Unabridged Me

JUST ANOTHER WRITER

Editing in the Way

December 31, 2017

“This is not what we are talking about.”

I just stared, trying to process the adult sentence emerging from a tiny mouth. 

She was right, of course. Vivian was making a point. She preferred one cat over the other, as one is friendlier and a better pet. I was making it a lesson about personalities and boundaries. 

My next move in this game of parenting? I laughed.

Game over. I lost. 

At least this round. Her little face scrunched, and her eyes took a steely angry look. Shut down, you are unworthy of conversation, mom.

I apologized, affirmed her statement was accurate, and moved us past. But that very grown up thought rang a bell in my head. 

How often do I think these words when in a familial argument, or even an intellectual debate? I make a statement, and the response makes my internal voice say, that’s not what we are taking about. 

In moments of little filter, I say as much. Usually with my mom. Usually with attitude of a sixteen year old girl. 

I would like to think the attitude has diminished, but for some reason I believe attitude oozes in interactions with my mom, regardless age.

When in a discussion, it’s easy to miss the point. Especially when opinions and biases are involved. 

On the flip side, we can shut down creative resolutions or new connections when we insist on being detail focused. But this is not what this blog is about. 

Let’s be honest. Words fail at precise communication. Rough for a writer to admit, but language does not do its job sometimes. A writer’s job is to get as close to the emotion or thought as possible, then throw it to readers saying here I tried. 

And if you are a good writer and editor, you succeed. If you are talented but suck at editing, you succeed in a way. If you are a decent writer, readers bring enough of their own worlds to create something with the words.

But this very thought can get in the way of writing. At least for me.

If I have an idea I’m set on, forget it. I will create the most uninteresting, intellectual goop possible. Because anytime I drift, my brain says this is not what we’re talking about. 

I course correct. I edit as I move. I construct form. And… My writing is uninteresting, though well written, crap.

When I jump myself into the primordial ooze, I get something worth reading. 

And the result is not what I thought it would be when I started. What starts as me working on a bench outside a library becomes an announcement of a life changing event. 

What begins as satirical diologue on writing becomes a short story of manslaughter. 

Here’s the crux of it. Writing is a career full of cliches, everyone supporting us while telling us how to do it better. And most times I nod, say uh huh,  and do it my own way. I’m oppositional like that. 

But once in awhile I have a moment where a cliche clicks, and my writing benefits. Like don’t edit while writing your first draft. When I first heard that I said excuse me? I always read what I’ve written to catch myself up, editing along the way. And that’s how my mind works, keeping track.

However, if I say to myself this is not what I’m talking about while moving through my process? I will write drivel. 

Instead I have to jump in, let the thoughts flow naturally as I read myself, and let the current go where it wants. Otherwise my left hemisphere will doom my writing career before it even starts. 

And be subjected to a toddler’s condescending attitude. 

Pop quiz: is the image convex or concave?

Advertisements

When the Past Is Stronger

December 10, 2017

December 8th:

So apparently this is happening.

And I’m not talking about writing a post for the first time in a week, though that is happening too.

I’m talking about some long overdue processing. I was in the shower (surprise) when I started thinking about writing another short story. Immediately in my mind was a creative non-fiction I had written, submitted, and had rejected.

In attempts to learn, I replied to the rejection, asking for feedback. Which I received, shockingly. Editor’s response: well written but missing emotion and internal involvement with the narrator that makes a reader care.

Hm. Well okay, I can accept that.

The story I submitted was a factual retelling of a situation that occurred with my ex. At the end of the relationship, when the world was falling apart and my mind was finishing its breakdown. The information was accurate. The details well documented. But the emotional part of me, the part that connects people to events, was missing. Clearly, per the editor.

And he’s right. The editor. Because that’s what I do. That’s how I survive. Everything is an essay, an experiment, a curious item in which to inspect but care very little about.

Disassociation is not just a medical term for me.

Apparently not any longer. Because in the shower, feelings started coming back. I was seeing things as I felt them then, not as if it were some movie on a screen for which I care nothing.

So this is happening. My mind has decided it’s time to unlock a box and let some things flow. Makes sense. I don’t have a very busy, external stressing, external focused routine any longer.

And… and… I have people in my life who are forcing me to open up. Not a bad thing. Maybe. That remains to be seen. Twitter is creating a stream of consciousness in my writing, and my writing is becoming much more honest and heartfelt… has been for months.

Makes sense now why I didn’t write for years.

So the fallout… what I totally expect… is to be a complete disaster. Once this starts, I will be unable to contain myself. I will extrovert emotions in all directions, randomly and at complete variances of time. With nothing to do with my actual PTSD or trauma. No no, I will be unable to contain my emotions at all.

So here we go.

December 10th

Obviously, per the dates listed, it’s taken me a few days to come back to writing about my shower epiphany, my moment of coming to… whatever. Anyways, been a crazy few days.

Crazy. Out of control irritation and emotions… beyond belief.

Not that I’ve written anything. Or thought anything. No no, just the amount I processed that first day sent me spiraling for a little bit.

Yet, as I mentioned, completely expected. When I first was exited from my abusive life situation, I went through a decent amount of therapy. Mostly for my own actions, but as I progressed there was underlying work on what led me to my choices.

The process we followed to help me release, because as I’ve mentioned I am a repress and run kinda girl, is called EMDR. I studied but don’t remember the science behind it any more. I had two buzzing handles, one in each hand, and headphones that subsequently beeped in conjunction with the hand buzzing. If you want to know more, here.

After a few sessions of talking… to get a starting point… we started the buzzing sessions, only a couple minutes at time with follow up conversation regarding what my brain produced.

The first two, we didn’t discuss my ex much at all. Mostly childhood stuff. Things I would never have thought for my head to hold onto… yet understandable in my overall reactions to life. By the second session, we were moving into the good stuff.

The last time I confronted my past, I was heavily medicated. Lamictal and Seroquel. I never seek help while hypomania, who would? Life is good, reality is good, things are good. It’s usually when I’m depressive and not sleeping I seek a chemical answer.

Leading to years of misdiagnosis and incorrect meds. This time, I had a file the shrink could review before my visit. And subsequently was overmedicated by a shrink who wrote scripts and moved on. Lamictal and Seroquel.

Lamictal, once titrated accurately and to the correct low dose, did me well until time for pregnancy. After which I went on an OTC lithium version, which also did me well until I was pregnant. By then pregnancy hormones had me good.  Remember, pregnancy does me well.

My usual script for not sleeping was Trazadone until this point, used in only acute situations every few years. However, doc said it wasn’t a good choice for my condition and gave me an alternative. Of Seraquel. Which was not a good choice for my condition. I was a zombie, and although I didn’t mind, my life did.

Needless to say, last time I took this road, I was medicated in some form.

And after that third session, I went crazy. Medicated and everything. My mind spun out of control, exuding emotion in every moment as my brain tried to grapple with something it had rejected for a few years by that point.

The whole idea is the patient, me, feels the emotion that was otherwise not processed, allowing the brain to heal itself and reroute transmissions.

Sure it works. Sure, I didn’t do any more after that third session. Why would I? After going through crazy town and emerging the other side, I felt good. Better than I had in years. Why choose more?

Until a shower, when I come to terms with the fact that for years I have not dealt with the bulk of what I experienced. Despite busting at the seams from time to time. That third session revealed a particularly hard situation of sexual abuse, but there were six years I did not deal with.

Until now.

I will fail if I try to accurately describe what someone goes through. Either you get it or you don’t. But here’s been the last two days.

My emotion receptors are open on high frequency, so I am feeling every emotion emoted everywhere. But… but, it’s not with a normal filter. It is quickly grabbed by a distortion, which sends my thoughts into a paranoid hurricane of rumination. I spiral until my body is unable to contain and I become a heaping mess of crying or a rage filled napalm bomb.

This can be helped… per my post on mood disorders, if someone can pull me out of distorted ruminating, category 5 is avoided.

However, my receptors are still highly sensitive making irritation readily available for the tiniest of items that throw me off. A spilled drink. A messy kitchen. Toys on the floor. Anything that triggers a well acknowledged fact that life is not orderly. Because when your brain is chaos and everything in your entire reality feels like it’s spiraling out of control, the one thing you want in physical reality is orderliness. The one thing you need is to know exactly where everything is going to be and how things will play out.

It’s a need, not a want.

So tomorrow I return to working out (creating natural chemicals) and my routine that was disrupted for the last three weeks due to sickness and family holidays (probably helping to bring about my shower epiphany). When calm enough, I will begin to write.

And I’m sure I will produce an amazing story. If, and only if, I am successful at getting through this without repressing and running.