Losing Your Religion


(Another next step after losing my religion.)

Okti: Is it ok if I go first? I've got something that's bugging me.

I don't think the story about getting a cramp on the first day of swim lessons when I was 10 was incorrectly remembered. I did get a cramp the first day, I'd never had a cramp before, my instructor lectured me, and I had eaten just before swimming. And after that day, I waited until after swimming to eat my lunch, and I didn't get any further cramps.

What might have happened is that seeing how much older the other kids were, and how many of them there were, I felt scared, but my conscious mind could not admit this. Choosing to eat after class was maybe a sign of commitment, and something to focus on rather than fear. And, at the time, most people did believe in the myth, and so maybe there was also a placebo effect.

Dr Velvet Thong: Consider us updated.

Blinky: What I want to talk about is more difficult, and it involves religion. I find that as the anniversary of The Bumble's death approaches I have been thinking about this particular angle.

Dr Velvet Thong: If you're having trouble letting go, it's a good idea to talk it out, and then delete if you don't think you're bringing anything new to the subject, or, you could decide that repetition is a kind of self-support when feeling overwhelmed by the odds, the number of family, institutions, people in the world who judge you/us.

Blinky: There are different layers to it. I'm not sure where to begin.

Basically, it all relates to the fact that The Bumble had been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and no one in the family told me. He was ill for a few years. The day after he died, I got a brief email from Boo, but I had to wait weeks for more details, and even after waiting, I didn't feel entitled to ask much.

I realize the most logical explanation that would occur to most people is that I'm an asshole who treats people like crap, and they wouldn't have acted that way if I didn't deserve it, that I must have done something truly heinous.

From time to time in the past, I had approached family members individually, wanting to explain more about myself, and why I was having trouble keeping in contact. They all let me know that they didn't want to know. So the only choice I had was between trying to put on a show of positivity I knew they'd deem acceptable, or withdrawal. For me it wasn't a real choice. I could not go on as before.

In 2008, after learning about the death of my maternal grandfather (a considerable time after the funeral) in a terse email from Cecil, I decided to try again to communicate. I found out Boo was getting married, and our email exchange wasn't too bad. It was more awkward with Cecil, and Beany would not provide an email address. I also contacted my ex-stepmother, who was back with The Bumble - all of this communication with family started late 2008-early 2009.

I want to talk about my email communication with my ex-stepmother, KP, but other issues are related.

Early on, she sent me a message about friendship, which she had CC'd to a long list of people. The gist of it was: look around.. how many friends are in your life.. if you find yourself alone, it's probably because you haven't treated people well.

I asked if we could speak one-on-one, and said that I wasn't really comfortable with CC'd material. It's one of those weird things with communication, where maybe people think they're being clear, but even then I wasn't sure. It does seem likely to me she was sending a passive-aggressive message to me, but back then, all I was thinking was that I wasn't sure what she meant unless we could speak one-on-one, and that it might be possible to try to help her understand my withdrawal and silence, while allowing her the right to be angry or hurt. However, it was difficult to get her to speak in a direct way, and there were a lot of 'Happy Thursdays!', and positive descriptives of her life.

There were more emails, usually with religious/Biblical quotes which seemed to be supporting ideas, and at the end, there was a message urging me to pass the message on.

I remember messages about unhappiness, and that the message seemed to be that if you were close to Jesus, following his messages and teachings, you wouldn't be unhappy. Another message was about how Jesus would award a prize to art that depicted faith or hope or calm in the midst of turmoil.

I thought maybe these messages were feedback regarding my website. I wasn't trying to win a prize for art. I didn't even mind if people thought what I did was 'bad art'. I was trying to express myself authentically. I was trying to find others who could relate to me.

What I did have difficulty with was a subject line: 'Beautiful Christian Sister', and an image in a Christian newsletter.

The image related to aid work in a foreign country. The image was of a large white man and a small black child. I think they were both asleep, but I'm not sure. The child was sprawled across the man.

A question was posed to me: Who could see anything wrong in such an image?

But such a question involves layers of assumption. I will try to untangle my thoughts and feelings as best I can.

I think it's possible an adult and a child can share a bond of affection and trust.

I think it's possible a white person and a black person, including a white adult and a black child, can share a bond of affection and trust.

I think it's possible a thin person and a larger person can share a bond of affection and trust, without judging each other.

I can feel sympathy for a person carrying weight they are ashamed of, and not see it as a character defect that makes them more suspicious. I can empathize with the guilt and shame of carrying weight you wish you didn't. I can see how a person might want to try to do something good to offset that shame.

But if I'm asked to support the photo as proof of sincere motives, it makes me uneasy, especially if I'm put under the pressure of having to answer a question to which it seems there is only one appropriate and acceptable response.

I don't think a photo that depicts a touching scene is proof that no wrongdoing is occurring. I found the photo triggering.

What I saw was a massive power imbalance. I saw a child who would have no one to turn to if anything bad was happening. The adult in the photo had more power, in every way. Yes, the point of the photo was that it was meant to be a true depiction of trust in the face of such imbalance, but I found myself identifying with the child, and it seemed to me that if all the adults there were Christians, and thought that all of their colleagues were perfectly trustworthy because they were Christians, it's a red flag.

All over the world, children are exploited, especially those who are poor, disadvantaged, neglected. There are so many with no voice.

What about Christians who feel genuine remorse, but know that if they repent God will forgive? Being human, what if they are able to rationalize even the telling of the sin, to withhold it, and then repent that? (I don't mean repent to a priest, but repent in their minds, to God, thinking that in their case, he'd understand, because he's so forgiving, or that it could wait until their deathbed?)

It's like the question I was asked to consider is a kind of group power or control move. If you question this photo and don't see its purity, it means you're dumber than the rest of the group, you're suspicious, you have an ugly mind, you're not a good Christian, you're not a loving person, and the whole group will see you in that light, and perhaps pray you will eventually see the error of your ways, feel remorse for your smallness, ask forgiveness, and return to the fold.

If all the adult Christians in the situation believe their colleagues are above reproach or question, where would a child go if that child felt confused?

In that kind of situation, it's easy to psychologically abuse a child who might try to protest - to make that child think it's all in their head, or that they don't understand. And when a child is outnumbered by adults, has few or no resources, no outside contacts, how does this affect psychology and identity?

We live in a world where we know children are abused every day. It's not easy to openly engage in this type of interest - but if people are groomed such that small things that occur in plain sight aren't recognized, it's a step to making it easier.

At 13, with my father's SO sleeping upstairs, maybe it's not a massive thing, but with The Bumble talking for hours about his sex history, my mother's, and telling dirty jokes, and then asking me to sit on his lap, I think it's not exactly great Christian behaviour. (At the time he did not identify as Christian or religious, and honestly, even if he accepted KP's beliefs and did aid work with her, I doubt he identified as Christian in later years, either.)

And when I seemed hesitant, he said 'there's nothing wrong in it', but the 'feeling' I had, the instinct, even though I was naive in many ways, and very trusting, was a very strong feeling that it was not right. It was like a burning feeling of shame, and even now, I feel like I will be attacked, that people will think I had fantasies about my father so I made up abuse and blew innocent things out of proportion.

That was by no means the only thing that occurred, but I think part of what occurred was that a whole groundwork was laid to discredit me if it ever came to that. It is extremely difficult to pin it down. Even though it might seem like I have talked everything to death, there are still things I find difficult to elaborate on, and some things I haven't said.

One way to lay the groundwork was to say things to other women to make them hate or distrust me.

I didn't see it at the time, but The Bumble put me in the position of having to say no over and over. It wasn't just simple consent. He tried different angles and I didn't understand. I ended up internalizing all the blame and shame, kind of like when you have a child who's told 'You're a nasty little slut, aren't you?' and the child sees she has power, but it gets wrapped up with judgment and low self-esteem (to take the power back), and she has been sexually imprinted without being able to consciously assess the situation.

I need to make it clear that today I'm trying to focus on this particular area, but the overall picture is a lot larger. I don't want to demonize The Bumble for one minor incident. I don't think it is about one incident.

I think he was a person with a strong sense of entitlement, that he was egocentric, and that this was combined with a lack of sexual boundaries. And that in addition, he had an uncanny knack for making people doubt themselves, and finding support and followers for himself, who would not even know they were doing the job of helping him cover his tracks when he made mistakes and stood to lose some of his control and authority. If people were harmed by his actions, they would end up blaming themselves, or attributing the source to anyone or anything but him.

And, while he was unusually complex, I think he also might belong to a type that is supported by a male dominant, capitalistic society.

The issues between my father and I were not just about sex, consent or lack thereof. I think he somehow projected his issues with his father onto me, and the whole thing was a power struggle I had no idea I was trapped in, something that had remained unfinished or unresolved when his father died suddenly at the age of 41, when my father was 15.

The Bumble had a lot of enemies. I'm not sure they'd realize that making his children suffer wouldn't have really bothered him - that he'd just think of us as weak/embarrassing. But the thing is, he did see potential enemies everywhere, and I think this relates to his own family dynamics, that there was a long history of different kinds of abuse and antagonism, even unto death. I think it's possible that if his father hadn't died at 41, instead of attaining power in life, The Bumble might have killed himself.

He was a 'winning isn't everything, it's the only thing' kind of guy, and when I was 14 he gave me a photocopy of the entire poem. He didn't just apply this philosophy to sport and work, he applied it to the divorce with my mother, and I guess eventually to dealing with me.

At the time of his 41st birthday, he had a superstitious feeling that he couldn't shake. He thought that like his father, he was going to die. He did tarot card reading after reading, and every time he did, the last card in the Celtic Cross was the Death card. I think the responsibility of having to raise 4 kids on his own after our mother died, combined with the difficult history with his father and family, was overwhelming for him, and in a sense, I think that perhaps hidden from conscious analysis, he needed a 'sacrifice'. He needed me to die, so he could live. Maybe he had guilt regarding his father's death and thought the gods would punish him, but I think his sense of entitlement led him to believe it was better I die than him, and would maybe support the idea that he had a special destiny, that he was The Chosen One.

I have inherited some of his superstition, or I wouldn't be here at the the anniversary of his death, trying to help myself get through a time that feels like possible death - not on my terms, but based on ancient grudges and vengeance. I might seem calm, but I have decades of practice writing, and underneath, my level of anxiety is so high that I am not sure I will live through this day.

I tried to explain to Boo that the family is not healthy, and I tried to say that in a sense I am living 'proof' of this, and he tried to tell me about the success stories, and artists who focus in positive ways. And he also told me about my Catholic godmother, who I haven't seen since my mother's funeral, 40 years ago, and about how he and the others were there for the time leading up to her death, to support and comfort her.

Am I just a bad apple, and if I die, will this healthy family move forward happily into the future, with no further sources of shame and embarrassment? Perhaps. I want it stated for the record that I do not curse them from my grave, I will not 'haunt' them, or wish them the fate of the House of Usher. That has never been my agenda. I want somehow for the ancient grudges to be resolved, healed. I feel a great deal of empathy for anyone living under the kind of stress and dread this family curse has bequeathed to me.

I will say again that I would have happily sacrificed myself without ever creating a website or trying to explain, if I had been given a Peaceful Pill in my 20s when I knew I had tried as hard as I could, and that I wasn't getting better.

It's up to others to decide whether this is a good argument for Voluntary Assisted Dying for those with intractable psychological illness, or a redefining of what a healthy family is.

When I wrote to KP, I apologized for not being clear about it earlier, but that I was not a Christian.

I was trying to open discussion, in a respectful way, regarding the complex emotions the photo had brought up for me. I said that I would prefer not to receive religious messages and I gave examples. I honestly tried to leave things open, but she never wrote to me again.

Because she never wrote back and wouldn't respond to a later email of mine, I've had to guess, and at this point I think I have a pretty good guess.

She had been using religion, every time, to judge me in one way or another, and to show me what I needed to apologize for to her, to my father and to the family.

She wanted me to exonerate my father for any past blasphemies I had spread about him. I had either blown things out of proportion, or lied, and the responsible thing to do was to admit it, and I would be welcomed back to the family.

I was not told about my father's illness because I had not repented. I could not be trusted. I was an abomination, I was evil.

In one email, she had told me she was studying Intercessory Prayer. In hindsight, I see that she was probably trying to do all she could to petition God to keep him alive, and I understand that when a person feels valued and loved, it's possible it can keep that person alive longer than expected, but under that rationale, it's hard to explain why I have lived so long, especially considering the extent to which I have practised creative visualization.

At the time, though, I didn't know he was ill with an 'any day now' sentence (that stretched out a few years). All I knew of Intercessory Prayer were stories of Christians who swarmed gay members of the Church and tried to pray the gay away. However, when I knew her, she had a couple of gay friends, and seemed accepting, so I was confused about why she was studying, and I admit I didn't ask her. Was that on me, and would she have told me he was dying?

And I saw how my father had affected my sister. He conveyed to her that I was weak, she was strong. I was a horrific bitch who would put upon a young child the discovery of her sister passed out in her own vomit, and who would also try to commit suicide in front of her.

And to some extent, this explains almost every conversation I've ever had with my sister. She was taught to resent me. Her identity is built upon the premise that she is strong and I am weak, and that I am a shitty sister. And she attracted into her life people who supported this - I could see it in those I met who knew her. I was a big person about it. I wanted her to have support. And, maybe it was right - it did seem I was weak.

[The few emails I exchanged with her, when she finally provided an address 4 years later, still had this dynamic as the underlying theme. But, it was also like the person writing the email had never actually met me. On the surface, it was politically correct, and 'positive', but it made me feel judged, and not 'seen'. I didn't feel the prejudice was in the past, and I felt like all attempts to focus on positive memories were actually judgments regarding things she had resentment regarding, but wouldn't express directly.

There is one thing I want to comment on. In 1990, just before I was hospitalized for 2 months, she allowed me to stay with her in Toronto, in a room in a house The Bumble and she were renting together, for 1-2 months before I voluntarily signed myself in. I had been living alone in winter, in Winnipeg, with a harsh, unforgiving climate, one of the worst possible for my skin, with no contacts after The Bumble and KP had both moved away. It was about a half hour walk one way to either of two grocery stores, I hadn't received treatment in my 11 day stay in the hospital there, and I couldn't continue to receive welfare if I didn't look for a job. A cousin of my mother's had offered to let me stay with her in Toronto, but when I got there, her husband was sick, and I couldn't stay with them.

My distress was gigantic. Maybe Beany doesn't feel I was grateful enough of what she did for me, and I am sorry about that. At the time, I was in the greatest distress of my life, and I was suicidal every day, and she didn't notice. The Bumble had called the police to have me removed in Winnipeg, and it had led to trauma, a stay in a horrifically bad psych ward, and while I know people will sympathize with him, what else could he do, it's like no one believed how bad the place was. But that's not the main issue. What I learned from that experience was how great a burden and disappointment I was. I learned how little I was understood or valued, and I learned that my father had not just resentment, but rage toward me, and that he wished me dead. I didn't ever want to experience that again, and that's why I signed myself into a psych ward of my own accord, and that's why I would never want to ever stay with family again.

And this time, when I chose the psych ward, it was the best out of all my 3 hospitalizations, by far. It's just that it was chosen to avoid further family trauma, and even though I probably put more into my therapies than most other patients, I no longer had any wish to live, and it was basically a waste of time and resources.

But any time I tried to talk with Beany about The Bumble's treatment of me, even when trying to warn her regarding her own daughter, she's pretty much said if he affected me, it was because I was weak and stupid.

I'm just pointing out that she had years of support for her identity that I did not - and a lot of that support was actually from me. And that it's not exactly fair to think I had an effect and to resent me for it, but that The Bumble did not have an effect on me. I was alone, with no one on my side, not really, not even me.

There's not a lot of direct communication in the family, and it can be hard to untangle. From the time they all knew about his illness until his death, I think everyone sort of knew he wanted me to be shunned. I don't think anyone questioned it.

I understand that people were probably hurt by me moving to Australia without a word, and that I didn't keep in touch before that, but I tried to approach all of them, and they didn't want to know. They didn't want to know me. They wanted me to solve my problems myself. They wanted me to stay in contact twice a year and only focus on positive things.

So, on my mother's side, because I'd had an abortion, I was someone who didn't deserve happiness, and unconsciously, maybe everyone believed it just that I suffered. Religion.

And on my father's side, religion was used to judge me for mental illness and inability to get over trauma, abuse and neglect. It was used to try to silence me.

The message sent to me was a control move on many levels, and I'm not sure to what extent even KP understood that she was an agent of his control. I see his thinking, his strategy - but I didn't see it then. A two birds thing. While discrediting me, he was also gaining control in his community.

They worked with the Church distributing food. I didn't think about it deeply at the time, but recently I found myself unable to stop thinking about logical extensions. KP believed his take on his behaviour with children, and she 'passed it on'. I'd seen this 'nothing wrong with it' strategy before. I'd picked up the vibes watching him with stepsisters before. I'd seen him say all kinds of derogatory things about females, to start controlling minds.. eg.. when we moved to the farm, he told us about some children who lived a few farms down. He said that the blond 10-year-old (actually, I think she was younger than this) was a ditz and her sister was a psycho-in-training. She was not a ditz. She seemed intelligent, thoughtful and kind. I caught on in less than one day, but I admit that I had to fight his brainwashing, his opinion. (I didn't meet the other one that day, but later, I actually thought she was fighting back, and training her goats to help her, or that their instinct was to take her side.)

The Bumble and KP now lived in Northern Ontario (at the time I received KP's emails), and it sounded like their main friends were the parents of these girls I'd known in the 80s. I know this is circumstantial, and I know it's conjecture, but when I lived with my father, this man was someone I had a strong feeling abused his daughters. The night I had stomach pain so bad I thought I was dying and asked to go to a hospital, I was having dinner with my family at their house.

And my experience of Northern Ontario is that it was a sexist, misogynist hellhole.

Why would I fuck my whole life up over trifles? Why is it so hard to let go? Why do I keep trying as many angles as I can? Pettiness, jealousy, laziness? To me, it feels like I'm trying to address injustice.

But if we just bring it down to religion, I am confused as to how tolerant I'm supposed to be of any religion. It seems to me that if I don't speak up in certain circumstances, it can lead to people having false beliefs about me, for decades, it can affect their treatment of me, and I'd rather know where I stand earlier on. It might have spared me a lot of guilt, shame, and trying over and over to 'reconnect'.

Abuses of power can potentially occur with any charity. However, my family used religion to push me out, even if they didn't have conscious intent. I know that many organizations and individuals worldwide do good work, necessary work. I think it makes sense that I still feel constantly on guard, not sure if they also would judge me.

I'm not sure I can understand any religion well just through Wikipedia, but it seems like there need to be safe places where kids and people of all religions can discuss dilemmas like mine.

Objectively, I think I've been through a lot in my life, but I think The Bumble has been the biggest influence. Trying to pin it down and make it clear is harder, because he was very good at maintaining control. Even at age 24, I felt embarrassed by the idea of blaming him, or anyone in the family, for anything. It felt like betrayal, it felt like blowing things out of proportion, it felt unfair, and underneath that, there was the threat of massive retribution.

What if I'm the only one? What if everyone else who's ever met The Bumble thinks he was a great guy, and I was always 'off'? What if all the young people he's had contact with think he's only affected their lives in positive ways?

It took me until I was in my 30s and later to start piecing together memories and patterns. I'd done a lot of writing over the years, then burning because of the worry I was being unfair, and the shame associated with that, but it would not go away, it kept coming back and the more I wrote, the more connections I saw. What if I was trying to throw off or get out from under massive brainwashing?

Some kids might not have had a similar amount of accumulated trauma, or, they might have done the 'honorable' thing, and stayed silent, taking the guilt upon themselves, not recognizing the harm done. When it comes to my family members, I think it's possible I became the scapegoat, the source of family stress and personal affliction.

...All he's good for is gettin' in trouble
and shifting his share of the blame...

(Not a song I relate to, but I can't say the same for The Bumble.)

I understand now that we've all thought of him as the 'dynamic' parent, but now I think my mother was seriously underrated, and he damaged her self-esteem. She was not just one pretty picture, but that everyone wants to see that shows hidden hypocrisy, as well as lack of conscious awareness. He was constantly undermining people, but she tried to offset it. I see it in myself, any time someone makes a comment about anyone, or even if anyone makes a comment about a possum, that puts them down in a way that seems to trap or control them or give them no future.

It's difficult to explain how he is different from the archetypes and stereotypes, what is different in his approach to that of so many men who grew up with similar beliefs and learned how to control others. He is a walking contradiction, an anomaly.

It is possible for a person with power and resources to do good things for others, to genuinely care for others, to have hopeful dreams and to want to be a good person. However, when a person has a lot of power, if there are no checks and balances, that person has more potential to do harm, even if they are unaware of how much power they actually have, while fantasizing about being all-powerful.

Females are supposed to be smarter than this now, but for a long time, they were trained to direct mental energy into supporting others, looking after a home, trying to look presentable, while men were trained to discredit and maim opponents, and acquire money and power, maybe try to understand the mechanical way things work.

I think those with the most power still reinforce the system of domination and control, but do it in more covert ways, and allow for and point to token female examples that prove the system itself isn't sick.

I'm not going to try again to contact family. I can't see any communication going well, even if people were to believe that The Bumble harmed me, and that I've been through a lot of trauma - not just that they believe I believe I've been through something difficult. Maybe many people's identities depend on believing there is no threshhold of trauma, that they could overcome all problems, forever, but in reality, this is probably true of very few people. I reached mine young.

Boo tried his best, and I will always remember. I still value his effort, which far outshines the rest put together. However, every time we had contact, eventually, more and more, I started to feel the family's influence and belief system. We fell into a pattern of communicating twice a year, on birthdays, as most of the family does. I saw again that ongoing communication between a person who wants to live and one who doesn't just doesn't work longterm. And I couldn't help feeling that neutrality in the face of the rest of the family's beliefs about, and treatment of me, was complicity.

Dr Velvet Thong: Will it do any good to post anything further? Do you not think there's already enough info expressed? And, do you fear (further) retribution?

Blinky: Maybe the angle matters, maybe it's important to think about some of the individual consequences of belief/religion, and maybe a clearer picture is emerging of how this ties into patriarchy, big business, male domination. The more practice I get thinking about how things are connected, the easier it is to find words, if 'I need to'.

Ah, I remembered something else I wanted to talk about, another connection.

When I was younger, I watched a lot of 'male movies'. Action movies, James Bond, horror. What occurs to me is that while I know my brothers and father and maybe even sister have fantasized about beating the crap out of someone who wronged a family member, having a good reason, I don't get the impression they've ever thought of me as that good reason.

I'm 'the other kind' of female, the one who if she's raped, is raped because she was asking for it, she was a sloppy mess, the type who would try to ruin a man's life, the one who lies after consenting, the one who blows things out of proportion. That's who I am. I have never deserved sympathy or even acknowledgement. Maybe pity, and that pity is partly because I am 'loved' even if I am not really believed. So while they're watching these movies, I am there, an unconscious source of shame, not even a hot chick it's exciting to watch get dismembered in a horror movie. But, my life is what is represented in those movies, the ones where the unconscious agenda is that a female is brutalized, to satisfy male anger, resentment, and need to hold onto power. It's just been such an agonizingly slow death, one I wouldn't wish on anyone. It's like living a horror movie, every day of your life.

I can't see old movies and programs in the ways I used to. I see the imbalances and injustices. I do see the attempts to address them, I see the decency, but it feels too slow for me, and I'm a broken record saying I always knew there were people out there further ahead, but I can never connect with them. What I like about Sense8 is the idea of empathy for people all over the world you can't necessarily have contact with in daily life or even on the internet, but you're linked through an empathy internet through which you can share knowledge or skills with people who are in impossible situations. A lot of resources went into backing this idea up, and it's like an alternative to Game of Thrones that isn't white-centric, including that the opening sequence shows more of the world (the richness and diversity of our world) and it should be obvious that this can more than compete with the patriarchal views of GOT, Westworld, and Terrence Malick. I like Westworld and it addresses some issues, I like the strong female characters, but I am weary of the 'need' for so much violence, the mantra about survival, and a kind of unconscious acceptance of the supremacy or validity of capitalism. I'm fine with a totally virtual world, and with being a host, if I could have a body designed by me, not one I take over because I like it. I like Terrence Malick, and think that his approach to filming, along with the sincere, stream-of-consciousness dialogue, can be a healing approach for mental illness and addiction. Also, with Sense8 - the ending is like an alternative to the ending of Six Feet Under. Six Feet Under focuses on births, deaths, weddings - Sense8 focuses on moments of deep connection that are not necessarily tied to institutionalized emotion, and about the idea that a life is not necessarily a linear path from birth to death.

Dr Velvet Thong: This is too long and not focused enough.

Blinky: I agree. I think it's helpful to me to have understood some other angles. I was having trouble with the whole October-November trauma history, as well as so many birthdays and The Bumble's death, and I thought maybe this would help.

Dr Velvet Thong: Does it feel like a war with family? That you feel a need to disabuse them of the idea that you will ever apologize for what they think you should apologize for?

Blinky: It does feel like a war, and it feels like everyone in my family, all the people they know, all the people in Possum Dreaming's family, the mental health professions, the Catholics, other people with mental illness and addiction are against me. The world.

Look, I know damn well that if any of my siblings were to say that they alone could stand against the other 3 together in a physical fight, they would be fucking lying or fucking delusional. And I don't just feel like it's the 3 of them against me, I feel like it's the world. Plus, I am seriously out of shape.

Dr Velvet Thong: It occurs to me that the relationship with The Bumble and how difficult it is to pin down the complexities of the effects he's had also applies to certain other relationships in your life. The general consciousness of most people isn't prepared.

Blinky: That's partly because most of the programming available to people is controlled by unconscious patriarchal traditions. Even when women are able to write and direct, they still have to do it within an unhealthy system.

If someone has a website about depression and suicide, in what circumstances can this be dismissed? If you don't believe a person has real pain, deep feelings or thoughts. So, for many years, every time we had contact, my 'identity' was one thing to me and another to others. This is not something you just move forward from.

Dr Velvet Thong: Let's try to put a limit on this. I want to again put forth the idea that you have put too much time and effort into a situation that will not change.

Blinky: I don't feel like I have a real choice. At a certain point, I feel overwhelmed by the sheer numbers against me, and I can't hold back one more effort, to try to get one inch further.

I'm not the only one like me, who has lived for years, or decades, in an intolerable state, judged and shunned by others, unable to connect, unable to ease the constant tension and pain of existence.

Survival, survival, survival.. this constant mantra from every source negates my experience, identity, existence. Freedom, freedom, freedom. Same deal. If we won't even consider the idea that people don't have to live in pain, misery, squalor, that we can give people a humane option, both of these concepts mean less.

It's too easy to coerce someone, or guilt them into it if they feel they are a burden, and this is inhumane and a slippery slope? Life is cruel and unforgiving, and full of risk. Why must we face all daily risks and be denied this one? Because it's final? Most of the world still seems to believe in religions that posit an afterlife. We need to challenge the idea that suicide (including assisted suicide/voluntary assisted dying) is a sin - maybe that's the biggest hurdle.

I only posted to a.s.h for a short time and the last time was probably two decades ago. There were reasons the people there were there and not at alt.support.depression. Sometimes it goes too far for people to come back. And just because that a.s.h no longer exists doesn't mean that there aren't still many people out there, suffering in isolation, with no outlet.

Some, like me, might suffer a whole lifetime. It's one thing if you believe there is meaning in suffering, but if you believe there can be meaning in choosing to end suffering and to have a good death, that's another, and I fall into the latter category.

Doctors know about people who make ill-advised suicide attempts in desperation, because it's all they have access to or all they can bear, and that they fuck their lives up worse, and try again. They pretend not to hear them, they pretend that the daily desperation and pain don't matter, that only getting through a crisis moment matters and then all goes back to 'normal'. These people should be allowed a real choice.

It's difficult to form communities - partly because each illness develops in a unique and individual way. It would be like trying to learn a million different languages. If you look at the complexity of my site, and imagine that each person has a complex story, you get a better idea. When early on you start branching in different directions or become prickly with more and more prickles, it's hard for others to relate or tolerate. And a big part of it is related to judgment. Human beings aren't open and empathetic enough, or they're willing to go so far, and then they balk. And if it relates to resources, damage, violence, it becomes dangerous and threatens the survival of others, including that it depletes psychological reserves. And part of it relates to the judgment of the world, and the ways in which they continue to damage self-esteem and prevent the forming of connections.

Yes, it's a given that we need to understand mental health better and we need more resources. I'm doing what I can to contribute to understanding. Social problems are more important than people are aware, and so is fucked up family communication. But we live in a world where those issues are likely to be put on the back burner while we focus on survival and adjusting to the new normal of Covid-19's influence and legacy.

I don't know what to do, so I communicate what I 'know', my experience, and I admit I don't know where to go from here, that I'm stuck.

Dr Velvet Thong: Is there any way to leave this on a positive note?

How about an exercise. Let's say you could create any world at all, throwing all laws of physics out, with anything and everything as you know it subject to change, what would that world look like?

Blinky: It's a lot of pressure to try to play god. I might have performance anxiety, be afraid of not being creative enough, or not thinking of odds and ends that don't make sense, but I suppose considering the state of the world the bar is not very high.

We're not going to do this by a Christian seven day model thing. It's a one day thing, but I don't know how long the 'day' is.

The first thing: life all over the world goes into pause. If people are sick and dying or in pain, that is immediately paused. If bullets are in the air, they drop or freeze or something. For the time it takes to create the new world, all the world is connected and knows something is happening. Everyone is listening and if people are deaf or blind, they either aren't any more, or they can understand on their own terms. Every language and intelligence level is accounted for. People can't harm others. I am not sure about this, but perhaps also people aren't embracing, everyone is an individual with an individual choice to make. Babies I will have to think about. If people are drunk or high, they're immediately sober (and not in distress or withdrawal).

[Animals are on pause, too. Weather is paused.]

Then there's a shared drug trip, which might be like the water of life thing in Dune, but in this case everyone in the world would be The One, and learn about the history of all other humans, process it all, find a centre and come out the other side. It's not exactly that, because there isn't a risk of death, it's about everyone learning enough about the history of the world and people to have a better understanding of each other. This may also be a phase where people can connect with those they have lost and missed, or they might find they understand the old relationships and their lessons, and want to let go and begin new families, or think of everyone, past and present, as their family.

People will be told they have a choice. They can participate in the creation of a new world, there can be many new worlds, or they can stay in the old with whoever chooses that option. They will also have an option of a humane death if that is what they want, all things considered.

My hope would be that if people got to experience what it was like to be their ancestors, from many different sides, those who survived, those who died, those who had taboo desires and those who did not, addictions, discipline, genius, failure, accomplishment, loss, despair, happiness, love, etc, etc, they'd understand how all of it related to the times and conditions, and that perhaps it does not have to be something, a balance that will always exist, but that we can choose something else.

Healing phase.. all illnesses will be cured. Any condition, and poverty, hunger. This may be tricky, and people must be allowed choice of what they want to live with or not. People can choose what they want to look like, what age they want to be.

If people have addictions or fetishes that cause them pain, the 'understanding phase' might help them, but if more is needed, basically they will not suffer. They will be able to explore consciousness and pleasure without feeling they are trapped in chaos.

The ability to adapt to any/all languages.

Personally, I'd want to create a world where people don't have to have babies. I'm not sure yet about animals. There are many considerations. Should they be allowed to evolve consciousness, and also make choices about whether they want to be animals, humans, or something new? The nature of food, nourishment, would change, but those details would have to be worked out.

Maybe at first it would take time for imagination to develop. Like everyone else, I'm saturated with images I've absorbed over the course of my life of other people's ideas of Utopia and paradise and fun travel destinations. I admit I don't have a clear picture, and in the moment, I'd wing it, with the idea that I could change it after I've had time to experiment.

What I don't know, is if everyone had that knowledge and empathy, what effect would it have on violence and competition? Would people get bored without struggle for survival? But I guess it's my world, and while I know in the old world there are people who could live for centuries just exploring porn and violence, maybe there are people who are built for exploring consciousness, pleasure, different kinds of knowledge and skill. I used to think that The Twilight Zone and Fantasy Island were a letdown, moralizing, always saying if you have a desire, there's something wrong about it you will be punished for, maybe into infinity. But it's not just them, it's most programming and books. And so that's something different that I like about the ending of Westworld.

People put creative works out there, and sometimes to appreciate an important idea, you have to go with it and not pick apart all the things that don't make sense, or that there is just not enough time to address.

Maybe this is all I can do for today. But I would like to at least try to have a world where there isn't always a nasty catch, or a villain who wants to ruin everything. I want to understand the villain, too, and to believe in the possibility of evolution that is not just a more advanced version of violence and evil. It's about my idea of a singularity moment. There could always be the option for some, or all, to choose to seek out challenges as in 'the old days', but I'd want an agreement, not forced, not brainwashed, but through understanding, deep understanding, of the possibilities of existence without constant stress, violence, punishment. A time to rest from those things.

Dr Velvet Thong: Maybe you could try to write it into a story. And if not, maybe you could go back to Second Life and try to acquire more skills.

Blinky: OK, I get the hint.

->exile on meme st: a diary