Quite some time back I reflected on why I liked making films and I realised that the reason was somewhat more sinister than I had suspected. I had been moved by art, by films, by stories since I was young. In fact, I often remark that my love of the arts saved me from a life of humdrum boredom and meaninglessness. It kept me curious, engaged and active. I liked making things, creating things, thinking about ideas. When I discovered media in Year 11 and 12, I was hooked. I didn’t understand filmmaking as a craft, I didn’t have time for story, I just wanted to make and create, plan and do. I had a relentless desire to tell experimental stories – an unconscious urge to grapple with the darkness of my past, that I was completely amnesic to. And so when it hit me one day, many years later, as an adult, a somewhat failed filmmaker, as to why it never really turned out the way that I had dreamed it would, in my drunken haze, it was hard to face and this is the first time I have ever really written about it. You see, they would film me. Naked and stuff. Doing things, with other small children. And so for me to get behind the camera and control it, to produce the images, meant in some way that I was in control, they weren’t. And so of course I have not known what stories to tell, who I am, what type of producer I am, because they split me and exposed me and shamed me and all I have really wanted to do is find me, to know the truth. Someone told a quote today, the said “the atmosphere of the team gets sucked in and projected through the camera”. And they created sickness and evil and it got projected for years and years and years. It makes me sad.
Our subconscious mind responds to pictures, not words. It is therefore no wonder that movies can be very triggering to abuse survivors. My background in ritual abuse makes me very sensitive to certain images, symbols, music and even colours. Just last week I got very triggered by the new Terence Malick film, “Song to Song”. It was a woeful experience, long, indulgent and fragmented. But I stuck with it, regrettably. The film was shot with an anamorphic, fishbowl lens, which was very disorienting. It was set against the backdrop of the Nashville country and rock music scene, known for producing mind control puppets in the music industry (see Cathy O’Brien’s “TRANCE Formation of America“). There was lots of referencing to selling your soul to the devil (represented by a music producer in the Industry) and the film also featured a lot of sadomasochistic sex. The main bit that triggered my parts was the Satanic chanting music that fuelled a montage about 3/4 of the way through the film. I had to block my ears because it became way too much and that was when I knew that I had dissociated. It was so quick! I drove S home and I had the most pounding headache come on (a sign of switching) and by the time I got home, I was very little. I wrote something in my online diary and a little one will share it now, but please note definite ****TRIGGER WARNING****
August 8, 2017 – It was the worse when they chopped their heads off. What people don’t understand is to get that fame and lifestyle you have to murder people and hurt babies. Plus eat them and stuff so it isn’t everything you think it is. I only did it coz they made me do it. Sometimes I wish I had my head chopped off so I didn’t have to remember it.
Not nice. It took me over a day to come back to normal. Scary memory.
Other movies that have set me off in the past, include ‘Irreversible’ – horrid anal rape scene and a disgusting, disorienting movie all round. Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ because of the ritual scenes. ‘Changeling’ made me cry as it brought stuff up because of what they were doing to the kids. That was definitely SRA.
My parts also don’t like movies that feature babies, blood, hospitals, witches or bodily fluids. Kids movies are okay, but it is not super easy for my little ones to watch kids movies yet because there has been so much bad stuff go on in childhood, it is hard to see happy things. They know the truth about badness and movies are either scary or work to hide the truth. That’s what they think anyway.
My T said that I have to be very careful about what I see and that sometimes I just need to walk out of the movie or experience because otherwise it can be way too triggering. She is right and I think I need to ground myself before I see things and give myself the choice to leave if it seems like it could set me off.
Boxing is like a metaphor for my life. Today I sparred with a girl and got beaten up. Mentally I felt weak. Granted, she was more experienced, she was tougher and fitter and stronger, but I gave up. I cried. Sparring can be emotional. There are so many mental and physical blocks you have to work through, push through and sometimes it is just so exhausting. I was affirmed later when she told me that she too had to have the shit beaten out of her quite a few times and that was what made her stronger. I was moving back a lot during the sparring, so I was on the ‘back foot’. She told me that you use up more energy that way. It makes sense. Being on the ‘back foot’ in life is exhausting too – so much energy used to just try and keep going. I have felt like that all my life. The pang of living overwhelming me, that my way out was to fantasise about death. I guess that goes back to my past, my abuse. To die was the way out of all that. It sure seemed like a better option. I remember writing a letter to God at the age of 9 years, asking him to take my life. He didn’t respond. I have so many parts in me that don’t want to live, to keep going is a definite choice, a commitment. But the urge to live must be stronger, surely, because I do keep going and moving forward. Today reminded me it is is a battle to do so. My instinct is to be on the back foot, to freeze (to dissociate), but when you are in the ring, you can’t do that. In or out of the ring, I don’t have a choice. I am thankful to God that I have found boxing. This great metaphor for my life. An odd recovery tool, but one that works for me. I want to get better, I don’t want to give up. I know that it is smarter, better, wiser to be on the front foot. To respond, to watch, to listen, to learn, to act. I want to focus and to achieve. I keep going, even though sometimes daily it is a struggle. I know that I will get through this rough patch with boxing and life. I do have faith in that and I am glad I keep pushing through and not giving up. I don’t really have a choice I guess. Because the pain and misery wants to kill me, but that means the darkness wins. Deep down, I am an optimist and I know that God has already won. But the battle is real and it is hard and it doesn’t always feel that way. As long as I keep showing up and moving forward, even if only inch by inch, I know that things will be okay and will have meaning.