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-Personal blog for Janika Banks.
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

psyche analyzing minecraft again- going hardcore

I know I said I'd put minecraft over on my Bluejacky blogger, but this is Pinky stuff and needs to home here.

Every bit of this was unintentional and has been coming out fairly slowly since Christmas. It actually started around my birthday a few months ago, came up immediately with my psychologist, kinda got put on hold for holidays, ramped up as a very real personal problem right after holidays, evidently started spinning out on a friend's realm in minecraft until Sherlock blew me up again, so the minecraft thing super ramped up this week until I realized what was happening yesterday, and tomorrow I see my pyschologist again, so this is me organizing my thoughts, like I did before with my Mo Creatures builds that I psyche analyzed over this last year. Something about minecraft (and Sherlock before that) is really pulling my past out of me.

It started with this video.


The only clue I had at first was the sudden compulsion to dig up everything I could on Atlantis, and even wound up requesting a really cool book through our regional Mobius system lending.

Hang on, discussion with @bonenado before he heads out to work, actual live blogging-

He's reminiscing about having $7 in Kennedy silver half dollars (1964 mint) and 3 buffalo head nickels when he was twelve years old. His mom prompted him to open a bank account, he asked the teller if he'd get THAT MONEY back, got a yes, and bam, promptly lost what is now worth a load of money. Naturally, that turned to time travel, and I was like yeah, if you could legally go back and fix, say, 5 things, but it all had to be very strictly monitored with lots of interrogation about not changing anyone else's timelines so it would probably all end up being about money or something, and he was like yeah, everyone would be going back like crazy, and I was all like yeah, it would be the lastest get rich quick scam for the time travel agencies springing up.

He's out the door now, got more coffee, where was I? Ok, the theme music up there. Atlantis is something my dad was interested in, along with hollow earth, UFOs, numerology, end world prophecies, and lots and lots more stuff. For some reason, the Atlantis part has always stuck with me, and I have particularly enjoyed shows based around it, including Stargate Atlantis, which I even purchased.

I grew up with a terrible fear of water and refused to learn to swim in a special swim class for pre-schoolers and had to be pulled out. Describing the scenario would start out like very young autism spectrum child entering a pool area for the first time with a nervous and self conscious yet very determined mother with a load of untold emotional baggage, and basically both of us being asked to leave and me getting griped out all the way home and then spanked real good when we arrived. (I grew up with a lot of very angry spanking borne out of a frustrated young mother who got absolutely no moral support whatsoever, but surprisingly, this will all turn out to be about my dad...) I'd say it was one of the worst days of my life, but I've had stacks of way worse than that, so of course I blocked some of the details, but I sure do remember that much a little too vividly. Over a few years, I grew interested in swimming, took my own initiative, and actually became a pretty good swimmer for awhile, even though I nearly drowned one time (funny story, actually), and by the time I met @bonenado, we took our kids out swimming quite a bit and I got into the pool with them as much as possible unless I felt too ill, because anything pool related is a bit rigorous when you're a spoonie with chronic fatigue, so I obviously overcame that fear of swimming and conquered the water.

But around and in between all that, I have a very long history of fearing water itself, and becoming obsessed with water. After I graduated high school, I got so jumpy over a dripping sink one summer that my mom sent me to live with other people, stuff like that. I've had many dreams of drowning due to water filling up rooms I'm in with no way out, and they were so real, like I already knew exactly what it feels like to stop breathing and 'die', and over time in the dreams, I even just accepted it and let it happen. Trying to fight it with a last breath never helps at all. Since this all began in tiny childhood long before sleep apnea, none of this is prompted by sleep apnea, and I don't dream of drowning just because of that. In fact, it's been awhile since one of my drowning dreams, so I had no urgent prompt to dive into this. Get it? Dive. K, nevermind.

So I've had this combination of minecraft and Sherlock going on in my mind's background where I'm not seeing it, right? And then season 4 started back up, and of all things, death happened in an aquarium, under all that water. I didn't realize it, but subconsciously my mind must've exploded, just in time for an ocean village to be discovered on my friend's realm (super rare, I had never run across one in all my own playing), and before I knew it, I'd launched from there to a nearby mesa my friend had also mentioned finding, and I started in without even thinking about it. Just piddling away on this in between chores around the house, right? It has felt like something I've wanted to do for a very long time, but I couldn't put a finger on what or why until I was nearly all done and then just broke down over a memory finally 'talking' to me. It really does take a lot to see what's underneath who we become.


I'm seeing this is going to get quite long because 30+ screenshots, so if you're not up to either minecraft or the personal psychology behind this new build, see ya. It's important to me, and that's what Pinky blog is for.

I've often thought it would be cool trying to build some kind of apartment complex into a natural tower. I didn't get before pix, so here is after.




You can see I'm the sort who likes preserving natural structure. The very first thing I did was start at the top of that tower and create an open top floor with a bed. Even though I did all this in creative mode and I don't really need a bed for respawn after dying, it felt right to make that a sort of loft bedroom. Looking back, my bed is the closest thing in this whole build to the sky. I didn't notice right away until I came back after I was all done that the emerald (I'm not a 'green' person) is the symbol for communication, which is at the head of my bed where, in minecraft, I would come back to life after dying somewhere. Quite literally, my head is trying to tell me something, apparently, but at the time I did this I felt quite spacey and was just piddling around. I had never put an emerald into an item frame before that I can recall. Emeralds are the currency with villagers, and you trade them for maps. Maps, of course, symbolize journeys and destinations.


The next thing I placed on that level (remember, this is the highest level), was an ender chest. If you don't play, anywhere you put an ender chest immediately connects to all other ender chests you've put things into, so you don't have to go back for stuff. Kinda like Pinky blog storing all my rememories for me...

And then I placed another ender chest right below that one on the next level down with a lilac above it. My mom loved her giant lilac bush in our New Mexico house. That's right, I'm building on the edge of a mesa and the first flower I feel like framing is a lilac, above a chest of things I don't want to lose.


This level is like a mezzanine, an in between place. There's not much on this level, but guess what- right next to that chest and framed lilac is a couch... Do I have a special floor for my psychologist? It feels like a very quiet floor with lots of viewpoints, and also feels very much like a cave, but high enough off the ground to feel safe. I find this color of clay block very comforting. I did every bit of this on a whim, but going back, these are the impressions I'm getting.


The rest of the floors and walls on this level are blank, but I love the views. This is what being in my head really feels like when I'm quiet and not interacting with people. Stuff is going on 'out there'.




The next level down is a little more complicated, just above ground floor. There are views, of course, but there is a whole different feel to them. The entire floor feels much busier, like I have stuff to do. Is that cozy little table and chair where I do my writing?


And I can step out and see what's going on out there. Maybe that nearby village is social media. Ah, yes, you see my springboard. I made that a little later. Cool, huh?


I ran around adding flowers a bit later, too, so this is my view now. The lilacs and sunflowers had to be planted, the rest came from just throwing bonemeal on the ground. I was very surprised at the tulips showing up, kind of how I feel when I go back and proofread, perhaps.


When I go back through that double patio door, this is the wall I see. I loooove maps, usually make one for nearly every place I go. I wonder why I didn't put any furniture around.


That window, though. I think just about my favoritist thing about minecraft is perspective, any way you use it, especially metaphorically. It's like stepping into art, and art comes out of heads. I still don't know what's coming out of my head, but for some reason I am really liking this part. I should have been a cat sleeping in sunlight coming through windows. I feel like I could stand here forever. Maybe someday when I'm a ghost I'll stand at windows like this. Do you ever think that? I've been thinking it for years, how peaceful things feel when we can freeze moments.


The other end of that level has paintings on the wall, and a regular chest. I don't like it, but I haven't changed any of it for some reason. Maybe everything I need is at this end of the room.

The next level down is ground level, which pops up in my mind as 'real life'. I have loads of doors in real life, apparently... There is absolutely no furniture or wall decor whatsoever on this level. All my attention making this level was on doorways. This first one is the 'back' door. Believe it or not, as inconvenient as it is, Janika uses it the most to run in and out making things and looking things over. There's probably some big meaning in that. I love all the blue... It's like part of me is surrounded by it or something.


You don't see the far door down the hall in this pic, which goes out to a steep hidden mine. The big double door out to the pretty area has already been dubbed the Pinky door in my mind.


Yes, very definitely feels like the sort of doors Pinky flings open for the world. Pinky is accessible and claims to be transparent and sees all the things lurking around behind a screen. Really digging the yellow floor, too, whatever that means. I'm generally not a yellow person, but sometimes I really like it. I'm standing on lots of yellow. I hope that's a good thing. Yellow brick road stuff... Some of you know exactly what this means.


And I'm already calling this my Bluejacky door. It's guarded with a bunch of sticky webs and prickly things so no one wants to come in that way. Bluejacky likes to go down rabbit holes and disappear...


Before we continue with that thought, let's go run out the Pinky doors! We could already see a springboard looking down from above, but there was something else, too.


It's all orange. Nearly everything in there is orange. It's tiny and private right out here in the open and the sort of innocent thing that immediately evokes suspicion. My mom's favorite color for awhile was orange. She had a big orange vinyl tablecloth made, and lots of orange started showing up in the kitchen when I was in middle school.


And I know what you're thinking- if this winds up being about my dad, why is all this mom stuff showing up?

My original house-tree-person in my Guidance and Counseling masters degree was very strongly about covering up a lot of anger underneath everything. My house, representing my relationship with my mom (on paper), was a floor plan, like the guts of my thinking without any signs of emotional connections. My tree, representing my relationship with my dad, was a Christmas tree cut away from the roots and covered over with pointy baubles, a very angry looking tree, and my person, representing how I see myself, was a showgirl in a bikini on the back of a circus horse with my eyes closed and a big toothy smile, basically disclosing a difficult personality with interaction problems. I am finally seeing my mom around me on 3D minecraft, but I can't help but notice that trees are conspicuously absent. Interesting. My dad is still alive, my mom is not. I wonder where my head is going next.

I still didn't have a clue at this point. I had built a springboard, went running right off it, placed a row of 3 sea lanterns where I wound up very far down in the dark, measured out a line of sea lanterns across the gulf floor, and then went back into the mesa to tunnel down and out. I had no idea how it would look later, but here's what I got.


Ursa Major, anyone? I loved that constellation growing up. Except the cup of this is pointing south instead of north, so if that's a deeply subconscious thing, maybe I'm wanting to tip the water out? The line of single sea lanterns is following the ocean floor, and the aquarium room is parallel to it. I had a little trouble with the ocean floor breaking through into a cavern, so you're seeing other sea lanterns in the cavern, which amusingly adds to the Big Dipper outline.

I started this venture at the top of the mesa closer to the sky, and what I'm seeing looking down is a picture from the sky I had growing up, but it's under water. There is a saying in archaeology- As above, so below. It is thought that indigenous peoples build on the ground what they see in the heavens above, and that some architecture mimics constellations. I don't know if that's true, but I have a dipper from the sky in the water. And we're about to go down there...

I know, right? It's creepy what can come out of your head when you're not really watching.

I'm going to interrupt before we go on with the real life personal problem that started kicking flashbacks at me again.

I grew up tough. I could handle anything. I have seen death and torture so many different ways, and I never cried about it for many years no matter how personal it got. Over the decades as I've gotten older, I started breaking down over seemingly 'little' things, like a pet chicken dying, and soon after that I couldn't watch anything bloody on TV for a couple of years. I've gotten past that part, but now I've got grandkids and find myself spiraling into emotional dilemmas I never had raising my own kids. Most recently, we had to try to make Bunny take some medicine after a tonsillectomy. That kid is one of the strongest 3 year olds I've ever seen. She was drinking cold milk and telling me THAT helped, so she didn't need medicine. She finally reached a point where she was crying and really did need it, but even though she's taken medicine for us just fine in the past, she had no trust this time and did everything in her power to resist, despite being able to drink milk (and even eat) and feeling so rotten. Something about holding her down while she was already so miserable to force her to feel like she was choking on top of such a bad sore throat through all the crying and slimy bubbling coming out her mouth- *flashback*. I had a horrible couple of hours after that. I kind of blew up about it, firmly stating I would never force her to take medicine again, and that if anyone else has to, I need to leave the room. I understand sometimes you have to force it, especially if the child really needs it, but I couldn't be the one to make it happen.

That is a very big thing for me to admit. I'm the one who was by my dad's side puncturing sheep bellies when they bloated (it's an emergency life-saving 'surgery'), helping him carry and bury puppies whose heads he'd stomped in (quietly weighing the conflicting idea that neither life nor spaying were 'necessary', and kindness to the poor mother dog's anguish over every litter lost to a master's whims was never even considered), helping him catch another dog so he could beat it half to death over a chicken (which never made sense to me, he never hit Mom or us kids), killing cats before he could so they wouldn't suffer because he was so bad at it (if animals don't feel pain, what are nervous systems FOR?), holding livestock and pets down during bloody procedures that also included birthing and butchering, butchering animals myself. Death and the torture I've seen and all the pain I've lived through have made me an extraordinarily strong person. But I broke apart trying to make Bunny take a little bit of medicine. Fortunately, my sploit came to my rescue with some suggestions, because I was appalled at a pharmacist telling Bunny's mama that sometimes you've just gotta plug a kid's nose and force it down. From what I can tell, forcing medicine isn't all that different from waterboarding if it's done in a way that a child feels like they're not just choking, but being forcibly restrained and then choking by someone they are supposed to trust. But perhaps I'm just overreacting because I went through a little too much of it myself. I grew up feeling dismissed, in the way, doing my best to earn being 'necessary'. Along the way, I learned to close all my feelings off the same way my dad did.

I recovered a memory a few months ago that was directly triggered all over again seeing Bunny so terrified of us holding her down while she was in pain, because I have my own vivid memories of being held down and forced through tortuous pain (beyond the stupidity of dripping olive oil up my nose to coat my throat, which burned like hell, and many other home remedies that never worked), and I wasn't yet aware playing minecraft that I was about to relive the emotion of something so rough that I had blocked it out and was finally remembering it.

Despite my fear of water, I do love beaches and ocean vistas, read everything I could get hold of about pirates on the seas in my teens, and even use checks and return address labels with an ocean and beach motifs. You'd have to heavily sedate me (and keep me that way) to get me onto a cruise ship, but I do love everything ocean for some reason, and I've been playing around on several minecraft worlds with underwater builds. I'd had this particular idea for some time to practice building underwater from beneath the ocean floor coming up, and was ready to try it out.

So, back inside the mesa tower on the ground floor, I tunneled straight down to a cavern, and naturally I lent an aquatic feel to the experience.


I love this entrance.


A cavern wraps around this room, looking a bit like an outer work area, plus I did the ceiling in blue glass for an underwater effect. I really love these gray walls from the polished andesite. I've been around a few mechanic and machine shops, so this whole below area feels kind of like a headquarters section of a big operation.



Opening one of the doors steps out into a river, so I slabbed over it. That little square of rushing water right by that door really bothered me, like a sick feeling, but I liked seeing it for some reason, so I left it. In my mind, seeing it like that feels awful. Still wasn't getting any hints why, until the idea of water flushing through entered my mind. I quickly shut the door and went to work on the opposite side of the room.


Before all the water was there above my head, all of that was an ocean floor of underwater gravel above me, so I was able to dig up and create very easily.


And then I kind of made myself feel sick again. I mean, I love it, but it's triggering lots of memories, particularly of smells, and I don't feel well looking at it.


I decided to go back down the stairs, go back up the ladder, and then fly over the top of the ocean to see how it looked so far, which is cool because it's very visible from above the water.


And then I went down into the water on the outside of the glass and looked in. It felt very different then, having a buffer between me and that room. I love how I made it, but something about it just keeps triggering a lot of stuff, and I may have to fill it with some greenery and furniture or something before I'll feel comfortable with it. Maybe a few villagers.


While I was standing there down in the water, I noticed that I could also see down into the room below. It looks like there are two paths to the same room, one without any water in it, and one covered in water, like a sort of visual trick.


I decided to dig the rock out over the room below about my height like a secret pocket cave over it all, which created one of minecraft's weird illusions. Water doesn't flow the same way in minecraft that it does in real life, so the water came in only so far. I wound up with a sizable air pocket that mimicked walking on water because of the blue glass.


And as I cleared away all the rock that is now this empty air pocket, I noticed the walls above the illusion of water, and the whole memory clicked into place, and I cried a little bit. Nothing weepy, just a couple minutes of acknowledging I have a thing in my past that has affected my entire life without me ever understanding why.

Walls. Fear of water, love of walls. It all started on the same day.


I've seen my dad resuscitate animals. I've seen him start newborn goats and lambs breathing by blowing into their mouths to inflate their lungs. He never learned it watching TV or in a class or by knowing anything sciencey. He knew this because he believes in the Breath of Life, and that is how the world works.

Just after my birthday, listening to that song up there, I remembered why I know what it feels like to stop breathing and 'die', probably more like just passing out. I was small, probably about Bunny's age. I was once again going through a familiar ritual that used to be common in civilized households around the world, before the medical field became more sane and started calming people down. I remember trying to convince my dad I could do it, I just needed a little more time, but I was a tiny person and tiny people weren't listened to in my world. I was forced to lie over a closed toilet and was held down very tightly to where I couldn't move at all, and when my very young mother protested my screaming because my stomach hurt so terribly bad having all that water shoved into my bowels and my dad wouldn't stop and I heard my mother's screams escalate because mine were escalating (I feel really bad for my mom going through that, she was just a young mother and I was the first child, it must've been so horrible seeing me go through that and not being able to stop it), my dad did the only thing he could at the moment to handle the situation, which was to quell some of the noise. Years later, he again held his hand over my face to make me shut up my whining, which he felt was interrupting him trying to listen to my mom having a little crisis. I think I was about ten maybe, and I remember thinking he was too busy talking to notice I couldn't breathe. I struggled and he held me still, which was even more terrifying, so using all my wit, I decided to go limp so he'd feel that I couldn't breathe, and it worked, he let me go. I left the room immediately and he never seemed to notice. But remembering all these things, I also remembered with a whoosh that the reason why I so detested the smell of my dad's breath on his harmonica and in general was because I had woke up to it in my mouth when I was very small. Technically, I passed out and he revived me, just another one of his pragmatic actions in a very long history of pragmatism. But realistically, he killed me. If I hadn't started breathing on my own and he hadn't known how or been able to revive me, I could have died.

You know what? That's not the part that got me the most upset, which might sound weird. I trusted my dad growing up (but don't mistake that for being close to my dad) because I saw him do the impossible so many times, and have never since met anyone who has worked as hard all their life. The problem was that he had found a way to turn all that noticing what he's doing to others off inside himself, or at least that anyone else could see, and that's a whole other history of what the crap must he have gone through as a kid, right? Because as a boy he was like a chicken whisperer, and had a dog he loved, and his stories are profoundly deep sometimes. So honestly, I'm not upset with my dad. But I am extremely sad and relieved that I finally know what really broke me. I have so many memories of screaming or crying around water, about being afraid of getting wet, and even though I might seem to be ok in photos or just living life, I'm definitely not ok. I've been through anxiety so bad that I couldn't even get a shower for days, or had to have someone in the house with me just to bathe. For decades I've had nightmares of being trapped in the dark by water around me and the only thing I could feel in the dark was a wall, or of drowning in places that I should be completely safe from drowning with no hope of escape.

And standing there in the dark pocket under an ocean that didn't even get me wet, I remembered I fear the water because I suffocated while I was being inflated with water, and the wall was the only thing that held my hand when I reached out through all that pain and fear for comfort before I blacked out.

Somewhere, way down there, was a tiny child lost in a very dark place, under an ocean of water, and I went down there and dug her out.




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