I’ve been serious for many days now, and I’d like to share a blogger who makes me laugh. If you haven’t heard of her, it’s time you did!
Det jeg skrev om Blindsonen minte meg om denne kronikken av Roger Rosenblatt i det amerikanske tidsskriftet “Time”. Den har ligget i bakhodet mitt siden jeg først leste den i 1987.
Den er skrevet på engelsk, og jeg oversetter bare konklusjonen:
“Du vet aldri hvordan du kommer til å reagere på et skrik før du hører det. Jeg kan fortelle deg hvordan du først kommer til å reagere. Du kommer til å stivne. Hodet kommer til å rykke som hodet til en skremt fugl, og øynene til å stå ut, lenge før det oppstår noen praktiske alternativer mellom det å gjemme seg under senga eller å ile til forsvar. Du stivner fordi du kjenner igjen lyden. Den er fra deg; all panikken og smerten; alle skrikene i ens liv, de uttrykte og de kvalte, er der i det grusomme utbruddet som har smadret luften. Alt er ditt.
Skriket fra et annet sted kommer fra deg. Du må gå mot det. Du må åpne døren for å få det til å slutte.”
The essay ends with these words:
“You never know how you will react to a scream until you hear one. I can tell you how you will react at first. You will freeze. Your head will snap like an alarmed bird’s and your eyes will swell, long before any practical choices begin to form between hiding under the bed and leaping to the rescue. You will freeze because you will recognize the sound. It comes from you; all the panic and the pain; all the screams of one’s life, uttered and quashed, there in that dreadful eruption that has scattered the air. All yours.
The scream that comes from somewhere else comes from you. You have to go to it. You have to open the door to make it stop.”
Har du som leser dette opplevd å bli borte i Blindsonen?
i kicked him in the balls and ran home
they didn’t kill my daughter
they did something worse
she was bleeding
i took her to the hospital
they had inserted a diaphragm
she was three years old
they said it was necessary
”no one knows what can happen to her, with that mother”
white coats nodded serious agreement
and looked punishingly at me
i sat by my daughter’s sick bed
no one had taken off the dress
soiled with blood and vomit
her face was dead
she had lost the world
she had lost belief in the world
she had lost her place in the world
the place that i was so pleased that she had kept
i, who had lost mine
when I was her age
i was alone against the white lab coats
who always were right
With the author’s permission, I’m posting a chapter from “A Matter for Men”, book 1 in the “War Against the Chtorr” series. David Gerrold is an author whose books have made my brain crackle and pop and rearrange its perceptions, and this chapter most of all.
In a forum I belong to, I recently read this post:
I’m soo tired of it all…
I’m tired of the jeers
I’m tired of the comments
I’m tired of the stupid questions
I’m tired of the personal invasion
I’m tired of the ignorance
I’m tired of the judgments
I’m tired of the assumptions
I’m tired of the shaving
I’m tired of the tucking
I’m tired of the violence
I’m tired of the rudeness
I’m tired of the creepy sexual advances
I’m tired of the fetishists
I’m tired of the discrimination
I’m tired of the stupid rules society makes
I’m tired of the mocking
I’m tired of it all
And a later post:
“sorry this didn’t come off as rage filled as it is… the thing is I know I’m awesome I don’t give a fuck 99% of the time BUT everyday I get 15-30 negative comments and abusive words thrown at me, plus the tittering and laughing as I walk past, and the mockery and dumb questions somedays I feel like Atlas with this goddamn planet on my shoulder crushing me slowly!”
This resonated so painfully with me that I had to put it on the back burner for a while, to let the memories that evoked the pain surface.
It was written by a transperson, but I had always read her posts as written by an interesting woman – I must have missed the threads where she mentioned being trans.
Anyway, I had no trouble assimilating this new information about her into what I already knew. And if we ever meet face to face, I think I will be able to add her appearance to my earlier impressions of her, and be happy that I now know more about the whole person.
And that brings me to the whole elephant. The “we” in the title is not a royal or Margaret Thatcher “we”, but a “we who are beyond the Pale”.
As a child I overheard adults say in hushed tones that someone was Beyond The Pale, and my mind’s eye immediately saw this person disappearing into a white mist and becoming invisible. And isn’t that what happens when we show things that mostpeople* don’t want to see?
Remember the story about the wise men who thought that the whole elephant was the bit that they touched?
It is so easy for mostpeople, those who are comfortable within their Palisades, to see what they want to see and disappear the rest. I don’t think we can change them, but we can help each other see when we are being made invisible – and share in the carrying of the goddamn planet, maybe?
I’ve done my own share of planet-carrying, but my main problem is that I look so … average. I look like any old fat little granny with her hair in a bun, and never get jeers or comments in the streets. But when words come out of my mouth that don’t fit my exterior, I can see people grabbing hold of something I say and wondering what this weird snake-shaped thing is. Sometimes they’re so busy holding on to their fixed image of me that my words never register with them.
I’ll give an example from way back when I was much younger: I was staying with my sister when a fellow student of hers came to give her a message, and he sat down and waited for her. He was working on a thesis on communication, a subject that because of my 3CK background always has interested me. We had a long and fascinating discussion … until he asked what I was studying, and I said: “Nothing. I translate romance novels”.
My IQ must have plummeted 150 points in his mind. After a stony silence, the next thing he said was: “You probably won’t understand this, but …”
Sis came shortly after this, and he gave her his message and shot out of there. And she asked: “What did you do to him? I’ve never seen him look so scared!”
What did I do? He didn’t just look scared, he looked aggrieved, as if I’d deliberately misled him. Littleoldgrannyme would probably just have asked why he suddenly started treating me as if I were stupid, but I was busy having a post-traumatic stress reaction at the time, because similar things had happened to me all my life: People rejected information I showed them that didn’t fit their impressions or prejudices.
I told some friends about this, and they recognized the situation: “When you’re in the middle of an interesting political discussion, and people ask what you do, ‘sheep farming’ can cause a dramatic drop in IQ.”
In the grannybun stage of my life, I have come to the conclusion that communication is never neutral. Never static.
It can be constructive, in that we constantly add to our knowledge of others by relating to what they show and assimilating it. And it can be destructive, if our perceptions are filtered through prejudice: “What I don’t know about you doesn’t exist.”
And like so many other things in life, it’s a matter of responsibility and choice: All of us own what we do, even if we don’t realizing that what we are doing is harmful.
Winding down and stepping off the soapbox now.
Do you have any Atlas experiences you want to share?
* Borrowed from E.E. Cummings’ “I, Six Nonlectures”. Sincerely recommended!
I haven’t translated anything about my tangles with the health services after I came out as an incest survivor into English yet – the short version is: legal and “psychotherapeutically correct” Martha Mitchell Effect.
It was an enormous relief to just accept the legality and correctness of what happened – that freed me from a morass of Catch 22s and confusion. I just want to heal my wounds and get on with my life.
Oh, and one more thing: I want to find out if I really do have freedom of choice and freedom of thought and expression in the Health Services when it comes to Freud’s theories.
My current GP works closely with the psychiatric area supervisor (PAT) and the GP who was supervised into Marthaing me until I was forced to stay away from the health services for years. And I’m afraid of being Marthaed again. (IMO, it’s fear and not paranoia when it has happened before.)
So I want to request a meeting with the doctors and the county arbitration council to …
> ask why the “borderline psychosis” diagnosis that PAT and Old GP set without telling me has disappeared from my file, and to ask when it vanished. (The “without telling me” is not an issue, as I can’t prove it.)
> say that I accept that I was treated legally and psychotherapeutically correctly from a Freudian viewpoint. And I don’t insist on agreement that the treatment harmed me, but I evoke the right to think and say so, and I want to suggest to PAT and Old MD that we agree to disagree on this issue.
> check if PAT is capable of understanding the concept “agree to disagree”. I haven’t seen any signs of it so far.
> check if PAT is capable of seeing the process I have described in “The child who refuses to die” as a rational alternative to being helped by him to realize that I had “a sexual relationship with a priest”.
> ask why PAT and Old MD dismissed what I said about my functionality as fantasies without asking if I could prove what I said. (It seems to be legal to override provable information with psychiatric “realities” without fact checking, so that is not an issue. I just want to know why)
It is a huge relief to finally have seen arbitration as an alternative to discussions about whether PAT is right or I am crazy (and yes, the double bind is intentional), and at the same time a lump of inner anxiety is telling me that arbitration and psychiatry might not be compatible.
Does anyone know if this is a viable alternative? Any information or experiences would be very welcome.
Det blir sannsynligvis ingen nye innlegg med det første, for jeg jobber med en henvendelse til Konfliktrådet når det gjelder situasjonen jeg har beskrevet i Flokerydding 1 – for å finne ut om jeg har rett til å være freudfri i kontakt med helsevesenet.
Jeg er lettet over å ha kommet på at dette er et alternativ, og samtidig sier en klump av indre angst at mekling sikkert ikke er relevant når det gjelder psykisk helsevern.
Er det noen som vet noe konkret om hvorvidt dette er et brukbart alternativ?
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