A Life Mission?


I am a simple person, but I have some big ideas. I have the feeling I can help other people, indeed, I feel I must do work that helps others. I am community minded, and take good things from the works I do that connect with other people in ways that are helpful.

I am not a saint, by any means, although have a silly idea that I may one day become a secular saint, I know I don’t really believe I could do that, it’s just for a bit of a giggle really. Having a silly giggle every now and then adds fun times to life, don’t they? Life can get almost unbearably serious at times …

But life is serious at times, and another of my ‘things I’d like to do’ is to become a public speaker, and one of the things I feel I must speak out about is domestic violence, and sexual violence in general. I have my own story, which I have worked through via poetry, as a form of narrative therapy.
My poetry collection with the same name as this blog haleped me to come to terms with the sexual abuse I received from men known to me, when I was much younger. No-one should ever face that, it is as close to evil as things can get, I feel. I went for some years in my life when I didn’t write much poetry at all, but I am certainly writing a lot more these days.

If I can share my poetry, and make connections to other people who have suffered in some of the ways I have, and I can show to them, through my life which is going along well, that thngs can get better, I would be so glad … I know sharing my own story brought me a sense of understanding and a level of peace. I hope others can find the same.
We all have our own unique story, with some matching connections. The poem below talks of this, and I hope others can find a sense of ease through the reading of this poem. Being able to be heard is a wonderful thing when you have been told to keep quiet the awful things you have faced in life.
Telling Their Stories …

If you wait for that time when, finally
After years of silence, you will be able to do it,
Speak with an unshaken voice, unblock words
that stick in your throat so you choke, barely able
To utter sound without giving in to the shaky voice
You fear will take away the true meaning
Of what you have to say. This will ensure
Your words remain unspoken, you want to
Speak, but don’t. I give no blame, many others
Suffer too in silence. Yes, silent when they have
Much to say, but, but, always but … they want
To sound firm, in charge, strong. Not a girl,
Shaky-voiced, but a strong-voiced woman, one
with a story that needs to be told, & told again
& again – a story that must to be heard. Know this –
That strong-voiced woman standing proud
And strong, telling the story of her troubled life,
Found her strength, in the telling of her tale,
In blessings given, in tears shared, in hugs
From grateful others, those with voices
That shake, with truth, with pain, with hate,
With love, & with hope. May they too, one day,
Tell their stories, & find their strong voice,
In telling stories, they too have, waiting to be told …

If this poem speaks to you, please find people who will be there with you and for you if and when you need them. I have some wonderful friends, each of us damaged in ways that should never have happened, but all of us wearing our scars proudly, and still going on with our lives, and loving our connection with each other.
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Domestic Abuse Takes Many Forms


When the average person thinks of domestic abuse, they usually think of a woman being beaten by their male spouse. This is not unusual, and in fact is probably a common scenario – the man gets angry, and belts the woman.

But Domestic Abuse, or Domestic Violence can be much more than that, and can happen to partners or either gender. And the Abuse that happens may leave no visible marks on the victim’s skin, no cuts or bruises, to prove they were a victim at all, not physically, anyway.

But the scars may be in the victim’s psyche, and they may not even really recognise that what has happened to them is even abuse at all. These abusers can seem to be fine people, to other members of the community, and the person who is being abused can feel like they are totally alone in their sad and sorrow world.

And of course women are not the only victims, sometimes they can be abusers as well, both physically, and emotionally. And of course in homosexual relationships, things can go every bit as bad as in heterosexual relationships. But what all of us must realise that any victim of abuse is a person who must be helped to find a way out of that damaging relationship.

I now live a good life, and am certainly glad of that, and grateful. But in my childhood, I was sexually abused, and again as a teenager. But I found ways to get through that abuse, struggling to find the ways and means. Creative writing has helped me too, in a huge way, and I am glad for finding my way to a better life through my poetry. I have a poetry collection, with the same title as this blog, and the writing of these poems, and the process of putting them all together has been enormously therapeutic for me, as I know creative writing, and narrative therapy have helped others.

write yourself well flyer

One of my roles in life I am most proud of doing is to help other people to work through ‘things’ in their lives. Looking at ways to find other, better ways to think and be. I don’t have any more training in these things beyond my Community Services Work training, and my own lived experience, but I have used these skills, and I know I am doing good things. Helping other people is a good thing, no-one could deny that.

Building up self-esteem in people who feel they aren’t ‘as good as’ other people is another way I am happy to help others. When things have gone wrong for you, sometimes you will even be down on yourself too, but I believe there are good things in most people, and they deserve being recognised for the good things there in them.

These things can all go together, easily, the abuse, the struggles to get through the ‘rubbish’ of their life, and the lack of self-esteem. I am hoping these things will come together in a more structured way for me next year, and I can reach out and help many more people who deserve and need a lift up in their lives. Helping others helps me too, and I invite others to think about how they can help others too.

Rape – Natural or Not?


When Remembering Hurts


Victims of sexual abuse are sometimes (often actually), further traumatised in the process of the abuser being arrested and then sent, through the court process, to jail (if found guilty). Having to go back over the terrible things done to you is likely to cause further damage to the victim of abuse.

And the traumatised brain doesn’t like further trauma, and remembering relevant details can be difficult for the victim of abuse, in many different ways. On a personal level, I can’t remember all of the details of the abuse I received from a ‘family friend’ when I was a child, of about six or seven. I certainly know who my abuse was, but the intricate details of exactly what happened are more or less lost.

My abuser has been dead for many years now. I know, from things I’ve since been told, that the same person may have abused others, in various ways. I don’t know the details of their stories either. Should I know, should I track down every dirty detail, and thing further on them? I don’t think so.

I have gone on in my life to much better things than that abuse. I am a connected and caring member of my community. I think my resilience in life may have developed from being able to survive that abuse, who knows? If I were to go through therapy with a suitable therapist, who knows, we may come up with every single disgusting thing done to me by that man, back when I was an innocent child. But do I want that? No.

write yourself well flyer

He is dead, and unable to hurt anyone again, unless they allow what happened to them against their will, comes back to haunt them. If I went through that, I don’t think that could bring me more peace than what I already have in my life. I did my own form of therapy, writing thehorror of it out of my head, onto paper, in poetry. Narrative therapy, dealing with things through writing, that is how I have found peace.

bottle brush

And connecting with others who have also suffered in similar ways, being with them, having great times with them, these things are healing for us all. We turn our backs on the bad stuff that has happened in our lives, and move beyond it, from victim to survivor, and certainly for me and some others, thrivers! Life after abuse can be beautiful!

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Thinking about ‘Closure’


What is this obsession about ‘Closure’ anyway? Things happen, we get over them and move on. No need to tick some box called ‘Closure’ before we can move on. And even if you think you’ve ticked that Closure box, reality can creep up behind you and kick you in the bum so hard you won’t know what or who did it.
I’m thinking ‘Closure’ is a New Age thing, that wants to sell us something called closure without any thought to how people actually truly manage to deal with the bad things in life.
There is no Closure box to be ticked for grief, or heartbreak, or any other emotional loss. These things take time, and this Closure thing seems to be trying to convince us otherwise.
newholland
A tree doesn’t seek ‘closure’ …
The creation of this Blog, and the publishing of the book that happened around the same time, these were items in my lifetime that helped me to move forward along my path of healing. I am so glad I was able to create these avenues to connect with others who are travelling their own similar path.
I have never thought the creation of this blog, and this book, meant I had achieved ‘Closure’, as if that meant I was finally ‘healed’ of the emotional distress I have had in my life from my initial abuse. There is no such process that works like that, where you can simply go tick, closure done, all good now.
All it could take is that smell, combined with that scared feeling, and then that creepy hug and kiss, and oh, no, it all comes back to me. Yes all these years after the abuse, and the things that occurred when I was a teen, the feelings of being a victim who is unable to be safe, can come back.
I have found a great life, with the man I love, we have a great son who is doing well in life, and I have a career that brings me, if not loads of money, at least much enjoyment in life. I have great friends, I do great things in and for my community, and life is good. But I haven’t ‘found Closure’.
Instead, I have lived and I have learned and I have developed understanding and resilience, so that I am able to deal with these things that can arrive when things in life go seem to be heading toward bad ways.
I have read that this whole ‘Closure’ thing is a marketing ploy, so we will all try to find the thing that will bring us ‘Closure’, as if that is a thing you can get at a workshop, in a book, in a store, or in any other way outside of ourselves.
The thing we’re trying to find isn’t that kind of outer thing, the thing we’re after is something inside of ourselves more, I think. It’s something that maturity, understanding and insight can bring to us, if we are open to it. It may be like happiness, a thing that is always there, waiting for us to be in the right frame of mind, and the right time and place for it, before we can feel it.
Mindset is an important aspect of all of this. If one cannot have that openness to what becomes our new truth, and indeed, if one thinks ‘Closure’ is something that comes from outside of us, then one’s mindset may well actually prevent us from ever being able to achieve that magical closure thing, in any way.
You may do the course, and tick the box, but still feel dissatisfied with the life you’re having. This can lead to self-blame, and anger at yourself, and at others. But it may be because you are looking in the wrong places for understanding, love, acceptance, and healing.
Settle back, look around inside of yourself, think about what you love, what you like and don’t like, change some things, accept or not as appropriate, learn and move the way that looks like it will feel right for you. If you can’t see any improved way, don’t worry, but continue with life anyway, and be open to all. It will come, of you let it …
It isn’t ‘Closure’ you need, it’s friends, family, things to be proud of, things you love to do, things you have planned, lots and lots of things, including, most importantly, a feeling that you are important in this life, that you can make a difference and have meaning in life.
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Missy doesn’t search for closure, she makes sure she has great things in her life, and she cherishes them …
The article at the link above prompted some of these thoughts, but really, I feel like this article has been brewing inside of me for some time.
Meaning in life isn’t a thing you work toward and then achieve, so you can give it a tick – it’s a thing to work toward, seking to achieve, and that will be with you for the rest of your wonderful life!
I’d love to hear what others think about this.

Festival Keynote Speech – Truth


The Adelaide Plains Poets will be holding a Festival very soon, on the subject of truth. The Adelaide Plains Festival of Words (Truth). The Keynote Speaker is Kathy Parker. She is a blogger, poet, and public speaker, with a story to tell. https://kathyparker.com.au/ Kathy will be telling some personal stories, her own and possibly yours. It will be candid, honest and raw.

Some people may not like what she may say, I’m not sure, but I am sure that I will learn and I will find connections with Ms Parker’s story and my own. I suspect also that many others present will find connections too.

We are currently thinking about the stories that have been coming out from women, and some men too, of sexual abuse. The truth has been hidden for many years, and I’m sure there are still many untold stories. But the truth is still there, told or untold, and both the abused ones, and those who did the abuse, know the truth of it.

If you have a story, please don’t hold it inside yourself, festering, rotting your mental health, blinding you to your true worth. We are not to blame, us victims. The ones to blame are the perpetrators, the men, and yes, sometimes women, who abused vulnerable victims, and who in many cases, escaped from prosecution, for a variety of reasons.

Even if your own story is decades old, it can still damage you, please seek help, talk to others, share your story, so the burden can be at least in part lifted from you. Speak to a trusted friend, your doctor, speak to someone … picture jen 013_editedOr if there is no-one to speak to, you may be able to find help in creative writing, as I, and Kathy Parker, and many others have done. Creative writing is truly an aid to recovery, whether you share the words or not.

 

So Much Abuse, There’s No Excuse!


The more I wander around the online world, the more I see stories of abuse of children. Today there was a news post on the television too, talking about the amount of abuse of children in the Northern Territory. On the TV, on Facebook, on Twitter, in conversations between friends, the stories of these horrendous cases of abuse are there, it’s impossible to keep away from them, unless one puts their head in the sand and refuses to look at the truth.

Telling me the offender had bad things happen to them too, as a child though, that may make me a little more inclined to give an offender some sympathy. But any adult of moderate intelligence at least, should understand the basic fact that sexually abusing children is not only an awful and disgusting thing to do, it is also against the law.

So a bad upbringing might impact on a person, in terms of what they may be willing to do. A person may have not been taught good behaviour, by the adults in their lives, but surely the education system, the media, and their peers should give them lessons in living a morally good life. If you think of children, and see them as possible sex objects, then you are not thinking the correct way about children.

Children learn their own behaviour from every thing they see and do. Adults in a child’s world all have a role in helping that child to learn. I hope all children only have good adults in their lives, teaching them good things, things that will help the child to become a good person, one who tries to do the correct and moral thing. Choices are ours to make, be a good person, be kind, help instead of hindering. It shouldn’t be that difficult to follow those guidelines.

safetalk

Damaged doesn’t mean Destroyed


I write about many different things, in my writerly life, some of my writings are poetry, some prose, some online, some in books, on envelopes and other stray bits of paper, some in a newsletter I am the editor of. I write about a few different things, some serious, some silly, some in between. One common theme for me though seems to be the idea that Community is a Very Good Thing!

Another blog post I wrote today, on another of my blogs is this one, where I mention various things, but end up talking about the importance of community. As a person who has been damaged in my past, but am now more focussed on the good things in my own life, I am grateful, very grateful, for the better things I have happening in my life. I have strong connections with people who share various things I care about, and am involved with.

I have a chronic illness, Multiple Sclerosis, but it is manageable, and I am going well enough in my life. I know what I can do, but still push myself sometimes, to challenge my ideas about my capabilities. Some days I feel almost ‘normal’, other times I feel very much affected, but I know the damage my body has done to parts of me is helped both by my medication, and by my own body, healing itself too. I may be damaged, but I am far from being destroyed. I have family, friends, and organisations all happy to be helping me to live the healthiest and happiest life I can.

The idea of healing yourself when you are alone, is a sad one, to me, but many people try to do it that way, struggling, and feeling that is the best way to go. Strength for me, doesn’t mean fighting your way through to all that you achieve, strength can come from joint efforts, using the resources available, and working with others for a common good.

I have strong thoughts about abuse of women, and am also concerned with the awfully high number of people committing suicide. Others may call those who kill themselves cowards, but I am so sorry for anyone who thinks they have no other options available to them, but to end their life.

Can I, as an ordinary person, do anything to stop violence, and stop people from killing themselves? I don’t know. I do know that I am willing to listen to people who want to talk to me, because they are sad, lonely, feeling life can’t give them anything good. Sometimes, that can be enough to save a life.

clover burrs

Is that such a hard thing? To give a suffering person a little bit of your time, a non-judgemental ear, and some soothing words? That really can be enough. Life isn’t always sunshine and flowers, life can be weeds and gloom. But with a kindly attitude to life, and to people, the flowers and sunshine can win through.

bottle brush

 

 

 

Happy Mothers Day to the Damaged Ones


Mothers Day can remind us of the times in our lives when we wanted a loving mother to hold us and comfort us, but she wasn’t there for us. Whether the reason was because she was no longer in your life, or her ‘motherly ways’ were not in evidence, your mother was unable to give us the mothering we needed when we were damaged by our abuser/s.

But even though your mother wasn’t there then, I hope you are now in a better position with your mother, or with your thoughts on how she gave you new skills, how your own abilities increased, or how other people came into your life to give you some solace in your mother’s absence. If you are a mother yourself, you know how damned hard it can be at times.

Mothers live with the pain, the panic, the joys that pregnancy and then bringing a new person into the world. Sometimes though, the joys can take a very long time to arrive, and the pain and panic seem to rule our world. I hope that you are always able to find other people who truly understand what you are going through, and who can hold you so that the crumbled pieces of yourself stay together, until the internal glue of the love you feel for your child manages to stick your pieces firmly together.

safetalk

This process can take so long at times. I know I was a mother for nearly five years before I began to feel I really was nearly the mother I’d told myself I would be, while I was pregnant. I was going to be the best mother in the world. Instead, I’m a ‘near enough is good enough’ mother, and nearly twenty-five years after my son’s birth, that’s all I have to be. Perfection is overrated, and no-one can be a perfect mother, the creature doesn’t exist, I don’t think.

If we didn’t have a good, or good enough mother, that can make the whole ‘becoming a mother’ process harder, because you can’t follow what she showed you, because she didn’t herself know how to do it. If that’s the case, I hope you can find others who can show you, through how they deal with their own children, a good way to go with your own child, knowing though that each child is unique.

Loving your child, and yourself, doing the best you can, and seeking and accepting help, these things can help all of us mothers. We can join together in a band of motherhood, and be forces for good, because no-one does ‘good’ as well as a good mother does!

This is Heartbreaking


The ABC have put out a story on their ABC  News channel, and as I was reading it, I was remembering certain things from my past, back when I too, was a young woman, trying to negotiate the twisting path of having a life, having a fun time, and being safe. The story had so many echoes happening in my mind, and it made me think, and I’ve decided to help spread the word, in the hope that good things may still come from this awful thing.

This could have been me, or you, or you. The story told here is a story no-one would ever want to be able to tell, but so many women, and some men too, could tell a similar story. Being drunk and doing reckless things are no reason you should be abused. The young man had also been drinking, that is no excuse for his behaviour, as being drunk was no excuse for hers. Being drunk may be the reason, but it isn’t an excuse.

Thinking about how this young person, Saxon Mullins, was treated, raped, it makes my heart break a little, but I am so glad that she seemingly is now seeing this as an opportunity to do some good. I’ve also been hearing on the news today that this issue of ‘consent’ is going to be looked into further and possibly be legislated on. Saxon Miullins did not consent to having sex with her abuser, she was raped. If a woman isn’t obviously keen to having sex with you, and you have sex with her anyway, you could well be raping her.

How many cases of rape are there that go unreported? Many. many more than you may realise. And never forget that a child is unable to give consent to a sexual act with an adult, no matter how keen they may be on the thought of it. Children must be protected, from others and from themselves, because that is what a good society is there to do.

This is a sad story, as I said. Please make it become a better story …