I am tired of fighting for my birthright. My entire life I have balanced two opposing truths. My body is male. But since I was 5, I wasn’t allowed to think of myself as a boy. The assault destroyed that birthright. Believing my father was deeply ashamed and hated me, only compounded it. I have […]Battleground — Owning It
This week I benched my body weight. No big deal, guys hit their goals all the time. But that sentence would have been forbidden to me as a child. Not the fact, even if I had, but the aspiration it embodies. My 5 year old brain figured out how to handle the shame from the […]I am a man — Owning It
Sometimes I need to pause mid frolic and reflect on just how much I have changed. As you may have noticed, I have been having a delightful romp in the land of selfies. This may strike old friends as strange. Not so long ago, I would protest having my photo taken. If they managed a […]See Me — Owning It
…Specs of bright metal dashed along the lines. Each of the countless staples glistened obscenely where they pinched the discolored skin.vapor — Owning It
I deeply shared a lot about the assault with a friend. Rarely have I so clearly expressed the experience. Gone was my begging permission to feel. I wasn’t nervously claiming my rights to compassion on technicalities. Without shame, I freely discussed the worst day of my life. Giving feedback, he marveled at the “ferocity of […]The ferocity of a child. — Owning It
The What-If Precipice I shared some of my story with my brother. His reaction turned my world upside down. I expected him to be ashamed of my failure. Instead he was instantly angry with the boy who did it. He related how fiercely my mother defended him when a neighborhood gang bullied him. He said […]The What-If Precipice — Owning It
Seeking artwork that celebrates personal transformation. Somanyskins.org virtually showcases art that embraces triumph over life’s challenges. Our first call ends August 13, 2021. The show “opens” on August 15. The site sprung from a series of my photographs by the same name. I am Brian David Dennis, a multi-disciplinary artist in Philadelphia. I am also a […]Call for Artwork — Owning It
Breathing is a right, not a privilege.distinctions – EMDR Journey Notes — Owning It
I ask a thousand questions about the trauma. So much so, the inquisition became a mantra. The mantra, a cage. I sought to liberate myself by understanding every perspective of my experience. My approach was doomed from the start. There are questions I will never have the answer to. But even more importantly, by looking […]Onto Today – EMDR Journey Notes — Owning It
Could everything you have ever been afraid of be unleashed? Would our monsters flutter away, tiny and frail? Would our bravery diminish their hold? I hold my fear in my chest, caged in my ribs. In a rage full fit, I snatched it. Dominated it. Claimed control and freedom. But they were hollow. Being a […]Dark Flutter – EMDR Journey Notes — Owning It
The trauma we experienced leaves deep scars on our psyche. I was in my late 50’s when I faced my sever food aversions. I also faced the horrible reaction I had to my reflection. It was a lot of work in therapy, but paramount to my changing was the personal trainer I worked with. He […]To Now — Owning It
A few weeks ago I was confronted with just how much I hated my 14 year old self. I’ve done a lot of work in EMDR that has helped turn the table. Last night I encountered a deep compassion for him. I once couldn’t stand to be photographed, or to see my reflection in a […]Finding fondness for my 14 year old- EMDR Journey Notes — Owning It
I will not be haunted by a lingering sense of the past. I will bravely feel it’s full weight and all that it implies. Then, I will pass through it. Will I be healed or stronger? Possibly. But I do know I will be more whole and of myself Not them. -My promise, my battle […]My Promise, My Battle Cry- EMDR Journey Notes — Owning It
The sessions have been getting intense. I have been fumbling around in an emotional muck. It’s left me unable to write. But I need to. I am going to be frank, so back away because there are ***TRIGGERS*** The update is pretty straight forward. The last EMDR session we targeted the moment I woke up […]On a prick / balance- EMDR Journey Notes — Owning It
A video starts and you see yourself. What if your first, unedited thought was “handsome and muscular”? Bear with me. The assessment isn’t fueled with bloated pride, nor was it a notion born of hope. What was seen was not a Hollywood hunk or Mr. Olympia. It was simply an appreciative recognition. And I can […]Home — Owning It
***TRIGGERS*** I wasn’t going to post this here, but I believe it maybe valuable to understand. I posted it in an online forum for survivors on 1-11-21. Last week I had maybe the most important therapy session ever. I began to talk in depth about a part of my experience I have often mentioned, but […]Killed Pleasure- EMDR Journey Notes — Owning It
My bodybuilding coach observed that I am in a lot of abundance right now. He noted that I do share some of my joy. But he asked how I could do more, what would it look like and how would it affect me. I blundered for almost a week. I am slightly concerned with being […]Bodybuilding Joy — Owning It
I finished telling my therapist the trauma. For the most part I sat firmly rooted in the present while I spoke. I feel oddly still, whole and okay. I will just let it be.Still – EMDR Journey Notes — Owning It
I believe tomorrow I will finish providing my history. I am calm, filled with anticipation, but for what? Whenever I tell my story I am soothed with blankets of confirmation. I have never been able to wear them as skins, but it is comforting for a breif moment to be warmed in understanding. My life […]Anticipation – EMDR Journey Notes — Owning It
Exploring the question of why I keep trying took me into some deep water. From the outset I need to say the elephant in the room is loneliness. Looking at that raised some other questions. Working to grow is all well and good. But there is a flip side, a parasitic obsession that mimics “therapeutic” […]Guilt – EMDR Journey Notes — Owning It
I’ve had so many mornings after. But today’s dawn light brings a focus and clarity. Asked what he thought, my therapist said “it sounded like a horror movie”. There’s so much comfort in his confirmation. I needn’t scurry between doubts. I have come here to be solid and sure. Maybe others have said it before, […]Solid – EMDR Journey Notes — Owning It
I have therapy tomorrow. I only skimmed my homework. And won’t have a chance to bite into it today. He gave me these relaxing techniques. I will happily workout for 2 hours. What does it tell me if I won’t make 20 minutes to relax? Why do I have to be on? Chilling isn’t something […]Dismissal – EMDR Journey Notes — Owning It
The assault set up an ongoing conflict between who I am and how I see myself. Did I fight or freeze*? There are knee jerk emotional responses, instant pillars standing in our psyches. There are ways I always feel when I look at the asualt. I can’t conciously change them. But what if I didn’t […]Doubt – EMDR Journey Notes — Owning It
I need words for what I did yesterday. I was sick to my stomach most of the night and don’t feel myself yet. As I generally don’t get stomach bugs, I am going to suspect emotional influences. I hope words will get me through. Yesterday I told my therapist, Rand what happened on the playground. […]EMDR Journey Notes – Blanket of words — Owning It
Tomorrow I believe I begin giving a detail history to the therapist. There’s a barren feeling when I think about the magnitude of my story. Against what I know, is a strange emptiness. It leaves my mouth hollow and dry. It’s a repetitive thing tumbling around, never getting far enough away to forget. When I […]EMDR Journey Notes – Silence — Owning It
There are treasures locked inside of me. This isn’t only a hunt to dump light into the deep scars left by the trauma. It is mostly a journey of expansion and growth. Every fiber in me believes it will be awakened. breakout (capsule)EMDR Journey Notes – 9-19-20 — Owning It
When I mentioned being kidnapped the therapist asked a question that has lingered: “We’re they ever caught?” I can’t possibly layout my reactions in any order that gives them meaning. To him I replied “no one ever knew, except for Bobby G. He called it a “bad trick”. What a 21st century question. This was […]EMDR Journey Notes – 9-18-20 — Owning It
I generally try to craft well written posts. I am taking a different approach with these Notes. They will be just simple impressions and expressions. I meet Rand today, session one is in the books. We talked about what our work together would look like. There are some formal steps, the word escapes me (foundation?). […]EMDR Journey Notes – Day 1 — Owning It
As I near my first appointment I have a growing awareness of just how ready I am. When I interviewed this therapist I was very specific which rape I wanted to deal with. As I have read more about EMDR I discovered that there is a formal evaluation in which my entire history will be […]EMDR Journey Notes – Big Bang — Owning It
I had a dream that on second thought most would describe as a nightmare. The fact that I just think of it as a dream tells me more then it’s content. I was alone in managing the aftermath of the trauma. No one even knew I was kidnapped let alone that my life was in […]EMDR Journey Notes – PTSD — Owning It
…the open woman welcoming all of life’s marvels to twinkle from her eyes. They are light hearted souls gracing the world.EMDR Journey Notes – Expectations — Owning It
I am a few days into my decision to get EMDR. Just opening the subject has been fairly powerful and I want to maintain a diary of the process. I will share what I’ve posted elsewhere and from here out will be doing entries here. 9/2/2020 Guys I interviewed a therapist who does EMDR today. […]EMDR Journey Notes – Catch up — Owning It
From 5 on, my pallet didn’t expand. If anything it shrank.Profound Victory — Owning It
“Could you teach me?”happy? — Owning It
It’s a moment telling two stories, a before and after.In the sun, between — Owning It
What was my inner muscle head planning?Reluctant Beast — Owning It
Every morning, same routine: pose for a progress photo. Find my abs, turn on my left leg, flex hard, find the shield, flex hard, flex hard. Take the shot. Every morning I see myself as strong and muscular. I am not the most, nor the biggest. Where I am on the spectrum isn’t important. That […]
Why do you do the things you do? I’ve taken a meandering path for a sweet nugget of insight. “I can hardly believe how good you got at hating yourself” These words came in hard and piercing. It was during a casual conversation with a friend about my physique. I mentioned my relief to be […]
To know Now…
Pretend you are worth it, you will come to know you are.
2 years ago I came out on Facebook as a rape survivor.
The competition was an amazing experience. Yesterday, the day after I was a heap of happy exhaustion. So much happened so quickly I will need time to reflect on it all.
I had no idea what to expect. My coach, Nick Deacon said I would be coming home with trophies. But I honestly thought he was just pumping up my head too. Turns out the guy knew what he was talking about. I came in 1st in the 4 divisions I competed in:
Your goals transform when you commit to a project. They may start off as one thing, but then the particulars become the focus and that seed is all but forgotten.
My initial goal was less focused on the competition and more on the other competitors. I wanted to belong. I have always struggled with feeling that sense of…
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This bodyEntwined of graceAnimalIntelligentSinewyPrecisionExposed This bodySolid On frameNoble of purpose Carved in pursuit. This bodyyou taught to hateStands unfurled Defiant to your indignitiesGlowing in now This bodyyou played to snuffBreathes deep This bodyyou stoleHarbors incomfort and council This body is mine To build as I see fit How dare you dare. As witness This body […]
Identity vibrates between states, skittling and shaking, hints of vaporous solids anchor the ends. False states are mingled in and overlaid. Aspirations tinged with hope, mislead. Opinion and insight can reveal, but not transmute ownership. I have a collection of facts, pasted and stapled to each other in the form of a man. He’s a […]
Throughout the process I am encountering a number of challenges. Discarded candy wrappers beck and call me from the gutter. Tanning products exist in a matrix of superfluous information. Can workouts ever be productive enough?. But by far the most difficult for me is staying positive. Again I plunged into a negative space while sending […]
I can’t honestly discuss my bodybuilding journey without being candid. Changing my body has meant changing my mind. I have a complicated relationship with food. Those who have known me are shocked by the color of what I am now eating. I was known as the beige guy. So many times I’ve been asked what […]
We rely on photographs to tell us the truth. As an artist I should know better. But even so, I tend to believe what I see. For over 5 years I send Visual Assessment photos to my trainer. Once a month, I roll out of bed, and before I eat or drink I take the […]
I am the proud owner of tiny, shiney posing briefs. If you know me, this may seem out of character. If you don’t, we’ll both be getting to know me. I am preparing for my first bodybuilding competition. It is how I choose to celebrate turning 60 years old. It is not a delayed midlife […]
Scratchy thoughts collected as a note to a friend or many.
I haven’t published in a terribly long time. At first, I thought I would be back shortly, then it stretched from weeks into months. I am officially taking a hiatus from the blog.
As I work through my life, I have discovered I want to present my story with the breath only a longer format offers. I don’t know if I can do it. But I know I need to try. As I do with most of my projects, I fell in deep. To say it has become intense is an understatement.
Writing shares my energies with my other pursuits, a business and social life. I am currently preparing an installation for the Philadelphia Airport and training for my first bodybuilding competition in May of 2019.
Thank you so much for all of the support.