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Surviving in Place

This afternoon saw an interesting confluence of events. First, I read an article that provided some clarity about my childhood, a fresh perspective on some of my adult relationships, and a better idea about my mental health needs moving forward. I highly recommend this article:

We’ve Got Depression All Wrong. It’s Trying to Save Us.
New theories recognize depression as part of a biological survival strategy.

While I was still digesting that, I received an email from my therapist. I had been seeing her for about five years. Then she had her second child at the beginning of 2020. The pandemic started before her maternity leave ended. We only managed a couple of telehealth sessions last year and they didn’t go very well, technologically. Now she’s leaving that clinic to start her own practice, but won’t be accepting health insurance. I’ve been meaning to seek out a new therapist for a while now but my work schedule makes it challenging. While I prefer working from home, both for my day job and my teaching gig, I do miss the quiet privacy of the therapist’s office with that wonderful white noise machine running just outside the door. Even if I lived alone, I’d still prefer the therapist’s office. There’s something so beneficial about face-to-face time in that private bubble. Some day we’ll be able to go back (though it’s going to be a while yet). Back to the Psychology Today article. A line in it mentioned a woman who, as a child, endured abuse by a parent by surviving in place. That hit me hard. I had no one to rescue me from what I endured. One parent dished it out while the other was completely absent/conflict-avoidant. Especially after my brother died. Looking back, I spent a lot of time numb. Dissociating and sleeping. Until making a break for it the day I turned 18. I disappeared into the city and spent many hypervigilant years looking over my shoulder. Therapy helped me learn how to be kinder to myself and to be proud of all I managed to achieve despite my circumstances rather than beating myself up over what I didn’t do.

Switching gears, Hayao Miyazaki is 80 years old today. He is responsible for some of my all-time favorite films. The ones I return to over and over again. And have shared with my son, who has the same affection for them. In a 2002 interview with Roger Ebert, they discussed the frenetic pacing of American animation, overloaded with noise and action. And the desire to quiet things down.

He clapped his hands three or four times. “The time in between my clapping is ma. If you just have non-stop action with no breathing space at all, it’s just busyness, But if you take a moment, then the tension building in the film can grow into a wider dimension. If you just have constant tension at 80 degrees all the time you just get numb.”

Speaking of Miyazaki, it was through him that I introduced my son to the French gentleman thief and master of disguise, Lupin, in the classic The Castle of Cagliostro. There have been many other Lupin iterations out there, but that’s been my favorite. Though this Friday there may be a new contender on Netflix, with the new live-action adaptation starring Omar Sy. I’m excited and hope my kid will watch it with me, despite the subtitles.

In other news, there has been a huge increase in violent crimes all around us. Sometimes at night. Recently, our snow removal crew was robbed at gunpoint while shoveling nearby. But also in broad daylight, according to the Citizen app (which I try not to look at too often). It makes me anxious about my regular neighborhood walks. But how much of it should I truly be worried about and how much of it is artificial? Just a mile or two away there have been documented ops to intentionally scare residents (longer youtube version) to call for more police.

Olive appreciates some sunshine
The trees in front of our home catching some sunshine
Blue skies with puffy white clouds are my favorite

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