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#5472 - 09/12/02 11:00 PM motivation=zero
ARW Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/02
Posts: 161
Loc: LA
I sent this as a private message to llyody and we both thought it would be helpful to post. This is a BIG problem for me:

lloydy,
you mentioned in your post to AMINUTS that you have experienced serious motivational problems. This is the first I've heard about it being connected to SA, and I'm sure it's common, I just am new to group therapy. My life is being ruined by this issue. I've hid in ajob overseas for years in order to not do much of anything without wife and friends catching on. I've gone bankrupt, neglected my kid.....on and on. In good therapy now and on anti-d's, but that one problem is causing me so much trouble still. I see nothing to help in the books, and my therapist is rightfully trying to prod me along at a measured pace. But I woory for my financial security, for my family, for my career. I can't break this deadlock. And I am, as far as most are concerned a driven, hard working person. It's driving me mad. Sorry to unload. Maybe I should have posted this as a topic. You seem so together and I just wondered if you could offer any insight.
-Al

------------

ARW
Is a 3 day delay in replying a sign of being de-motivated ?
I hope not, but it's a hell of a thing to put up with - especially once you move through recovery and begin to realise just what you can do.
For so many years, over 30, I thought I was stupid - so that's how I played it. I just coasted along and did the bare essentials. And it couldn't have bothered me too much. I never applied for promotions, didn't care.
I thought that was the way I was, I accepted it.
But know I know different, and I think you do to, we've discovered we have a brain that works. It must work ok to get us through recovery. And then we look around and think "that's not hard - I can do that" but we're frightened to try - and act surprised when we can.
The problem I found was that I was comfortable in my old persona, and it's bloody hard to climb out of a 30 year rut.
My job has now turned to shit, I'm a maintainence fitter and I loved the job, I like mechanical things. But now all we do is identify the problem and watch cowboy contractors get the work. So boredom sets in, I haven't done an interesting job for a couple of years. I can't leave 'cause I have 25 years service and pensions etc. So I'm stuck, getting bored, demotivated and depressed for reasons other than SA.
And now I've found it contagious, it affects me at home. All I want to do is sit and watch tv with a beer. And I hate it.
So with nothing more than will power I force myself to do things at home, I help here, I am on the committee of a 4x4 club, I'm going to do a night class. All these things require a commitment by me to other people, so I have to do them. When I backslide, which I can do, I feel bad, worse than I do if I sit on my arse doing FA.
That sounds so much like one of these crappy motivational tapes I know, and unfortunately there's no easy fix included. I wish there was Al.
But the fact is that if you are making a recovery from SA you ARE doing a great deal, and as the recovery gets easier then that energy and motivation will be diverted to the more "normal" things.
3 to 4 years ago when I was still working real hard on recovery I did nothing else, I wouldn't even shower some days and I work in sewage !! But I didn't let go of the effort I was using as things got easier, the truth is I couldn't have let it slip away completely because I found frustration setting in and I wanted to do things, and most times I can. But it still needs some intitial effort.
It's there Al, just waiting.
And yes, this will make a great post. It's something that I think affects an awful lot of us.
Lloydy

_________________________
In every cry of every man,
In every Infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear.
-William Blake

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#5473 - 09/13/02 03:25 AM Re: motivation=zero
Roy Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/02
Posts: 184
Loc: Los Angeles
Thanks ARW and Lloydy for posting this. I have struggled with this issue forever it seems like and I was oddly relieved to see that lack of motivation may be related to SA. At least that way there is a reasonable explanation rather than me just being lazy, which I know in my heart I am not. I have worked incredibly hard and reached goals in the past, but the past few years have been exhausting. I have so much to do to get my life back on track and I seem to make such little progress. Things keep getting put off to the next day, though I seem to inch along with something everyday. Al I sure know what you mean about fearing for your financial security. I am single with no children and it worries me. Must be really tough with dependents. My credit is shot to hell (used to have A1 credit, what happened?), have been unemployed for a year, desperately need to find something and I find it almost impossible to get motivated to put myself "out there" like you have to do when you are seriously in the job market. Lloydy I hope its true what you said about energy being devoted to recovery eventually going into regular activities. I have been working really hard on recovery stuff for the last year and it seems like I sure spend a lot of time just sitting around thinking (and feeling). Generally I feel overwhelmed and anxious most of the time, and so very tired much of the time. Any others out there struggling with this issue?

Roy


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#5474 - 09/15/02 02:53 PM Re: motivation=zero
RecoveringRyan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/11/02
Posts: 28
Loc: new york state
without feelings, how can there be motivation? without wanting something, desiring it, or lusting after it, all the things I was punished for being self or greedy for, where does the energy come from? what else is motivation?

I, too, have struggled with this problem over the past 2 years. And looking back earlier in my life, I have been able to admit that while I always thought of myself as very competent and hardworking, and I did keep myself busy continuously, I had severe mental/emotional blocks that prevented me from doing certain types of activities and kept my life totally limited to certain others. I am good at rapid thinking, high school math sort of stuff. If something gets too complex, I get overwhelmed. I need to finish many things to feel good, so a long series of small tasks is what I am mentally suited to do. I simply cannot do art, sing, dance, public speaking, be comfortable around >0 people, and many other things.

Since I fell into a depression 2 years ago, and began recovering 1 year ago, I have struggled with the motivational problem, because I keep wanting to get back on track and recover my old efficiency and effectiveness. I have begun to recognize that I am not going to get back on track, because that was the wrong track--it was a result of traumas--and I haven't found the new track yet. I also sit around full of anxiety for the present and the future, filled with self-hatred because I don't do more and for everything I did wrong or didn't do or do better before. “What the fuck is the matter with me? God, I suck."

I think the motivational problem and the new track, for me, at least, is one of depression, lack of emotional vitality, and of repressed but very powerful feelings of despair/hopelessness, weakness/helplessness/powerlessness. How many things do I reject out of hand in less than a split second before I even consciously consider them or already know in advance that it's inconceivable that I do this, with a repressed feeling of weakness, half-thinking to myself, "I can't do that." I can't. I can't. How many things would I like to do in the future, but a repressed feeling of despair is articulated semi-consciously as, "Yeah, imagine that! Imagine me doing that! Yeah right." Then, every time I start to get a little hopeful, I've noticed that I kill my own hopes. So, not only do I feel despair, but separately, I kill my hopes.

Depression, ie, being unmotivated, I think, although I can't fully accept this as anything other than a rationalization of my own weakness and laziness, is an essential part of recovery. Remembering and fully accepting all the painful, shameful, guilt-ridden feelings and memories into consciousness evokes or is accompanied by a state of reduced psychological energy. Freud wrote about depressives as being able to do nothing. It has been hard for me to accept, but I feel like I can do nothing. But when I do accept this, I feel not so bad. Like Lloydy, on the bad days, or weeks, I don't shower, I eat whatever I can get my hands on, I get out of bed when the pain of a bodily necessity makes it unavoidable. Employment?! The point is, this is OK. It's OK to be weak (the non-pejorative form of lazy) and depressed. These are the natural reactions to repressed traumas.

I think emotional vitality will be the solution to this, and I have seen some hopeful signs already. When I want something and am not overwhelmed by the weakness, guilt, shame, fear or whatever that inhibits me from really wanting it, then I have energy to try to get it. Last night I wanted sushi, and to get it, I did something I’ve never done before, which is significant, because my life is usually the repetition of the same routines over and over again. And to get it, I had to go through several mental blocks. But I did it. Today, I couldn’t do it, probably. Wanting something, desiring it, passion, emotional vitality, energy to power your heart and your mind. But, it's on the other side of a lot of pain, depression, weakness, fear, anxiety. I hope that what Lloydy says is true, and that’s part of what I’ve been telling myself for a while: as some of this gets resolved into accepted truths for which I can get closure, I will have spare emotional energy for something else.

ARW, have you checked out the writings of Alice Miller? She writes often about emotional vitality, including “Depression and Grandiosity” and “Depressive Phases During Therapy” in _Drama of the Gifted Child_, and “How Child-Rearing Crushes Spontaneous Feelings” in _For Your Own Good_. I have found a lot of help, insight, and inspiration for recovery from these books. Bibliotherapy-addict.

Lloydy, I never would have guessed your profession. I was beginning to form an image in my mind of you as a professor or something. Mike Lew wrote:

"Fourth, other male survivors become chronic 'underacheivers,' finding themselves in menial, ill-paid positions for which they are tremendously overqualified. I have seen male survivors who have several advanced degrees working in clerical or manual jobs because they felt inferior to people with far weaker abilities and qualifications. I'm not judging the relative merits of different careers. If an occupation is freely chosen, it can provide satisfaction. But if an individual feels stuck in a job that provides nothing but frustration and confirmation of his failings, the situation needs to be reexamined." p121, _Victims No Longer_

Ryan


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#5475 - 09/15/02 03:20 PM Re: motivation=zero
ARW Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/02
Posts: 161
Loc: LA
yes Ryan, I hear ya. I have mastered the ability to spread my time, energy and desire for avoidance across multitudes of tasks - some worthy, many meaningless. Done it my whole life and trying like hell to get focused now I'm in recovery. I'm much better now, but left on my own my inclination is still to do lots of nothing all day. And I resent any form of authority so no use taking orders from anybody.
I've read the Miller "Drama" but not the others. That book really helped me prepare for therapy. Gave me a good jumpstart on how to start healing. I'll check out the others so thanks. ;\)
It's a crushing feeling to know the past trauma is slowing us down, but only being able to remember little bits at a time. I still haven't had any kind of serious memories of the SA. I just have little flashes and know what kind of monster I was living with. What he was talking about doing to other kids and how much intimacy he had with my body and genitals. But that's it. Buried under a pre-historic ice block. Like the creature in The Thing. Afraid of what'll happen if it gets out I guess. Maybe Kurt Russell can come along and blast it into oblivion for me. \:D
You seem very well versed in psycho-theory. I'll bet you'll do great in therapy. Hope you get there.
-Al

_________________________
In every cry of every man,
In every Infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear.
-William Blake

Top
#5476 - 09/15/02 03:22 PM Re: motivation=zero
ARW Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/02
Posts: 161
Loc: LA
just re-read my post and noticed how I wrote my body and genitals as if they were two seperate entities, disconnected. Says a lot, huh?

_________________________
In every cry of every man,
In every Infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear.
-William Blake

Top
#5477 - 09/15/02 04:14 PM Re: motivation=zero
RecoveringRyan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/11/02
Posts: 28
Loc: new york state
ARW,

I still don't feel my body as part of me. And emotionally, I don't have genitals. I am fully clothed all the time, even when I'm alone, and I discover that my body is there when is purify it during showers. And my back hurts, but I usually ignore that. I live from the nose up: all in my mind. Don't even talk that much. To the extent that I do feel my body, I'm usually frustrated with it, why can't I lift more?, why do I get tired?

Alice Miller, Mike Lew, Laura Davis and Ellen Bass, and Wendy Maltz have sustained me for a year. I recommend all their books, 'cause you want all the help you can get, right? And it comes down to that insightful sentence here and there that gives you insight and emotional understanding into a whole part of your life. And they're a lot cheaper than more hours in therapy. And I can work on the problem continously. (I'm "the problem.")

Ryan


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#5478 - 09/15/02 04:15 PM Re: motivation=zero
RecoveringRyan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/11/02
Posts: 28
Loc: new york state
I put some thoughts about memory in my post in the "Comming to terms with my past" thread started by Fisher. I wanted to mention it here as a response to what you said so that I didn't leave it unreplied to, but I'm also self-conscious about the length of my posts, so I didn't want to re-post it.


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#5479 - 09/15/02 07:52 PM Re: motivation=zero
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
What Ryan, and ARW, have said about underachievieng in emplyment, and our personal lives made me remember the events that probably became the biggest kick up the arse I ever had, and it was all a very strange sequence of events.

I am dyslexic ( dyscalcuia, I don't do numbers - why choose engineering ? ) and have certain learning difficulties. So having failed my apprenticeship I bullshitted my way into my present job. I engineer by instinct, I enjoy mechanical stuff and have the practical skills so I have no problems.

But being an angry and frustrated person before I started to deal with my past I was always in trouble with my bosses, meetings became slanging matches and I had a reputation as a class A troublemaker.
We got a new district manager / director and she was warned about me, and on the first few meetings said very little, and didn't react to my ranting.
But one day I got a call and she asked me to sit on a focus group that was redesigning the companies annual staff survey. What the hell was going on ?

I went to the first meeting, nearly turned back, but went. And I felt like a fish out of water alongside her and another 8 people, all managers and keen "company people".
I thought I was the token worker and nearly left, the first meeting was somewhat strained. But I persisted for the next 12 months and attended the fortnightly meetings.

All this was at the time my acting out was at it's worst, and the meetings gave me the excuse to cover up.

But one day when I asked her "why me" she replied that although I was a well known loudmouth she recognised that I did at least think about and believe in what I said, whether right or wrong.
And that stunned me.

I also began to realise that the high flyers and managers were no better than me, they just had different skills. Ones that society for some reason pays more and respects more.
But despite my ignorance of my dyslexia and other problems I genuinly felt I could deal with these people on their level.

The realisation that I could do this task we were doing, and that these other people came to accept my views, opinions and skills - whether they agreed or not - as being valid views from me was incerdible.

For the first time in my life I felt valued for what I could bring to a situation and it made me think very hard about me, and what I could actually do. I realised I wasn't terminally stupid. All it was was a different set of experiences and learning that had created the impression, to myself, that I was thick.

About 6 months after the project finished I disclosed to my wife, by this time I was going about my old job fixing sewage treatment plant without ranting at everyone.

I was very lucky to learn my lesson in such a painless way, but it changed my life. Knowing what I could do made it so much easier to actually go ahead and try to do it.
Not everyone will be this lucky I know, but just coming to a site like this and acknowledging that you need help proves you aren't stupid or lazy.

If we try we generally succeed, and if we get knocked back by small failures ( and I hate to call them that ) we owe it to ourselves to put them in perspective and see that what we have achieved far outwheighs what we've lost.

Lloydy

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#5480 - 09/16/02 03:51 AM Re: motivation=zero
Roy Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/02
Posts: 184
Loc: Los Angeles
Hi everybody. Boy do I relate to this whole line of conversation. Although I got good grades in school, teachers always wrote things like "does not perform to his full potential". And because I got good grades, and have good people skills, I thought professional success would be a breeze. Wrong! Part of my problem is that I don't play the political game very well, saying what I really think and feel. Also I don't trust my ability to handle responsibliity, feel not good enough, etc. So I never go for the promotion or advancement, end up doing my little job really well but feeling resentful, which then I have to share with others and ..., well, you get the picture. Then when I finally make the big break and do something big to move myself forward by going to graduate school (with my therapist's urging, but before I was really ready) I get raped. Which leads to major depression, collapse of my false (but functional) self, bankruptcy, unemployment, family disruption, major losses, more depression, drug addiction, then finally a return to underemployment. Although in my field of choice, still uninspiring drudge work. The only thing that saved me was being able to work in mental health simultaneously, thanks to a supervisor who knew what I was going through and believed in my higher self. (Thank you Ian!)

You guys have reminded me that this is all actually normal for people like us, but I am really tired of it. I have been struggling with this for a long time now, really intensely for the last 12 months, but to a lesser degree for 6 years before that. Thanks to my wonderful sponsor (Thank you Alfredo!) I have really accepted the limits of my ability to control things and to ask for help, am about to embark on the 4th step, and know I am making progress. Maybe its time to spend more energy focusing on the practical side of life. How do you learn how to attend to the demands of emotional & spiritual recovery while managing everyday life. When I focus on one I fear I am neglecting the other. Lloydy, maybe you have some thoughts on this. I guess its about finding balance, but I'm not very good at that. Yet.

OK, thats all for now. Good night!

Roy


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#5481 - 09/16/02 11:33 AM Re: motivation=zero
RecoveringRyan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/11/02
Posts: 28
Loc: new york state
Lloydy,

You're a smart guy. Over the past few days I've gotten very excited because I know that I log on here and find out what you and Roy and ARW have to say and that it will be good and true and the faster I can soak it into my sould the better for me. I think what I'm saying is that I value tremendously what you bring to this situation. Your particular help is very important to me. Reading what you've written about yourself and the eloquence with which you write and the insight of what you say, it makes me think that your parents must have been especially horrible to you, in addition to anything else that happened. Any love at all from them or anyone could have made you feel even slightly better about yourself. The disparity between your self-image and the person I see through these words is very great.

I mean these words to be encouraging. If I've pissed you off, I apologize, and I'll stop.

Roy,
I succumb to a low self-esteem trap of measuring myself by years of employment, money made, years of education. Then, while I'm in this recovery phase, I have only emotional progress to measure myself by, and it seems insubstantial to me. What progress? But why do I need to measure myself at all? Why isn't it good enough that I'm feeling better now than 6 months ago when things were really bad? Why isn't it good enough that I feel good or bad each moment, each day?

Ryan


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#5482 - 09/16/02 06:09 PM Re: motivation=zero
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Thanks Ryan, I get as much back from this site as I could ever wish for, and I work at it because I recognise the changes I have made In myself.
And I will never forget the help I recieved from proffesionals, family and friends and other survivors. Knowing we're not alone means so much .

My parents weren't particularly bad at all, just very cold and distant. I don't doubt their love really, and I'm as sure as I will ever be that if they had found out about my abuse at the time they would have taken me out of the school. My mother was particularly fearsome and would have gone ape shit I'm sure.
But it was a house without affection and any displays of love, none of our huge family live close so I never saw my cousins etc, we had no immediate neighbours. So I had no lessons at all in normal family life. I was well cared for, clean fed and clothed, and could read well by the time I started school at 5. But I cannot remember affection, perhaps I'm being too hard on them or perhaps the distortions of time and my past have taken the memories away ?
( and no, I aint pissed off at all Ryan )

Roy
day to day motivation ? it's 10pm and the dinner plates are still on the kitchen table and I'm sat here talking to you guys and drinking wine.
That's the kind of stuff that I neglect to make time for what I find important, I'll load the dishwasher about 1am as I rush to bed.

What I lack is the ability to say "one hour for this and one hour for that" and I have too much stuff to fit into the hours. I know I do it but I can't control it. So it pisses me off and down I go until I do sweet FA.

Sometimes I feel I need a personal assistant, I asked my wife but she's apparently already doing it for someone........ \:D

Lloydy

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#5483 - 09/16/02 09:19 PM Re: motivation=zero
Roy Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/02
Posts: 184
Loc: Los Angeles
Lloydy, once again you have hit the nail on the head. That is exactly my problem, budgeting an hour for this and an hour for that. I have even tried setting the timer on my microwave to go off every hour to prod me! Maybe I need to have electrodes embedded in my skull or something. I need a personal assistant, too. I bet your wife has her hands full with you. ;\)

Many moons ago I was a clean freak. My house was hospital clean, the yard was perfect, the cars were perfect, but I was exhausted, sick half the time, and too "busy" to have much time for in-depth relationships. So I have gone to the other extreme during the last several years, aided by depression and addiction, but at least now I make time for people. You can always vacuum but you don't always get to spend time with friends. I just want to be more self-disciplined when it comes to time management, so I can move my life forward a little faster. I think I waste a lot of time thinking about things instead of doing something about it, whatever "it" is.

And what the heck is "sweet FA"? Is that some weird British colloquialism for fall asleep? :p


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#5484 - 09/17/02 01:41 PM Re: motivation=zero
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Roy
I'm doing what we're talking about right now, I should be doing stuff but I'm sat here, ok I'm not wasting time as such but the sun's shining so I should be mowing the lawn and doing this later.

And it's better than doing sweet fuck all ! ;\)

Lloydy

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#5485 - 09/17/02 04:11 PM Re: motivation=zero
Roy Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/02
Posts: 184
Loc: Los Angeles
Lloydy, you are just the best guy! Thanks for being you.

Roy


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#5486 - 09/17/02 04:49 PM Re: motivation=zero
ARW Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/02
Posts: 161
Loc: LA
funny chat with my shrink today. Told him I used to spend all my days and nights drunk and compulsively surfing the net for porn. Now I'm sober and spend a lot of my time compulsively surfing the web to be on this site. One small step for mankind, one giant step for my sorry butt.
Thanks for being here. You may not be as cute as Pamela Anderson but you're a whole lot better for me...I guess. \:D
lol
-al

_________________________
In every cry of every man,
In every Infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear.
-William Blake

Top
#5487 - 09/17/02 04:56 PM Re: motivation=zero
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Hey, what's the choice ?
just because I'm going bald, grey, and I have a beard , bi-focals and a beer gut. What's Pammie got to offer ?? \:D
Lloydy

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#5488 - 09/17/02 05:20 PM Re: motivation=zero
JamesMichael Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/24/02
Posts: 134
I think no matter what professional fields we're in, many of us have developed an artistic temperament. We're inclined to much inward-oriented thinking, fantasizing, and meandering because we're unconsciously, subconsciously, and now that we're in our forties, consciously preoccupied with figuring out what the hell happened to us and what it MEANS. It's a world we're comfortable in because we were relegated to what I have described as a transparent box just big enough for us to fit in and move our arms and legs about. Beyond this invisible box, just within reach, is where everyone else lives. I believe, however, that the lock to the door of the transparent box is both within it, and by extension within us, and outside of it and us. Finding the key to the lock is the problem. There is no one key. Struggling to be free of the constraints of the box through many inter and intrapersonal methods I feel the walls of the box themselves vaguely disintegrating. I hope to be free one day. Being a part of this community helps me to rub through the smoky/watery patina, cataracts that characterize the wall around me. It is a somewhat porous containment. Efforts are made on each side one to reach the other.

We're artists creating and recreating ourselves. It takes a lot of work. A lot of light.

(Tomorrow, tune in for "Pentimento," and techniques for painting over what was originally painted).

(I really admire so much of how honestly you guys are able to portray what ACTUALLY happened to you, and I think I'm getting better at it. However, I think there's a real need to be healed symbolically, since we really cannot grasp the entirety of what happened to us congnitively, physically, emotionally, etc. Hence, I tend toward [at least for the time-being] the abstract because it builds a bridge for me to understand what I cannot understand).

Thanks for helping me out of my box.

JM


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#5489 - 09/17/02 07:14 PM Re: motivation=zero
ARW Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/02
Posts: 161
Loc: LA
JM, can I have your box when you're done with it? Mine's musty as a pair of old socks. ;\)

_________________________
In every cry of every man,
In every Infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear.
-William Blake

Top
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