Feeling Proud

February 21, 2018


When I think about some of the things I’ve done in my life, I cringe, and could be sad. But then I think about some of the other things I’ve done in my live and I am proud, and being able to be proud of things I’ve done makes me very happy indeed!

We’re all human, and we all make mistakes sometimes. We get in contact with people who do bad things to us, or maybe lead us astray. All we can do is to keep trying to remember ourselves when we are doing good things, feeling happy, and not at odds with our wants and needs. And surely we all want to be able to be proud of ourselves, every now and then, if not all of the time. Remembering my early years, there are things there no-one should be proud of, but I have matured, and I hope become a better person than I could have been.

Today I have done two things, both of them related to each other. I’m very proud of myself for one of those things, but I’m not proud of myself for the other one. Some people would downplay their pride for the good thing they did, but get stuck into themselves for the other thing, the one they’re certainly not proud of. Not me though.

I am the editor of a monthly newsletter, the Mallala Crossroad Chronicle. I am in charge of putting it together, sending it off to be printed, and then distributing it. Today I finished doing the February issue of the Chronicle, and sent it off to be printed, early, and looking great, if I do say so myself! So yes, I’m definitely proud of myself for this.

The Chronicle started in 2004, when I was working for the Mallala Economic Development Board. This was the first newsletter I’d ever been involved in producing, and even though I was working on it with someone else, I could see we were doing good work. The Chronicle was two pieces of paper back then, printed on both sides, and distributed to various places in the town of Mallala.

These many years later, I’m the person doing this job, with many people providing material to me, via email, or from me finding or writing up things I feel the people of Mallala might be interested in. It’S a volunteer job, done in a professional manner, most of the time. Today though, after sending off the Chronicle, I received the email that could have cut me down again, if I’d let it. I was alerted to an article that was sent to me at the end of January, that was intended to go into the February issue of the Chronicle.

I checked my emails, and yes, there it was, sitting there waiting for me … Oh, dear, what to do? Well what could I do, it was too late to stop the presses, so I immediately sent a message to this person, whose assistance I value, a email apologising for my error in leaving this article out. I didn’t tell myself off, too much, but I did chide myself a little, and I hope this incident will help to encourage me to be more careful about checking my emails in the future.

So yes, I am human, I make mistakes, but I never try to blame other people, simply accept that I have erred, and apologise, as anyone surely should do. And I am able to forgive myself for my error, and hope the other person will forgive me too.checkered stobey

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To Forgive is Divine?

February 5, 2018


Some things may seem unforgivable, until you talk to the wrongdoer. Other things are easy to forgive, because we’ve done the same kind of thing ourselves. Do I believe to forgive is divine? Well no, I can’t do that, not in the strictest sense of the word divine. I don’t believe there is a God, or there are more than one God. I don’t believe there is any God, and the word divine, in the original sense means ‘from God’, or ‘relating to God’.

I do believe that it is important to carefully consider the things that happen, whether good things or bad things, and think further on the intention of the relevant person, and why they did something that impacted strongly on you. Some people may do unexpected good or nice things for you, but they have an ulterior motive for doing so. That would mean you shouldn’t be too grateful to them, if they benefit from the thing too.

And if someone does something that harms you, that can be even harder to forgive someone for. But of course, if the wrongdoer is or at least appears to you to be sorry, well then if you can find it within yourself to forgive them, it’s a good idea to do it. Carrying the burden on not liking someone because ‘they done you wrong’, can be a heavy burden to carry, whether you realise it or not. I know from my personal experience, finding the ability to forgive in the past has eased my mind.

clover burrs

(not sure if I can forgive these clover burrs! haha)

Forgiving is one thing, but forgetting can be exactly the wrong thing to do. I will never forget, but in remembering, I will also remember the circumstances, and the reason why and how I was able to find the strength to forgive. I certainly feel morally better for being able to find that forgiveness, and I feel better about myself too. Holding onto the feelings of outrage over this thing was actually causing me stress, which I hadn’t realised until that forgiveness occurred, and I felt hugely relieved. That was a strong lesson to me indeed.

When a person has a chronic illness, stress can be even worse for them than it can be for other people. I know I don’t cope well with stress, and will try hard to keep my life a stress free one. That doesn’t mean I won’t do things that may be difficult, or new, or even a bit worrying, no, it just means I will find ways to make it easier for myself, and have others involved who know what’s happening too, just in case. Having people around who I know I can rely on is one of my important guards in my life. Friends, family, others who know me and my limitations, that makes my life easier, and so more enjoyable for all.

So if I get overexcited and say or do the wrong thing, I hope others will try to forgive me, and I would try to forgive them, for the betterment of all!

Brand New Poem

December 19, 2017


picture jen 013_edited

I wrote a new poem today, something that has been sitting around the back of my head for quite some time, I suspect. I’ve been a poet for some time now, and I know that some poems can emerge into the world quite quickly, while others take some time, and the right circumstances to come to fruition. This poem of today, is one of those poems that come into the world only after much churning through my subconscious mind.

It was triggered by a conversation on Facebook with one of my dearest friends, and I and very glad her words and my own have combined to assist with the birth of this poem. I hope others like it as much as I do. I love it when something I write seems true and good to me almost straight away, although, I also love the fact I can go back and edit it if I feel I need to! Haha

This is the poem, and the subject matter that begins the poem (sexual abuse) is certainly not something to laugh at. There is certainly a good ending though. Good friends can make good ends for most things …

 

When I Burned My Teen-aged Thoughts

 

When I burnt my diary, I burned and destroyed

The truth, or parts of my truth, the things

That made up a part of who I was, thinking

That ‘who’ wasn’t the ‘who’ I wanted to be

 

The diary contained things no-one, surely

Would want to share, the shameful things

Done to me, and or by me, who can tell which?

But at the time, I felt the fire cleansed me

 

I wasn’t that soiled, stupid young woman

Trying to understand the confusing things

That had happened, I was a mother now

And making sense of it, to set myself free

 

But these many years on, a deeper maturity

Has come, and in sharing with others, wisdom.

I sense a wrong & understand, the ‘cleansing ritual’

Hid away the many things others couldn’t see …

 

People aren’t all good, clean, pure, nearly saintly

They’re also bad, vile, & dirty callous things

As well – hiding from that showed my ignorance –

They were the price to pay, & I’d paid my fee

 

I’ve joined a supportive posse now, a glorious group

Of wonderful women, sharing wise thoughts & things

We share meals, & show our scars, lessons, & truths,

We hug & laugh & we all suit each other down to a tee!

The Day #MeToo Arrived

October 17, 2017


I’ve been commenting, reading, thinking, remembering, trying to forget, offering ideas, support, thinking, thinking and thinking. Life is a crazy jumble of things both good and bad, and current thing is one that I feel I have to get a handle on, so I can reach out and take a strong hold on myself, and my own story.

When I feel like I have to properly understand who I feel about something, often poetry is my easiest and best way to do it. So today, as things are swirling around on Facebook, Twitter and inside my head, I have written a poem. I’m not saying this is a fantastic poem, but I hope people reading it may get a bit of an idea on what my thoughts have been, and where they may be taking me.

So, this is the new poem, please read it and think on the things that may have gone into the writing of it. Anger rather than shame is the emotion that made me write it. I didn’t deserve the bad things that have happened to me, and if you’re a woman or an abused vulnerable boy or man, you probably didn’t deserve it either.

 

Me Too – Some of My Ideas

 

When I was young and felt his tongue

Pushing down my throat

I didn’t like it, no not at all

That stupid randy old goat

 

The ‘he’ here covers many men

From family to friends and more

Born a girl, it goes with the turf

But I didn’t know what was in store …

 

I don’t know names of all the men

Who’ve invaded my personal space

I’ve tried to forget the details too

To disappear without a trace …

 

But yesterday ‘Me Too’ arrived

And I realised anger’s an emotion too

I’ve decided to ditch the word ashamed

And hope my sistas can too

 

We didn’t ask to be assaulted,

Felt up, abused or raped

Having tits and a vagina though

It’s how our life journey is shaped …

 

© Carolyn Cordon 2017

 

 


No matter your gender or sexuality, Feminism matters. Woman, man, child, hetero, gay in between or over the edges, it is all relevant, and feminism is involved in them all. Where the power is, determines where the money is. In this time, the people with the power are still mostly white men is suits, usually at least publicly straight.

If you’re not of their cohort, you aren’t going to get the some money they’re getting. The gap between worker and boss, privileged and underprivileged grows ever wider, and the number of people clamping down on those who have little, grows. The ‘haves’ have more and more and more and the ‘have-not’s have less and less and less …The media often portrays the latter group as losers who should do more, while they may like to do more, but don’t have the skills and/or money to actually do it.

When one of the groups is women who have not, you know that Feminism still has a long way to go. Yes, there are now female CEOs of companies, and female politicians in the world, but the numbers are still massively low compared to males in the same roles. And please don’t tell be the men are better qualified than the women! When you see the huge messes man have done to people and to the world, you can see many men with their ‘qualifications’ weren’t worth a thing …

Women work fewer paid hours than men, but many more unpaid hours.  Parenting should be a shared occupation in a two parent family, but figures show that even in a household with the female parent working full time and the male parent not working, the female parent still does a lot of ‘parenting’, while if the genders are reversed, the male parent does barely any actual parenting in comparison to what the female parent would have done.

picture jen 013_edited

 

While these inequalities continue, you know that Feminists still have much work to do. Governments still have work to do, the people all have much more work to do. Women can do almost every job men can do, men can do almost every job women can do – why is that large gap between what the genders earn? Sexism may not be the only reason, but you can’t convince me it isn’t a major reason.

And this gap between the power levels between men and women is nothing compared to the healthy well off people and disabled people. Those ‘lucky’ enough to be eligible for the Disability Support pension get some assistance, and some are able to get paid work, but the situation can still be very bleak for many. When you add in vulnerable children and domestic violence, the scene becomes even bleaker.

Feminism, Ageism, Racism, Sexism, Abilitism, will those who claim to run this country do much to help with all of these problems? Or will it be left to the good people who get derided for being ‘Do-gooders’, as if doing good things for others is a bad thing. I am proud to do good things for people when I can. How about you? Are you also a proud Do-gooder?


How much damage? Any damage done to a vulnerable is too much damage. People make excuses, accuse children of things beyond their comprehension. Any sexual comment or action made by an adult to a child is far too much. Are their any exceptions? Only few, and only in certain circumstances.

A police officer asking a child things to ascertain the details of possible sexual abuse, if done appropriately, that’s understandable, as long as the officer is careful. A school teacher or other such adult in the same circumstances, yes, with appropriate parental presence if suitable.

There are probably other exceptions, but thinking too much along these lines is feeling like I’m heading down dangerous paths … The main thing is always to keep in mind that children are children. They are not mini-adults, no matter how they look or what they say. And also remember that some children, may have been groomed, made ready for an adult to perform unspeakable acts.

Never name a child as a slut, or say that they ‘deserved’ it. No child or otherwise vulnerable person deserves to be abused, sexually, emotionally or physically. And getting into the ‘game’ of “my abuse was more damaging than your abuse” is a pointless and offensive thing. Every person is a unique person, with different abilities, strengths and life experience.

What one person can cope with may be more that what you could cope with perhaps – that doesn’t mean their abuse was lesser than yours, and it doesn’t mean their actually OK – they may be hiding horrendous damage and are only just able to maintain the look of coping, and the veneer could crack at any time. Take care, for yourself and for other people, always. Never assume coping is a permanent thing.

Memories can reach up and bite you from many years in your past. Taking care, talking with others who truly understand, or who are willing to listen to try to understand, these are tools to help to keep those memories under control, but you just never know. Sexual abuse can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and can go on for the survivor’s entire life, if not treated properly …

This is the website for a well respected group who can help :- Blue Knot

Even Good Things can Turn Bad

November 22, 2016


I’m thinking about my childhood, sort of. More skittering away from nasty parts of my childhood, and so not really thinking about it at all. There is a lot of talk about child sexual abuse lately, with the Royal Commission and so on. I can read about it and not feel touched at all because my sexual abuse as a child wasn’t like that at all. I wasn’t in an institute being abused by a priest or a teacher.

But abuse is abuse. Nasty adult things being done to a very young child is evil, no matter who is doing it. My mind tries to pretend it has nothing to do with me, but of course, even if I can say my abuse was not that abuse, I am a member of Australian society and these things affect us all. It’s the people who refuse to have anything to do with things, and ignore things that are also complicit in the abuse to some extent.

I feel I have played a small part in raising awareness about child abuse, especially child sexual abuse, through my writing of the Poetry Collection that has the same name as this blogsite. I wrote the poems, I collected them together, I paid for the printing of the book, and I did a little bit about marketing the book.

The book was published quite a few years ago now though around the beginning of the 21st century. My little book hasn’t stopped anyone from being abused, it hasn’t lead to the arrest and charging of any sex abusers. I don’t think it was ever really going to do those things anyway. My abuser died many, many years ago, with no-one ever knowing of his abuse apart from me.

I’m OK, I’m living a good life, with a good marriage and a fine son. I can pretend I was never abused. Well I could, but of course some things just stay there, in your head, in your life, even though they may not be the main thing. I’m no super dooper book seller, but this little Poetry Collection “damaged children, Precious Gems” is for sale in a cafe I spend a lot of time in. I’ve spoken to various people there, about sexual abuse, and signed and sold copies of the book.

At the cafe there is a group that meets once a week. We are all women who have been damaged in some ways in our past by men. This group, called Precious Gems, don’t talk about the bad things, but the good things that are happening now. Being with these wonderful women is a wonderful thing, and I’m so glad that we have come together to offer support to each other. Things like this add shiny places to my life, to lighten the dark places that lurk there behind me.

I’m glad people are getting into trouble for the terrible things they have done to those who don’t deserve it. I just wish there was a way to make it end now and forever. But I know it won’t …

 


Although the things that caused me hurt in my childhood are not directly relevant to the political hoo haa that’s eating up Twitter at the moment (Jamie Briggs – MP going way too far), the general idea of those in power doing the wrong thing to someone they have power over, is the same. The reason for the lapses in life’s niceties was the same – drunkenness. That wasn’t an excuse when I was a child, and it isn’t now. Drinking too much is a choice made by a person. No-one forced my abuser to drink too much and abuse me. He chose to get drunk, and did it.

No-one in these circumstances was forced to drink too much. There was the option to behave well instead of behaving like an animal. That option should always be the one adhered to especially when you are in a position of power over the one you are dealing with. And with sexual advances, overt acceptance is always required. If the other person isn’t obviously open to your advances, forget about it.

In my poetry collection “damaged children, Precious Gems”, I have a poem that looked at some of these themes. It is from the “Teenage Years” section of the collection, and the relevant poem is titled ‘bragging rights’, and it talks about the difference between how males and females are referred to by their peers where sex is concerned. The young men are heroes with their mates, the young women are labelled sluts by those same young men. Here are the relevant lines:

there’s a line between hero

and slut. It’s a fine line, a very fine line

and it’s gender specific

 

It certainly looks like the ‘hero’ label was placed on or sought by Briggs, in this instance, and I wonder whether the woman would have been labelled slut if the woman had done the same thing. Either way, it was inappropriate behaviour, and the most appropriate label for Briggs over this would be ‘zero not hero’. Let your brain do your thinking, and things will go much better. Dicks aren’t known for their thinking powers.

When I was a teenager, girls who ‘put out’ were labeled like this, and now, many years later they still are labeled in this way. The boys are heroes if they have a conquest, the girls sluts, and the issue of consent is largely irrelevant to some in society. Victim blaming is rampart, and abuse is ignored is down-played as ‘bad behaviour’.

This seems wrong to me, and is wrong in the law. Why are such things accepted by so many people? Is our society really that ignorant that sexual abuse can be accepted as ‘boys being boys’ and so is OK? I don’t think it is, and I think it should be treated as what it is, sexual abuse.

Thoughts from others on this matter are welcome, as always.


The person who first sexually abused me when I was a child has been dead for a long time now. The effects of that abuse still rattle around in the back of my mind though, coming out to the forefront of my thoughts occasionally. When a child has their confidence in the safety of their home, or home substitute is abused. they may find it difficult to feel safe anywhere again.

I am currently hearing stories about institutional abuse by teachers, preachers and others in positions of power over children. This abuse is appalling to hear about/read about, and I wish wasn’t having it put up there on the TV screen, on the radio or in the newspapers. But it’s happening, and having the stories taken out of my view, but still occurring would be an awful things still.

It’s necessary for society to hear about such things, and it’s necessary for offenders, when found, to be properly punished. This punishment cannot stop the event from having happened, but it can work toward building up trust again, and life can move toward a safer inner place, perhaps. When stories of abuse are told, and believed, it can hearten those abused, that their own story may begin to be believed to.

This telling of personal stories, and sharing them with people who truly understand, because they have a similar story, is an important thing. Women’s groups, where the abused people feel safe enough to share with others is a great thing. Dwelling on the pain is not going to help an abused person, but sharing stories, understanding the true one or ones to blame, these can lead to a better mind-set for a person.

picture jen 013_edited

(image by Pauline Edmunds from cover of my book, “damaged children, Precious Gems”)

I am not a counsellor. I don’t put myself forward as one who has looked into the causes and consequences of abuse in a broad ranging way. I am a survivor though, one who has moved from victim to survivor, and I want to help other people to do the same. Being a victim is not a good thing, but being a survivor is great!

Ways to Ease the Pain

July 14, 2015


Now, I’m not saying here I have all of the answers to healing the pain from abuse. We are all different and suffer and I hope heal, in different ways. I just know what worked for me, and I share that with the hope it may offer hope for others.

Healing occurs in set ways, but not in set time frames necessarily. And healing won’t occur if you continue to damage yourself through self-blame, or not caring for yourself. Looking after yourself, giving yourself the chance to look at what has happened in a non-judgemental way helps.

Talking with others who truly know and understand can help. Professional help can certainly play an effective role here too. I never received professional help to aid mt in my healing process. Instead, I fell into creative writing. This helped me to heal from the damage I’d received as a young child, and later on too. I went through different phases of recovery, from hiding from the truth (denial), to anger, and then on to acceptance and recovery.

In my anger stage, I was able to confront the abuser (in my fiction writing). I have two short stories I particularly love, because the main character in the stories stands up the villain of the story, and gives that bad guy exactly what he deserved. It felt so good to write those stories, it was incredibly healing. 

Once that phase was done, I felt I didn’t necessarily need to follow that path any more, and I began to reach out to other people who were hurt and unable to find relief. Talking with other damaged people (women), sharing stories with them, listening in non-judgemental ways, these have helped me, and helped the women I was talking with.

I went on to write more poetry that dealt more with these issues, much happier poetry, where I talk with others, and we all end up with happier stories to tell, stories where we are beginning to understand that this abuse we suffered was not our fault.

I then put all of these poems into a collection, published that work, and am now happy to be sharing my journey with others. The feedback I have had from others reading my words has been positive, and humbling. When other people tell me my words have helped them, I can feel the hard part within melt, and I am happy with that other person and with myself. 

There is still much to do. Women and children are still being abused, and the services there to help them are being cut back by our Federal government at the moment. There are still people out there to help in small ways though, people like me, who will listen to the stories and offer support, by listening and believing the story-teller.

Damaged children can be nurtured and made into precious gems, with the gentle rub of kindness.