Ambivalence … and Courage

Upcoming Holidays
July
7/4 Fourth of July/US Independence Day
7/8 Full Moon
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God
August
8/1 Lamas/Lughnasadh
8/7 Full Moon
8/7 Partial lunar eclipse: visible in most of Europe, most of Asia, Australia, Africa, and eastern South America.
8/21 Total solar eclipse: totality visible in parts of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina; partially visible in other parts of the United States, Canada, Central America, northern South America, western Europe, and western Africa.
September
9/4 S Labor Day
9/6 Full Moon
9/5 – 9/7 Marriage to the Beast (Satan)
9/7 Feast of the Beast
9/20 – 9/21 Midnight Host
9/22 Fall Equinox
9/29 Michaelmas (?)
Important dates in Nazi groups
7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party
9/1 Start of WW2
9/17 Hitler’s alternate half-birthday
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Ambivalence … and Courage

I subscribe to the San Francisco Park and Recreation newsletter. I read in it that a company from Arizona was bringing horses to Golden Gate Park for a month and anybody could sign up. I am not *that* daring, so I wrote and told them all my concerns. I hadn’t ridden for forty years. I was afraid I couldn’t get on and off, afraid I couldn’t get from the parking lot to the stables, and most of all (I didn’t tell them this) afraid that I would throw my back out and not be able to leave the house for a year. They were very accommodating; if the worst came to the worst, there was a strong young man who could lift me on and off.

For a couple of weeks it was, “yes no, yes no, yes no, yes no, yes no” and finally, “fuck, why not? “So I signed up. So much for ambivalence! I took the chance! Still, being somewhat cautious, I only asked for half an hour.

I got on fine, with no help except for the mounting block (it looked like a sturdy little staircase.) The manager, Donna, took me out solo so that she could give me all the attention she thought I needed. It was overkill, but I didn’t care. We got along great; we both found plenty to talk about and had the same slightly twisted sense of humor.

My horse’s name was Badger. He was a beautiful dark brown, nicely proportioned, and very mellow. I would show him to you, except I forgot my iPhone in my excitement. Although this isn’t Badger, he looked like this, except his tail wasn’t as long and his saddle  was a a good deal rattier.

We rode on trails in the park, some paved, some dirt. There were native flowers in bloom and also “exotic” ones like climbing nasturtiums. There were stretches where I had to duck to avoid low-hanging branches. All we did was walk, but I didn’t care because I could pay closer attention to the plants and sunlight and smell of the horses.

We had the trails all to ourselves. There are two huge Dutch windmills at the north and south sides of the park near the ocean. We visited both of them and glimpsed the ocean from the trail. Huge waves breaking on a long stretch of sand. Heaven.

It didn’t hurt to sit on Badger, and it didn’t hurt after I got off. To my amazement, I didn’t hurt any more than usual or in any new places when I woke up the next day.

I thought of signing up again, but decided it would dilute the specialness of the ride. Besides, they are an Arizona company, and I will be in Arizona again this year running away from Christmas with my BFF (best female friend.) Two of the company’s branches are in places we plan to visit!

I wonder what it would be like to be on a horse in the desert. I could cover a lot more distance, even at a walk, than I can normally in a week. Even a tortoise could, come to think of it.

I’m already playing with my ambivalence. “Yes no, yes no, yes no, no rush, there are still six months to decide.”

 

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Ritual Abuse Survivors Are Allowed to Be Silly

I’m not feeling very verbal right now, so blog writing is hard. I’m tempted to post a cat video.

In Arizona, I found a cat collar made of very good leather with brass letters that said MEOW. When I am feeling punk I wear it as a bracelet. Bet nobody guessed I sometime feel punk!

I read an article that said that in the 1800’s cats were either feral or barn cats. Then some woman got the idea to bring one in the house and treat it as a pet. It became a fad around the turn of the century – went viral!. It also became grounds for divorce. One man stated that his wife had 37 cats and the house smelled. Divorce granted.

I have two cats and there are times the house smells.

Mosquitoes don’t like the smell of lavender or fabric softeners. So if you rub lavender all over you and stuff your pockets with Bounce they will not bother you. And they are scared of wind.

I didn’t envision free association being suitable for this blog. It is supposed to contain Serious Meaningful essays about healing from ritual abuse. But I suppose dying one’s hair blue and wearing cat collars and remembering articles found when I was careening around the Web instead of being productive are suitable subjects for “Healing from Ritual Abuse.”

In the initial phases of dealing with ritual abuse, there was no room for silliness for me. The flashbacks, the terror, the feeling that I would die from remembering consumed me 24/7. (Being afraid that remembering would kill me was a flashback, too, but I didn’t know that back then.) Now, in a later phase, there is room for other things. I never even imagined that could be true, but it turned out that it is.

I can’t remember when I first became open to other things, but I do remember that the change came slowly. My attention turned to something non-RA for a moment and then I was once again immersed in the horror. Over time, my attention could stray from RA for longer and longer periods.

Now I can read newspapers. I can get upset about other kinds of evil and all the ways people hurt each other and abandon each other. Wars, famines, prisons, destructive greed, stupidity; all these things have little to do with RA. Neither do most domestic violence and most child abuse. Apparently there is room for plenty of different kinds of evil in this troubled world of ours.

But I’m also aware that there is kindness and generosity and beauty in the world. Want to see something beautiful I found yesterday? Check out  http://www.cameraflora.com/index#

Backstory: Bert Shankman was a retired systems analyst and quickly became bored with all the leisure. He joined several clubs, including a camera club. He shot landscapes but got bored with that, too. He turned to flowers and became entranced. The members of the camera club were appalled because he photoshopped his work, so he told them to think of them as paintings. I think they are gorgeous!

Moral of Bert’s story: when bored, try something different. And if you are met with criticism, don’t take it too seriously – follow your heart.

Moral of this post: I dunno. Maybe if you are in crisis, hold on, don’t kill yourself, and just wait. I promise things will change. Maybe, eventually, you are allowed to be silly even if you are a ritual abuse survivor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drowning in Beauty

May we all have a happier new year.

Don’t know whether you remember I was running away for Christmas to visit my friend in Arizona and take a trip to Moab in Utah. Well, I did, and there was very little evidence of Christmas in either place. I hardly even thought about ritual abuse. Mission accomplished!

Moab was incredible. The first day there we went for a drive, and it was so beautiful I burst into tears. There were all these red rocks on either side of the road towering hundreds of feet above us. Hundreds. I am not exaggerating. The town is in a little valley and every place you look, 360 degrees, there were red rocks.

This is high desert country, with elevations between 4000 and 7000 feet. Outside of town you look across barren ground broken only by sparse grasses and small shrubs. The ground is reddish because the soil is made of tiny particles eroded from those gigantic rocks. The vegetation was brown because the rainy season hadn’t started; however there was enough water and nourishment for rabbits and deer and other critters. It reminded me of driving through the Australian desert and seeing Ularu soaring up in the middle of nowhere. Except here, Ularu was all around us.

Christmas Day, we stayed in out little cabin, loafed, read magazines, and watched the snow fall gently around us. That was the only day it snowed and the rest of the time we drove through the La Sal mountains, Arches National Park and, on the last day, Monument Valley. We shared the road with deer, who were fearless, and cattle, who were just as fearless when we leaned on the horn. We saw ravens and buzzards and some tumbleweed, even though it was the wrong time of year. I was in heaven.

I did none of the driving, so I felt very well taken care of. We had been good friends for several years but we had never spend that much uninterrupted time together. We both are in chronic pain and when we are tired we get sort of grumpy. So much time together could have been a recipe for disaster, but we both were understanding and forgiving. The last couple of days were a real treat – we went over our ways of communicating and figured out patterns that cause misunderstandings. I’ve only done that in therapy, and that is pretty one-sided. I learned so much about her and about myself; when I am not clear, when I jump to conclusions about the other person, when she thought I was saying one thing but it was another.

I don’t want to give the impression that all was well 24/7. The day we were supposed to check into the cabin we arrived after the sun set. Of course we got hopelessly lost in back-country roads, up in the mountains, no houses within sight, no useful map, snow on the road, and no snow tires. After about two hours I suggested we call AAA and ask what to do. She heard AARP and thought that was the stupidest thing she had heard in a long time.

Finally we found a place with cell phone reception and called the company that managed the cabins. A sweet young guy talked us down to the road we were supposed to be on. Except we were twenty miles away from the turn off and he thought we were just a few yards from it. Eventually that got straightened out. Boy did we sleep well that night!

I was happy that I walked more than twice as much as I do on a good day at home, even with the altitude and getting out of breath. I hadn’t walked in snow for twenty or thirty years, and I could do it without losing my balance. Except one time, when I misjudged the steepness of a little slope, my weight was too far back, and I fell over backwards. I rolled to the right, so I didn’t hit my head, but my ankle is badly bruised. That’s the risk you take when you go bravely into an unfamiliar situation saying, “Of course I can do it” rather than, “I’m too scared. You go and have fun and I will stay here in the car and be bored.”

In case you hadn’t guessed, I want to go back next year.

PS I wanted to include pictures, but I am working on Windows and have no idea how to do anything. I’ll show you some fantastic pictures when I get home.