Leila Raven Posted in General

I grew up knowing from early childhood on, some people, children and adults, that had the ability to be exceptionally cruel. It was tempting as I got older, into my teens, to see the world in the divisive light, of victims and perpetrators.  It was more tempting however, to try to see things in a way that moved above that dynamic. Otherwise I would have to perceive myself as always having been a victim, and at that point being beyond the ability to continue to cope in that role, would mean changing into a perp. I knew, that having learned at the hands of others, the skills to be an uber-bitch, to manipulate, to destroy with words, to find someones most vulnerable places and go in there for the kill.  That I would rather be the victim. I would rather turn the other cheek. That the only thing I could perceive of that would be worse than being the victim, would be being the perpetrator.  I spent a large part of my life, learning how to disentangle myself from that black and white dynamic. Struggling to avoid relationships and situations where I became a victim. Forcing myself not to ‘fight back’ when attacked by others, knowing that I could ‘win’ and ‘win’ easily, but that I would be hurting those others as much, or more, than they were hurting me.  Every once and a while, mostly in my 20’s, I would slip, someone would hurt me deeply and my wit would retaliate and thrust out bladed words, and rend someone. I hated those moments. I could see the shadows of the people in my past in my own being, and I did NOT want to be those people. I did not want to tear others down, rip them open, wound them. I knew that the biggest ugliest ripping never healing wound gets created inside from being that kind of nasty person.  I overcame my temper, I overcame that emotional overload that would back me into a corner and put me on the attack. I learned to quiet those voices.

For some reason, all through my life, even as a little girl, I’ve served as a confidant, people confide in me. People in trouble come to me for help. Hurt people come to me to unload. I became good at using the same insight into others to instead of manipulate and hurt, to heal, to help encourage growth and understanding.

It prompted me to eventually get my masters in counseling psychology. To be a therapist seemed natural to me. When I was doing the work, it felt ‘right’ like a calling. I worked with women who had or were in abusive/violent relationships. With people who had sometimes a long and horrible history of abuse. I’ve heard stories that even with popular television and horror movies, you can’t imagine. The reality of some peoples lives, is beyond my ability to understand how these women survived. It put into perspective the scope of my own issues and struggles. I became mesmerized by peoples ability to heal, to survive, to function, to cope, in the face of phenomenal adversity.  I had defined a role that rose above victim and perpetrator. I would not be either, I would be a healer, a mediator, a therapist, someone to guide people towards their own empowerment.  I also realized the best way to do this, was the most subtle way, the more the person I was trying to help felt that they were the person discovering, growing, healing, and empowered, by their own power, and not because of me, the better. The more empowered they were in the process, the  better for them. I would offer gentle prodding to help them find the way, but I would not be a trail blazer, I wanted to empower them in their healing and growth, they should be the shining star, not me. The credit for their process should go to them, not I.

Am I manipulative person?  Yes. I’m intelligent, I’m articulate, I’m compassionate, and like everyone else, I have agendas. My agendas usually have to do with wanting everyone to be happy and healthy. I joke with my friends ‘yes, but I only use my power for good’.  Am I a selfish person? I guess that depends on how you define selfish. I’m not materialistic, I don’t really care about money, I don’t really care about ‘power’, I care deeply about love, and happiness. I have a kind of buddhist/taoist approach to life and the world as a whole. I don’t believe the material world around you is what makes one happy, I also don’t believe that traditional concepts of ‘power’ or ‘success’ make one happy. I think happiness is found within, and has mostly to do with our interpersonal relationships. With love, and with a positive creative force. I used to find great joy in making art, and have BFA, in studio/visual arts.  The creative process brings joy, compassion brings joy, giving brings joy, bringing joy to others brings joy. I’m all about the joy.

In more recent years, with my involvement in the local kink community, I’ve had some struggles. I had a dungeon space that I was going to be using for my own personal/private business use. I decided it would be fun to have dungeon parties. I’ve been in the scene off and on for about 15 years. Most of the time Wolfe and I have kept a low profile. We would go out now and then to some of the parties, had made friends with some of the venue organizers, but mostly just enjoyed occasional public play. Most of my kink life has been more apart from the public community than involved with it. I’ve had BDSM interactions with many interesting people over the years, mostly from outside our community, mostly from outside our area/country.  I’ve had involvements with all kinds of people, sometimes ‘important’ people in terms of what society tends to think of as important, ie, material wealth, notoriety, power, etc.  One thing I’m often known for, more in some circles than in others. Is my ability to maintain confidentiality.  I have a lot of secrets, but none of them mine.

I don’t really have any personal secrets, in my own self, I’m an open book. I seem to end up often being the holder of other peoples secrets.

In the recent years in our kink community, because I started doing these parties perhaps, because my natural inclination is to try to help/heal others, I became very much a confidant for many people. I also became perceived has having some level of ‘status’ to some.  Something I really prefer not to have.  The problem with anyone putting you up on a pedestal, even if it is just one person doing so. Is there are half a dozen others with stones ready to knock you down.  It doesn’t matter that you don’t want to be there. The only way to get off is to totally withdraw from those both putting you up, and those tearing you down. All I want in life, is some joy, and to give some joy to others.  Sometimes I was put in some very difficult positions in our local kink community. I know a lot of secrets. Other peoples secrets. I know a lot of ugly things. I have a lot of insight into other peoples natures, their motivations and agenda’s. I know things that if  had become a perpetrator, and not a healer, could cause endless damage, hurt, chaos, and ugliness.

Sometimes it’s hard to hold onto all those things. The ugly things, the hurtful and hurt things. I try to let it flow, taolike, through and beyond me, these things I know are not me, they’re just with me.  It becomes hardest when under personal attack for something, to keep those confided things tucked away. It becomes hard because I know if I pulled them out for my personal use, I could ‘win’. I know it’s a false win though, and the real win comes from being true to myself and my ethics.  There are people who don’t know me, who think they know me, because others have told them about me, people have lied about me, and slandered me, and told stories that are not true. I could straighten out the truth and bring light and proof to those situations and show that that is not who I am, and that others have been deceptive, but in order to do that… I would have to break confidentialities, and I would end up hurting others. Some people would argue that those who have hurt me, ‘deserve’ to be hurt back. I disagree, I can see the ripples and ramifications from outing others, the bigger hurts it would cause.

Instead, I’ll hold the burden. I’ll let some people continue to believe ugly things about me. It hurts, but sometimes life gives you situations that you cannot heal.  Sometimes you are given the option, of victim, or perpetrator.  I’ll chose victim.

Lately, with my ill health, and with me being perceived by some as having some power and influence in our community. The number of burdens I’ve had to bear, has simply become too much. My fibromyalgia weakens my body, and my mind. I can’t sit zazen holding an overflowing cup of ugly drama. I can barely sit at all.
The only option for me, has been to withdraw. I’m tired.

On another note, I was worried I was losing my mind, but supposedly all the issues with my major brain drain are just some of the fun symptoms of my fibro…

Chronic Neuroimmune Diseases
Information on CFS, FM, MCS, Lyme Disease, Thyroid, and more…
Last updated April 19, 2007

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia Symptom Checklist

__x__ Fatigue, made worse by physical exertion or stress
__x__ Activity level decreased to less than 50% of pre-illness activity level
__x__ Recurrent flu-like illness
__x__ Sore throat
__x__ Hoarseness
__x__ Tender or swollen lymph nodes (glands), especially in neck and underarms
__x__ Shortness of breath (air hunger) with little or no exertion
__x__ Frequent sighing
__x__ Tremor or trembling
____ Severe nasal allergies (new allergies or worsening of previous allergies)
__x__ Cough
__x__ Night sweats
__x__ Low-grade fevers
__x__ Feeling cold often
__x__ Feeling hot often
__x__ Cold extremities (hands and feet)
__x__ Low body temperature (below 97.6)
____ Low blood pressure (below 110/70)
__x__ Heart palpitations
__x__ Dryness of eyes and/or mouth
__x__ Increased thirst
__x__ Symptoms worsened by temperature changes
____ Symptoms worsened by air travel
__x__ Symptoms worsened by stress

__x__ Headache
__x__ Tender points or trigger points
__x__ Muscle pain
__x__ Muscle twitching
__x__ Muscle weakness
__x__ Paralysis or severe weakness of an arm or leg
__x__ Joint pain
__x__ TMJ syndrome
__x__ Chest pain

__x__ Lightheadedness; feeling “spaced out”
__x__ Inability to think clearly (“brain fog”)
____ Seizures
____ Seizure-like episodes
____ Syncope (fainting) or blackouts
__x__ Sensation that you might faint
__x__ Vertigo or dizziness
__x__ Numbness or tingling sensations
__x__ Tinnitus (ringing in one or both ears)
__x__ Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
__x__ Noise intolerance

__x__ Feeling spatially disoriented
__x__ Dysequilibrium (balance difficulty)
__x__ Staggering gait (clumsy walking; bumping into things)
__x__ Dropping things frequently
__x__ Difficulty judging distances (e.g. when driving; placing objects on surfaces)
__x__ “Not quite seeing” what you are looking at

____ Hypersomnia (excessive sleeping)
__x__ Sleep disturbance: unrefreshing or non-restorative sleep
__x__ Sleep disturbance: difficulty falling asleep
__x__ Sleep disturbance: difficulty staying asleep (frequent awakenings)
__x__ Sleep disturbance: vivid or disturbing dreams or nightmares
____ Altered sleep/wake schedule (alertness/energy best late at night)

__x__ Depressed mood
____ Suicidal thoughts
____ Suicide attempts
____ Feeling worthless
__x__ Frequent crying
__x__ Feeling helpless and/or hopeless
__x__ Inability to enjoy previously enjoyed activities
____ Increased appetite
__x__ Decreased appetite
__x__ Anxiety or fear when there is no obvious cause
__x__ Panic attacks
__x__ Irritability; overreaction
____ Rage attacks: anger outbursts with little or no cause
____ Abrupt, unpredictable mood swings
____ Phobias (irrational fears)
____ Personality changes

__x__ Eye pain
____ Changes in visual acuity (frequent changes in ability to see well)
____ Difficulty with accommodation (switching focus from one thing to another)
__x__ Blind spots in vision

____ Sensitivities to medications (unable to tolerate “normal” dosage)
__x__ Sensitivities to odors (e.g., cleaning products, exhaust fumes, colognes, hair sprays)
____ Sensitivities to foods
__x__ Alcohol intolerance
__x__ Alteration of taste, smell, and/or hearing

__x__ Frequent urination
__x__ Painful urination or bladder pain
____ Prostate pain
____ Impotence
____ Endometriosis
____ Worsening of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
__x__ Decreased libido (sex drive)

__x__ Stomach ache; abdominal cramps
__x__ Nausea
____ Vomiting
____ Esophageal reflux (heartburn)
____ Frequent diarrhea
__x__ Frequent constipation
__x__ Bloating; intestinal gas
__x__ Decreased appetite
____ Increased appetite
__x__ Food cravings
____ Weight gain (____ lbs)
__x__ Weight loss (____ lbs)

__x__ Rashes or sores
____ Eczema or psoriasis

____ Hair loss
____ Mitral valve prolapse
____ Cancer
__x__ Dental problems
__x__ Periodontal (gum) disease
____ Aphthous ulcers (canker sores)

__x__ Difficulty with simple calculations (e.g., balancing checkbook)
__x__ Word-finding difficulty
__x__ Using the wrong word
__x__ Difficulty expressing ideas in words
____ Difficulty moving your mouth to speak
__x__ Slowed speech
__x__ Stuttering; stammering
__x__ Impaired ability to concentrate
__x__ Easily distracted during a task
__x__ Difficulty paying attention
__x__ Difficulty following a conversation when background noise is present
__x__ Losing your train of thought in the middle of a sentence
__x__ Difficulty putting tasks or things in proper sequence
__x__ Losing track in the middle of a task (remembering what to do next)
__x__ Difficulty with short-term memory
__x__ Difficulty with long-term memory
__x__ Forgetting how to do routine things
__x__ Difficulty understanding what you read
____ Switching left and right
____ Transposition (reversal) of numbers, words and/or letters when you speak
____ Transposition (reversal) of numbers, words and/or letters when you write
__x__ Difficulty remembering names of objects
__x__ Difficulty remembering names of people
__x__ Difficulty recognizing faces
____ Difficulty following simple written instructions
__x__ Difficulty following complicated written instructions
____ Difficulty following simple oral (spoken) instructions
__x__ Difficulty following complicated oral (spoken) instructions
____ Poor judgment
__x__ Difficulty making decisions
__x__ Difficulty integrating information (putting ideas together to form a complete picture or concept)
____ Difficulty following directions while driving
____ Becoming lost in familiar locations when driving
____ Feeling too disoriented to drive

…. This list is incomplete though, with urinary symptoms, it’s more like having a constant bladder infection for me, I get the urethral discomfort/pain, feelings of urgency.  I haven’t fainted yet, but I’ve taken careful measures to avoid fainting, when I start to feel faint I get down and I get my head lower than my heart, usually I end up leaning over the couch half upside down with my head spinning because I got up to fast and am working hard at making sure I don’t pass out.

In general, it feels like a whole circus of various illnesses wreaking havoc on my body, but I know it’s all attributed to the fibro.  The other thing that really bugs me that they don’t mention is I get itchy, my skin is really dry, and super sensitive. Sometimes everything seems to rub me the wrong way, literally clothes all feel prickly and scratchy, etc.

Okay, that’s enough victim role for me now, I’m off to lick my wounds, and hide from the game players by playing the only games I really like, scrabble, etc.

Stepping back

Leila Raven Posted in General

There’s too much conflict and crisis, drama and negativity in the BC kink scene right now. It seems inescapable and overwhelming.

My day to day struggle to cope with my illness, exhaustion and pain, is more than enough for me on the table stressor wise. I need to eliminate as much incoming stress and responsibility as possible, as my ability to cope is worn thin.  As much as positive support from some in the community has lifted me, it’s not enough to balance out what remains.

Over the last year, with my fibromyalgia I’ve really been robbed of the ability to top and to bottom. The kind of play I can do is very limited. My limitations seem to be growing, and my health does not seem to be improving at all. If anything it becomes more of a struggle.

It’s time to ditch the dungeon.

When we move, I won’t re-create it. If we have extra space it can go towards meditation space, and/or art studio. I need to focus on relaxation, and positive creation. In an environment that’s free of critics and crisis.

I don’t know if we’ll get involved much in the local island kink scene or not, maybe after a while, after a rest and a break from things.

I need to seek health, where I can, while I can.

Too Much

Leila Raven Posted in General

It’s a lot to process in my life right now. The puppies are 3 and a half weeks and so adorable, they are starting to play, wag their tails, and show some personality. They are so sweet and it’s going to be hard to let any of them go. There are lots more pictures on their site – Hug A Bug Puppies.

We went to the kinky swap meet pre-rascals party on the weekend, and sold a whack of stuff, but maybe only 10% of what we had. We’re thinking of having our own kinky garage sale/swap party in conjunction with a BBQ and potluck when the weather is a it warmer.

There’s a possibility someone may want to buy our house dungeon and all, and mostly furnished. If so, this would make the move so much less complicated. I don’t know how serious the potential buyer is, so we’ll see.

We’re currently readying the house for being put on the market. Well, Wolfe largely is, he’s busy painting and organizing and doing an amazing job. We have lots to do, but lots is getting done. I wish I could help more, but my fibromyalgia has me pretty much incapacitated most of the time.

I got out for some fun, shopping at Value Village yesterday, but then as soon as I was done shopping I was so exhausted and sore, that we had do just grab a bite to eat and come home. I had wanted to go do some grocery shopping and some other shopping, but it just wasn’t going to happen.

My weight seems to have hit another plateau, at 179lbs. I know it has a lot to do with how slack I’ve gotten with eating healthy, and because I haven’t been going swimming. I really need to try to get to the pool again regularly, it will probably help my Fibro ease up as well if I do.

The difficulty is getting motivated to do -anything- the fatigue, weariness, soreness, and generally feeling crappy keeps me wanting to curl up and avoid everything except for the simple distractions of the internet and the television, and of course, some puppy time.

I get very disheartened some times, and I try not to give into it. Feeling loss, anger, fear, panic, sadness, grief, etc, over the changes in my body and my mind because of my illness, is hard to process. If I let myself cry and grieve, then I feel better in some ways, but crying seems to trigger a lot of pain in my head, face, and chest. I try to avoid things that will exacerbate my physical pain. Though if I don’t process my emotional pain.. what then. It’s a hard balance. Cry a little, feel a little, but then disassociate from it in order to not have the pain, emotional and then physical, spiral out of control.

I think my greatest fear is what if I have something more than fibro going on? I’m afraid to lose more functioning, and to have more pain. It’s a struggle because none of the medications I have take the pain away, they may lessen it a bit, blunt things down, but that’s all. Thankfully I’m not dealing with narcotic medications at all.

It’s hard not to wish I was healthy and strong though. I could be playing with and enjoying the puppies more. I could get out and about more, I could be packing up some things and preparing/staging the house for the market, and helping Wolfe do some renovations. Instead I’m here, on my couch, feeling useless and frustrated.

I’m so glad that Wolfe agreed to breeding dogs. I have to tell you, those beautiful little puppies are the best medicine there is.