wired to communicate

as a child we are taught
to communicate

be it with our voice or our hands
we learn to speak
encouraged to express our needs and wants
positive or negative

but we also are learned
to not communicate
by the traumas we endure
by the dangers of response

we are learned
in skills of self preservation
an innocent word
triggering an abuser
triggering a bully
triggering the anger of another

causing violent reaction
a chain reaction
learning in us
over years of trauma
to self protect

we shut down

moving forward into adulthood
damaged goods
fight flight fright
concreted into our damaged psyche
cautious trusts so easily destroyed
our fragility protected by a thin crust of bravado
our lives spent walking on eggshells

the exhausting daily trials
to appear normal
to fit in
to be more than
to compensate for the imbedded feelings of worthlessness
to show that
sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me
yeah right

and then
words innocently said
body language misinterpreted
triggering violent responses from
loved ones
those we trusted

like blunt force trauma to the brain
like a knee into the gut
with excruciating heart-rending pain
leaving us
wondering where did we go wrong

not understanding
that their triggers are not your triggers
their pain
like yours
is causing them to react
is causing a vicious spiral
damaged communication
damaged communicators

and so
we all shut down

A day in the life of

Facing unknowns
Unsure of what I’m entering into
Scares me shitless
Fighting the triggers and alarm bells
reverberating through my deep core
Trying to block them out
Going through the motions
Appearing to be in control
Appearances deceptively creating angst

So fucking exhausting

Filling out forms
Trying to fit myself into boxes
Am I a tick or a cross
Why can’t I just be me
Why do I have to evaluate, clarify, caterogize, or define myself
to be squeezed into boxes of mediocrity
You can have my name and address
but even those are questionable some days
Let me walk in
Unwrap me then, if you can
cuz I sure as hell can’t most days

So fucking exhausting

Answering cold calls
Why did I respond
Trigger alert
Stress bucket explosion
Anger – at them, or is it at myself
not their fault
they don’t know what’s happening at my end of the line
Wild out of control emotional
Damn you trauma brain

So fucking exhausting

just one day in the life of a trauma victim/survivor

Reminiscing Convoy

It has been just a year
– a year like no other
We were a fighting force
gathered together like a group of raggle taggle gypsies
strangers with a common cause
We drove together
from the south and the north
Creating friendships
Forming bonds
Celebrating life with those who understood
Talking freely
Rejoicing in the energy surrounding us
Fighting for freedoms
freedoms lost
freedoms stolen
not just our freedoms
– everyones
Fighting for
those blinded
those hypnotised
those scared
those compliant

The toll this year has taken
is indescribable
The abuse
The silencing
The rollercoasters of energies
emotional physical spiritual

Looking into this new year
wanting to feel positive
But knowing what’s been…
Venturing in
toe testing the waters

But overall clutching Hope
grasping Courage
preparing each day
to be Brave

Alannah Radburn

the silence in my brain

the silence in my brain
created by overwhelming noises
all bamblasting in such cacophony
that all that remains
is a deafening silence
of thought

my fingers want to type
my mouth wants to speak
but the noises
overpower any ability
to enunciate
with any lucidity

a diet of calm
a room of quiet
a basket of tranquility
preordered & paid for
but delivery is always postponed
or seemingly canceled entirely

the silence in my brain
so loud it is deafening
freezing my fingers
closing my mouth
in effect
silencing me – again

Time and Life

63 birthdays were gifted you
you were gifted to us
to me
to so many who loved you
time spent
spent time

measured in moments
rhythms of life
flowing between rivers
of sweetness
and sadness
of hardwork
and holidays
a cadence of days

10 birthdays thereafter…
celebrated by us
with heartbreak
and soul filled memories

this interval
a season
a period
a duration

embrace this span
this epoch of life
won’t be held
can’t be stopped
once spent it is gone
no going back

we think we have aeons
but in fact
we have but a brief beat
in the melody of life

I loved you for then
I love you now
separated by dimensions
in time and space

Tears fall
the precious time we shared
Thank you for the memories x

Remembering 42 years of love & life shared with Timmy 💞

Depressive confusion

I try to process
unravel my thoughts
but they’re all mixed up
like a cacophony of sound
making no sense

Confusion overtakes my brain
I forget
I muddle
I can’t think
I can’t speak
I can’t face anyone
I want to hide

Emotions begin running amok
tears pour
unable to be repressed
fall unbidden
at the smallest trigger

My body
is exhausted
it shakes
curls up
needs comfort
craves touch
yet pushes everyone away

My soul
hurts so much
needs quiet
needs understanding
is so tired

Be patient please
I just need time

ptsd is such an exhausting mindfuck

My bitch Melancholia

Depression is a bitch
It attacks seemingly from nowhere
And yet
Like a black dog it stalks constantly
Stealthily waiting for the right moment
To pounce
To lay me low
Then it holds me down
It’s weight is scary and yet somewhat comforting
It protects me from more hurt
Snarls at perceived threats
Keeps the monsters at bay
Appearing to keep me safe

And yet
It is the monster

Memories of 43 years ago

The 4th November 1978 seems such a long long time ago.
43 years ago today in another lifetime I married the love of my life.
I was young, not quite 22yrs old & Tim was 29, but we’d known each other for over 7 years and I was absolutely sure this was what I wanted.
I was blissfully innocent & ignorant to what the years ahead would hold.
Thank goodness we are not given that insight!

Tim & I were married in the cute wee Anglican Church in Renwick New Zealand.
The Church of the Annunciation was consecrated on March 5th 1896, and was sadly destroyed by arson in 2002.

It was a beautiful service with Tim’s Uncle Ian & my Uncle George conducting the service. My friend Cynthia and old family friend Mrs Cecily Gee playing the guitar & organ. I had chosen the music and it was venturing to the more modern side of Anglican at that time as I used the ‘modern’ Songs of Praise books as reference 😉

I have a few memories of the day

I rode to the church in a horse & cart with my parents and sister. Driven by local identity & motelier Rod Eatwell. The cart was decorated with climbing roses from the trees next door to us.
But on returning I rode in the cart with Tim to have our photos taken by neighbour Graham – leaving my parents stranded with no ride home – oops!

This is my favourite photo from the whole day – taken by friend & guest Les Sparrow

We walked over to my parents house via a visit with an elderly neighbour who was delighted to see us in our wedding finery.
The photos look serious but there was a lot of hilarity going on behind the scenes 🙂

Everything was done locally
My parents didn’t have a lot of money so the wedding was not extravagant but my memories are fairly positive of a wonderful day.
I only recall one negative upset and that was a difficult aunt who decided to make an issue about attending but it all worked out in the end and who cares now!
Oh yes – there was a major near disaster on the day!!
I’d done a very radical thing and had a perm only a few days before – shock! horror! why oh why? – it was awful.
My cousin Clare thankfully came to the rescue and did my hair for me
She put all to rights and made everything all perfect
I will always love her for that – plus the fact she’s my big cuz and I’ve always loved her 🙂

My friend Cynthia and I sewed all our clothes over the weeks prior – my dress, Tim’s 3 piece suit, shirt AND tie, and my sister’s skirt & top.
Our clothing styles weren’t appreciated by Tim’s father as the colours were a tad non traditional LOL
I am definitely a non conformist from early days 😉
I remember we were also amused that his Mum wore black to our wedding too – just as well she and I got along well or I’d have thought there was more to it lol!

The food was catered by the local tavern using produce we had all supplied. Including fresh fish we netted, and fresh mussels Tim & I had harvested off the rocks on Te Ekeatekonganui / Reef Point at the back of our farm.
Note that this was the only Maori word that Tim could successfully pronounce and he was most proud of that fact – which is saying a lot as it was 43 years ago when pronunciation was perceived as difficult & unimportant and not pursued by many.
This was also several years before mussel farming was a thing – who knew what was ahead!

The flowers from local sources but my specific memory fails at this point.
I remember my grandmother carefully nursing her neighbours lily of the valley bulbs to last long enough to be picked for my hair
The photos were taken by our friend Graham at the beginning of a long illustrious career for him.
No such thing as videoing but there is a tape recording packed away somewhere in my treasure boxes.
The cakes were baked by my mother and iced beautifully by a neighbour from across the paddocks.

We had a weeping elm in our front garden so a huge marquee was erected over the top of it extending over the front door decking
This caused many questions during the evening of how exactly did the tree get inside the tent??
We had to carry the cakes outside for a mock up of the cake cutting due to lighting. Our bestman, also Tim, tripped on the guy rope but thankfully the cakes were saved – whew!
The top tier of the cake was saved as per tradition for cutting at the christening of our eldest child just a year later
The All Blacks were playing Ireland with a final winning score of 10-6 that same night so most of the guests ended up inside watching on our old box shaped B&W TV which balanced precariously on top of the roll top desk in our living room.
Funnily enough on the night of my 2nd wedding there was also a rugby game playing in Nelson of major importance – Crusaders vs Warratahs
Thankfully there was no TV at our venue to interrupt our celebrations 😉

I did find out later that one of our guests choked on a bone during the celebrations but thankfully help was on hand and she survived – whew!
The weather turned rather cold that night and unfortunately my health suffered as I got very chilled and I had a relapse of glandular fever during our honeymoon.

We spent our wedding night at what is now the Scenic Hotel Marlborough in Blenheim, and much to my grandmother’s surprise we turned up late the next morning so Tim could eat leftovers as he wasn’t going to pay for food at the hotel
He was used to living very frugally and if he couldn’t pay cash he didn’t buy.
A good principle to live by which wisdom many would benefit from today.

We headed off south westwards on our honeymoon that day but that’s another story for another time…

A Name is just a Name, or Is It?

I took a lot of care when choosing my own children’s names
It was important to me that they had names that meant something strong and positive
They are another story for another time…

I know Why I was named but due to my young life experiences
all of my three names have held very negative connotations

Recently whilst discussing my innate ability to help others my therapist suggested I was a human rights activist
“No – more of an advocate”
‘What other descriptives do you think of yourself?’
“Warrior” popped into my head
and with that our talk wound its way down a rabbit hole which has turned my perceptions of my names and myself upside down
In a good way

I have always hated my second name
My parents had friends
An elderly childless couple
They named me after her
I have always hated the name but joked it out by saying at least I saved my brothers
His name was Percival!
They were reprieved from that – they really do need to thank me for bearing the burden 🙂

But when my therapist began leading me to explore further
I knew Hilda meant Battle or Battlemaiden
And even though we both have similar Shetland / Scandinavian roots she did not know about the Valkeries
So we began exploring the stories,
The Valkeries carried the chosen dead from the battlefields and carried them to Valhalla for Odin
They were fierce, determined, caring,
Hildr was one of the named ones
she was recorded as being of importance
The name was written
With my Scandinavian roots and my lifelong battle to overcome the effects from my childhood abuse this really begun to resonate with me
Maybe a spelling change could change my perception on my name?

My first name also has held a negative tone for me
I was named after my father
I was supposed to be a boy – Raymond – his second name
But I was born a girl so I was Raewyn
This is a made up combination name
and is uncommon outside of New Zealand
and generally it is found in my age group
In fact statistics show it doesn’t appear as a birth name after 1971
There was never a specific meaning
White doe is the closest I ever got and that seemed very twee to me

Once I began facing the demons of my past I really struggled with my name
I hated that he was responsible for it
That it tied me to him
Or I felt it identified me with him

Here in New Zealand we are encouraged to give our mihi or introduction when greeting
And within that we disclose our ancestral journey
Identifying our forebears, our origins,
I so struggled with this as I did not want to identify with him in any way
A Maori friend helped me to process this in a way
that really helped me identify in my present past
not my damaged past
So I could mihi safely

It wasn’t until I became friends with international friends who commented how unusual my name was.
In fact a young American friend messaged me a few years ago and asked if I’d mind if she need her daughter Raewyn
I was honoured
It was then I began to realise how unusual it was
special even!
And since marrying my American and traveling there with him
I am embracing it more positively and confidently
In fact I had a lot of fun with their inabilities to pronounce or spell it when I say it 🙂

Then whilst down the rabbit hole I began some researching and discovered that in the 1890’s when the suffrage movement was in full swing here
1893 NZ was the first self governing nation to give women the right to vote!
Anyways there supposedly was a woman named Rae Wynn who was involved in the suffrage movement which could’ve sparked people honouring her by calling their babies Raewyn, Raewynn, Raewynne,…

I also know that my paternal grandmother who carried that name must’ve been an amazing woman
So I try now to look beyond that previous generation and identify with the women in my family tree from before who were pioneers
Women who must have had so much strength & resilience

It feels good to be discovering strengths and positivity in my name
Empowering even!

My maiden name has left a very sour taste in my mouth
I struggle to identify with anything pertaining to my father
I married at 21 so I have carried a different surname for over 43 years
That has eased my aversion
But I still become very triggered when forced to fill out paperwork with that name
Or if I am identified as part of the family who carry that name

Names are important
Never underestimate the power of your name
And if you meet someone
Never Ever Assume you can shorten their name
Or use their familial nickname
Unless you have their permission
Or I might have to send my Valkyrie to deal with you 😉


No matter your age or abilities or situation
Loneliness is
it just is

It ebbs and flows
you can be the happiest busiest person
and still be lonely
feel lonesome
feel so alone in the midst of a busy room
be alone in a crowd
feel empty

is an emptiness
it is tears escaping for no apparent reason
it is a void
a blackness

Loneliness can begin
through no fault of your own
from grief
physical proximity
social isolation
emotional isolation
feeling different
feeling unacceptable
feeling misunderstood
removing yourself in your head because it hurts
removing yourself before it hurts again
self protection
not allowing anyone in
building barriers
closing people out

can be just there but you don’t know
until you do