This incident was the first event of it's kind.
It's been my experience that I didn't feel 'mixed signals' until a different kind of event began to happen, and at first I didn't pay attention to them, but my body felt them, sometimes like a shock, other times I just noticed something that I could have noticed many times in the past but had not. Then I wondered why I was only noticing now something that had happened many times in the past.
The levels from which 'thought' emerges cannot be discerned directly. Some thought can be seen inwardsly but not spoken aloud and I had to experience it to know that. My mind was different than normal after 1982 and at the time I believed I had brain damage possibly, but there were several other possible explanations for changes in my thought. The biggest change was an ongoing stream of thought about a dream I'd had, but after a time I noticed differences in my thought. That made me curious about whether I was thinking that new thought.
I would not have suspected that some events happen that are extraordinary but this is not evident when they happen. They are intended for use in the future, but this is evident only when the event is 'used'. This one event was the first of it's kind. Ordinary daily events do not often cause confusion in the mind or an extraordinary body response but this one did.
It happened one night in 1982 as best I can date it. I'd gone to a square dance lesson at the Hard 'n Easy Club, alone because my husband and I had separated. It was my habit to have a book with me so that I could occupy myself during breaks because I felt cold, painfully cold, isolated and remote from everyone. The book was a necessity not only because I didn't have to talk to anyone, but I felt a need to read, I had a book with me at all times. That night I had an old fictional book, The Weaver of Dreams by Myrtle Reed with me.
How I acquired the book is part of the event: A few weeks prior to this incident, I had passed a used book store that was not yet open for business. The door was open so I paused to ask the owner who was working among stacks and piles of book when the store was going to open. We exchanged a few pleasantries then I noticed just at eye level a heaven blue colored spine of a book, the title in gold letters. I asked if I could see it, then after riffling through it, seeing the extra-ordinarily unusual front of the book, the date it was published, 1911, I asked if I could buy it. It was the prettiest book I 'd ever seen and it looked brand new. However if it had not been at eye level, in a stack of used books would it have come to my attention?
I had read more than half of the book when this event happened. It's an old fashioned love story between a well matched couple planning their wedding, building their new home until a frothy, adorably helpless blonde child/woman enter their lives.
During the evening the wife of our club's square dance caller came over to a couple near me and asked if they wanted to join her and her husband at a local restaurant. She did not include me which made me feel somewhat slighted, even a tad bit outraged. She came to my home once a week for a sewing lesson and she seemed very friendly then. However I had noticed a difference in the way she was to me in public than in my home,. In public she seemed 'friendly' but not really friendly. Also I danced with her frequently because neither of us had a partner. Her husband being the caller often left her with no opportunity to dance, and she loved to square dance. She always danced the male position and I danced the female. No body I knew could do the male position as well as she did and because she knew the moves so well, I really liked to be partnered by her. We had danced together most of the evening. It is an important detail that I was trying to teach her to sew because she couldn't find clothing that fit her tall oddly shaped figure.
I knew they usually went with friends to a certain restaurant so after the dance I went there. As I passed the table where the caller, his wife and their 'regulars' were gathered, (all couples) she greeted me with a smile, apparently friendly and asked if I wanted to join them. I said "no, thanks" then started to walk away. Quite unexpectedly, I walked back to their table and I heard myself say something very unlike me. What I said was not anything I'd thought about or intended to say but words poured out of my mouth. I can't remember exactly all that I heard myself say, but I began with : "I know you won't let me join you.".
That made no sense because she had just asked me to join them, with an apparently friendly smile. It's obvious now that a sense of being 'forbidden' even though invited had somehow begun to be noticed but from a level that I could not relate to at that point in Time! I know that I said quite a lot that I'd not thought about saying, I remember saying: "You will not let me be myself." for no reason that I could have understood that night. Then I took my book and went to another table. I felt no embarrassment and was not curious about my unexpected outburst. Nor was I embarrassed then or later although several other people were present.
I opened the book and began to read where I'd left off. After a few lines I noticed my body. There was a 'feeling in my body' as I read. The feeling grew as I read such that I felt extremely strange, slightly dizzy. A sense of confusion was certainly present as I 'saw myself being affected' by what I was reading. This is what I read in the book that generated an unexplainable body response; it's a fragment of a conversation that begins on page 175 and that's an important detail too:
`"I don't believe you can live with other people and not absorb something from their ways of thinking and manner of expressing themselves. Moreover Aunt Cynthia has a very penetrating personality."
"All strong natures have." Chandler answered. "Some people are shaped wholly by their environment, as plastic material conforms to the receptacle in which it is placed. Others mould their environment to meet the demands of individuality."
"Can it be done?" asked Judith, thoughtfully.
"Always, if one is strong enough. From mysterious sources we draw to ourselves that which we require or expect. If a tree may lift into it's trunk the materials for sap and fibre, and if the moon may control the tides why should not thought which is the most wonderful and powerful of forces bring that which we require or expect into one's daily life, if not the absolute control of circumstances."
When I read the last sentence my head felt dizzy, I shivered and felt an overall 'strangeness' that I could not have named then because I had not ever named 'feelings'. But I was unawares then of this very great lack in my self. "..why should not thought which is the most wonderful and powerful of forces bring that which we require or expect into one's daily life, if not the absolute control of circumstances." There was a distinct emphasis on certain words in that sentence.
When this event happened my life had already veered away from 'normal' for me. 15 years later I had learned to understand what the paragraph was intended to convey to me: it really described what was happening in front of me, in a situation I had noticed (or which had been drawn to my attention) in a couple I knew.
Later I became aware they were living a basically identical life to the life I was living at that point, a fact that became obvious over a period of years, not days, weeks or months and many painful situations had to be lived through. I noticed a kind of marital bond that made them live somewhat as one person, and she'd told me that's how they wanted to live.
The 'condition' of living with someone and being affected by that person, who 'molded everything' so that it 'conformed to that which we require or expect' was a fact that had to be discovered from living experiences . That happened bit of information by bit of information but then I noticed the information seemed to come in an orderly flow that was disorienting, confusing because it came in a form I could not have suspected. My mind felt 'dizzy' at times. The actual floor seemed to turn to Jello; I felt unbalanced literally. The paragraph from Charles Williams is as precise a description as could be written.
What I read in a book I chanced to find somewhere described what was happening at the time, that drifted into awareness., it didn't suddenly occur. Several events happened that made it so distinct even I had to notice it.
I knew nothing then about 'shared mindsets' between individuals in a family, or marriage, or on a larger scale, in the 'Big Picture'. I remember clipping a news paper article about Patty Hearst and the Stockholm syndrome in the early 1980's, and I don't usually do that. I still have the clipping.
The real surprise was recognizing a kind of 'story emerge in my mind and it seemed that everyone but me already knew the script! What other people said to me, what they did quite often was aligned precisely with some inner content in my mind. It was like seeing a puzzle assembled automatically in my mind, but I had to learn from those individuals what my part in the drama was, an actor but also the audience. It all had to do with a 'secret about the insane', which had been brought to my attention in advance, over decades really, and especially during the 9 years before the summer of 1984. My mind created a complete idea from two fragments embedded in to different books.
The paragraph from The Weaver of Dreams is on page 175 and I mentioned the number is not an insignificant detail either. It's a number that have emerged over a period of years to mark my personal pathway through life in the way road signs mark an actual highway. (there are several others 156/651; 256/652; 3.141592...; and of course my birth date numbers, 1-2-32) (If you watch the movie Number 23, its somewhat a good model of 'thought broadcasting/ideas of reference a symptom known in psychiatry as forming delusional associations from 'getting messages from irrational sources'. I had to learn what 'irrational' meant.
By the time this incident happened, I had begun to become fascinated by a certain 'oddness' in their relationship although at that point it was just beginning to emerge. She sometimes made remarks about her husband while I sewed and she watched. I realize now that I felt a sense of curiosity about why I could not seem to see the man she described. One night she'd remarked as he walked away: "I cannot think of one good thing about that man.". I'd been shocked because he seemed to be extra-ordinarily attentive and I'd seen him be very kind to her and attentive to her.
It was beginning to bother me that I felt a 'tug of attraction' towards the man. I felt an unexplainable desire to talk to him, to get to know him and because there was nothing other than curiosity behind my need, I couldn't understand the growth of such an attraction. It grew and grew because I wanted to talk to him often about square dance problems and I couldn't.
(When I did understand this 'strange attractor' towards this man, or the unusual relationship I had with his wife, which was that I began to 'take care' of her in a way that puzzled me, that happened 7 event filled years later. Ian 1987 a missing link, a key bit of information linked back to what I'd read in The Weaver Of Dreams. I met a man at work and he mentioned where he lived, which was a city where Dutchness prevailed and Dutchness was a common denominator in all our lives.
That fragment of information in turn linked up with a book I'd read when I was a child about Luther Burbank's hybridizing of the field daisy!! I had gotten a job at Boeing by then. One day in a casual conversation a man about the age of my oldest son made a remark that formed a link between this couple, between something that had happened in my mind in 1984, then also to my past, my present real world life! There was a difference though, this co-worker was someone I felt a deep compatibility towards and we could talk easily about things that later I realized most people didn't talk about in the late 1980's . We could talk about things that surprised me, naturally and without embarrassment, which was not true of the man I wanted so much to get to know. He and I were both married to Dutch-ness at the time.
My co-worker was in his early 30's, about the age of my oldest son. I felt that he thought of me as a mother figure because his mother had died within the past year. He had talked to me quite openly about his marital relationship, how he felt about his wife and her apparent lack of willingness to be a partner in their marriage. Then one day he told me where he had lived, a town that I had heard the wife of the man towards whom I felt such curiosity about mention that it was her home town. She had remarked one day that it was like living in a town that was more like a strict church than a town.
By the time my co-worker made that remark I'd had so many unusual events happen, as a result of my 'strange attraction' to her husband that it revealed a startling, almost unbelievable situation: this couple were living at that point in time, a life situation that was identical to the situation in my home. Except that gender roles were reversed, there had been an almost precise duplication of their private life in my own home, or so it seemed to me from what I saw and heard, although other people mentioned privately that they felt as I did. They were one person then.
A great change in how I heard him, and no other person until after 1984 seemed to highlight certain offhand remarks the square dance caller made to a room full of people. That was literally shocking. I felt extremely unbalanced, literally, when it happened once, then again, and then somewhat frequently by the time 1984 approached. He seemed to address and even answer thought I'd never spoken about, and could not have said aloud to anyone as I found out later there are depths in the mind, where thought and content emerges that is galaxies away from 'falling into speech'.
By 1988 I had experienced continuously 'strange' events for more than 4 years. I had not been able to sleep normally at night since 1981, late in the year by then.
When I left the evening that I read the remark in the book: "I don't believe you can live with other people and not absorb something from their ways of thinking and manner of expressing themselves. Moreover Aunt Cynthia has a very penetrating personality."" I did not think about what I'd said nor did I realize that I'd done something quite unusual for me to do. I didn't think about the effect of what I'd read, everything just happened.
The real shock happened when I began to realize how much time had to pass --several years--before I began to realize that I had lost control of myself and that event was the point where loss of personal volition had begun. Although I heard myself say what I had said and remembered eventually those moments it was only because they were brought back into my mind after a period of years. (There had been a situation in my past (in the early 1970's) that I'd not said anything about to anyone, that was similar in that I'd felt misunderstood, misinterpreted . Then I'd felt for a few months an agonizing need to talk to a certain supervisor but every time he came near me I began to shake, stutter, so badly I couldn't talk, literally. That's kind of a long story but when Post traumatic stress disorder was defined, I knew what it meant.
This supervisor had the same initials, JH as the square dance caller. That's also the initials of my ex-husband. There were several JH's that were part of my life drama.)
Somehow I could wonder to myself only years later about what I had not given any thought toward when the event happened. It had not occurred to me how spontaneously I had spoken and how I had not understood any reason for what I'd said until the 'regenerated memory' caused me to think about them.
The significance emerged quite slowly, over a period of years, only a few less than a decade passed before I began to understand the 'spontaneous' experience of hearing myself, in occasional events.
This kind of 'event' had begun to happen only in a relationship with this one woman and in a different form, her husband. In a different form, I had begun to hear her husband's casual remarks, it was usually a sort of 'filler' speech, while he talked to his square dance students. It began to seem that these offhand remarks, was said specifically to me and that in them he was telling me about what was going on in his home. Rather slowly, I began to notice common themes in every song he chose to use.
He was extremely repetitious and I'd heard the same songs for years because he used less than 10 records without my noticing what I began to notice. One evening I noticed all of his records had a theme of being in a kind of prison or of being different than he seemed to be. "The way I am, don't fit my shackles..." was one song. The theme became evident to my silently observing eyes and ears, then one night he sang a new song and I liked it so much that I bought a copy for myself. It had these words in it: "Lord, I hope this day is good. I'm feeling lonely and misunderstood." I became aware he had changed one line in the song, replacing it with "I wish I was single..." .
It was years later that I recognized the reason for what I said that night. I had begun to feel 'mixed signals' in my body.
It got worse.
I had felt in my body a contrast between how she was when we were in public and how she was in my home, so I had begun to experience 'mixed signals'. In private she was chatty and friendly but in public there was a difference that had begun to bother me. I was puzzled that she sat beside me, watching as I sewed, (intending she would venture on her own at home), chatting easily and in a confidential way, but she never initiated making one garment, or finishing anything we started.
I had begun helping her learn to sew but she had never initiated anything except when we were together. So I kept making clothes for her. And doing other things with intentions to help their club become well known and stable. We wanted them to be very successful but it began to seem they were doing things that deliberately sabotaged their own hearts desire. That was painful to many other people, not just me.
Their club was one of 2 advanced and challenge level clubs in our area and they both had made it clear they wanted him to become nationally well known. Many members of their club wanted the club to grow and form a stable base for him to develop his calling talents, which to use were very, very good. Several people were more aware than I was that they didn't make their club accessible, they didn't seem to make newcomers welcome the way they would have done if they were committed to becoming well known. It did not occur to me that a square dance caller that makes it difficult to learn and who develops a reputation for being 'mean' to his own dancers is living out a double bind. I began to feel it in my body before I could name anything I felt then. I began (in my own limited way) to do things that ordinarily I would never have presumed to do to anyone...except one other person, the man I was married to. He is Dutch.
The condition of 'induced psychosis' or 'folie aux duex' is one that I knew nothing about when I read this 'electrified' snippet from the book.
It was more than 10 years later that I realized that when I read the words in the book, The Weaver of Dreams which was 80 years old by then, that it described to me what was going on in my life. There were people directly in front of me, whose relationship had certain puzzling qualities that everyone who knew then talked about among themselves, but never to the couple.
The topic (at that point in Time) was so unspeakable, that I had actually begun to experience a terrible sense of what the word 'unspeakable' really is about. I could not say to either of them that for no reason I could understand I began to feel a terrible sense of grief about the man and a deep sense of pity for her. It was obvious to me they believed I had a gender based attraction to the man but I felt nothing other than a depth of sadness that twisted my body with grief. I began to weep tears that wrenched my body so that I began to talk about myself as a 'towel person'. Tears drenched my face for years, every day and I could not understand how my body produced such a quantity of tears.
One day I read a term in a book, 'archetypal weeping' that somehow seemed personalized and 'referential' to my life, but by that point in Time so many other circumstances in my life were reaching near overwhelm that it's only now that I understand where the 'strange attraction' really had it's origin. It wasn't a physical presence but it was a presence that knew about what has happened in my mind and my physical material life.
A kind of shared mind between them was somehow evident, but it became a group shared mind eventually, shared by people who did not suspect they were affected in a cult like way with this couple and our cult-like behavior in our hobby. . We spent more time together with this couple and another group for a period of about 7 years, more often that some people go to church.
There were only a few loyal club members who didn't get angry at being treated mercilessly at times when we were in public by this 'hard' man. We were shamed in public at times because we could not dance when he was the caller. We felt a real humiliation and real sorrow that many potential club members were put off because we, his own dancers couldn't successfully manage to complete a tip without collapsing into chaos very frequently.
P. S. The young man that was my co-worker was found dead in his bed in 2000. He had been stabbed 47 times as the newspapers reported, and he was 47 years old. It was an apparent break in and robbery while his wife was out shopping. He worked the third shift so he was sleeping in the day time.
Two years ago I attended as much of the trial as I could and his wife was convicted of his murder. It was a painful trial to witness, because it revealed how this woman had lived and dealt with a situation nearly identical to the one in my life except that they had quite a lot more money which was in real estate. She had never had a dishwasher and their house was always in a state of remodel which was certainly true in my own life. There were many 'clues' in the room that pointed towards her, most of which she would probably not have understood until she had the same kind of understanding of herself and her marital relationship that I have now. Her habits had revealed her.
This young man and his particular 'Dutch-ness' and the wife of the man that attracted me so with her particular kind of 'Dutch-ness' were brought together, not by any will of mine, or for any purpose that I knew about while things were happening, but there was something to be understood as quite purpose filled at work. This is not a comment about the Dutch, it's just an attempt to explain how some function of mind operated, and how by 'chance' my life aligned precisely with events in the exterior world so that I became aware that in 1984 we were all doing 'work' for an other level.
If there are mixed signals, there are signals; a difference has to be felt first.