I've been working on the subject of ancient Rome for the boy's home schooling. Of course, with so many years involved, and two completely different children, I not only have to break down such a complex study, but also divide the historical timeline into sections. Right now, we're still "at the beginning", post-Greece (which they studied with delight) and now into the "founding of Rome". My obligation, as I see it, is to instill as many of the basic components as possible, so that they may build upon these as they mature. 

Hence, we're discovering that the Romans were credited with inventing concrete, a complex system of aqueducts, that they lived in "flats" (and no, Dante: a "flat" is not a skinny person, as he put on his test) and that we know these things through the study ofarchaeology. What I mean to say is that a few historical remnants are left for all to view, such as the Colosseum; but many more have been buried under layers of silt, clay and debris. People have continued to live within these areas, and have simply built new lives over the past. The study of course, must include the subject of mosaic tiles.

For the children I merely needed to show them photos of partial digs, with college interns painstakingly sweeping eons of soil away, gently uncovering extraordinary works of art. A few at-home art projects using tidbits of colored paper, and a simple template; and they were creating their own mosaic art pieces. Of course, within a few minutes we were able to discuss how "boring and repetitive" this task was, how many "tiles" still remained, and how large the template seemed to grow as they were filling it in. Now: imagine doing so as a slave, without pay, without credit, and the historical lesson continued.

Which led me to reflect this morning on the same subject, yet from a different perspective. So many of us with DID have felt as if we must uncover, or "dig up" the past in order to understand the present. In reality, that is true. Unfortunately this requires patience and time as we often uncover old wounds that are still festering and painful. It simply is not an endeavor that one can quickly accomplish, view, document and then move on from. Just as archaeology requires the painstaking work of removing layer after layer of the past, so does the very act of reflection as to our personal lives. In discovering who we are, and which contributions have made us the way we are....we must do so tenderly, with gentleness, for often the very act of "digging" becomes a re-traumatizing event in itself.

For myself, I recognize that I discovered a complex mosaic hidden deep inside of my very psyche......one which made little sense initially, but through patience and study, I have begun (just begun, mind you) to understand. Thousands upon thousands of fragmented memories, all connected to form the larger picture: that of myself.

And yet, when viewed from the perspective of DID, this analogy is rather quite accurate. Layers and layers of life, the everyday debris of existence has slowly covered over who I truly am. I am still here, but I am hidden beneath history. Is that where I want to be?

Dante, my oldest son, and the one who is apparently preparing to be a philosopher, made a statement while we were driving the other day. He was talking about Plato and Socrates, and the various viewpoints people have, all in the quest to answer questions that no one has quite yet defined an answer to. When, after a period of silence, (for which I was grateful for, terrible mom that I am!!) he said: "You know momma, the only thing that is real, is right now. Whooop! There it went. And now......whooop, there it went again. For once that second goes by, it becomes the past. The future we cannot touch. We can't change the past, and we can't touch the future, so the only thing that is "real" is right now. But it moves so fast, that it's almost impossible to grab."

And how true.....the present time is simply: here, and then fleetingly blends into the layers that become our "past". We really have very little power or control over anything but where we are right now. We can make choices within these seconds of time that impact the future, and hence leave marks upon the past, but to recognize that we truly do not have power and control over so much in life is truly humbling.

So....... I may be a unique and exquisite mosaic that has taken years to create. I may have been buried under the tonnage of filth left in the wake from individuals in my life, but in the here and now: that is who I am. This short period of time is all that I literally have any semblance of control over.

That very concept promotes a freedom I have previously failed to recognize.

Jane Austin wrote in her publication "Pride and Prejudice", to "think only of the past, that which memory brings you the most pleasure." Of course, when one reads the entire novel, it is clear that she is not referring to ignoring important life lessons. Instead, she is advising one as to how to live in the present moment: and how to make that moment as pleasurable as possible.

For that moment in time is the only thing we do have control over.

Have a wonderful day.......


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    Shelly Dowen-Johnson

    I am currently traveling with my husband across the United States, due to the nature of the work he does. 

    I am the mother of two boys, one who has recently been diagnosed with Early Onset Childhood Schizophrenia (Schizoaffective Disorder). 

    It appears the Dowen family gene sequencing contributes much more than the darling dimples both boys have inherited!  But, as always, with love, tender care and support....we will thrive! 


    June 2012
    May 2012
    April 2012