Coming Out and Speaking Truth

 

Get over it photo

Yep. Time to come out BIG TIME. I am a survivor of childhood sexual assault. I have written about it in anthologies, referred to being a survivor here and there. My family knows and most wish I would shut up about it already. Guess what? I am one of the elders now. I miss my Mom, Dad, Grandparents and family that have passed. I do not miss hearing some of them react to things I would say with, “Aren’t you over that yet?”

The photo showed up on my Facebook feed this morning and I realized that this election and aftermath is mirroring much more than any Dem/Rep ideological conflict.

The election itself has re-traumatized many of us. It is NOT about the PEOPLE. It is about what it says about WE THE PEOPLE. To normalize hate and ridicule, to pit us against each other, to divide us rather than calling for UNITED action, to empower violence in thought, word and deed against any number of ‘others’ is WRONG. Bullying, intimidation and abuse of any sort is WRONG. Express your opinion. Calling names is NOT an opinion. Express your feelings. YOUR feelings. Anger at someone mirrors what we do not like about ourselves. Anger about something shows us where we need to heal.

The day after the election, I spent about half the day sobbing. My husband did not understand my reaction. He said I take things too personally. He at least understood that while he did not get it, he asked our older son to call me, told him that “Mom is distressed.” We had a good talk. He got it. I have had many good talks with many people who get it.

We who reacted viscerally, have wounds. Wounds that still need healing. God knows I have spent 50 years dealing with being child-fucked. Eight years of grooming and abuse that escalated to violence that not only emotionally and psychologically affect me and my ability to have relationships, it PHYSICALLY affected me, my lady parts, my times of the month and my fertility. Yes, I am grateful to have two fabulous Russian born sons, so, I am the first to acknowledge that good comes from bad.

The abuse we experienced, the traumas are not something you ‘get over.’ A bad haircut grows out. Having acid thrown in your face cannot be washed away. The soldier missing a limb is understood more than the soldier who saw his buddy being blown to bits. Many of us have the continual loops, the inner voices criticizing, name calling, ridiculing us, making us afraid to speak our truth. One of the worst effects of my PTSD was nightmares and night-terrors. No need to describe them. The abuser was IN MY HEAD and I would wake up screaming, terrified. On average, this happened twice a week for about 50 years. Many nights, I was afraid to go to sleep. In the past year, I have done very active and intentional work and the nightmares stopped. Guess who started showing up in my dreams after the election? Yep, more work to do.

I am not saying that Donald Trump is responsible for my nightmares. I am saying that feeling that I live in a country that validates sexual abuse, hate and misogyny activated my wounds.

I do not think that every single person who voted for Donald Trump supports hate. I understand that jobs are gone. Technology eliminates some industry. Progress provides new opportunities. I understand that a large segment of our population pays through the nose for health care. Let’s call out the REAL reason for job loss and unaffordable health care. Corporate Greed. As long as we allow health decisions to be made by entities whose only goal is a larger profit margin, people will be denied health care or pay many times what a procedure really costs. As long as we allow corporations to NOT pay taxes, not be accountable for closing factories and do anything because MORE PROFIT MUST BE MADE, this will continue. It used to be okay for the boss to make 2-4 times what the worker made. He was the boss, he took the responsibility for the business. When did bosses start needing to make 50 times what a worker makes? What made making money by destroying others become okay? Wall Street, the housing crisis, pensions lost, lives ruined. None of this is okay.

I am not getting over it. I AM DEALING WITH IT. I am dealing with all of it the best way I know how. I support charities. I buy the work of struggling artists. I have always volunteered. I do what I can to support anyone being harassed. After 9/11, I wore a head covering because random acts of hate were happening to women and I wanted to stand in solidarity. If there are EVER registries for ANYONE I will register. I may end up being on record as a Muslim, Jewish, Hindu LGBTQIA, Mexican. No worries. I have lived my life as a daughter, wife, mother, friend, child sexual abuse survivor. I will continue to survive, create and thrive. I will strive to respect myself, respect others and take total responsibility for my thoughts, words and actions with both humor and grace.

And so it is.

What IS Your Part?

In yesterday’s post I wrote, “Each of us came into this world with a gift, a talent, a message, a task. It is time to do the work and share it with the world. We don’t have to do everything, we each just need to do our part and when we all do our parts, everything will be done.”

Maybe you have already figured out what your part is. I thought I had, and I did for a while. What I did not consider was that as time passed and life happened, ‘my part’ changed.

I think everyone is in a transitional time right now. Whether the changes are small or huge, our lives are different from what they were. Parents die, relationships end while others begin and others morph. Kids grow up and leave home. Some of us downsize and a few of us relocate completely.

Focus shifts and priorities change. Looking back just one year, how different is your life now? Are you surprised at where you are and where you plan to be? Reflecting on the past year, what life events happened and what choices did you make to get here? Where do you want to be a year from now? What choices can you make to get there?

I think the Universe conspires to help us on our path. An illness will make you slow down or perhaps completely stop for a time, giving you enforced time to heal and reflect. A loved one’s passing can make you reconsider your priorities and goals.

What is important to you? What would you regret NOT doing in your lifetime? What can you do right now to live today as you want to live every day?

I am suggesting that you ask yourself these questions and take the time to answer them as fully as you can right now. With the information, hopes, dreams and goals you have right now, what choices can you make right now to make them more of a reality?

All journeys are made one step at a time. Tonight it might be to drink an extra glass of water, make a list for tomorrow, or take a minute to remember all the people and things you have in your life for which you are grateful.

I am asking myself and answering these questions, too. This time last year, we were established in Baltimore and the boys were still at/near home. Since then, David decided to take early retirement in 2016, we decided to relocate to Seattle so David can be near family. We bought a house in Seattle, and started clearing out our house in Baltimore. Older son found an apartment within walking distance from his job and younger son moved in with his sweetie. Talk about changes- retirement, cross country move, empty nest and releasing possessions. Yikes. Throw in a couple of health issues, some emergencies and normal everyday challenges and what does that give you? LIFE.

So, my challenge is not to get lost in the details of daily demands. I am (after some resistance) examining some issues and taking action on others. While the old saying goes, “There is no time like the present” the reality is that the ONLY time we have is the present, this moment. And the gift is that we can choose what we do in it.

Carrying On, Call To Action

I have been absent from the web for months. Life happens. Family stuff, personal stuff, health issues, life transitions. It doesn’t matter what the story is. The details are irrelevant. Everybody has stuff. The choice each of us has is how we react and how we choose to go on.

The passing of Dr. Wayne Dyer really saddened me. I had been an admirer and student of his work since seeing Dr. Dyer on the Tonight Show promoting Your Erroneous Zones. I watched his PBS specials too many times to count. I saw him in person at Whole Life Expos and several other conferences. Books, radio shows, interviews, I grew as his work evolved. I had the privilege to speak with him after one of his talks. It was the early 90’s and I was a stay at home Mom with two severely developmentally delayed post-institutionalized sons. We talked and I thanked him for his work because it had made me a better mother. He was touched, we connected.

He was one of the first ‘celebrity’ teachers in the New Age movement. Looking over the body of his work, you can see his spiritual deepening. He served as a bridge to the masses. He brought spirituality and co-creative consciousness to everyday people. He grounded “woo-woo” enough to normalize it for mainstream thinking.

His passing now, just as we are reaching critical mass for shifting consciousness, is significant. I believe the age of the Guru is ending. Dr. Dyer said it himself, using guru as an acronym for “God You Are You” to say that we have the wisdom, knowledge and everything we need inside ourselves.

Yes many of us will continue to write, share what we have learned or perhaps remembered, but this will serve as modeling for everyone to do the same. Each of us came into this world with a gift, a talent, a message, a task. It is time to do the work and share it with the world. We don’t have to do everything, we each just need to do our part and when we all do our parts, everything will be done.

Stop looking for the answer in others. Teachers are great, but no one is ‘the’ teacher, no one has ‘the’ answer. We are ALL teachers. We are ALL students. We are all in process. Right now, my process is to commit to writing and sharing.

Today is the beginning of a 30 day Heal My Voice writing group. Setting the intention and building the energy within the group to support each other, we each begin by going within and discovering what is ready to be known, explored. Some discoveries can be understood and released.  At times I have chosen to acknowledge and coexist with what is there, learning that feeling the feeling transforms it.

Today and every day, we get to choose to carry on as usual or take action, do the work, live the lives we truly want. If you want support in doing you work, both inner work and your work in the world, it’s not too late to join the Heal My Voice group.

http://healmyvoice.org/30-day-writing-program/

Uncle Kent 2! The Movie THEY Don’t Want Us To See

Uncle Kent 2! The Movie THEY Don’t Want Us To See

I love being a Friend of the Festival for the Maryland Film Festival. We are lucky to see films before some have limited release or will be available on demand. Some will be shown on cable networks, and many will be fondly remembered and often recommended but not easily found.

My social media savvy friend, Andrea Hylen has been tweeting, instagramming and posting about what we are seeing and loving this year. She posts trailers, links and hashtags. She was unable to find anything to send out about “Uncle Kent 2!” and at the Q&A after the screening we found out why.

The filmmakers are convinced there is NO AUDIENCE for this fabulous little gem. The “anti-sequel sequel” is a hoot. It shows the perfect way to prepare a Trader Joe’s salad. It has the best kitchen dance scene ever. It has a mother Skyping while her son while he is busy pleasuring himself. They employed guerrilla filming tactics at a Comic Con gathering. It displays multidimentional living- thinking of someone and then running into them. Thoughts become things. It questions the meaning of dreams, the reality of perception and the basis of assumed reality.

We loved it. Okay, two of three of us LOVED it, Dotti just really liked it. I love lots of different kinds of movies. My sense of humor can be darker and more absurd than some. Serial Mom, Zero Charisma, Welcome to Wop Wop, The Celestial Wives of Meadow Mari. Love them all. I feel the same thing when I hear Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, the Rolling Stones and Gogol Bordello- PASSION! Even if the vision is singular, skewed, or far from main-stream, it is a focused passionate statement.

The filmmakers, Kent Osbourne, Joe Swanberg, Todd Rohal are only planning to show the film at three film festivals. WTF????? This is a jewel. Uncle Kent 2! is side-splitting, absurd, dead-on, uncomfortable, lovable, endearing, too true and nonsensical. It is a delight. It deserves to be seen. The world needs Uncle Kent 2!

The filmmakers made the film for themselves. They made the movie they wanted to make expecting little audience appeal. Perhaps the same could have been said about “Pink Flamingos” or “Female Trouble.”

The story line is based in actual bizarre occurrences in real life. Life is absurd. Life is funny. I love to laugh. My niece lives for Comic/Dragon/Crazy Con. We all construct our realities. In my happy place people disappear all the time.

This anti-sequel is a monument to creativity. Seeing Uncle Kent 2! inspires me to write, to continue constructing alternate worlds, to tell stories not everyone will want to hear. Who cares how limited the audience will be? Make the movies, write the stories, create!

Uncle Kent 2! Demand to see it!

And I think there will be world peace when everyone learns the salad shaking kitchen dance. My only regret is that my tits will never jiggle as well as Kent Osbourne’s titties jiggle.

Trauma in Seattle

 It’s been over 24 hours. I can write about it now.

My ride was delayed and I waited in the Seattle airport for about ninety minutes. It was a direct, long flight and my back hurt so I found a waiting area and camped out. Others came and went from the area then a young woman sat, checking her phone, waiting. When her partner/friend/husband joined her they left.

BUT before they went on their way, he bent over to pick up her bag. Directly in front of my face the moon was out early. His sweatshirt rode up and his pants were very low on his hips exposing at least five inches of butt crack. Very hairy butt crack. Supremely hairy butt crack. Incredibly hairy butt crack.

I guess I have lived a very sheltered life, but I swear I had no idea hair could grow out of a butt crack like that. It was dark. It was long. It was thick. It was shocking.

What happened next was even more disturbing. When he stood upright, he did not pull up his pants but tugged on a side belt loop to LOWER that side a bit. At least the sweatshirt returned to meet the top of his low-riders.

Not pulling your pants up? WTF? Is this a thing? I have only seen low-riders with huge boxer shorts billowing out the top and I thought that look is passe. Maybe commando low-riders is the new thing but really, shouldn’t you have the butt to pull off such a look?

If the hair stuck straight out, like porcupine quills, one could understand the inability to pull up one’s pants. It would be a kind of disability. If the couple had been robbed and his belt was stolen, he would have tried to pull the pants up, not level the waistband by lowering one side.

Waistband. Hmmmm. Maybe those are pants with new mid-ass bands. They were not hip-huggers. I remember those. There was a good amount of sagging jeans meant to be covering ass, unfilled and floppy below his ass.

It’s not like I have never seen butt crack before. I’ve seen plenty. There is ass hanging out here and there. I guess it is one of those things I have come to accept as a fact of life. Sometimes you see road kill, sometimes some cheeks.

My shock would have been the same, I think, if I were to see a road-kill unicorn. Maybe that guy has the rarest of butt cracks. Is it possible that I saw the ass crack equivalent of a unicorn? Perhaps his sharing a sighting here and there is his way of giving a rare gift.

Maybe, one day the memory will blur. I can only hope.

Supporting the Arts One Artist at a Time

DG1

An appeal came via email today from an artist I support and whose work I love. I did not know his story until I visited the gofundme page.

http://www.gofundme.com/l858fk

David Gerbstadt makes wild crazy fun uplifted subversive wonderful art. He also survived being hit by a tractor trailer. It is an amazing story not only of his survival but of his adopting a severely injured dog. Even though David continues to suffer the effects of PTSD, he is a prolific artist. He has promised to send any contributor art if they submit their address.

DG2

Help however you can. How much are you planning to spend tomorrow on something you could do without to help David and Noel keep their home? Visit his Facebook pages to see more art and find out how to send donations directly to the mortgage company.

I have not asked for permission to show you samples of David’s art. I ask you to respect David and not download the images for personal use or profit. Most of David’s work is pay what you can and you can see and buy downloads at http://payhip.com/davidgerbstadt

Oh Family Tree, Oh Family Tree

 

cgrannieswild

Everybody Has Their Moments

My great grandmother kept a pistol under her carriage blanket when going to market. A great-aunt was a wild flapper girl. A grandfather by marriage lost an eye, supposedly from being kicked by a mule, but in reality he lost his eye because his still exploded.

Many mothers and grandmothers took on male roles and work during the war. Our ancestors were suffragists, pioneers, slaves, share croppers and slave owners, camp victims and survivors, business owners, hippies, feminists, soldiers and pacifists. They were strong men and women. Because they were, we are.

Do you know your family history? Have the stories that have been told time after time around the holiday table been written down? What family stories were NOT told and will go to the grave with the elders?

As families gather and the wine flows, encourage the story telling. Take notes if you like. Pull out the family albums from way back when there was film to develop and prints. Laugh over the fading Polaroids that captured the hair, all the hair of the day.

I would bet there is a lot of wild in your family tree. Where do you think the crazy came from?

Holiday Plans

caccident

I love this photo. Women, working together, a social gathering or a family get-together. Time to plot and scheme…. Yeah, that’s what the holidays are all about. 

What is it that you would like to have happen over the holidays? Remembering? Sharing family stories? Honoring those who have passed? Do you want to start new traditions or try new recipes?

Whether you want to recreate times past or shake it up or do some of each, start planning now. Recruit support and make alliances. Set whatever intention you want for the holidays and see it happen.

Who Do You Choose To Be?

cplaybitch 1

Choose Your Roles

We all have roles in life- child, parent, partner, spouse or friend. Some roles we take on, others are assigned. You get to choose which ones you fill and how you play each role.

As parties, dinners and gatherings are planned, think about the role you play at each. If you feel someone putting you in a role you no longer want to fill, it is an invitation to make a shift. Remember to be gentle with yourself. Change can take practice.

Take a moment to consider the following. How would you complete each statement?

I am…….

I am happy to be…..

I would rather not be…..

I want to be…..

I will be….

I am….

Open To Receive

 

cIawesomw

Receiving

How do you feel when you are given a compliment? What is your usual response? Does the attention make you squirm?

Compliments are gifts. Tolerate the discomfort and open to receive. You are worth that and so much more.

Thank you” is the appropriate response to a compliment. You are deserving. Most of us only receive a tiny fraction of the amount of praise we deserve. So much of what we do goes unnoticed. When someone does notice and comment, take it in.

Repeat after me, “Thank you.”

You can practice by giving yourself the credit you are due. Say, “Thank you!”

The holidays mean more socializing, more visibility and more opportunity to practice receiving any and all gifts that come your way.

You’re welcome!