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unfolding and unfurling a little bit more

March 10, 2015

Being able to take for granted the former “top-speed/high-brain-energy” level of engagement with the world (on almost any day that I wasn’t totally overwhelmed)… was disrupted when that level disappeared, temporarily depleted (I thought), on a day in early 2013, and then… never came back online.

Except for a glimpse here and there, months (or even years) apart, I’ve not felt it since. I had resigned myself to believing it was gone for good. And then yesterday happened.

Yesterday, I had so much energy I didn’t know what to do with it.


I woke up, knowing today would be… troublesome. It immediately got much worse in 2 different ways. The rest of my week is also going to be hard, and then next week, a Big Complicated Hard that I’ve postponed for months.


As capabilities I vaguely recall I used to have start coming back online, I’m … a different person than I was when I last had them. And I want to use them — more effectively — for different Life Aims than I had back then.

Mostly this will happen unconsciously, as my Unconscious/Bodymind is much cleverer and more tremendously capable than my Conscious Mind. But turning the attention of my Conscious Mind to these changes and what I hope to accomplish, I can notice the progress I’ve made. And marvel.

And figure out what might need more attention still.


The pace at which my mind moves on a given day, and the overall pace of epiphanies, seems glacially slow compared to … where I feel a person of 48 should be? And yet. I remind myself that, up until last year, I was struggling with problems I hadn’t realized I had — developmental trauma; PTSD somatic memories, unable to be discharged. Plus all the historical problems I did know about. Plus feeling lost and displaced in the human social world. Plus health issues that compromised my abilities to concentrate on other things, no matter how pressing.

All together, the deepest pit of despair I’d ever been in. For the longest continuous span, by far.

It was not until I broke ties with my parents in late 2005, that I could… start… to relax my hyperalert vigilance for the first time in my life.

Looked at that way, I’ve made remarkable progress for 9+ years.


Is it possible that the “top-speed/high-brain-energy” that I assumed was “normal” for smart people … was actually a result of hyperalert vigilance (due to trauma), that I’d lived with for so long, I didn’t even realize it was not supposed to be 24/7/365? Hmmm.

Maybe TS/HBE “going offline” in 2013 was the first “vacation”/downtime it had ever had. And maybe it decided to “retire”. Can’t say I blame it.


Nathaniel Branden:

“I cannot learn from a mistake I cannot accept having made. … I cannot overcome a fear whose reality I deny. … I cannot change traits I insist I do not have. I cannot forgive myself for an action I will not acknowledge having taken.” [6 Pillars of Self-Esteem, p. 93]

I’m, only now, in middle-age, figuring out where my interpersonal boundaries have historically been, why that’s been problematic; where I’d like them to be, under which circumstances; and where I need them to be, under as many circumstances I’m already familiar with. I’m also devising rubrics to help me with encountering unfamiliar circumstances.

Being a rosebush raised by cacti has given me deep-seated feelings of shame and worthlessness about having needs at all, but especially needs that other people insist make me “fragile” or “delicate” or “sensitive” (as if those are the worst things imaginable). According to them, I should just “power through (somehow)” except that I can’t. I bring upon myself further harm, and indeed further trauma, when I “make myself” do those things that I know I cannot do.

See: 2 serious workplace injuries (at jobs years apart); a catastrophic fall with multiple broken bones; falling back into Learned Helplessness; feeling like a monster; losing the will to live.


Here are Things I Need:

  1. Large, unbroken blocks of time where sounds made by human beings (other than me – usually thinking out loud; occasionally talking to plants or birds) are silent.
  2. Large, unbroken blocks of time in which the place where I’m at is a physical space and “head-space” that only contains 1 human being: me.
  3. Ideally (but so far, unachieved) ~ a physical space only I have access to. No one else ever invades it. No one else ever “surprises” me by showing up there.
  4. Keeping odd hours. Staying up all night when that happens. Not getting up “early” [before 9:30 a.m. or so], unless (a) It’s an emergency; or (b) I woke up of my own free will and decided to get up and do things.
  5. “Slow” days, where I do very little, except rest, daydream, think. Maybe write, maybe sketch. Maybe take walks.
  6. Trees.
  7. Green plants, especially those with yellow-green in their leaves (because synesthesia-Amelia).
  8. Flowers.
  9. Bees: honey bees, bumblebees, solitary bees, any kind of bees ~ living happy bee lives.
  10. Pollinators in the potager.
  11. Running water to watch. Bonus if there’s fish, crayfish, salamanders; animal tracks. Frogs or Water snakes are (almost too much) wonderful.
  12. Beautiful surroundings, with colors that “want to be together” (because synesthesia).
  13. Regular walks through my neighborhood, habitat, watershed. In all weathers (except the coldest & iciest).
  14. A large waterbody near by that I have a relationship with. Different types of waterbodies — rivers, lakes, bays, oceans — even better.
  15. People who know my name and will use it.
  16. People who remember that they have met me before, dammit. {How am I not memorable?}
  17. Spending time with people who enjoy touching, and being touched.
  18. Having people to write letters to. Better if they write back, and interestingly; even if they don’t, though, they have to +/- enjoy hearing from me! And let me know that (convincingly)!!
  19. Celebrating all birthdays (not just “big” ones), the way I want to — me celebrating me.
  20. Celebrating my relationship with Spouse on a day that avoids our anniversary and Valentine’s Day altogether. {He accepted my suggestion that we celebrate the time period in which we got engaged: early November also has much better weather than late January.}
  21. Celebrating Valentine’s Day for myself.
  22. Revel in being scruffy. {It’s so liberating to release forevermore the pernicious idea of “elegance”.}
  23. Talk about my gender as I experience it.
  24. Talk (to someone who’s at least nominally interested) about the philosophical and metaphysical issues I’m navigating in my daily life.
  25. Retreats and vacations just for me.
  26. (a) Somebody besides Spouse (b) whose company I enjoy (c) to be Happy to See Me (d) for a good reason(s), (e) averaging more than 1x per 5 years or so. {“Look! It’s Bobo the Wonder Dog! They do tricks!” is not a Good Reason.}
  27. Friends who can tell me useful, insightful, and/or encouraging things about myself that I don’t already know.
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