Trying to make sense

There are bits hitting me sort of all together. Bits of thoughts. They seem to me to be important—I have a stretch of time now and actually loads of work to do, but the immediate work of making sure I am clear-headed and mentally organized and emotionally regulated always seems to push its way to the front of the line because the consequences for not having those things is so very immediate. It ruins the rest of the day when those things are not in place, and then I have more stress to try to manage, and then it all becomes more difficult and tends to snowball.

So I’m trying to string it together instead of do a lot of other tasks that might be more beneficial in other ways in the long-term.

The first bit is again that thought that Natalya and I were different people with somewhat different values, although we shared others. And I can’t quite understand her choice to risk her life for my future just because I am not her and I don’t think that way. We both, I think, had a sense of a partnership, but it worked out differently somehow.

And there is a piece of it that is just it was her life. I may have said that before, but it takes a long time to link all these things up, and I’m having another go at it. It was her life, her values, and she had a right to make choices based on those values and to decide what to do with her own life. It hurts me what she chose to do, but that’s my bit to deal with.

I don’t believe she didn’t value her own life or that she chose to sacrifice it because it meant nothing anyway. Our lives fell outside society in important ways, but I think she understood her life meant a great deal at least to me. But she had an idea that lives can be sacrificed for other lives or for ideals. And I just don’t have that. I have the idea of life being sacred, especially human life, and the decision to end a life or to put a life in jeopardy should be made only very carefully and only under a few circumstances.

I have no idea if I would have used the same logic if I were thinking of sacrificing my life for hers—we tend to apply different standards for ourselves as compared to other people—but I think that’s at the core of it.

But one bit of what’s hitting me is just that: she had different ideas than I did and it was her right to have those ideas and to act on them. We are all trying to make the best decisions we can and to live the best way we can and she did that. I wish it had been different, but it wasn’t different. It was the way it was. Yuri was who he was and he created the life for us that he did, and Natalya was who she was. Yuri did not have the right to do what he did—his choices damaged other lives. But Natalya did. It was her life to make choices about.

I think part of what is hard for me is feeling she did not understand or maybe did not care how much her death hurt me or how hard it was to pick up the pieces of my life after she died. Did she understand? I don’t know. We rarely completely understand how important we are to the people who love us until something happens which places that knowledge very forcibly in front of us.

But it means there is a piece of this that is a betrayal for me: In that way, it feels to me she behaved as everyone else did. She didn’t know how much I hurt or she didn’t care and she hurt me anyway. Of course, it wasn’t really like that.

Of course, she did see, and that’s a part of why her death is so hard for me to come to grips with. I can’t make sense of it properly. I can’t figure out how to see it.

I know she saw a suffering I kept trying not to see. I remember the trafficking now, but not actually very clearly. I still shunt aside most of that pain, because that on top of the other pain is more than I can manage at the moment. But she saw it every time she saw me. She hurt from that pain. She had it clearly in her mind that I was being hurt in this unimaginable way from the time I could walk and talk. She saw it from the time I was five onwards. She saw the wrongness of that very clearly in a way I tried not to see. The wrongness of it hurt her.

I keep thinking the worst thing I have to deal with is really her death, but the truth is more complex: her death involves so many different strands of pain altogether. It involves the pain of watching her suffering at other times. It involves our ongoing separation—which was tremendously traumatizing in itself. It recalls other losses, including the loss of Veroushka and my loss of my foster parents.

It’s not really that her death is the worst trauma as that grieving pulls so many other experiences together. And the other traumas would have still been there. I still would have been separated from her. I still would have had to watch her suffer. I would still have to cope with all those things.

I think she does bear some responsibility for my pain now in the present: I’m not saying that to blame her, but just to say it. Just to be accurate. If she had lived, the trauma would have been different in some ways for me. That’s unavoidable.

But I’m holding her responsible for things she had no control over at all.


10 thoughts on “Trying to make sense

  1. ridicuryder April 7, 2015 / 10:00 am


    You do a very nice job here of covering angles and making sense of Natalya’s choice.

    I see your life as steeped in pain from the beginning like the rest of us, butttttttttt WOW you got the monster portion. Like you say you have been shunting some of it aside.

    When the wording “bears responsibility for my pain” floats out I know you have all these piles of pain and you are merely assigning some of it to process it. More than anything else I read from you…this is your harshest edge. I am not expecting to smooth things out here, but Natalya bears significant responsibility for your life the way it sits.

    Your pain was always going to weigh you.

    I’m pretty sure Natalya got this and I suspect I’m adding nothing new. I just wonder about the pain you shunt aside while examining how Natalya hurt you. I think her plan was for you to shed a great deal of it eventually.

    I kinda get the incomprehensible situation you are stuck with for what grieving her has granted you. I suspect with Ruthie and Hannah surfacing you must cover ground repeatedly (you will always revisit this).

    When you don’t know what to do. nothing. When you can’t decide…decide not to make a decision. This will always be a paradox you struggle with at times. But you can leave it be and dig another hole when the time is right…work on something else…it doesn’t even have to be pain.


    • Ashana M April 7, 2015 / 1:53 pm

      It’s trying to figure out the anger…I like to know exactly what the problem is and what what I’m angry about, and it’s a weird sort of process as I sort of gradually approach accuracy. I wasn’t there yet with this post. I might be there now.

      I’m pretty sure her plan was that Yuri stop fucking with me. I don’t know that she was thinking beyond this.

    • Ashana M April 7, 2015 / 6:06 pm

      Also, I wanted to add a little bit onto what I wrote in terms of anger. On the one hand, you can be angry unreasonably and then if you know precisely what you are unreasonably angry about, then you can see that it isn’t the other person’s fault and you can let it go. Or, if you are angry because the other person did something wrong, and you know what thing that is, then you can forgive them for that. But if you don’t know really what it’s all about, you’re left with this vague, unresolvable anger that just floats around being troublesome and never goes away. So precision can be really helpful.

      I think I had a series of misunderstandings because I am in parts. Bits of what happened ended up in all different places, and without all of the evidence together, I came to some incorrect conclusions. And then some of the ways I responded to her death made it hurt more. It got me through it perhaps, but it also increased the pain. So there’s that to sort through. What did I do to make it worse? And then I need to stop doing it.

      • ridicuryder April 8, 2015 / 6:49 am

        I’m behind by several posts at the moment…just read the next one “Better.” it seems you are getting better. I still can’t appreciate you being in parts intuitively although I’m getting there. You may not recall, but I recommended a Blowgun a while back as a way to “puff” a tiny blast of anger and place a dart with precision…over and over again until you are used to keeping your anger sharp within tiny dimensions. I think you were worried about taking someone’s eye out.

        You can roll this stuff around mentally while blowing darts…rumination with a nice repetitive matching physical complimentary exercise. Clarity, Clarity, Clarity. There maybe another thing you can do to accompany sharpening your thoughts / anger. Blowguns are cheap, Try shooting spit-balls through a straw or a pen at a chunk of tinfoil wrapped around a cereal box. The thwack will be satisfying, anything like this can help.

        If you have decent dimensions around your anger for Natalya’s choice you can still benefit from shooting along to another issue (needlepoint may even work for all I know). Precision is key, small tight powerful packaging of energy…you’re right…the vague shit will drown you.

        Then to offset all the fucking intensity, pick up a guitar, flute or cook or something (no punching out roti) and step out of the rumination. Develop a mechanism to release the rumination with regular breaks to decompress and eventually you will have precision around refining intensity with a puff of air and releasing intensity with a clean shift to something relaxing.

        I suspect you already do this in various ways. The main thing is to be able to set down the intensity at times…step away so you aren’t consumed or cycling in non-productive / seemingly productive mental gymnastics. I get that gymnastics are something multiples perform routinely…just don’t forget those contemplative, lovely balanced positions at regular intervals!

      • Ashana M April 8, 2015 / 7:48 am

        The thinking allows for decompression. I suspect the way other people sometimes imagine thinking is less productive and helpful and more like thoughts just bumping around. This is that nice satisfying feeling of getting the basemet cleaned up.

        I not angry anymore. At least not at the moment. 🙂

        Thanks for following along.

  2. ridicuryder April 9, 2015 / 3:54 pm


    So I’ve been thinking…. 🙂

    There has been tremendous insight for me here on blog with you. Doing this circle of perceptions…often as you do them, but with regular “wait! Clockwise OR Counterclockwise…not both at the same time!” hesitations means the “following” of you is MY ACTUAL DAILY HEADACHE….

    It seems trauma at the level you experience it wires your brain differently. My engagement with you has been to “get” your wiring and like I have said…you have changed my life. My life is also more chaotic recently and I am skimming some of your stuff to keep up with you. I also have noticed the every three day or every week headache suits me better at the moment.

    “Getting” you is important to me, I’m going to take you in bigger, broader bites for a while as both a requirement of where I’m at right now and as an experiment in digesting your journey differently. I hate the idea of being someone who gradually drifts off for a while and then just “drops” in when it suits them which seems to be a regular pattern in the blogosphere.

    So my engagement, respect and love for you remains…with a change of intervals. I AM NOT WITHDRAWING! I am operating at more of a distance…and a more metered / broader understanding of where you are at.


    • Ashana M April 9, 2015 / 4:51 pm

      Sometimes you have to tend to your own garden…
      I get it. Thanks. No worries.

    • Ashana M April 9, 2015 / 4:57 pm

      I should add I don’t think I could read my blog everyday.

      • ridicuryder April 9, 2015 / 5:04 pm

        The past few months have been a life changer for me though. Watching you integrate…giving you a hard time has been an enormous privilege.

      • Ashana M April 9, 2015 / 5:05 pm

        That’s an honour. Thank you.

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