Did You Bring Enough for Everyone?

I appreciate this boiled-down perspective of the residents of planet Earth so much! When we look at the world at large, it’s big, mysterious, confusing and often scary. So much is foreign to us as Americans; so much that’s unfamiliar to that which we’re accustomed. This planet, however, is all about diversity – and being aware of that diversity without judgement – is a way to avoid becoming the very ethnocentric hypocrites we purport to detest. When we consider a digestible look at the world’s population like this video shows, it demonstrates just how enabled and empowered we are as Americans. It’s what we do with our good fortune that reveals our true colors.

Let’s bring it down to basics…What would you teach a child who has lots of candy? Keep it all to themselves – or share it with others? Happy classmates are more often friends than foes, right? Why are the rules different for our neighbors on this planet? If, indeed, the world is so messed up that simple kindness and altruism doesn’t apply to “grownups,” why do we bother teaching it to children? Just to have their hearts broken when they learn how the world “really” works as adults? As I’ve said so often in the past – we’re often our own worst enemies when it comes to interpersonal relations.

You can chalk the world’s challenges up to human nature or some other darker, dimmer view of people – or you can accept that but for sheer luck of the draw, you could be among those oppressed, underprivileged and suffering from birth. Recognize that with privilege and fortune comes not only power – but CHOICE – which translates to the power to enact change and improvements in the human condition. America and other first world nations: we have so much to share – stop grabbing and start giving. We’re (supposedly) not animals. Not everyone on Earth has the luxury of thinking and acting beyond their own circumstances; let’s regain our better, higher selves to serve something more important than our own creature comforts.

The better the world condition is, the better for all. Am I right or am I right?

Posted in Observations a la Gina | 1 Comment

The Abused: We’re Not All Kesha But We All Need Support

This article I read yesterday has haunted me the last 24 hours. I’m a new Lenny reader and have been deeply impressed by Lena Dunham’s informed, passionate and articulate writing. She really touched some chords in me with this piece; there’s so much to champion and take away from the issue it tackles. Although I don’t know Kesha as an artist, I recognize her as victim.

Feelings of insignificance plague the abused.

Feelings of insignificance plague the abused – during and in the aftermath.

Some of my thoughts after reading about Kesha’s experiences:

1. A clean break is a good break. I am ever so fortunate to have been able to make a clean and complete break from my abuser by divorcing him. I never had to see or hear from him again – his influence over me is over forever. Thank goodness there were no children or other ties that kept us bound to one another. This, sadly, is not the case for others such as Kesha whose livelihood (and most likely her emotional well-being) will continue to be affected by someone to whom she had the misfortune to be connected. So often the circumstance of being associated with our abuser is due to innocence, ignorance or lack of personal choice – none of which put us at fault and shouldn’t have to handicap us indefinitely.

2. The myth of an”acceptable amount of contact.” No, there is no amount of “professional distance” that can be achieved so that she can (or should be expected to) continue to fulfill her contractual obligations to – or ever have any contact whatsoever with – someone who used, abused and took advantage of her. To require that is to expect her to volunteer to continue to feel controlled by her abuser.

3. When enough is enough…it’s enough! I’m not the only victim who has ever “tried to make it work” for a time before emphatically declaring, “NO! I WILL NO LONGER ALLOW YOU TO HAVE THIS HOLD ON ME BECAUSE IT IS LITERALLY KILLING ME! In fact, it’s common that the stress of living life influenced by an abusive relationship or incident can bring on symptoms of underlying mental or emotional conditions; it manifested in Kesha as an eating disorder. These can be disabling in and of themselves, furthering the burden of living as a victimized person.

4. It takes a lot of guts to speak out. Our silence is not tacit consent, nor should it be construed as an indication that we are unaffected by the abuse. It’s tremendously difficult to rise from the insignificance we feel to declare the truth about our circumstances. It’s embarrassing. It’s humiliating. It’s scary as hell. Yet, when the time comes, it’s a matter of life and death – and we’ve never felt more empowered.

5. It’s really pretty simple…just don’t abuse. This statement from Lena’s article echoed through my mind: “The human contract that says we will not hurt one another physically and emotionally.” Though it should be apparent, you can’t legislate – or otherwise enforce – that one party will not bully, abuse and overpower another – and that’s just sad.

6. Just listen with an open heart when a victim discloses. It’s bad enough that people are abused – then the pain is unknowingly compounded when they talk about it. As unbelievable as it seems, it’s almost a reflex action for people to jump to the defense of the perpetrator! (No, couldn’t be so. Are you sure? I can’t believe he/she is capable!…) To add insult to injury, it’s usually the victim whose motives and reactions are questioned and doubted – not those of the perpetrator. Even though the victim is the one baring her or his soul – our most private demons – our pain is so often minimized by the abuser and by others who become aware of it.

7. Just get me outta here! I was plenty damaged by my abuser – both physically and emotionally. Sadly, like Kesha, there is no recourse. I didn’t want an apology. I didn’t want recompense. I didn’t even want him to publicly admit his mistreatment. I wanted distance in every sense of the word; freedom from him and from the way associating with him made me feel. Once I broke the ties, I was free and able to begin healing. I could learn for myself that I was an intelligent, intuitive and beautiful person; that I could be happy and fulfilled without him; that love doesn’t judge, control or hurt.

8. How you, yes, you, can help a victim. Advice to those on the outside of an abusive relationship: Turning away in disgust, shame or uneasiness, ignoring or minimizing the signs, condoning, blaming the victim (either for being a victim in the first place, failing to come forward “soon enough” or for being scarred by the experiences)… these are all the wrong responses. Victims have been beaten down, made to feel they don’t matter to anyone and used to serve the needs of another. They need unconditional acceptance, patience and encouragement as they find their way and redefine themselves as someone who is, rather than a victim, a survivor.

I tend not to write – or even think about – my 11 years in an abusive relationship very often any more. For the most part, I’ve incorporated the lessons I learned from it into the rest of me which continues to grow into my authentic self. Once in a while, however, something strikes me as relevant to my experience and it l me feel that I have something to contribute to the conversation. As always, I hope that what I write illuminates and/or inspires – especially when it’s on such an important issue.

To any victim out there looking for a lifeline, a word of encouragement or advice: Know that I will listen with an experienced, empathetic and non-judgemental ear. Reach out to me privately at gina@writeytidy.com.

For support, advice and resources from the world at large and to contact trained professionals in abuse intervention, I strongly suggest going to NoMore.org. Of course if you are in immediate danger, by all means, call 911.

Wishing love, security and peace to all!

Posted in Survivor of abuse, The personal development of Gina | Leave a comment

Why I Write What I Write

This article is very interesting (albeit not very well-written) and confirms that which I already know to be a fact…

It brings up something to which I can strongly relate – the importance of writing in my life.

I’ve always felt that my innate urge to write was an organic means for me to make cognitive sense of my feelings and imagination – as well as fortify and incorporate my memories into my inner life. I have journaled extensively and credit the activity with saving my peace of mind on dozens of occasions. Writing from my heart as I do, whether in a journal or on a blog is so much more than simply putting down words for me – it’s an exercise that is an integral and necessary part of my makeup, keeping me grounded and healthy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m newly re-committed to writing the types of things that fulfill me; yes, I’m proud to proclaim to myself and to the world that it is more than a talent – it’s my calling and my purpose in this crazy ride called life. I’m so thankful I’ve can exercise this ability to continually improve myself – and hopefully inspire and entertain others along the way.

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Reflections on a Dark Room

Once a time a time isn’t necessarily a long time ago…

Throughout our years sharing a bed together, my Sweetie and I have enjoyed countless late, late-night talks as we drift off to sleep, kitties snuggled nearby, the house dark and quiet and our minds weary yet freed from the affairs of the day due to the lateness of the hour. Sometimes we brainstorm possibilities for the continuing alphabetical naming of our future cats. Sometimes we go on preposterous flights of verbal fancy. Sometimes we remember episodes of long-lost TV shows we swear we were the only ones who watched. Sometimes we try to think of ways to repurpose videotapes. And sometimes it’s simply utter nonsense… 😉 And on those nights we drift off to peaceful sleep with smiles on our faces and joyful laughter in our hearts – more in love with us than ever.

oMlKyeO

Other nights, we talk into the wee-hours about more substantial things – yes, really. Last night’s conversation renewed my love for myself as well as my deep and abiding appreciation for my man who deeply appreciates me. Torn down by the negativity, hatred, selfishness and sadness I witness around me lately, worn out by the day-in, day out mundaneness of my present life circumstances, I felt bereft of direction or motivation. (In case you don’t know, I’m not a person who functions for long on auto-pilot without falling into a deep, disheartened funk.) I was a dead car battery and my Sweetie – through words of encouragement and faith –  jump-started me back to life – back to passion and purpose.

The thoughts with which I drifted off to peaceful sleep last night were: There is more to me – and more for me – and now I know I will discover and experience it because he said I can. And that’s always been all I need.

Posted in Memories | 1 Comment

Once a Time a Time, I Was Quoted in a Book

As I finish another crochet item – a very pretty shawl – this evening, I have yarn both around my fingers and on my mind. I  am reminded of something I wrote in a Twitter chat, circa 2010. Lest you think that I consider my every tweet pure gold and therefore retain a memory of every comment I make, I assure you there’s a reason that this particular tweet sticks in my mind.

The Twitter chat consisted of a group of small business owners discussing the topic of combining several, often disparate, passions to create your own unique niche in the marketplace. My comment was exactly this (I actually found it on my Twitter page): 

“I think of it as a tangle of yarn & if I just pull the right one in the right direction, it will all straighten out & be cohesive.”

One of the participants in the chat was Becky McCray, an entrepreneur from Oklahoma who specialized in bringing social media to small, rural, businesses. She was in the process of co-writing a book and thought my comment was particularly illustrative. She officially asked me if she could quote me in her book, and I enthusiastically answered in the affirmative. (If you ever want to look up her book, Small Town Rules: How Big Brands and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Economy, by Barry J. Moltz, Becky McCray, my words of wisdom appear on page 55 of that publication.)

Cooper demonstrates the challenges presented from tangled yarn

Cooper demonstrates the challenges presented from tangled yarn

 

I’m now revisiting the metaphor I wrote in a literal sense. Yarn has indeed returned to my life in a very real and significant way. Crochet is one of my eclectic interests and abilities, along with writing, editing, cooking… that occupy the hours of my life. Yarn represents a new voice to the choir of my creative endeavors, while considerably complicating my metaphor. Just when I thought things were making sense…

Broadening my thoughts about my quote leads me to conclude that it really applies to so much of life. It’s a tangle of so many and various elements. The challenge is to find a way to make sense of it and glean some meaning. Elements come and go in that “tangle of yarn” that is my life and my career. Given time and patience, it all – eventually – gets straightened out and, if I’m lucky, cohesive.

It’s nice to be heard. Nicer yet to be quoted in print. I hope I’m ultimately as clever in real life as I once was on Twitter.

Posted in Life, Memories, Observations a la Gina | Leave a comment