I still felt nothing when I sent it. The next day I felt a hint of nervousness before checking to see if he replied, but it was remarkably diminished.

On the flip side, when I went to albertsons the other night and kept hearing this kid cry and ended up walking in the same direction as him+his mom and hearing the mom talk to the kid (not in a mean way but ugh, I dunno), I ended up speedwalking to my car. It felt like I was teetering on anxiety and so by the time I got to the car, I was feeling kinda nauseated. So.

I don't like crying children. :|

Luckily, there is a new development!

I finally called my doctor and set up an appointment to get a referral. The appointment is on tuesday and um... still not feeling much about it. When I realized that I'd have to basically be completely honest with him over EVERYTHING that I've felt in the wake of various trauma things in my life, that's when I got a little scared. I talk about this stuff on the internet and I'm pretty open with my friends about most things... but there are still some other things I've felt that I haven't talked about with pretty much anyone. It's a necessary thing to do though since this is a referral for counseling or therapy or something, so... oy. ~.~

"Let's go for a walk."

I just had a conversation with R earlier. Twice already today she snuck into the gallery and startled the everliving fuck out of me, much to her and T's amusement.

I noticed there was something a bit eeeeh when she was hanging out in here because I leaned against her, but she made no move to return it OR reject me leaning on her. I just shrugged it off though and figured it was because we were hanging around friends.

So around the 2nd time she came in and scared the hell out of me, she was like "Come on, we're going for a walk."

And I said "We are?"

Indeed, we were.

So we walked out close to the parking lot and sat on these decorative rock things, and I could tell something was up. She brought up saturday.

R: So, we had a date on saturday.

Me: Yup.

R: (Basically asked me this) What are your thoughts on it?

Me: Umm.. well I wouldn't mind it if we did it again~ it was fun.

And I had asked her on saturday if she was having fun and she said yea, and it sounded sincere.. but alas. The conversation continued.

R: Well. I do like you, you know, but um.. I think I might be a little too old for you.

Me: Ohh.. yeah, I figured this would happen.

Her and I don't have a HUGE age difference. She's 26 and I'm 21, but with where we're at in our lives, it feels like something much bigger. I even told her that when this all started I worried that I might be too juvinile and she was like "Nah, you're not".. but she was basically saying that she's getting worn out already--not because of me, but just because of all the shit that she put her body through when she was younger, and ugh I dunno. It was nice of her to tell me all this face to face though.

And she still wants us to hang out as friends and is determined to be my like... protector XD Or something. Her and I are very close in height but she's built very differently than me, so she sees me running around being tiny and worries that something is gonna happen. I think it's kinda nice :3

But yeah, I guess it's a bit of a bummer that it didn't go much farther than one date, but I'm not torn up about it. We still had a good time and her and I are going to be friends still and hang out, so it's all good~

Later on when I was telling my friend T about the conversation, I realized that in some way, I'm a little relieved. I got worried that I would like... scare her off with my baggage and was in the mindset of "I don't even know if I want to date but if I get interested in someone, then eeennhh we'll see" when this school year started... there are some things that I'm still dealing with that I KNOW fuck with how I respond to whoever I'm in a relationship with, and I don't think it'd be fair to put her through that. I already put my exes through it and it's shitty for them.

The biggest hurdle is still stuff related to The Terrible Weekend, especially since now I have the startle reflex of a fucking gazelle. It's pathetic.

But hey! It was fun :3 I still got to hold hands and be all cuddly with another woman for once.. that was a first. That's something she doesn't know >> and I bet that would have gotten in the way too. Overall, I think it worked out by NOT working out between us, so um... yay?

In which saturday was quite nice :3

So, I had a date on saturday. I shall call her R.

R and I have been conversing a lot lately and finally got together at the local nerd tavern since she's never been there before. She was outside when I pulled up, but I had to roll down my window and tell her that I was going to go find parking on the street because the lot was completely full. Did that, and the night commenced~

It was Harry Potter night, so her and I were talking a lot about that 'n about movies and stuff. We were there for like 4 hours and I was a little drunk at one point so the memory is a little fuzzy when it comes to EVERYTHING that we talked about, but it was nice. She also kept my hands warm >3<

Around 11 she was pretty tired and we were both sober at that point (though I was still worrying over my state of driving abilities) so we ended up going to her place to watch a movie. I met her dog and her roommate's cats and they liked me o.o the dog sat on my lap immediately, which I guess he doesn't do often.

We watched The Corpse Bride, and there was cuddling >>; It was nice.

aaaand there was hand-holding >///< sitting right next to her kept me warm too. Ugh, it was just a nice, low-key night~~

At around 1 in the morning, the movie finished up and we said our goodbyes. I kinda knew where I was, but wasn't too worried because we have a tom tom in the car.

Well, the stupid thing decided it wasn't going to work. I ended up pulling over and calling her to ask her how to get back onto the main stretch of road that leads to the highway, and it was pretty easy. The road that I had pulled over on was parallel to the one I needed to get to, so I just turned right and found my way there.

She had a good time, and so did I :D

Today I only saw her briefly when I was out walking through the campus event today, but I thiiiink her and I might make plans again soon. I have a good feeling about this.

In which hmmmmnn

Did I ever mention that I have a date on saturday?

It's been in the works for like.. a couple weeks now. =P

It's with that woman that gave me her number right in front of the Clothesline project. I shall refer to her as R.

We've been chatting a lot lately and R even said that, later that day, she was berating herself for the terrible timing. She was like "We were standing in front of the most depressing thing ever and I just saw you right there in my perephrial vision, and I went for it. But WHO DOES THAT?!" lolololol
I find it amusing.

We hung out a lot at the college the past couple days too. Yesterday her and I were wandering around campus all day because I couldn't find the other gallery assistants and she didn't have much to do, so for like three hours we were just walking all over the place and just talking.

Uggghhsldfkjsldfjsldfj as saturday gets closer, I get more and more nervous @.@ I didn't realize it until last night, but this is going to be the first date that I've been on since I came to terms with my emotionally abusive experiences. There were some things I was feeling in my last relationship that got me really confused and feeling kinda icky that ended up being related to all that past EA stuff... and now I have the knowledge of WHY I felt that way. I just gotta put it to good use.

Hmmph. I've been meaning to talk to her about some of this, or perhaps about The Terrible Weekend (since that is the most recent and by far the most traumatizing of anything I've been through) just so that way she knows what she's getting into. She knows I have some skeletons in my closet and I know she has her own. I just feel like I'm gonna drive off anyone who is interested in me because I'm messed up. I was pretty okay when having "just" my own experiences, and even after the sexual harassment.. it's just TTW was fucked up. It could have been MORE fucked up, but it was still bad. I've noticed how I've changed, and it was still so recent... it's coming up on 5 months since it happened. After it happened, I felt like it was finally enough to push me into near-broken territory. I've bounced back a lot in the past 5 months but um.. I'm just different now. People change gradually over time, but I feel like these changes have happened in me so quickly.

Non sum qualis eram.

Funny enough, if I go up to R and tell her that exact phrase, she might get what I mean. That phrase is said (phonetically) by Johnny Truant throughout House of Leaves. It translates to "I am not as I was."

The other thing is that I just find it flat-out annoying when i'm having an awesome conversation with someone and I decide to bring up something serious like my sister's death or something, then the convo turns so fucking AWKWARD. I'm able to be pretty okay talking about TTW or something, and I'm definitely fine with talking about my dead sister, but everyone else goes "Oh my god, I'm so sorry" and I'm just like... '...uhm.... thanks.."

And I feel like goddamn DEBBIE DOWNER or something >_> Or I feel even more awkward accepting their sympathy. I tell people these things not to get sympathy, but so they know why I'm a little twitchy or what my tattoo means or.. anything, really. These events were huge forces in my life and even if I move on or  HAVE already moved on, they're still there. They have brought me to this point. So, if they want to accept me, they have to accept all my little broken parts too.

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