Robot on the loose!!

Arggghhhhh!!!!!!
Processing through another massive trigger attack
Trying to describe what happens within
to explain the outward displays of apparent irrational behaviours

Well they seem to be irrational
to those who are not living in my skin

But in my head Robot is blindly circling amok yelling
‘danger! danger! danger! danger!
do not compute!’

distressing my brain even more
exposing every nerve ending
until they are bleeding raw pain

Every part my body is fraught
on edge
skrieking at the slightest infraction
Fear rises to the surface

I’m frightened
of everything I perceive as threatening
anything that might possibly compromise my safety
of loss
of death
just. plain. scared.

I cry
all the time
tears flow too damn freely
uncontrollable
I hate myself
for being like this

Processing deeply
trying to understand myself
Trying to understand myself so others might try to understand me

How can they
when I struggle to understand myself

Choices

Victim
Survivor
Choices
Struggles
It is never ending
I didn’t want
I don’t want to be a victim
I never chose to be a victim
But
when my innocence was taken
my choice was stolen from me
I was too small
my voice was too small
unknowingly but yet with overwhelming knowingness
I knew if I did use my voice
I would lose family
I knew I didn’t have a community
I knew I would lose
Everything

So
I buried the pain deep
so deep
way down in my depths
pushed the memories
back
way way back
and I lived the best way I knew how
I lived
I loved
I laughed

But
Constantly
Naggingly
there was always
The Secret
The Unspoken
The Truth
causing The Pain
to fester in the core of my very being
rotting my soul

Decades later
It began oozing
with the intense stench of depression
flashbacks
nightmares
anger
stress
unstoppable tears

One day
the burden of
The Pain
became absolutely unbearable
I was forced to take a knife
and
cut open the wound
and
slowly
began to allow the poison to escape
The surgery was long
and painful
But
this time
I wasn’t small anymore
my voice grew
louder and
Louder and
LOUDER

Until I was heard
My knowingness had been right
I did lose family
but
this time
I have gained Community

My Community
understands me
hears me
holds me
and
most importantly
Loves me

My Choice
I Am A Survivor







Months ago I read Jessica’s statement below and it really resonated with me, she encouraged me to dig deep and write my story above.

I can still struggle with the wish that I could have stood up sooner, been stronger, saved myself and my family in the way that was desperately needed for so long. But I have learned that I did the best I could at the times when it felt like there was no choice. I didn’t know until I finally knew, I couldn’t stand until I finally stood. There is no shame in finally being strong. I am a survivor.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5613193/Willis-sister-Jessica-speaks-abuse-left-family.html

Where is our Manaakitanga

Recent events in Aotearoa / New Zealand stunned our nation – again
A young English backpacker was murdered here just before Christmas.
We were devastated – again

Standing amongst the Nelson crowd
All of us mourning this young woman
Each one of us there for different reasons but for the same reason
Sadness
Grief
Anger
This should not happen
This should not keep on happening
Not here
Not anywhere

People were speaking out against violence against women across the nation
Naming and remembering the women killed by the hands of another person here in Aotearoa
Giving these women back their mana
Not mentioning the names of their murderers
We will not give them that power
Statistics say at least 13 women and 10 men will lose their lives to domestic abuse every year here in Aotearoa
14 women this past year
Countless women over the decades….

Yes, we have to stand up and speak out and stop this violence

But my inner heart was screaming…
It is not just about women
It is about inhumanity towards fellow humans
It is about respect – or lack of it
It is about responsibility towards each other
It is about Love

Since this heinous violent act was committed we have seen many more here in NZ
So much tūkino
So much whakarekereke
Too much whakarekereke ā-whare
Violence against our wāhine
Violence against our tamariki

We need Aroha
Where is our respect?
Where is our kindness?
Where is our love?


In memory of these young visitors who did not receive the Manaakitanga they deserved in our land
Grace Millane, 22
Kayo Matsuzawa, 29
Birgit Bauer, 28
Karen Aim, 27
Dagmar Pytlickova, 31
Margery Hopegood, 32
Jae Hyeon Kim, 25
Urban Hoglin, 23
Heidi Paakkonen, 21
Monica Cantwell, 24

Living with dragons

My first dragon became a part of my life when I was around 7-8 years old.
His name was Trauma.
His effect on my life was insidious
He grew stealthily through the years
Feeding on each new traumatic situation I encountered
And there have been many
Some great and some small
But each a delicious feeding ground for a hungry dragon
The effects of his presence were not easily perceived.
But eventually
This dragon became so huge
He was overpowering me
He was possessing me
And he multiplied as time passed.
His brother arrived
His name was Grief
They were joined by another brother, Fear
That dragon invited his much bigger brother Anxiety along for the party.

These dragons gained entry into the very core of my being during crucial times of my life
I am in constant war with them.
Mostly I am able to contain them
Keep them relatively small
By carefully avoiding situations that allow them to roar.

Seven years ago they all escaped and attacked me brutally.
With Help, Care  and ongoing Guidance
I herded them back into their cages.
I have spent time healing from the wounds
And learning how to live again
Learning how to live with them
Taming them each time they dared to begin to roar again.

Over recent months though there have been several times when they have grown too big and they have escaped and overpowered me.

One time…
A few months ago I was put into a situation where I was forced to confront them all.
I agreed to go back to the farm.
It had been 3 years since I left
I never thought I would ever go back
I never wanted to go back
But I promised my children to take them
I also offered to take my New Love to introduce him to my past.

As the time approached
The dragons grew bigger and bigger
I tried as hard as I could to keep them contained
I couldn’t back out
I had to go
I had promised
Fear grew bigger
He fed and fed
– the road
– the unknown at the other end
– the grief of loss
He employed Anxiety to join his feast
They both attacked aggressively.

I made all sorts of contingency plans
I tried to talk my way through it
I tried to back out of it
I did what I always do
I got busy
I tried to be in control
I told my Love that I had to drive the last 50 miles
that I couldn’t handle being a passenger on ‘that road’.

On the day we all packed up and left
My Love drove,
and kept driving…
He drove carefully, and was sensitive to my needs
Trust and Courage held me every kilometre of the way.
But they were not yet strong enough.

Anxiety was gnawing on my stomach
He fed on Fear
And grew bigger & bigger
Eventually we stopped at ‘the place’
The place where I lost my first love.
Grief began edging his way out of his box
We carried on for another 15 minutes until we were back at the farm
We stopped at the gate.

At that point Grief clambered out from the depths where I had been keeping him hidden & controlled for so long
A huge mountainous dragon
He refused to be contained any longer
He overcame me with such visceral sobbing from the depths of my core
I was completely overcome
I cried & cried
But I was held
by Love and Care and Compassion and Understanding
and together they diminished my dragons back to their lair
They overcame.
Love continues to support me
And as he does
Trust and Courage are growing stronger.

It’s a daily fight to keep these dragons under control.
But I’m learning to tame them more skilfully each time they escape.

I will never move on….

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning and read a quote that a friend shared.

It really spoke to me so I followed links in the comments and found the original quote above, and read her blog post in its entirety.
By the time I got to the end tears were falling down my cheeks as I identified  with, and was touched by every single word she wrote.

I want to give due credit to Kelly here because this quote is out there in cyberspace as anonymous.
It is most definitely the writings of a very talented and thoughtful woman who has walked the grief journey.
Definitely well worth taking time to read it to the end!
‘I will never move on’  by writer, comedian, actor & performer  Kelly Lynn

Most people who have been following my blogs for the past few years will know my journey has been a very tangled one to say the least.
It has in fact been far, far more tangled at times than I have been able to write publicly about.
But I have learnt over these years that grief knows no boundaries and should never be timeframed.
As Kelly says here –
“I will never move on from my husband. I will never NOT love my husband who died. I will never leave him in my past, like some forgotten old shoe I never threw away. This applies forever. Even if I should fall in love again. Even if I should marry again. Even if I should live every dream that I have ever dreamed possible. Even when I am old and gray and ancient, should I have the honor of being allowed to live that long. Even then. I will NEVER not be connected to my husband. He lives within me now. Whatever I do, wherever I go, I carry him with me. He is a piece of my very soul. There is no moving on.”

Tim was my best friend and lover for 42 years and my husband for over 34 years.
The vast majority of my life has been intertwined with him.
It cannot be discounted nor forgotten ever.
We shared 11 babies together.
Each of our 10 living children contain his genes, his dna, his love, his life.
Each of them and our grand babies all carry him on into the future.
He can & will never be forgotten ever
There are just way too many memories we all share
There is no moving on.
Only moving forward.

To read Kelly’s blog and hear so much validation in one post is overwhelming to say the least.
I absolutely love her last paragraph which she has written with such positivity that I am not going to rephrase it in anyway.
It is inspirational and motivational and has lit a flame in my heart that I had been burying.

“Here is what I WILL do:

I will live the biggest and brightest and most colorful life that I can, because my husband does not have that choice. I will cling to every new joy that I feel in this life, because I am still alive to feel it. I will honor the life and the love that my husband and I shared, by being the person that he fell in love with. I will always find ways to keep remembering him and sharing his story with the world, because that is my duty and my HONOR to do as his wife, and his widow; and because sharing their story is how we keep them alive and relevant. I will continue to grow and to learn and to hurt and to feel and to fear and to fly. I will scream when I need to, cry when I have to, and laugh as much as my body can handle. I will tell all the people that I love, that I truly love them, and I will make sure they know this as often as possible. I will leave behind something of importance in this life, something of value, that someone , someday, can read or look at or see or feel, and it will make them think in a different way. I will love harder than I have ever loved before, and I wont feel guilty for loving again, because I will know in my heart that my husband’s love is inside every love I have going forward. I will choose to believe that he is somehow still here with me, and I wont question or doubt all the many times that I feel him. I will embrace his energy inside the music, and I will dance to the rhythms of our forever connected hearts. I will speak his name whenever I want to, and I will do this proudly, because that is what he deserves. That is what we ALL deserve – to not be forgotten, and to be spoken of with laughter and joy and remembrance, by those that will always love us. I will move INTO my future, step into my life, and I will carry him with me at every turn. I will take risks, and be afraid to fail, but go for it anyway, because I know that in the end, none of us get out alive. I will know that life is terrifying and chaotic and unfair and filled with sorrow and pain, but also exhilarating and wonderful and surprising and incredible, and a beautiful gift that keeps unwrapping, each and every time I make the decision to get out of bed. I will promise to do all of these things and more, and if I’m very lucky, maybe I can even change the world.

And I will never, ever move on.”

I have been frightened that his shadow would be daunting to new love.
I have been protecting him and myself
I just want to thank Kelly from the bottom of my heart for helping me to see and understand that I can move forward without moving on.
There is no comparison
Tim is/was Tim
And I am who I am because of the life we spent together, and the person he was helped to shape me into the person I am today.

I cannot live in the past
I cannot worry about tomorrow
I choose to embrace today
Because today is good
very good
I will honour his life by living mine in the brightest most colourful way I can
I will move forward
But I will never move on…

 

Touching the grief

On this day 39 years ago I married the love of my life.
Tim was the love of my youth.
He was part of my life from the time I was 14 years old.
He was 21
He gave me the best years of his life.
He truly gave me his all.
I loved him and the journey after his death has been turbulent and tumultuous.

As I approach the 5th anniversary of his accident I am in a much more peaceful place.
It has been a long, long walk through some pretty dark valleys
I am finding myself standing higher on the hillsides now and spending less time in the valleys.

This journey through grief is indeed such a personal one.
I have made discovery after discovery during my walk.
Deeply personal discoveries which I have grown through.
And continue to do so.
They have been incredibly hard and at times I have wondered if I would ever make it through.
But with perseverance and resilience
And the support of precious family and friends
I have.

This morning as I was quietly remembering our wedding anniversary two posts popped up in my newsfeed
Such movingly appropriate posts
The first was a moving video by Kate Braestrup
Grief, to a 5 year old
She told such a tender story of how a 5 year old so naturally grieved her little friend.
It made me think back to when I had to say goodbye to my Timmy.
I am so grateful I was able to spend time with him during that week.
I do have regrets that some weren’t done differently,
but at the time you don’t know
you have no idea what to ask for
or how to ‘do it’
You are in so much pain
you sorta just go blurringly along with the flow of things
But to have been able to spend time with him
To hold his hands
To touch him
To talk to him
To just be with him
both alone and with the loved ones who wanted to see him
was incredibly special

Then an article by Katherine Schafler
‘The one thing no one ever says about grieving’
contains some simple but very pertanent truths.
The one that resonates strongly within my spirit is this
“Move towards the epicenter of your grief, as it’s the only path to other side of your pain.”
From my experience the only way to deal with pain is to face it square on and confront it.
By side stepping you only have it come back to bite you at a later time.
By suppressing the pain it only makes you sick with anger and guilt and more pain.

As time has progressed the triggers and pain from Tim’s accident have lessened
Time does heal
But scars still remain
And sometimes tears well up from deep within
They take me by surprise
But I know they need to flow

Last week I was enjoying dinner out in Sacramento with my special friend Brielle
It was a place and time so far removed from that time back in February 2013
As we talked all of a sudden tears started flowing
They took me completely by surprise
But I needed to go back to that place
Just for a moment
And allow them to bathe my soul

Today the tears are back again
They are tears of gratefulness
of memories
good memories
happy memories
tears of times gone
special times
I can’t go back
I don’t want to go back
But they are flowing
Because I am remembering a good man

Back on this day
the 4th November 1978
I gave him my hand

and on the 18th February 2013
I held his hand
for the last time
and let him go.

 

Scars – we all have them, but what do we do with them?

Scars – we all have them.
Physical, emotional, mental, spiritual….

Some we can live with and others we abhor with intensity.
It is how we embrace them that matters.
1. we can cover them up and be unaccepting of ourselves and our self perceived ugliness.
Or
2. we can be completely unabashed, and unashamedly display them.
The first is our natural instinct
The second takes work, a hell of a lot of work.

When I was quite young I had an altercation with a barbed wire fence.
It left a raised horrid scar on my upper inner thigh.
I hated that scar with a passion
for years
But now I barely ever think of it
It is still there
still the same as it ever was
it is not a concern to me anymore
Time has healed.

I have other scars
hidden soul scars
Too many of them
I chose the first route for years
but there was so many toxins festering beneath them
I finally realised if I didn’t choose the second route I would never ever heal completely.

I have only recently chosen to confront and display my scars
And in so doing am coming to a place of positivity
And a place of content peacefulness.

A year ago I had a most fortuitous encounter with a lovely woman who has since become a friend.

Sera lit up my life 🙂
That encounter unleashed so many opportunities.

Looking back I love seeing the unfolding of chance encounters.
Is it really chance?
Karma?
Fate?
Coincidence?
We used to say that a ‘coincidence is just a miracle in which God chooses to remain anonymous’
Whatever way you look at it
that meeting was the beginning of so many positive things for me.
Sera was wearing the most wonderful jacket.
Being someone who loves mixed media I was immediately drawn to it and to the message it was portraying.
Be Still My Sacred Heart
That resonated so loudly in my damaged and vulnerable soul.

That jacket and it’s branding is the baby of Amanda Betts
She began Bridge the Gap Project to support and empower young victims of abuse.
The Heartspeak Collective allows victims/survivors to tell their stories through art and fashion.
I was so inspired and absolutely delighted to finally meet and spend time in Auckland with the dynamic and enthusiastically energetic Amanda a few months later.

I then began communicating with Sera about creating my own garment with her.
When I began talking with her about Heartspeaking a garment it seemed a natural progression to use my tattoo as part of my creation.
My phoenix is in a fairly private part of my anatomy
Only comes out in summer 😉
My eldest son reminds me often that scars are the tattoos of the brave.
The Phoenix is my Brave rising from the ashes of my abuse and heartbreak.
Perfect!

I also loved Sera’s cocoons so decided to combine those two loves.
We physically connected a few weeks ago and began working.
We spent the day choosing, cutting and piecing fabrics.
It was so much fun working with her on the project
I was so in my element
Back in my happy space that I haven’t been in for so long
It was feeding my creative mojo and incredibly therapeutic

I had to leave Sera to finish it as I needed to return home.
The following week I was transiting through Auckland airport and Sera delivered the finished garment to me.
I was blown away
So rapt
Ecstatically happy with the results.
It is absolutely perfectly Me 🙂
Thank you Sera
And Thank you Amanda
You have touched my heart and helped towards the healing of my soul
 Each Heartspeak garment has a heart tucked in it somewhere.
Mine is the large orange flower – of course 😉
And the words in the banner – also from my tattoo
illa alis volat propriis 
(She flies with her own wings) I was also delighted to hear Amanda exclaim that the blue/orange flames were cut from one of her old dresses.
So I feel like am carrying a piece of her and Sera with me where I go.

Turning Wounds into Power

This year has been one of immense growth for me.
I have finally found my voice
And now that I have, my wounds have become words that hold so much strength and power.

Since I came completely out of my closet back in May life has really gained momentum
There’s been some really hard times but the positive things are outweighing those.

Early June I was interviewed by the lovely Megan Bowers-Vette 
She was wanting to portray abuse survivors not as victims but as people with renewed strength & life
The US Project was begun with a photography exhibition in Whangarei
Then released in the most amazing heart rending book
I am so proud to have been able to work with Megan in this project
She has done a brilliant job depicting 50 people in NZ & Australia who are daily living with the consequences from the experience of rape, and other forms of sexual abuse.
She has now published The Us. Project Book of Stories
It is a tremendous book portraying so much heartache, and yet so much strength.
Such a powerful communication
I would encourage you to buy this book
Read, pass it on, share it around
Open peoples eyes to truths
Where so many refuse to see and choose to stay blinded.

I was interviewed by UNICEF a couple of months ago.
It was an incredible privilege to work with Shelley on this project.
To be able to speak out on behalf of other children
Children like me who are being silenced
Not by violence
But by emotional headfucking
Which is more silencing
Because of the lack of ability that people have to see and understand what is happening
The support which has come from the video and article has been huge.
My hope is that it reaches and helps many young ones to speak out and find help and to prevent so many more from experiencing what I did.

I know that this is a really tough subject
It is very confronting to so many
Especially those who are connected in a vicarious way to a victim
But what has to be remembered
When dealing with this type of trauma
Is that the victim
Is the victim
and
The victim
should not
is not
to be blamed
or shamed
or accused
or doubted
No matter how difficult it is for you to process

You have to stop
and think
and just listen
and actually
hear
their pain
hear
their truth
because it is their truth
and you cannot dispute their truth

You have to stop
disbelieving
victim blaming
victim shaming

You have to stop
supporting
encouraging
allowing behavioural continuance
to the perpetrators
Just because they appear to be
so good
so important
so squeaky clean
so -‘oh they would never do anything like that’

You have to stop
questioning
why didn’t you disclose earlier
why didn’t you say something at the time
why did you wear that
why did you go there
why did you drink that
and the worst one of all
why didn’t you confront your abuser?????
Seriously???

Unless you have lived the pain
You have absolutely NO IDEA
of the why
to any of these questions
You have absolutely NO IDEA
of the re-traumatising that happens
from your questions
from disclosing
from the doubting
from the demands
You put on us

Please just stop
and love us
hold us
and give us space
and time
to heal
in our own ways
in our own time

We so need you
If you can do this for us
We can heal
We can become strong
We can face the world again
And we will totally kick arse and become even stronger than before!

Therapy

Therapy
-a treatment that helps someone feel better, grow stronger,
-the act of caring for someone

Origin

I used to think therapy was the difficult stuff
the hour long sessions spent with my therapist
But
it’s not

Therapy has
many colours
many forms
many shapes
many times

Therapy
for me
is writing
is meeting a friend for coffee and and one on one time
is time & fun with my children
is taking the dog for a quiet meander along the river walk
is impulsively popping in for a chat with a friend
is sweating up a steep hill track and taking in the spectacular views from the top of my achievement
is impulsively shopping
is leaning into the arms of my closest tribal members and sobbing my heart out
is allowing them to feel my pain
is receiving their love and encouragement
is watching movies that make me cry, and laugh, and think
is sharing my innermost soulful thoughts with my best friend
is spending a day in bed with Netflix just because I can
is messaging my lover in the early hours of the morning
is sharing belly laughing crazy wine drinking sessions with my tribe
is creating art
is accepting the love and understanding of my man
is being held safe in his arms
is sitting at the beach and soaking in the sunshine
is planning my garden
is clambering around slippery river rocks with my children
is walking beside others who have also experienced my journey
is creating something joyous and wonderful and beautiful
is dancing wild and free
is making love
is gloriously wonderful food
is coffee

is orange :-)Therapy is caring for me in a way that restores my soul
But
I find
it tends to come delivered on a roller coaster
I delight in the parts of the ride that are slow
easy
soothing
cruising
but
while I am enjoying them I don’t tend to notice that the car I am riding in is beginning to climb…
Until I am perched at the top
rocking
waiting
then….
horrifyingly
the ride it gets to be screamingly scary
Situations arise
Events happen
my carriage plunges
down
down
down

and the therapy becomes
brutally intense
it makes me writhe in pain
I feel as if I am being torn apart
the anguish of the years
comes pouring out of my eyes
without permission
and when I think
I just cannot bare another moment,
when I am totally emotionally spent
the roller coaster reaches the bottom
and quietly cruises again
I gasp and gulp and reel
from the carnage wrought on my soul
I nurse my bruises
then realise
I made it through
that time
I begin the gentle soul soothing nurturing
knowing that this time
I have been made stronger
so that the next time my carriage reaches its peak
the pain won’t be as raw
the screaming not as loud
the ride down not as intense
nor as long

Nayyirah Waheed expresses it so well

recovering
healing
from abuse
is not an easy journey
it is wrought with hard seasons
but it is not an impossible journey
if you are willing to reach out
and accept the hands
who want to love you
but the hardest thing of all
for us
is

Aggrandizing of self

When the Japanese mend broken objects,
they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with GOLD.
They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.

I absolutely fell in love with this concept when I discovered it.
As someone who has been broken
not just once
but many, many times
I know what it is like to be shattered into so many pieces
that it feels like I will never ever be whole again

Aggrandize
such a marvellous word
I love how it rolls off my tongue
it has such
a beautiful tone
a wonderful feel
an importance even

It derives from the Latin grandis – meaning large
It is an enlargement or increase
in power, status, wealth
In this case
it is enlarging the worth of a broken object
by making it
even more beautiful
than before

Over recent months I have been picking up my broken pieces
I have been spending time
working out how to fit all of those shattered fragments back together
It has taken me years to understand
that no matter how hard I try
I will never be the whole that I was
way back before
I was broken

But I can be whole again
even more than I am now
By piecing together the best parts of me
the healed and healing parts of me
and aggrandizing them
with the gold that I am discovering along the way

Gold that comes in so many forms
true ‘stay with me forever no matter what shit I put them through’ friends
new members of my tribe
new experiences
deep emotional discoveries
and
new love 💖

I can be whole
I can be a new me
Aggrandized into a far far more beautiful self
than I ever believed possible

And that
to me
is
Pure Gold