Family Skeleton After Party!
Family Skeleton After Party Guestlist:
1. Introducing Okti
3. Throw Another Catfish on the Barbie
4. Divorce and Reconciliation
5. The Dancing Cave and the Prophecy Part 2
Family Skeleton After Party!
Dr Velvet Thong and Okti are sitting in a VIP booth at a
nightclub, wearing ensembles generously supplied by Surrealist
Underground, whilst sipping non-alcholic beverages from champagne
flutes. This is Dr Velvet Thong's office, or one of the theme rooms
in her office complex/holodeck, I haven't decided yet. There's an
open dance floor, suggesting that there is dancing or the possibility
of it in Okti's life.
Dr Velvet Thong: Hello Okti, tell me a bit about yourself.
Okti: I'm an appearance and ratings challenged popstar/reality
star who until now has been primarily known as the author of The
World's Longest and Most Ignored Public Suicide Note.
Dr Velvet Thong: What brings you to my office today?
Okti: We'll see how it unfolds. I think I'm here to talk
about some changes in my life.
Dr Velvet Thong: I haven't seen you since that whole Family
Skeleton Dance Party thing last year, but back then you were going by
a different name.
Okti: I can't say my pimped up pumpkin days are totally behind
me, but I think enduring them long enough to transcribe them might
have helped me to break on through to the other side in a way I never
would have expected.
Dr Velvet Thong: You stayed so long at the party that you
eventually changed from a pumpkin into something else?
Okti: Who the hell knows, but I guess I'm going to go with
Dr Velvet Thong: What does the name Okti represent?
Okti: Okti was my best friend in public school. From Grades 1-3,
when we had finally settled in to the house my parents built in
the country, I don't remember having any friends. In Grade 4 I was
invited to some birthday parties, and for a while it seemed like I
did have friends. I think the teacher had intervened. Her name was
Miss Anderson, and I remember that she was very kind. She submitted
some of my writings to the school yearbook, and two were selected. I
also had a birthday party that year, and at the end of the year, I
think Miss Anderson was responsible for organizing all the girls in
the class to exchange addresses with me, before my family moved. I
wrote to every single one. Everyone else stopped writing to me before
I stopped writing to them.
I still had Okti.
I also want to say that in high school I had a teacher named Mr Brown
who looked more like a stereotypical Australian bushman than a
Canadian. His exam was one of the ones I failed that fateful day back
in 1982, and he compassionately refused to let my score of 18% stand
(to be factored in with my overall term mark), instead using my class
time total as my grade for that semester. I tried to insist that I
deserved to face the consequences of my actions, but he wasn't having
When his class fell on Friday afternoons, he would get some
obligatory stuff out of the way first, and then show us his personal
movies of Australia for the rest of the class. Through the years,
this didn't really cause me to develop a conscious interest in
Australia, but I've often wondered if he would smile to think I ended
up in Australia.
Dr Velvet Thong: I thought you said you didn't have any
Okti: Back in the day, it was a popular craft project to make
octopuses. My mother made a large purple one with googly eyes and a
stirofoam head, as a decoration for my bed. That one also had a
little bun on top of her head tied with a ribbon. Okti let me know
that she would be my friend if she didn't have to have a stirofoam
head, and so I made her according to her specifications. She was much
smaller than most octopi, and could fit in the pocket of my snowsuit.
Her mouth was a red felt heart, and one of her black felt eyes was
cut in the shape of a wink.
I used to take Okti with me as many places as I could. I crocheted
scarves and made capes for her.
Dr Velvet Thong: I think I see what you're getting at.
Okti: "I've got to go back and start over, like a kid. I
didn't have the right heart in me. "
Dr Velvet Thong: Are you ready to talk about the prophecy?
Okti: It's looks like I made it to the age of 21 for the
second time without fulfilling it. Woohooo!
Dr Velvet Thong and Okti clink their glasses together, and both
take a big sip.
Okti: But seriously, I suppose there was some sense of
superstitious suspense I couldn't totally override, and it became
more intense as the actual date approached. Now that I've lived to
see the day, it might be possible I'm more free, or open to
Dr Velvet Thong: In case the viewing audience experience any
confusion in regard to your math skills or possible denial of the
ageing process, I just want to pipe in that what we're celebrating
today is the anniversary of a choice mentioned in Family Skeleton
Okti: Even before this, though, I found that I had been
feeling more at peace than I had in 30 years or so. For me, I think
that whole Family Skeleton Dance Party! horror was a kind of
breakthrough, and although it didn't happen overnight after that, I
eventually just knew that something had changed and that I was no
longer living with the feeling of intense, constant distress to which
I had become accustomed. Maybe I was closer to self-acceptance and
more than an intellectual understanding that everyone I've known has
done the best they could. It was like understanding and gratitude
were not just concepts to be grasped intellectually, they could be
There have been some hiccups in the process, but overall, the feeling
that something has changed remains.
I have discovered, for instance, that as Don Quixote's family is now
also part of my 'past' and present, I need to come to some kind of
resolution with them that feels sincere to me.
Dr Velvet Thong: What do you think brought about this
Okti: I felt like I had finally tried hard enough, expressed
enough that I could appreciate my effort, and 'me'. I felt ready to
start trying to consciously challenge unpleasant chains of
association, often by replacing them with new chains of association.
I couldn't have done this, though, if I didn't have the experience
of tackling many difficult projects like FSDP!, as well as
difficult and challenging correspondences and tasks. There was a
certain cumulative stability that became evident to me over time. I
could again and again demonstrate the ability to think my way through
these situations and find a centre, or to a sense of trust in my
own perceptions and philosophy. I could trust myself. I could go
back through my history and see that all along, even when my patterns
seemed the most self-destructive, there was always part of me that
was trying to understand, trying to question my own personal status
quo, trying to find outlets for my particular abilities, and that in
order to be true to myself, the path I've taken and the choices I've
made make a kind of sense to me.
I've been trying to restructure my memory and make a choice not to go
down long chains of unpleasant association in part by rerouting them
with either new associations, personally significant symbolism, or
ideas I like, or with a feeling of acccomplishment in having
understood enough that I feel ready to move forward. I couldn't do
this effectively before because I didn't have enough of a history of
stable, 'positive' associations. I had trouble discerning what was
'positive' or 'negative' for me, as those concepts seemed
overwhelmingly complex. This doesn't mean I think I can do this
perfectly or that I won't sometimes need to rehash something or
For now, there are a few elaborations I want to get down to help in
the process of being ready to move forward.
A lot of the material on my site is out of date or wrong in
embarrassing ways. For example, I don't really want to go back now
and see how I probably misunderstood a lot about official diagnoses
in the entry I call a 'psychoanalysis', but in doing my own thing in
my own way, in continuing to try to understand, I think I've come
farther now. I think I have finally managed to articulate enough such
that I can see it in a way that has had more pronounced effects on my
daily mood. I've sort of noticed that something was changing for a
while, but was reluctant to say anything, because in the early years
there were so many false starts and retractions, and by the time I
was 23 (30 years ago), I didn't want to promise anything to anyone,
including myself. I stayed in that limbo all these years.
Originally, a major barrier to therapy from a young age was that I
had an instinctive need to protect family and boyfriends, not tell
their secrets or complain about them. To do it was low and made a
person unloveable. There were certain things about myself that I
needed to talk about, but to tell some of the bigger ones, I would
have had to establish a kind of trust with a therapist that wasn't
possible with those I encountered. There wasn't enough time, the
person didn't seem to be listening or processing 'enough' of the
details, the approach to therapy was too 'scattered', different
people for different aspects, and no one to connect with who was
seeing the overview, including how various factors, experiences and
conditions impacted upon each other. And the clock was always running
out, because in order to attend therapy at all, I'd have had to
establish a connection and trust quickly, or my patterns would be too
strong to allow for continued, regular contact.
What should have been discussed in a private, safe place like a
trusted therapist's office ended up exploding out of me all over the
world, with no safeguards in place for anyone, including
Through leaving up a website for almost 2 decades, I have created a
kind of stability for myself that is about my choices and my
determination, and about standing up for myself. All along it felt
temporary, but maybe it's not temporary in the ways I thought. The
main issue is that the foundation of its creation and maintenance
revolved around my wish to die. In everything I expressed, I was
coming at it from that place. In any correspondence or friendship
initiated, it was coming from that place, not a place of stability. I
wasn't trying to attract viewers to make friends and expand my social
network and increase my ties to life, I was trying to keep reducing
them to move toward a goal of death. My actions and the thoughts I
expressed were related to that conscious goal.
If concerned citizens who wanted to prevent me from being a bad
influence had applied pressure to have my site removed, I might never
have come to see my past and myself in the ways I do now, or have
reached a sense of peace about it. I know my situation is complex and
I think by now it's evident to others, and I think it's also probably
evident that standard approaches to my case by professionals would
not have helped, and that I actually might have had a more
interesting and varied life on my own, even though it was full of
distress. I think I was right not to trust the psychiatric
professionals I encountered. It was not about noncomplicance,
withholding essential information, or about lying. It was about lack
of success in establishing trust. I always wanted to talk. I think
I've proven that now.
Dr Velvet Thong: It was so impossible to trust the
professionals, authorities, family and friends, that eventually in an
act of desperation you decided that if no one could be trusted
anyway, you could at least have some control if you gave the
information to everyone? Does that make any
Okti: No, not really, but what has happened was that in daring
to put it all out into the world, I could see what I write in a
different way (compared to how it seemed in my head) and compare it
to what others write, and through the process of relating and
disagreeing, through comparison and contrast, my own identity and
experience became clearer to me.
To me, it now seems I'm in the early stages of identifying an
equality issue, and I'm facing all the struggles to get my message
across that others have historically faced when trying to help others
see something they've identified that others don't yet see as a
If enough individuals come forward with similar observations, it is
possible to make significant changes to the collective consciousness.
And so now I'm able to feel a kinship with and a gratitude and
appreciation for what others have stood up to and for in a more
personal way, and I can see the importance of sharing my experiences
and observations. I don't know if I have anything to say that will
resonate with those who are alone and without hope, but I have made a
decision to leave my website up, with the hope it might be possible
for others to see the complicated and painful path I've taken and
understand the steps such that they can decide for themselves if it
seems like a whitewash or not, and if there is anything in it they
can take away from it. Also, it would be great if people could
figure out how to speed up the process for themselves.
Thus concludes The Short Version. Anyone who doesn't want to get
bogged down in possibly unpleasant elaborations pertaining
to stuff that I still haven't totally resolved might want to skip
ahead to The Dancing Cave and the Prophecy Part 2
Maybe this section can seem a little more fun if you imagine
changing ABC in the Jackson Five song to AZB. Everybody sing along.
Dr Velvet Thong: What else would you like to discuss
Okti: I admit there are still a few things I don't feel are
completely out of my system.
Where to start?
I have some comments about Beany that I wanted to add.
Beany and I had opposite personality types. From a young age, I was
introverted and introspective, while she was more extroverted. I have
owned up to calling her names for a certain time period before I
mended my ways and made amends for years, but I'm not sure how she
remembers it, and if to her it seemed I was a constant tyrant or
bully. If that is how she remembers me, I would like her to tell me.
In my memory, most of the time we didn't communicate much at
all when we were young. As siblings, none of us were close. We only
started to become close after the death of our mother.
I didn't like sharing a bedroom with Beany because she was always
trying to disturb my concentration when I just wanted to read. We
hadn't been taught how to support and compliment each other, and this
is probably due to the complicated and antagonistic relationships our
parents had with their siblings.
We were left on our own a lot, and I think Beany wanted some company
and guidance. It probably isn't fair, but when our mother died young,
she became a saint, as is often the case with those who die early,
and I became the parental figure who let Beany down. However, even in
the years our mother was alive, she wasn't giving any of us enough
guidance, although in most respects, she was a very good
She did the official, required things: we had regular, nourishing
meals, clean clothes, clean, organized surroundings, we learned how
to be polite and respectful and to do what was asked of us, we
attended school regularly and had everything we needed for school but
help with homework, we had Halloween costumes and theme decorations
for all holidays, we always had Christmukkah presents and birthday
presents, regular doctor and dentist appointments, she was the one
who signed us up for lessons and hockey practices and drove us there
and back, and after she died all of this was out the window, but I
think it was a massive effort to her, and she was seriously
depressed, probably in part because The Bumble didn't think she was
actually doing anything, and that was part of what they were fighting
about. I don't think she knew how to offer the extra that was needed
to help us cope with all the moves, upheavals and stress of living in
a household where the parents were always fighting, and once she had
done a certain amount she left us to our own devices.
I think later in life Beany absorbed The Bumble's views about me, as
I had originally absorbed his ideas about my mother, and she never
learned to challenge them.
I was the kid in the family with the least amount of personality.
That could have something to do with why I eventually tried out
certain modes of self-expression.
When we had 'shows', although there were 4 of us, I was in charge of
every aspect of the creative process: writing, directing,
choreography, photography, makeup, costumes, lighting, sound effects
and music, it basically goes on and on. And it's not so much that I
was a control freak who refused to listen to input, or a dominant
personality, it was that no one else seemed to have suggestions or
initiative, I thought everyone secretly wanted to explore their
potential in the entertainment arts, and I felt someone 'should' be
doing this, and because I was oldest, I took it on. Sometimes when I
was really, really bored, I would actually reason it out and say well
what do you want to do with your life, what are you waiting for, and
so I'd practice dance for my lessons, and I'd try to create shows and
organize for all of us. I didn't know what I was doing, and a lot of
our shows were very vague, but it was like the others weren't ready
to contribute and so I did the best I could. Sometimes shows had
spoof names like Blunder Woman, and I wondered if when Beany wrote
she had good memories of that time, if she was really being
sarcastic, if in fact she was criticizing me for making her the star
of a show making fun of her. I wasn't consciously doing that. She had
a Wonder Woman bathingsuit and looked really cute in it, so that was
the costume. It was kind of convenient. And a year or two previously,
there had been 'Charlies's Ankles' a spoof of Charlie's Angels in
which she was Sabrina, her friend was Jill and I was Kelly. And in
Blunder Woman, I did play the villain, the least appealing part.
It wasn't long before I came to see that that type of humour wasn't
right for me. The Bumble probably played a large part in influencing
that kind of humour. In my first year of ballet when I was supposed
to be a snowflake, he said I looked like a snowball. Later, when Boo
was making short films, he often did spoof things. Desperado became
Das Burrito, and I think the people in it had burrito guns that they
shot at each other, the contents exploding in slo-mo.
Boo was mostly drawn to the horror genre, and at one point I
attended a screening in a Toronto factory-loft of a film of his that
seemed to be an homage to The Evil Dead.
We all probably absorbed this approach to humour, and although in
what I have written before, perhaps reading between the lines it
might seem like I was torturing Beany, basically we all tortured each
other, and she did her fair share, too. We did seem to mostly outgrow
it. However, if I'm wrong about any of this, I would like someone to
When I was 23 and in Winnipeg, Beany came out to visit. The Bumble
had been letting me drive his truck from time to time. I lived close
to the downtown area, and he lived outside the city on a farm, and
he'd let me drive us out to the farm. When it was just the two of us
he was a little gruff, but mostly patient, or at least not mocking
me, but when Beany was with us in the truck the two of them laughed
and shook their heads in disbelief about what an awful driver I was.
But Portage is a really wide road, with a million lanes of traffic,
and at a time in my life when I've just been let out of a psych ward,
I have no job and no life, and my 'apartment' was a room with no
furniture at all in it, just blankets and a pillow for sleeping on
the floor, no phone, no tv, etc, it might be helpful for me to take
steps like getting a driver's licence, and in such a case it might be
good to try to be a little more patient with me and give me a bit
more support for trying. I think The Bumble was more likely to step
up the 'humour' when he had a partner in crime.
The Bumble was like that with Natalie, too. She'd lived in the city
all her life and was used to public transport. She'd never tried to
drive. At a certain point she seemed to be trying to take some steps
to become more assertive in life, and since we lived out on a farm,
she probably thought it would be good to get a licence so she could
have more independence. He absolutely ridiculed her attempts, and he
tried to hide this from no one. (I didn't participate in this
ridicule. It was one of the things about his behaviour back then I
could identify as questionable.) I got the impression he thought she
was totally hopeless. I don't think she ever got her licence.
Anyway, in the moment in Winnipeg I was a good sport, but I didn't go
on to get my licence.
I don't think any of my siblings got their licences with The Bumble's
help, or more than minor help.
Boo learned with Neil when he was really young, and then after not
driving for years, he borrowed Sister Bumble's car for the day of his
test and he passed.
I admit I'm not sure, but I think Cecil went to driver's ed through
school, and that's how he got his. And I think Jean-Claude taught
So The Bumble's this great driver who didn't try to pass on his
skills to his kids.
This reminds me of something else that originally I wasn't going to
include, but I'm rethinking it. It puzzles me as to why he was
caught three times within a short period of time for drunk driving.
Whatever his faults, I do think he was a good driver, and I don't
think he ever had an accident. I never saw him drive erratically,
even when drunk.
Out in the country where we lived, though (and where he got caught),
there was a lot of drunk driving and dangerous driving. Truck Driver
was a reckless driver, often drove drunk, hardly ever seemed to check
his spots or look where he was going and had two accidents just
within the 10 months I knew him. On one of those occasions, he rolled
his car. He was often speeding, or driving on the wrong side of the
road, including on the main streets of small towns.
I think it was the norm for people to drive drunk (or stoned),
especially on weekends, but I didn't hear of anyone else getting
caught, including Truck Driver or other young men I knew or knew of.
His car was a creamish coloured Cutlass Supreme, so I'm thinking it
was rather a noticeable vehicle, and a pattern of reckless driving
would stand out.
What I'm wondering was if some kindly cop or group of cops thought
that it would be a shame to ruin a young man's life for the kinds of
mistakes the young make and grow out of. The thing is, Truck Driver
never learned his lesson. Even after his two accidents, his driving
habits didn't seem to change.
It occurs to me that the cops might not know how they'd impact the
life of a teenage girl (me, but Beany also would have been impacted)
if her father's licence was taken away. I'd already been moved around
so much and had to adjust to many new schools, and I was currently at
an 'at risk' stage in my life. Another move, from country to city,
would be another stress for me to deal with. The Bumble was less a
danger on the roads, even drunk, than probably anyone else I've ever
been in a vehicle with, but for some reason they had to make an
example of him. Was it personal? Was there a secret country cabal
whose members had some beef with him? For a few years, he always had
pickups, but by then he was driving the Chrysler LeBaron. Did they
think he was some city slicker, not a real country boy? Could that
have anything to do with it? I really don't know, and it remains a
Does it make sense that The Bumble's father was hit by a drunk
driver? Could it actually have been something like a life insurance
scam? I thought The Bumble had told me when his father died they had
the house, two cars and $100,000 in the bank. Maybe I'm remembering
it incorrectly. Maybe it's one of those family secrets.
Mother Bumble seemed to suggest her husband's drinking was a pretty
big problem. Could this have been a suicide covered up for the good
of the family? Did The Bumble and his sister ever know or
Dr Velvet Thong: At the last party there were a few things I
wasn't clear on. What did you mean when you said that Truck Driver
gave you a beer and waited for your pattern to kick in?
Okti: In Grade 11, I went to a few parties and the same thing
happened. I'd drink several beers very fast, and once I think it was
something like 12 in an hour. I didn't like the taste of beer, and
maybe wanted to get it over with, but it was more than that. I think
I was acting out my problems with food in a different form. The way I
drank was different from the way other kids drank. I drank fast and
was in blackout in an hour. It was the way I ate, too. When it came
to beer, I did often end up vomiting in the street later, but I'd
still be drunk a long time, without passing out, usually.
I couldn't control it, and it was damaging to my self-esteem that I
couldn't control it. Of course if you go into blackout and do
embarrassing things, the sensible thing is not to drink. I think it's
possible I was acting out the sense that I had no control over my
life, that I didn't know what to do. Drinking releases inhibitions.
In daily life, I was scared, panicked, I felt like I was living in
chaos and all my usual conscious effort went into trying to fulfill
my obligations without complaining. The way I drank reflected my
personal chaos. I knew there were consequences, but I couldn't stop
At one party, I did this really weird thing that I have conscious
memories of. I hid behind a sofa and was screaming 'NO, DAD!' I have
no idea where that came from. That was a memory I had a lot of shame
about. Was I trying to get people to feel sorry for me? What a
shameful thing to do, what an awful person I must be.
I didn't have sex when in blackout. I would kiss and there would be
some fairly basic touching above the clothes, but mostly involving my
rear end - not chest or genital area. This is what people said I did,
and it's what I would remember in flashes. These scenes took place in
main party areas with other people around, not quiet bedrooms. I
wasn't getting drunk so I could absolve myself of the guilt involved
with having sex, and when people tried to make it go further, even in
blackout, I stopped them. Most of them were kind enough to respect my
This is different from the field incident. I would have been worried
about my skin but because it was dark ('in the right way' - it was
always something I had to assess according to circumstances) I might
have been relaxed enough. I was on The Pill at that point and I
thought the main guy was attractive. I would not have consented to
being abused or cut in any way.
Dr Velvet Thong: More on the subject of cheating?
Okti: Ah yes, I wondered if in Velvet and the Memetrain it
comes across like I was still having sex with Vlad when I was with
I saw Vlad for the last time a couple of months before I started
seeing Gandhi. We talked on the phone 2 or 3 times while Gandhi and I
were together. He called me from Japan where he was teaching English
on my birthday, and he also called me one day at Gandhi's place when
Gandhi was at work. This call bothered me because I felt he was
crossing a line, not just with me, but considering he was planning to
marry someone. During this call, he made comments about Gandhi that I
didn't like, including the ones in particular that I quoted. It
resulted in a fight, I hung up on him and never spoke to him again.
It's been 27 years and we still haven't had contact.
My not contacting him wasn't really about resentment. I wanted us
both to be free to have relationships that were ultimately more
fulfilling. It seemed to me that if we remained in contact, he'd
always have a compulsion to cross lines, so I drew one that I didn't
think either of us would cross.
When it came to any person I was with, including Gandhi, they
were always informed beforehand if I thought I would act on an
attraction if the other party was interested. I think what I wanted
was for him to say that he didn't want this kind of relationship, and
that he'd help me move out, get settled, back on disability, but he
accepted my behaviour as long as I didn't leave him, and it seemed to
me that he really believed he would have trouble surviving without
me. I also think he accepted it because he was occasionally acting on
attractions without telling me.
I didn't complain about or put other females down. I encouraged him
to pursue those he was interested in. I wanted him to have a full
life, I wanted what was best for him, and I looked for the good in
those I thought he might be interested in. In contrast, he seemed to
be attracted to those who would try to put me down, for example, for
my weight or eating disorder, who probably dismissed my 'mental
illness', and there was an incident in which I received a call from
his cell and heard nothing but a woman's laughter.
Dr Velvet Thong: That's the way it goes sometimes, and I guess
the important thing is to do what you think is right, and try not to
dwell on what others think, or how they behave.
Okti: There's something else I wanted to get down today, in
relation to my relationships with Vlad and Truck Driver.
I think I better understand why my appearance itself is so much an
issue when it comes to things like leaving the house. What I've
written thus far is valid, but I think I see a new angle.
During the year of the suicide attempt and all the events that
followed that resulted in PTSD, there was something else important
going on at that time, and it's probably linked - Truck Driver's
I need to explain various aspects. He had a pattern of tracking me
down wherever I was. At school, there was nowhere I could go that he
wouldn't track me down, not the library, cafeteria, my locker, there
was nowhere to go, and he rarely attended classes, so it was like he
had an instinct that helped him to hone in on where I was at all
times, and when I was in the hospital, he had gone to all my classes
to get my homework for me, so he knew about my schedule. And then, at
home, he would call all the time, or just show up. He was 18-19 and
I was 15-16, and he had his own car.
I was always so polite and considerate. I couldn't ever be rude. If
someone said please listen, and told me they were in pain, I took it
seriously, and could not abandon them. He wore down my compassion.
And I was also too automatically polite to withhold info it was not
in my best interest to share. If someone asked me a question, I tried
to answer it.
I understand better now that his behaviour makes sense considering
his upbringing, and I understand that he did have feelings, but he
did wear down my compassion, especially when he started to use
violent insults against me, including all the stereotypical
misogynist crap. I don't see how he could have learned that his
behaviour was wrong. I don't know if there was ever anyone to tell
him, and so I suspect he would have gone on to behave in the same
ways with others over the years. My repeatedly hanging up on him
would not have been enough to change his pattern for good with
others, and I think it's likely that in the end he just assumed I
was a crazy bitch.
In addition to general abuse, I was absorbing insults about my
appearance when he showed up without warning and I didn't look great.
I used to be 'natural', and spontaneous, and it all might have
resolved itself if I hadn't had the number of events to contend with,
but I think it makes sense that if one of the things I was
unconsciously stressed about was that I had no control over when
anyone could just intrude upon me, needing compassion and sex, while
trying to control and insult me, that this stress might present as a
reluctance to answer the door or phone at a time when I was also
dealing with PTSD, and that because the trauma was not resolved, the
coping mechanisms set in place at the time became the norm for me.
A sports injury analogy might also work here. I might have been
on the way to healing, but then re-triggered the injury through my
relationship with Vlad. With sports injuries, sometimes if you do too
much too soon, you can end up with permanent damage, or an injury
that keeps flaring up again and again.
This unresolved behaviour pattern was not helped by the relationship
with Vlad, although by the time I met him I had actually semi-recovered,
was going out, answering the door, and making concrete
plans to get back to school. Vlad's behaviour, although not the same,
was similarly controlling and abusive (sorry Vlad, 'abrasive' is not
the right word here) even though he didn't try to contact me as
frequently, and he was a lot more specific about appearance
issues. When I first moved away from him, I was sad, but I was ready
to break up, and when I entered high school in September, I wanted to
be free to date whoever I wanted. Vlad kept calling and showing up,
and I didn't protest enough, partly because it was stressful moving
again and adjusting to a new school, partly because sex with him was
good, and easy, and was good stress relief, and perhaps in spite of
the fact that he was extremely possessive and hypocritical. If I was
open about who I was dating or interested in, I'd never hear the end
of it, but I'm sure he was a lot more 'active' than I was, and I
never hassled him about it.
One time he showed up after a long absence with no warning, he told
me I looked gross.
I know he loved me and that I was 'special' to him, but I also knew
that he wanted to marry someone better-looking than me, and I was
generous-hearted enough not to dismiss him as a total a-hole. I tried
to focus on the now, and enjoying whatever it was that we had, and it
wasn't consciously difficult for me, because I wasn't ever in it for
keeps, and I didn't believe in possessiveness. One of the things I
think all couples should discuss is where they stand on the issue of
what to do if one or the other were to develop attractions outside
the relationship, to make sure they are in accord.
And then of course there's also that whole incident with the phone
company and me getting stuck with paying off long distance phone
fraud charges. Vlad would tell me what time to go wait at a pay phone
that was outside the apartment at Vic Park - we'd usually arrange a
day and time in advance before hanging up the week before - and he'd
go to a pay phone and have Gandhi or another friend standing at
another pay phone, so that when he said 'I'd like to bill this call
collect to this number' Gandhi said yes he accepted the charges, and
the call came through to my pay phone. If you heard a guy like this
got a $10,000 payout for a whiplash thing, would you think he was
legit? (Vlad, not Gandhi.)
The phone company figured it out when he used the phone booth system
to call the apartment quickly because he felt he really needed to
talk to me. He told me to go to the pay phone, but he'd already used
my home phone minutes before, so they called me. They actually knew
his name, and I pretty much fessed up to everything on the spot, but
he had told them he had no idea who I was. He was cleared, and I got
stuck with the bill which was for a few hundred dollars. (He was at
Laurentian, I was in Toronto.) It could be he had used that system
with others, and that the phone company was really after him, not
me, but maybe they just wanted someone to pay the bill.
I had participated, so I did feel responsibility for it. And if
I got caught, I guess I could understand Vlad's reasoning that it was
because I wasn't smart enough in the moment and therefore deserved
I managed to go out and get a job while feeling very self-conscious,
having been in a semi-retriggered state of PTSD for some time, and
even though The Bumble had set a really bad example when it came to
paying the phone company. I now owed The Bumble a specific sum. I had
shame. That's when I got the job at the fish n' chip shop where the
Korean couple who owned it were grooming me to look after the place
so they could go on a holiday for once. I learned every aspect of
preparing and making the food, to working the cash, to cleanup, and
that was in the first month, and next we were going to move on to
learning about suppliers and books. And while I was working there,
for my birthday, quite likely because Vlad admired me for not ragging
on him, for just accepting it was my fault because I didn't do as he
did and pretend not to know me, he came to reward me with a fun
birthday, Echo and The Bunnymen tickets, and then a present of
freshwater pearls (which were pretty, but I never wore them, and I
eventually sold them to a pawn shop in Winnipeg, having no emotional
attachment to them.) I'm getting off topic, but I remember when he
visited me at the shop, I was this drudge in leggings and a t-shirt,
and he had this really sexy outfit - it was like he was trying to
have control over everything, be in the power position. And that's
how I remember that whole thing.
After I'd earned enough to pay off the phone debt, I quit one day
after the lunch rush. I felt bad about not giving any notice, but I
didn't feel like I could hold on any longer. The wife didn't get mad
at me, and maybe she guessed her husband had always been trying to
force my hand to his crotch when she wasn't in the same room. I'd
always just resisted without causing a scene. He was persistent. Once
he asked me what I did in my spare time. I said I wrote. He asked if
I wrote 'fish n' chip story'? But back then I hadn't processed it
It is perhaps interesting to note some connections. All of this
occurred around the time I was turning 20. I had completed my last 2
credits through correspondence such that I was granted a Grade 13
diploma the previous year, but at this time I wasn't working or going
to school, and I wasn't leaving the house. Obviously I was
occasionally going out to a phone booth, but that was something like
only once a week for a short time. Vlad and I were not boyfriend and
girlfriend. He occasionally still called me, or showed up for no
strings booty calls, presumably when someone new wasn't quite as easy
as me. Vlad was attending university at this time. Our contact was
minimal. What I'm suggesting is that during the few times I left the
apartment in that time period, it was for someone who treated me
poorly, so this might lead to further associations in the unconscious
- going outside might not be worth it.
The Bumble had given me the speech a couple of years previously that
if I wasn't actually attending classes, then I had to get a job and
contribute to rent. (Yelling.) I just cowered and didn't say
anything, because I knew it was totally unrealistic for me to be
stable enough to get a job. Then he didn't say anything for a long
time, I think he forgot about it, and I wasn't trying to get a job,
and I did feel guilty about it, but it was only the phone fraud issue
that spurred me to override PTSD, and pay off that debt, and then I
crawled back into my safe little hole. Does it seem to anyone else
that it might not have been a simple case of a kid who was choosing
to be lazy? I mean, why bother with the phone bill?
What does that mean? It could mean that on an unconscious level
(although consciously I would have completely poopooed this idea), I
didn't believe I 'owed' The Bumble for my room and board when he had
used me as a substitute 'parent' for my siblings, a cook and cleaning
person, and he had perhaps contributed significantly to the damage
that made me unfit for school or work, but when it came to something
he himself didn't care about - paying back the phone company for
charges he had incurred - my sense of ethics was different. I put up
with a shitty job in which I got to see what asshats human beings can
be to the people who serve them food, and in which my boss sexually
harassed me, long enough to pay off a real debt. Looking at it now,
though, my situation was really crappy, Vlad had a lot more money
than me, including that $10,000 whiplash award, we got caught because
he couldn't wait and did something dumb, and because he was able to
turn around his mistake into mine, I accepted it as my debt alone.
Also, I was to be the one with the 'permanent record'. Years later,
when I moved to Australia, I made sure to pay off even the last $5 I
owed Bell Canada from my current account.
One of the facets of the binge eating disorder could very well be
that I was acting out the feeling I had no control over my life,
because of The Bumble's whims over the years, but also it was a way
of expressing that the amount he was 'consuming' was shocking, and
when I tried to understand it, I was the one who ended up with all
the guilt. I might also have been acting out the fear (mine and my
mother's) that The Bumble himself was totally out of control and
could not be trusted. I didn't feel 'safe' living with The Bumble,
and I expressed it through my relationship with sustenance.
Are all of these theories of any significance? It seems to me they
are, but that if there are too many of them, my overall message gets
lost, and so maybe it's enough that I've acknowledged them to myself
(and delete most of them). In writing things down, I might 'set' them
in my memory, such that they can be accessed in the future if need
be. There's a bit of a struggle between saying everything that
'might' be relevant, deleting too much too soon, such that I just
have to do it again later, and trying to focus on moving in to a new
headspace. I can't help but wonder if in trying to change my
headspace I might be 'giving up' something I can do that is unusual.
I think with this current entry, my original aim was not to get
bogged down, but to try to focus differently, knowing I've probably
Anyway, back to Vlad, Truck Driver and my reflex responses.
When I stopped answering the door or phone, it could be that I was
trying to take a stand against people intruding on me and judging me
in my own home, such that there was no safe place. I think that going
out in public is also related. Because of the timing, since both
relationships occurred within a year of all the trauma of that one
Really Big Year, I unconsciously accepted or perceived when my
appearance in public was a disappointment to either of them, and that
carried on to the future. I knew what it was about my appearance that
made them embarrassed of me or not proud of me, and I became
hypersensitive in a way that made me look for it or perceive it in
the eyes and reactions of others when I went out. There were always
times when I was thinner, or managed to put together a striking or
becoming outfit, but during the times I knew them, I could never
consistently be someone they could be proud of. And ultimately Vlad
was never going to be satisfied. He needed someone who was going to
be instantly impressive, and that's who he married. The first thing
he said about her was that he liked the way she looked. That means,
she fit the part, the role. The next thing he said was that she was
smart, 'but not as smart as you.' (I didn't ever meet her or talk to
I honestly did not want to marry him, and I was generous enough to
wish him a happy life, for him to have what would be best for him,
and although I do know that we did connect in significant ways, his
unchallenged abuse and negativity were probably wired to my traumatic
experiences, such that in the future, I wasn't able to consciously
challenge them. I didn't know it was misogyny, and I'd had no defence
against it. My 'kindness' went so deeep that I did not even think 'I
want something better than you'. I thought and said that I wanted
something different. And it's probably the main reason I was so
'special' to him. I inadvertently made him feel it was ok to be his
abusive self. I think there was more to it than that, but I think
this connection of my patterns makes sense. I don't know if I
consciously challenge it it can change over time, because it seems
like now there's a lot more in the way. I shouldn't have to live up
to anything, but my lack of connections to anything in the country
outside this house is glaring. I have no real reasons to go out. I
won't answer the phone or door if I'm only going to get telemarketers
or people trying to sell me an energy program that is not better than
the one here. I've had no real phonecalls. I have no reason to expect
personal phonecalls. I think I might be a bit defiant about it. Fuck
you. And fuck you religious people, so kind and compassionate, who,
if you knew my life story would say I would be forgiven if I sought
God's forgiveness for my sins, otherwise I'm going to hell.
Well, that came out as I wrote, but in reality, I don't really want
to say fuck you to anyone, as long as they leave me in peace, and
even if they don't, I have a reflex that usually results in me
challenging my lack of consideration, compassion or understanding for
the diverse circumstances of others, long before the fuck you can
Dr Velvet Thong: And if you have to say no to any of these
people, perhaps no matter how nicely you do it, you will be dismissed
as a cantankerous old trout, well, maybe not by the nice religious
people. The judgment of boyfriends led to a hypersensitivity to and
intolerance of judgment from others? But consciously you did not
accept this position, so it came out in unconscious reflex behaviour.
'I'm not answering the door. I just don't want to.'
Okti: Meanwhile, the situation with family is a bit like a
hikikomori situation. So I've got PTSD, I've got two abusive
boyfriends in a row who phone and show up after they've been asked to
stop, or I've broken up with them, while I'm in full hikikomori mode,
and I've got a family who are ashamed because I'm a failure, and no
one talks about why I'm not leaving the house, and the situation just
goes on, while unconsciously, everyone is waiting for me to fulfill
Anyway, the point I was perhaps coming to was that I hadn't
consciously challenged that I had somehow allowed judgments about
my appearance and character to have more weight than an assessment of
the decent qualities I possessed that had made it possible for me to
be in situations in which I could be judged. My understanding and
compassion for people was ultimately assigned a lesser value, and I
think that might be part of what I still have to manually reset in
my personal settings.
I probably have to try harder to explain more about The Bumble's
personality, because I'm afraid of having him reduced to a
stereotype, but for now I don't know if the following will help or
He told me (and probably everyone else) many times that he scored
highly on verbal reasoning tests. I don't think I'm wrong in thinking
he was using those skills while Natalie slept to try to lead me to
the conclusion incest was fine and dandy amongst consenting rational
persons. I also think he was trying to get me to be the one to
initiate. When he realized I wasn't going to, I think he was
frustrated, angry and disappointed in me. He'd had a vasectomy for
fuck's sake, there was no real danger. He felt 'rejected', but
because there is so much loss of face with rejection in the family
philosophy that it becomes shameful to even admit you're interested
in someone, he had to process it in his own entitled ways.
And in immature ways. I think what might have happened is that he
went to Natalie to soothe his ego, and maybe in a way they formed a
team against me. Maybe they made fun of me and complained about me,
and I picked up on it because I was the only other person in the
house. Maybe over time, factoring in a lot of social isolation and
more accumulated data regarding how men think and operate, this
original mostly unconscious drama morphed into something considerably
darker and more life-impacting. I suppose this is one possible way to
look at the development of the whole Tyler and Tulip drama.
I have chosen names for different reasons. To me, Natalie looked a
bit like Natalie Wood from some angles, if Natalie Wood had been of
average weight and build, but their personality types and other
details weren't similar. This was meant to be a compassionate
I'm thinking maybe I should change K-Pru's name. It occurs to me that
maybe people might think I'm somehow referencing K-Stu, but K-Pru
doesn't remind me of her in any way. I don't really like (most of,
there are exceptions) the modern short versions of names. I could
call her KP, but then only family members (and Tyler and Tulip!)
would know what it referenced and that it was 'positive', but I think
KP it's going to be.
There's a lot more consciousness now regarding the topic of bullying.
If it's unintentional, I guess certain behaviours and attitudes can
still have effects. The Bumble had a good sense of humour, he and
Natalie were nice people, I had a good life, I needed to get myself a
sense of humour. But I think it is possible that in an unconscious
sense, I felt unsafe in my own home the year it was just the three of
us together. I was 13-14, and in many ways it was a big year for
When I was young, I interpreted all people's behaviour to give them
the benefit of the doubt. I often did this to my own detriment. When
it came to my father and Natalie, perhaps I was dependent on immature
people who did not really care about my future. I suspect that it
might not have only been my father who wished for my death. I think
Natalie probably also had those thoughts. She also would have picked
up something about my father's bad behaviour with me, and was
probably in denial about it, and blamed me. However, since all people
might experience those types of feelings from time to time, I know
what makes the most sense is that other events maybe caused these
unconscious elements to begin to intrude in destructive ways in
There was another period in my life when it was just the three of
us: in Winnipeg for a time, I was alone in the house with The
Bumble and KP. I had tried to befriend and comfort KP, because
I thought The Bumble was treating her badly. On the surface, we
were 'close', but I think our philosophies were very different. I
don't think she understood my situation, and I think there were
certain women she disliked, and that I was someone who would normally
fall into that category. We were sort of close in a siege situation,
but it didn't translate to the real world when we both got out.
Years later, she went back to The Bumble, and I was living in
Australia. I contacted her at a time I was trying to have contact
wtih my siblings again, not long after the death of Grampa Smurf. My
website had been up for some years at that point, and when we had
contact after all this time, she never mentioned the website. On my
birthday she sent me a page with possums from the internet arranged
on it in Word, but other than that, she never commented on my site.
One of the first messages she sent was a kind of chainletter (rather
than a personal, individual message), CCd to a massive list of
others. It asked people to look around them and see how many friends
they had, and to think carefully about how they ended up in this
place. I'm paraphrasing. It then asked them to send this message to 5
of their friends, to see what comes back.
I gave her the benefit of the doubt and didn't jump to the conclusion
she was sending me a passive-aggressive kind of message to say: 'You
are alone, depressed and lonely because you are a shitty friend. Look
how many friends I have!' It's only now that I am wondering about
that. I asked her if she could send me individual messages as I
didn't really like CCd material, and then she started to send the
religious messages with similar themes, and I think in many cases she
just sent me things she had already CCd to others. Last time I forgot
to mention the one with the subject line: Beautiful Christian Sister,
the one that said unless you sought love through Jesus, not only
would you never find True Love, but any love you did find would be
doomed. I reflect now that perhaps all those years ago I had absorbed
similar philosophies, hadn't challenged them consciously, and it all
became a self-fulfilling prophecy because the authority figures,
those with power in my life, held these beliefs. She did write nice
descriptive paragraphs about places she had been and about the
weather, and used a lot of phrases like 'Happy Thursday!' or 'Happy
Summer!' (when it was winter in Australia), and while I tried to get
her to engage on a deeper level, my efforts got me nowhere. I wasn't
sure if she was living in some kind of bizarre denial, and needed me
to 'rescue' her from The Bumble, or if our philosophies had always
been profoundly incompatible. In Winnipeg I gave her a lot of support
when she was thinking of leaving The Bumble, and when she decided to
go through with it, I helped her move.
Whatever the case, I am sort of seeing that there is a kind of
pattern for transference related to those times in my life when I was
in an unhealthy, fucked up threesome and couldn't get out, when the
adults or authority figures in my life didn't understand me and
weren't capable of offering guidance, even though to their social
peers they seemed totally normal and nice.
Maybe if Tyler, Tulip and I can come to some kind of understanding,
it will help in the resolution of some of this childhood
The Bumble said my mother was awful, an irrational nightmare, and
Natalie took his side, Natalie was 'nice'. People thought I was
'nice', maybe because I barely spoke, and the more I've spoken up, I
suppose the less nice people think I am..
What does 'nice' even mean? We didn't have the same personality type.
I don't know how smart Natalie was, but she wasn't introspective. I
have wracked my memories to see if I could find traces of compassion,
empathy or perception in her, and I can't. And when I saw her in my
20s, even then I would not say she possessed these qualities. I know
that I wasn't comfortable in her presence, and that she wasn't
comfortable in mine. We were not kindred spirits.
I think she might have gossiped with her female friends in ways
similar (but different) to my brothers' girlfriends and their social
group. Females from different eras, but with judgments of human
behaviour, in particular judgment of females, that I couldn't relate
to. There was a brief period in 1996 when I went out clubbing with
them once or twice a week for < two months, and then they sort of
pushed me out because I was an embarrassment, but I think overall the
feeling was mutual. However, I am still glad I had the experience of
dancing publicly at that time, and I enjoyed all the other rituals,
getting ready to go out, having a few drinks, and so I don't regret
In so many movies there's the cliche moment when a kid says to a
parent's new mate: YOU'RE NOT MY FATHER/MOTHER! But when I was a kid,
I already thought that kind of thing was an unkind and unthinking
thing to say to a person. I never said that to any 'stepparent'. It's
like the human default position doesn't allow for kids to understand
that adults might be in a difficult position.
No one could ever raise their voice, use an angry or sarcastic tone
with The Bumble without fear of massive retaliation, although he had
the perfect right to do any of those things, any time he wished, and
if anyone dared to question or challenge him, they could not do so
without the same fear of massive retaliation. This is probably the
way in which Tyler and The Bumble are most similar. If Tyler's
posting patterns are studied, this will be perfectly evident.
Natalie and KP both had a certain sense of fairness that I hadn't
encountered in the men in my life. When I helped them move, they
insisted on giving me something in return and didn't give up on it.
KP took me out for a piece of cake at a fancy bakery cafe, and
although I refused money when Natalie offered, I did accept when she
offered to make me a meal, although I probably should have just taken
the money, which would have been more comfortable for both of us.
When I was watching a program about mental illness, I heard a
psychologist say that if a person is asked a question, and their
response goes from A all the way up to Z before reaching B it could
be a sign of schizophrenia.
I know I'm long-winded and go off on tangents but if someone says
something like that, my first thought is: if I am asked a question,
and get the impression I can only reply using two letters out of an
entire alphabet, then what else can I say but 'BAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!'
Dr Velvet Thong: She needed a better analogy, but it was also
stated that sometimes people have quirky or creative approaches to
communication and problem-solving, and you can't jump to the
conclusion they're schizophrenic. Or that they have attention
deficit. That's my addition.
It seems to me that your tangents usually lead somewhere, and if you
can cut through feelings of shame, the associations memory provides
can eventually help you to spot patterns and connect dots, such
that eventually you reach insight. I think I understand why it was
difficult for you when it seemed either those in the mental health
field or people you knew thought your thinking was disorganized and
that maybe you needed to take a pill to help with this.
When you've told people you can't continue communicating, I think it
was a desperate and perhaps understandable way to set boundaries for
yourself and to try to give yourself space and time to centre
yourself, while also trying to be considerate of their
I think maybe you need to work on that cutting off business, but I do
see how it's a way of looking ahead, and seeing that a person
(understandably) doesn't have the time or patience to invest in
waiting for you to connect the dots for them. And I also see that
there's still no quick or simple way to do it, because you've had no
validation from 'authority figures', there's no official lingo or
jargon that can act as a shortcut to understanding.
Whether someone communicates in person, on the phone, through
texting, email, artistic expression, old-time letter writing, or
through any other medium, it can be possible to detect a person's
core value and belief systemd. It might be assumed that some forms
are better for certain types of expression than others, that some
might more easily facillitate or impede the expression of emotional
substance or depth, but it's not a good idea to assume any form
precludes the potential for significant communication.
Okti: I know all too well that even smart and accomplished
people are human and that what I write has the potential to hurt or
trigger insecurities or doubts, and that unfortunately the best, most
compassionate people are the ones most affected, always thinking that
maybe they need to address some wrong they might have committed,
while the ones who have behaved in the worst ways and who have no
remorse don't associate what I say with themselves, or wouldn't give
a shit if they did.
Dr Velvet Thong: I don't have anything particularly
relevant to say, I'm just letting everybody know I'm still here.
Okti: I'm not proposing unconditional acceptance, or having
the self-control to be kind to everyone. It's about a kind of
connection that comes from understanding, such that you don't have to
force yourself to be considerate, it's just the natural extension of
the understanding and connection between beings.
I am stable enough now that I feel I could commit to a lifelong
friendship with Don Quixote, even if that didn't mean I'd die in a
month or a year, but after a full lifespan. But I don't feel ready to
commit to living in the same house.
Recently,I thought it was a good idea to go over our expectations and
assessments of our relationship, just to make sure we are still on
the same page. Don Quixote agrees that we are friends and an
alternative family, and that our relationship is not sexual or
romantic, and that we will support each other to have other
relationships, and do our best to remain committed to the friendship.
I want him to be free to experience a more complete love, and I want
to be free to experience a more complete love.
If horrific cumulative trauma results in unconscious reactions or
reflexes that don't respond to rational problem solving, maybe there
is some instinctual or creative way to 'heal' the unconscious.
Maybe that's still what I'm trying to find.
Back to summarizing mode:
The connection I"ve pointed out between PTSD, appearance issues and
unconscious psychological abuse isn't separate from family influence.
In my first attempts to express my experience, I was never able to
trust that family could understand me and support me, and in fact it
was just the opposite: their judgment of me and their unconscious
shame, which I perceived, in a sense added to the abuse, and made it
all more difficult In hikikomori, the individual's shame is not the
individual's alone, it's the whole family's shame, and they get stuck
in a kind of rigid limbo, where nothing can ever progress. In my
family in particular, unconscious sexism and misogyny combined with
competitive instincts to drive me out as a perceived threat to the
Dr Velvet Thong: You couldn't trust professionals or
Okti: We were all good students, but I was the best student.
However, only the males of the family were able to go on to attend
higher education. Boo wasn't able to finish his film studies (but has
always been able to find work in the industry), and Cecil, although
granted a full scholarship to get a master's in mechanical
engineering, didn't finish, either. While he was working on it, he
was offered a really good job. Neither had enough family support to
complete their courses, but both had kinds of support the females
I've come to a kind of acceptance about my life. From this place, I
think I'm ready to restructure.
I still have problems with my body, my weight and appearance. At
present I'm scared to look at my body, but at the same time, I
wouldn't let anyone shame me about it. I wouldn't let anyone put me
down for it.
I accept that 'this' is natural for me. A lot of people in the modern
world aren't happy with their bodies. Perhaps we can relate to each
other. I can't keep judging myself. I have to accept that this is
part of who I am and part of what I'll probably always struggle with.
It's good that I can eat normally. It's not good that I can't control
my alcohol intake enough to reduce my weight, and it sucks I suppose
that that is my biggest concern when it comes to my alcohol intake.
And ageing sucks in a lot of ways. But I still can possibly enjoy
aspects of life in some ways.
I would ask everyone to stop making jokes assuming that all women are
concerned about their weight, or comments that try to demonstrate
relateability by saying 'I guess we all could stand to lose a few
pounds/kilos'. I would also urge all women to stop saying things like
'You're young, for a man.'
That last one perpetuates the idea that men have more sexual and
relationship value than women. Women actually live longer than men
on average, so the statement only pertains to sexual desirability and
relationship potential, and refusing to keep spreading that meme is
a constructive step.
At present, there are technically more overweight men than women, and
yet we have a similar mindset which I think reassures men something
like 'well, you're not really fat, for a man. OK, I know there
are men who are more affected than some women, but overall, there
is still a strong discrepancy, and ideally, we would examine the
whole issue more deeply. I'm just saying that maybe we could start
with challenging statements like the ones above in daily life and
entertainment by refusing to perpetuate them.
In the last few days, I have been finding writing natural and easy,
just like riding a bike, etc, but I want to get back to the feeling
of peace I've had lately, and while writing, I don't exactly
experience a sense of peace until I feel satisfied I've done as much
as I can for now.. I don't want to keep going over the same things.
If I can't solve this permanently, I at least want to try to get back
to that peaceful place. It could be it was easier to attain when only
on the computer once a month or so, especially after completing
things like work on the house and Family Skeleton Dance Party! When I
hit a wall and could do no more work on the house, the interesting
thing is that Don Quixote was so pleased with what we'd already
managed to do together, and because the tasks were no longer
overwhelming and impossible and he could see my vision, he had the
energy to continue to do a few projects on his own. He did them in
his own time, and I think all of this work we did together has helped
him to reach a happier period in his life, and makes him feel more
bonded to his house and to me.
I want to say that I am now in a phase of checking my email once a
day again. For a few years, I only checked once a month or so, with
some exceptions, and other than that, on an individual basis, I'd
let those who were likely to be affected know in advance.
I admit I don't know for sure if hackers have ever deleted or
sabotaged any of my mail in any way.
Dr Velvet Thong: Any more stragglers you want to get out of
the way before wrapping up this session?
Okti: In a society based on capitalism and competition, even
within families there are aspects of competition and the survival
instinct that end up presenting in dysfunctional ways. When it's gone
too far, the commonsense approaches to addressing the imbalance
aren't always enough, and in extreme cases can be like trying to put
a bandaid over a gunshot wound.
If there's been no acknowledgement of the wound, a friendly birthday
greeting or other seemingly innocuous message can set me off. If it's
been acknowledged, and both parties recognize we might not be able to
do anything about it as medical science is not currently advanced
enough to handle this particular case, then I am willing to try
communication that isn't complicated and draining when we 'keep in
touch', but from time to time it might not be bad to inquire as to
gauge how close I've come to bleeding out.
So, what was all this talk of me reaching a sense of peace? Where has
that gone? If I really achieved peace then why the need to say all
this? Because while I think I understand the issue, part of what is
necessary for me to heal myself is that I keep trying to communicate
my understanding, share it with others, so as to participate or
connect in life, not just stay in my head in my room, understanding
that everyone's path makes sense and that everyone is doing the
best they can. I still need feedback in order to go further.
I'm winding down now, although I think these last bits above and
below need work, in order to create clear connections.
The first time I said I wanted to move in with The Bumble, I was 11.
I wasn't legally allowed to choose, and my mother wasn't about to
give up her legal rights. At that time she began threatening to have
me locked up in a convent for my own good (I think there's a big one
up north somewhere, maybe Sault Ste Marie, but I'm too lazy to Google
at the moment), so that didn't help her cause much. However, I think
now I can appreciate how desperate she must have felt.
While I think it's possible my mother wanted me to suffer somewhat
such that I could understand what she'd been through and how
necessary she was, I think she'd have been outraged by The Bumble's
casual dismissal of my life and potential. When she was angry with
me, saying that in choosing to live with him I was throwing my life
away, it was mostly about fear. She feared for my safety, because she
understood him better than the rest of us did.
I think I understand now what she saw, and what she tried to prevent,
and that a lot of her efforts have been lost on the wind, and now
there's only me to recognize how hard she must have fought, and what
Yes, I think something happened with her postpartum that might have
affected our relationship from the start and our bonding, and yes, I
think over the years her attitudes about weight and appearance
affected me, but I think now she'd understand about eating disorders,
and maybe she'd tell me about hers, and I think she'd say that The
Bumble's religious ideas were more harmful than hers. And she could
point to me as a case in point.
Dr Velvet Thong: He gave you the 'gift' of the biggest
hurdle/threat to survival, she added in some complications, but
underneath it all, she valued life, and in particular your life, more
than he was capable of valuing or understanding anyone's life but his
own, at that time. She'd probably seen some potential in him,
but had to eventually abandon it in order to try to nurture it in her
children, and protect them from what he couldn't see.
Okti: I find myself wanting to say:
I'm sorry, Mom. I wish I could have helped you back then, but I
don't think all your efforts were in vain.
Throw Another Catfish on the Barbie
If Ken and Barbie try to ride a unicorn in a secret enchanted
vegetable forest without obtaining consent, and the unicorn bites
their heads off, what legal recourse do they have? Can they ever
evolve into real, live, human beings?
Dr Velvet Thong: It would be nice if we were done with the
whole Tyler and Tulip debacle, but I sense there's more you feel the
need to say or summarize.
Okti: I think my psychological landscape might have been a
kind of preparation for that later confusion. Transference isn't
about finding someone exactly the same, it's about finding something
similar in important ways.
Tulip's more intellectual and complex than Natalie, and Tyler has
more self-control and subtlety than The Bumble. Tulip and Natalie are
both good feminist role models in some ways, but possess hidden
baggage that makes them susceptible to men with unconscious sexist
and misogynist attitudes which they end up reinforcing or not
This was driven home to me when I heard Tyler describe how a
stepmother was responsible for all the ills in his family.
Originally, he had said his father was abusive, but later in life he
said he had come to the conclusion that he was more like his father
than he had thought, and that really the guy wasn't so bad.
The villain of the piece was the stepmother, and the father had
nothing to do with making his mother feel like shit or his family
feel like garbage, and when on his death bed he signed everything
over to the stepmother, it wasn't just an extension of everything
he'd already been doing for years, it was the result of calculating
exploitation of a moment of weakness. His father was simply helpless
before her, a woman of little or no intellect, skill or wit, whose
physical charms had shrivelled up years ago, a thoroughly
unimpressive specimen. I guess she was just pure evil.
I've been drawn to similar issues with men, but I have been the least
committed to men, and a lot of that has to do with not wanting to
negatively reinforce bad behaviour, even before I could coherently
Dr Velvet Thong: What is Tyler and Tulip's real crime?
Okti: In modern day lingo, they're rapists, and bullies.
My assessment is that Tyler and Tulip are able to access and exploit
a range of emotions in the service of cruelty. That's their highest
aim, and it's bigger than the need for control. In communicating with
anyone, I was always wishing for death. That was the one big aim that
overrode all else, but I didn't want the kind of despairing death
they wanted for me. I would say now that my wish has more to do with
understanding, but not the kind they think they have of me. If I have
ever been cruel, it would have been in the service of understanding,
and I know that I really really hate being cruel. They have a code,
they have limits and standards as far as what kinds of cruelty are
acceptable, but they are still far beyond what I could ever choose to
inflict on people.
Dr Velvet Thong: I think for them it has been about control
and manipulation, but that in many ways you have been able to turn it
around on them.
Okti: I think their justification for cruelty is love,
specifically, their love. It's the foundation on which the
relationship is built. It's what brought about the most
influential/impactful aspect of their original bonding, and how they
discovered the extent of their compatibility. That kind of info is
difficult to accept, and so it becomes necessary to justify it in the
name of love. Everything from that point that comes in or goes out
has to go through that filter.
Referring to Tulip by an alias, on my site I did say some disgraceful
things, about her and her father, and I apologize for those things. I
reaalize she's probably not going to apologize for the (more than
equally) disgraceful things she's said to me, but I guess I don't
know for sure. The rest of what I wrote might have been a valid
expression of rage related to powerlessness, and understandable.
However, my comments could have been hurtful to others who have
endured abuse, and I am sorry. I will try to focus on standing up for
myself, and others who may have been targeted by Tyler and Tulip, or
those like them, in more positive ways from here on.
On the newsgroup alt.suicide.holiday, Tyler had a lot of aliases. In
my first message to him, I listed them. He tended to use names that
represented antiheroes or villains, or that expressed sarcasm or
irony. He identified as autistic, even though most of those with
Asperger's supposedly have trouble with sarcasm and irony. But
whether he tried to disguise himself by using poor grammar or not,
certain themes were repeated, and they were that he was lonely and at
his wits' end. He had a perfect life and Significant Other, it was
like they were Barbie and Ken, but he was still in a desperate
condition. At present, I would say that making a choice to use a.s.h
as an outlet while remaining faithful is one way to cope with life,
but I'd also add that you have to be careful and clear. If you're
posting to a suicide group about how desperate and lonely you feel,
while in a relationship, it's not a stretch for people to imagine you
might want out of the relationship, especially when you say that you
have resisted committing because you weren't sure what else might be
around the corner.
When I wrote the first time, it was to list all the aliases and to
try to say something about relating to aspects of his loneliness (not
the Barbie and Ken stuff, but more to do with the difficulties of
articulating, communicating, connecting). I was trying to offer
comfort, I wasn't trying to flirt. With all the aliases, he seemed to
be trying to attract attention to himself to see if anyone cared, or
could 'see' him. I only wanted to send the one message, and leave it
at that. Considering that's how the interaction started, it
actually seems to make a kind of sense to me that over the years I'd
think he might be the person catfishing me. It's tempting for many
people to try out aliases and fake IDs online, but he showed an early
propensity toward it to an extreme that most others were not likely
to go to. I was really bad at this kind of thing because I'd always
fess up about everything, and couldn't contain my true viewpoints no
matter where I was online.
I think the justification for the catfishing was probably in relation
to some perceived fault of mine, that was actually his fault, due to
him giving me misleading, inaccurate and incomplete info to work with
from the start, and him coming to false conclusions about what I
expressed, in large part because his unconscious sexist and
misogynistic attitudes prevented him from understanding me.
And that's all I have to say about that.
Dr Velvet Thong: Thoughts on Bullying.
Okti: I consider what they did to be rape. I consider what
they did to be bullying. When I could identify it, I did not consent.
At times I felt that since there wasn't anything I could do about it,
I might as well not struggle, but I still did not consent, and I
think they knew this.
There does seem to be greater awareness about bullying now, and the
effects and motivations are clearer. I think progress is being made,
but it is likely to mean that certain types of bullying will have to
go underground or be more difficult to detect.
Dr Velvet Thong: Like with Tyler and Tulip?
Okti: Yes. And so I am wondering if it might be helpful for
others undergoing something complicated and hard to prove, something
that no one cares about, if I make the effort to write down my
experiences and impressions, and demonstrate how I have fought back,
if maybe I can offer support in that way.
There will be complex reasons, but some people might just always
think the mainstream are a bunch of wankers. It seems bullying is a
longstanding human instinct that will have to ultimately be combatted
with reasoning, effort and choice.
One of the reasons I was initially drawn to Tyler was that he seemed
to admire reasoning and rationality. He also seemed to believe that
you can't assume people don't change. I think he posted something
Tulip has participated long enough and heard my arguments long enough
that even if she is the victim of a domineering sadist, she hasn't
expressed remorse to me, even in code. In fact, she's done the
opposite. She's laughed at me, again and again. Maybe I need to get a
sense of humour? Maybe I need to get Enlightened? Maybe she hasn't
yet seen the overview or understood the implications or proportions
of her actions compared to mine?
I think it's possible they might think the situation would lack
proportion if all these years this has been going on in private, and
then they are publicly shamed, when they were probably subjected to
abuse and influence that led them to this behaviour in the first
Tyler was all about rationality and so it makes sense that it's
possible he could have decided on this behaviour rather than kill
himself, or accept that Tulip might kill herself. In making that
choice, he'd have to know there might be consequences some
day. My website's existence is due to the choices I have made instead
of killing myself, and because I know how 'necessary' it's been, in
that way I can possibly relate to the choices others make for a
Dr Velvet Thong: OK, where do we stand now with Tyler and
Okti: They're still here, they're still watching. They're
watching as I type this. I have to make a conscious decision to
handle the self-consciousness, and express myself regardless.
If they apologize, if they seem to feel remorse and concern, I
will forgive them, and try harder to understand.
Dr Velvet Thong: I think there's still more you need to
cover, there's something you started to say to me a while ago,
related to a.s.h.
Okti: I couldn't remember if in FSDP! I had stressed that
there were a lot of extremely kind people there. Most of them
wouldn't have counselled anyone to commit suicide, and many talked
with some people for hours when they were at a danger point, not
to push them over the edge, as is sometimes demonstrated in movies
and media, but to try to help them through a dark night. I also did
that on more than one occasion.
The friendship I have with Don Quixote is based on the exact opposite
sentiment to the one in which Tyler and Tulip's relationship is
based. When I first wrote to Don Quixote, it was because he had gone
against the entire group and expressed support for a young woman who
was being bullied. She wasn't as popular or in tune with the group
mentality as some of the people there, and they were completely
merciless, ganging up on her, for relatively minor crimes. People in
positions of power, including the webmaster himself, joined in on
this, and they used horrible ways of attacking her, including using
irrelevant personal data they unearthed, for example, that she had
had an abortion. It turned into a vicious gangbang.
Don Quixote suggested the woman was mentally ill, although I will
concede I would hassle him about his word choices now. I wrote to him
first in support of what he had posted publicly, and then I posted
myself. I tried to offer support to him, to her, and to myself, as
best I could at that time. I still didn't really understand what the
term bullying meant.
There was a forerunner to this incident, involving the same young
woman some months earlier. I had had a heated argument in email with
the webmaster about it, and when he couldn't be swayed, I broke off
If we go back to Tyler, I have a theory regarding one aspect of what
went wrong with our communication. Tyler's beliefs didn't factor in
that I was too unstable to continue relationships. He believed it was
'bad' when people didn't commit to relationships or friendships. This
moral judgment becomes an excuse for an underlying compulsion. He has
an abnormal, not highly moral reaction to the breakups that occur in
life, and that's partly what the (alleged) stalking is about. He
can't let anyone get away. It disrupts him in some really difficult
way. Under that is a sexist sense of entitlement, and disregard for
what is best for the other person, or her personal wishes. She has no
rights, and no recourse.
One of the major points I am trying to make is that sometimes people
don't have anywhere to go to talk about embarrassing or complicated
things - and that's not just me, it's also Tyler and Tulip (one or
both might have actually had to endure something like conversion
therapy at some point, as Tyler's conversations often seemed to
contain the kinds of ideas one would pick up in such a situation),
who eventually learned they could trust only each other. From that
perspective, it is possible to have compassion for them.
I kept my family's and my boyfriends' secrets, and would have gladly
died with those secrets intact if someone had given me a suicide pill
years ago, years before a.s.h and my site. But through writing and
burning/deleting and through continued isolation over the years, and
access to more books and online conversations, patterns and insights
were becoming obvious to me. Maybe people have been hurt and angry
about my findings. I deliberated a very long time before moving
forward. It has been a major struggle with conscience. And then, a
feeling of necessity. I can't offer proof, but I can point out what I
think needs to be explored and addressed.
When I was on a.s.h, I still completely believed that every person
has a backstory, even a 'troll', and I wasn't usually as incensed by
the presence of trolls as others there.
I'm not writing what I'm writing in the hopes of pushing Tyler and
Tulip to split up. I think it's possible that they could try to help
each other through a transition to seeing things differently. They
already have a solid foundation between them, and they could
transition together to a new phase in life. I guess the problem is
that whether underneath it all it was a fun game that they sort of
discovered accidentally, or a compulsion as strong as addiction, a
void will be left if they stop.
One thing they have shown me is that it is possible for people to be
truly committed to each other. The Bumble was never committed to
anyone. I have been seeing a few more examples in life of true
commitment and compatibility, and maybe this is something else I can
be less cynical or jaded about.
Dr Velvet Thong: Will you ever be able to trust
Okti: In what context? I think I have a sense of who can be
trusted, and to what extent, when I've been able to communicate with
someone for a while and can assess their patterns. I know that if I
personally don't feel I can trust someone it doesn't mean they're a
bad person. It can mean that I don't think they're up to dealing with
my complications, and if I don't want to inflict them, or live with a
whitewash, it might be better for me not to agree to a superficially
The situation with Tyler and Tulip.. even though now it's a part of
daily life that's abnormal, but 'normal', I would like some kind of
resolution that works for all involved. I can't see how that can
happen without some direct and clear communication. I guess I'd also
like to know if it is like an addiction, if there's remorse on their
part and a wish to quit, but no idea how to do it. If I thought my
contributions had been interesting, and that my wellbeing was wished
for, I might be able to figure out how to see this constant presence
in my life as morphing into something new, less antagonistic.
Dr Velvet Thong: I suppose there's nothing to the rumour that
they had signed a book and movie contract telling their side of the
story.. er.. something like you agreed to forego prosecution in
exchange for validation, a cut of the profits, with some also going
to certain causes you endorse, including victims of online
harassment, and a say in what they were allowed to publish from their
detailed transcripts, and were content in knowing that all of you
would be contributing something vital to the understanding of mental
illness and exploitation. (ie, why some people turn everything
against themselves, and why others turn it on others).
Okti: There were too many legal complications, and they didn't
want to draw attention to their other dubious or nefarious
activities. So, at least for now, it's a no go.
I want to understand and forgive, but I don't want Tyler and Tulip to
go on to stalk others. Maybe they have always stalked others. I don't
know what they were up to during the years I only signed on once a
month. I want to stand up for these other potential targets, protect
them. I'm going to continue to try to do so.
Dr Velvet Thong: I understand that in writing you have a need
to be thorough, but take care not to keep belabouring what has
already been stated. Try not to keep beating them over the head with
it, give them a chance to think for themselves.
Divorce and Reconciliation
Okti: I sincerely hope I haven't harmed anyone in my
biological family or in Don Quixote's family in my attempts and
desperate need to understand what the hell happened, and why our
communication sucks so much. I've reached a kind of acceptance that I
hadn't been able to before, and I think it's because I finally went
far enough. If I have harmed you, I'm sorry, and I hope that you
can find it in your hearts to forgive me.
Unfortunately, I might be dealing with the effects of family dynamics
for the rest of my life, and it might not ever be easy to have
contact with anyone from my past, or with people, period.
I suppose the concepts of divorce and reconcilation could also be
applied to the relationship I have with my body. I'm trying to accept
myself, no matter what phase my body is in, or what's going on with
my appearance. If I accept myself, I know it is better for other
people in the world with similar struggles.
Although I consider myself 'divorced' from all members of my
biological family except Boo, it shouldn't be assumed that in my mind
that's the final word. What it means is that things are clear enough
now that no one has to feel obligated to take an interest in me or
vice versa. We are all in a position to make choices as to who we
want as our family. I might have mutated to such an extent that the
original members of my family can't relate to me or recognize me as
the person they thought they knew, and they might not genuinely want
contact. The ball is in their court now.
It seems like the next logical step is to try to reach some kind of
understanding with Don Quixote's family, such that they also feel
they have a choice and are not bound by a sense of family obligation,
that they feel they know or understand me well enough to know if they
want me as part of the family, and vice versa.
There are those who might have wondered for years what happened to me
or where I went when I left without a word, and it's not fair of me
to assume I was nothing to them, or that my discomfort in having to
admit the reality of my life trumps their need for resolution or
Dr Velvet Thong: Or your need for resolution or
The Dancing Cave and the Prophecy Part 2
Dr Velvet Thong: How do you feel about outliving the
prediction made by The Bumble and his psychic friends that you'd kill
yourself by your 21st birthday?
Okti: It's interesting. Through the years, the people I've
been closest to have all seemed to accept that suicide (when it comes
to me) can be a natural thing (or the right spiritual path), and so
they've sort of left me to my own devices. I wanted people to know
that my life wasn't a zen garden of tranquility. Hopefully now they
do, and perhaps ironically, this does give me a sense of
I never thought I'd live this long, and in a way, it feels like an
accomplishment. There might always have been some kind of inner
stability or strength of which I was unaware. And although those in
my life often expressed love in backward or dysfunctional ways, I
have probably been luckier than others. I'm hoping that even if this
is the case, there might be something in my message for those who
haven't been as lucky.
The first incarnation of my website was uploaded in 2001. Since that
time I have tried to describe my experience with depression,
disordered eating, addiction, social isolation and a consistent,
persistent wish for death that was strong enough to feel like a need.
I had felt that way for many years before I could articulate it
publicly. I was consistent and clear in stating my wish for close to
I think something is changing now. I am reluctant to come across as
too confident or sure too soon, and I definitely do not want to be
held up as an example: 'See, she didn't really want to die.' Or, 'If
she can pull herself out of it, you can too.' It's important to me
that people who have not experienced suicidal ideation, or who have
not experienced it to an extreme enough extent to relate to me do not
judge those who cannot just snap out of it. Nobody should have to
live in the state I lived in, for any length of time. My story is
My site will remain as a record of my journey. I'll try not to edit
out errors, ignorance, offence so as to show it's possible to
change, or to learn.
What I think is happening is that through years of struggling, I have
cleared out and organized enough that I can 'see' more, and now I am
ready to try to restructure my memory and life frameworks. I don't
think this means I will re-enter society and become a productive
member according to usual definitions. It means that I have accepted
my situation, I'm at peace with the efforts I've made to change and
understand, I'm grateful for many things in my life, I'm proud of
myself, and I think I'm 'strong' enough now to live and possibly
enjoy aspects of an alternative life that might still be quite
isolated. I feel 'stable' enough to make choices and draw limits for
myself. I trust that even through the struggle with addiction, there
is an underlying pattern that allows for creativity and personally
I understand now why I always had an impulse to write. The
persistence with which the need to understand and be understood has
been pursued proves that the potential for emotional growth still
exists, and is pursued in spite of all obstacles to hope.
I am now secure enough in my own ability to perceive and analyze
that even when someone with a lot more power, status and respect,
someone who is recognized and rewwarded for their intelligence and
empathy, dismisses me, I know how to figure out why, and how to
stand up for myself.
Dr Velvet Thong: It's perhaps a kind of tenuous thing, where
every time someone challenges that self-esteem, you might wonder if
the whole structure has been built on false reasoning, but it seems
to me you now realize it's something you can fight to keep, knowing
that you have the persistence to take things to a new level, but also
the ability to accept when you yourself haven't seen something or are
wrong, admit it, and go on from there, to continue building something
you can trust, and to remember to re-examine and question the whole
structure or framework from time to time, without fear of the whole
thing falling down on your head.
Okti: It's actually an amazing thing, to look back and see all
the attempts at writing, all the deleting, all the difficult
relationships and struggles to express, and the creative efforts to
understand more. It does actually seem like it was leading somewhere.
I've been thinking my way out of a box.
Dr Velvet Thong: Originally, you didn't think anyone could
respect you because you knew what you 'should' do to earn respect,
but couldn't do it. Now you respect yourself. It looks to me like
you're starting to feel more connected to humanity. Your struggle is
now something you can identify as something you have in common with
many lonely souls through the ages who have sought to bring awareness
of new knowledge into the collective consciousness. The snags and
challenges you have faced are like the ones others have faced, and
the records of their struggles, victories and defeats, their
influence and effects, are beginning to remind you of your
Okti: Who the hell knows?
->exile on meme st: a diary