notes on the piracy at the crucible

The following entry may contain triggering material.

Previously on The Codex of Poesy:

(Coercion is a matter of opinion, right? I only had the opinion I did because I was there and it happened to me, but too many people have said…Is it in me after all, to abuse in the guise of a victim? Dahlia would know.)

“Don’t mind if I do!” A familiar silver hook at the end of a cerulean blue sleeve shot into my vision and made away with the shard. I turned my head to follow, only to find empty space.After a roll of my eyes, I turned to where Dahlia had been. “Didn’t even stay to make your acquaintance properly. Can you believe the ner—” Dahlia had vanished, too.

Even as I wake and type in the corporeal world…my surreal fetch is still in that room. There, I’m rattling at locked doorknobs, walking into a force field where the anteroom opens up to the kitchenette, clawing at locked windows and climbing up the bookcase.

“I’ll rescue you,” my corporeal self grumbled to my surreal self, one week later. When I consider how much what is psychic means ‘pertaining to the psyche’ as much as ‘pertaining to the paranormal’ it opens up a lot of other options, subparanormal (normal?) options, to get out of something like that. Rituals, not magic rituals, but more like rituals as in routines I never do. For instance, I dug up some entries that I’d posted to online friends at that time, and re-read some entries in my paper journals, in search of some contrast in perspective.

I wouldn’t like to find contrast in perspective, though, because that often manifests as embarrassment at my younger self. It should be healthy, my present self should embarrass my future self of the same number of calendar years. But my self of that time left the present and future a lot more rubble to pick up than usual. If we discover that was irredeemably avoidable or worth less than the consequences, I wasn’t sure what I’d do with ourselves.

I remembered a lot of people I respected telling me that what I found unbearable wasn’t that bad, that I wasn’t focused on solutions, that I neglected the value of a United Front, that I antagonized valuable allies—it wasn’t only respect I had, actually, it was reliance. And if they were right?

In a way, it would be worse if I didn’t find any contrast in perspective. It would mean that I haven’t recovered, let alone grown, in the precious time apart for which I’d sacrificed…a lot. (Integrity. Sanity. Reputation. Dubiously nominal privileges I’ve never missed, not even when I was so malnourished that my fingernails would fray as they grew. I’d argue that last one was undeserved but preferable to the purported Only Way for that not to happen…but arguing implies interacting with people who say I can’t complain about self-imposed poverty when the option to ingratiate myself to the power structure of abusers was right there and so shiny. Or bootstraps. Let’s all say bootstraps to the barefooted.)

So, I read them over. Miasma and her enablers remain wrong. What I found unbearable back then showed to be so much worse with a number of telling incidents I’d actually forgotten since, my solution that Miasma maybe dial back on being the worst was a fairly obvious one, the United Front they’d herded me into left me feeling like lifeless lint and ash inside, and the allies weren’t to an appalling degree and for reasons I’d still argue to have been unconscionable.

But I hadn’t exactly oozed with the flavors and fragrances of a Cinnabon soul too pure and good for those circumstances, either. I write that I sacrificed personal integrity to get abusers away from me, and most of me is still of the opinion that that just doesn’t happen. I should either reframe that I’d found personal integrity instead (and that it just wasn’t what I always thought it would be, from big bad abusers who would tell me what integrity was while gaming the system), or own up to whatever I did that was so terrible on the way out that I’ve lost any moral high ground that I’d ever have. I’m not ready for either. Sanity, reputation, and dubious privileges were probably never really mine.

I will note that my actions and words showed an uncompromising and unkind attitude, to predictably unhelpful effect. More than being wrong, that attitude is morbidly fascinating now that I notice it. Long before then, I’d been a pushover, and absolutely hated it whenever someone disliked me because it was a safe bet that it had been my fault (Why else would I be the focus of someone’s negative attention or regard? It shouldn’t be more complicated than that.) During the quest, a recurring question came up of why I didn’t fight. Miasma would imply often that I’d blame her when I really regretted my own spinelessness, or that she’d won and I should accept it instead of complain. When I realize that she’d bring up that I didn’t fight in the middle of essentially complaining that I was fighting, the once profoundly troubling question worth meditating on becomes a meaningless noise.

The pull of the surreal memory of that room isn’t so strong anymore. I take that to mean my fetches have reassimilated, or however that probably works.

Last night, while half asleep, I felt belligerent. Not at anything in particular. The lack of true direction for that feeling wasn’t what gave it such a strange quality. It was more that I might have been used to turning hostile in some desperate defense. There’s always some awareness that I’m likely to regret whatever I do while feeling like this, and it’s not a particularly pleasant feeling during, anyway. But that sort of belligerence felt more like an aspiration, as though I’d realized that Human Weapon had been my calling in life all this time. Now that I’m awake, I don’t think so. (Why don’t I fight? Someone might get hurt, doi, I already am. This qualifies me to recommend against harm.) But things like that don’t leave because I dismiss it, and it isn’t even like a Jungian Shadow, actually, it’s a lot more positive a notion. It’s just uncomfortable to go around feeling like my head is one of those spiky metal balls chained to a stick in medieval weaponry, and that I’m staring daggers at everyone when it’s really just that my eyes are open.