Monthly Archives: November 2013

Sexual fantasies and changing faces part 3

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The second theme that has emerged from my book interview last week is far more painful and problematic for me. It is related to my appearance. As well as thinking/ acting like I am asexual- I hold a deep seated belief that I am so ugly I will never be loved by a man that is not a git. I am so physically repulsive to people that any ‘normal’ guy wouldn’t touch me with a barge pole.

I am not saying I don’t have body dysmorphia- maybe I do- but in my mind I also feel I have evidence for this belief. I was born with a facial disfigurement- not genetic- just a freak thing in the womb. I have an abnormally wide distance between my eye sockets and a flat nose. I have had two lots of plastic surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital, unfortunately my first one was not until I was age 11.

Society does not like difference. Be it skin colour, waist size, red hair… And I feel my heart has paid a heavy price for my difference. It is not something I very often talk about and I joke about some of my afflictions- I have never joked about my appearance- it is far too raw for me.

I also confess, that I am hugely judgemental of other peoples appearance. I look at some people and think they are so minging- how comes they’ve got a husband. However, I judge myself far more harshly.

I can’t tolerate looking in the mirror. I find my face repulsive. I am not a self-harmer but sometimes I have to work very hard at not scratching my face to smithereens. I think it is some of the reason I struggle with de-personalization disorder, I have cut myself off from my body. If I’m out with friends and a man even looks at me- I automatically believe they are doing it for a bet to see if they can pull the ugliest bird in the room. (No wonder I’m single).

I fully realise there are thousands of others with worse disfigurements than I. But that doesn’t change my experience. Again I would never be able to share some of what has happened toe as a direct result of my appearance. My appearance (or my attitude to it) ruins my life. But I’ve got to change.

In the summer I went to a wedding of a young woman who has he same condition as me. Her husband is completely besotted with her. The difference between Sarah and I is that she has an inner belief that she is beautiful. When someone makes a comment about me- I die a little inside as I agree with them about my ugliness, my unattractiveness the certainty of my spinster future…

The time has come to nail this bastard. I’ve got to change the way I think about my appearance. People will have their opinions- they don’t count- my one of myself does. So what do I do… Help!!!!

Penelope wants me to work in opposite action. Go for a makeover/ photo session. I cry at the thought. My fear is that the photographer will refuse to photograph me. But I need to think of a plan.

Secondly, I have contacted the charity Changing Faces. I have known of them for years but have never made the call. Well, last week I did. They offer a psycho-social model specifically for working with facial disfigurement. They acknowledge that it doesn’t matter about the severity of the condition the only criteria is the effect it has on my life. I have an appointment with them on monday.

I am shaking. I’ve got to get on the tube which doesn’t help- but the thought of walking into this environment is slightly repulsive to me. I have been looking at photos of people with similar conditions to mine- I physically gag at the sight. To associate myself with that, feels impossible- but I do think specialist help could be useful.

I know with my head that beauty is in the eye of the beholder… Beauty is skin deep and all that jazz. I long to know that with my heart and be able to treat others with that attitude. I may well remain single for the rest of my life- however, I have the possibility of remaining single but knowing I am beautiful- no one can take that from me. This is one battle that I really need some help with.

It’s amazing what an interview about sexual fantasies can bring up!

Thanks for listening.

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Sexual fantasies and changing faces part 2- I always thought I was asexual

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For most of my life I have carried the weight of these ‘myths/ beliefs- (whatever you want to call them) firstly, that I have no sexual desire at all. When I talk about sex to friends ( not that often) I always say- “I haven’t had sex for 20 years and if I never have it again I wouldn’t be bothered in the slightest”. And to be honest, that hasn’t necessarily changed but it has been challenged.

I have never had an enjoyable sexual experience. I have had more awful experiences than I will ever recount. Life is easier, more simple, even more pleasant without it as far as I am concerned. If I never have sex ever again, my life will not be the worse for it.

However, what has been massively challenged in the past few months is whether I ever actually have sexual desires. Previously, if I had to I would have described my sexual orientation as asexual. I don’t find men attractive, I don’t find women attractive. I am sexually dead. Sometimes I might try and think about having sex with a man in a pink shirt in a walk in shower- but that never has an effect on me- it just seems an interesting thing to do if I ever did have sex. But I had an encounter a couple of months ago that rocked that belief.

This was one of those incidents that at the time really knocked me. It was so strange- bordering on surreal. A door-to-door salesman came to my door- a young very attractive ex-offender- and to cut a long story short, he asked to have sex with me. Somehow, almost miraculously I managed to get him out of the house and not succumb. But unbelievably for me… I WANTED TO! If it wasn’t for the fact I didn’t know when my lodger was due home, concern that God would obliterate me and also that my legs needed shaving- I might have done it. OH MY WORD THAT IS SO OUTRAGEOUS FOR ME TO ADMIT! Physically I felt attracted to a man- I actually had to resist the encounter. I have never experienced that before.

My notion of asexuality was challenged to the core. Having to face the thought of maybe I would want/enjoy sex is rocking my core beliefs. Hear me right, I have no desire to have sex with random people. I still feel complete by being celibate. The difference is- just maybe I’m not as dead as I thought- maybe it’s just dormant???? GOSH, this is shocking for me! I need a cup of tea!

Thanks for listening.

Sexual fantasies and changing faces part 1

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Last Thursday I was interviewed for a book. By a proper published author. She came to my house, put on her tape recorder and interviewed me.

The book is about the sexual fantasies of English women. A friend of mine met the author and thought I might be a good subject for her to interview! (That in itself is most probably another blog post!)

I agreed to the interview principally for two reasons. 1) why not? And 2) it does not need a rocket scientist to work out that it was going to stir things up for me- but I know I could take it to my DBT sessions as material for processing! I do really think life brings up those things that need bringing up at times. I want to be free and if that means facing painful stuff – so be it.

Don’t panic, I am not going to blog about my sexual fantasies- you will need to read the book for that. But two significant themes came up for me- that I need to plough through in my sessions and life. For the sake of brevity I will blog about each one separately- even though they are inter-related. As I realise there can be too much of a good thing in one go!

Thanks for listening.

The need to catch up

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I am very aware that I have some catching up to do on here! A few unfinished strands. I hope to rectify that in the next few days. I have much to tell about my Russian trip… Updates on my ‘selling my craft’ sagas and some of what is going on currently for me. I really love blogging. More to follow…

Thanks for listening.

Best laid plans and all that…

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My house mate is away for the weekend. My instant reaction to the news was- yippee!!! Not because i don’t like her- but because I can sleep later on Saturday! The central heating and hot water controls are located in my bedroom and every morning the 6am ‘click’ wakes me up… So frustrating! When I live alone I put it on when I wake up- but that’s not possible when I have a lodger.

Last night I skipped up the stairs to bed. I turned everything off… Put on extra warm pyjamas to make sure the cold didn’t wake me up- turned other stuff off and envisioned a good long sleep… Alas no…

2 hours later I was awake with abdominal pains… And continued to wake at regular hours throughout the night… I am wiped out!

Yesterday in DBT with Penelope we were discussing the difference between pain and suffering. We cannot change pain- but we can reduce our suffering by how we respond to that pain. I can’t change the fact that I didn’t sleep very well and have been awake since the middle of the night- but I can choose how I now react to that. Instead of being upset that my lie in was spoiled- I choose to accept that it didn’t work out as I would have liked- no big deal. I move on. It makes for a much more pleasant experience!

Thanks for listening.

View from a helicopter (subtitled when the worst happens and you’re still ok)

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I am back from Russia. It was eventful, inspiring, humbling and a bit scary all rolled in to one! I will blog about my trip at another point- as I have come back and hit the ground running in terms of challenges and growth opportunities!

Before I went away I made the decision to book some dates for me to try and sell my home made crafts at Christmas/ school fayres. I didn’t blog about it at the time- but suffice to say, the decision sent me well a d truly into emotional turmoil. On prodding I think this was because

1) my dad was a market trader and there is something in me that was trying to recreate something of him by going back in to my old stomping ground

2) I recalled that as a child helping dad on my stall I would find myself desperately hoping that people would buy his merchandise as I couldn’t tolerate the guilt or fear of my dad not having enough

3) my own personal attachment relationship with my the items I create. I feel shame at charging appropriately for my stuff- have been driven to mortification if a comment is m are that it is too expensive- therefore I under sell/ give away my work… Also if people don’t buy my stuff (mainly people I know) I then struggle with feeling rejected… And then the cycle continues.

All of this erupted in one of my sessions with Penelope- I was so upset I reverted to a very old behaviour pattern for me and I just went missing for a few hours- I just drove and drove and I’m still not entirely sure where I was for that time. (Thankfully, that doesn’t happen very often at all).

My following session Penelope and I tried to find the balance. My black and white thinking would have me choose- don’t do any stalls then or you’ve got to sell everything… With Penelope I think I arrived at about a 50% balance… I don’t need to sell my stuff to eat- I do like making the stuff and I don’t need 50 scarves of my own…

So on Sunday I had my first venture into putting my stuff in the public domain. I was SOOOOO nervous! Proper tingling fingers, wobbly legs kind of nervous (very unusual for me). As I drove to the venue I thought about something that had happened the previous Friday… A workman had been killed by a lorry overturning on the M25… He left for work and didn’t return… The worst that was going to happen to me was that I didn’t sell any of my stuff… No big deal in the grand scheme of things. In DBT speak- I was able to take the helicopter view- something that was so huge to me- wasn’t actually so important in the grand scheme of life and death…

I had a lovely afternoon at the fayre. I only sold 1 scarf- but I chatted with interesting people- knitted while I waited- and had a beautiful journey through lovely countryside. I was free to sell- free or to not sell… That was a wonderful feeling for me.

This week I’ve wobbled a bit with it. Panic has risen at times- but I’m working hard at remaining solid. On Friday evening my friend hosted an event for me to sell my stuff- I was really encouraged. I had a great evening and sold some bits. Thank you.

But yesterday the worst happened. I did another event and didn’t sell a thing. Not a sausage. The worst has happened and I’m ok. I survived it. It was a bummer… but nobody got hurt… I’m still breathing… I don’t have to feel any more disappointed than any of the other traders- it was not a personal slur on me… It was the event. I am panicking slightly at having lots of items left to sell and no future dates to do so- but I can work it out- without emotion pulling me into a prison. I recommend the view from a helicopter!

Thanks for listening.

Noticing the change

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I have a growing list of blog posts I want to write but since returning from Russia I’ve seemed to hit the ground running- but wanted to write this short post before I leave for work.

Nothing encourages me more than when I see how I’ve changed. The most motivating thing for me in this painful process is when I get those mainly small, but significant glimpses of me reacting/ responding/ acting differently in situations.

Yesterday I had a busy day at work and I had a evening at home. As I drove home from work I was anticipating getting home getting in to my pyjamas and not moving from my sofa in front of the TV. I was almost drooling with anticipation.

I got home went straight to my room to change. I noticed that my room did need a bit of a tidy (nothing like days gone by)… But I noticed the tug to get on to the sofa. What was so significant for me was that I could stop in that moment and realise that I didn’t need to rush to sit on the sofa. I could spend some time tidying/ faffing…

I’m not sure I’m fully explaining the significance- but it became clearer for me this morning. For the past few days I have woken before my alarm- and in my gratitude journal I have been thankful for doing so. This morning I realised how monumental this was for me. For years I would dread that moment of waking to the alarm- I would gingerly open my eyes and see if the black cloud was still around my neck… I would cry at being awake… Being awake before 9 was especially traumatic. Now I find myself grateful to be waking up before I have to!!!! How cool is that!!!!!

Last night- I had a glimpse that I could be home- but not have the need to be sitting on the sofa. I could take 10 mins out and still be safe, relaxed and comfortable. As it happens I didn’t have a night in front of the TV on the sofa- but what was amazing for me- was that I was ok with that. I could be at home but capable of doing more than frozen on the sofa.

I am grateful. Thanks for listening.