Haiku in the Night
The poetry reading was great!
It had two unexpected after-effects on me, though. One was that it was amazingly energizing, launching me on manic binges of answering email and vacuuming. It felt…unusual…but good.
The other was that a fully formed poem woke me up in the middle of the night. No context. I didn’t even dream that I was writing a poem. Now that experience is a first! It wasn’t as startling as the tale of the weird surroundings and talking dog, but pretty close. I wrote it down.
Hey Pat, just a crust.
Just a crust, or maybe the whole loaf –
Either way, it’s mine!
I don’t know who Pat is, but I do know that Pat and the One Who Speaks are both males. I’m not sure if the title is “Capitalism” or “Avarice.” I’m leaning toward “Avarice.”
Denial as a Protective Reaction
I have come to a place where I sort of like it when I go into denial. When I first started on this roller coaster, denial made me frantic. “No, don’t be silly. That didn’t happen to me. No way could that have been going on in my family. It’s just totally out of character!!!” Followed by, “Well, if it didn’t happen, what the hell explains all this?” “I need an explanation! I need it now! But it can’t be ritual abuse, because that is ridiculous.” I was wrestling with the denial and feeling more and more panicky.
Before I remembered, denial was gentler, and it worked, all the time (that I remember.) Looking back, it made me feel calmer, more dissociated. I sort of floated above the thought of abuse, dismissed it, and went about whatever I was doing. No fuss, no panic, no going over the same territory over and over, going in ever more anxious circles.
Back in the days before the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, there were lots of conferences on incest, abuse by clergy, and ritual abuse. I remember being in a workshop on using play techniques with adults. A nice, soft end to a long, challenging day.
So the presenter was talking about art therapy, and she said, “One clue pointing to ritual abuse in a child – or in an adult, for that matter – is doodling five pointed stars.” After all these years, I still remember my thoughts exactly. “Oh, don’t be silly, I doodled stars all the time and I’m not a ritual abuse survivor.” Case closed. I immediately started doodling stars, and, of course, they were just doodles, not Satanic symbols or anything else. Just something fun to draw, like goldfish or horses or houses.
That is an example of denial protecting a person from overwhelming emotions, from things they were not ready to know. It worked very well. It was quite a while before I had my first memory of ritual abuse, and boy, was I overwhelmed. Denial was no longer available to me, and I thought I would die from the intensity of the pain I was feeling. I was afraid my body couldn’t take it and that my heart would just stop. And I was on the verge of psychosis, afraid I would slip and fall into craziness. Denial had protected me from feeling all that.
Now, thirty-five years later, I still at times slip into denial. As before, my old friend serves to shield me from things I don’t want to know, don’t want to have lived through, don’t want to believe that people are capable of such cruelty. Usually, it doesn’t last very long and is followed by suicidal urges. (Having suicidal thoughts, and suicide itself, is an effective way to block the thoughts/memories of what was done to make me want to die as a child. But that is another big post.
How do I handle regressing into disbelief today? I accept it. I don’t fight it. I know by now it is temporary, and so – this would have sounded nuts to me thirty-five years ago – I embrace and welcome it. It’s a resting place, a short time to catch my breath and get ready for the next leg of the journey.
This is what works for me every time: “Well, after all, ritual abuse is only a hypothesis. If I come across a better hypothesis, I’ll drop ritual abuse and start working with the new one.” What a mature, sensible, non-judgmental attitude! I’ve considered slow-growing brain tumors, hereditary chemical imbalances, and ghost stories around a campfire and decided they were all less convincing than ritual abuse. They didn’t explain all my symptoms, especially those I remember having at an early age. So it’s back to working on ritual abuse, thankfully a little more rested and not wasting any energy scolding myself for once again denying my truth.
I want to end with one more thing, which could also be a whole other blog post.
A psychologist once said to me, “If a person over-reacts in the present, it means they had to under-react to something in the past.” Makes sense! You are not looking at a drama queen; you are looking at a flashback.
3/1 Shrove Tuesday/ Mardi Gras
3/1 St David’s Day (patron saint of Wales)
3/2 Ash Wednesday/beginning of Lent
3/1 St. Eichstadt’s Day
3/17 St. Patrick’s Day (patron saint of Ireland)
3/18 Full Moon
3/21 Spring Equinox
4/1 April Fool’s Day
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/10 Palm Sunday
4/14 Maundy Thursday (commemoration of the Last Supper)
4/15 Good Friday
4/16 Holy Saturday
4/16 Full Moon
4/17 Easter Sunday
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/30 New Moon
4/30 Partial solar eclipse visible in southwest South America and Antarctica. https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2022-april-30
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve
45/8 Mother’s Day
5/15 Full Moon
5/15 – 5/16 Total lunar eclipse visible in south and west Europe, south and west Asia, Africa, much of North America, South America, and Antarctica. https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2022-may-16
5/21 (?) Armed Forces Day
5/26 (?) Ascension Day
5/30 Memorial Day
Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
3/17-18 Purim (Deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman in Persia)
4/15-4/23 Passover/Pesach (Celebration of the deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt.)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.)
You can find more information on the following holidays at:
Candlemas – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/
Valentine’s Day – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/valentines-day/
Spring Equinox – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-spring-equinox/
Easter: personal (for background, see Spring Equinox) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/easter-blues/
Walpurgisnacht/May Eve – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/walpurgisnacht/
Beltane – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/beltane/
Mothers’ Day – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/
Fathers’ Day – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/ritual-abuse-and-fathers-day/
Summer Solstice (corrected text) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/
Lammas – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1 – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-feast-of-the-beast/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2 – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/feast-of-the-beast-part-ii/
Fall Equinox – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/
Halloween (personal) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/
Halloween (background) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
Thanksgiving – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/
Yule/Winter Solstice – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/