Five Reasons Why You Should Never Say, “Sh*t happens,” to a Survivor.

It is rude, insensitive, and totally offensive. It negates the impact of brutal systemic crime on the lives of a child, adolescent or adult. Anyone who minimizes criminal violence depicts the height of desensitization or compassion burnout. This is usually the reality for social workers, not average citizens. It is like telling someone whose spouse, child or parent was murdered, “Get over it.” It can take a multiple-trauma victim or survivor from zero stress to 100 in a few short seconds. The last reason is why I cannot say more right now.

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Woman on the Verge of a Meltdown

Four Savannah Kittens at Play. Photo: Michael Broad https://www.flickr.com/photos/michael-broad/

I’m a woman on the verge because two seven-year-old cats rule my home, Paco, the half-Siamese below, and Teika in the second photo. In addition, my assertive move to combat this fiasco was to add four kittens to shift the power balance, to infuse some clear thinking on the subject. More cats will shift the impasse when the house votes on its grocery list each month. Less power to the presiding queens! I’m a woman on the verge because I’m going to let that feline six-pack thread its way through my whole world. I will spend much of my day…

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Our Quiet Leaders

The original image was published in Kinesis Sept 1993. Sexual abuse and the system: Fighting back. Written by Terry D. Gibson (under the pseudonym Marie Thompson).

  When I think about women who are leaders, I cannot help but think of those who are famous and get lots of attention and benefits from their work. This propels me toward the living and breathing women whom the public does not know and may undervalue. They are the invisible and unsung heroes among us.   As a woman and a leader, I am the young tenant next door who hears your cries while your husband yells and pounds you in the wee hours of the morning. I quietly call the Police for help, begging them not to say…

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Resolutions and Affirmations

Add some early morning exercise and stretches to my wake up routine. Have two cups of tea or strong coffee before uttering a word to anyone. Take stock of my physical status (pain levels, tiredness, hunger, etc.) Plan how to attack the pain without ending up dopey from medications. The goal is always to be clear-headed so I can write and continue reading the work of other writers, plus that of my own broadening interests. Each morning I will write affirmations down in my special journal. Read all posts on a thread before commenting. Do not take it personally if…

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Still I Rise by Dr. Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise.   Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells Pumping in my living room.   Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise.   Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries?   Does my haughtiness offend you?…

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“Dreamwood” by Adrienne Rich

  In the old, scratched, cheap wood of the typing stand there is a landscape, veined, which only a child can see or the child’s older self, a poet, a woman dreaming when she should be typing the last report of the day. If this were a map, she thinks, a map laid down to memorize because she might be walking it, it shows ridge upon ridge fading into hazed desert here and there a sign of aquifers and one possible watering-hole. If this were a map it would be the map of the last age of her life, not…

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The Invitation – Written By Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive. It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear…

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“Come As You Are” by Carol Orsborn

You have only one sacred duty: to make your spirit available to others. You do this by sharing what you already are in this and every moment. If you are loving, you share your loving. If you are suffering, you share your suffering. If you are healing, you share your healing.   Why waste precious energy arguing with God about what it is that is yours to share right now, worrying how your broken bit could possibly be of use.   Trust that however unlikely it may seem, without your piece, the universe would be incomplete.   Carol Orsborn, Nothing…

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How Do You Change When You Are Writing? Part II

How do I change when I am writing? I become a person who knows with certainty that I am visible. My deeply rooted self-hatred takes a bit of a back seat when I witness myself. By word swapping, I force myself to see Terry as I would an undiscovered friend. Any lovable soul, scarred by betrayal (including by self), powerlessness, hurt, isolation and little hope. Unwittingly, I make friends with people who find some thread of commonality with me. Our worlds are often radically different but that does not stop us. Writers discover and thread themselves together in deep, lasting…

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How Do You Change When You Are Writing?

How do I change when I am writing? With great difficulty. It depends on three vital points. Where am I writing? While on the Skytrain with hundreds of bodies—a few religiously unwashed–pressing against me, cutting off my air. Do I sit between a staunchly stoic older couple in a tiny Aquabus, which heaves against the water en route to Granville Island? Perhaps I am in a meeting in the matchbox-sized grey Quaker church opposite my place. How am I writing? The options are my phone, laptop, a pen, or using my best friend’s phone with the voice activated android assistant….

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