Letting Life Be.

I’ve just been reading an article on Samhain and underneath it was an article for people in the Southern Hemisphere for Beltane.  Normally I would feel a pang of longing for that time of year, I love spring and early summer, but this time I felt right inside about the time of year.

I feel ready to have Autumn and Winter. Somehow I just know that it’s necessary – whereas in years gone by I’ve been eager for the dark, resting, time to be over as quickly as possible.  This year I’m ready to fully experience the going inside of myself that this time of the year invariably invokes in us all.
I also feel ready to experience my neighborhood again. When I just thought about that a little while ago, I was stunned. I love where I live; it’s the city, but we are on the edge of the city. To my left, at the end of my street, there are fields and mother nature in all of her glory reigns supreme.  During the light half of the year my neighborhood is full of people who come to walk their dogs, or to spend time at the river and it can feel pretty full on. Their energies float about and I feel them and am overwhelmed by them, often making me long for bad weather. Autumn always feels good because people are more focused on schools returning and therefore frequent this neighborhood less. Winter’s arrival nearly always heralds the risk of flood for us and that has never sat comfortably with me. It feels too much out of my control and that’s a feeling that always leaves me feeling vulnerable.
But this year I feel accepting of the cyclic nature of the year, which is a first for me, and that is bringing the Goddess Persephone to mind. I’m keen to explore her in more depth and this time of the year feels perfect, the time of year when she would be beginning her annual stay in the Underworld. I think I would benefit greatly from delving into Persephone’s story and what better time of the year to do it.

Triggers

Last night I saw a post on Facebook. It was a share and it went into some detail about triggers.  So what is a trigger?

The triggers I am talking about are also known as trauma triggers.  A trauma trigger is an experience – whether it is a physical experience that causes the trigger, or whether it is something else, like a smell, a sound, etc.

I have several triggers; BO is the main one. I understand perfectly that some people can’t help it and that’s not what I’m reacting to per se. It’s a memory that has never been erased and work with psychiatrists and therapists has never helped.  If someone approaches me from behind I’m the same.  It took me a very long time to accept that certain things will be a trigger and it took a long time to accept I’m not to blame.  It took me a long time to accept I have no reason to feel ashamed of myself either.  A trigger is something that will invoke a reaction of some sort in someone. For me, I’m taken back to one night in August 1987. When it happens I prefer to be left alone, I abhor being touched and it’s rational to me to act like this because I’m in control. If you’ve been raped, sexually assaulted, abused then being in control of yourself is vitally important. For me controlling my life how I want and not being touched when something has set off a trigger is essential to my well being. I’m not being awkward, or a bitch, I need that element of control to feel ok again.  I’ve been called cold hearted, aloof, a bitch, you name it. I’m none of those things; I’m a victim of rape and just because it happened in 1987 doesn’t mean I’ve got over it, you don’t get over it, it’s always there. It’s defined my life and my relationships with everyone, including my husband and kids.  People who knew me back then can relate to how I react when I’m triggered. My husband can relate to it the best because he knows me better than anyone.  He came into my life at a time when I was completely broken and I was being triggered every day, he had to deal with those triggers and his initial reaction was to hug me.  That was the worst thing for me and he soon learnt that leaving me alone is my coping strategy.

So why this post?  Why am I bringing this harrowing topic up so much?

I’m seeing posts – not many, but there are more than I would like to see- from rape apologists and it sickens me.  I am seeing things on social media that I don’t want to see and these images/posts are triggering me.  I am not blaming the people who are posting these things (not the rape apologists because there is no excuse for their idiot behaviour) they don’t know everything about me because we aren’t close, or we have just become friends, or the posts are on a Facebook page rather than on a person’s personal page.  That’s the thing about triggers, it is usually something innocuous that sets them off and mostly these innocent things are not deliberate.  There is no malice intended by the person who has done or said something.

At the moment I feel like everywhere I go there is something triggering me.  This year I had a real bad reaction around the unwanted anniversary date of the attack.  Initially, I would freak out each year on this date.  But, as time went by I was able to let the day pass without feeling anything.  Then there was this year.  I felt the day looming ever closer and things were triggering me all of the time.  I got past it, easier than I expected to be fair, but ever since then I have been triggered on an almost daily basis.  I don’t know why this is happening, all I know is that at the moment it is like treading water, I am struggling to keep my head above water.  It isn’t just on social media that triggers are cropping up, every other program or film that I watch seems to have a rape scene or an attempted rape in it and I just cannot watch.

And then there is the whole issue of discussing sex in conversation.  I am not a prude, far from it, but I cannot discuss sex.  It’s a private thing and I don’t like talking about it.  Some people are only too keen to share and this is fine, just let me get out of the way first or leave the conversation.  This makes me come across as prudish or aloof, but that isn’t my intention.  I just want to not have to be part of that for my own reasons, reasons that don’t even seem rational to me at times.

You see, that’s the thing with triggers, they transport you back to whatever or wherever it is that caused the trauma in the first place.  To the rational mind that was probably something that happened a long time ago and has no bearing on your life now.  For me, that’s how it is anyway.  I have given up trying to rationalize the things that trigger me, I now just go through it and do whatever I need to do to get through it.

This post is intended as an informative one for people who are wondering why I’ve gone off at the deep end once again, but it’s also been therapeutic for me and that’s exactly what I want this blog to be about.

And with that in mind, I will probably bombard this blog, initially, with thoughts and feelings that I need to explore; and yeah, OK, that’s maybe what private journalling is about, but, sometimes it’s a way to let other people in without having to tell them face to face because you find it hard to broach the subject.  Once again, I have to say, my intention is not to offend anyone, but if it does happen then all I can do is apologise for any offence caused.

This Blog.

This blog may come across as ranty.  This blog is a thought process, for me.  It may seem like cowardice, but it’s not; there are things I want to say but can’t always. There are issues that affect me – yes, me, the person everyone believes is aloof and strong and has an amazing handle on the world.  The world scares me at times; there are so many people who deliberately hurt other people and those are the people who scare the bejeezus out of me.

People think nothing affects me, oh how wrong they are.  The one person who knows everything about me, my fears, my hurts, my pain, is my husband. Actually, there’s another person too, but we don’t always speak so……
Anyway, I digress, this blog is my personal sounding board and the posts will often come across as ranty, maybe childish, maybe even controversial but all of that depends on who is reading it and what their viewpoint of each subject is.
big bad world

Here we go again.

Another blog.  I’ve been away from the personal blogging sphere for a while now, but lately I’ve felt the need to share my thoughts.
I’ve had so many blogs over the years that I forget what I’ve posted and what I haven’t. My latest urge to blog came about because of something I read on Facebook; you’ll probably find me blogging an awful lot about stuff from social media. 

I have two review blogs, a pagan themed blog and a couple of private ones. I also have scores of unpublished blog posts, waiting for me to hit publish. Some of them are nonsense and never will make light of day, some are unfinished and waiting for me to go back to polish them up. Others are the posts I’ve written that are so personal and to be frank, quite disturbing. One in particular is a rather disturbing post from a rape victim’s point of view. 

I wrote it last year when I shared a secret on Facebook. The secret was about me being the victim of a sex crime, rape. I wrote it intending it to be inspirational, I know others who have been attacked and are at different stages of their recovery. It’s sitting there, in the drafts folder, waiting for me to either delete it or to publish it. So far I’ve not been able to do anything with it; I’ve read it through only once. I know I had intended for it to be a true account of what happened to me that night, but I just couldn’t share everything. It’s too graphic, too personal, too awful, it’s harrowing and upsetting. My aim had been to take control of my story and remove the shame…. But I just can’t publish it. I just couldn’t give a blow by blow account. What is written is bad enough and that’s just the briefest details. Even now, 28 years on, recalling the attack makes me ill.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not raking over old coals here just for attention. Being the center of attention is something I hate, if you know me, you know I can talk about stuff but hate the attention being solely on me. I will do whatever it takes to divert the attention away from myself and onto something, or someone else. For a long time I refused to talk about the attack, it was something I felt ashamed of and I didn’t want outsiders knowing that about me. As time has passed, I’ve become more and more angry about rape apologists and their misconceptions about the very harrowing ordeal that rape is for a victim. I am not violent but I’ve wanted to shake the stupid out of them; if they knew the horrors a victim endures surely they would change their tune? 

I opened up on social media because I hate how men and women can blame a woman for being attacked. Hello? Rape is sex with another without that person’s consent. How does that equal the blame being theirs? 

It doesn’t! 

My keeping the post out of the public eye is the right thing for me at this time. I’m always as mad as hell when high profile cases are in the media and misinformed people are shouting about how the victim did something wrong. That’s when I want to share my story, the graphic, harrowing version, not the toned down version, not the barest of facts that I have shared. I want these people to feel the shame, the guilt, the disbelief, the horror of what has happened. I want them to have to have those images burn into their very core and not ever be able to shake them off, ever. I want them to think “oh my god, that’s awful, that’s too much.” I want them to feel it all, because by the gods, if they felt it they’d change their minds and wouldn’t talk such nonsense. But common sense prevails. Decency stops me from shoving that onto them. I know only too well how it feels to be forced to do something, to feel something, to endure something I didn’t want to. I don’t want to be the same as that piece of filth and so I restrain myself.  

This post comes on very strong, I’m not certain I intended it to. I wasn’t intending to talk about this either, but sometimes something just needs to come out into the open. I’m not ashamed to admit I was attacked, but something inside of me still keeps me quiet. It’s not a nice topic of conversation, it’s not a comfortable topic, it’s an emotive subject and one that divides people the world over.
You can be sure this won’t be the only time I discuss it here, on this blog. I was inspired to start up a personal blog again because I’d read something earlier this week – yes, it’s that high profile case in the media. No, I don’t want to discuss it here, not now anyway.  

Changes

Plans and people change. I generally hate change, it makes me anxious and all at sea.  I’ve been forced to accept change recently. Quite a lot of change. I haven’t wanted to and I’ve dug my heels in. Yeah, I sound like a brat, I know, but I’m a Taurean and we abhor change.

Today life walloped me hard across the back of the head and for a moment I felt my foundations rock. But then I heard my own voice, inside my head say “you’re made of sterner stuff than this” and my resolve strengthened immediately.  I did what was necessary at that moment and now I feel freer than I have for a while.  The image that sprang to mind was of the kid in the movie Up, when he and the guy are floating around with the balloons.  This made me smile, something I felt was extraordinary given the situation I was in.

And so I’m walking a whole new path now, not the one I thought I’d be journeying along right now but it’s the one I’m on nevertheless.  I love the feeling of freedom that is tempting me to go forward, promising there is nothing to fear. I love how it feels so right and obvious and how someone I know who faced a similar dilemma proved that everything is possible if you just believe.

Of course I have feelings I have to deal with. They are quite negative and I don’t quite know what I’m going to do with them yet, well, I do know I won’t be letting them rent space in my head. Maybe I’ll do what I do best and write it all down, get a sense of what’s trying to stick to me and what’s floating away naturally.

What is obvious to me now is how the old way of doing things is no longer fit for purpose. When a way of living is no longer for for purpose we have no choice but to modernise our lives.  No matter how scary that prospect is we have to see this as a blessing and accept the gift the universe is handing us, accept it with gratitude and grow stronger.

Namaste.