Passing the Security Screening

I have my second security screening this week. The first was not necessarily uncomfortable, but it was so personal that it left me with the shakes. I think I hid it well.

I always get the shakes when I talk about myself, my deep thoughts or my important experiences. It is embarrassing.

I was probably as rattled by getting the shakes as I was by the interview. I Googled it later, and it is a symptom of anxiety. Just when you think you have it all under control..

Maybe this one will be easier.

Cameras

I have an issue with my image. I don’t mean a complaint that I don’t like my hair, I mean I do not like to see myself in pictures at all. I do not look how I am supposed to, how I look in my mind’s eye, and I find my real image to be disconcerting.

I have no mirrors in my bedroom. I do not decorate with them, either. I do not like to see myself, ever, I find catching sight of myself to mostly depress me. It drops my mood instantly. I had no photos of myself in the house. When I figured out how disturbing that might be to the children I put a picture of myself in each of their rooms. Because there are pictures of them in every room save the bathroom.

I look much older than I should. That could be part of it. I have scars, even on my face. That could be part of it. But I was always this way, disliking my face. Perhaps the reason I have always admired niqaab is because it hides the features completely.

I tried with makeup. But I am not good at it, and it doesn’t turn out how I think it should, and there is all that effort and upkeep and embarrassment when your mascara runs or your lipstick stains your water glass. Makeup also seems like a lie. Some women wear makeup, and they look quite nice, but I will realize that I cannot recognize them without it and that seems frightening. I want to be real, all the time.

I want to be myself but it is hard when I don’t like me. I want to like myself but it is difficult when my face does not look how it should.

I had to install a camera today for my security check next week and it was really hard. Just as hard as taking selfies. Which I did last year a few times and never since.

Autumn

Fall is my favorite time of year. I love to cook with pumpkin and apples. I cook pumpkins, too, I don’t limit myself to what comes in cans. Sometimes I throw a squash in there. No one minds.

The children and I go to the pumpkin farm every week and take hayrides and pet the animals and swim in corn. We get gourds and pumpkins to take home, paying by the pound.

The boys can run and jump to their heart’s content.

I find corn in my car for months afterward, when vacuuming.

I bake pies and cakes and cookies and muffins and experiment with rustic dishes. I want to try something with apples and peanut butter. Doesn’t that sound perfect? Like in handheld pies, or something?

I like to be outside in the fall. I am not a fan of hot weather. I like to run in the fall, run after the kids, with the kids, from the kids.

This is the last super hot day of summer and I am hiding inside. Next week it will be cool enough to bake. Peach custard, I have already promised the children.

A Big Step

I used to move in human rights circles, behind the scenes. I did a lot of work for one organization in particular.

I have an opportunity to meet up with other people, not necessarily the activists of the movement, though there might be some, but with the victims for certain.

My abuser moves in these circles, too, with both types.

This is a sort of outer ring, newer than what he knows and less exclusive, but perhaps attractive to the old guard that he belongs to.

I am scared out of my mind, I want to participate, but I don’t want to place myself or the children at risk.

His travel ban is lifted in a few months, he used to be active in the area where the meetup is. What if anyone recognizes me? Or my story?  Will I be tracked back? How much risk am I taking?

I have an opportunity to go through the security screening quite soon. I don’t know what questions to ask about security or how to ensure my safety.

It would sound sort of prejudice to say “do you have members attending who used to be active in x, y, or z?” “Do you have members from thiscity thatcity or thatplace?” I don’t know how to say it without sounding fishy, myself.

Do they need verification from me? Would they accept an NGOs word? Or do I need my legal documents, which would give them the abusers name- as the defendant? What if they have members that move in his circle at the level of verification? ARGG. Am I cautious, or paranoid? Do I have to put off living my life until the children are safely on their own and untraceable?

I downloaded Skype for the interview. I need a camera and a microphone, I had neither. Can you believe it? I have been that afraid. I am still, but I am going to buy them tomorrow. I have to remember to check my miscellaneous electronics box. The babysitter is always giving me things I cannot use and I just throw them in there. I might have them already and not even know.

Need Fiction

I just finished another child development/parenting book. I started another immediately. I am still slogging through a book on apostasy. I have read, daily, on PTSD or autism over the past- what? Year, or three? I need fiction.

You would think I were enrolled in university.

What I really want is time. I want to time to clean the entire house without interruption.

I want time to sleep.

I want enough free time to try out new recipes, without interruption.

It will come eventually, but I want it now.

I need to relax. I need a good book of fiction. But then I suppose I will want more time. To read it uninterrupted.

I Really Want to Change This

I know we are all always working on ourselves.

If it is not some new clothes or cream or another shot of espresso, then it is a new self help book. A New Year’s Resolution, a promise we make to ourselves.

I am learning to like myself. I have always been learning it, since I was a child. I thought I was on a pretty good path with it recently until my mother came to visit this time. I found myself unable, unwilling, to hide my impatience. I could hardly contain my anger with her. I felt like I was a kid, all over again.

I could not stand my mother as a child. I wanted to be as far away from her as possible. I was in emotional agony around her, perpetually irritated by her existence. I don’t know if she did anything to deserve that, I have not had another mother to compare her to. I have had a stepmother that I barely saw and I have had the mothers of friends that I saw more, but it is not the same.

When I got older I thought it was about rejection. Her refusing to be my friend when I was a child and invited her to be. Her refusing to let me pay rent and keep my job, living in her basement instead of on the street. The criticism.

When I had kids and knew more, I thought it was about neglect.

I don’t know what it is, really. I just know that I felt awful, having someone in my house, judging me, my skills, and worse- judging my children. I just spent time waiting for her to tell me what it was about the visit that she did not like. It triggers me, the watching and the waiting. Makes me on edge, the stress was so bad I could hardly sleep at first while she was here. I don’t know if this is about her or about my PTSD.

She wants to do vacation things, so we took her to do them and she could only be out of the house for two hours and then she just collapsed. I don’t know if she enjoyed her vacation activities, she mostly wanted to shop. Shopping with three busy kids is frustrating. I don’t like it, so we opted out and took her where she wanted to go while we did something else.

I didn’t stay quiet, and I am both proud and ashamed of that. I told her when she offended me, I yelled at her when she was being unstable, and I explained to her that her decades in Alanon succeeded not in fixing her, but in giving her new methods of manipulation and control. She wanted me to join. For what. For becoming as she is, unable to speak honestly with people and unable to handle any emotion? Last year she dictated to me, over the phone, what to say back to her. I stopped calling for weeks and she cut that shit out.

I have not the comfort of religion to turn to or shield myself from reality with. I have not the patience of the devout that I was known for. I am a new self, somewhat like before and much not. I am not comfortable with me around my mother. I am comfortable with me the rest of the time. I want to change this. I don’t know how. My mother is elderly, she deserves my best, and all my patience, and I seem to have run out of both when she is with me.

I want to be good, and I want to be right- and those two things are not always compatible. I want to change, but I don’t want to be who I was before. No matter how pleasing it was to anyone, even my mother.

Freedom Can Still Bring Guilt or Shame

In the years that I was gripped in religious fervor, not much of this world mattered to me. Everyone and all they did was forgiven. What I was focused on was obedience to religious mandate.

How I spoke and what I said to my family was affected greatly by this. I was sort of an empty vessel, and spoke and acted not from myself or of myself, but rather what I believed I should say. What would be well received by a deity. I was very goal oriented.

I did myself a disservice.

The worst thing I did in my life was forget myself, misrepresent myself, in the name of religion.

In this life, where everyone wants and needs something, there are going to be times where you have to push away what you don’t want and ask for what you do desire. Not for any greater purpose, but because such actions would help you to create a greater happiness for yourself. By allowing the self such indulgences, you can feed the soul, strengthening it.

This helps a person to grow, to survive. We are born to manipulate our environments, it is a curse we cannot escape. We are dissatisfied with this color, that texture, this tone, that attitude. We want it more the way we want it. This never ends. It is a part of being human.

I have an awful habit of knowing what I want and discounting it. It is a definite habit in all aspects of my life. Born of a religious life or a life of doing without, I do not know. It does not much matter.

If I want embroidered towels, I should buy them when I find them in a price and color that I prefer. If I don’t like something my family does, I ought to say something. Hell does not await me if I speak up, and poverty will not overtake me if I brighten up the house with color.

I am not proud of being either person, not the one who was perfectly obedient nor the one who is appropriately disrespectful. But I should be proud of having an emotional conversation, nay, confrontation. Because I have been so passive for so long.

Whether it is PTSD or years of repressed emotion or my internal mother bear doesn’t matter. I should be able to speak what I feel. Most people do, don’t they? There is no value in being that person who never offends anyone. No one will reward me for it. Being a goody goody is actually embarrassing. Other people are crabby. Why not me?

I don’t know where recovery will take me. I do know I am free, and I hope taking action means I am moving in some sort of positive direction.