Once There Was A Great Storm

Once there was a great storm
Pushed my head beneath the waves
I was gone.

On this date, several years ago, a young woman took a boat out to sea and didn’t return. I have spoken about her before on this blog but I always mark this day in some way. I still miss her very much.

She almost certainly intended to die. The inquest verdict was misadventure but, knowing her past and the state of her mind, it is almost certain the she knew she was taking herself to her end. It was possible she was reckless but she was experienced with boats so she knew the likely outcome of taking a boat out at night in the particular part of the coast she chose to and in the weather at the time. She was in incredible emotional pain (physical pain too actually) and it does seem with the distance of time that she could only end that pain in this way.

We were incredibly close and had a bond that is difficult to describe. People frequently ask if we were in love. We were not in the sense that people are asking; the sense of a romantic relationship. It was never like that. Gender (and all other connotations) was completely irrelevant to out friendship. But we were very close and we loved each other hugely.

Despite the fact that she probably took her own life I have never lost the sense that she was actually killed by what some people had done to her a couple of years before. A truly awful and evil act. I have only ever told one person the full account of what happened to her and that was part of a therapy process to try to overcome long standing difficulties I had with the whole thing. I will almost certainly never recount the whole thing again. The fact is that following this awful event I was the only person with her for three days and nights. So she and I were the only people that knew the full awful story (and possibly her twin sister who died just over four years ago). I have felt terribly alone and burdened with this unexpressed knowledge. As well as beating myself up with a feeling I didn’t do the right things or I didn’t do enough. I have managed to move on quite a long way with that because of the counselling and therapy. I still have moments when guilt raises its ugly head but it is far better than it was. I still feel a massive sadness and I have not fully grieved for her.

Over the past few years I have found a new friendship with an acquaintance who was also a huge, very close, friend to both of the twins. Ironically that friendship came about by a very circuitous route and despite interference from someone trying to prevent it. I think it has been comforting for both of us because of the shared common bond.

There is another recent unexpected twist of friendship associated with this. Recently I was away from home having physical rehab following spinal surgery. It also gave me the opportunity to have a bit of a top up of psychological therapy. Whilst there I spent some time talking with another person there for therapy. I found myself telling her something of what happened to my friend. It wasn’t planned and I took myself by surprise. It isn’t something I would normally do with someone I had recently met. Because of this we found we had some common ground and it has led to a new and important friendship. Strange how the universe guides us sometimes. We spoke of synchronicity; there was quite a lot.

During the top up sessions I talked with the counsellor of how, now her twin sister has also died, that I like to think of them reunited somewhere. There energy enjoying the close bond they had somewhere. Somewhere out there I will raise a glass to you tonight K and S. Always remembered with huge love.

F’s Progress.

What do you do when your roots
Have dissolved and broken down
And the soil that you grew in when you were small
Has become nothing more than dirt in some dirty town

When you list all the qualities that you despise
And you realize you’re describing yourself
And breakin’ someone up inside
Is your only source of pride?

(Apologies to Hogarth et al)

Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats

This is a painting I finished this week. IMG_0089a Today is the 20th anniversary of the death of a very dear, beautiful person. She took a boat out to sea and didn’t come back. At some point, almost certainly by deliberate act, she went over the side of the boat. She didn’t leave a note. But she had spoken of ending her life several times before. Over time, I have come to think that the ambiguity of her death may have been deliberate on her part. Some time before something truly awful happened to her. She was a totally random victim of something evil. I have mentioned her before on this blog. But I have only once told the whole story of what happened to her. That was to a counsellor a few months ago. It is unlikely that I will ever tell the whole story again. It is too awful and people don’t need to hear it. Above all, out of respect to my friend it doesn’t need to be told.

I was the first person to be with her after this awful thing happened. I spent a few days and nights with her, reliving the horror with her and doing what I could for her. I am still haunted by feelings that I didn’t do enough or do what was needed. However much people tell me I don’t need to feel that, it is always there. I have been told that I have vicarious trauma because of what happened during those days. I felt a lot of pain and horror at that time. I would feel it a hundred times over if it would bring her back. But what happened to her made her very ill and eventually destroyed her. I have carried a lot of guilt over the years. The guilt that I feel that I didn’t do enough in the immediate aftermath. A kind of survivor guilt, as well, that is hard to explain. A strange kind of guilt that I have trauma about something that I wasn’t even the victim of. I also worry about the fact that, towards the end of her life, there was something I didn’t properly explain to her.

She was truly beautiful. She was physically very attractive but her beauty was much deeper and less definable than that. She was simply a beautiful person. She was kind, funny, hugely intelligent, vibrant, full of joy at the simple things in life. She was a loyal and very generous friend. She was a linquist. She spoke French like a native and that became her job. She lived a lot of her life in Paris. She loved Paris. And her friends loved Paris because of her. It was infectious. I didn’t go to Paris for many years after her death. This wasn’t a conscious decision. There may have been an unconscious block, I don’t know. But I knew Paris before I knew her. I went back recently with my OH. It is still the city she loved. But, perhaps more importantly, I was making new memories of the place with my OH. We had a great time.

I miss her often. I wish she was still here and that life wasn’t so unfair that she left us so early. So young and still so full of life. We were such great friends in a way I just can’t find words to adequately describe. People, including a counsellor, have asked if I was in love with her. I wouldn’t use that a description of our friendship. I think it brings a picture of romantic love. It was never that. We loved each other but only as friends. In fact, gender and all it’s associations was irrelevant to our friendship. Apart from one moment when she asked something. That is a moment I often wish I could turn the clock back to change.

She had a sister. A twin sister. Alike in many ways but also different in many ways. Two sides of the same coin. She also died fairly recently. My contact with her was more sporadic. But whilst she was alive I felt there was still some sort of living connection with my friend. When she died too I felt a huge sense of loss for the pair of them. Following the recent time when I went through the events of all those years ago with a counsellor, for the first time ever, I realised I have never actually grieved for my friend. There has been a kind of block. A block of not truly acknowledging she has gone because to do so would have meant acknowledging the full horror of her trauma. Now I have worked through some of that with a counsellor I am moving through that block; resolving to some degree the trauma. I know that grief is something that is going to follow. Belated grief but probably a very necessary process.

As I have said before on this blog, I find anniversaries very hard. Especially big anniversaries like this twenty years one. Making this painting was emotionally hard but something I needed to do. There were tears shed in the making of it. I also finished a portrait of her this week. Painted quite quickly and much easier, emotionally to do. IMG_0094a

Sweetness, I was only joking….(365)

I haven’t posted a picture from the 365 self portraits I did for sometime.

Like all of them, at the time I did it purely for myself. This one was a bit of an ironic joke to myself. There was a particular issue bothering me and then I listened to the Smiths’ song. Bigmouth Strikes Again.

Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking
When I said I’d like to smash every tooth
In your head

Oh … sweetness, sweetness, I was only joking
When I said by rights you should be
Bludgeoned in your bed

So, with the juxtaposition of the two things I shot this, as I say, meaning it to be an ironic joke. In fact, the thing that was bothering me was and is very far from funny. It centres round the lies of an ex that I have mentioned on here before. I was bothered that she had renewed her campaign of lies about me. Perhaps not renewed. I had just become aware again of an ongoing situation. The particular lies this addresses were the story she likes to put about that I used to beat her up. Two particular expressions come to mind. “He used to beat the crap out of me on several occasions.” and “He beat me to a pulp on more than one occasion”. These phrases paint a very specific picture. It just isn’t true. But it’s not a ver nice picture for someone to be painting. Especially to some of the people she involved. One of those people has since died. Before I had a chance to correct this picture. That saddens and angers me. Historically her lies have seriously impinged on long-term friendships. Which is also saddening and angering. Added to the additional sadness that these friends seem to have believed at least in part. There is also the issue that the liar was comfortable to say these things around these people.

I have attempted to address these lies with the person concerned. I have even cited these specific examples. She just says that she never said. (I know she did). You can’t even begin to deal with a person like that. Someone who knows that you know it is true they said them but just denies it. There is nowhere you can go forward from that. Although I do suspect that she no longer knows what is true or not. She has that ability, once a lie has been accepted or repeated, to believe it as absolute truth. She likes, also, to tell people I am totally crazy or mad. An easy target because, of course, I have had mental illness. But these are depression and PTSD. Crazy? At least I know what is true and what isn’t. It all calls into question a lot of other things. For instance, when we were going out she told me tales of abuse by a family member. I accepted this without question at the time but now I have to winder. More about that on a future blog.

There is another interesting thing. She threatened me, both directly and indirectly, with violence from her husband if I wrote things she didn’t like on my blog. Whether that actually bothers me is not the issue here. The issue is that SHE seems to think that violence is an option for her to use or threaten. It also implies very strongly that her husband is prone to aggression and violence. Under the circumstances quite an irony. I think that explains, to a degree, her need to demonise me.”Dark and dangerous” is also an expression she has used about me. Definitely a bit of projection going on there. This implication of his tendency is very much reinforced in documentary form from a different source on the web. A different but very damning source. I intend to use it in a future blog where I will deal with this catalogue of lies. It continues to affect my life and I have had enough of it. I will name and shame.

So, here is the ironic joke of a picture.

sweetness

“Never Let Me Go.” In Memoriam K

Yesterday I spoke for the first time ever about something that happened some years ago. About something that happened to a very dear friend. Something awful, beyond awful; carried out by people I can only describe as evil personified. For lots of reason I’m not going to go into detail here. I was involved in the immediate aftermath of this awful event and spent several days shut up with my friend. That was awful too. It has been suggested that I have vicarious trauma because of this.

Talking about it was hard. To do so for the first time after these years, I suppose it was always going to be. To talk about brings up the emotions from that time but also images of it all in my head. Some of the are too upsetting to contemplate for too long. There were only three people who knew exactly what happened to my friend in all the detail. My friend of course; she’s no longer with us. Life became too hard for hr and she left us. Her sister knew too and she left us through illness a couple of years ago. And me. Whilst her sister was alive, in some ways it felt like a burden shared even through we never discussed the actual event in detail. It now feels like a burden that is all mine and it has become time to deal with it.

Right now I feel emotionally and physically exhausted. It was a hard thing to do, to talk about it.

Very much in my mind at the moment is “Never let me go” a song by Florence and the Machine. Video and lyrics below.

Looking up from underneath
Fractured moonlight on the sea
Reflections still look the same to me
As before I went under

And it’s peaceful in the deep
Cathedral where you cannot breathe
No need to pray, no need to speak
Now I am under all

And it’s breaking over me
A thousand miles down to the sea bed
Found the place to rest my head
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go

And the arms of the ocean are carrying me
And all this devotion was rushing out of me
In the crushes of heaven for a sinner like me
But the arms of the ocean delivered me

Though the pressure’s hard to take
It’s the only way I can escape
It seems a heavy choice to make
And now I am under all

And it’s breaking over me
A thousand miles down to the sea bed
Found the place to rest my head
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go

And the arms of the ocean are carrying me
And all this devotion was rushing out of me
In the crushes of heaven for a sinner like me
But the arms of the ocean delivered me

And it’s over
And I’m going under
But I’m not giving up
I’m just giving in

I’m slipping underneath
So cold and so sweet

And the arms of the ocean so sweet and so cold
And all this devotion I never knew at all
In the crushes of heaven for a sinner released
And the arms of the ocean delivered me
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Deliver me
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Deliver me
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Deliver me
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go

And it’s over
(Never let me go, Never let me go)
And I’m going under
(Never let me go, Never let me go)
But I’m not giving up
(Never let me go, Never let me go)
I’m just giving in
(Never let me go, Never let me go)

I’m slipping underneath
(Never let me go, Never let me go)
So cold and so sweet
(Never let me go, Never let me go)

Lying Like A Hairy Egg!

I am about to take a short break. During which time I probably won’t post. But I will be using the time to write some difficult posts that need some thought to get them right. Difficult for a number of reasons including the fact they, largely, use someone else’s words. They will deal with a situation I have spoken about before on this blog and finally blow the lies of a lying person out of the water. The words of the other person are not just about disproving the lies. The say a lot about the person I need to debunk. Not just that, why it is they have this drive to lie about me.

These are not casual lies. They have had an effect on my life and relationships with people for too long. I am tired of that situation and no longer prepared to let it go. When someone is repeatedly unkind and offensive and dishonest with it there comes a time when you have to draw a line in the sand. For self-respect as much as anything.

Difficult too because, by instinct, this isn’t the way I would choose to do it. In such a dramatic way. But when you try and try and no other option is left open to you, ultimately, you don’t have a choice.

But it’s not just that they won’t undo the lies they have already told. They go on to tell new lies to new people. As I say, there comes a time when you have to draw a line in the sand.
Even worse they turn to a friend for advice on how to deal with my reaction to their lies. Except they tell a pack of lies to that fiend too. So any advice is completely invalid. Leave alone the attitude that drives that advice is coming from. The sort of friend who back in the day thought the serial infidelity of the person I am talking about was all terribly amusing and a bit of a lark because we’re all having such great fun. Oh what a lark and jolly fun it was when this person picked up a random stranger in a bar, minutes later took them home and shagged them and then had to look in their wallet in the morning to find out their name. Oh those were the days! It’s not such much that behaviour I am criticising, just the fact it happened whilst they were in a relationship with me. So old-fashioned of me. It demonstrates an attitude to other people and honesty in general.

Sociopath-Empath-Apath Triad

So, with reference to the image below. It is this that is so difficult when dealing with this type of person. The fact that they turn on you when challenged on their original offensive behaviour.
“How dare you tell me how I should act”. So they make you look like the bad person even if this involves gross lying. Usually they have got their warped version out there before you have told the truth because they rely on your natural tendency not to broadcast. This creates its own problem. Once people have been taken in by a lie they don’t want to see they have been. Because they will feel foolish to have been duped. So even when the truth is out there people don’t want to see it. So you become the bad person whilst the instigator carries on playing the victim and enjoying the sympathetic attention it brings. “Quite honestly I enjoyed the drama and being the centre of attention” was a comment made to me about this behaviour. Never mind that whilst your enjoying the drama you’re tearing someone’s life and sanity apart!

The other problem is that they turn to their friends for advice, having portrayed themselves as the victim of some awful injustice. Their friends give them advice to help with this terrible thing; but invariably the advice is actually wrong if not harmful to the overall situation. This is because it is based on a false situation. Like a computer, wrong information in, you get the wrong answer out.

Another big problem with this type of person. Once a lie has been believed, or worse repeated, by another person, in their head it then becomes absolute truth. They can’t be shaken from it no matter what is presented to them.

sociopath