David Bowie experiences some major changes in The Hunger
Things are beginning to change around here, too. For one, this website is currently undergoing a much-needed facelift. Take a look around and see what's new! I'm also in the process of making changes to other aspects of my life. Almost every aspect of my life. But let's begin with phase one...
Recently, I took a small (but maybe not-so-small) step toward self-improvement by attending my first counseling session in nearly four years. Not sure why I've waited so long. That's the part that makes me feel crazy. It's funny what we can allow ourselves to become used to. I said something like that in my intake interview at Citizen's Counseling.
It all went down almost a month ago now. Arriving more than twenty minutes early, I decided to grab a London Fog at Cafe Fantastico. They make great drinks there, but this was the best I've had in a long time. Rather than hanging out at the cafe, I wandered next door to Citizens and sat in the waiting room--a place I used to know quite well.
It pretty much looked the same as I remember...cream-coloured walls featuring posters for upcoming group therapy events and yoga classes, comfortable (circa 1990's) furniture, side tables with stacks of magazines and plastic inserts with pamphlets. Your standard waiting room decor. For about ten minutes, I was the only one there, but then another character entered the scene.
At the risk of sounding judgemental, I will say that I kinda knew that this guy had an appointment at the BC Schizophrenia Society (which is in the same building as Citizens). He was slightly disheveled and fidgety, and looked a little like Vincent Gallo, which made me smile. He was quite friendly, and immediately struck up a conversation with me upon entering the waiting room. "How is your day going?!" He asked. "It's going well, thank you," I said. Then he asked if I worked at Citizens, which I found interesting and kinda sweet, for some reason. "No," I said. "I have an appointment." His eyes began darting around the room, but then he started telling me about how sometimes you wait for awhile, but that I shouldn't worry because they wouldn't forget about me. It was really sweet. After a few minutes, he got called into the BC Schizophrenia Society for his appointment. Enter bachelor number two...
A heavy-set man in his mid-thirties, with greying hair. I could tell he was new as he seemed a little unsure of whether he was in the right place. He sat down and our eyes met. I gave him a smile before reaching for a magazine. He smiled back, then said, "Is this where you wait for Citizens?" I said "yes," and that they would come get him as soon as they were ready. I felt like my assurance made him feel a bit more sure.
I like this place--this waiting room--these people. It's much nicer than the waiting rooms at the walk-in clinics where you pretty much avoid all contact, even eye contact, in order to avoid catching TB or death stares or whatever. At Citizens/BC Schizophrenia Society, there seems to be a feeling of mutual respect and a sense that you can relate to one another, not that you fear whatever they have, or whatever you have. You all look different, but you're kind of the same. It's comforting.
I think my initial appointment went well. Your intake appointment takes about an hour, and basically consists of filling out a questionnaire with a volunteer counselor and discussing what you'd like to get out of the whole experience. I felt comfortable with the person I talked with. She was around my age, maybe a bit older, and seemed to really get me on a level that made me feel OK. The two of us discussed some things that I had been curious about, such as making major life changes, repetitive mental patterns and ways to process and cope with trauma--it was super interesting! I kind of felt like a student again, and if you know me you know that I love school. Even though part of me dreads delving into the mental/emotional mess that I need to sift through, there's another part that is super excited and even intrigued.
As I hover near the top of the packed wait list for my first official session at Citizens, I find myself picking up on things--patterns--that I may not have noticed before my initial appointment. I won't bore you with most of it just yet, but I promise to bore you very soon with all the details. One thing I will note is that skipping blog posts in January has become a pattern. I find that amusing since I tend to find January to be a stressful, depressing month. I am now planning on taking myself on a little vacation every January. See, this counseling stuff is already working! I'm sure it won't all be shits and giggles, and some tough times certainly lie ahead, but I will do my best to keep you updated no matter what the case.
Until then, I'll keep reading, writing, watching and wandering, and might even come across something worthy of sharing...like this little shot I took from last night's wander in Fan Tan Alley (inside Victoria's iconic Chinatown).
Ted Bundy saved lives. I think. Of course we all know that he killed tons of people and had sex with their corpses, but he also worked at a crisis line in Seattle, perhaps quite literally talking people down from the ledge. Lately I've been teetering close to that ledge and have considered calling a crisis line, but then I picture Ted on the other end being like, "It's all good girl, you've got this! Now tell me, are you in a sorority?" Yes, I have trust issues.
Recently, I told James that I was considering calling a crisis line, and he responded by telling me that he had already called on my behalf and wrote down a bunch of resources that I might find useful. I think I looked at him and said, "Oh. Thank you?" It kinda got me thinking about what happens when you get caught up in something and everything else--everyone else--stops existing.
Now, rather than feeling guilty about this and getting down on myself, I'm going to give myself some credit. It's not as though I decided consciously that I was going to become caught up. I feel pretty proud for actually having the decency to treat myself well in this situation, because it's not easy. That's the thing about depression--not only does it make you feel like shit, but it makes you feel like shit about feeling like shit.
It's now the end of December, a time of year that tends to have people feeling like shit. Part of this is because the end of a year can get you doing this sort-of "year in review" thing. One thing I like to do at this time is to watch the annual year in review on the various sports channels. But what happens when you're the Cleveland Browns and not the Pittsburgh Steelers? Yeah, I had to get that burn in there. Haha. Honestly, though, what can you take away to make yourself feel better? For the Browns, they can focus on that one win--the fact that they did not go winless this season like many thought they would. In fact, the Cleveland Browns inspired me last week. Their win against the San Diego Chargers--watching them celebrate--got me thinking. Thinking about the small victories.
The Browns beating the Chargers meant nothing in the grand scheme of things; both teams were already eliminated from playoff contention and most people didn't care about the result. But what happened after the Browns' fluky win (yes, there was luck involved) warmed my heart. It was kind of like when the Grinch listens for the Whos' sorrow after stealing their presents, etc, only to discover that they were still celebrating despite their setbacks. That day, after defeating the Chargers 20-17, the Cleveland Browns celebrated. Hard. It was like they had just won a playoff game--maybe even the Super Bowl. It was strangely uplifting.
What really struck me was the emotions that the players displayed, particularly in the locker room. As I watched the players and coaching staff shed tears, I began to tear up. These guys worked hard all year and almost had nothing to show for it. In the end, this win was their Super Bowl. They deserved it and I loved that they were celebrating in such a big way. It reminded me of a podcast episode I listened to awhile back. I can't remember which podcast it was from, so that's not very helpful, but the host was talking about celebrating those small victories. For some, that means allowing themselves to get excited about that promotion they just got at work, for some that means being happy about finally finding that raincoat that both protects them from the nasty weather and looks fashionable (yeah right), and for others, that means just being happy that they were able to get out of bed today.
As the new year approaches, I am going to be careful about resolutions. Instead, I think I'll just work on the little things--appreciating what I've got and being proud of my accomplishments, no matter how small. Although the Browns won their game last week, they likely will not win this weekend against the Steelers (even though the Steelers are resting their best players), and I'm not holding my breath for finding that elusive fashionable raincoat, but I will continue to get out of bed each morning, and may even have more to celebrate soon enough. I suppose after mentioning a midlife crisis and small victories, it's appropriate that I leave you with some Faith No More. Enjoy! Happy New Year!
I've always loved tarot cards, especially the death card, and am excited to see various interpretations. Contrary to what I once believed, the death tarot card does not actually signify death, but rather generally represents an ending or transition. You will notice in the images above that the card in the middle is the only one that actually has the word death on it. That's because, long ago, it was thought best not to use the word as seeing it could trigger a feeling of unease. I find that super intriguing, because death is one of the few things that we all have in common. If you are reading this, you are going to die. For some reason not many people want to discuss it to this day, but I do, more so now than ever. Let's talk about death.
I think the first time I actually considered the matter was when my parents told me that my cat Rebel was "being put to sleep." I cried because they cried, but then I asked when she was going to wake up. Clearly, I had absolutely no understanding of euthanasia. It wasn't my fault, either. Nobody had ever talked to me about death. I probably didn't know that Rebel was ever going to die, and I certainly didn't know that I would someday meet the same fate. Now that "dying with dignity" is a thing in Canada, I actually might go out on the same note as my beloved Rebel. How fascinating! I just remembered something else. My favourite pet for a very long time was a bottom feeder named Brutus. I had a hard time finding him in the fish tank sometimes, then suddenly he would reappear. I later learned that the original Brutus died and my mom kept replacing him. I was at first shocked, then felt betrayed, then laughed because it's actually really interesting to think about how far people will go to avoid talking about death (or avoid disappointing their children, but that's a topic best saved for another time).
I, for one, think about death every day, and I probably talk about it every day, too. According to someone close to me, my mind generally moves in two directions...sex and death. He's probably right. No wonder I have such a strong connection to horror movies. In any case, I find it strange that those two things are probably thought about the most and are often the most uncomfortable to discuss.
Recently, I became aware of a relatively new phenomenon--the Death Cafe. I was immediately intrigued, so did a little research. Basically, a group of people gather to discuss death and the feelings associated while drinking coffee or tea and eating treats. How cool! The very first Death Cafe took place in London England in 2011, and Canada's first Death Cafe emerged in my home town of Victoria, B.C. in 2012. Today, nearly 4,000 Death Cafes have brought people together in at least 40 countries. I love this! Why should we wait until we attend a funeral to gather in the name of death and dying? If discussion breeds understanding, which I believe to be true, then why are we avoiding talking about the one thing we are all guaranteed to experience?
It's scary. I can admit that. It's weird to think that one day I will take my last breath, and I have no idea when that will be. It might be right now...or...now. Or later. But it will eventually happen.
I look forward to participating in a Death Cafe in the near future, and am considering organizing one. I'm also considering organizing a Sex Cafe, because that could be super fun and interesting as well. And potentially awkward and disturbing. Haha. But, honestly, awkward and disturbing are two things I find to be entertaining, so at least these cafes have less of a chance of being totally boring. Maybe I'll steal Samantha Jones' (Sex and the City) "Starfucks," but instead of a brothel full of hot men, it will be a coffee shop full of weirdos (like me) discussing sex. It could happen.
Circling back to the topic of death, I will leave you with Caitlin Doughty's TED Talk about the business of death and how much our culture's relationship with the dead has changed over the past century. She encourages us to be involved in caring for the dead, and not just through grieving. According to Doughty, "Death is not an emergency. You can take the time to sit with the person, hold their hand, tell stories." In closing, she says that "There is a gorgeous reality when you allow yourself to be closer to death." Hmm. I'd like to chat with my funeral home homies and get their opinion on all this. Until then, I will continue to wonder and won't fear the reaper. Or at least I'll try not to.
It was a dark and stormy night in Victoria, B.C. A night worthy of a good scare. And boy did we find it.
Monsters Haunted House (formerly Evil Acres) brings the terror to a new, nautical setting, this year. Being closer to the downtown core is proving to draw quite the crowd, and for good reason. If you are looking to attend one haunted house this year, then let this be the one. If you're prepared for enduring some legitimately freaky shit, that is.
Having experienced two previous haunted houses put on by these horror hounds, I kinda knew what I was getting into, but when some chick ran by me and my pals and out the front door seconds after entering, I have to admit that I wasn't feeling too confident. Yes, of course this horror vet made it through without diving out one of the "chicken exits" (which I actually don't even remember seeing), but not without some serious scares and a borderline panic attack (I'm claustrophobic). But that's exactly the kind of thrills I was after. It's what I crave.
Ever since I was a little girl, I remember loving the feeling of being scared. Whether watching Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger slice and dice their way through my favourite films, or reading Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark while huddled under blankets, I was a sucker for a good old fashioned freakout. And I haven't changed all that much. So when an opportunity comes to actually place myself inside a scary story, I tend to jump at that chance. And I literally did jump.
For those of you aware of Monsters Haunted House and the terrifically terrifying work that they do, you will be pleased to see some familiar faces in this attraction, but don't kid yourself into thinking you're a pro, because some shocking surprises await. This year's fear fest takes place inside a warehouse at Ogden Point, where the cruise ships rest. But Fear on the Pier is certainly not a place to rest, but rather somewhere to go with your friends and be temporarily transformed into a scream queen (this includes the guys, too) while venturing through the best parts of hell. This haunted house had me jumping, screaming, laughing and cheering all the way through--it was the most fun I've had in a very long time. I highly recommend that you grab some friends and $13 (cash only) and head down to Pier A at Ogden Point to live it up, October style.
Fear on the Pier earns a 10/10 for creating a perfectly creeptastic attraction that will have you hyped up for the Halloween season.
Monsters Haunted House Website
"No sluggard, be it known, can hope to catch grasshoppers with any degree of success." --Me--Smith, Caroline Lockhart
Good thing I have absolutely no desire to catch grasshoppers. Or do much of anything, really. Side note: how good is the word sluggard? That's me, of course, in the image above. Me and my cat, Rebel. It pretty much represents my current level of motivation. My mom has mentioned (on a few occasions) how I was such a quiet baby--that I didn't cry all that much and how I wouldn't wake them up in the night even when I pissed and shit myself. I would probably find those stories amusing if things were significantly different now. Alright, so I'm not pissing and shitting myself, but I might as well be.
Lately I've been asking myself some questions. Not the big questions--the kind that get you motivated to make changes and better your life-- the kind that make you wonder what the hell the point in anything is. Why do people do anything? Why do I do anything? What would happen if I just stopped doing everything? I know, I know. Dumb questions. According to Ice Cube, "To G or not to G is the question." I'll admit that that's worth pondering as well. I suppose anything is worth spending time thinking about if thinking means not doing.
I guess I don't have to explain, dear reader, that I've been actively avoiding this blog as of late. I wish I had a better explanation, but really I just don't want to do it. I'm such a baby. If sluggard didn't accurately describe my attitude, then perhaps adding the word petulant will help to sum it up. A petulant sluggard. Hah! I actually like the sound of that. Maybe I should have some fun and write down every terrible word I've been using to describe myself and make a game of it? Something's got to give.
I think that I might have to resort to my old writing exercises for inspiration, and revisit some old notes from my college writing classes. Either that or one of you is going to have to offer ideas, or at least a swift kick in the ass. Well, there you have it. A blog post published in September. This is becoming a very strange and shameful habit, posting on the last day of the month, but whatever. I actually don't care that much. It's kind of like that date you go on with the guy you don't like because you haven't been on a date in while and you tell yourself you should go. Then, of course, you regret going on the date because it wasn't good (just like you thought) and it didn't really make you feel that much better. But, yes it did, because it gave you something to talk about. This post is basically the dumb guy you shouldn't have gone out with, but it's ok. Maybe that great guy will come along soon. It better not damn well be on October 31st, though. I'll have plans. At least I better.
This photo was taken at the edge of Ross Bay Cemetery, my favourite place to escape to on a hot summer's evening. It's quiet and tranquil and people, for the most part, wear clothing there.
That's my biggest pet peeve about summer, other than the heat--nakedness. Shirtless men and naked feet irk me endlessly. Even worse are the countless shirtless shoe-less men who stare at you like you're supposed to acknowledge the fact that they're there. Believe me, I know. I'm just trying to pretend that I don't.
It seems that, for most people, summer is the greatest time of year. The time when they have the most energy and the most fun. For me, it's when I have the most frequent bouts of anxiety and the most difficult time picking an outfit. Also, it's a time of longing for those cold dark days when I get cozy in blankets and watch episodes of one of my favourite childhood television shows, The Little Vampire. Of course I can watch it now, but Rudiger just seems all wrong in the summer. He deserves the darkness, as do I. I'm such a goth kid at heart.
Having said all that, as I sit here in my jean shorts and sleeveless plaid shirt with my hair in pigtails, I cannot help but think about my favourite part of high school (other than skipping out, doing hot knives and binge watching Maury): line dancing! I remember me and my friends getting pumped to show off our moves in that gymnasium, amidst the "cool" kids standing around looking pissed off. It was probably the only time I actually went to gym class. I just discovered that the Duke Saloon has line dancing every other Saturday, so as soon as I kick this bug I've got, I'm dragging some of y'all out with me for a boot scootin' good time. Bring on the Brooks & Dunn, Billy Ray and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, 'cause this closet hick needs to drink some bad whiskey with bad people and do some bad things (like dancing in public). Maybe the summer's got something for me after all. I will leave you with my favourite song to line dance to. If you went to high school with me, you will no doubt remember this one blaring in the gym. I think I'm going to make it my new summer anthem.
Last Saturday was a bastard, or so I thought.
That morning, I threw my back out to the point where I couldn't walk and could barely move. I was getting ready to go to the local market to meet up with friends and have a nice relaxing time. I bent down to pick up my purse and that's when it struck...unbelievable agony. Everything seized up. It was as though someone with a voodoo doll jabbed a big old pin right into my low back and another into my hips, simultaneously.
I tried to focus on my breathing and relax my muscles, but it wasn't working. I was done for. No fun. No friends. No market. Only pain.
The next two days consisted mostly of bed rest, painkillers, ice, heat, and gentle massage (thanks, James). I considered going to a doctor or the hospital, but realized that that would mean sitting or standing around for several hours, and that did not sound like a good plan.
While lying in bed, all sorts of thoughts and feelings flooded in. I was going to have a nice weekend. I was going to get out in nature, see friends, work on creative projects like writing and painting, and be productive. Now what?
I had to accept that there wasn't much I could do. I had to stay in bed, on a super hot weekend, no less. I didn't have a choice in the matter. I did, however, have one choice--how I would respond to the situation.
At the beginning of this year, I read Viktor Frankl's book, Man's Search for Meaning. If you haven't read it, I suggest that you do. In his book, Frankl (a Jewish psychologist) discusses his experience as a prisoner in concentration camps during WWII. What Frankl suggests is that we have the power to endure any suffering, as long as we find meaning within that suffering. Now, I'm not comparing my back injury to the Holocaust, but Frankl's message of changing one's perspective can certainly be applied to various circumstances.
Frankl wrote, "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." Interestingly, I came across Man's Search for Meaning while going through some difficult health challenges. I had also been listening to various podcasts on self care, and was working on making changes in order to reduce stress and anxiety. I see now that, while I was taking in all of this information, I wasn't really listening.
One of my favourite podcasts, Anxiety Slayers, often discusses pain and anxiety and how resisting things only makes them persist. I've been ignoring chronic back pain for a long time, and look where it got me. This attitude of "sucking it up" and "pushing through" can lead to serious problems and, unfortunately, slowing down is often considered lazy. We actually feel guilty about taking a break sometimes. I'm beginning to wonder if that's what brought on the panic. Yes, there was the acute pain, but also the feeling of not being able to do things made me tense up and freak out!
When I finally began to accept my situation, the intense pain became white noise. It faded into the background a bit. Plus, I spent most of the weekend hopped up on painkillers and eating chips and pizza in bed while watching countless episodes of The Joy of Painting on Netflix. I wasn't painting, but I was watching Bob Ross paint, and that in itself is pretty awesome.
It's not just his paintings, though, Bob Ross offers all kinds of wisdom and insight about animals, nature, encouragement and simplicity--truly inspiring stuff. But it wasn't always that way.
A handsome young Ross
Although he became synonymous with painting beautiful landscapes and "happy trees," Bob Ross used to be a master sergeant in the Air Force. He was known for being a hard-ass. "I was the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work. The job requires you to be a mean, tough person. And I was fed up with it."
So even Bob Ross had to work on changing his attitude, and look what he did! He created a peaceful, gentle existence. A world where animals and trees are friends, and it's okay to be weird. A world where "there are no mistakes, only happy accidents."
I hope that all makes sense. I'm still working on my first cup of coffee and haven't taken my first painkiller. But, hey, I'm already writing, so the day can't be all that bad.
A couple weeks ago, I witnessed something disturbing--children at play. Only it wasn't the fact that children were playing that bothered me, it was what they were doing and, equally important, what the supervising adult was doing (and not doing).
Two boys chased two girls at the playground on my street (all were about 4-5 years old). The girls were running and screaming while the boys continued to pursue. At a glance, it almost seemed playful, but upon further review, it became quite clear that the girls were not having fun. Their faces lit up with panic and, at times, rage. Clearly, the girls did not want to participate, yet the boys kept chasing. Once caught, the girls were squeezed tightly while fiercely struggling and screaming right into the boys' faces. An adult (who I assume to be a childcare worker, as she had a few more little ones with her) made no attempt to intervene. She periodically glanced over at the kids, but never once checked in or said anything.
At one point, the boys cornered the girls on the fence and one girl wiggled away, causing one of the boys to trip and fall. He screamed, clutching his foot. Only at that point did the adult come over. "She broke my ankle!" the boy cried, as the woman approached. She turned to the girl and said, "tell Noah you're sorry." The little girl looked down at her shoes and said, "I already said I was sorry." My blood was boiling. First of all, that little puke was faking, which was made all the more obvious as he ran off toward the swing set right after, but that wasn't my main concern.
You see, I've been that little girl--the one who had to be polite while the little boy acted out his aggression. The one who screamed until my throat hurt only to learn that nobody listened. Nobody took me seriously. That was a loooooong time ago, yet not much has changed.
Maybe that's why I was so shaken up by what I witnessed that day on the playground. Maybe it all came back...the two brothers on my street chasing me around at the park without their clothes on and holding me down, then shaming me at school the next day as if I did something wrong...the boy who pushed me so hard off the swings that I swallowed dirt and snapped my neck back and, when I pushed him back and he cried, his mother told me that I was a "nasty girl" who was not well behaved...the boy in grade one who punched me in the face because he "liked me." That's the excuse his father gave.
On the bus, after departing from the playground, my blood continued to rapidly boil, so I scribbled down some notes about a blog post that I might publish. I intended on posting something immediately, as I was so fired up but, for some reason, I wanted to allow myself time to simmer down. Time to reflect. I'm not sure whether I needed it, or whether I thought that you, the reader, needed it. That I might write something a bit too heated. Funny, I've never worried about that before.
In any case, I'm glad I waited, because about a week later I came across something important while scrolling through my Facebook feed. My friend Danielle had shared a link to a blog called The Belle Jar. The post, Being a Girl: A Brief Personal History of Violence, really struck me--it was something I could relate to. I thanked her for sharing, and then she offered to share something else--a story of her own.
I am so thrilled to be able to feature her writing--to have another voice on this platform for a change. Please read her contribution bellow.
Thanks for sharing, Danielle!
I am five. I push a girl off of her bike because an older girl in my townhouse complex
tells me to. We watch as she hits the ground, scrapes her knee.
Her parents watch too.
From the kitchen, her father runs out to us. He grabs me by my shoulders and shakes me.
He yells at me. I warble like a bobble-head.
With one arm, he lifts me up in the air. With his other arm, he starts to hit me.
He hits me until he leaves handprints on my back and butt.
He hits me until I piss myself.
I am five years old.
I am very afraid.
I walk home sobbing. My mother listens to my story as she wipes snot from my face and
puts baby powder on the handprints he left on my body.
She tells me not to tell my father.
She is also afraid.
~Danielle Nancy Alaska
"That night, behind the sliding glass door in that first-story apartment, a woman was terrorized, slaughtered, defiled, and then arranged in a pose more frightful than one ever conceived by those who created Hannibal Lecter or Freddy Krueger and it was real." --Robert D. Kepplel describing one of Ted Bundy's many horrific crime scenes in Signature Killers: Interpreting the Calling Cards of the Serial Murderer.
That pretty much explains my infatuation with serial killers (one that I've had since childhood). Freddy Krueger. Hannibal Lecter. Killers like Bundy, Dahmer, and others, closely resemble some of the villains from my favourite horror movies and books. According to Scott Bonn, criminologist and author of Why We Love Serial Killers: The Curious Appeal of the World's most Savage Murderers, this is certainly one explanation.
Recently, while listening to one of my favourite true crime podcasts, I came across an interview with Bonn, where he discusses what serial killers represent in today's society and why they've become such icons. The origin of the word serial killer (coined by FBI agent and criminal profiler Robert Ressler) actually comes from serial fiction, and Bonn suggests that horror fiction villains and real-life serial killers are virtually indistinguishable. This is partly because we use words like "monster" and "devil" (inhuman terms) to describe such murderers. When Jeffrey Dahmer was caught, he was often referred to as "the real-life Hannibal Lecter." In this sense, the lines between fact and fiction are significantly blurred.
Another aspect that Bonn explores is our fascination with natural disasters and real-life predators. He suggests that serial killers are similar to earthquakes and great white sharks because they are rare, exotic and deadly. We simultaneously find them interesting and terrifying. I can definitely relate. Countless times have I watched specials during the Discovery Channel's popular "Shark Week," while partially turned away due to fear and disgust. I suppose this is similar to how I read about or watch documentaries on serial killers. Though, I have to admit my fear of sharks is somewhat stronger, likely due to my dread of what lurks below the ocean's surface. That said, what lurks below the surface of a murderer is probably more terrifying than what awaits in the ocean current. Luckily, I don't have to go into the ocean, but I most certainly do have to leave my house.
A third facet of our love affair with serial killers, according to Bonn, is entertainment and consumerism, which is undeniably linked to their branding. "Son of Sam" "The Night Stalker" "Jack the Ripper" "BTK" (Bind, Torture, Kill) and "The Boston Strangler" are like brand names. You can actually buy products--films, posters, t-shirts--with those labels attached. In a consumer culture, these sickos have become easily marketable. Bonn's correspondence with the BTK Killer, Dennis Rader, led him to this realization of serial killer brands. Interestingly, Rader often compared himself to natural predators, including a shark, and when signing letters from prison, would write the name Dennis in the shape of a shark, with teeth carved into the signature. In that sense, he had created his own logo.
Circling back to my first point, I have to say that, much like having a childhood favourite fictitious villain (Freddy Kruger) I quickly grew partial to a real-life villain--Ted Bundy. Now, that partiality does not stem from love, or even like, but rather it ties into Scott Bonn's discussion of fact and fiction. I liked scary stories; I enjoyed being frightened, and I still do. Bundy was (and is) my Krueger. The same way that Freddy terrorized teens in their dreams, Ted often crept into mine. He was a character. Charismatic and funny, much like Freddy, only much better looking. Scott Bonn insists that this is the very reason Bundy terrified us so much--he showed us that anybody could be a killer--your friendly next-door neighbour, your husband, your son.
Perhaps this helps to explain why hundreds of women became obsessed with Bundy as he awaited trial, while in court, and on death row. Could it be a combination of the meshing of fact and fiction and the seemingly harmless appearance of a killer like Bundy? Whatever the case, I find those women to be almost as disturbing as Bundy himself. Apparently, he received nude pictures from hundreds of women, and letters professing their love for him, even after he confessed to at least 36 murders. Honestly, any feeling of guilt I may experience during my time spent watching and listening to Ted and his story tend to fade away as I read about those women. At least I'm not one of them, right?
"We serial killers are your sons, we are your husbands, we are everywhere. And there will be more of your children dead tomorrow" --Ted Bundy
I've included this video of Ted on trial. I find the fact that he represented himself to be a fascinating aspect of his ego. The guy never finished law school, but was cocky enough to believe that he could convince the jury to let him walk, or at least dodge the death penalty. Fortunately for us, he really wasn't that good of a lawyer, or liar. That said, his psychopathic manipulation tactics are really something.
"The simple past is a verb tense indicating action that occurred in the past and which does not extend into the present."
"The present perfect is a grammatical combination of the present tense and the perfect aspect that is used to express a past event that has present consequences."
If only my past were so simple and my present, less... perfect...?
I've likely written something along these lines in an earlier post, so I apologize for any repetition, but lately my mind's been wrapped up in something that happened almost two years ago, and I'm trying to figure out which thread to pull. How to make it un-happen. Upon revisiting this shit storm, I've come to realize that this isn't the first disaster I've been perpetually trapped in.
It goes against everything I've been reading about "being mindful" and "being in the moment" and completely makes me feel like shit about myself for not being able to achieve this enlightened state of "awareness." Kinda scary that the mere act of being present in a given situation is often considered to be an enlightened condition.
Lately, even my dreams won't give it a rest. I could think about anything I want, but yet I'm haunted by the same apparitions that follow me in my waking life. It's so ridiculous that it's almost laughable. Almost. Like, I could be having sex with the devil, and I'm standing here in this kitchen having an argument with you?! Come on, mind!
In an anthropology class titled The Prehistory of Pacific Peoples, I learned of a civilization that purposed the past to be in front of us, the future behind. We can see what's happened, but cannot see what hasn't. Makes sense. This belief suggests that the past is always there. It cannot be erased or forgotten, but rather is there to remind us--to inform. What happens, though, when it's so present that it's blinding? What's it trying to tell you then? Deal with it?
Maybe that's part of the problem--trying to forget but not actually dealing with it. But, exactly how does one deal with something? What does it mean to "deal?" To confront? Get angry? I've pretty much done all that. In any case, I'm wondering if anyone out there has any suggestions, aside from having a partial lobotomy. Though, I admit, that idea is tempting.
I'm finally doing it--pulling my insides out and splattering them around for all to see. Here we go!