Exile & Inventory.

My inner eye lighting
up thought as it sails
atop an ocean of emotions resting
within the impact crater
of experience, with imagery
residing just beneath
the water’s skin.

I dive on in, nearly
drown in my own reflections.

Is this me or just the luggage
that I’m carrying
or are they dragons in the moat
between a dope
and the castle holding
the treasures or tortures
of his truth?

If so, I will find a way across
the divide.

Yet in chasing after the answer,
striving to burn away all the lies,
am I striving to swallow the poison
the mercy of total confusion
always kept me
safely from?

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Inner Aliens, Ex Nihilo.

Recently I have been reading the words of Marlene Steinberg, MD, in her 1999 book The Stranger in the Mirror: Dissociation — The Hidden Epidemic.

It is an interesting book in general, but I read with intensity a particular chapter, Chapter 15: “Aliens from Inner Space: UFO Abductions, Past Lives, Near-Death Experiences.”

Here she conveys her hypothesis that alleged alien abductees are in actuality sufferers of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). The content of the abduction experiences are in actuality metaphorical screen memories of childhood trauma. These screen memories can play out in dissociative trance states in which hallucinatory externalizations of inner alters “alien” to the “abductee” host personality act out the aforementioned screen memories.

The strangeness experienced both bodily and perceptually throughout the alien abduction experience can, she maintains, be adequately explained by the distortions, illusions and hallucinations commonly experienced in severe DR/DP.

In her eyes, alien abduction experiences represent a double-dose of dissociation. Not only was the memory of the original childhood trauma dissociated from consciousness , giving rise to amnesia, but the memories themselves were subject to dissociation, giving rise to distortions, erasures and metaphorical manifestations of the root memory. Evidently the aim of the substitution is to reduce the emotional impact of the actual traumatic memory.

Though I have read the suggestion elsewhere before, the notion that transforming the actual perpetrator into an alien will somehow soften the blow of a traumatic experience still strikes me as ridiculous. To have a trusted figure abuse you as a child would certainly be a traumatic experience and a screen memory would be understandable. An alien abduction would not appear to be a choice cover-story if the intent is truly to lubricate the truth, however.

These “screen” experiences and memories are themselves traumatic on multiple levels. They isolate the abductee socially, for there is considerable difficulty when it comes to sharing the anomalous experience with others. Even if one accomplishes it, others may seem to doubt the abductee’s sanity or even subject them to ridicule.

Given the apparent reality of aliens, their telepathic powers and technological magic, the anxiety of uncertainty arises regarding the nature of reality on the one hand and the potential possibility of their utter fucking insanity on the other. There may also be identity confusion produced by the assertions of the aliens, who often claim to be ancestors or parents to the abductee, or who claim more directly that the abductee is “one of them.”

Despite this, I somehow manage to feel certain that had Steinberg read John Mack’s book, Abduction, she would have found only more support for her notion, particularly in the abduction cases which involved both past life memories and a “duality of consciousness.” This duality arises in some abductees who seem to be host to an alter that identifies itself as alien. It has distinct knowledge as well as memories of a life as an alien. It can sometimes even “take over” the body during an abduction and work alongside the aliens as one of them, or even switch on partially or completely during mundane life, as suggested by Budd Hopkins in his books Witnessed and Sight Unseen.

If she were to have read the other literature, especially the later literature, perhaps she would interpret the notion of transgenic children that represent a cross of both alien and human as a symbol of synthesis or integration. Signs that the barriers distinguishing the host and alter are breaking down.

Dissociation does not explain why the alien abduction schema explained so many other aspects of my experiences, memories and dreams, however, and how they relate to those of so many other people.

Many, such as Jacques Vallee, suggest that the answer resides in the fact that the UFO and alien abduction phenomenon are merely modern upgrades of age-old mythologies. Steinberg seems to agree when she writes:

“Carl Sagan … pointed out that the fantasy life of people has always been influenced by the prevailing cultural images in all times and places. When everyone believed that gods regularly came down to earth, gods were what people envisioned as fearsome otherworldly beings. In the Middle Ages, when demons were in vogue, it was incubi and succubi. Later, when fairies were widely believed in, it was fairies that were said to paralyze and rape human victims. Now, in the space age, when we are sending spaceships to Mars and have begun to think aliens might exist, aliens descending from space ships are the imaginary predators that people see in their dreams and flashbacks.”

Within the second flashback I had there was what only could have been dissociative distortion, for the tall, slim and “muscular” Gray alien by my bedside was devoid of a face. It was shadowy, contoured, but blank. If the true perpetrator was not the creature I saw plus a face I dissociated away, then the creature itself was a cover. If the intention is to substitute a known identity with an alien one, why replace the true perpetrator with an alien just to wipe the face of the screen memory clean?

Rather than merely an amnesiac gap of “missing time,” Budd Hopkins suggested, the aliens often create false or misleading memories. These screen memories that substitute for the real memories buried beneath amnesia. For the most part Steinberg could dismiss these alleged alien-imposed screen memories as she did with respect to an apparent memory of a deer tied to an abduction event: it was merely the hallucinatory exteriorization of an animal alter alongside alien alters.

What makes considerably less sense to me is how this fits into the first flashback I ever had. I encountered a frowning, wrinkly reptile-like alien who then looked into my eyes and after explaining some things telepathically went on to throw me into a “screen memory” cover story for our encounter, or so it seemed. He was now a grinning doctor in a white lab coat, holding a clipboard. He was working with scientists and he was here to give me a check-up. Most importantly, I feel, was the fact that he and his team were still clearly aliens.

He was not an alien, she would claim, but a screen memory for an actual human dick-head that traumatized me in my youth. I get that. Yet why would I double-wrap the true dick with fiction — so that he can safely fuck with my mind for the rest of my life, delivering all the implicit agony while protecting his identity in the selected distortion of explicit memory? Why would I have “nested” screen memories, both depicting an alien encounter?

My mother was oppressive as well as subtlety manipulative, but she never hit me, nor has my father. I watched my friends get physically abused by their father, but I was never physically abused. I have never been sexually abused.

I know I’m sensitive. I know I have dissociative tendencies, I have had what must have been hallucinations and its becoming increasingly less of a leap for me to fancy the notion that I may have an alter sharing my headspace, but all of this without a triggering mundane event in sight? All of this ex nihilo? Without rhyme or reason?

Thought-Scrabble in the Brain Fog.

In place of the mental clarity of adaptive cognitive dissociation, maladaptive cases are known for producing “brain fog” — a term seemingly synonymous with mental clouding and zoning out as well as feeling spaced out, detached, dumbed down or stuck inside one’s head. Cruising the net, the clearest definition I came across was on the website of the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation:

“Brain Fog is a lay term to describe fluctuating mild memory loss that is inappropriate for a person’s age. It may include forgetfulness, spaciness, confusion, decreased ability to pay attention, an inability to focus, and difficulty in processing information.”

In an aforementioned incident, while my friend Nick took me out driving in his new car for a few moments I saw everything in photonegative and felt rather “absent” at the same time. Evidently I also spoke while absent, but I could not tell you what I said. All I recall is hearing Nick say, after my senses returned: “Ben, what you just said makes no sense.”

Did I use actual words, or was it utter gibberish, just a dysfunctional brain verbally vomiting up alphabet soup, mere thought-scrabble in the brain fog?

In a strange coincidence, Nick (now my roommate again) was around for a more recent example. Him, John, Moe and I rented a cabin for the weekend and did some kayaking. As we were sitting around the fire one evening something unnerving happened, strange but not entirely unfamiliar. It should also add that I had quite a few beers and a sufficient amount of high-quality weed in my system at the time as well. It would be foolish to think this was not a factor in this particular case.

Regardless, I suddenly found myself saying something that made sense to me at that moment, but which I swiftly gathered from the emotional atmosphere was utterly nonsensical to the other three and no one knew how to react. I felt this as I felt myself distancing from the situation and myself, watching him (me) make an utter fool out of himself (myself) from a distant, pushed-up-and-back perspective. It only lasted a short time, but the embarrassment was painful and I couldn’t simply stick my head in the dirt, so I tried to ease back into the conversation when someone offered its distraction, but I was very conscious of, very cautious with my wording, and I spoke fewer words in general until I was confident I wouldn’t go stupid again.

In addition, yet again: I could not tell you what I said in what seems to constitute a DR/DP moment around the fire.

Eclipsing the Vessel.

Whereas derealization is simply dissociation from the world you perceive to be around you, it turns out that depersonalization is a rather loaded word. This is is dissociation from one’s “self,” with the issue being all that evidently falls under that category. As far as I have been able to discern, depersonalization is when you experience partial or total dissociation of the body, of cognition, emotion, behavior, memory and/or identity.

Dissociation of consciousness from specific parts of your body can lead to distortions or loss of body perception. It may seem as if parts of your body are becoming different sizes and shapes, for instance, as in my aforementioned experience of watching my eyes grow in the mirror when I was young. Conversely, it may leave a part of your body numb or even void of sensation altogether. You may even have the sense that its under someone else’s control if you are host to an alter. Consider dissociation of the hand. Ouija board experiences, automatic writing and automatic artwork could perhaps have some light shed on them here.

Right after the flashbacks my artwork, my writing, and even my handwriting itself changed dramatically. I let myself drift into this trance where I felt as if I sort if shared power with some other part of myself, where we worked together in a collaborative project. Sometimes the power would shift in my direction, sometimes towards the other part, but we both played a role.

The process of my writing was one of high-speed, coffee-fueled, uninhibited stream if consciousness. I would put my fingers to the keyboard and literally wrote whatever came to mind, as fast as I could. My fingers could hardly keep up with my rush of thoughts.

Essentially the same was the case with my artwork. I would simply begin drawing and the result would feel as if it were a collective effort between my conscious self and some other part of me of which I was only vaguely aware. They were highly detailed drawings done with a Bic pen and pastel works, both often depicting strange creatures with surreal faces. Hidden in the drawings were other images such as faces, but often things of a blatantly sexual nature as well.

I had gone into the art room when no one was there one day, as I essentially lived out of that room, and got a huge sheet of paper and drew a huge, detailed, grotesque face which I hung in the back of the room. Several periods later when I came into art class, the art teacher, Mrs. Lila, pulled me aside and told me that I should probably take it down, as several students had complained about something in the drawing that I hadn’t even known I had drawn. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten if it was a huge vagina or massive penis, but in either case the embarrassment and my prompt disposal of the picture would have been equally, unbearably profound.

Aside from sexual themes, the theme in many of these collaborative works was often that of duality: two people, faces melting in or out of one another, a creature with a homunculus in the head or the mouth. Sometimes there was a third eye in the Ajna location between and above the eyebrows, too.

Sometimes a creature would extend an arm in front of itself and look at it with amazement, confusion and curiosity, as if they are uncertain as to who or what they are. I have drawn this several times, realizing so only long afterward.

Aside from varying degrees of dissociation from specific body parts, there may also be a fixed sense of not being in the right body, of which I am also guilty. I had never met anyone who felt uncomfortable in their own skin in this all-too-literal way until a met a specific girl at work this year.

While she felt less like a lesbian and more like a man in a woman’s body, I feel only that I don’t fit right in my body. There is no difference sexually or persuasively in my case, save perhaps for the fact that at the deepest, most innermost core I feel like a sexless something stuck with the controlling impulse of the heterosexual man.

My “soul-wedgie” was from not fitting in this form; thats how it felt, like uncomfortable cloths. I cannot say for certain what I would fit as, however. She said that her aunt felt exactly how I described feeling, which made me even more intrigued. I was not the only one. There were at least three of us.

In addition to the degrees of bodily association described above there is the extreme end of bodily dissociation. Here you dissociate from your body as a whole, experiencing out of body sensations. This, it would seem, is evidently more my style.

Rather than merely extreme depersonalization, in my case it was also extreme DR. I did not just vacate my physical body, it seemed evident to me at the time, but the physical reality I experienced through that empty shell. What I instead found myself in we’re what appeared to be alternate realities. Some were near-duplicates of familiar environments, most often my bedroom, and then environments that constituted varying degrees of abstraction from those familiar environments. Dimensions would be wrong, there would be duplicates of objects, objects missing or added, furniture moved and colors different: that sort of thing.

Even in the beginning I worried that someone else might be trying, even accomplishing getting behind the wheel of the body while I was thrown into some alternate reality. I thought I was being possessed by some vile spirit.

Perhaps that “spirit” was a buried part of me. And those alternate realities were backdrops to false memories, home to an alternate identity.

Perceptual Anomalies of Derealization.

Derealization (DR) is sensory distortion — when familiar people, places and things in the world of the senses are experienced as being distorted, distant, foreign or unreal.

The experience of finding a close friend or family member unfamiliar or seeing them as an imposter, for instance, may be a dissociation between your sensory perception of that person and the emotions typically associated with him or her. You can see them clearly and you know who they are (or at least should be), but it doesn’t feel as if its really them, or they may not even feel real at all. The same would appear to be true with familiar places and objects that are suddenly foreign to a person.

The sensory field itself can also be dissociated from consciousness in whole or in part, giving rise to witness consciousness, pareidolia, negative hallucinations and positive hallucinations.

Witness consciousness involves the sense that you are a passive witness, watching reality from a distance. As sensory distortion increases, the mind struggles to make sense out of this perceptual chaos and pull the signal from the noise. Depending on the amount of noise, there are various degrees of projection that come into play in our perceptions.

The mildest is known as pareidolia, which could be defined as perceiving something that is there as something other than what it actually is. In the struggle to interpret vague, ambiguous sensory data, the unconscious imposes its own structure. We see faces and figures in clouds and stains and ink blots on cards. In such cases we usually know that the cloud is not really a puppy, of course, but in other cases we indeed mistake pareidolia for actuality.

We are sure we hear voices in the static, in the hum of the fan, in the record played backward. We see someone walking towards us from some distance away, convinced is a friend of ours — only to discover upon closer proximity that it is in actuality a stranger.

Mildly more vivid, perhaps, were also the “face-phasing” instances I’ve written of previously. The majority of instances of this face-phasing are relatively mild illusions that always seemed to occur with girls, and in all cases save for one they were women I was sexually and romantically attracted to. In that one case I was speaking in front of my class during my senior year of high school, in the midst of an anxiety attack, I looked at a girl I had gone to school with for years and her face seemed strangely different somehow. In the other cases the face of a girl I am currently interested in momentarily morphs into the face of a girl I was interested in at some prior point. Be it anxiety or sexual desire, it would appear that a common feature for this face-morphing is intense emotion.

Aside from pareidolia, other illusions occur during DR such as a change in the color intensity of objects, a sudden change in lighting. On various occasions my field of vision has gotten suddenly brighter, clearer, colors more brilliant and on others everything has had this dim, intense kind of overcast to it. This happens to me quite often, as a matter of fact.

I have yet to hear anything akin to an episode I had on two occasions in which my field of vision abruptly and temporarily took on photonegative qualities. The first occasion was on December 25, 2002, upon reconnection with my physical body proceeding a rather intense out of body experience. It was the only occasion in which I returned to my body after an OBE to find my eyes to be already open. The other occasion was shortly after breaking up with my girlfriend in 2005 (I think) when one of my roommates at the time, Nick — also my current roommate — took me for a drive in his new car. We were at some parking lot when I seemed to slip away for a moment, only to realize my vision was in photonegative.

In DR, it is said that objects may even appear to change in size or shape, though Steinberg notes that this typically only occurs in severe derealization, typically signs of a dissociative disorder. In other face-phasing cases, women I have been interested in have suddenly appeared incredibly ugly, as if all their faults (always the face) are suddenly highlighted and magnified in such a way that it inspires the most overwhelming sense of revulsion in me towards them.

As the distortion of DR intensifies, the mind keeps up the struggle to procure some semblance of coherence from the breakdown despite having a decreasing amount of hints keeping it hinged to and guided by objective data. Illusions give way to either total or selective hallucinatory phenomena on the sensory field. These can come in either the form of negative or positive hallucinations.

Negative hallucinations occur during hypnosis and its parallel, once known as hysterical blindness and now part of what is known as conversion disorder, is thought by many to be a dissociative disorder. In essence, conversion appears to selectively dissociate sensory data without filling the gap with compensatory material. You can look directly at something, for instance, and not see it.

In September of 2002 I had an experience that, in the half hour that it lasted, had me convinced I was going blind. I think I remember seeing a bright flash while in the kitchen at work, then a purplish blob like an afterimage. And then a blob slowly began growing in my peripheral vision, growing up and over, closing in on my focal point. As it grew it revealed triangular cells in its blurry form which began shimmering in rainbow colors. Eventually, after half an hour of terror, it stopped.

Though I had no idea what they were at the time, after a few more episodes I did some Internet research. In the end, it seemed clear to me that I was seeing “scintillating scotoma,” a common component of a migraine aura. It seemed equally clear to me that this must be what is known as an Acephalgic migraine, basically a rendition of the migraine auras my mother saw, only of considerably shorter duration and strangely void of the excruciating headache she experienced throughout the ordeal.

My mother’s migraine auras would play over the excruciating headache like a recording, a program that played the same way each and every time she had the experience. My own, on the other hand, have changed.

On one occasion I even managed to will them away through relaxing meditation and distraction. The meditation suggested, in the very least, that fear of the experience exacerbated the experience and relaxation broke the self-reinforcing feedback loop.

The blurs have also changed. The most recent instance of the blurs occurred early morning on Friday, June 15th of 2013, while I was at the tail end of third shift at my fast food job. All the visual contained was a serpentine blur that began just around my point of focus and then grew larger over the course of half an hour. More interesting than its placement was that the serpentine blur was rounded — it was eating its own tail, a symbol I know too well to be the orobouros.

My mother never found what caused her migraines, but she mentioned to me that she did not even prefer to talk about them, as when she does she often has one of the migraines shortly thereafter. All of this seemed to suggest it was psychosomatic.

Rather than a migraine of any type, this instead sounds much like what has been called hysterical blindness, and which now falls beneath the broader heading of conversion — specifically, converting dissociated emotions into hysterical blindness through the spread of the serpentine scintillating scotoma.

The most disturbing episode of the blurs was one that I “awoke” in the midst of, and when it was at such a peak that it entirely encompassed my field of vision. It occurred in November of 2002. The blur field was pure visual distortion, but I felt tactile things vaguely if I concentrated enough, though never exactly getting my bearings. Were these mere projections?

In any case, it left me considering the possibility that the blurs might act as a form of negative hallucination that provides a canvas for positive hallucinations — a subject I’ll ramble about when I write on depersonalization.

There is also the apparent selectivity of these psychological blurs and blinders to consider, however. In the kitchen at work in 2003, right before I was about to move out of my parent’s house for the last time, the blurs struck again. It began as a negative hallucination that blotted out the bottom half of a guy’s face (who’s lack of teeth I was trying to avoid looking at) and then devolved into the typical experience of the blurs.

The meaningful selectivity of the blurs in this instance and how they can evidently act as a negative hallucination makes me wonder if it also plays a role in other “perceptual anomalies” I’ve had — those that would certainly constitute positive hallucinations.

Positive Hallucinations, if you have yet to guess, are when you see something that is not there at all — something that may or may not be acting as a screen or masque concealing or replacing something that is indeed truly there.

In the laundry room in the back of the house my parents used to have a chest freezer. My parents slaughtered chicken occasionally and bought some stuff in bulk, so this was where you went when gazing at the contents of the fridge and freezer in the kitchen didn’t inspire the ol’ reach-and-grab.

One evening in maybe seventh grade or so I go in the back, lift the cabinet freezer door. As my eyes scan the contents, I suddenly see something that struck me as disgusting. Within a sealed freezer bag sprinkled with frost I swear I saw a full rabbit, dead, stripped if hair, its eyes closed and its ears swung back.

We have eaten rabbits before and it always bothered me, as most if them were pets and my mother once had around a hundred of them. I had always assumed that as with the chickens, they decapitated the rabbit.

It was not until some time later that something reminded me and I casually brought it up with my mother, who was disgusted by what she clearly took to be an absurd story, and even seemed to feel insulted about it. I cannot say for confidence that it was there, but I know I saw it clear as day just the same.

There are also two instances in which the face-phasing of pareidolia was juiced up to the level of a selective positive hallucination. Both involved mirrors and both were interesting in their own right.

There are quite a few things, for instance, which still plague me about the experience I had as my parents drove me home from the hypnosis session that eve of April 27, 1995. Looking into the rearview mirror from the back seat of the van I saw, in place of my father’s face the face of a Gray alien with wrap-around, almond shaped eyes. The skin or exoskeleton was not gray, however, nor were the eyes black. Both were of an iridescent, phosphorescent purple-blue color.

I’m forced to consider the realistic appearance of the alien reflection, the unearthly color, the way it would apparently need to fall into perfect synchrony with the movements of the true reflection it obscured. How consistent it was over the course of the ride home, how I did reality checks and everything else seemed to be normal, but as soon as I look in the rearview mirror on the dash, well, its all over. For there I see the reflection of a neon blue-purple alien in place of my father. Beside him in the passenger is my mother and they are talking. I have a funny feeling she would have noticed an abrupt shapeshifting in her husband of so many years. There is clearly no denying it was a hallucination.

Nor that the other event was a hallucination as well if not merely a vivid childhood dream. With that said, it did not seem like a memory of a dream but of a real instance. It was vivid and sensory rich, taking place from the viewpoint of a fixed first person position, and it began as abruptly as it ended.

I was in the bathroom at the old house looking into the mirror, perplexed because something I couldn’t put my finger on seemed off about my reflection. Soon enough it became clear that the issue was my eyes: they were growing larger and increasingly slanted.

My mouth hung open in amazement and in effort to confirm it was not merely my reflection but my actual face, I reached up my hand, watching its reflection move in perfect correspondence on its way up to my large, slanted, unblinking alien eye. Then I let two finger touch and slide across the skin on my eye.

If not a sensory-rich dream, this experience appears to represent DR/DP correspondence so complete that I watched myself with alien-shaped eyes in the mirror as I felt the slick, rubbery surface.

Deep in Soma Soil.

Will I forever
just end up back
where I always begin,

stripped
of all I gained,
memories fading
out of mind’s reach
again on this raped rights,
no mercy,
gunpoint drive
back to square one?

Spiritual cell dissociating,
compartmentalizing
as my inner eye
tries to hold tight,
keep sight

as its ripped away.
As I am ripped away,
left with a moat of missing frames
cut from the films of mine
such an eerie abundance
suggesting ancient reels.

All these parts of me
missing,
scrambled,
surely a disinformation stew
of half-truths and bullshit
between me and my third eye,
snoozing free of vicissitude,
hidden on the other side,

cozy in its slumber
deep in soma soil,

beneath amnesia,
dreaming to the rhythm
of these skipping
cycles of the skin,

hypnotized by the steady beat
of my feet as I run
in a path well worn into a rut
I must rise
from to integrate
the buried across the chasm,
to awaken.

A rut that I must
transcend if I am ever
to live a life
before it ends.

Dissociation.

In its adaptive form, dissociation is a transient division of consciousness, as if the mind were a mother cell capable of undergoing a transient, mitotic phase of consciousness. This dissociation results in two daughter cells that are capable of parallel processing. One is governed by the conscious ego, the other by automatic or autonomous programs. Adaptive forms are rare, mild or transient divisions that offer panoramic memory, clarity of the senses and mind and serve as a coping mechanism for stress, allowing one to function.

Paradoxically, the most typical forms of dissociation are triggered by association, the more intense the absorptive focus on the target the greater the corresponding decrease in peripheral awareness by means of dissociation. Take daydreaming while driving: consciousness has to separate into parallel processors with one part running on automatic programs and driving the car while the other becomes involved in imagination. Same thing with reading a book, watching a movie, or gazing a bit too intensely at a hot girl. At the more extreme end we have flow states, peak experiences and mystical experiences. All of these experiences are common and transient examples of dissociation due to association.

The function of dissociation does not require association, however, as one may experience when dissociative capacities are triggered during transient traumatic experiences or high stress circumstances. Active awareness need not pull itself away but may merely push itself back into Witness consciousness as autopilot programs pick up the slack.

While in mild states the dissociated daughter cell is automatic, in more extreme states autonomous, and in the most severe states an alternate personalities or “alter” develops. Chronic, enduring, or severe division brings on “brain fog” and distortions for the conscious ego, amnesia and flashbacks, and serves instead to produce of exacerbate stress or dysfunction. The more extreme, chronic, or enduring the stressful experience that triggered the dissociation, the more compartmentalized the dissociated aspect of consciousness.

Typically there is a distinction made between an individual dissociating from their sense of reality and an individual dissociating from their sense of self. Essentially anything sensed as exterior to the skin that is dissociated is a case of derealization (DR) or distancing from sensory reality; anything at the level of the skin or “deeper” (cognition, emotion, behavior, memory and/or identity, in other words) is considered depersonalization (DP) or distancing from one’s sense of self. Ultimately DP/DR seem to be convenient though arbitrary categories of dissociation, as they not only frequently operate in tandem but also go solo, and in either case often partially opposed to completely.

A side effect of maladaptive dissociation in DR/DP is what is conversion, a psychological function that acts as a means of discharging chronically dissociated emotions in an alternate manifestation. As the pressure of compartmentalized emotions (such as anxiety) increases, conversion offers a release valve by “converting” those emotions into consciously experienced physical symptoms such as numbing, blindness, seizures or paralysis.

Deadlines.

Braving the rapids,
approaching in time
— pedal to the metal,
ticking tempo rising —
a great fall
if it comes to failure
at mastering flight
by the time the plot to plow
the path falls away,

dead into the void, scattering
in liquid chards, abandoning us,
forcing us to grow the fuck up
on our own and bear

the terror of the unknown
with a serious playfulness
driven by curiosity
fueled by our questions,
boiling over with ideas
itching for application

if only on a crash course
with concrete,
always in service
to their next incarnation.

The Weapon (4/2/03 Dream).

I saw a lot about the war going down on television. They were always airing these stupid speeches by Bush in which he communicated nothing of value, only attempting to provoke patriotism. In these short, stupid speeches he would assure the viewing audience that things were going great, the soldiers were doing great. The news always seemed to be reporting on how he was going to Camp David for the weekend. It was all so redundant.

Then there was a drastically different kind of news on the war, but I first heard it through some strange girl who instant messaged me over the Internet. She told me that Bush and his troops were moving out from where they had been located. I knew this to be because of terrorists, but when I get a sense of what happened I see a cyclone or a hurricane or something involving violent winds and water.

As I’m downstairs, listening to the news, mom and dad begin pulling down our long driveway. Just then I hear on the news that the troops had pulled out because Saddam had used a very powerful weapon. It was a small, rectangular device probably not much bigger than a thumb. They said that very few people in the world knew how to use it.

The thing was, I not only had such a device but had been unconsciously fiddling with it in my hand while watching the news. I don’t believe I knew that it was a weapon or how to use it, though I did feel as though I knew someone who did.

When I realized what the device was, my immediate reaction was that I needed to hide it from my parents. I was going to hide it by the bannister upstairs but feared they might find it there. Before they came in, I decided to just stuff it in my pocket.

Seeds for the Divide.

Soon enough now
you will
come down off
your cloud
to rest soles
on relentless earth
again, breathe in magnificence,
free from the grip
that suffocates.

Here all this time
you felt
it all changing inside
of you.

Now it’s bleeding
through, leaving you strong
enough to conquer
a bigger divide.

With strength seething,
awareness seizing you,
awake and ready for its season:
a seed aching for germination.