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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?


Concrete Midnight

concrete midnight
a hard landing
is that sanity spilled on the pavement?

(c) Windy Johansen

serene silence swells
a stark loneliness evaporating
while memories of sunshine return

(c) Windy Johansen

growing concrete
a dazed midnight
is that daylight spilled on the pavement?

(c) Windy Johansen

water rushing down
a sharp memory has recovered
as solitude in daylight deepens

(c) Windy Johansen

a fight within
a secret alley
concrete midnight
I wish I was more
more than I am
in this concrete midnight

(c) Windy Johansen

fatigue growing
one life’s hoping
is that confusion spilled on the pavement?

(c) Windy Johansen

immense secret peace
one spark opening understanding
so sanity will become larger

(c) Windy Johansen

a fight within
a secret alley
concrete midnight
I wish I was more
more than I am
in this concrete midnight

(c) Windy Johansen

midnight fatigue
a thrill’s texture
a new mosaic spilled on the pavement

(c) Windy Johansen

a fight within
a secret alley
concrete midnight
I wish I was more
more than I am
in this concrete midnight

(c) 21 January 2013, Windy Johansen.

“I never meant to hurt you.”

Stormy Trees

Stormy Trees. (c) May 2012, Windy Johansen.

“I never meant to hurt you.”

These are funny words. Not funny, “ha-ha”… funny, “oh, rats.”

The good guys say it. The bad ones say it. And if you’re in the wrong place and time, it’s all but impossible to tell who really means you harm.

I probably think about this more, being a victim of abuse in several forms. And yet, it can’t be just me who is horrified about how easy it is for the bad guys to look like the good ones.

I think though, if I listen to the Divine through the stillness, I will begin to perceive the fabric of another’s being. Not everything (that’s not fair!), but the part that’s important to the situation at hand.

If the person is awful they will say, “I never meant to hurt you” and appear to mean every molecule of that shaped breath. And I will see, under the shimmer, a terrifying, blaring something.

The once pretty fabric is aflame. One thread…several threads. I don’t know.

I will realize that this is their real intent. It doesn’t have to be all-encompassing, but it is there. Be it one thread or many, it howls. It flares… hotly, angrily.

No matter the shimmer, I will hear the words of the hot anger.

“I did mean to hurt you. I don’t really care.”

This is a signal flare. A warning. A cold wind fans the flames and makes me icy cold.

If this person is a good person, there may be signs of old anger. Thread sections still smoldering. But this is not the anger of recently fed flames.

Their mouth says, “I never meant to hurt you.”

And the tiny, slowly shrinking flames? “You know, I really didn’t want to do that. I’m sorry. I’m still learning. Forgive me, and I’ll try again. I love you enough to try again.”

And they will mean every molecule of the shaped breath. They will want to tell you what’s woven into the fabric of their being.

“I never meant to hurt you. I’m sorry. Can we try again? I wanted to get it right. I want to get it right. I might still mess up, but I want to get it right. For you and for all those that I love.”

“I never meant to hurt you.”

Glowing Tulip (c) Windy Johansen.

Glowing Tulip (c) May 2012, Windy Johansen.

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.


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.