Category Archives: physical abuse

The Crying Wants to Come

I keep on trying to process everything.

And after writing a nice long journal/blog entry, the crying still wants to come.

It doesn’t com though.

Because I don’t let it feel worthy.

I don’t let it its reasons be enough. They are.

They are

– i feel sad

– I feel

i regret

i screwed up

i needed

i wanted

i found out

i didn’t understand

i didn’t

i did and didn’t do

Right now I am virtually convinced that I can not get out from under this rock.



Terrified Not Gone

When someone I have been intimate with doesn’t communicate in what I feel is a relatively…normal way…I can get pre-occupied with that.

This past two weeks, this past week, last night and this morning, the stress of planning to help with a birth, getting teaching prep done, grading and recording test marks for 330 students, putting out their marks when such a large amount of students failed, keeping up communication about yoga classes, teaching yoga classes, and getting busy with an interesting guy have all tired me out. I do a lot more thinking and self-deprecating than most people and feel down.

And then the less that guy communicates with me, the less I can think. The less I can relax. The less I can feel good about whatever it is I bring to the table. Like he is dissing what I bring to the table by not acknowledging with communication…

And last night and this morning my face began to tingle. And my chest and torso and belly all become their own little monsters. Each with its own sensation. Each living in me like I am just a container. They are all feelings. All feelings that I find overwhelming and I put them off. I put off turning to them directly and hearing what they have to say. So, I never find out how to resolve them. How to respond. I even misunderstand that I am supposed to do something to make them go away…when I think that all I am supposed to do most times is let them play out.

If I could do that…

Then I wouldn’t feel this terrified, paralyzing fear of being left… Maybe I have always had that feeling. Since I was in the womb. Since my mother left me at my aunt’s as a first-born. Since my mom left my at my other aunt’s so she could go be a single woman for days or weeks at a time. Maybe I have always felt that. Felt that that feeling of being left was going to come around again.

Laying in bed this morning I was so overwhelmed with the need to cry or freak out, or write more texts to the dude to ignore the presumption that I was being put off. And I was aware enough to ask myself about when I felt this feeling before…like way before.

It is the terrified feeling of being really alone. Like when I  knew my mother was leaving me in completely alone. Like anything could happen to me and it didn’t even enter her mind. So it was essentially like I did not exist as such. She could put me out of sight and out of mind. I felt completely and utterly outside of myself with fear because i could disappear so easily and my feeling of being in that position was entirely traumatic…death traumatic… Because if no one sees you and no one feels you or what you are going through, there is no one to respond or save you or anything.

So this feeling I am re-experiencing, at 44 years of age, is not rational. And I could see that as I lay in bed mulling things over and contemplating how to live out my day with a feeling of physical hurt in my belly. The feeling is debilitating, like I don’t want to stand up and walk with that feeling. I don’t want to move because I will feel it more. And then I’m telling myself, well, I have no choice but to get up and accomplish a bunch of things today. Complete tasks and planning and work that will eliminate some of the things that have been making the stress feel even heavier.

And it occurred to me that this feeling that I am helplessly alone and destined to be hurt until death…that is what my day will look like… is only a result of the fact that I am not paying attention to being a big, grown-up adult. That I am not paying attention to the fact that someone else leaving me or not communicating with me no longer leaves me in the same position it did 40-ish years ago. For some reason the feelings of vulnerability to death and nothingness re-occur. Because I have not faced them square enough in the face? The reality of my situation does not lessen the panic and vulnerability I feel. But the thought occurred to me that listing even just considering some of the ways that my circumstances now differ from my circumstances then…

Then I was entirely dependent on my mother to take care of my needs, and her being nowhere to be found was horrifying –

Now I am not dependent entirely on anyone to take care of my needs (eat, sleep, contact, attention)…

Then I did not know what I was being left into when my mother left me or even thought about leaving me -I had no power to change where I was or whom I was with or to make a situation more comfortable or safe for myself

and now I usually know where I am. If I don’t feel like I do it is because I left my awareness as I was getting deeper into ideas about the relationship and losing my sense of place… I can adjust anything around me or move myself or change how I am responding at any time.

Then I had to be afraid to be engulfed in providing for someone else’s expectations.

Now I am free from catering to someone else’s expectations of how I will act, how I will feel. Now, I act and feel freely.

*I refuse to believe the lie that my lovableness and well being rely on the behavior of others.

*I believe that my lovableness and well being are always, all the time, everyplace, and for everyone around me the most true things.

Extrication — and… Integration


I have been working for…(I don’t like to hear it out loud) years now to extricate myself from habits, relationships, ways of thinking, situations that tear me apart… This morning I lay in bed, still, like so many mornings, feeling heavy like a boulder…not feeling like I have the energy for life. And then my reflection mechanism kicked in, as it does more and more these days. That mechanism questions my immobilizing sensations and thoughts, helps me stand back, give those reactions space and attention.

I was able to consider what situations have actually made me feel truly like I did not have what I needed to get up, to live on a particular day… The situation was always people around me who were not supportive, not perceptive, not receptive, not ‘present’, not personally responsible, not connected really, to me or anyone else. And the situation was also my thinking that I had no choice but to share time, space, even a life with them…

As I lay in bed and reflect on that elsewhere- or other-time reality…(because at that very moment I was not in that situation) I reflected on the appointment had with my therapist yesterday morning. I had come to the question, how do I ‘be’ with someone who is the kind of person I want…how do I be…healthy and content and good deep inside and still face the fact that I was so damaged…Face the fact that I am struggling still with not living a ‘damaged’ life? How do I be authentic about who I am, what I have behind me, and happy at the same time? And happy alongside someone. Not weighted down, or dependent in unhealthy ways, or seemingly bitter or scared or controlling, or ‘intense’ for no reason?

And how do I live as a Shantelle who is true to herself and everything she was before people treated her like shit, and live around family members who (may) still be shitty…to me and to themselves? How do I live happily and with momentum and optimism and free spirit and spontaneity and joy around people who are still trapped? Those types of people usually don’t like really joyful people around. They usually think something disparaging about them, or feel sorry for themselves…(I know because they taught me to live like that…And I pretend to be in a shittier (feeling) situation when I am around those people so that I don’t ‘bother’ them…).

I feel like there is an irreconcilability in my path to personal health. I believe that this is just a scare tactic…But I still don’t know what is meant to come next… Just my decisions, I guess…no matter how bold…?

It’s a deep but not mysterious place. I’ve been there all along.

It’s time to get raucous. Why has that word come to me 3 times in the last 24 hours? Raucous. It will seem that way to you. But that is because we don’t often look or listen or feel and also ask about the origins of what is being shown to us.

All I want to say and express is raucous to some (harsh, strident, grating, rowdy, disorderly…a little out of control). But there is pure sense beyond it. What is that sense I wonder…? I really don’t care if you can’t figure that out. If you can’t you can sit with the raucousness. If you actually wonder what sense if makes for me to get all raucous, you’re welcome to ask.

The truth about me — I have not expressed, reacted in my life. Early on I was scared away from doing so. I experienced terror as a result of showing my experience, showing my emotional reaction. I was scared away from having a perfectly natural…not just human response…but a response specific to me, specific to my make-up. Being alone and death were the threats that taught me to hide it all.

The gates would inevitably open though. And they are about to burst. Just writing these words is giving me nausea. I want to keep on typing words around it all. I want to keep on writing words all the way up to the gates…so close that I am tasting the ages old doors and the crap on them with my eyeballs. Part of me, even now, tells me I can be safe if I just-don’t-say it.

I am afraid to not ever be able to take back what I say when I say it. I am absolutely paralyzed by fear when I think of the punishment that could chase me when I say the words, when I show the anger the dissatisfaction.

Why would I be afraid that I won’t be able to take it back?

Because when you say what you really think in front of people who think you owe them, people how have built up such a city of avoidance between them and their own gates…they will punish you forever, because they think punishing YOU will get rid of THEIR pain.

Well, this is something that has occurred to me more than once as I found my gates again. As I found my way back.

But you know what? I thought that there was truth to the fact that I need to be punished for staving off danger. For revealing my boundaries. For showing someone I want them to stop hurting me. I thought something trumped that.

And again, you know what?

Fuck It. And Fuck You. And Fuck those people. And Fuck It All. I honestly don’t care if I sound disobedient, entitled, pissed off, disagreeable, defiant… (because I don’t need to care anymore) about how someone else is going to label it. How someone else is going to hurt me. They can’t fucking do it anymore. I don’t have to give any moments of thought to how selfish, violating, pricks deal with their own shit as a result of encountering mine. I have taken all of the responsibility in the world, including everybody else’s, for others’ reactions to me, for feelings others would have because of what I do or say or feel or let out, and even what I DIDNT do. And everyone can absolutely kiss my fucking ass. I mean all those who would blame me for ruining their day for doing nothing but expressing how I feel. Acting on how I feel. Being exactly who I am when I feel a certain way. Your uncooth shit is all yours. Go eat it, paint with it, shit on it, publish it, cry it out loud, I don’t give a fuck. Because whatever you do, whatever narrow-minded shit you decide to throw at me will bounce right back to you, Bigger, and Messier.

You know what I really think? – now that you know what to do with your shite reactions … I think that using a kid to make your life look worthy of something is a fucking asshole thing to do. I think that living your life with a kid as though the kid is a pet or a doll or a piece of baggage… an almost inanimate object is an asshole thing to do! I think that making your kid feel like shit because their feelings or reactions or bodily processes got in the way of your pathetic plans for your day or your life is an entirely fuckhead asshole thing to do. I think that intimidating your kid as a way to teach them how to ‘behave’ is a fucking numbskulled, asshole, manipulative,entirely abusive and cruel thing to do. I think that getting caught up in your own pissiness and fears and unfinished business enough to threaten your kid’s life (by cutting off their airway or using your adult strength to bruise and traumatize your kid’s little body) is one of the most insanely psychopathic and FuckHead, murderous, illegal, axe-worthy things that you could ever do in this universe. It’s like shooting a gun into the world when you are blind, deaf, and dumb. I think you are a complete cruel asshole fuckhead prick moron coward, shit-for-cells person. I think you are a complete fuckhead if you do all of these things and more and then completely lack the fucking microscopic shred of humanity that it takes to apologize with any dignity and honesty for doing those things, specifically those things (!), when you do decide that you think that maybe you might be able to kind of maybe apologize for “some things” you did.  Oh, YOu “did some things you weren’t proud of”, eh!? I don’t give two or two thousand fucks for those pansy-ass coward words of bullshit. Want to learn what an apology is? No, it doesn’t sound like you do you Fucking Asshole.

I think that your bullshit formula of “moving on and forgetting the past” is a complete fucking cop-out…not only for the person you fucked with, but for you too. If you are too much of a fucking coward to even deal with your own shit with yourself, well you can go fuck yourself. I have no time, energy, or even favorable excretions for that. Show some fucking humanity and at least get in touch with the smallest inkling of a desire to clear your own self of the feelings that made you be such a fucked up, self-absorbed, terrorizing, abusive prickshithead in the first place. You know, you keep on spreading that shit around, even if you have it deeply buried in the bottom of the ‘secrets’ drawer in your mind, your memory, your emotional monsterass chest… And when I feel it, from you, our time will be completely limited, probably most often non-existent. Because there are billions of other molecules of air I can breath in billions of other places for billions of other seconds…and there, I will not have to be near that lying, sliminess you like to pretend that you are entitled to carry around because you are bigger or stronger than me.

And you know what? This is what hurt looks like, sounds like, when you pass it around. Especially when you pass it around to people like your kids who unwittingly accept it from you because they thought that the whole purpose of you, the whole purpose of that behavior was to take care of them, and teach them, and protect them, and affirm them. And you manipulate the situation by serving them shit, fear, a sense of self-worthlessness on a plate instead of honesty and self-reflection and tender caring, and tenderness allround.Fuck you, Fuckheads. Fuck – You.

Who the fuck teaches their own flesh and blood that love feels like Torture…

I Fucking dare you to do it again.


A Spring/Summer Day

That’s what this is.

I am in a scary yet exciting place.

The negative energy I am carrying around in me…I have been too scared to leave it somewhere…like, at a bus stop or something…you know, like I would leave my wallet or my phone. To scared to let go of the anger, defensiveness, hardness… because I have always thought it was THAT much of a life saver. I have believed that I would be bare without it when I come face to face with that evil somewhere.

The belief that one must fight evil with evil, defend ourselves from evil with evil. That has made me a walking puppet. Like a cut-out soldier that marched out of my fathers’ depths at a very young age. And just marched. And that fear, that irateness, that defensiveness has attracted so many fearful, angry, sad, “ouch” people into my life. Tumultuous, turbulent relationships and situations. Because I was marching. Not being.

Let go of that, on a Spring/Summer day. Fighting evil with evil doesn’t really feel good. Even when you win. Because who wins!? You’re right back where you started. Fighting is no fun. I don’t like what I look like, what I sound like, what I feel like when I fight with the evil that terrorized me as a child. I feel scary. I feel threatening. I don’t feel like a safe place or a safe person.

Evil goads you into “fighting” it. Do you get caught up in the dare? Or are you in a different place?


Not Afraid of The Big Bad Wolf.

They say that many if not all of us who can describe our selves as codependent and or addicts have problems with authority figures… 

Today I discovered a new angle to my fear of people who have some aspect of my life in their hands.

I have never been a ‘difficult’ child per se. Or a difficult employee or student… I have been self sabotaging, however, I discovered, for the reason that I don’t believe that the person who has control over my time or my outcomes really cares. And if they claim they care and then do something that shows that they don’t, then it’s like my inner sirens go off. Because someone who has control of me and says they care but don’t, or hurt me are dangerous to me. Because of them no one will believe me, that I did not get what I need from them, because they are both my ‘boss’ AND claim to care. And I am in the trap of having to be obedient and grateful until I live out the duration of my role in that situation and move on. I have myself feeling so incredibly unsafe.

And the other juicy little tidbit is this one that my therapist really helped with. I’ve been having to advocate for myself left, right and center this week and I told her it feels like I have road burn. From tryin to advocate for myself! That’s how it feels to me to protect myself…other people’s shit feels like concrete rubbing agains my soft skin when I get too close to them.

And she asked, what is it that made you be able to fight for yourself, Shantelle? And I said, “knowledge”, sound knowledge, and extensive personal experience. It is strong enough that I know I am right. 

And she said maybe you can think of your feelings as sound and strong enough to make you advocate for yourself too? 

And it was like she opened up a drawer in my ‘self’ and in my personal toolbox that wasnt there before. She was like a fairy godmother that made a drawer appear :-). Hot damn…. So, I’m gonna try to take that places!

Here’s to undying efforts at self-searching and help seeking….phewf!

Well…This is Something!

So…I’m talking with one of my sponsors today. We’re talking about me making amends to myself and I’m telling her how the little me inside (Little Shantelle) is so quiet and doesn’t want to really talk to me or come out of her hiding place until I’ve gotten my shit together…etc. And my sponsor says…”Is she kind of a brat?!”…with a ‘smart’ or bossy tone. And I just about lost my shit.

I have felt for the long time that I have had to hold my ground with this sponsor, keep subtly reminding her who I am and what my vulnerabilities are so that she will eventually not try to ‘know’ everything about me before she actually knows me. And I was right… To keep my guard up. It has been a good lesson. Calling my inner self a brat, considering everything we have talked about is actually unbelievable. And the biggest gift from it all?

I, all of sudden, was as pissed off and protective of a part of myself as I have been of my little brother, of my ex’s kids, of other people, of kids in general. I laughed kind of, on the phone instead of losing it… I felt like I didn’t say something when I shouldn’t have, but I also felt that it was not worth it to explain something to somebody who would not necessarily be ready to simply be sensitive to my reaction.

I was putting my energy into thinking of every possible reason to defend my Little self. Even though I myself have been impatient and dismissive, and not as sensitive to her as I have needed to be, I have at least come to an understand that I was and am not a brat. I said to my sponsor (trying not to scoff) that “my Inner Shantelle is NOT a ‘brat’ nor has she ever been a ‘brat’!”. Hiding is not misbehaving, and she is not misbehaving because she is hiding!! My Dad treated me like that. He bullied and intimidated and looked down on me when I protected myself and hid or kept my distance when I didn’t trust him, or something or someone…Refusing to come out is NOT being a brat! What the fuck!! When a kid cowers, they don’t deserve to be chastised, or criticized, or called names. Kids do not have many resources. And they do not have a lot of understanding of their resources! They are using what they can the only way they can! If there is an issue with them it is because there is an issue with YOU!

Wow – it is so fucking angering to have my scared Inner self be put in a position where she could be punished for something…AGAIN. The freaks me the hell out. And here I am finally being my own hero. Fuck off people. Do NOT fuck around with my feelings. And do not compromise me for having feelings, for being feeling, and for staying away from YOU because you think there is something wrong with my feelings.

Scared, traumatized kids are not being “bad”. They just don’t yet know how to live in a world in a way that they don’t have to be scared of getting hurt. And my Little S is perfectly fine just as she is. She knows the deal, she’s been through shit hundreds of times and no one has really looked out for her wellbeing. She knows she has been alone. and She knows the safest place is in her quiet little hiding place. And she will know exactly when to come and whether she will give you the time of day when she does. She is the smartest one of the two of us.

So Fuck Off.


I’m Trying So Hard, But…

So, while I am trying to sort myself out this morning and figure out how to prioritize the things I want to do today and for the next few days, these thoughts rambled out of me:

“If I were to have an amazing job, an amazing home, an amazing sense of security, money and positive stuff flowing freely in my direction…I would be so ashamed. Ashamed that it was not somebody else. Ashamed because my mother reminded me how difficult it was to have kids, how much she missed out on, how much of a trap… a dead weight I was. Why should I be the one to get all of the good stuff? I would feel like I stole her life to make myself rich, happy, successful… My propensity (not voluntary) is to think of all of the reasons why I would have become successful. And the major ones are the pain I caused my parents. I was unexpected, extra baggage, time-consuming, silly, useless, not even representative of them. All I might accomplish gets sucked up, or should be sucked up by that void that I did not fill for them.”

These are the thoughts that make trying hard for myself feel futile.

What are the turnarounds…?!?

Well, I am asking for my habit of being dishonest about what I understand, what I know, what I discover, what I am capable of to be removed.

This tendency is woven together with this fear of shame, or of shaming others as I better myself and heal my life.

When I ask for a shortcoming to be removed I also say a positive affirmation type thing in order to give myself something to do differently:

“I am open about my growth. I am open about my feelings. I am proud of my talents, tenaciousness, adventurousness and I feel forgiveness for having lied to myself about those wonderful things about me having negative effects on other people. My goodness does not imperil others. My goodness shines bright light.”

Tracing Dishonesty and Prerogative

When I was a little kid…between about four and eight years old, I would go off on long forest explorations all by myself. It was a wonderful place, the place where we lived at that time. The little house (it was actually built to be a cottage) was in the woods, a few feet from the ocean water. Evergreen forests, with birch trees, protruding bedrock, carpets of pine needles, and beautifully rich green moss. The amazingness of this wasn’t exceptional for me at the time. It was just there. It was a gift that I felt and lived, but did not think about.

My home had a less natural feel-good feeling. It was less. ‘Being’ at home was confining. Constraining. A place where I felt uncertain, often alert. A place where I was taught to dumb myself down, obscure myself, blend in to the walls, the furniture, the corners of the room.

Outside I would walk through the woods, across the street from my house, and then through the woods again to the ocean on the other side of the peninsula. I could breathe. I could use my energy, my senses, be in such good communication with all that touched me me and that I touched. The beach with the huge rocks, mussels, splashing waves…and I I could scour for crabs, and snails, and different kinds of pebbles, and shells. My best excursion – I took it only once – was up a rock face nearby. I climbed up the side of the rockface itself. These days people do it with climbing equipment. No one could possibly see me (and my 4-year old friend David who I convinced to come along) then. I had packed us a lunch and we made it all the way to the top. We sat on the huge boulder that you could see from 100’s of meters down. I surveyed the space that was mine outside my house and we ate our lunch.

For so long I have asked myself how, at that age, that excursion, and the many others alone in the woods near the ocean, could and still do feel so…fine for me. I was not trying to deceive. I was also not trying to hurt myself. I was going as far as I could to find freedom. Freedom from a more vicious, more damaging, more hurtful danger.

Today I was chatting with a friend about some of my personal inventory – it’s specifically about honesty right now. I was trying to answer questions such as “what did you lie about as a child?”, and “who did you lie to?”, and “what were the consequences of the lies you told?” Not so long ago I had answered a lot of the questions, and the answers were things like, “I lied about taking candy from my Dad’s side table” and “I lied about how much I knew about the dirty movies in the cupboard” and “I lied about how far I went into the forest and whether I went close to the ocean”.

With these answers, I now realize, I was playing into the trap, the trap that my secret excursions, my ‘dishonesty’ was possibly always about me defying, or deceiving someone, or about my mischievousness. Playing into the story that as children what we do is about obeying or disobeying our parents or authority figures. And into the story that as kids, when we do something we are ‘not allowed’ to do, or when we do something or know something past our age or supposed level of feeling or comprehension it is wrong.

Recently I tried answering the questions again. And the answers came to me differently. The lies I told were lies of omission. I didn’t reveal to my parents what I knew, what I understood, how I felt, or what I was doing. And my decisions and my actions were the prerogatives of a girl like me.

I learned at a very young age that my mother was not protecting me from people that would hurt me. By the time I was three years old I was around a man who I knew I had to be scared of. My mother was not aware of that, nor aware of me, my reactions, or my feelings. She married him. Over the next few years this man would get angry with me if I displeased him somehow and beat me with a bamboo switch. If I cried because he scared me he would also get angry with me. One night, at story time, he tried to smother me with a pillow so that my mother wouldn’t hear me getting upset. I couldn’t breathe. His face was a monster’s. At about five years old I was molested by the boy next door. He walked me into the woods and tried to get me to put his penis in my mouth. At nine years old I was molested by another boy next door, who up until that time I had trusted like a big brother. At 13 I became interested in the ‘bad boy’ that lived nearby. When he found out he  took me down to the end of the street and tried to get into my pants. At 14, my 23 year-old swim coach seduced me. He was engaged to be married at the time, but within our first couple of months ‘hanging out’ I would have sex for the first time. Our relationship continued to his marriage and on still for about three years. Soon after that I tried to seduce my driving instructor – he was 29. I lingered after him for a couple of years, slept around a little through high school, university… Lingered after other guys…for the attention…and to figure out what it meant to get control of my life. All of this, like the climb up the side of the rock face, because it was safer ‘out there’ than it was at home. I felt more in control of my own care and my own life climbing up a rock face as a kid. I felt safer risking myself in situations like these than being a daughter.

That is was I learned to feel as a young, young girl.

When I would explore the woods alone, and go on these independent adventures, it was because I was learning that I could save myself from adventures that I put MYSELF in. Not situations that others did.


Up until so recently, I had continued to put myself in relationships that were dangerous, iffy, risky…because I wanted over and over again to prove to myself that I could ‘get myself out safely’. I was “keeping my enemies closer.”

And now I want to change this life.

What does one do instead of create challenges, instead of resolve challenges that one has created for oneself?

My “The Anatomy of Choice”

Try ‘googling’ that quoted title. There are an exhausting (while certainly fascinating) number of articles and books…

science: “goal-directed decision-making in terms of embodied or active inference… associate bounded rationality with approximate Bayesian inference that optimizes a free energy bound on model evidence…constructs such as expected utility, exploration or novelty bonuses, softmax choice rules and optimism bias emerge as natural consequences of free energy minimization” blah blah blah (Friston K1, Schwartenbeck P2, FitzGerald T2, Moutoussis M2, Behrens T3, Dolan RJ)

change & pragmatism: “Choice is defined as “the selection between alternatives”. To select one alternative over another… “Why did you do that”… “What would make you do/not do that again”” etc etc…(Loy & Elder 2013)

a guide for actors who are building their characters: “discover and define a character’s scene and super-objective, obstacle, beats, and tactics… how to build a character…and what to do when nothing is working.” (Seriously, the book is called Anatomy of a Choice).

But have you ever thought about the anatomy of your own choices?? Really, to the depth that you know the most intricate threads that hold together and make sensible not only the ways you decide to act and do, but also the feelings that are attached to these that you take as ‘given’?

Well, I have been doing some of that terribly arduous work…because I decided with some conviction in the past few years that I REFUSE to continue on in this life of mine feeling like I am navigating an obstacle course. With brazen and courageous intention I am looking at, most importantly this past week, Guilt. My guilt.

Seriously. How many of the choices that you make each day do you make out of a terribly obvious or a terribly insidious and evasively disguised guilt?

None? Ok, good on-ya! Wow, I am dying to know what that feels like. (Not that I’m asking you to describe it…because you don’t know…It’s automatic. And besides I want to know what it feels like for me, not you.)

Well, most of mine are made that way. (Yes, this is one of the ‘wonderful’ reasons why my blog is anonymous…).

And my guilt…it comes from a place that has absolutely nothing to do with me having wronged someone or misbehaved, or committing some kind of heinous crime. I learned to take blame for the ways other people felt around me or about me, for things that happened to me because of that, AND for the entirely natural and human reactions I had to these things.

At five or six years old I cried when I was scared, and my ___ tried to smother me with a pillow so that my mother wouldn’t hear me cry. I couldn’t breathe…

I cried because I was already scared. I tried to hide that I was scared, but I could only hold back the tears for so long.

Although I have not faced that situation again, especially in my adult life…the fear was there to stay. Under the guise of ‘being a well-behaved little girl’ I suppressed fear of a man who I knew was unpredictable and an oblivious mother and acted like having a child was a little inconvenient.

My guilt is a life-long construction of how other people felt. About themselves and their life first of all. And about how they felt about me. My guilt had nothing to do with me.

Until, I realize now, that I began to act as though I needed to suffer everyone else’s ‘condition’ in life. Please forgive the ‘academic-ness’ of this next phrase or two, but I love this philosopher, and his techniques for understanding human beings. The Archaeology of my guilt is the discursive traces of fear, power, and powerlessness left by my past with which I can write a ‘history of my present’. In other words archaeology is about looking at my history as a way of understanding the processes that have led to what I am today.

Now that I know that my guilt came from nowhere legitimate – it came from me being human in an insecure environment, etc – , and that I am not my guilt (although I have made myself guilty…), I am looking for the answer to the question: How does someone without a fear of other people’s response to their humanity LIVE?? What does that person look like? Feel like?