Saturday, July 31, 2010
Patty is Co-Founder of LavenderPower.org. As their site proclaims, "Lavender Power is about the synergy between phenomenal women working together to end the abuse of violence and sex and to heal and help others heal." One of the things that I love about Lavender Power is the Sisterhood. It's a place for me to find women like myself. Women who are survivors. Women who are working hard to make a difference with the tools that they've been given. Patty is my Lavender Sister, and she's a true inspiration to thousands of women wordwide. I love Patty because she is supportive and network oriented. She's all about the connection, the love, the bond, the reaching out. Patty is well-known for her educational and inspirational quotes about healing from abuse and the steps to recognize, react and respond to abuse. You can read a list of Patty's famous quotes here. Patty wants to share her WHY with us:
Growing up means different things to each of us perhaps. For some of us, there are more fond memories than bad,for some of us, like myself the other is true. For me, growing up included being the "Shameful, guilty, worthless little girl" always trying to please another to be accepted and being an easy target. My vulnerability and low self-esteem and the need to feel loved, made me a delightful target for an evil molester. Looking back, I have learned to consider the tough times as part of what has made me who I am. And I have credited God for letting me go through even the most difficult times, because I know who I am, and I have seen what others have become.
Character is said to be built, and there is good reason for that. Character does not come easy or cheap. It is nurtured over time, and often involves many tough times and hard lessons. When I was young, I use to ask, "Why?" And with regard to life today, I still ask "WHY?" But the tough times still come and there is still plenty of character needing built within me.
Knowing that doesn't make dealing with everything a piece of cake, but it sure makes it easier to remember that God is still God, good can come from bad, and I can, in the midst of a storm, still experience His peace. God leads me on journey today that will turn all my Bad into something good. As this good is for others not just myself and that is God's Will, to do good for others. I stand tall today being held in God's Arms as I take my ugly past and try to make a beautiful safer future for others.
ROMANS 12:21 "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
Blessed Safe Hugs
Patty Rase Hopson
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Kim is the founder of Modern B*A*G* Ladies. In a word, Kim is FUN. She is everything you'd want in a friend. Funny, giving, a great listener, a good teacher... It would take me at least ten blog entries to fill you in on all of the interesting information I've found through her. She makes me smile and she makes me think, but most of all she makes me believe that I can do anything I put my mind to, not in spite of, but especially because of the fact that I am a woman. I love Kim because she's REAL, and because she believes in me, in women everywhere. She is also an expert at sharing her joy and shredding fear. Here's what Kim has to say about WHY she does what she does:
Trust me. I know what it’s like keeping it inside, reserving the little fuel I had just for myself. If I raise a healthy, happy family, keep my house clean, pay my bills on time, I am surely doing my part to contribute to the world. My shyness was my security, protecting me from the fear of my own power. If I stepped into my power, I would be responsible for sharing it. I know I was a smart, capable lady, but most days I knew it wasn’t enough. I was expending my fuel for the sake of bought and borrowed beliefs. Somewhere along the way I was convinced that a girl, who didn’t go to college got married and had kids.
So, with one year of junior college under my belt I got married. My husband was self employed, so if I could bring home the security of paid health insurance, well that would be golden. That’s what I did. I put my head down and hunkered into what I thought was expected of me, a safe predictable life. It wasn’t a horrible life. January 1987, my 20 year old self was married. What does a 20 year know about marriage? Well we did go through the “marriage” classes the Catholic Church requires. It was all part of going through those predictable motions. I truly believed that I was in love. We had a son. I was emotionally immature.
I’ll spare you a snooze through the next 19 years of my life, so we’ll fast forward to January 2007. Here’s a recap: divorce, remarriage, 2 children, 8 houses (each more expensive than the next), promotions, debt, etc. From the outside looking it, I would say it all looked pretty normal and predictable. It wasn’t a horrible life. I was exhausted and empty inside. How could this be? I was reserving my fuel. I kept my house clean. I had a great job and we were paying our bills. I honestly thought I was supposed to feel this way.
January 2007 my body knocked me down. I had surgery and the 6 weeks of medical leave that followed allowed my safe predictable life to stop. I sat with myself and thought, “What now? Is this really all there is of me?” I can’t go back to the way it was.” I realized that I needed to strip myself of labels, expose my vulnerabilities and focus more on giving. It also meant I needed to seek out more fuel, open myself up and find other women to guide me. As it turns out, when I shared my fuel it became the most eco-friendly, renewable resource I have ever come to know. As I started to extend myself, the world extended itself back to me and in surprising ways. In its mysterious ways the world started to say “OH Yes” to me.
What would another woman see in me? What do I see in other women? I see me. I see you. This is why I do what I do. I believe women are more alike than they are different. I act by providing a platform for women to share their stories, inspiration and knowledge. I want women to go along their journeys with more understanding and willingness to support each other.
Let’s stand together and BELIEVE in each other. My story is far from over and together we will do amazing things. I am so grateful to know you and proud to stand with you. Thank you for allowing me to share a very small part of my story. Here is a past blog post that seems very fitting to share:
When I see you, I see me. I'm in awe. You're beautiful. You're smart. You're brave. I know you fart.
When I see you. I wonder how to be. That could be bad if that makes me feel less of me. Yes I doubt myself from time to time, but so do you. I know this to be true. When I see me. I see you.
The room is filled with 325 beautiful women. She has style. That one has grace. She can sing. Kelly and I exchange possum stories. Really? Yes really. Its amazing what will bind two complete strangers, so talk and listen. Kelly started a blog a day after we spoke. I love her for that. She has an amazing story. She has overcome so many things and she is making a difference in others' lives. Possum stories? Really? Yes really. I'll never forget Kelly.
Some think Twitter is a waste of time. I met Patti Digh (@pattidigh) via Danielle LaPorte (@daniellelaporte) on Twitter. Their rants, wisdom and love shared through this Twitter thing is part of my customized daily newspaper. There are some pretty cool dudes that find space on these pages as well. Patti says, "Sit the hell down and write." 10-4, Patti. That's what I am doing right now. Danielle says, "I no sooner want to be balanced than I want to be a 'good' girl. 'Balance' is not something I want to live down to." Now this is a good read for us busy, busy, busy, control freaks.
I did a vision board a year ago. Turning my intuition into visual art has resulted in me being awe struck. Click on this vision board link and get going on yours today. Inspire me. Please, please do. When I see you, I see me.
If I told you that I loved you, would you believe me? Believe me or not, I do. Why? Because I can and it makes me feel good. Hating, just sucks.
I know this seems like an odd ending, but you should never fake an orgasm or pretend to be someone you're not. The real you is awe inspiring. The beautiful. The ugly. The hurting. The loving. Don't' fake you. I won't fake me.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Lynn C. Tolson is an author, an advocate and an amazing woman. There are so many things I could tell you about Lynn, but most of all I'd like to tell you that she has been an encouraging friend in the most troubling times of my journey. When I have doubted myself, she has helped me see that telling my story is not some insignificant thing. She has shown me that love and light abound in this movement of survivors sharing their stories. She's been a voice that has stood with me since the beginning of my truth-telling journey. I love Lynn because Lynn is a brave and brilliant woman who takes time out of her day to encourage women everywhere with her wonderful words. Here's a little about Lynn's WHY:
Who? What? Why?
Lynn C. Tolson, advocate and author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor’s Story
For nearly twenty years, I engaged in careers in retail, real estate and property management. Every working day left me feeling unfulfilled, as if I was living a false life. My real life began not by changing jobs, but by putting pen to paper in journal writing sessions. Themes emerged regarding the impact of my sexual abuse, drug addiction, and suicide attempts. By using the journal to write about the problems and solutions discussed in my counseling sessions, a story of transformation evolved. My desire to share a message of healing from trauma became too strong to ignore; the book became a mission. I left the corporate environment to write my story about personal yet universal emotional issues. Although journal writing was a cathartic experience, the book was written with the courage to face my fears, with compassion for myself and others, and a conviction to tell the truth.
Sexual assault, addiction, and suicide are unsolved social problems that carry stigmas. The stigmas cast a code of silence that do not solve problems. The result from not speaking about the crime of sexual assault is too often tragic. Thus, there is a need for real stories of recovery. By bringing my dark secrets to light, it is my hope that others who have had similar experiences will know that they are not alone. Readers may explore their own emotions to open lines of communication, eliminate shame, and experience healing. I also hope that my book promotes understanding of the issues that cause individual suffering and plague our society.
I am an ordinary citizen with an overwhelming mission: to confront violence against women and children. Given that sexual assault, including incest, is a social problem, my goals are to bring awareness to the public and to be an advocate for the victims. Using my life experience and social work education, I hope to offer information that will improve the quality of life for survivors. Perhaps the future will hold enough social change to reduce the need for real stories of recovery and sites such as Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story. In the meantime, know that my purpose as Lynn C. Tolson is in my initials: LCT, Learning, Creating, Teaching, to provide empowerment of our minds, bodies, and spirits. May this generation break the silence that surrounds sexual assault and incest so that future generations may live in peace.
I started the Project for TEARS: Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide. This is my mission: to comfort victims by sharing my story, confront violence by breaking the silence, challenge society via information and action. So no shed tear is wasted.
The reason I volunteer as an advocate is because I have been called. The rewards are intangible and immeasurable; they come as surprise gifts when something I wrote resonates with another, such as this message:
Lynn, you are the voice of so many voiceless women who are victims of abuse. I would not be surprised at the high numbers you've helped that you'll never hear from. Sometimes all a person needs is knowing there is someone who understands what they've gone through in order to take a step towards ending the abuse. You, dear angel, have a calling and you've found it and I hope you never stop reaching out to those who suffer.
What came upon me as evil in the form of abuse I hope to use for good by speaking out. As one heals, so does another...
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
And here we are again, gathered together to PAR-TAY and share our WHYs! Today I'm sharing my WHY with you.
Our faucet started leaking like a sieve the other day. When this happened, I all but leapt for joy.
Meggs, seriously? You found joy in a leaky faucet?
Yes, joy! You see, we live in a manufactured home. A trailer. A little box on a hill. We love our little box on a hill. We stay safe and warm in our little box on a hill, and that's good enough for us. My husband and I are practical people. We typically don't spend money on things we don't need. We rarely splurge, and we live on a shoestring budget. So for eight plus years, I made do with the little plastic standard issue mobile home type faucet in the kitchen. I hated that faucet. But it did its job, so I rarely complained. I did, however, silently pray that when the thing finally bit the dust, we would have the means to replace it with one of those fancy-schmancy longneck Price Pfister deals I've seen in magazine ads... and yup, I prayed for a sidespray. Oh, how I longed for a sidespray so that I could rinse out my huge pots and pans without wasting water and making the mess of all messes each time I tried to get one of my huge skillets or stock pots to fit under that little plastic spout. I am so happy to report that July 10, 2010 was my day! I squealed and screeched while Hubby was installing that new faucet. Yes, I was THAT excited.
When I realized how much happiness I'd found in having this thing I had waited so long to have, I rejoiced in the fact that we had the money we needed to purchase the faucet when the need arose. And as I settled in for the evening after all of the work was done, I started thinking of all the simple things that bring me joy each day. The more I thought about it the more I saw that it's really not so hard to find joy when you go looking for it. I went to sleep on July 10th with a smile on my face. I was just happy to be alive. And all the happy introspection which led me to that drowsy grin had stemmed from a leaky faucet.
My WHY is simple:
I want you to know that joy is something real and attainable, even for a survivor of traumatic experiences.
True joy is not defined by the circumstances that surround you. Joy is a spring of hope that wells up inside you even when the world is beating you down. Joy opens your eyes and says, "There is life. Choose to see it!"
See the life today. Instead of focusing on all of the things around you that you cannot control, focus on what you need to do to move through the pain and find joy.
Friday, July 16, 2010
I am grateful to Ms. Shelton for the things she has taught me regarding my healing. I will leave all previous blog entries as they are... but beyond that, I am no longer comfortable being associated with the Angela Shelton Foundation.
If you donated to my 2010 blog-a-thon and you have questions as to why I have made this decision, I will be happy to address the matter privately. You may contact me at mizzmeggs at gmail dot com or through the comment section of this blog. Thank you.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sheena is a powerhouse. She reads, she writes, she creates, she LIVES, and she shares so much of her heart with the world that she inspires me beyond words. I love Sheena because she is one of the bravest women I have ever encountered. She has been through more than many of us will ever face in our own lives, and she speaks up about the things that have affected her and the things that matter to her (and to us). When I need a good dose of empowerment, I visit Sheena's website. There's just something about Sheena that you can't put into words. She is so strong... I often see her as my rock. When I think I can't fight anymore, I think of Sheena and I know I can keep going. Here's a little about Sheena's "WHY":
My name is Sheena LaShay and I've been blogging since 2004 and I've been writing since 1991. My writing has always been the most effective way for me to understand my thoughts, process the world and express myself. Because I believe every aspect of my story is shared by someone else, my writing has been a way to connect and encourage others.
I recall writing about the loss of my best friend's sister Tinu and I can not count the emails I've received from teenagers and adults saying, 'Thank You. It's like you are writing my thoughts. You are saying what I don't know how to say."
Or when I wrote during April about Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Friends and strangers would email me sharing their stories too. Women and Men who had been through, survived and/or now thrived passed abuse were saying, "Thank you, please keep writing."
I write because I HAVE to. Becausee I believe we must speak up and speak out about the world in which we live. Whether that's talking about issues like abuse, same sex orientation, death/grief/loss or your favorite recipe to prepare. I believe that we must use our voice. Crime and injustice continues because so many are silent.
I also write because I have four younger siblings ranging in ages from 5 to 16. I don't want to just leave their ideas and understandings of the world up to whom ever. They are bombarded by messages, propoganda, and pressure from school, friends, TV and everything else. Therefore I feel that its my duty as their older sister to share my opinions and experiences too.
I also write for myself. As mentioned above, its my way of processing my thoughts and the world. Having blog post since 2004 all the way to today, I am able to see my own personal growth and evolution. Its encouraging to see the changes, the healing and the accomplishments. To see the growth of viewing myself as poison and tainted to seeing myself as a warrior and goddess is amazing. It makes me excited for who I will be a year from now or ten years from now. And perhaps that will help someone else too. Maybe there is a person going through depression, struggling with dark thoughts and doubting God and maybe they google a phrase and happen upon my site, I'd hope that after awhile they could see that things get better and restoration is possible if they want to choose that.
More specifically, I write about issues of sexual abuse because that is a part of my story. If you spend more than five minutes on my blog, you will see I write about ALL aspects of my story. There are no dark secrets. Being a survivor of sexual abuse is not a horrible, bad topic. It is not taboo. The crime itself is horrific but healing and thriving through and past it is commendable and talking about it sheds light on the epidemic. If writing about various topics in regards to sexual abuse informs a parent or child or person in general, if it encourages someone to speak up and use their voice, if it deters a bastard from hurting someone...then I know God is pleased.
I write because it is an extension of my voice. If I did not write it would be like putting tape over my mouth. I don't believe in that.
If you are interested in reading some of my writings visit me at SheenaLaShay.com or on twitter at Twitter.com/SheenaLaShay or on Facebook at Sociology of Sheena.
Lastly, I just want to say that for everyone reading this, whether you are having a good or bad day, please know that you are a divine, sacred being. You are here and you are alive! Treat every moment as if its holy. You are a wonderful person and if you want to live an empowered life full of joy, choose that.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Amy probably doesn't even realize how many things she's said to me over the last few months that have really hit home with me. A while back I hit a rough patch in the road and she was the first person who said, "If you wanna talk about it I'm here." Amy gets me. She has seen a side of me that a lot of people in my community haven't seen (not that I hide this side of myself, it's just not a side that surfaces often)... and she's still just as supportive as the day I "met" her online. I love Amy. Amy is great! And she's tough. Amy makes me want to kick butt. She's definitely being the change she wants to see in the world. Here's her "WHY":
My name is Amy and I am a Probation Officer in Texas. Megan was looking for guest bloggers and I volunteered, thinking I might have something insightful to add! The question to answer is why I do what I do.
I was living in California several years ago, working at a locked psychiatric unit for adolescents. It was the highest level of care in the state and the kids were deemed the “worst of the worst.” These kids were mentally ill, juvenile delinquents and most, if not all, had abuse in their past. I fell in love with the kids and the job. I am not a therapist but I would spend hours talking to these kids about their lives. They offered up the information and I tried to do what I could to listen and maybe help. You really grow to bond with them and I think I miss that the most. I had very little insight into my own past and why I was able to understand these kids so well. I ended up back in Texas for a number of reasons in 2006. When I got here, I ended up with my current job as a Probation Officer. Less than one year into it, I was moved into the Mental Health Caseload. I went from 160 misdemeanors to 40 special needs felons. The reduced caseload is definitely needed, due to the how time consuming these people can be. In the two years I have had this case load, I have realized that these offenders have broken pasts. They were abused in all ways imaginable, which contributed to their mental illness. They are very similar to the kids I worked with, except older and I’m expected to put them in jail if they violate their probation. None of them want to be on probation and most of them shouldn’t be on probation but I hope that I can make a difference in at least one person’s life. I am not their counselor but I do what I can to refer them to the right place and hope they leave my office with better insight than when they first committed their offense. On the down side, many of my offenders don’t make it long term. They are constantly in and out of the system because we have no long term treatment for them. I have realized how broken our system is. Prison and jail do not help these people. The county that I work for has very little in the way of mental health funding. It’s one of the richer counties in the area and it’s believed that just because the socioeconomic status is higher, we don’t have mentally ill people. All of us know how stupid this is but no one with any power will do anything about it. I have talked to my director, county Commissioners and various Judges to make a point but I haven’t gotten very far. I have attended healthcare meetings to give the criminal justice system a voice. Unfortunately, I have learned that the system is designed to protect the rich and that is exactly what happens. I would like to fix this but I struggle with what one person can do with no back up. I want to see this through and stay with this job until there is a change in procedures for people like this. I want to be a part of that change.