Wednesday, January 30, 2008

trafficking is torture

emma thompson has a PSA on trafficking, it's very disturbing, but so important. please watch.

I am Elena

via apophenia

Miss Potter

i haven't watched a movie for myself in months. i decided yesterday, as a gentleness break to take some time to watch Miss Potter. it was so beautiful, inspiring, as a woman, an artist and a writer. i fell in love with it.

i had to stop it at the beginning and run and get my journal so that i could write down the quote she opens the movie with:

"There's something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You can never quite tell where they will take you."

i knew immediately that i would love this film. i did. it pulled me in as i watched this woman far before her time navigate so many of the areas of life i need assistance and inspiration in. it was beautiful.

a couple more quotes from the film:

"My mother and I have come to an understanding. We've agreed not to understand each other."

and this one, after purchasing a farm connected to her property was my favorite:

"Please sir, I am no longer in the habit of being lectured to and thankfully I no longer require your approval or anyone else's."

beatrix potter was an amazing woman. how i wish i had someone like her in my life now.

they end the movie hearkening back to it's opening quote, but include a bit more:

"There's something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You can never quite tell where they will take you. Mine took me here, where I belong."

it is a wonderful story and i highly recommend it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

the flicker of the flame

i still can't seem to get the video i took of the candle loaded, but that image is back in my head today. i am that spastic flame, in the middle of the burning off the junk stage again. i posted after christmas how things were so beautiful and harmonious and it was a special time. it seems to have evaporated in my mind though. i'm so glad i blogged and journaled about it because i don't even know if i'd remember it otherwise. it might feel like a dream somehow.

i'm on my second period this month and the january blahs are here. weepy, tired and wanting to hibernate. i am triggering a lot of memories lately. once during sex with liam a couple of days ago that has left me feeling like bits of myself are floating around me and i want to gather them back somehow, but they are like feathers, airy and ethereal and i just can't seem to bring them back.

i am not afraid of the memory that is trying to surface. i know that when the oral rape memory came back everything made sense again. i know that this will be like it. i have too many questions, too many triggers and too much unexplained rage and emotion that is tying me in knots.

covers tangled, doors or drawers that won't open or close, and some major control issues are bringing up feelings of panic and anxiety. none of these things fit the memories i can hold on to. trapped makes sense, but the doors and covers don't.

i always had an obsession with locking doors as a young girl. i can't count how many times i sat in tears on one side of the bathroom door at a relatives house or a restaurant with my father calmly trying to talk me through the unlocking process as i described to the best of my abilities what the lock looked like. being sent down the laundry shoot at my aunt's, or my cousin crawling in the bathroom window - that makes sense. i was orally raped in a bathroom in my own home when i was 6. but the panic that overwhelms me when a door or drawer won't open properly doesn't fit. i swear i can see my skin turning green and the incredible hulk's arms busting out of my sleeves as i tear the door from it's hinges in my mind.

angry is way better than scared at those moments and i know it is masking some really deep seeded (seated?) fear.

and so i am today that herky, jerky flame longing for the calm of the steady burn, but knowing that there is much junk to burn through until i am able to make sense of it all.

i know i am strong enough to remember. i have run through those who had access to me, i see their faces in my mind's eye and wonder what happened that made me so very afraid. yet still they float just out of my reach, teasing me with their substance, are they real? or just my imagination? why can't i hold on to them and tell them that i am a grown, vibrant women who refuses to be victimized again and wants her childhood back so she can move on to what is next?

just for today i sit with the rage that explodes deep within, rarely shows itself outside of my mind, but seethes underneath hiding the fear of that young red-haired girl wanting to be safe and loved and cared for like she deserved to be. i hold you in my mind today and you are safe. it's okay to remember.

Monday, January 28, 2008

necessary, not primary

from "praying with jesus", eugene peterson.

January 27

"Loaves of Bread"

The Tempter came and said to him,
"If you are the Son of God,
command these stones
to become loaves of bread."

Matthew 4:3

Bread, necessary though it is, is not primary: God is primary. Jesus will let nothing, not even necessary things, interfere with that primacy. Jesus will not use God to get what he wants; he submits himself to being what God wants.

How do you face temptation?

PRAYER: Not what I want, but what you want, O God. Guard me from all temptations to use you to satisfy my appetites. What I want mostly is to acquire new appetites, a hunger for righteousness, that will be satisfied by your word. Amen

as i have begun step 11 i am surprised at how i am having to unpack it.

"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge for His will for me and the power to carry that out."

for far too long "bread" has been primary in my life. one of the things i know is that this is not god's will for my life. today god, please give me the power to carry that out.

as a footnote, i found this recovery blog when searching for the exact words for step 11 - it's got some really wonderful truth there and i thought you might enjoy it too:

step 11

Sunday, January 27, 2008

singleness of heart

Purity is not a long struggle against that which is impure or forbidden.

Rather is it singleness of heart.

Catch the great thought that from Him,
the Father of Lights,
comes every good and perfect gift,
and therefore nothing outside of God is worth having or craving.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pg. 154

Monday, January 21, 2008

timely words

"When all the little things really bug me,
it's because there's a big thing I'm not facing."

Irritable, restless and discontent - that's my normal state as an alcoholic. Going to meetings, working my steps, praying and relying on my Higher Power are the ways I get restored to sanity and actually achieve some peace and serenity. But even when I am in a calm space, if little things still bother me I know now to look beyond my alcoholism.

It's amazing how my first instinct these days - even with considerable time - is to deny or ignore things that are uncomfortable in my life. And it's been my experience that not facing what at first appears to be a 'big deal' often turns it into one and quickly makes my life unmanageable. And the first signal I have that I've done this is that all the little things (stuck in traffic, misplacing my keys, a line at the market) start to really bother me.

Today I've learned to acknowledge these things and recognize them for what they are - indications that there is something bigger that I'm not dealing with. As soon as I take the time to look at what's really going on, I immediately begin to feel better. And once I begin to apply the tools I've been given in this program to deal with whatever is going on, I find that it really isn't such a big deal after all.

Today I use the little things to help me become aware of and to deal with the 'big things.'

via - Wisdom of the Rooms

taking on the shadows

i lost it the other day. threats, venom and anger. spewed all over my family. damn. i hate the shame of it all. my kids were scared, bawling and ashamed and i was self-righteous, angry and wounded. liam was confused, guilty and defensive. it was a mess. what should have been a wonderful family day together was scarred by some ugly behavior by all of us (well, buck was pretty innocent, but did whine a few times...). the most frustrating thing was this was a re-run of a family day we had in october when we went to the city to spend time together, shopping at thrift stores, eating out and supposedly enjoying each other's company. i lost it that day too.

liam drew the parallels for me and reminded me of a time in our relationship when we had the same argument on the same steps in front of a restaurant in dallas 3 years apart. sometimes things repeat themselves because we don't learn enough from them the first time.

i am so ashamed. my points were valid, my pain real, but the method of my delivery was abusive and scary. i sat in the drivers seat of the parked car and threatened my family that i was never doing this again. the shadows of the october trip did much of the work for me so very little had to be said. my family knew that day (my birthday) was ruined by temper tantrums and passive aggressive behavior - and my ultimatum in the car - for that trip i drove us home the three hours it took in complete silence.

what i failed to realize was the shame that had crept into my day along the way that pushed the buttons that brought us to that place. my daughter acting like trying on clothes (at the thrift store) was akin to child labor in the coal mines, my son's attention span lasting a whole 15 minutes in a store and persistently asking every five minutes when we would be done. my husband not engaging in the day and missing out on conversations and statements made and blowing past things that were important to me. my own frustration and shame at clothes not fitting, cramped dressing rooms and thrift store merchandise. all of it boils into an ugly stew.

by the end of the time i am shredded.

saturday i had found a spring jacket that i thought was so stylish and made me feel beautiful in. it was tailored and expensive - the tag at the thrift store was even asking $17.99. i tried it on to show liam after all of the drama of the change rooms with my daughter and he looked at me like i had vomit on my clothes. he swears it had nothing to do with the price tag and that he had no consciousness of the look on his face, but i was so demoralized i put everything back on the rack and left the store. i tried to calm down in the freezing parking lot, but obviously it wasn't cold enough to cool the boiling rage i felt inside.

when they returned to the car i began. i didn't swear or scream - but i did threaten and abuse the power i had to instill fear and frighten my kids. this isn't the kind of behavior they are usually party to. i usually only bestow on liam. pink will be 12 this spring and i don't think she's seen this more than twice in her life, but i was brutal. damn.

one of the things we have learned is that when emotions get ratcheted up this high there is always something standing behind them. shadows of unresolved issues from the past that are tweaked and buttons pushed that rarely have anything to do with the situation at hand.

bags must be unpacked, closets opened and aired out if we are going to come to the bottom of this to stop it from happening again. i just am not sure where to start.

i know that the passive aggressive behavior my daughter has found as her weapon lately pushed every button i have. alas, this is why she has chosen it. she has learned from the masters. my husband and mother-in-law use this weapon well and when i see it in her i want to crawl inside and root it out of her brain with a spoon.

the shame of the thrift store looms large for all of us. they are usually dirty, the dressing rooms crowded and ill equipped and the lines you have to wait through just to get one are filled with others who really don't want to be there and are living out their own stories of shame and frustration (except of course for the pack of teenagers who are having an absolute ball trying on hats and weird old men coats - they are the most fun to watch at the thrift store - and i miss that part of me).

how can we carry around so much baggage all of the time. damn my hands are tired. i want to put it down and leave it somewhere to rot.

the family meeting is coming, but i want to wait until the raw emotion has some time to settle and liam and i can have a better understanding of why this returned to haunt us. i am tired of living in the shadows.

Friday, January 18, 2008

fire dance with me

as i sat in silence yesterday i opened my eyes to see that the candle i had lit wasn't working well. it only had this teeny, puny flame that in the light of day wasn't near enough to inspire me. so i went and grabbed another. this one really needed a wick trim, but i so enjoyed the tall flame it cast. i returned to sitting with my eyes closed for a time and when i opened them again i was struck by the black curling smoke coming off of the dancing wick.

i was mesmerized. i watched as the flame jerked and contorted and burned off the dust from the candle wax. then it seemed to flow into a kind of dance where it was swaying in the momentum it had created. and then it was still.

it cycled through that process over and over again. and a small bell rang in my head. this is you. we are burning off the dust. you hate it, fight it, contort, rage and stomp for a period and then you flow into the rhythm that the momentum ignites and you dance until you are able again to be still.

again, i was mesmerized.

eventually i video taped it so that i could remember it and upload it here. i am having difficulty getting it to work, but will do it as soon as i am able so that you too can see the beauty of the dancing flame.

Monday, January 14, 2008

the 12 principles and virtues

i had never heard these before:

1. Honesty
2. Hope
3. Faith
4. Courage
5. Integrity
6. Willingness
7. Humility
8. Brotherly Love
9. Justice
10. Perseverance
11. Spirituality
12. Service

thanks tex!

Friday, January 11, 2008

word for 2008 - complete

com·plete –adjective

1. having all parts or elements; lacking nothing; whole; entire; full: a complete set of Mark Twain's writings.

2. finished; ended; concluded: a complete orbit.

3. having all the required or customary characteristics, skills, or the like; consummate; perfect in kind or quality: a complete scholar.

4. thorough; entire; total; undivided, uncompromised, or unmodified: a complete victory; a complete mess.

5. Grammar. having all modifying or complementary elements included: The complete subject of “The dappled pony gazed over the fence” is “The dappled pony.” Compare simple (def. 20).

6. Also, completed. Football. (of a forward pass) caught by a receiver.

7. Logic. (of a set of axioms) such that every true proposition able to be formulated in terms of the basic ideas of a given system is deducible from the set. Compare incomplete (def. 4b).

8. Engineering. noting a determinate truss having the least number of members required to connect the panel points so as to form a system of triangles. Compare incomplete (def. 3), redundant (def. 5c).

9. (of persons) accomplished; skilled; expert.

com·plete - verb

10. to make whole or entire: I need three more words to complete the puzzle.

11. to make perfect: His parting look of impotent rage completed my revenge.

12. to bring to an end; finish: Has he completed his new novel yet?

13. to consummate.

Part of Speech: adjective 1
Definition: total
Synonyms: all, entire, exhaustive, faultless, full, full-dress, gross, imperforate, intact, integral, integrated, organic, outright, plenary, replete, the works*, thorough, thoroughgoing, unabbreviated, unabridged, unbroken, uncondensed, uncut, undiminished, undivided, undocked, unexpurgated, unimpaired, unitary, unreduced, whole, whole enchilada*, whole-hog*, whole-length
Antonyms: condensed, deficient, expurgated, incomplete, lacking, missing, short, wanting

Part of Speech: adjective 2
Definition: finished
Synonyms: accomplished, achieved, all over, all-embracing, all-inclusive, attained, compassed, concluded, consummate, done, done with, down, effected, ended, entire, executed, fini*, finished off, full, full-fledged, home free*, perfect, plenary, realized, sweeping, terminated, thorough
Antonyms: incomplete, unfinished


Part of Speech: adjective 3
Definition: absolute
Synonyms: blank, blanket, categorical, consummate, downright, flawless, impeccable, out-and-out, outright, perfect, positive, sheer, thorough, thoroughgoing, total, unblemished, unconditional, unmitigated, unqualified, utter, whole
Antonyms: incomplete, inconclusive, partial

Part of Speech: verb
Definition: carry out
Synonyms: accomplish, achieve, actualize, cap, carry off, close, conclude, consummate, crown, determine, develop, discharge, do, do thoroughly, effect, effectuate, elaborate, end, equip, execute, fill, finalize, finish, fulfill, furnish, get through, halt, make good*, make up, perfect, perform, realize, refine, round off, round out, settle, sew up*, supplement, terminate, ultimate, wind up*, wrap up*
Antonyms: forget, give up, halt, ignore, neglect

Definitions of complete on the Web

* having every necessary or normal part or component or step; "a complete meal"; "a complete wardrobe"; "a complete set of the Britannica"; "a ...
* come or bring to a finish or an end; "He finished the dishes"; "She completed the requirements for her Master's Degree"; "The fastest runner finished the race in just over 2 hours; others finished in over 4 hours"
* bring to a whole, with all the necessary parts or elements; "A child would complete the family"
* perfect and complete in every respect; having all necessary qualities; "a complete gentleman"; "consummate happiness"; "a consummate performance"
* dispatch: complete or carry out; "discharge one's duties"
* accomplished: highly skilled; "an accomplished pianist"; "a complete musician"
* complete a pass
* arrant(a): without qualification; used informally as (often pejorative) intensifiers; "an arrant fool"; "a complete coward"; "a consummate fool"; "a double-dyed villain"; "gross negligence"; "a perfect idiot"; "pure folly"; "what a sodding mess"; "stark staring mad"; "a thoroughgoing villain ...
* having come or been brought to a conclusion; "the harvesting was complete"; "the affair is over, ended, finished"; "the abruptly terminated interview"
* write all the required information onto a form; "fill out this questionnaire, please!"; "make out a form"

Monday, January 07, 2008

family game funny

i fasted television last week and that made a lot of room in our family's lives for other things like games. we played lots of mexican train dominoes and apples to apples last week.

one memory i want to retain was the roots to our new inside joke. if you're not familiar with apples to apples it's a wonderful word game - green cards have a descriptive word, one is turned over each hand by one player who is the judge for that turn. the others look through their hand of red cards to find the one that most matches the descriptive card that when filtered through the judge's eyes will most closely resonate with that descriptive word. if the judge picks your word you win a point. (i have no idea if that makes sense - get the game & read the directions!)

anyway - pink turned over the word "fragrant" and the only card i had in my hand that had any "smell" links to it at all was a card that said "homeless shelter" - so now the term - "you smell like a homeless shelter" has sadly worked it's way into our vocabularies. (much better than the other option liam threw - "you smell like dolly parton"...)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

perfect peace

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose
imagination is stayed on Thee.
Isaiah 26:3 RSV

makes a bit of difference in the translation, eh? i had never heard this one before today. whose imagination is stayed on thee. when you think about it "mind" is a pretty non-descriptive word for those of us with good imaginations. :)

i am reading through the healing presence by leanne payne for school. it's a slow process for me because it is transforming me. luckily the professor knows me well and is patiently waiting for my paper. he knows that more important things are happening because of this reading.

i awoke this morning with my mind racing. instead of my first thoughts of the day being filled with serenity and hope they are filled with the fear every mother of an infant or sick child knows "is he still breathing?" i loathe this. i have worked hard for my serenity and don't want to trade it for anything. yet those thoughts are so deeply tied into my psyche and the fear of the loss of him that they come unbidden and it is all i can do not to run to his bedside and check to see if his blood sugars are stable.

my imagination gets the better of me. it goes down paths and dark alleys dragging me with it into all sorts of horrid places. friends have abandoned me, family no longer loves me, circumstances and happenings of the past week play with my fears and the world begins to look dark, foreboding and hopeless. none of it is real. it is my imagination left to run unchecked and amped up by massive amounts of "what if...", "did they really mean...", "she really doesn't...", "you're not..." - all of those whispering words spoken into the darkest places of my mind - and i have a very good imagination that can go south at any time.

that's why this verse touched me so deeply this morning. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose imagination is stayed on Thee. - i am allowing my perfect peace to be stolen each moment i let my imagination run unchecked.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

you know, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.