Friend or Foe?

I have a few conflicting ideas running through my brain that I haven’t thought out completely, so I’m just going to dump them here.

By the way, Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar?  Bring it.  I love Tim Burton’s work, even when I hate the result (Big Fish, par exemple, even though it has the yummy Ewan McGregor in it as well as the yummy Helena Bonham Carter) or the ending (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I’m looking at you).   However, I have yet to forgive you for Sweeney Todd:  The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.  I was anticipating that movie so much (and I don’t usually anticipate movies at all).  I mean, Carter, Rickman, and Johnny Depp?  In a musical?  It’s like a wet dream come true for me.  What could possibly go wrong there?  Don’t ask because I still can’t speak about it without getting choked up.


Back to Burton.  He is creative and bizarre with more than a dash of disturbing. I have never cared for Alice in Wonderland, so I am looking forward to his rendition–as long as he’s resolved his father issues.   Again, it has Depp, Carter, and Rickman in it.  How could it possibly go wrong?  I am a bit worried about the 3D effect because I get nauseous from that, but I know they’ve vastly improved the technology in the last twenty years.

By the way, I just have to say one thing very quickly about the Oscars.  For some reason, despite my lack of interest in most pop culture, I watch awards shows.  I DVR them and zip through all the boring parts, but it’s still tedious.  I think this is the last year I will even do that.  Here’s my observation.  Every time a new presenter came onto the stage, I said (out loud), “Who the fuck are you?”  I had no clue who half of them were.  I haven’t seen a single one of the Oscar-nominated movies, and there are only a few that even tickled my fancy at all.  The Hurt Locker is one of them.  Up is another.  A few in the foreign flick category seem interesting as well.  That’s about it.  I like the idea of Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, but I can’t see it.  I have a hard time watching any movie with rape themes, especially if the rape is portrayed. Numb3rs, the one show I watch (though this will probably be the last season as it has lost its juice), had a child sexual abuse episode last week, and it wrecked me to watch it.

Anyway.  None of that is really related to today’s entry.  Except the child abuse part.

As I have stated before, I have a difficult time being nice to myself.  It’s easier for me to put myself down and to abuse myself, in part because it was what I was taught.  There is a small part that is cultural in that you say nasty things about your loved ones so no harm comes to them (from the gods thinking you’re being too full of pride).  However, when you get down to it, it just feels right to put myself down.  I have been doing it so automatically and for so long, it’s second-nature to me.  What’s worse, it feels wrong to be self-complimentary or to do something consciously nice for myself.

As my therapist has said, I am going to have to go with what feels wrong for the most part for now.  Which is disheartening.  Most of the conditioned responses I have learned are harmful.  I know that in my head.  I used them to distract myself from what was really happening, and physical pain was always preferable to emotional pain.  In addition, I felt that if I attacked myself first, it could preempt a more vicious attack from outside.

The thing is, there are now no longer any vicious attacks from outside–they all come from within.  I mean, yeah, my mom says shit and my father says shit and they aren’t exactly nurturing to my well-being, but…my father cannot molest me any longer.  My mother cannot force me to be her confidant without complicity on my part.  All the end-of-the-world shit that was so very real to me when I was a kid is now mostly in my head.

I have been in a shitty place lately.  Shittier, I should say.  And, I get tired of trying to fucking tread water all the time.   I feel as if I’m being attacked by friendly fire, so to speak (since the demons are inside my head), and it’s getting harder and harder to defend against them.

So.  I had the radical thought today:  What if I tried to friend them?  I am not saying that I should accept everything they tell me and give in to their demands.  That’s not friendship.  I am saying, though, that they might have some things worthy of being heard.  If I can strip away all the crap they usually attach to their attacks, I might actually be able to find something useful.  I mean, let’s face it.  I have done a piss-poor job of trying to eradicate them, so I might as well try to work with them to a limited extent.

How will that work?  Dunno.  Haven’t a clue.  What I do know is that trying to block out their words all the time is fucking exhausting.  In a way, it’s like how I feel about my mother.  I am exhausted from listening to her and trying to block out all the shit.  So, if I can find a way to strip her words of the heated charge, then maybe I wouldn’t feel so shitty after I talk to her.

Back to the demons.  They say:  You are a lazy fat ass who isn’t doing a damn thing with your life.

Instead of me trying to deny it or push it out or block it or whatnot, I could respond by saying:  I am at a crossroads right now.  I need to decide what I am going to do, and then I need to do it.

They say:  You are fat, ugly, and disgusting.  No one will ever truly love you.

I say:  I am working on being healthy.  I will focus my energies on things that make me happy and healthy.

In other words, I can try to redirect what they are saying.

Again, this reminds me of my mother.  For all the chatter she fills my brain with, I really only need to have one or two stock phrases to say back to her.  The thing is, I have to find a way to not become engaged with my demons or with my mother.  It’s a classic power struggle, and I cannot win by fighting head-to-head with either of them (the demons being a conglomeration and a single entity).  As long as I get upset by what the demons say or my mother says, I lose.  It’s easier said than done, of course, but what have I got to lose at this point?

Back to doing things that feel wrong.  There is a strong part of me that does not want to change.  Every time I try to do something positive, that part of me resists with all her might.

I have worked out a system in order for me to actually do something.  I think it’s sad that I have to go to such lengths to–well, let me explain.  When I start thinking about something, say, getting a cat (since it’s a fairly harmless example), I think about it all the time.  I think about the reasons I want to do it and the reasons I should do it.  Then, I write about it.  I talk to friends about it.  I do this for a long time.  After I flesh out all the possibilities, I make a decision that seems like a snap decision, but is actually a decision I have spent a year making.  Once I make up my mind, I fly into action.  With my boys, I spent a month looking at cats on  I spent hours looking at hundreds of black cats until I found the pair of brothers that I thought were perfect for me.  I decided to call the shelter about them.  This was a Friday night.  I saw they were going to be at an animal adoption fair the next day.  I went.  I had them in my house Monday night.

I was mentioning to my therapist that it bothered me that I had to go through so many machinations just to make a decision.  The last time I looked for a job, I had to tell myself, just update your resume.  You don’t have to send it out.  Then, it was, just look on job websites.  You don’t have to apply.  I had to talk myself into every step of the way.  My therapist said she actually liked that because it meant I had to make a decision, a choice, with every step.  Since I tend to be an all or nothing gal, it was helpful for me to slow down and realize that I could say yes or no at each point.

So, what’s brewing in my mind?  A schedule.  I work better with deadlines, though I tend to resist them with all my might.  I am a big fan of setting hour blocks because I can do most anything for an hour.  I also know that once I start something, I will usually exceed the time-limit I have set for myself.  So far, I have an hour block for writing fiction, an hour block for cleaning the damn house (it’s past even my lax standards), an hour for looking for a job, and an hour for working out.  Hour and a half on the day I do weights.

In addition, I really need to stick to a sleeping schedule.  I am so tired, I can’t think.  I don’t know if a sleep schedule will fix that, but it can’t hurt at this point.

11 Responses to Friend or Foe?

  1. I know I’ve badgered you about doing a schedule, but only because I truly think it will help. Part of getting overwhelmed is feeling out of control. With a schedule, you’re more in control of your time, your activities, and even if you need to adjust it here and there, you’re still in control of it. Example — bad night, need a nap? Ok. Use your cell phone alarm and set it for 1 hour. Crash on the couch with the boys and the dragons, and then you can get back to what you were doing. It doesn’t have to throw off your entire day, or your sleeping schedule in general, either.

    I think piecing out the relevant points from the demons is another way you can exert control. Being proactive is a good thing. Kudos. =)

  2. Schedules are very helpful. So is working with the voices as opposed to just trying to make them go away… at least as a stop-gap. This way you can trick them into thinking you’re not fighting them, and lull them into complacency before you bring down the hammer. (And yes, I know how mentally unwell that all sounds. Stick with what you know.)

    Aside from HBC’s singing, I loved Sweeney Todd (and I say that as a hard-core die-hard fan of the stage musical with the OBC). We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  3. Kel,, you haven’t been badgering me at all. You’ve suggested it a few times. I know I should be doing it. I just…haven’t. It’s stupid on my part to resist making a schedule, and yet, resist I do.

    I initially read your second paragraph as ‘I think piercing…is a relevant way….” Obviously, I need to get on that sleep schedule ASAP.

    Robin G., schedules. Yeah. I know they can be helpful. I work MUCH better on a deadline. And, I like the way you think about my demons. Lull them into complacency, and then, RUSTY PITCHFORK! Talk about mentally-unwell! Me and my rusty garden implements.

    Sweeney Todd, I haven’t seen the musical version, so perhaps my gripe with the movie should be more aimed at the musical? Yes, we will have to agree to disagree–if I can ever talk about it rationally.

  4. This all sounds really…well, sound, to me. It sounds like clear thinking about tough problems.

    Though I must disagree with you on one thing. Burton’s version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a crime against Roald Dahl, Gene Wilder, and all humanity. He should be forced to watch 27 Dresses every day for a year by way of punishment.

  5. Hi

    Just want to say Thansk for you words and understanding. Ooh you have an award to catch at my place (blog), Just copy and past the Sunshine picyure(if you want of course.

    Thanks Minna

    Mari G

  6. Betsy, I re-watched the first version before watching the newer one. Gene Wilder was brilliant, but the rest of the movie was wretched. Dahl himself hated it. The second movie (until the last ten minutes) was much closer to Dahl’s actual intent.

    As for my plans, yes. They are good. However, I have yet to implement them. Damn it.

    whabs, AIW had better rock. I had such big hopes for Big Fish, and they were all dashed within five minutes. Sigh.

    Mari G., any time. Oooh, an award! Nice, but I have to kind of laugh about the ‘positivity and creativity’ aspect. My blog may be the latter, but I highly doubt the former. Thank you very much, Mari. I will put it on my blog soon.

  7. I think the schedule idea is excellent. I also make to-do lists each night for the next day. I’m working to include at least one thing I want to do on each day’s list.

    I think your approach to the demons is also intriguing. You don’t have to make them your enemies any more, because they don’t have to be a threat any more.

  8. Choolie, yeah. It’s too easy for me to put off doing things because I have no set schedule. If I draw up a schedule, I will follow it. I just have to write the damn thing down.

    The demons: We shall see. They are being particularly nasty lately.

  9. I’m sure you’re right about the original movie, but we will have to agree to disagree about the new one. I went into it expecting to love it – Johnny Depp! Tim Burton! A book I read over and over and over when I was younger! What could go wrong?

    But I hated it so much, and I was totally done in by the scenes with Wonka and the “tribal” oompa-loompas. I felt the same way about that as I did when I saw the remake of King Kong and the portrayal of the murderous savages on the island. Just, seriously? It’s the new millenium and we’re still doing this shit?

  10. Betsy, oh I get it now. You just didn’t care for the new one. Fair enough. Yeah, the tribal scenes were not my fave, as well as the last ten minutes–hated the ending. So, bring on AIW!