Thursday, December 29, 2016

Amnesia

It occurred to me this morning that the way trauma is stored in the body, you could literally get knocked on the head, forget your own name, and still have these fucking memories.  This is one of the interesting things about the Wolverine character: he heals instantly from physical wounds, but he carries emotional baggage from things he can't remember.

And what has been appearing for moments in past days is the feeling of being tortured.  It is an overwhelming feeling.  God has been merciful in creating the possibility of dissociation.  Dissociation is like becoming a seed with a hard shell, that can be blown from here to there, survive different climates, bouncing around, and stay intact for a very long time, with latent life within it, waiting for the moment to sprout.

And torture gets embedded on your nervous system not because of the physical pain, necessarily, but rather the realization that some other human being is CAPABLE of doing that to you.

In my own case, it is simply, I think, a feeling as a small child that I was both helpless and going to die.  Feel that ONCE, and the switch flips.  You might stop crying, you might seem calm, but it is because you went through a phase transition.  Your sense of self was radically altered in a moment, your capacities diminished.  You can deal after that.  It is like a permanent emotional anesthetic, but one which dulls the positive feelings as well, the sense of human contact and community, the sense of agency, of control, of a connection to the future of any sort.

I would stipulate as a general rule that anything you can feel, you can process.  In my own case, it will be letting that feeling through in small, small doses.  I already feel better.  I already seem to be working better. I can see what has always been there in the shadows, pushing me first this way, then that way, always in circles, always running and hiding, or fighting and raging.

And I look at who I used to be with some compassion.  I look at foolish things I've done, and they make more sense to me now. I see that I just didn't know what to do, and there was no way I could.  I was never taught either what to do, or how to figure it out.  I have figured all this out on my own, with great difficulty, and over a long period of time.

And I do feel at times what would now be called an epigenetic component to all this, which I think the Buddhists, a bit more accurately, would call the karmic component.  I feel my mothers distress and unresolved emotions.  They were passed down to me, in her genes, but also in her spirit, and in her behavior towards me.  The children do inherit the sins of the parents, rather, the terrors and sufferings they felt.

But through all this I feel coeur-age.  Heart.  If I was going to break, it would have happened long ago. I have both the habit of surviving, and the ability.

There is a point where even in a healthy person--perhaps especially in a healthy person--pain ceases to smart, and it becomes simply one more texture of experience, of intrinsic interest, a proper subject for curiosity.  This is the moment when real growth can begin.

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