Blog #8: This Sucks

Aghhh this one was pretty hard for me to get through, I’ve lost a good amount in the past few years, two of which were two of my absolutely favorite people. Neither were soft blows, and both were incredibly brutal to watch – life degraded and decayed these two so suddenly right in front of me, and there was nothing I could do. Or could I? I think so. I don’t know though. Shit is really hard. It was fucking ugly.

Every single time I see a picture I break down a bit inside. I went to the movies and a character had the same name as one of them. This past weekend one of my best friends checked on me after the film to see if I was okay… two hours later and that was the first thing that said friend asked. Said friend didn’t even sit near me, they saw no reaction. But they knew that these wounds still fucking tear. I’m spilled open, defenseless. 

I can’t even imagine compiling such an e-lit work for one’s own mother, I don’t know, I suppose that it’s therapeutic. I have pictures of my last moment with one of my two big losses on my phone, and I will never delete them, but I try my best to scroll past and      avoid them. I just found an old camera from high school, it’s crazy how much has changed in 6-plus years. Those two are ghosts in that roll. 

The pictures here are tender, joyous, and admirable. They represent simple slice-of-life joys and organized social activity based on – the photo. These photos were taken well before the digital camera boom, so I suppose that taking a picture was a cool thing, exciting, lively! An all eyes on us or me or them sorta thing. Now ghosts of a past.

I can’t even finish reading a majority of the text involved here, it pressures me to put my own – their own – horrors into words. That scares me. I still, more than two years later, wake up with a wet pillow whenever I dream about them. Sometimes I can’t see with any clarity when I open my eyes because I guessuppose that I cried too much. There is that search, neverending. Where some have the capability to obtain some sort of closure through creating, I have no idea where to search for mine. Fuck. You’re literally to my right, in my room. I can’t even look at you, guilt is a bundle of hard shit. 

I’m going to submit this, roll over in the opposite direction, and go to sleep. If you aren’t in my life when I wake up tomorrow, please don’t visit me in my dreams tonight. I’m not in the mood to run away right now. I just can’t take it.

Wrapping up October…moving into November!

Thank you Katie for kicking off our presentation series last week with such a thoughtful presentation of themes, and the current theory and research that informs your story building. What a wonderful first glimpse of the story world itself! I am certain that this work will cover new ground that broadens our overall understanding of sexuality and sexual identity, in ways that make space for new representative understanding, with inclusion as a primary value leading the way.

To change the subject

I don’t mean to spook you. Just a quick reminder that time is moving along at rapid pace at this stage. Time to put the pedal to the metal on this thesis research and writing engagement. I want you all to keep your focus on steady and timely MA thesis progress. Do not let up on the time and energy spent towards this large project. The big projects that matter are always accomplished incrementally – with your steady and regular concentration, input and attention. Remember that the research element of your overall MA thesis project must begin to be clearly integrated into your vision at this stage, and your work should reflect a clear understanding of “a knowledge context” outside of your own writing (on its own).

Our class slides from last week:

This week we will hear from Kefah about her progress, and then after, we will hear from Chelsea. Everyone: KEEP GOING!

Update

Had a productive week in terms of research and feedback. In terms of writing, not so much. Slowly making progress but it is definitely slow and I am putting a plan in place to kick it into high gear.

That being said, I did not meet me goal for the week. I was hoping to work through a chapter of a book/writing tool that I mentioned during my presentation last week. I have been working my way through it but haven’t completed it yet.

Going forward I want (need) to make more headway writing, but after a meeting I had yesterday I feel very confident and what I need to do and what/where within the novel I need to focus on.

Look forward to giving feedback tonight and connecting with everyone.

Blog #7: Just Another Week

Mood.

I really don’t have much to type about for this past week. This blog in particular I’ve waited on just because I really don’t want to think about the past week, I just want to look forward toward the next one. I had a bit of an extended ripple effect related to what happened to me last week, but nothing close to being as intimidating as that, but besides that I’ve been compiling digital resources to coexist with some more personal aspect of my writing. Events that I’ve lived through.

I have almost ten good pages, twice the resources as last week, and about three-plus good note pages (which are more rough draft pages than they are note pages). But yeah, just another week indeed. It went by fast, and it wasn’t uneventful, but I can’t recall much regarding the specifics of it.

One thing that is driving me nuts, actually, is that there are some quotes from professional wrestlers that I remember from certain interviews and/or documentaries that I’ve compiled and filed in my head over the past 17 years. The catch here is that I have to shift through them all to find them! For the most part I’m pretty good at catching them by skimming through them thumbnail-style, but for some I don’t even remember the interview or even doc sometimes. It’s like a Where’s Waldo maze. Kind fun, but that little stripe-fit guy can be a real pain sometimes. 

(there is a Waldo in the Lounge FYI ;))

The struggle is real

I’ll admit, I’m struggling. I never liked reading research, and so, in true Chelsea fashion, I didn’t start until yesterday. Plus, these weeks are going by too quickly and it’s starting to stress me out.

So, on to progress. I was able to skim through my sources and pull chapters that would likely be good, I was even able to rule one out. So, there is some progress and today, I’m going to lock myself in the library and dive in to all the research.

I have a presentation next week that I’ve at least been working on. I’m not too worried about the presentation or the semester in general, I have full confidence in myself that everything will get done. It’s just in the process of getting from start to finish, I take the longest, hardest way.

Starting today, I promise to get organized, get things done early and stick to my study plans better.

Trauma y dolor

These weeks I had the goal of reading about trauma, as I always looked for the meaning in the RAE and these are the definitions: 1. Emotional shock that produces lasting damage to the unconscious; 2. Strong and lasting negative emotion or impression; 3. Lasting injury caused by a mechanical agent, generally external. After this, I started reading the book The body keeps the score by Bessel van der Kolk. It has almost 800 pages and I said no way am I going to finish all that, but yes, almost.

Van der Kolk begins his book by talking about rediscovering the trauma and the mark that remains on people through the experiences of war veterans, who affirm that life is a narrative that stops and starts again, there are periods in a row, commas and all those punctuation marks that connect the story, but that trauma interrupts the plot, appear as a full stop in the middle of the most important sentence.

These veterans suffer similar post-war traumas, such as nightmares, flashbacks, and emotional disconnections towards their loved ones, at this point I thought of my dad, who served in the army for many years and I asked myself, he also has post-war trauma and that is why it was like that with us?». Well, X. Then, a powerful word DESENSIBILIZATION appears, this little word is a product of trauma and these two things result in the subject no longer trusting themself, having the desire to love or feel, but not being able to evoke anything, and the only thing one can show is anger or remorse.

The trauma and numbing feel like floating in space, without purpose or direction.

Trauma brings with it many things, including changing people’s perceptions and imagination, reorganizing how those perceptions are handled, and making people expose that trauma in different ways, through bodily pain, reactions, or violence. As an example of this, veterans could not hear fireworks or children crying, because they remembered the bodies of children killed by bombs in the Vietnam War. War is a misfortune that ruins life, but it is not the only one.

One piece of advice that caught my attention is “It is significant to find the words to discover what has happened, but it is not enough. The body must learn that the danger has passed.”

Something that also caught my attention is how in the ’60s the main treatment for mental illness was conversation, but over time it has been replaced by medication, as they are more effective and faster.

Although words are not everything, the patients took advantage of the tranquility of the night to walk, wander around the hospital and hold talks with other patients, demonstrating how the night and early morning allow them to open up and tell their experiences more easily.

What time can I open it?

Two statements left me thinking “Part of the suffering of the human being is related to love and loss” and “the main source of suffering is the lies we tell ourselves”, I still think about them.

Here is the part that connected me the most and made me more interested

The connection between body and mind

The theory says that the core of Post-Traumatic Stress is psychoneurosis, that is, the trauma has a physiological basis and I agree with them? 100%.

The book mentions that people abused in childhood often feel sensations (pain in any part of the body) that lack a physical cause since Darwin said that there is a connection between the intestines, the heart and the mind through the pneumogastric nerve. And yes.

In the Latin tradition, there is an internal «joke» that has to do with the mother and the flip-flop, since some Latin mothers solved everything with it, that is, hitting their children with them. I agree with reprimanding children, but not through physical abuse. I grew up normalizing that my parents hit us with straps, flip-flops, the cord of the rice cooker, with the broom handle, because that was their way of showing us what was right or wrong. However, I got to the point that when they hit me I no longer felt any pain, although the next day I had to go to school in my sports pants because the bruises could be seen on my skirt. I didn’t see it as bad until they hit me for being who I am, I stopped normalizing until I was almost unconscious and with a small break on my left cheek that had to be healed with 2 stitches. There and only then did I see that what my Latin mother did was not normal. I stopped doing it until I was 18 and showed that I could defend myself.

However, my body has some small repercussions. I tried to draw my map of pain and it is like this.

  1. What hurts me the most is my head, since I was 12 when I started with all my problems I suffer from migraines.
  2. My right shoulder, I don’t know why it hurts, but no matter how much they massage me, and apply creams for the pain, there I still feel those stitches that nothing goes away.
  3. In the lower back, the pain is there even if I am sitting, lying down, or standing and it increases when I think too much.
  4. My legs, more than pain, what I feel in them is an annoyance when someone touches them, I feel strange, it doesn’t feel like a pain but it almost becomes one. A few weeks ago I went to a spa and they were massaging my legs. I felt so bad I had to tell them to stop and the bruises I had throughout my teens came to mind.

All The What If’s…

A question roaming around in my mind the past few weeks has been : ” Can the process of theory be unintentional? Technically according to Grounded Theory, the answer is yes. Grounded Theory as a Qualitative Research Method is one in which the theory is developed through the data collected. However what I am specifically trying to understand is the unconscious collection of data vis-à-vis poetic memoir.

The writing process of memoir in many ways mirrors the data collection in Grounded theory which occurs in a cyclical manner. Both seek to gain perceptions and understand experiences, but the aforementioned occurs at an unconscious level. Similarly both require the researcher to focuses on a process or actions occurring over time.

Another striking similarity between the methods in Grounded Theory and iMemoir writing process is coding. Once a Grounded Theory researcher as collected data, they must begin a series of coding procedures: taking memos, coding of themes which have been extracted, grouping of codes into concepts and then into categories. The writing process of memoir, specifically poetic memoir involves some levels of the same coding process. The writer constantly visits and revisits specific memories and events that may or may not be linear in an attempt to understand their own lived experience. Even though the extraction process is initially an afterthought, the writer makes a conscious effort to make sense, on an individual level, of what has been produced. Furthermore, both memoir and grounded theory allow the focus to shift according to data. What a memoir writers discovers about themselves often changes over the course of their writing. The emphasis on understanding rather than explaining further implies that poetic memoir can be considered a valid form of grounded theory. In many ways, it can be asserted that Memoir, specifically poetic memoir is in Unconscious method of grounded theory that creates a pathway to consciousness.

In the next coming weeks, I will read up on more poetic memoirs and the possibly coding and methodology that they entail.

Not Much to Update On

I’m still looking for more sources. I haven’t gotten a chance to really look through them yet. Ideally, I’m going to use the 14-day challenge to help me with that. Yesterday was the first day and I was able to transcribe older notes into Bibisco.

The plan for today is to look through what I have and narrow down what I have. Once I have skimmed through summaries and abstracts, I’ll be able to print the ones I need and do a deeper read of them and start an annotated bibliography. That may also turn into creating scenes for my novel based on the research.

My main concern is tying the research into the fiction, I’ve never done that before and I don’t want it to ruin the novel. I am hoping that by writing scenes based on the research, it would flow easier into the novel. Also, I’m hoping that each source would equal one, maybe two scenes, that can be used to help build that foundation of the novel.

Took the Money & Ran

This past week has been my most successful one yet! Not only have I got some writing done, nothing stupendously major in size because a great deal of it consists of blanks that need to be filled in with research, but really the content is worthy of a pretty solid chunk. Like, a really good chunk, and it is the sort of stuff that sparks my energy mucho – so I can type it productively and time-sufficiently … when I get the chance to sometime within the next few days.

I planned on getting this portion done this past weekend to show it to my Independent Study professor ASAP, but a very frustrating circumstance occurred that really fucked me over as much as it fucked over my productivity. Sorry for mixing blunt execution with vague context, but it is one of those kinda situations (I’ll gladly explain in person).

I have acquired and annotated a good number of articles, with great, no … excellent aid of my Independent Study professor. Some really interesting stuff that will aid me certainly with the more beyond, deep in the past, sorta historical stuff that very well influenced the wonderful art sport that my thesis revolves around. Two of them being articles (one quite lengthy) titled “Roman Arena: A Monument to Culture – and to Barbarity” by Stephen Bonnycastle and Whig Kingston, and “Spectator Consumption Practices at the Roman Games” by Yuko Munowa and Terrence H. Witkowski. Oh, and a book (that I have yet to dive into) titled Death and Renewal by Keith Hopkins.

Unfortunately the Kean Library did not have that book, I think it was stolen because it showed up in the system, so I had to snag a used copy off of Amazon. It didn’t break my bank, comparatively. I have also read some of my ideas and bits of writing to my peers, all of which have given it glowing comments that really lifted my mood – and the visual components that I am thinking about adding (despite being kinda primitive and not superb artistically) were awarded praise of personality and relatability, so yay!

Going forward I am a bit distraught by the unfortunate circumstances that occurred over this past weekend. Many bad people exist unseen, and can attack from great distance. Shit sucks. I am still motivated to move forward.