Excerpt of a review of EROTEXT desire, disease, delusion, dream, downpour by SUDEEP SEN ( Random House India 2016) published in the wagon magazine 2017 April -By Dr.Vyjayanthi

Can we judge a book by its cover? Especially if the cover is carrying comments by the “who is who” from various professional walks of life. Being a psychiatrist and a poet, I was enticed to read the book as the title refers to Eros as an overarching theme that takes within its fold the sub themes of desire, disease, delusion, dream and downpour. The five ‘D’s intrigued me and I kept returning to them as if they were the epicenter of an earthquake. And then there were the twin chairs of the cover photograph – perhaps a symbol of duality, of ‘Eros’ + ‘Text’? Truly, if life could write itself, this is how it may read, not bound by a specific structure, word count or rhyme or reason. Insights are graded along six parameters while we study psycho pathology, although Eros is where life originates and Thanatos is the force of death. Opposites contain each other and there are flashes of dying in the section of disease of the body, explored in skeleton, joints, temperature, fluids, breaths, and blood.

In ‘Magnetizing Dead Bones’, a disturbing portrayal of the Intensive Care Unit and the experience of what may remain even after death, just the clean bones? Interestingly it seems to refer to Magnetic Resonance Imaging, a sort of literal meaning ascribed to scientific jargon. Electrocardiography- “A person in the room can sense electricity, invisible photons”, again ‘ultra-sonography’ is mystified in fleeting allusions to sound waves. There is whispering vulnerability, “What can I create despite this urgency…Nothing really, certainly nothing that is worth any effort….” The body is minimized and life is trivialized: “They say imagination can conquer anything even the body. It isn’t true.” There is a relentless search for meaning even as the body suffers: “The lyrics, if they are meant to, will emerge at the vanishing point”. Humanizing the near death experience is a strong effort in this flash fiction. The words are profound as they equate creativity to something that lives after death. I was reminded of Bessel Vander Kolk’s book Body Keeps Its Own Scores in the reference to ash, bone ash and the abrupt escape into bone-drafts of metered text. Starch and the nurse trying to induce a lullaby, the power of breathing, and virility of ash are images foretelling life amidst death. The ecosystem of the hospital dominates the disease in this fiction, a hesitation to explore the disease or a story of hope- open ended, it lends itself to interpretations like a poem or a dream.

WHY IS WRITING POETRY MORE THERAPEUTIC THAN WRITING PROSE IN THE AFTER MATH OF TRAUMA ? -PART 1

“THE BASIC PROBLEM FOR A TRAUMATIZED INDIVIDUAL BECOMES HIS OWN SELF CURE-
Bromberg(1994)”

Trauma is different from stress.
Trauma is any event that threatened the life or psychological/ physical integrity of an individual, exposure to killings of others ,sexual violence against the individual(rape/being stripped in public/in private by one or more persons) or his loved one , death of a loved one by murder or suicide, bullying, violation of boundaries in public(experiencing slander or circulation of personal material of the person among public i.e individuals with whom the person did not share a confiding relationship)and also being in disasters.
Man made disasters or personal trauma is more resistant to healing than impersonal or natural disasters, where violence does not carry a personal significance.
Events that can cause extreme stress if they occur in quick succession can also cumulatively have the same effect as trauma.
I would like to now elaborate what happens to the brain when an individual is traumatized, as early as 1907 Pierre Janet described “vehement emotions” interfere with integration of traumatic memories, because they are not adequately processed they become separate from ordinary consciousness.

MEMORY
/ \
DECLARATIVE NON DECLARATIVE
(Explicit) (Implicit)
(verbal) ( Procedural )

Declarative memories are usually non traumatic memories, hence can easily become narratives or anecdotes. Declarative memory has both semantic or conceptual memories and autobiographical memories. Declarative memories are about what happened.

Implicit or non declarative memories are procedures, how to ride a bike or how to swim, how to make pasta, how to wear a braid, how to kiss, how to make love. It is about how it happened.
Even teaching these skills requires action and not words.

This is why we say what we were taught to say and do what we saw our parents or teachers did! If there is a discrepancy, it is embedded in two separate areas. We learn about ourselves by reflecting on our actions.

Traumatic memories were filtered by the hippocampus a part of the brain( Limbic system)that when in a state of arousal sends the signals to be stored in procedural or somatosensory areas, as emotional states, imagery, sensations and will not be integrated as verbal or declarative memory in to the cerebral cortex. We all have a problem verbalizing experiences that caused intense horror, helplessness, humiliation, hurt because they were not verbal memories at all, they are feelings of hot cheeks, red ears, choking throat, pricking eyes, rigid clenched fists, weak knees, beating heart, pounding head, butterflies in the stomach, wish to disappear deep inside a crater in the earth ….Now, is this not poetry?

Traumatic memories are timeless, like poems …They bond us to archetypes, we see the similarities in epics, history, as personal transforms in to collective the traumatic effect reduces. Traumatic memories are processed piecemeal; heart takes time to accept what the mind already knows. And very often poetry and the images that you employ to convey an idea or experience can later help you to construct a narrative or prose. That would be finally integrating traumatic memories to the consciousness, without overwhelming one self…… Perhaps the essence of art is to transfer what the artist feels to the audience or readers.

Cast away all speech
Our words may express it
but cannot hold it
The way of the letters
leaves no trace
Yet teaching is revealed (Zen)

At age four my major milestone
was standing on my head
Weeks of practice were
spent achieving this feat
Shaky starts finally led to
standing unaided at will
When grandparents came for
their annual visit
I planned to be the star of the show
dazzling them with feats of my balance
Slowly I walked to the centre stage
and stood on my head
Grandfather bent down , and joined me
on his head
( Written by Malia grade 8th , excerpts from Teaching poetry writing to Adolescents. by Joseph I Tsujimoto
ERIC Clearing House On reading and communication skills )

Poetry also demands the first person more often, hence makes you acknowledge your own stand, however different it may be from the world. And it creates a dialogue with authority that refuses to communicate in words. It is a an effort to bridge the verbal left brain with the silent feeling right brain the two hemispheres of human brain that do not co ordinate when there is psychological trauma. Right brain often will see the forest , while left brain is counting the trees.
Poetry requires both to be alert….

Passing an upturned carriage
the driver suddenly awakened
Surrendering to sleep invites disaster

Perhaps after writing this poem, one can sleep, because one has learnt where to be hyper vigilant, and where not to be. Poetry is a genre that is emotionally intelligent.
( To Be continued )

WOMAN IS THE NIGGER OF THE WORLD

Woman is the nigger of the world
Yes she is, think about it
Woman is the nigger of the world
Think about it, do something about it

We make her paint her face and dance
If she won’t be a slave, we say that she don’t love us
If she’s real, we say she’s trying to be a man
While putting her down we pretend that she is above us
Woman is the nigger of the world, yes she is
If you don’t believe me take a look to the one you’re with
Woman is the slave to the slaves
Ah yeah, better scream about it
We make her bear and raise our children
And then we leave her flat for being a fat old mother hen
We tell her home is the only place she should be
Then we complain that she’s too unworldly to be our friend
Woman is the nigger of the world, yes she is
If you don’t believe me take a look to the one you’re with
Oh woman is the slave to the slaves
Yeah, alright

We insult her everyday on TV
And wonder why she has no guts or confidence
When she’s young we kill her will to be free
While telling her not to be so smart we put her down for being so dumb
Woman is the nigger of the world, yes she is
If you don’t believe me take a look to the one you’re with
Woman is the slave to the slaves
Yes she is, if you believe me, you better scream about it

We make her paint her face and dance
We make her paint her face and dance
We make her paint her face and dance
We make her paint her face and dance
We make her paint her face and dance
We make her paint her face and dance

Songwriters
JOHN LENNON, YOKO ONO

Read more: John Lennon – Woman Is The Nigger Of The World Lyrics | MetroLyrics

This song made me cry  , because I do not think being a nigger is a disability or defect ot nature’s flaw …. And being a woman is not easy , yet it is not as disempowering as this song makes it out to be ……

There is a way to be cruel and call it kindness…..

The above mentioned is such a song …..

I have posted two poems from the perspectives of women

when they find them selves in such a predicament……

SLAVERY  ( Experience of Indian Patriarchy )

He wished to be a king

He did not wish for a queen

But for a slave

A queen who wishes for a

King is a nice queen

A queen who wishes for a

Drone is a not so nice queen

She can only be the queen of a drone

Griselda was a nice queen

But she was the slave of a nice king

( There are only nice kings)

He could not believe she was a slave

He could not believe he was the king

Griselda believed

Her living children dead

I believed in my unborn children

Being born…….. By intrudesite (Silent flute 2013 Kendra sahitya Akademi  )

Seeing Red – Patience Agbabi  ( British born Nigerian poet . She teaches creative writing at the university of Greenwich and the university of Cardiff , her publications are R.A.W. and Transformatrix. Her third collection is body language)

Black mum parts my continent of head 

with glazed black cotton begins to wind 

each division so fiercely my mind 

bleeds black. I can’t close my eyes in bed

White mum uses fading navy thread 

her tension less cruel, more kind

but the vision color blind 

So I see red.

I read instructions for shocking-red dye

(freedom has given me the green light) 

yet bury the evidence under a head-tie

like the insight 

that I see the world through a red eye 

where blood and heart mean more than black and white..

ON LINE DISINHIBITION EFFECT

Dr.John Suler first described this effect of on -line interactions in 2004 .

It is a tendency in all persons interacting in virtual reality to be more revealing of their thoughts emotions and experiences than when they meet in person in the actual physical world. Disinhibition can be benign helping people to discover them selves as less anxious of criticism when on-line , hence enjoying their self expression and creativity. Especially women who feel sexually objectified constantly and interpret it as negative , definitely will enjoy text based interactions where they can assert their intellectual prowess or ” Mind over Matter ” experience.

There is toxic disinhibition where there is blind cathrasis , fruitless repetition compulsion, flaming ( Using hate language) and status seeking by following some one more popular than one self hoping to get there through this association . Cyber harassment , cyber stalking , Cyber bullying can happen in a subtle manner. And Phantom emotions can develop towards some one you have never met, by giving them a voice, a face, an imaginary presence and losses can be devastating.

Why does this happen on-line ?

  1. Dissociative anonymity – It is truly hard to trace the person , it is easy to quit as and when a person wishes to do so. And we all have a persona that we project to the world and an inner self that is never expressed. I have observed this in many forms of art , the boldest writer is often a very self effacing , tongue tied person ! And one who often spoke of peace is sometimes easily angered on -line. Especially in very repressive cultures it may help the individual to voice their utmost honest voice , and help them integrate their suppressed self and expressed self .
  2. Invisibility – There are no facial , voice cues to check our behavior.
  3. Asynchronicity -We do not get immediate response , hence can get submerged in one sided communication , with out appropriate responses to stop us or intimidate us.
  4. Solipsistic Introjection- We can imagine our own projections in others and react to broken or unaccepted aspects of our selves , thinking it to be in the other.
  5. Minimization of staus or Maximization of status- It is easy to hide one’s rank on line, people judge you by the apparels, position, power in reality , in cyber space it can be hidden or misrepresented. People who are truly shy or suffer from bahavioral inhibition , in social situations , may be in powerful positions , yet hide it since they want simple and free interactions with out bias.

All are equal here , except may be one with thousand followers with out real friends.  In conclusion , it is important to be just your self ,on -line or off line  and not succumb to the disinhibition in any negative sense. 

{Author has conducted a study on 780 students of various colleges  on internet addiction and found one of the reasons for addiction in new users is social anxiety and on line disinhibition}

 

 

Are you Rejection Sensitive ?

All of us have felt rejected in small or big ways in our social life, it is an inevitable part of human relationships.

Examples are in every poem,many stories, paintings and most forms of art.
Art is a sublimation of a need to be validated or affirmed. It is a mature expression.And a mature ego defense against hurt.

When a child wears a new dress or makes a drawing or dances and is severely reprimanded for it,being told it is ugly,imperfect or out of place or context the child feels rejected. Chances are he or she won’t attempt to do the act,some stubborn artists (For whom it is like breathing) persist, but may never showcase it like Emily Dickinson whose 1500 or more short verses were discovered posthumously.

Many persons are not so sensitive to being rejected for their work (Repeated failures in an exam/interviews/process of learning ) but are highly sensitive to being rejected in the co-construction of a social role or failing to prove a social ability. Examples are,not being invited to a party / outing with friends . Or being held up on a date or being rejected as a mate in a sexual partnership.

Rejection usually leads to shame in vulnerable individuals. Inner experience of one self as an unattractive social agent / incompetent worker can be devastating to such individuals. They indulge in self blame for not being liked or wanted by the other person.

Self esteem is a complex construct including body self esteem , work related self esteem , social self esteem, sexual self esteem, moral self esteem , all dimensions of personality have a separate component of esteem. It is not a homogenous entity.

Rejection sensitivity can be associated with a body image disturbance. When many perfectionists find them selves as not so perfect physically and feel that their big nose, short neck , receding hairline, squint, One less finger or big mole is the root cause for being isolated socially, though it is they who are isolating themselves and not others! Body dysmorphic disorder of thinking one self to be too fat or too thin or too black oan even cost lives by unnecessary plastic surgeries or other dangerous invasive procedures.There are instances of being bullied for the one feature that you are conscious about, especially in childhood when you are most vulnerable, people could laugh at your stammer, being chubby , being short , or even your name! And actually induce a body dysmorphic disorder, as you are too small to know people who treat you badly are bad , it did not happen because you were bad.

What others think of me Versus What I think of my self seem to merge in the rejection sensitive persons , who can easily reject them selves when a significant other rejects them. Or they become extremely hostile and devalue the person who is rejecting them,which is equally pathological. Their self worth needs constant affirmation by others in their social sphere.And become people pleasers.

Many individuals who are abused sexually or emotionally or even physically tend to suffer from low self esteem and hence are very sensitive to rejection.
Some of the survivors of abuse feel humiliated by unwanted sexual attention as though they some how caused it, they take pathological responsibility for it,at the same time feel very insulted when excluded socially.

In Conclusion , it is important to recognize
. We all can not get the approval of everyone for any action at any given time
. If we failed at something,an interview ,or a job ,or publication ,there is always a next time.
. If one special girl did not accept your proposal may be she was already taken , may be she finds her self inadequate, or may be it is okay to not be wanted by the person we so badly want. To each his own.
. Very often the person who is rejecting you is doing so due to their own insecurities, including jealousy, diffidence or intolerance towards out of the box thinking or lateral thinking that many creative individuals possess. Sadly most creative individuals are also rejection sensitive.

As you pass through life , you do understand that falling in love was the magic…
Your ability to get fascinated or to be in awe of another is a form of innocence and you will deprive yourself of it , if you unleash an inner Taliban of self criticism. And the person who rejected had no clue how many beautiful things or works of art can be born when one sublimates that instinct or hurt and harness it as creativity or charity.
Being rejected is not as bad as losing the ability to love or connect with others.

Rejection sensitivity can give you a false sense of self protection , when it actually turns you away from people , love and connectivity. And even as you reject others as a reaction , you are hurting yourself.

Neurobiologically ability to develop inner warmth , compassion towards oneself , resensitizing oneself stimulates inner endogeneous opioids and improves health decreases pain sensitivity.
De-shaming , compassionate mind training are the strategies to tackle rejection sensitivity.

FIGHT BACK

He was so angry yelling ,”Fight me back,Give me war,destroy me or I will” He had taught me to play chess , Sicilian defense , French defense I had become an expert of defensive moves. Tonight his game was so different, if I did not offend I would lose. He was always patronizing in his game, tonight he was not. We loved each other he was my brother,friend,philosopher.We lived apart,he was my father’s brother’s son. After losing four games,the last to a pawn like an idiot, I entered the chess board. I used my brain, every thing I remembered,anything I could do to upstage his act,it was will power which was a natural force, a waterfall. I was a powerhouse. He was no less, he got me angry each time he tried to think ahead of me, guess my move. I started to behave out of character, I was no longer predictable. His Cheiro’s palmistry of my brain and how it behaves when under threat took a 360 degree turn. He systematically lost, though he fought valiantly , when I had his black queen , our eyes met …I have seen that look only once in my life, I had never known admiration till then .
(He had chased away my maternal cousin who was misbehaving with me that evening after I had asked for help)
After he lost the game, he was weeping …I did not know why . I was 14 and just knew he wanted me to win. He wrote in a piece of paper “That scum bag said because you were silent, you liked him touching you, if you had murdered him , I would arrange for a bail”
After he died, I forgot chess.