• #SaveNetNeutrality

  • Conga Line of Advertisements.

Writing Prompts: The Perfect Time (to Start Again)

the perfect time (to start again)

(c) 10 Dec 2013 Windy Johansen

This time’s phrase is: the perfect time (to start again)

My creative writing often has these ideas of redemption and triumph as central themes; even if such ideas aren’t central, they’re typically woven through a work. I’ve had to start over so many times.

ANd as much tragedy as there can be in the things that make us start over, there’s often hope. Hope that this time will bring us closer to the best people we can be.

I think these moments give us the chance to be our own people. I think they also remind us of how delicate things in life can be…how delicate our own fellow beings are. I think these times of picking up the piece teach us to be kinder to the next person who goes through their own set of awful things.

I think that it makes our dreams and hopes capable of becoming far more rich and alive than they could be otherwise.

And at the same time, I really hate blazing through piles of tissues because I cried approximately 500 times today. But those things, those awesome things that grow out of this…brokenness…they’re grand. (And piles of dirty tissue is a small price to pay for that.)

I see this picture in my mind of dirt or soil broken into little jagged dry pieces. Those pieces are glass sharp enough to hurt you. The ground is rocky now; no water will ever make it produce life again. You’re sure it can’t.

You walk around a bit, picking past large shards. You stumble, fall, and dust yourself off. Ow. Owowow.

And then you see it…there’s this little plant growing a few inches from your toes. Somehow, life is still here.

You fell over that spot not long ago. Your blood must have given that seed just enough water to grow. You’re sure that has to be it. Otherwise that’d be a miracle.

Do miracles happen? N-no…Um..

The plant just continues to be there. It’s a bright green, with softly rounded leaves.

Do miracles happen?

And in that little plant..inside you, is this new promise: Tomorrow may not give you any rain, and the glass might hurt you, but there will always be bright things somewhere.

Unexpected life is extraordinary stuff. And as you look around, you spy other plants, even in places you haven’t been to.

Wow. The broken ground gave these little seeds room to sprout.

An embryonic forest of miraculous origin.

It’s the perfect time to start again.
———
How do you feel about these things?

<3

Abuse is Many Things

This blog is still quite new. I still need to make posts about the things this blog is supposed to be about, and I will do that.

However the subject of abuse in its many forms is a subject that’s important to me. I’ve been abused several times over the course of my life. I was verbally abused, never beaten.

Just because they didn't hit you, doesn't mean they didn't hurt you. Words hurt.

Words hurt. More than I want them to. Artwork (c) 17 August 2013, Windy Johansen.

I was called worthless. Homeless. Lazy. Fat. Stupid. Told that my disability wasn’t real and that I should just do whatever was wanted, because I could, but I was just…holding out on them, I guess. Treated as an imbecile. Treated like a liar. Screamed at for breathing too loudly. Belittled. Spoken to condescendingly. Patronized.

I’ve had people act as if I was mud on their shoe.I’ve been treated like I didn’t matter. I’ve been told that it was okay if I died. I’ve had my religion bashed. (I suppose that happens to everyone. It doesn’t get nicer just because billions go through it.)

I’ve had the facts from real doctors ignored by teachers. I’ve had teachers and administrators ignore my lawful 504 plan and do whatever the heck they felt justified in doing. I had people in my school years lie about my abilities just so they didn’t have to provide services that I needed (they said certain test scores were better than they actually were). That 504 plan should have been an IEP. I should have had special education services. I did not.

I wound up dropping out of school one month from the end of sophomore year. I wonder if having my needs met would have helped.

I have been told that it was only words, that I should just take it. That I was weak. That I should move in with one of the people who’d abused me. It was only words, after all. I should just ignore it.

I guess if you’re poor and desperate, abuse is okay. I mean, it keeps you from having to do anything, so I guess it’s okay. Except it isn’t.

There are two someones who would give me a panic attack if I ever saw them. I was still supposed to visit one of them, because someone thought I should.

Abuse is more than fists, and more than someone viciously raping another. Few people know I was sexually abused. Given how they speak when I talk about “just” verbal abuse, I’m not about to share that! I would be told that it wasn’t enough.

And since you are unlikely to know me from Adam, I feel I can share this.

Words hurt. Stealing kisses is only cute if you’re not pressuring anyone into them.

And it takes a superhuman to leave abusive situations. I feel it is because too few care. They’re not the ones who are supposed to care for you. I know it is because abuse makes you feel too worthless to leave, and the carelessness of so many can’t be helping.

I’ve left abusive situations, only to have my intelligence called into question. I left those situations because my sanity was in danger, but apparently I was meant to get a job, set myself up, and then leave. I should have stayed until I had money to leave.

Because it wasn’t really abuse. Except that it was.

Because I was a perfectly fine, perfectly healthy adult who simply didn’t want to work, and shouldn’t be helped because I needed tough love. Except I wasn’t fine. I wasn’t healthy. I wanted to work, but I couldn’t. I was (and still am) too sick to work. I needed someone to care that I was being abused. If I was well, I’d never have fallen into any of those situations.I needed someone to care.

I got a lot of anger, and a lot of people talking over me to tell me what was what. They knew I could work. They knew I had every ability to do everything just the same way they did. They knew I was just being lazy, and asking for handouts…and worse, asking for them when I did not need them.

I don’t trust people anymore. If you ever wonder why, this is why. My inner monologue of “fark you” once someone’s crossed the line is what saves my bacon every single time I fall into some other abusive situation. Is it nice to keep this idea around? I don’t care. I’m the one who has to get away, and on my own steam. I was thirteen when I learned the sad truth that people who should give even one tenth of a rip about you so often don’t.

I can only imagine what people must go through when they have the stubbornness stolen from them. Not only is there precious little support for anyone, but leaving an abuser can be just as deadly as staying in some situations. I was lucky. My abusers were just jerks. Many are far more than that.

This video tells you why so many stay in abusive situations.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1yW5IsnSjo

Did you watch it? It’s important to watch it.

The people who are trying to leave abusive relationships are not the same people they were when they entered that abusive relationship. Their psychological state is not the same. They are afraid. They have likely been told that if they ask for help or report, they or their loved ones will be killed.

Children are abused. Women are abused. Men are abused. Disabled are abused. The elderly are abused. Poor, wealthy, American, Arab, Asian, European, Native American, Australian, African, Pacific Islander? Abused.

Nobody should be abused. No one, No one deserves such treatment. No one.

Spent the day melting down.

This is not particularly inspirational, but it does show something of what I go through. I like being inspiring, but I want you to know that I’m not just someone who speaks of happiness without knowing pain.

And so, this post is about my day.

I spent the day melting down entirely. My psychologist’s report cannot get here soon enough. I want to know what’s happening to me. :( Is it anxiety? Obsessive-compulsive disorder? Nuclear strength depression? Borderline personality disorder? What is it?

I wasn’t entirely unproductive today. I did start (restart?) my online store, and put two photos in it. Each photo has 3 sizes available, so that was 6 listings.

Sunday is my day of rest, so Monday will bring more photos to my store.

I know, it seems weird to have a day of rest. Maybe it doesn’t. I know it keeps me sane, though, so that’s why I make sure to not work on Sunday.

I may occasionally write a Sunday/religious themed post, but I’m trying not to. This blog is becoming my job, and I have to have a day of rest, or I’ll wind up taking it when I don’t want to.

And I don’t want another day like today. That was not fun at all.

Grief. The good and the bad.

(Disclaimer: I’m not a qualified therapist. I’m just talking on the internet. If any of this seems like it’d hurt you, don’t do it. I can’t take responsibility for what you do with my words. Don’t use me as a replacement for a real qualified therapist. There are good ones, they do exist. If you’re willing to talk with LDS therapists, LDS Family Services is a good resource.)

I’ve thought about a post like this for the last couple of days.

I was sitting in church, pondering the great losses I’ve had. I’ve derived a lot of strength from my faith.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t collapse in tears sometimes.

I read a blog post a few minutes ago. I won’t link it; it seems too private to be sharing randomly. (Not that I don’t love you, reader, but I can’t share secrets that aren’t mine.)

The story is one many share, though. In the midst of heartbreak, you want so badly to be “over it”. You still love that person, and you hate the thought that being “over it”, over the pain their death caused you, might mean you don’t love them anymore.

It’s already been six months, 1 year, 5 years, 2 decades, half a century. Why isn’t the pain gone?

Then, you wonder, all over again, if forgetting the pain means letting go of the person.

And then, you read something encouraging, like this quote:

“… And suddenly, at the very moment when, so far, I mourned H. least, I remembered her best. Indeed, it was something (almost) better than memory; an instantaneous, unanswerable impression. To say it was like a meeting would be going too far. Yet there was that in it which tempts one to use those words. It was as if the lifting of the sorrow removed a barrier.

Why has no one told me these things? How easily I might have misjudged another man in the same situation? I might have said, ‘He’s got over it. He’s forgotten his wife,’ when the truth was, ‘He remembers her better because he has partly got over it.’ ” — C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

You realize, if only for a moment, that healing, that letting go of the pain, will bring your loved one back. Bring them back in a way that screaming for them never could.

And then you claw for relief again, maybe screaming their name into the starry sky. (Grieving is grandly inconsistent, painfully so.)

But the relief doesn’t seem to come. Why can’t we just stop the pain and get to the healing?

Sometimes I think we don’t allow ourselves to really feel our losses. I think we tell ourselves that we’re grown up enough to handle it. We have to stay strong for the kids, the dog, our boss, our friends.

I can tell you that my mother’s honesty is something I needed. If she had pretended that my father’s death didn’t hurt, I would never know why everything hurt.

At least I know why. I want my dad back. I want my other loved ones back. That’s why everything hurts. And knowing that, I find the only way to healing.

That way winds through briar patches, rickety bridges, and up through the snowy mountaintops. Less metaphorically, it means all that stuff you’re itching to pass by. All those nights of falling up the stairs (done that), collapsing in tears, and the worst thing in our adult world, breaking down. It’s not that we’ll wait for a safe moment; we tell ourselves that there are no safe moments, and that we can’t ever break down. Ever.

You won’t be a crybaby for crying. It’s a real pain, it’s a real grief, and you will stagnate if you don’t admit it, at least to yourself.

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” — C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

It is scary, though. It’s terrifying how your very self seems to rip apart in a way that should leave you dead, and yet doesn’t.

But know that even though it’s terrifying, there is a peace that only comes after you go through the pain. If you cry enough, the tears aren’t scary anymore. They become the rain that sculpts you into a beautiful person.

The blessing in this ferocious, endless storm, for me, has been the closeness I gained with God. If my father didn’t die then, who would I be now? Would I be able to take the things that happened to me as well as I have? Would I be able to be alone like I can?

Would I be able to talk about grief like I can? Would I still be terrified of my own tears?

Would I write like I do now? Would I feel that need to create as many things as I do? I currently make jewelry, take nature photos, write poetry, write songs, play piano, dance….which one would be gone if my grief had never come to me? Would they all be gone?

Maybe I’ve just come to a whole new set of questions. But I feel a strength in me that I couldn’t have found any other way.

It is my belief that everyone who dies is resurrected. So my loved ones will return to me, if I can wait.

So, since death is inevitable, and they’ll all come back…I’ve learned so much from these terrible experiences. Would I trade these experiences in, knowing I’d be a different me? Would I even know myself?


What have the bad times given you that you would have gotten in no other way? Is there a kind of art you can now make, that you would have never been able to try without your pain? Is there a unique way that you see the world? Tell me in the comments.

<3 <3 <3 to you.

Low Clouds on the Move

Low Clouds on the Move (c) Windy Johansen.