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Domestic Violence is Not a Men’s Issue But Not for the Reason You Think

Originally posted on betternotbroken:

“That huge mural, where did that come from?” I exclaimed in shock.

“That’s always been there mom, seriously, how could you miss it? It is the size of the parking garage.”

“It has always been there, no joke?” I said again without jest.

This market has a huge sign that says “seafood” ? In blue and white? I never saw that before, it is so clear and so big how did I miss that? I shopped here for ten years.

“They sell Peet’s coffee here?” I said aloud in what was more a statement of observation than a question.

“Yes, mom,” she answered. “They have always served Peet’s coffee here.”

“Really?”

“Yes mom, really, where have you been?”

I had been in a world where men are idealized, romanticized, imitated due to their superiority and adored. I had been in a world where women should take care to not let…

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Posted by on 30/07/2015 in Uncategorized

 

The endeavor to walk in the world: Overcoming

The endeavor to walk in the world: Overcoming

HEALING

Through a variety of ways, I have healed internally much faster than anticipated.  Mostly, through determination to not stay stuck in a place of fear.  However, there have been some other wonderful helps along the way. That is not to say I am through with the process.  Hell no.   But I’m farther along than I thought I would be right now.  Much farther.

My journey through becoming a shaman is slower than I expected, but far more powerfully healing than I anticipated.  It packs a punch and then I need time to process it all.   But, I am.  AND THAT IS AWESOME.  I am reaching and stretching and seeing life in bigger and better ways.  I am definitely more confident in my own abilities to trust my journey and its processes.  I am more confident in my spiritual strength and ability to follow my own path no matter who says what about it.

I have had to stare down my childhood and many of the ways that my parents, but specifically my father at this point, primed me for abuse in my future, albeit mostly unknowingly.  And I have had to work through the fear, very real and serious fear of confronting him about it.  But I’ve done it.  And he’s listened.  And though it was incredibly scary, it has been equally freeing since.

I am sifting through the book of my life and placing bookmarks between the pages I need to work on.  I am unfolding the page corners that I had dog-eared for quick reference; the stories I keep thinking back on, that keep me from growing.  I am going back and making new notes on the memories to remind little me that we figured out that problem.  And I am holding my book with newfound love, wrapped in my arms, against my chest; whereas before I held it at arms length, always afraid it would open to the wrong page when I wasn’t looking.

I am ready to travel and teach again.  I am ready to meet new people and find more joy.  I’m ready to start being me again.  And it feels pretty damn good.

RESEARCH

My research and discovery process is and has been enlightening to both the awareness that is already out there and to the still greater amount of awareness and education that is needed.  I have discovered terms I had never heard of, yet know the details of intimately, like Gaslighting.

Unless you know the term, you can’t find it as a form of abuse.  There’s no Google lookup for the individual terms within the forms of abuse, that I’ve found anyway.  It takes looking through hundreds of other avenues to find the term, then start looking that up. I’m working on changing that.  I’m collecting terms.  In fact, if you know of any, please comment, I need the help.

Boy have I had my fair share of gaslighting!  Look it up, you’ll be amazed, enlightened, and hopefully strengthened in your understanding of abuse, how to spot it and stop it.  And I’m starting my own new term, Halfening, the victim-blaming coddling of an abuser for fear of repercussion, after those that did it to me.

FEAR

I don’t like to think that I’m afraid of the unknown.  I actually like heading off into some new adventure, not sure what to expect or how things will turn out, who I will meet along the way, but ready to find out.

However, the unknown of where and when my next adventure begins…….   I am not liking this unknown at all.  I actually pretty much hate the interim.  It causes me panic and to make decisions too fast in order to at least be headed in a certain direction.

BUT HEY, I am in learning mode.  So, even though I’ve had a couple different opportunities to just head into the crazy wild blue, I haven’t taken them.  I’ve given more thought, I’ve taken more time.  I am learning.

In all seriousness, I could have gone to both Kuwait and Iran.  Not that I have issue with the children of either countries right now, I believe all children need an education, but the serious concern for safety is higher than it might be in the future.  Let’s hope for a good future.

LEARNING

I’m still working through the fear of trusting myself.  It is frustrating because I know that I made a fast decision to head off to Mozambique, but I also know that I was guided there.  I trusted my guide and I am actually coming out of this far stronger than even I would have guessed.  But, I am keenly aware that I was guided there to find out that I don’t know how to see the signs of abusers.

I asked for understanding of what happened with Sven.  I thought I had figured out my confidence, my refusal to put up with abuse, my love of self.  And then bam, confidence shaken.  And on the heels of that, Willem Johannes Goosen, aka John Goosen, of South Africa, happened.

This lack of confidence is a layer of the thick blanket of victim blaming that we hold onto.  It is both safe and suffocating.  I need to trust my gut and the results of following my gut.  Sven went against what my gut told me, but he worked until he convinced me.  Mozambique was completely following my gut.  Bad things happen no matter what.  Great things happen no matter what.

During the time I thought Sven and I were moving forward, I was so happy. I was so in love.  I had a great time, and I don’t regret one minute of it.  People ask me if I ever think of revenge; plot for someone to beat him up or something.  I don’t.  Truthfully, the best revenge is that he lost me.  I’m pretty awesome.  Don’t abuse me, and I’m top freaking notch.  That’s his loss not mine.

Mozambicans are wonderful people.  The local people amazed me in so many ways.  The scenery was wonderful and I am so grateful to have been to Africa.  And because of what happened in Mozambique, I have learned what happened with Sven, and what happened with the ex-husband and the few other ex relationships along the way.

I need to trust my gut and press forward with the decisions I make based on my instinct, without fear.  That blanket makes it safe to say, “if only”, “why didn’t I”, “I can’t”, “I shouldn’t”.  Those things feel safe, like they will keep me safe, but bad things happen no matter what.  Hiding from my path doesn’t keep me safe.  Running into or away from, doesn’t guarantee safety.

Just like I keep telling my little step-neice, it’s ok to make mistakes, that’s how we learn.

and

GREAT THINGS HAPPEN NO MATTER WHAT

ANOTHER DREAM

I need to stop worrying about safe and put my focus on non-abusive.  I had a dream last night.  I was swimming deep in the ocean with a group of whales.  They kept coming over to me and then going up to get air.  Somehow I was not needing to go get air, yet they kept insisting I should.  After I did, they showed me where land was and so I went up.

Everywhere I walked there were snakes. They were mostly out in the open, yet all of them had only their head and part body showing, the rest curled up in their hiding places.  A few were slinked back inside their hideout.  There was a child with me, and we were walking together.

I was not afraid of the snakes, but I knew I couldn’t give them any energy/ acknowledgement/ attention or they would bite.  I had to teach the child to see without giving acknowledgement, to not be afraid, not be curious or get too close.  The scenery was varied as we walked, rocky, grassy, outside, inside, and there were snakes in a snack booth and a book case.  They were talking to us, some trying to be helpful, give advice, offer to get things for us, but we had to remember they were still snakes.  If we gave them any acknowledgement, they would bite us.

There were many blue things as well, blue was a significant color.  There were people, men, women, children all around us, some talking to the snakes, some not.  Some were holding the snakes, some were collecting them, but many just ignored them.

Snakes and whales have interesting meanings in dreams and as power animals.  I’m curious to see what comes of this.  But I woke up feeling very good.

That’s all for now follks.  I’m doing really well.  I’m looking forward to my next adventure.  I’m singing, crying, laughing, and otherwise feeling the feels of life and loving it.   Go be awesome today, I plan to.

 

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I may

Not be able to change everything tomorrow.

But

I can’t change anything tomorrow if I don’t start today.

Let’s begin then shall we?

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Posted by on 22/07/2015 in Uncategorized

 

Lovin the weekend work

I’ve been in Montana for a month.  I’ve done a lot of healing and growing.
More specifics another time.

Today I’m grateful for all the people that came and got their face painted.  My resources to go back to teaching are coming together.

It’s been a good day.  Here’s a small sampling from this morning.  By the afternoon I was so busy there wasn’t time for photos. 

I really love being around positive people. 

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Posted by on 19/07/2015 in Uncategorized

 

Singing with a Raven

He flew around and kept landing near me as I worked my way around the track, watching me.  As I’d run by one side, he’d hop over to the other side and wait. 

Finally, around lap 5, he started singing at me. So I sang the same thing back. And yes, I did think of the Mocking Jay.
So he sang 3 notes, then I did. Then he sang 4, so I did.  Then 1, then 2 pause 1, then 4 fast. He changed it up every time,  for half a lap.
And I mimicked him back exactly every time. 
What fun!!!
Yes mama, I read up on him and his meaning. Looking forward to appreciating what ever happens in the next few days.

2 months since I quit smoking. Feeling pretty good about that!!

AND

I have to wrap my wrists really tight, but I can do 5 pushups as of today!

Ain’t nothin gonna keep me down!

Be excellent,  And on the way, get better every day.

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Posted by on 13/07/2015 in Uncategorized

 

The endeavor to walk in the world: Staring at the truth

I am having to look in the face of where this all started.
How did I learn not to see the signs that made me vulnerable to the future abusers in my life?
As an adult, I thought I had learned how to see.  I thought I had looked into my past and learned the lessons.

But here, at my dad’s house, I am face to face with the beginning.  I am staring it in the face.  I am watching it unfold again.  And this is truly difficult.
I am having to, on a minute by minute basis, remember that I am an educated, adjusted adult, comfort the little me from the past, calm down parent me, call off angry adult me, and really call on teacher me.
I am having to pull from the files of my past therapy sessions, sometimes frantically pulling and flinging the file folders in my head searching for the right ones to help quell panic attacks, sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much.

Here, in this place, I am learning how to tear apart the very stitching I had placed so carefully, as I realize how many red flags of abuse had been, not just in the way I wore me, but in the pattern I was given, the thread I used, the scissors that cut, the pins that pushed through the fabric of me until I thought getting pins and needles was what I needed; getting cut and torn and sewn up was normal.

Somewhere in the middle of who I am, deep in my spirit, I am learning that just being the fabric of me is enough.

But this is no easy process.  Just writing this is difficult.  But I need to.
When John Goosen, along with several other people, asked me to come visit them, I told him no, as I told all the others.  I wasn’t stupid enough to go run off to visit someone I’d never met, by myself, in a foreign country. Others asked to come visit me, but never did.  And I carried on being friendly with them all.
John bided his time.  Being nice, friendly, but not too friendly, not suspiciously romantic.  In fact, not romantic at all. He knew I wasn’t going to fall for that.  I knew I wasn’t going to fall for that.

He waited a while after the attempt to get me to come see him, just friendly chatting, to start commenting on my work situation.  Gave that some time, commiserating about the circumstances I felt I was in, sending hope I would find another job.  Then, after I said I had quit, but had still not found somthing else, he offered me a job.  He was just waiting for the right time.
After I accepted the job, he began being more friendly, but not too much.  Not until the last few days.  Flights were booked, everything was in motion.  Then I got the, “You know, I was thinking, this may become something more.  I like you.  We could try it out.”

It was a set up from the beginning.  All the while he was setting me up for a fake job, he was telling the people there on the island that we had met years ago, had been keeping in contact, and were now going to be starting a life together.  Getting them all primed for his “girlfriend” to come to the island.

And once I got there, had my passport sent away, knew nobody else there, what choice did I have but to follow along?  Yes, in hindsight I can see ways.

But there were all these pieces I had sewn into the fabric of me, the specific patterns I had been shown to use, that kept me there, trying to make the best of it, trying to be the best me in the situation, trying to stay strong, trying to prove I can handle this too.  Listening to the voices of my past telling me, “you made your bed, now lie in it.”
Quite possibly in the top 10 of the most fucked up pieces of advice to ever give.

Now, I know that, then I didn’t.   I am learning.
That saying is mixed in with the saying, “Bloom where you are planted.”  Not a bad piece of advise by itself, but put together in my head, in my situation, it proved to be a recipe for lying in a bed planted with lies, deceit, and eventual assault.

How did I get there, being the smart woman I am?  How did I not see the signs that screamed at everyone else?  Or did they?
I am really good at seeing the signs when I am in the situation.  I’m pretty sure that’s what happened with Sven.

I think he was testing the waters, he was pushing everything so fast, giving me all the right reasons for it to go so fast, testing the waters and watching me swim right past all those beginning flags.  But once I had gotten to the part where I know what to look for; once he started in with the tests I know to stand up to or walk away from, he walked away.  He knew he wasn’t going to get any further, so I wasn’t of any use to him any more.

Simple things like the way he began putting me down, as a joke, just for fun, he didn’t really mean it, I needed to stop being so sensitive.  He squished my hands till they hurt and then when I called him out on it, “I was just playing,  are you trying to change everything about me?”  In the last 5 days I had actual face to face contact with him we had several, trivial moments like that.  But I talked to him about them.  Explained how those moments affected me and that I would never be ok with that kind of joking/ playing.  I think in the time I was in Turkey, as we talked and I spoke about what I was doing, my friends, etc.  He realized he wasn’t going to be able to isolate me, or make me dependent on him. I wasn’t going to let the signs I know go.  I am all about talking things through and finding common ground now.  In the situation, I know how not to be a victim.

John showed lots of red flags, early, within 2 weeks.  But I was isolated already, I was dependent already.  So, I set my boundaries quickly.  I gave the show he wanted to the public and kept things peaceful in private.  The first time he began to demonstrate aggression, I tried to stay away from him.

But there it was again, the patterns, the threads, the voices of my past, and now they were mixed up with the things I had been learning.  I went back to stay in his apartment out of a combination of guilt for staying with basically strangers who were also struggling, and new kind of awareness.  The awareness that John was the one that set this whole mess up and should be responsible for it until I could get on my own.  I shouldn’t be having to put these other people out, or be living on the street because of what he did.  He should have to live up to the “room and board” I was promised, at least until I could get my classes paying enough to support myself.

I had no passport.  He made sure it was gone.  I had no money.  Every time I was able to get some, there was something else with my passport or the restaurant, that it had to be used for.  The idea stuck itself in my head that he needed to be responsible since he couldn’t be decent.

That, my friends, is a thought pattern of someone who has been primed for abuse, has some understanding of abusive patterns, but not enough understanding of victim patterns.
And so there I was, standing up for myself, publicly getting myself on my own two feet, publicly NOT his girlfriend, starting to put the real truth out there instead of his lies, and demonstrating my ability to make it on my own.
I was becoming independent, not as isolated, and he knew I felt nothing for him, so his ploys of “I’m in love with you,” and “This is the closest to suicidal I’ve ever been,”  were not working.
I thought I was doing good.
However, abusers don’t really like to have their power play trumped.  And so, I got the living shit beat out of me.  I came within minutes of being killed.  Why?  I was doing everything right.  I was following the rules of how not to be a victim.
No.
Because I was following the rules of how to get out of being a victim.  And I was doing it how I knew to in the U.S., but I was not in the U.S..  I didn’t have the resources.  I didn’t have the support.

And that leads me here, now, in my father’s house, watching him raise another little girl, and watching all the red flags I know, but being put squarely in front of the flags I didn’t know.
Spirit led me here to see this, to go through this.  I do not know how this will go or end.  But I do know I am not going to back down from learning.  I cannot go into my future whole until I rip apart.
And I am ripping apart.
But I will come out better.
I am a phoenix
Rising brilliantly from the ashes
My tears will heal others
My song will lead heroes

 
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Posted by on 08/07/2015 in Uncategorized

 

Every day I am grateful

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t find something to be grateful for. 

Some days it may just be that I’m grateful to have made it through the day, but there’s always a moment when I say thank you.

Today I’m grateful for strength, for courage, for perseverance.  I’m grateful for the examples I’ve had, the people I’ve met, the stories I’ve read or seen, that showed me to keep positive and positivity will find me.

I’m grateful for sunshine and the smell of rain. I’m grateful for warm hugs and smiles.

I’m grateful to be grateful.

Enjoy your day and I wish you happiness.

 
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Posted by on 06/07/2015 in Uncategorized

 
 
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