MY LIFE WITH CATS

A new RA/MC drop-in group

A second CUPP of Hope drop-in group has just been formed! It meets
Mondays 5:00–6:30 PM Pacific Time
Tuesdays 10:00-11:30 AM Melbourne, AUS Time.
Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cupp-of-hope-peer-led-drop-in-support-group-for-survivors-of-ramc-tickets-358918343427

This type of group is very, very needed. On-going groups are truly wonderful, but they can’t accommodate more than a few people, and a member is torn if they have a scheduling problem. Drop-in groups, which do not require weekly attendance, are more flexible. They are ideal for people in crisis, people who have been healing for a long time and who just want to touch base with other survivors, and those with irregular work schedules or other commitments that can’t be reliably scheduled.

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Holiday Zoom Open Houses For Survivors of RA/MC

On miserable, triggery days, like the solstices, equinoxes, Christmas, Easter, and “Hallmark Card” days, survivors often choose to be alone rather than be among people who just don’t understand. Now, thanks to ZOOM and joanies, you have a third choice. Bring a meal or a snack to eat together or just hang out with other RA/MC survivors. No need to stay the whole time if you don’t want to.

The next two-hour Open House will be a Fourth of July celebration of our own independence. For the date and time and the registration link, check the Events page at https://grassroots-ra-mc-collective.org/events/

If you have any questions, contact joanies, the host, at
cuppofhope@gmail.com

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my life with cats

This is going to be a totally personal entry – the most personal one I have ever written. Nothing at all to do with RA/MC. 

In 1984, I bought two Cornish Rex kittens from the same litter; a girl, Rosie, and a boy, Fargo. They were named after Rosebud, South Dakota and Fargo, North Dakota. That was because their father’s name was Demon Dakota. (Oops, I promised I would say nothing about RA/MC. Just can’t help myself. – it’s such an integral part of my life.) Their mother’s name was Sweet Purrfection, yuck. They were orange cats with white markings.

They lived a long time. Rosie was sixteen when she died, and Fargo lived another year and a half. I thought I would never get another cat because no cat would be as great as they were. Plus, a kitten would surely outlive me, and it wasn’t fair to go and abandon him like that. So there was lots of crying and feeling sorry for myself. “I’ll never sleep with a cat again!”

After a couple of years, I changed my mind and got another orange and white Cornish Rex kitten. I named him Dakota. He lived to be eighteen and a half. Obviously, I was wrong about dying before him and leaving him all alone in a cold world.  

I lost him last September, and, to my surprise, I was not nearly as hesitant about getting another cat. I have no idea why. Am I braver now? More impetuous? More selfish? Who cares? This is the way it is – I want a cat.

I realize I no longer have the energy to chase after a kitten. Fostering is a possibility, but I wouldn’t be good with a cat with behavior problems and I would be heartbroken about having to give up an animal I had grown attached to. The other option is adopting a grown cat, perhaps an elderly one. The two of us could keep each other company as we limped through our golden years.

For months, I knew I wasn’t ready because I kept expecting Dakota to be in another room. My daughter said I had a ghost cat. As Dakota gradually stopped visiting me in his new form, I began checking out AdoptaPet.com and local animal rescue organizations. My friends started asking me if I had found a cat I liked. I liked some well enough, but the chemistry wasn’t there.

I had a few non-negotiable demands. It must be older, short-haired, affectionate, and it can’t be orange. I don’t need an echo of Rosie and Fargo and Dakota. I prefer an open adoption so the previous owner can check that their cat is okay in my home and can even come visit him if they want. I can ask a million questions and send cute pictures. 

It turns out that some non-negotiable things are negotiable after all. 

I looked through the SPCA website. I hadn’t intended to because their process of giving up a cat and adopting one is detailed to the max, and, frankly, I found some of their questions intrusive, even insulting. I just went to look at cat pictures. Lo and behold, the SPCA has gotten far more reasonable! They now have a section called “Animals in the Community,” which lists cats available for private “rehoming.”

And I fell in love at first sight with a white and orange cat with longish hair. I only found out later that if I wanted him, I could no longer have houseplants or bring flowers from my garden into the house. Most are poisonous to cats, and this cat eats lettuce, spinach, flowers, and house plants. For sixty years, I have had houseplants and flowers on the dining room table, the coffee table, my desk, my bedroom, even in the bathroom.

So, of course, this is the wrong cat for me, right? 

His name is Baker. He moved in yesterday morning.

All the plants are gone. The house looks a little empty without plants and flowers, of course. Baker hasn’t found the litter box yet, and I haven’t found what he is using instead. I’ll keep him in the bathroom until he gets acquainted with it. Outside of that, everything is perfect.

He has a fascinating story. His previous owner is a high school English teacher who loves to travel. She had a job in Qatar and rescued him from the street when he was about three months old. He moved to China when she got a job there, then Mexico, then Dubai, and finally the United States. In Dubai, his owner acquired three other street kittens who have grown into feisty teenagers. They pounce on Baker. He is not pleased. And the landlord is not thrilled at having a tenant with four cats. So she decided that Baker should go someplace where he could be an only cat, a calm place with no dogs or children running around, and with one or two people to dote over him and him alone.

His mother was a plain old tabby, but his father was something else entirely. A vet identified Baker as being half Turkish Van. I searched for images of Turkish Vans, and he could easily pass as a purebred. He could stand beside any of those fancy cats in the photos, and nobody would guess that he and his Mom were alley cats.

Vans are rare (only about 100 kittens are born each year in the US) and very distinctive. They are white with orange, black, or calico markings. Their tails are almost always completely colored, and they have irregular markings on their foreheads. Some have spots the size of a quarter as well; these are called “Allah’s thumbprints.” Their fur is soft, the softest I have ever felt. That is because they have no guard hair; they just have the undercoat. 

Cornish Rexes lack guard hair, too, but their fur is very short. I used to call them velvet cats. Baker’s fur is halfway between a shorthair’s and a Persian’s in length, and I can sink my fingers deep into it. So luscious!

Checklist

meets requirements 
older — Yes
short-haired —  No
affectionate —  Yes
no orange —  No
Extras:
in good health —  Yes
sits on laps —   Yes
does not type —  Yes
is gorgeous —  Yes
plays catch —  Yes
plays pattycake —  Yes
has blue eyes  —  Yes
likes to swim —  Yes

I don’t need to justify my decision. Love is love, and love can’t be explained.

Baker

Upcoming Holidays

June

6/21

Summer solstice

6/23 Midsummer’s Eve

6/24 (?) St John’s Day

July
7/4 Independence Day
7/13 Full Moon
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God
7/27 Grand Climax/Da Meur

August
8/1 Lammas/Lughnasadh
8/11 Full Moon
8/13 Friday the 13th
8/15 (?) Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
8/24 St. Bartholomew’s Day

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

6/4 – 6/6  Shavuot (Harvest Festival, Festival of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments)

(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.

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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-
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/
and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/ 
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/ 

Self-Advocacy and Medical Problems

Miscellaneous

To all ritual abuse survivors and their inner ones of all ages –

I am looking for line drawings of small, simple things from nature – leaves, flowers, plants, birds, bugs. It’s for a journal project listed on GrassRoots. Send them to https://grassroots-ra-mc-collective.org/contact-us/

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Drop in on the RA/MC ZOOM drop-in group on Wednesdays from 5:00 to 6:30 PM Pacific Time. You are welcome to come weekly, but there is no pressure to attend. It would be nice if those who go to share their impressions of the group in this blog’s comment section. Hearing from somebody who has been to the group might make it easier for others to check it out. Eventbrite registration:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cupp-of-hope-drop-in-support-group-for-survivors-of-ramc-abuse-tickets-315793866957?utm_source=eventbrite&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=post_publish&utm_content=shortLinkNewEmail 

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The next poetry reading is on Saturday, June 25 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM Pacific Time. It’s a bit different from the preceding ones in that it has a theme and all of the poets are members of the audience. The theme is “Being Victimized/ Surviving/ Living Fully.” Write a poem on one, two, or all three topics and bring it to the event. You may also use artwork or music to express yourself on the theme(s). You don’t have to share; it’s okay just to listen. Eventbrite registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ritual-abuse-survivors-read-their-poems-of-suffering-and-healing-tickets-291878545587

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Here’s one of my favorite recipes (I made it up). Slice cauliflower and arrange it in one layer on a plate. Microwave for two minutes. Cover with cheese and microwave for one minute. You can also use your favorite sauce. I like olive oil, garlic, back olives, and anchovies. Pasta sauce is good, too.

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Self-Advocacy and Medical Problems

I live with labile high blood pressure. It’s mostly high, but, at times, it drops as much as 60 points for no apparent reason. This makes it hard to treat my hypertension and get my blood pressure down into a reasonable range for fear of making the lows go even lower.

And my lows are no joke. When I am a little below normal, I get fatigued. Then I get very fatigued. I find it hard to focus and get very little done. Then if I go still lower, I get light-headed. At this point, I lie down immediately to avoid falling. I think very slowly and have trouble making decisions.

A couple of times, I have passed out. It wasn’t scary because I wasn’t aware of it occurring, and when I came to, I was alright. A chunk of time was missing, just as if I had had general anesthesia. I imagine that’s what it must feel like to lose time when you are multiple. Me, I don’t lose time in the moment, except if losing one’s train of thought or forgetting something just said is losing a small slice of time. Events slowly fade away, like old Polaroids, and then are gone entirely.

I have learned that doctors are supposed to make a differential diagnosis and then form a differential treatment plan. They should think of all the things that could have caused this particular set of symptoms, then look first at a couple of the most common conditions, then at the most serious ones, and finally work their way through the remaining ones. Once they have the diagnosis, they have “best practice” guidelines to help them choose the most appropriate treatment.

My doctors have ruled out both the more serious and the more common causes of my blood pressure woes and have told me that they are left with “idiosyncratic labile hypertension.” This means nobody knows what causes it, but there it is, and you are stuck with it. (I hear idiosyncratic as, “It’s not our fault., you idiot.”) Varying types and amounts of medication do help lower the upper number, but nothing affects the lower numbers.

I got mad the other day and Googled “precipitous blood pressure drop,” not expecting to find anything I didn’t already know.

I was wrong. I found “postprandial hypotension.” This is common in the elderly, but practically unknown in adults until they reach the late sixties. All articles I  read said that it was not widely known, and not much research had been done on causes or treatments. It occurs because too much blood goes to the stomach and small intestine, leaving not enough blood volume to maintain a healthy pressure. Once the meal is digested, things return to normal. They know what happens, but not how or why.

With this small amount of knowledge, doctors can neither prevent from happening nor treat it. The best they can do is manage the condition.

I found only two management suggestions. One is to walk after meals for up to an hour. That is out for me since I can only walk about 300 steps at a time. The other is to eat six small meals a day rather than three large ones. I can do that, so I started to manage my own condition without medical advice.

I also searched and found three gerontologists that take my health insurance. This, too, made me mad. Wouldn’t it have been smart, at my age, to have referred me to a gerontologist to review my meds and suggest other factors to be considered? Is it a form of ageism that nobody thought of this? I look younger than I am, dress younger, and laugh and swear more than other women my age. Which is 84, by the way.

Moral of the story: we have to push past the voices in our heads that tell us the authorities are not to be questioned. Push past the fear, the triggers, and our passivity and be our own medical advocates.

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Upcoming Holidays

May
5/21 (?) Armed Forces Day
5/26 (?) Ascension Day
5/30 Memorial Day

June
6/5 Pentecost
6/6 (?) Whit Monday
6/12 (?) Trinity Sunday
6/14 Full Moon
6/16 (?) Corpus Christi/Feast of the Body of Christ
6/19 Fathers’ Day
6/21 Summer solstice
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve

6/24 (?) St John’s Day

 

July
7/4 Independence Day

7/13 Full Moon

7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God


7/27 Grand Climax

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

4/15-4/23 Passover/Pesach (Celebration of the deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt.)
4/30 Anniversary of Hitler’s death
6/4 – 6/6  Shavuot (Harvest Festival, Festival of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments)

(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark andlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes

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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-
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/
and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/ and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/ 
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/ 

Mothers’ Day and GrassRoots RA/MC Survivors’ Collective

Mothers’ Day

MOTHER

i weep when your title is called. v

i never understood you. weak woman of child. comforter. betrayer.

you chose to stay. you chose to abide. you chose to adorn the robes.

i remember you dressed up as a black cat in a kindergarten play.

i remember your soup.

you were a victim of the times.

From Leni’s blog, “My life as a dissociative.”  https://ourdissociativelives.wordpress.com/2022/05/08/mother/

Once again this year, I skimmed over Mothers’ Day…until I read what Leni wrote about her mother. I found it beautiful and evocative. I almost saw my own mother in Leni’s writing – but she was never a black cat in a school play, and I never went to kindergarten.

How very different both our mothers might have been if the society they lived in had known as much about trauma as ours does today. It makes me very sad.

She was always a vague, undefined figure to me. Partly it was her passive personality, partly because I was raised by others for the first ten years of my life. She was more like a babysitter than a mother. I considered my mother a minor player in my life.

We didn’t celebrate Mothers’ Day, either in the Day Life or the Night Life. It wasn’t a big Hallmark holiday back then. No wonder I don’t react much to Mothers’ Day.

Here is a quote from a post about Mothers’ Day that I wrote in 2016. https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/

“One year, though, I got a shock when I was driving to therapy. I was listening to a C&W radio station, and there was a song about a mother comforting her daughter about loss. The loss of her best friend when she was a child, a divorce, and finally, the mother’s death. “What can I do to help you say goodbye?” The tears were streaming down my face.

“My mother would not have comforted me. At best, she would have told me to act my age. As a result, I learned early on not to let her know my feelings. I never went to her for advice, for a quick good-luck hug, for a smile on hearing good news. I aimed for a distant, polite relationship, like two strangers who don’t much like each other thrown into close proximity. I got the distance, all right, but underneath the veneer was seething resentment and anger.”

I didn’t know then that I could miss what I had never had.

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GrassRoots RA/MC Survivors’ Collective

I just realized that I hadn’t written at length about the project taking up most of my time. It provides me with a lot of fulfilling experiences, including working with a kick-ass group of survivors, as well as a goodly number of triggers.

At this stage in my process, triggers only rarely send me into intense, long-lasting flashbacks. They are more like little reminders that something happened long ago that could use some attention today. I finally can welcome them! I get why my first therapist called them “gifts from the unconscious.” At the time, I wanted to strangle him because they felt like gifts given in the cult, prettily wrapped packages of blood, poo, or the corpse of a pet. Now I understand that my unconscious is suggesting a way to make today’s life a little bit better.

Why did I tell you this? I think it was to explain why I have time and energy for a big rewarding project. Perhaps this is the light I occasionally glimpsed when I was deep in the tunnel.

GrassRoots was envisioned as a place where survivors could come together, find ideas for projects, find volunteers to help them bring their idea to fruition, and read how-to articles on a variety of subjects. We imagined that people who worked together might well “click” and heal a little with and through each other. They might even go on to work on other projects or become personal friends. On many levels, it promised to be a way to break the isolation that so many survivors feel today. And as survivors talk to each other, tell their stories, work together, and form friendships, it breaks the old rules – “Don’t talk,” “You are stupid and incompetent,” “It’s forbidden to have a friend,” “Happiness is evil.”

The process would build community in two different ways, on a micro-level with one-to-one connections and on a macro-level by having more books, art exhibits, podcasts, Webinars, etc., readily available to survivors all over the world.

I must have been a matchmaker in a past life. It gives me so much pleasure to bring people together and have them be grateful to have met each other. Or maybe I was an agent running around finding a publisher for a wonderful book on an unpopular subject.

I remember the joy I felt when I put together poetry readings, first in my living room thirty years ago, then in feminist bookstores. We could speak of things that were taboo, we could witness each other’s pain and struggle to grow, to become healthy, and to create happy, fulfilled lives. I could see joy behind their tears, and my joy was increased ten-fold, twenty-fold, by theirs.

Back then, the joy was ephemeral because I quickly sank back into a stream of flashbacks. Now the flashbacks are far fewer, and I handle them much better. The joy lasts and gives me a desire to do more in and for my community. It’s a feedback loop; the happier I am, the more I do, and the more I do, the happier I am. Of course, I get down at times, but I always seem to pull quickly out of that place of lingering despair and come back to my new normal.

Now the structure of GrassRoots is set up (of course, it needs polishing), and word is getting out. There are quite a few people who are saying,” I can’t right now, but maybe next month, or in the fall, or after my hip replacement.” One day, this little hatchling will take off like a big bird, a bird that keeps growing all its life. And so many people will be cheering it on!

Hey – just had a thought – why not put the GrassRoots newsletter up on this blog? I’ll sneak it in between posts!

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Upcoming Holidays

May
5/15 Full Moon
5/15 – 5/16 Total lunar eclipse visible in south and west Europe, south and west Asia, Africa, much 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

June
6/5 Pentecost
6/6 (?) Whit Monday
6/12 (?) Trinity Sunday
6/14 Full Moon
6/16 (?) Corpus Christi/Feast of the Body of Christ
6/19 Fathers’ Day
6/21 Summer solstice
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve

6/24 (?) St John’s Day

 

July
7/4 Independence Day

7/13 Full Moon

7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God


7/27 Grand Climax

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

6/4 – 6/6  Shavuot (Harvest Festival, Festival of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments)

(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-
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/
and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/ 
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/