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bear by san

March 2017



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criminal minds reid mathematics

Silence = Death

This is not news.

Why do we have to keep relearning it?

I think you all, everybody who commented or emailed or posted something of their own, are pretty fucking mighty.

Oddly enough, for me, writing all that down made it a hell of a lot smaller. It's amazing how the shadows shrink when you nail them to the wall.

Oh, yeah? And that is why I'm teaching myself algebra.

And guitar, too.

And now, back to this &^%*&(^()*&^ review test....


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thank you!
A mentor of mine way back in high school talked about how he was pursued by the Smart Monster, which was always whispering in his ear and threatening to expose to the world that he was a fraud.

I've considered that a wonderful metaphor for a while, partly, I think, because it characterizes the neurosis as something faintly ridiculous. It doesn't make it go away, but it reframes it as something you can negotiate with, ignore, or mock as needed.

We don't have the option of slaying our demons, but I think we can find ways to reeducate them.
Heh. I know that feeling well. I shall have to pick up the metaphor. (For some reason I'm envisioning the Smart Monster as a three-headed giant like in Chaucer's Tale of Sir Thopas or Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)

Bear, thank you for posting what you did. You continue to confirm my opinion that you are a total badass.
Hey - I'm glad your shadows have shrunk!

And your subject header just gave me a flashback to my thesis - I haven't heard that slogan for a few years. If you are interested in a deconstruction of it, have a looksy at this:

Edelman, Lee (1989) ‘The Plague of Discourse: Politics, Literary Theory and AIDS’. South Atlantic Quarterly, 88:1, 301-317

I don't have a copy to hand, I'm afraid.

(My thesis was on the subject of AIDS literature as a genre)

But that is utterly irrelevent - now go do your maths homework, young lady!
We have to keep relearning it because we keep being told be quiet, no one wants to hear, you're just looking for attention, you're making things up. There are people with very loud voices who are very uncomfortable with what lurks in the dark corners - often because they can't yet shine light into theirs.
Exactly. But it does get a little easier to relearn it each time.
Your amazing post gave me so much glorious-angsty food for thought that I ended up turning what was to be a comment into two pages of family issue gut-pouring, which'll need a hell of a lot of editing before it ever sees the light of day. (But even so, I thank you muchly.)
Yes. This. Exactly.
Your original post rendered me speechless (in the best way; it's a compliment, as I suspect you might know), and so I still can't fully say how glad I am to hear that it shrank the shadows.


thank you.
Much sympathy.

Mind you, I'd be very surprised indeed to learn that anyone in this line of work was entirely normal; I suspect most of us are walking wounded if viewed from one angle or another.

But at least many of us are walking.
Oddly enough, for me, writing all that down made it a hell of a lot smaller. It's amazing how the shadows shrink when you nail them to the wall.

And reading that, thinking about it, my own responses, are shrinking *my* shadows.

Thank you again. Reminds me of some of the best therapy sessions, when I'd have to go home and just be *quiet* for a while, digesting.

Also: that second sentence, added to quotefile, and may be a calligraphy project to go on the wall over my desk.
Oddly enough, for me, writing all that down made it a hell of a lot smaller. It's amazing how the shadows shrink when you nail them to the wall.

Yes, indeed. I'm glad you wrote that post, and I'm glad it helped the shadows shrink!
writing all that down made it a hell of a lot smaller

Speak truth to power, indeed.

And by the way? That was extraordinary, what you said this morning, and how it touched people and inspired them to respond. I was - and still am - mostly speechless, but only because I'm not sure I could add anything...
You know, I was trying to make it as plain and straightforward as possible, and just abandoned all my rhetorical tricks.

Very odd, that...
Why do we have to keep relearning it?

So, you're a genius, and I'm going to guess you read a lot of stuff that was 'above your peer-level', right? I went from first grade readers to the adult shelves. My sainted grandmother the librarian went to bat for me, saying 'For land's sake! If it's too adult for her it will sail right over her head!'. And she was right for the most part.

We keep having to re-learn things because every time we deal with those damn trigger issues we are different people. I see something new every time I re-read books I read at 9 or 13 or 30. The story didn't change, I did.

We keep having to re-learn things because we learned the damage so well. I once had a therapy homework assignment (Yeah. He was brilliant but at the time he was mostly a pain in my ass.) I was tasked to write down all my negative self-talk. You know those moments of 'I'm so stupid' and 'I always fuck up' and 'Nobody will ever like me' or whatever? I wrote those down for two long miserable weeks.

Grim, I tell you, absolutely Stygian.

At the next appointment I hand the brilliant pain in my ass the notebook. He leafs through it and nods. Next he reads a few that are thematically linked out loud. Then he looks at me and asks me to repeat them after him, and after two or three he suddenly asks me 'Whose voice is that?'.

I stare at him and I don't get it for a minute. He points at one phrase and says 'Whose voice do you hear when you think that?'.

'My mother.'

'So, this stuff from your childhood keeps repeating because you are so trained that you are carrying around a portable mother in your head? What would happen if you listened to that negative self-talk, identified whose voice it is- and suggested they shut up?'

A lot of us with childhood damage are carrying around portable mothers/fathers/whoever. We tell ourselves the things they once told us because they were big and we were little and mostly in their power. They must have been right, they were the grownups.

Hell, breaking down someone's self esteem and teaching them not to reach out to trust others is practically the first chapter in the Big Book o' Abuse. Without that your victim might actually have the clarity and wherewithal to walk away.

So we keep re-learning. Just like the first time I read The Lord Of the Rings if was all about the 'what happens now?' and on a later re-read it was all about poor Frodo and then I re-read it a few year later and damn nobody seems to realize that Sam Gamgee is just about the Biggest Damn Hero I ever saw.
...Sam Gamgee is just about the Biggest Damn Hero I ever saw.

Yes!! I've been arguing lately that he's the sekrit protagonist. My question-in-crisis-or-despair is "What Would Samwise Do?"

"Well, I'm home."
Yep. I read that post this morning, and...yep. Ripped some of my scabs right off. And what you said about being sick and tired of the damage? That is a Truth.


No idea how I came across you blog so many months ago - probably through another writer I admire - and have not posted before. The accounting of your life and the truths of it stunned me. Like many here, I battle the shadows from my past, but have never nailed them to the wall and watched them shrink. I let them rule me.

Your post gave me the courage to face those shadows in a way I had not planned. This afternoon I spoke with my doctor about my suicide plans. I now have a bag of antidepressant samples, we worked out a strategy of medication and a support system.

Thank you for your post and, just plain thank you.

With much admiration,


Re: Awed


This really deserves a response, and I have no idea what to say to that.

I am really proud of you. I wish you a lot of luck, and you're welcome around here any time.
Thank you for opening that door and take care of yourself. I hope that putting it out there made you feel better. One of the most important things I've learned is that we shoulder a lot of burdens alone that we don't have to. (At the end of the day, their ours, but a surprising number of people are willing to help lift them off us enough so we can breathe.)

Anyway. Hugs.
*hug back*

Someday we need to find a quiet corner of a bar and some beers, you and me.
I was going to post to the other thread but it seems appropriate here in response to your line about shadows shrinking.

I am, all in all, undamaged. But I had one experience (on the night of Princess Diana's funeral; the candles as I went to the police station felt kind of surreal) that I didn't realise how much it had affected me until months and months later when I wrote about it to friends and realised I was shaking uncontrollably. It was a small thing though, so that one time of writing about it was enough to exorcise it completely.

Back to your other post, where you mentioned writing about undamaged people: Even being undamaged, enough things have happened to me and around me that I think I can say that even undamaged people have their ways of reacting to stress. Mine is to pretend the stressor doesn't exist. If I don't acknowledge it, it might go away. I could give countless examples, but the one that really shook me and started me thinking was, as a teenager, watching a guy cycle a sharp turn onto a bridge and, out of control, crash into the railing, fly over it, and land in the river. I kept walking. It wasn't until my friends tugged at me that my mind clicked back into gear and I went with them to help him. To think that had I been alone... I don't know how far away I'd have been when my mind would have clicked.

The reason I was there, then, with those friends, was to do with a long-running drama in our teenage lives. That drama caused huge amounts of stress then; but in some ways it also prepared me for dealing with an unrelated long-running drama in my early twenties. (There are times I've suspected I might be a magnet for long-running dramas, though if I were I hope I've cured myself of it. Undamaged people have issues too, though they're generally not as spectacular as those with triggers.) For good or ill -- for good and ill -- these things happened. Being human I sometimes sit and try to make patterns and sense out of them, and sometimes those patterns and sense are useful to me in the here-and-now. Sometimes not. Life is rather trial and error, I think; and I'm good with this.
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