What my ex-husband told me – American Sentence Day 92 of 108

“Your performances are nothing but that of a glorified stripper.” ~ memory of an American Sentence by J. S. Lloyd

Roky Erickson of the 13th Floor Elevators recently passed away. My old band covered a few of his songs. Above is a recording for an album we never finished – basic tracks.

I’m making music again – after 14 years of silence. I am so happy to be making music – and also have mixed feelings about those dark years when I let music go. I married a narcissist who undermined me from just about every angle. Eventually I gave up music in an attempt to “be an adult,” to be a “responsible wife,” to “prove” that I loved him. That wasn’t enough. It turned into us moving to a neighborhood far away from my friends, him not wanting me to go for walks by myself, or go outside or leave the city – he basically wanted me nearby to control my every move.

Holly Troy at the Fort Sidewalk Cafe - photo by Paul MAjor or Al Rhodes
All smiles after the Fort at the Sidewalk Cafe gig

I knew the situation was messed up, but I was already ashamed for letting it go as far as it did. I tried to find happiness in a life with choices that felt like they were rapidly shrinking. I stayed stuck – until my body said “no more.” I developed debilitating diverticulitis by my mid-thirties, and after my second trip to the ER, I knew if I didn’t leave the marriage, the illness would develop into cancer.

The abuse didn’t begin with my marriage – I was a master at dissociation long before I met my ex-husband. I would argue that most of us in the western world experience some form of it, programming and advertising are mostly based in fear and not being “good enough” for . . . (you name it: love, the job, the promotion). The message of danger and worthlessness are constant and clear.  Nevertheless, some of us have more severe experiences than others, and our dissociative capabilities can be quite advanced.

When I was child, I intuitively knew that diving into my art, spending time in the woods, and moving my body were good for me. Music and art were ways for me to express myself without danger – writing a story I could say what I wanted because it was the character’s point of view – not necessarily my own,  performing on stage I had a personae, I could be so good at drawing that no matter how much my sisters would humiliate me or beat me up, they couldn’t touch my talent. Climbing trees I could hide high up and see where danger might be. Riding my bike I could get away and feel powerful in my body. I thought becoming an adult would mean I would be safe, I didn’t know I would have to continue to take care of my child-self as well.

The more I understand dissociation, the more I understand how important my somatic work is. (see Why the Body?) Yoga, working with the chakras, writing, mindfulness and meditation, singing, dancing, noticing the body and breath, riding my bicycle – all of these modalities feel intuitively right and healing to me. I love teaching techniques for creativity and presence because I am thrilled to see people light up when they are safe to be fully present in their bodies. And then, oh, the empowered imagination, and sometimes the tears, that come through – it’s wonderful.

To this day, I am sorting through the stories of my childhood where dissociation began. I suppose I will be sorting through the stories for my lifetime – as one event or memory becomes clear to me, another pops up. I get the chance to reclaim those parts of myself that have been put off to the side – and the more I reclaim, the stronger my self-worth, and the less inclined I am to put up with bullshit. At the same time, my capacity for compassion, connection, gratitude, and forgiveness is deep and expansive.

The most beautiful side-effect of personal reclamation? True, stable, free, unconditional Love.

I firmly believe that fun is essential for our survival and evolution! The daily practice of play assures me that life is pretty darn good – and –  the best is yet to come.

I urge you – whatever it is that is fun for you (as long as you aren’t harming anyone or anything) – do that. Even if it’s only for ten or fifteen minutes a day. Make fun your meditation – life is worth celebrating.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Speaking of fun – Here is an excerpt of my band performing Slip Inside this House live at a dive bar called The Fun House in Bethlehem, PA.

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I'm a rock-n-roller poet who left the Big Apple for the Big Sky Desert where I've been letting it be and grooving with universal love, singing to the gods, dancing with the muses and bicycling with dreamtime messengers. I like altering my reality through imagination, movement, breath, and makin' stuff.

14 thoughts on “What my ex-husband told me – American Sentence Day 92 of 108

  1. Nicely penned and loved the clips of your band. The concept of disassociation is an interesting one. I think I used quote effectively when trying to deal with my ex’s descent into alcoholism, while still maintaining a home and a career. But now I use that concept a bit differently. I disassociate with human-made societal expectations, with the illusion they call a society, and all of its dogmatic BS. I’m happy living in daytime and night time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I have been looking at dissociation for a long time now – I used to not be able to tell you how I was feeling, but I could describe what was happening in my body if I slowed down to notice. That’s how I got into writing – found that it was a great way to explore how I was perceiving the world.

      No doubt you had to dissociate while dealing with your ex’s descent. Societal expectations are almost always impossible to live up to, so it makes sense.

      Being in the moment is an amazing thing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Being in the moment is amazing 🙂 Yes, when my ex was declining, I was journaling – helped immensely. I find writing to be very therapeutic. The type of dissociation you refer to, doesn’t sound healthy at all. I think of disconnecting from others and things, but if you were out of touch with yourself – that must have been frightening.

        Like

        1. I dissociated in order to survive unbearable situations. I used to tell myself – don’t worry, when we get out of here, when I grow up, everything is going to be alright!

          But as I became an adult, I couldn’t turn off the survival behavior. That meant I let abuse slide, I didn’t trust my feelings or got involved with people who told me my feelings were crap, I put up with shit jobs longer than I should have. It wasn’t scary until I realized I was trapped by my own behavior and didn’t know how to change. That was really scary.

          Until I was willing to do whatever I could to reveal my own blind spots and self-limiting beliefs, and do the work to change the beliefs that my life turned around.

          It’s a constant work in progress, I suppose being in touch with myself is “my thing” now.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. It’s a good “thing” to be. Many congrats on yours survival. Sad, but sometimes that’s the best we can do in those moments. Glad you made it through those times. The silver lining being that you may be way ahead of the game in the sense that many people out there never get in touch with themselves and never seriously contempt any higher meaning for this life. You will thrive with your evolution 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Your resiliency to move forward from all the adversities that you’ve experienced made you who you are today. Your voice is beautiful too and you’re an inspirational soul!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks, David. It’s been a journey that is for sure. And, yes, the experiences inform what interests me today – and why creative self-expression is so important and empowering for me (and everyone).

      Like

  3. art + technology = rocknroll.

    soon-to-be exes detest personal freedoms.
    odd really, as it’s usually your individuality that attracts them in the first place.

    not too much beats being in a band in a sweaty dive or
    riding your bike in the rain or cutting up magazines and making collage.

    good work, you got the power, h. troy! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks, nick! great connecting with the power – you got it, too!

      ≈ fictionalpaper / piccoloscissors / creativeglue ≈ has got me thinking about and inspired to do weekly collage projects / cut ups – once I finish american sentence (almost there!)

      tonight a sunset ride up the mountain and a moonlit ride down the mountain through aspen! tomorrow, music!

      peace, mr. reeves! ht

      Liked by 1 person

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