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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Have you ever felt there was a fight going on inside you as to who you really are?

"Have you every felt there was a fight going on inside you as to who you really are?"

Flame Roses from the Red Nebula- by Stephanie Tihanyi
(copyright held by artist)

I read this line somewhere and thought to myself, 'have I ever not!'.
Actually all the time, for years since I can remember. So whats it called?. Identity confusion. A couple of words that mean a whole lot more than these two mere words. An experience that is so difficult to describe to anyone else, even if one where motivated to do so, which nearly always is not the case. Why?, because instinctively you know others have no reference of experience to grasp this experience themselves. Most are unable to comprehend it. Also you know it sets you apart from others and so is shameful and to be kept hidden for fear of being thought crazy or a liar who is making it up. Neither is desirable. Especially when you feel you need people and fear social rejection like I do.
It is my aim to examine and put into words this life-time covering affliction that is so difficult to describe. I do so for the very first time.

I do so firstly for me, because if tomorrow I get hit by a bus, something that that's been real and hidden about me will be stated in the real world for once. I have lived with a denial about half my inner life for so long, I hear the arguments in my head that its not real ie:, "just forget ta 'bout it", but I have come to the conclusion that if my experiences are not real, then most of my life is not real and I am not real and I know that this is not so. So what the hell, here goes,

I have always felt divisions in myself, deep divisions, like fissures or chasms, from where up comes unnerving anxiety. The anxiety is the fear that the chasm will widen and I will fall apart and disintegrate into it or its simply the realization that the separations may actually exist inside. These divisions are more than an the odd changing thought or emotion. They are all of that and more, each is different, each thinks, while being experienced, that's the real me, the complete me, that this is all of who I am, all my thoughts, my feelings and  ideas about things, dreams, what I find important in life, or not, how I experience life, the world, the people in it.

 This goes on until its replaced. Its replaced by another set, another completely different way of being. I know people say, "yeah but we all go through different emotions and thoughts about life, as life changes so do we ". Yes but for me, these different sets, or ways of being, don't change!. They each stay the same and separate, never merging or joining into a unifying conclusion!. There is never any conclusions. Year after year out, always. some places in me remain changeless, regardless of what goes on outside in my life.

Fortunately somehow I have discoverd I have a somewhat separate flexible part of me that manages to evolve enough and "re-configure" but its not without a lot of hard inner work, anxiety and struggle, juggling, patching, paste-ing and re-configuring on the inside, and all without letting any of this show on the outside, even to those closest to me. The last thing I want is for people who don't understand to think me as the freak I feel inside I am.

These separate ways of being, as I call them, don't have names or ages. I don't believe I have Multiple Personality Disorder, I don't suddenly find myself in a bar, dancing on tables in fishnets and high heels, calling myself Shirley or come to, babbling baby talk and standing in a pond lol!. I have never found a wardrobe of clothes I don't remember buying... (though, that could be fun, ..wouldnt mind that). I don't believe people can have more than one personality, but I do believe they can have one that is experienced as divided in varying degrees.

What I do have is:
A persistent and ongoing battle and conflicts between the different ways of feeling and being, especially in regards the best way to handle things, ie my life. sometimes a different way of being will "descend" on me in reaction to something that frightens me and that's usually a reminder or trigger of something in the past, some very strong emotions will emerge from something happening externally or internally. The different ways of being can be very contrasting from one moment to another. sometimes I can experience it like an observer, sometimes I am unaware. It is never  controlled or conscious but is fear driven, impulsive, sudden, like a knee jerk reaction. Its like feeling out of control, the last thought when changing from one state to another is, "Shit!, I got to get out of here". and then all the feelings and way I experienced up to that moment are gone, disappeared, receded and different ones are there. Different information, feelings, jokes, memories, and narratives, that was not there before. Sometimes I feel like, a rider, constantly jumping from one galloping horse to another.
Inner conflicts arise over what I am going to do today, how I will spend my day, I have several different "wants', goals , ambitions, needs. Each feels equally important, some are in opposition and I feel I cannot tell which is important, either or none of them. I constantly experience anxiety, because which ever one action or activity eventually gets done, instead of a sense of satisfaction or achievement, some parts of me feels cheated, ignored and sidelined. This results in feelings of self hate and self anger and identity confusion.

Since I have written this I have learnt about the effects traumatic experiences, PTSD, can have on emotional regulation from Dr Cheryl Arutt. Here is a link to an article on Douglas Ebys blog Creative Mind, with her discussing this issue and its effects on creative people.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Trying to catch the thread - poem

Detail from painting 'Spirit' -by Stephanie Tihanyi
(copyright held by artist)

Trying to catch the thread

Across the forest floor, in the slant of afternoon sunlight,
She leaves the door open, by the window, where the curtains move.
Caught bettween the worlds, these multitudes,
Whoses numbers are as blades of grass.

Too quick is the change, the crossing over, bettween worlds,
Trying to catch the thread, trying to remain in only one,
If only I could grasp the thread, stop the shift,
If only I could distance myself.

(Well you know, the kicker is the last line aint it?. The catch 22)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Inner Self Helper, Higher Self, continued

From Out of the Stone - by Stephanie Tihanyi
(all copyrights held by the artist)
The poem I wrote around  1986-9, I cannot remember the exact year. I am sure I had moved to Luton (my birth town) from Bristol. However I know the formations of the poem took hold in my mind, as early as 1984-5, while living in Bristol. It started out as a inner thought or feeling that I had slowly become aware of and that was emerging, A need to find who I really was, my thoughts about myself, feelings, perceptions, opinions about trying to define and have a cohesive and less nebulous concept about my identity. At that time my sense of self was ill defined, if it existent at all. Constantly shifting, contradictory, changing and shifting, intangible like spiraling smoke. I related and operated in the world like someone on auto pilot, stoned, dazed, unconscious, like someone in shell shock, numbed out and distant but super sensitive at the same time.
The poem starts with an observer walking past a derelict structure, a house? a crumbled derelict ruined house. They stop to watch a magical entity or being slowly emerge and take form from the cracks, stains  and shapes in the crumbling plaster and bricks. Years later, I understand the Jungian interpretation of house in dreams and the unconscious, is the self, the personality. Mine felt ruined and neglected, but now out of it, something marvelous and magical was emerging, something like an Angel. I say Angel, which is strange because I consider myself in no way religious at all. This alien being comes through silently, without word, unannounced, no birth cry, its not being born, its emerging, like it was always there, always existed, hidden, never manifested (to the conscious, the conscious self) before. What was happening is something quite beautiful, mysterious and sublime. The twelve stars about the head strangely alludes to some sort of biblical reference, also is, "the woman clothed with the sun" in Revelations. I was mystified over the Christian imagery, as I consider myself pretty much an athiest or at least agnostic, least thats what I tell myself. Never baptised, neither parents ever went to church. I always have thought and felt myself more comfortable with  scientific and logical thought than anything else, with a big distrust of religion. Yet I live unaware or un- aknowledging of this deeply spritual side.  Clearly, this experience demonstrates an existance of a higher self or higher power that somehow I am connected to. For the first time, I got a glimpse that there was something divine in me, some spark, I was not a ruined old shell of a person, there WAS something valuable in side me, even though I may not  always be aware of it, not feel it, or it may be hidden from me most of the time but I have seen it and it has shown me, that I should fight for myself, that I was something worth fighting for.

(The image is a detail from a small tempera painting on wood panel I did at the time)

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Emergence of the Inner Self Helper

The Aspects of the Self
From the Stone - Stephanie Tihanyi
(copyright held by artist)

The Spirit stepped forth from the Stone,
Emerging slowly, without sound, save for a chiming and tinkerling,
Like small glass bells or birdsong in quartz, echoing,
Small sparking notes tumbled and cascaded and pushed ahead into hard won spaces.

The queen of Sedition put Logic to flight,
in an empty lot of rubble and weeds, a derilict stone site.
Ripping aside the fabric of boundries, upon the infinite Mirror of God,
Altered forces stepped through.
Her many parts, reflections
A multiplicity of bright forms... and winged!,
Concisting of many elements,
both part and seperate.
Golden skin was silver sheened,
The aspect of the face, alien yet familliar,
The crowned head sprung twelve spining galaxies,
Bright suns.

Demeter-Sketch by Stephanie Tihanyi
(copyright held by artist)

I have often wondered what this poem I wrote meant. So here I have tried to analize my own poem. I realise I am writing this is in a detached intellectual mode, but thats all I got right now as these things dont all come together when you want them.
Any infomation is better than nothing I say, who knows I may get something in the future. So here goes.

The aspect (alter, covert or hidden undeveloped part of the personality), emerged from the stone (a frozen or arrested part of the personality).
Emerging slowly, without sound (unbidden, unexpected, without any prior knowledge of, unannounced as of course a split off part of the self would do).
The Queen of Sedition (a female authority archetype that has come to overthrow and upsurp, aided by the unconcious, the false conciouseness)
The fabric of boundries. ( a break in the partitions and intra-psychic walls of dissociation). Mirror of God, (not a pathology but a natural operation).
Her many parts, reflections, a multiplicity of bright forms- and winged, Concisting of many elements, both part and seperate, (Subselves, alters, self-states)
The aspect of the face alien yet familliar, ( the yet unrecognised and co-concious parts of the self)