Friday, December 23, 2011

Olive, the other reindeer

Christmas can be such a season of contrasts.

Blessings and stress. Freedom and feelings of being trapped.

Loved ones around you or you being alone.

Choosing boundaries. Making hard choices.

Seeing doors open you thought would stay closed.

Being free or trapped by holiday bullies of all kinds.

Thinking of the strange connections we can make to holiday songs.

As a kid I always wondered why there was that tenth bully reindeer Olive, and why none of the others ever stuck up for Rudolph.  No one understood why that song and show made me sad. No one got it.

And poor ol' Frosty! He couldn't get anything right! But then his brains really were made of mush. What could you expect from a snowman after all?

At least no one asks why we don't have mall Santa photos of our little boy anymore. I guess they got tired of getting the look whenever they asked. Shudder...cringe...yeah...THAT LOOK!

This Christmas I wish for you the best of the season, for you! What you need, who you need and when you need.  If being alone is your choice, then I pray you won't be lonely.  If risking that open door is your choice, then I pray that your risk pays off wonderfully!  If you are hurt and hiding away, I pray that you are comforted and know you are loved.

Survivors can have a hard time at Christmas but we can make it our own.  This year we are just three for Christmas. We are so excited!  Find space and a place for you this isn't meant to be a time of stress and pain.  Really...and we can take it back!

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's Not You

Haven't we all heard that line at least once in our lives? "It's not you, it's me." and didn't it fill you with a strange sort of dread.  That no matter how hard you tried something that was you could not match what they wanted.  When I hear that now, however, I find it rather freeing. Liberating. I'm using that line to clear up some misunderstandings about the choices I have made in my life.

It's not you who changed. You never do. You are solidly the same, even if it is in ways that are less than healthy for me.  Years have come and gone and you stay the same.

It's not you whom these changes have been made for. Indeed, if I could make one change for you it would be that you could change. But you choose not to.

It's not you who has worried, cried and fretted countless nights away in worry, fear, despair and loneliness.  You saw those tears as weakness, as being 'wimpy' and flawed.

It's not you who choose for the heart of a little child, instead of the material satisfaction of an adult.

It's not you, it's me who made the choices to have boundaries, to make things clear and defined.

It's not you, it's me who choose to change her life. For the better. Not the easier. Easier would have been, well easy, but not right. Not right for me. Not right for them.

It's not you, it's me who realized nothing really changes unless you want it to.  And when you don't nothing will change you because you become solid in your place, stuck even, and soon the won't change becomes can't change and the shame/blame game continues.

It's not you, it's me who decided to stop the games, stop the tear-filled madness.

It's not you, it's me who choose to forgive and move forward.  We're waiting. We're praying. Someday you may come, then again you may not.

I'm okay with this. It's okay for it to be me and not you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Guest Post: Hold On?

My friend Lisa is a poet and shared this wonderful poem with me. She also took the photo which inspired it. Enjoy!

Hold On?

When I first saw you, I admired your tenacity.
I could hear you whisper to me, “Hold on. No matter what, hold on!”
Maybe I heard that because I most needed to hear that, at least for a moment.
Your fellows, scattered beneath me, have all given up too soon. Only you hold on.

Then I walk among your fellows.
They crunch beneath my feet (wonderful sound!)
And I begin to see their wisdom, the trust they show
That death must happen before new life can begin.

“Death?!” I hear you shudder. “I don’t want to die!”
I know how you feel. It’s lonely there.
Holding on when everyone else has left; you feel alone
And frightened you will remain that way forever.

But I hear your fellows whisper too.
“Our tree needs to rest for Winter. We will grow again.
Young and healthy and beautiful. This is what comes next.
You cannot hold on to what no longer serves you.”

And I understand. I understand what I never have before.
I have been wanting another chance. Another chance to do it right.
So I hold on. To the person that hurts me, the habits that destroy me,
The relationship I think I ruined. I hold on because letting go means giving up.

But “no,” your fellows whisper. “No. Letting go is not giving up.
It is trusting in the wisdom of the universe. It is knowing when it is time
To embrace a new kind of life.” And I realize, death to the pain of this life
Means opening up to a chance for something better.

The longer I hold on, the longer I am unable to move forward
To whatever comes next. Whatever pain and joy is possible
Can only happen if I let go. When I hold on, my hands stay closed.
When I let go, they open up.

So what do you say? Will you take the chance with me?
Let’s let go. And fall together.

Poem & Photo Copyright 2011 Lisa M. Bogle

Monday, September 26, 2011

Truth and Triumph

"This isn't a happy story but it is a story of truth and triumph because she is still alive and sane." Patricia Caldwell Singleton, commenting on Finding Your Voice of Truth.

I couldn't help but think, I'm much happier when I hear stories of truth and triumph than I am when I hear of stories whose only claim is 'happy'.  Genuine stories of making it through the hurting, breaking through to healing. Triumph when the easy way would be to slide back into the despair, into the games and tricks. Truth when you look at you in the mirror and are okay with who you see, at least most days.  Getting more of those days is triumph too.

Practicing truth and triumph isn't easy, but it is worth it. You won't get that fluffy fuzzy fictional story 'happy story' feel but a deeper satisfaction.  The kind that comes from building a boundary, creating a life and healing from the wounds. The kind that comes from knowing the scars mean you survived. You made it through.

The third party message that says, "She cut off contact." and the knowing, that deep inside knowing, that you set a boundary and maintained it. Their response, their reaction belongs to them, not you. That triumph knowing that the little boy won't cry about their bad choices because they don't get to play with your life any more. The truth that you matter more than ego, agenda, motor homes, modular homes or dogs. More than golf even.

It doesn't mean that there won't be hurt. The kid stories, the family fun memories, that stuff we missed never comes back.  That doesn't mean we can't create our own now though! Making memories anytime we like is half the fun.

Truth and triumph means being able to walk away, when it is best for you and how it is best.  Truth and triumph means you can go back to places you left, if you should choose to. On your terms. Or not. As you choose.

It sucks sometimes, feeling alone in a crowd. Knowing you'll never quite get it, that the scars will always sort of be in the way. That's the truth. There is no way to accept the 'happy' when it has no depth, no soul. When it is a candy coating it always leaves a bitter taste.  It's not easy.  The real stuff hardly ever is.  But there is deep joy, powerful truth and knowing that we survived means we triumphed. We won.

Finding our way to the truth and the triumph is worthy of the effort and so worth it too.  You are worth it. I'm worth it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Darkness

Sometimes it is so hard to keep the darkness away.
It lurks at the edge of my vision, waiting, breathing.
I feel it under my skin, over my shoulder, in me.

Everyone sees the light in me, they see how it shines.
They don't see that it is brighter for the shadows.
Darkness makes light seem bright, and I feel fake.

My prayers and my faith hold me up, it pulls me.
Sideways and across, down and down again.
That darkness no one knows thirsts in me.

I thought if I rattled all the bones, burnt the wraps,
shredded the secrets and tossed the ashes to the sky
that it would leave me be, leave me alone, go away.

It doesn't.  I don't fear it. We've been together too long.
I fear for the day it gets away. I pray my angel stays stronger.
Some are sheep, and stay that way. Some grow wolfish.

Redeemed, saved, blessed, loved and yet the darkness
rolls under my skin, in my veins, through my brain.
I cannot look when I feel her rise or I'll see it all.

That ancient darkness that protected the young,
hunted and fought wars to save that sweet life
it lives in me, thrives in me, and I know her.

You can't know her, even if you know me.
She's too deep, too secret, too far down.
God hasn't taken her away, we are one.

Don't ask me to fight her, I can't win.
We have an uneasy bloodless truce.
I don't tempt her, she doesn't escape.

2011 Copyright, Shanyn Silinski

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Burnt Up

Our son loves to go see the burnt farm truck.  It amazes him that something that was once shiny and functioning is now a rusting, burnt up shell.  He can see the transformation from running truck to burnt up wreck and it just amazes him.  Glass strong enough to be part of a protection system melted and draped like a frozen waterfall.  Tires, belted with steel, melted down to a tangle of wires.  They once made travel possible and now they rest on useless rims in a muddy part of the field.

That truck does something else for me.  I see it a bit differently.  I see what it was. I see what it is. I imagine what it will become.

In winter there will be animals sheltering there, out of the wind and storms.

In spring the waters will rise and plants will grow.  Things will cover and consume it.  It will sink down into the ground.  Eventually it will be more wild than man-made.  More animal shelter than not.

Summer's heat will make it a great place for things to grow.  Up through the frame and cab.  Plants and animals will create a home.  The roof will be invisible through the cat tails.

In fall seeds will be trapped, they will find new soil, and in spring will sprout and grow.

In time there won't be much left to see of that truck.  However it will still be there!  It will be able to snag a  harrow or seeder.  It will not totally disappear into the soil.

I find my healing journey is much like that old truck.  We ran, we burned up and now we are becoming something new.  The old frame is still there.  Shards of glass and metal, wounds and scars, remain. But they are hidden under new growth, new life.

That's how it should be.  We aren't meant to remain barren, bleeding and scarred forever!  Healing doesn't take anything away but it does transform it.  If we leave it alone, if we tend it and love it, then something amazing can come out of it.

I'm ready for amazing!  Are you?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Go away!

(small joke - see no one listens to me! I post a title that says go away and yet here you all are! I love you for not listening to me! Thanks for coming here to another Scarred Seeker post.  You honour me by showing up, you humble me when you comment and I'm floored when you share my words...thank you!)

Go away!  I want to scream it.  I want to paint it on boards and then nail them to every fence post and then I want to chain my gate shut.  Go away!

And yet I don't...I really can't, can I?  It won't work. They would crawl under the wire and they would chew through the boards and then they would sit by my door all sad and pitiful.  ARGH!  I can't stand them.  They freak me out.  Really, they freak me out!

No idea what I'm talking about yet? Or maybe you have people and things in your life that you can totally relate to this?

Here's the thing.  I really cannot handle major league drama when it is used for passive agressive and non-productive and detrimental to healing ways.  When it is used to get sympathy and there is no incentive for change.

You've seen the movies and video games, the walking wounded. They seem so shell shocked and dazed they don't know they are wounded!  Their guts are hanging out, their arms are torn off, their bodies a zombie like shambling wreck and they keep walking towards you.

Now picture this - they are fully aware of the drama!  They know perfectly well they are playing the drama game and yet they don't understand how much it is hurting them.  Telling them doesn't work, this is something they figure out banging into closed doors and brick walls. 

My friend is like this.  She is dreadfully unhappy unless there is some life altering crisis happening RIGHT NOW!  She cannot function without drama.  You cannot even have a conversation without her wanting to know, does this sound or feel authentic or how was it really like and can you tell me more?  She needs the drama rush.  She is as hooked on it as anyone can be on something that is an actual substance to abuse.

I have learned that there is a huge huge difference between helping someone heal and feeding their drama.  Sometimes the boundaries need to be put up tall, strong and wide.  I'm doing my own healing, I'm not strong enough to carry someone else, my weight is enough.  I care for her, and the other drama junkies and I pray for them. But I cannot have them in my life, not daily or even weekly.

A visit the other day was like watching a slomo slasher flick because I could see her woundedness and hear the pain in her voice.  It was so sad, there is so much hurt, and so little desire to heal from it because the attention gotten for being wounded is too seductive to leave.  It'd be like being in a body cast, liking the attention, and staying in a body cast!  That's no way to live.  It's no way to expect others who care about you to live.

Tonight is my go away night.  I am surrounded by storm clouds, thunder and lightning.  I wonder will we get rain, which is much needed, or will we have damage instead.  I hate facing these storms alone but I've gotten used to it.  It is easier for me.  I feel surrounded lately by other people's drama storms and I guess that's why the two things collided and made this post!  Sorry if it is rough or not polished.  I've got to finish before the power goes out...or the hail hits...or something else wicked comes.

I think I know where there are some markers and paper maybe I'll make some signs, by flashlight beam, just in case I get brave enough to put them up!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Some Bridges Need Burning

Recently on a blog, in the comments, we were talking about burning bridges and it came to me.  

Some bridges need burning.  Down to the pillars. Chopped from the banks. 

Bridges can do two things - allow access across and back.  That's it.  Two way traffic.  Or a one way invasion. 

Relationship bridges are like that.  Some need to be kept up, even if they get little traffic because who is across the river of distance, time, healing is worth keeping access to.

Some are old, forgotten even, and the places they used to go may not be there anymore.  They are not really even in our minds.

Some are current and alive with traffic and we use them daily.

Among these are the bridges that are seemingly innocent but are used for invasions and attacks and those are the ones that need to be closely looked at.  Sometimes, regardless of who is on the other side, the attacks that come are not worth keeping up the bridge!

If someone is sneaking across your bridge, smiling like a friend, and then attacking you this is not a good use of the bridge.  Bridges give access to our lives and sometimes we need a toll bridge, sometimes we need a four-lane super highway and other times we need a rickety swinging bridge with missing planks and sometimes no matter what kind of bridge it is we need to burn it down.

You bet, you heard me right, burn it to the ground. Stop access. Stop contact. Make a personal boundary that is not easy to cross.  When you are healing and choosing not to cross the bridge why should you allow them to cross to you if they are not supporting that healing? 

There should be no automatic passes on our bridges.  Everyone should have a good reason for being there.  One that is safe and healthy for us. Sure, some may challenge us or give us a reason to think but they should not be attacking us or using their access to our lives to cause us harm.

Some examples?  I am a person who cares deeply for others and sometimes that leaves me with very open access in parts of my life.  Such as time.  Emotional energy.  And when someone comes across, dumps their garbage and then leaves it is a violation.  It hurts.  They don't clean up. They don't work on coming to be a part of my life.  They are there to bitch, whine, dump and leave.  Sorry, you may get my prayers and my love but no more access.  And I'm not even really sorry about it either!

Another example?  Family!  They troop across the bridges with suitcases, motor homes and buckets of stuff to bring you.  Is it your stuff?  Or is it old garbage that belongs no where but the trash bin?  If it feels like, sounds like or acts like guilt and blame, invalidation and control burn that bridge!

Some bridges are one ways, and should only be crossed going towards the healing, building the faith, towards life and going backwards shouldn't be an option.  Keep going. Don't let anyone call you back to a dark place because they don't want you to move forward!  It may sound like this, 'I liked you better when'.

It can be easy to decide when to burn a bridge, it can be natural as moving on in life. Not going back down an old road, or taking that path again.  It can be hard too, what if I'm wrong and what if I want to go back or what if ____________... 

When I look back upon my burned bridges and I don't miss what is on the other side and I don't miss the stuff that came across then I feel pretty confident that it was right to do!

I love watching movies where they blow up bridges because it reminds me that I can do that too!  In my life, right now even,  an interruption stopped me from finishing this blog.  A bridge I had kept open for a few friends has now gotten a closed sign and a chain.  I may be stacking kindling there tomorrow!  Why?  Because what came across with them, their need and drama was and is not healthy for me. There is nothing over there I need!  So it is closed, and may be burned finally!  Maybe I held on too long.

What is across the bridges in your life?  Who comes across the bridges in your life?  Is there some burning that needs to be done? You have to think about it, pray about it and consider what it means but if you come to the conclusion that this is right for you then light'er up!  There is a freedom in burning a bridge who needs burning, there is a peace in watching it fall into the waters and be washed away.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

...and you'll like it...

This post is, in part, inspired by the comments and post over at Emerging From Broken, and in part by the lessons that never stuck from when I was a kid...

I can remember, so very clearly, do this and like it.  It didn't really matter if you actually liked, disliked, loathed or were indifferent.  You had to like it.  You were obligated as a member of the family to like it. Paste on the smile, pour out the right words, clutch, cling and freaking make everyone around you happy because you were being obedient.  This isn't a polite, Thanks Nanny for the great sweater when it is a terrible crime against yarn.  This is liking what they liked for you to like and you had no say.  Less because you had no choice!

You are going to do what we say and like it. There was an expectation that their expectations were enough.  My thoughts and feelings on liking something, being happy about something or enjoying something were irrelevant.  They were useless, and unwanted. 

They could even be embarrassing!  Or worse, they could be unpopular with everyone else.  

You'll like it because if you don't there will be hell to pay! You'll be happy and smile like a gargoyle on a church and like it.

It wasn't good enough to like something just because you liked it!  You had to like  something they did.  Choices were not your own.  You only got to own mistakes, never successes.  You didn't get to love what you loved because you loved it.  You couldn't really be happy just because.

How absurd!  How devaluing and controlling!  How hard is it to learn that when you are an adult?  It is pretty challenging to figure out what you really like.  To seek and find what really makes you happy.  And not quiver in fear because it might not be what someone else wants!

Even now, after a few miles down the healing road, it is hard to say, "I'm doing this because it makes me happy!" or to share "I could be the only one here, but I like this!"  Not asking permission for joy, for liking something or for disliking it is so freeing!  So validating to make your own choice.  Yeah that brand of cookies is super! or nope I just cannot stand that color of shirt!

The removal of obligation from my choices was not just having windows opened!  It was more like having a chainsaw and being able to cut your own windows!  I could pick my windows, pick my spot, cut my holes and breathe! Breathe!

Like what you like! Be happy with what makes you happy!  Seek joy.  Share laughter. Tell that child inside that it is okay to come out and play! It is safe to eat peas from the garden, to run through the sprinkler, to not wear make up and to run around barefoot!  It is okay to play with your pasta and just sit and watch a butterfly.

Try it, this time I promise if you give it a chance you'll find you like it!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Betrayal and Trust

I"m guest posting over at Emerging From Broken about Betrayal and Trust.

Won't you come over and join us?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Surrounded Alone

Surrounded by people - yet alone.
Their chatter
a cloud of noise
around me.

Surrounded by people - yet alone.
Seeing wolves,
seeing sheep
seeing them.

Surrounded by people - still.
Their words

Surrounded by people - eyes moving.
Seeing so much.
Them - standing too close.
Her - leaning away.
There a harsh whisper, a flinch.
There a rolling eye, scorning.
Here a pinch, there a wink.

Surrounded by people - I smile.
Hollow, faking it well.
Nodding, "oh yes I see" said.
Inside I hear the stillness in me.
Inside I feel the watcher move.

Surrounded by people - can't breathe.
The noise, the smells
Their energy.
Unknowing and sucking.
Thirsting and seeking.

Surrounded by people - I slip away.
Within me, the wiring is wrong.
I'm there but so not there.
Not so simple as
wolves and sheep.
It is something complex.

Surrounded by people - unseen.
Learning to be invisible
long ago
serves me well today.

They always look shocked
when I suddenly speak
and appear there.
In their midst - who knew?
Witty, fun, confident,
not like them, exotic.
I shake my head, within me,
Then I slip away again.

Copyright 2011 Shanyn Silinski

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why I love poppies

If I could come back as a flower it'd be a poppy or a sunflower.  Probably though, as much as I adore sunflowers, I'm more of a poppy person.

Why?  It is very hard to get rid of poppies once they are putting seeds in the ground.  They are like us, survivors, and like us they learn to stay underground or come up to the light depending on the conditions around them.  We know when there is a good place to grow because of the safety, nourishment and sunlight that we often lacked when we ourselves little seed pods.

I love poppies because they grow out of adversity of the most gruesome kind.  Like battle fields, like blood soaked fields.  We also grew out of adversity and not only survived but learned to thrive!  Maybe it took us a few seasons to get our roots down and like a poppy field not every seed comes up.  We don't always bloom right away nor do we find our place easily

Poppies are fragile flowers there is no doubt about it.  They don't have really firm blooms and their leaves are not woody or strong.  Their power is in their seeds, in their legacy.  No poppy ever truly dies if even one poppy lives to bloom again! 

Have you ever collected poppy seeds?  Put them in a little jar...and then accidentally dropped them?  You can NEVER pick up all the seeds!  They are too small, too round and designed to hide away!

They remind me of the stolen, treasured moments which no one could or can take away from us.  They are where our seeds are and when we can find them a place to grow we can see blooms, and seeds and so much come blossoming to light! 

How encouraging to know that one seed this size (.) can be the freedom seed for thousands of flowers!  Given a chance to grow, a poppy seizes it with an intensity that colors horizons, inspires poets and changes the world!  What would Remembrance Day be without that poem by the doomed McCray and the poppies we all wear?

What if it is more than our moments but also our words that are like poppy seeds?  What if we choose to be seeding a silent world with color and words?  I can imagine it...can you?

Today my heart hurt.  For a friend raped.. For a mama dog and her babies shot down.  For friends with sick children, husbands gone to the Lord.  For all of us.  

I almost didn't write anything today but when I went out to water the flowers the sun shone behind my poppy and I couldn't NOT write!  Even when you don't think you have something to say speak your heart.  Speak your poppy seeds and as survivors let's plant the world with healing!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My story: limited access

The inspiration for this post came from one by my good friend, fellow survivor and blogger, Patricia Singleton at Spiritual Journey of a Light Worker

In that post she talked about how hard it can be for survivors to heal past telling their stories.  It really resonated with me because I have had some experiences with the telling of abuse stories that were disturbing and seemed counter to moving to healing.

If you have read my posts prior to this one you'll know I am not about the drama or the descriptions of my story but about the healing.  For me it is about the healing, the stories are part of it, but they are not the bigger part.  I lived through them once retelling them over and over seems almost pornographic.

Another kind of violation and it is one that when we say, I'm a survivor people can have an expectation that we not only are willing but eager to share the intimate details of with any stranger who asks.  It isn't always helpful, can probably can be often the opposite, to feed that sort of need to be validated by reliving the woundings in our lives.

No one actually retells the story of breaking their arm by actually rebreaking the arm.  We don't explain how our car crashed by actually going out and crashing again.  There is post traumatic stress involved with any major stressor in our lives.  Any major stressor and abuse is a real doozie!

There seems to be an expectation that we have to measure up for our story to be taken seriously that we have to meet a standard for being abused.  Those who would expect us to tell our stories over and over again  are feeding off our stories like emotional vampires.  They are pulling us away from our healing.  They are distracting us from doing the work of healing.

I had a woman introduce herself to me as a 'sister survivor' and wanted to share her story with me.  She was offended when I didn't reciprocate in great detail.  She told me she knew I was healing but how bad was it, really that you are still healing.  She wanted to know how her own story measured up against others I had heard.  It was shocking to me!  She was so focused on the hurt that the healing was taking a back seat, permanently, because 'people want to hear my story of the abuse, not about the other stuff'

I remember watching Criminal Minds it was the episode where the mother never gives up on believing her son is alive.  For 8 years.  She finally gets someone from the BAU to listen to her and she tells her everything she has learned, researched and found out.  The character JJ says, "I'm sorry you have to know that.  I'm sorry you were put through something that made you have to know that."

I'm sorry that any of us have to have these stories to tell. No one should have them. None of us.  But we do.  It isn't about the story, it's about the healing.  Dwelling on the story, getting sucked in to the vampiric world of more and more drama, more and more telling sucks us dry of the will to move on in our healing.

I don't need to tell it  I lived it.  I remember it.  If I focus, or am facing a trigger, I can remember things in grotesque detail that no one should ever want to hear.  I don't want to remember but I do.   I take the remembering and add it as fuel to the cleansing fire of my healing.

We are no less a voice for advocacy if we are not sharing the intimate details of our story.  We are no less for not needing to feed that drama.  We are who we are, survivors moving through to the healing.  I don't want to get stuck in the horror story time, do you?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It is personal!

Don't be so sensitive.

Don't take it personally.

I have avoided this topic for quite a while and last night a status update from a friend got me thinking about it again.

My stand on this is a bit, well, radical.  Maybe even, well, dangerous.  Let's back up a few steps though.  When someone starts a conversation with don't take this personally I'm already on guard, senses alert and I'm ready to respond.  They have warned me.  What else should I do?  I ask three questions.

Yep, three questions:

  1. Are they talking to me about me?
  2. Is this thing they are talking about directly to do with me?
  3. Is it a judgement or comment upon myself and the things I think, say, or do?

If I answer yes! to any of these then by golly it is personal folks!  No amount of excuses, spin doctoring or perspective shifting can change that. 

When someone tells you that you are responding incorrectly always be sure to find out who is doing the measuring of correctness.  It has been easier since I learned the trick phrases that many employ.  Such as: now I don't want you getting all worked up or more classically don't freak out and take this personally.  

I've learned to pause and wait for the impending answer to question number 2.  (It almost always follows straight after the opening statement or warning against your response.  Is the conversation, being one sided, encouraging, supportive and generally uplifting?  Or is it you telling me how to be me?  I know how I feel, these feelings live in my veins daily.  I know how to hear what you are saying and when it is to me, about me, like I'm not really there then it is personal!

Question three deals with content and delivery - is the conversation about how much better they would be at being you?  Is the admonition against being too sensitive and taking things too personally directed at what you say, think or do?  

If it is about you, to you and there is an expectation of response by you then IT IS PERSONAL!

When the lights turn red suddenly -that is 99.9% not personal.
If you see someone turning the switch at the light after waiting all day for you, probably that's the percentage that I left for wiggle room for it to be personal.

When the courier loses your package - that is not personal.
If you see them dumping it in a trash container then it could be a personal issue.  This is unlikely.

When someone says you should do things their way, and be happy they suggested it that is highly personal!  

Good or bad (and have you noticed that you are never too sensitive or taking things too personally when it is good stuff, celebratory stuff, easy to handle stuff? Yeah I noticed that too!) things said to a person, about that person with an impression, indication or direction that they take said things as long awaited much valued information should be taken personally.

My healing journey is deeply personal and I choose to share it.  I do reserve the right to be sensitive and to take things as personally as I need to.  If you tell me my shoelace is undone, not personal, thanks for the information.  If you tell me I'm wandering around again with untied shoelaces, and hasn't anyone ever taught me how to tie a bow for goodness sakes and you actually dress yourself daily - now THAT is personal!

Healing is hard work but laughter makes the load lighter.  I'm afraid that too many of us think life is all serious all the time.  We were robbed of our joy, and it is our duty as survivors to seek, hunt down, put in a brightly colored bucket or cartoon pillow case every bit of giggle, joy, sunshine and dandelion fluff we can find!  We should celebrate being alive, living and healing and I celebrate you!

Don't let anyone steal your joy, diminish you as a person or cause you to think of yourself as worthy of their campaign for change!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Targets, a poem

Give them a target.
Give them someone to blame.
Someone to dream of lynching.
The smell of bloody revenge,
even in a proxy cyber world.

Give them soap box.
Give them someone to shout at.
Someone to judge and flay.
The intoxication of hindsight,
even if they have no clue.

Why isn't anyone shouting?
Why isnt anyone crying?
There is a small body forgotten.
Broken and left alone.
Someone knew and stayed silent.
Someone could have spoken,
and did not say a word.

Why aren't we searching for the
next child to save?
Why aren't we doing more than
lighting porch lights?

A small life, trusting and fragile.
A life which we did nothing to save.
A life which we forget in the frenzy,
the 'injustice' and the knot tying.

The injustice is this,
we are always showing up
too late to the gunfight,
knife in hand and no clue.

People why aren't we showing
love, protection and caring
to these the smallest of the 
'least of these'?

Instead of tying nooses
and building gallows,
shouldn't we be protecting,
sheltering, loving and saving?

It would have taken one voice,
just one, loud enough to be heard,
but it seems easier to be silent then,
and cry when it is too late.

Copyright Shanyn Silinski 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

More than porch lights

This is not about Caylee alone, this is about all who are lost to abuse, all who are hiding in abuse and for all those who are struggling through to a healing path.  It is for those on the healing path.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if porch lights could talk?  Wouldn't it be wonderful if porch lights could tell what goes on behind their windows or those of their neighbors?  It would be wonderful but it isn't their job! 

It is our job!  We all know that there is always someone who knows.  Someone is able to speak up. Someone is safely capable of speaking up.  You know who they are, they are almost always on the news saying, I knew something bad was going to happen. or I am not surprised!  Of course you knew! Of course you are not surprised.  You knew!

So many of my friends are sharing about this lost child, and putting on their porch lights in her memory.  How sad I am that I wish we didn't have to!    Imperfect system that we have, even children in care are abused and many die.  Many escape one horror only to be stuffed into another.   

I worked in that world.  I know a bit of how things happen.  But I will never believe that they have to, that there isn't another way.  I believe that children can have a childhood.  I believe we can do this because if we care enough to light up the night for a lost one, if we can fire up with networks with our outrage, we can change the world with love.

What if someone had spoken up for you or what if someone had noticed your hurt?  That would have changed your world.

Turn on your porch lights and please remember it's not just one we've lost, but one too many and there are more in danger right now!  And someone knows.  Someone is speaking and not being heard. Someone is choosing silence.  What are you choosing?

We need more, we have the power of an enormous nation at our status updating, liking and sharing finger tips.  We can do more because we are more! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Distaste and Discomfort

Susan Kingsley-Smith said, "Those who express distaste and discomfort at the reality of others experiences exhibit their judgement of themselves and their need to maintain status quo for their own world to feel safe. Acknowledging the wounds of others requires compassion for oneself."

When I saw this quote on Susan's wall I knew I had to blog it because it perfectly fit where I am right now. Wonderfully, my friend Darlene at Emerging From Broken also has a post today that also fits so well with this. When you are done here please visit her and Susan either on Facebook or at their blogs!

Distaste and discomfort - those two words were almost guiding principals in the world I grew up. Woe to you for causing either to someone in our family or circle of rat you out in an instant friends. People would get that twisted mouth and narrow down their eyes and you'd be in for big trouble!

Compassion is for all, regardless of size
or how important we think we or they are.

And what was this big crime that was committed? Usually it was a simple as not doing or being what someone else wanted you to do or be. Be a good pre-teen cocktail waitress at this party. Be a quiet worker. Be someone's kicking, yelling or belittling target. But for goodness sake keep your mouth shut!. You could be on fire but don't you dare tell anyone that someone set that fire!

Flash forward to today...distaste and discomfort once again.  I'm doing it again!  I'm not shutting up!  I'm making people uncomfortable.  I'm even being 'unfriended' over telling my own truth!  I'm not putting up signs or billboards with photos.  I'm writing. I'm speaking up.  I'm telling my truth, in my voice for the first time in my life. 

But if someone telling their own truth causes someone such discomfort and distaste it begs the question - what un-looked at, un-examined things are lurking under their smooth surface?  If they don't want to see what is open in my life maybe it really is because they don't want to lose the magic of their denial.  How sad.  

You would silence me and stifle my healing because of your own lack of voice and lack of healing!  Things are so small in your world that you would rather walk away from my wounds,  feeling righteous before facing your own?  

When we can see our own wounding and understand it, then we can start healing.   With healing comes compassion and understanding, with that comes a special kind of courage that lets us reach through the veil of hurt to hold the hand, heart and words of another who is on their own healing path.  We can live through the scars of surviving.  We can burst through to happiness.

It is a choice!

You can choose to be gentle with yourself and let yourself heal.  But that means actually acknowledging the wounding.  You can choose to push it all down and away and in so doing you can crush your own ability to have compassion and caring because you won't grant it yourself, you cannot grant it to others.  

By choosing to deny the knife in your back you say you cannot help because your back hurts.  By choosing to be full of distaste and discomfort you deny your self the blessings of healing and grace.  

We have to face the good with the bad, they are a package deal.  I cannot figure out a way to have good memories without the bad ones coming along and destroying the party.  I remembered my prized possessions for a short time - pink satin pillow cases my grandma made.  I loved them.  I thought I loved them enough.  

But soon enough that memory is dragged away with the memory that comes after.  The one where I'm not worthy, not good enough, so bad that I don't deserve nice pillow cases.  And in my tears I write a note, childish scrawl, and attach it to the pillow cases as I give them back.  I'm not worthy.  I wrote it down. I admitted it.  I was sure they were right.

There was no compassion, no second chances.  No chance to try again.  In my world now, full of chaos and healing, I almost feel badly for them in their small world of status quo and pointing fingers at those people.  Us people.  Us healing people who won't shut up. Us healing people who won't whitewash, bury, rename or redress in new clothes the rotting collection of lies and snare line that trapped us for so long.

I want to be able to really touch someone and have them feel the compassion and the love.  I want to celebrate healing, I want to cheer on advocates, I want to be the cRaZy whoot whoot woman on the sidelines as we race once more just to feel the wind on our faces and the sun on our backs!  Never too much or too little - just right because we just are.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I wish you knew

There are things that you don't know.
Things you've never taken the time to hear.
There are things that I wish you knew.
You won't though,
 because they would require
 getting to know me again
and I'm different now.

So very different. 
I'm healing.
I'm more
than the old scars
and wounds.

I'm  putting the pieces together
and they are making
something really cool. 
They are making me!

Some days though
there are things
I wished you knew.

I wish you knew,
the choices you make
are your own but their price
was paid  by me.
Sometimes paid for years.

I wish you knew,
the times of waiting
for your approval
are long gone.

Life is for living,
Living is what we are doing.
Fully with every breath.
Following hearts,
Living in laughter.

I wish you knew,
I don't fear the phone calls
because I don't fear you.
I don't fear your rage.
I don't fear your games.

I wish you knew,
how much he wanted
to just know you and love you.
You gave that up.
Your choice. Again.

You gave up so much,
and you feel so full.
How can that be?
I'd rather be empty of stuff
and be full of loving and life.

I'm not sorry for speaking up.
I'm not sorry for speaking out.
I wasn't wrong then.
I'm not wrong now.
My choices I live with.
I think of their price, and
carry their weight.

I wish you knew, but
I don't think you care.
You demand respect.
I want it to be earned.
You want your white walls.
I'm tired of coverings.

I wish you knew me.
I wish you knew them.
I wish you knew us.
But you won't.
Your choice.
I can live with that.
I can. I am. I do.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Leave It Alone

Leave it Alone

Leave it well enough alone.
Don't talk about it.
Don't embarrass us.
Don't cry, or I'll give you
something to cry about.

Who do you think you are?
Stirring things up.
Trouble maker.
Don't look at me that way.
Don't talk, or you'll be
sorry you said anything.

No one will believe you.
It was a compliment.
It doesn't happen to good girls,
so why did it happen to you?
I told you so.
Don't look at me that way,
or I'll make you sorry.

Why can't you just get along?
Leave it well enough alone.
Don't stir things up.
Don't cause a fuss.
That's how it is,
nothing you can do about it.

It's in the past, long gone.
Let it go. Forget it.
You don't remember.
You got it wrong.
You are a liar. 
We know what is best,
and you don't.

Echoes in my head.
Burning my ears.
Cheeks red from shame.
Eyes swollen from crying.
Stomach aches.
Arms twitch.

I pray. I cry. I am healing.
Learning to laugh.
Learning to play.
Learning it is okay to be wrong.
Learning it is okay to be.

Undoing the twisted mess.
Finding knots with no ends.
Finding truths in the lies.
Finding me in the mess.
Finding me.

Respect doesn't come
to a raised fist.
Love doesn't come
to an angry heart.
Trust doesn't come
to a betraying spirit.

Healing comes to wounds
when hearts come out of hiding.
Hearts come out when
they find a safe place.
Everyone needs a safe place.
Not everyone does.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Forgiving to freedom

My response to a post on Emerging from Broken: "Forgiveness, for me, is the process of letting go of the people who choose to either abuse or remain silent or both. It is letting go of the hurt I’ve held on to because I thought it was mine. It is letting go of the implied and expressed obligations to them to answer calls, attend functions, to ‘follow their rules’. It is surrendering myself to God for the healing journey and getting rid of the stuff I don’t want to pack with me – namely them and their stuff! That is forgiveness to me. It is not excusing or explaining or making it go away, it is freeing up my voice, my life and letting me finally be as I was meant to be. Scars and all. If I say to them, “I forgive you.” I am also saying, “I don’t excuse you, I don’t want a relationship with you unless there is healing.” Forgiving is letting them go for God to deal with, and I have faith that He will."

I think I might expand upon that a bit here as well.  Or perhaps wax poetic.

Forgiveness is not for you.
It is a gift to me.
It gives me the freedom to heal.

Forgiveness is not about you.
It is about me.
It gives me the freedom to release you.

Forgiveness is not about you.
It is about me letting go of the hurt.
It gives me the freedom to let you carry your weight alone.

Forgiveness is not about you.
It is about me walking my own walk,
It gives me the freedom to carry my own load.

Forgiveness is not about you.
It is about me.
It gives me the freedom to leave you, your stuff, behind.

Forgiveness is not about you.
It is about me.
It is about me finding my way out from under you.

Forgiveness is not about you.
It is about me.
It is my gift to healing, my song to sing.

Forgiveness is not about you.
It is about me.
It is not an obligation, a requirement, a relationship.
It is forgiveness.

That is all...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Missed Me

In your hurry to layout your conditions and rules you missed me.
In your rush to forget what happened you missed me.
In your desire to be right and powerful  you missed me.

You missed my healing and you  missed my faith renewed.
You missed chances to laugh and chances to bind wounds together.

In your need to control the spin and the image you missed me.
In your urge to always be right you missed me.
In your quick to layout the list of wrongs you missed me.

You missed the words of love and you  missed my longing for reconciliation.
You missed a chance to choose differently and you missed me.

In your wish to be seeing as right you missed me.
In declaring your status of being wronged you missed me.
In deciding to turn away and walk away you missed me.

You missed laugher and joy.  
You missed flowers and bird song.
You missed finding who we could have been.

When you made it about you you missed me.
When you had to be setting the rules you missed me.
When you forgot that love is the greatest gift you missed me.

I'm not going to miss a moment of joy, laughter, sunshine, tears, fears or celebration because of that.  I'm not missing my healing and redeemed life.  I'm celebrating it!  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Standing Still

and watching you walk away.  That is what it feels like.  It feels like I've been watching you walk away for a long time.  You look over your shoulder and say, "Do it my way and you can come..." and I stay standing there because the answer is No.

Watching you walk away,
Watching you leave me.
Standing there. Waiting.
Hands out. Heart open.

Watching you look at me.
Hearing you say, "Come and
do it my way"
Hearing me say, "I'd rather stay."
Hands down. Eyes clear.

Watching you walk away.
Knowing I couldn't go,
Knowing you couldn't stay.
Watching you go.
Hands open, in prayer.

I wrote to heal, you read blame.  I wrote to be stronger, you read and responded in blame.  I walk this healing path and wish for you to know all the hopeful, faith-filled, beauty and love words I've written.  

You only see what you wanted.  It's easy to put conditions on things when you've always had the power.  But when someone else finds their strength and says, "No." 

No. Said with love. Questions asked in love.  No blame, only healing.  No said with the weight of my heart getting lighter without fear and without blame.  No said with forgiveness going both ways, all ways and always. 

If you turn around you'll see my living my life through the open door you walked away from.  I won't close it, but I won't chase you through it.  You cannot put conditions on me for the sole purpose of your comfort and to protect your reputation.

And still I'm standing here watching you walk away and knowing that for you it was easier than staying.  It was easier than trying.  It was easier to make me dirty and bad than it was to clean the wounds and heal.  It's easier to walk away from me, from you, from us than it is to start over. Start fresh. Start anew.

I know in my heart that you don't understand the words I say and I accept that.  I accept that the story you tell will be your truth.  I stand still watching you walk away and still I would welcome you back.

I hear the silence of family and friends and I know the spin has begun.  I stand still watching you walk away.  Standing here and knowing that to everyone else you see I'm to blame.

I love you. I truly do.  I hold no malice, or blame. It's true.

You won't see those words, not today or tomorrow, but someday maybe you will.  I pray you will.  I don't miss what was, but I miss what could have been.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Die of shame?

We all make mistakes. Things very frequently go wrong.  People say, That's life!  They say you cannot die of shame and yet when faced with the shame of a mistake I wish I could fade away to a shadow.

Embarrassment. Shame. Tears. Weakness. Needing someone.  When you are taught the wrong messages about your emotions, about how you manage your life starting at a young age you can become confused and the need for control can lead to some very scary places.

You need to open up.  How?  How can I when the very act of wanting to reach out brings physical reactions of stress, fear and the deep mistrust comes roiling up like bile.

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." 
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I've been taught to give consent by surrendering to the emotions, to the messages which were designed to keep me in someone's fist.  How do I stop that?  I don't know.  I wish I knew.  I think knowing it is a big step.  Seeing it happen and reaching out, in little ways which seem so large.  Trying, risking, stretching those healing wings to see if I can fly.

So it begins...and I'm not sure where it will go...but will we go together?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Little Foxes

It's in the Song of Solomon about the foxes ruining vineyards, but it wasn't until I read a devotional yesterday that I understood what those foxes really are and they are the little frustrations, the nasty little voices, the stuff that throws us off track.

Staying on course when we are healing is important.  Understanding what makes me lose my control and risk my progress is really a huge step for me.  I found myself all day yesterday and today saying "Little foxes, stay way. Little foxes." whenever I felt that  rushing, burning, hair pulling frustration that seems to just knock me off my track.

Who are your little foxes? What do they do or say?  Knowing them is a good first step in dealing with them.

Mine are those actions that remind me of the times I was devalued and dismessed.

Mine are those words which seem to say, "ah if you mattered I'd care, but you don't so..."

Mine are those times when the littlest things make me boil inside.

Mine are those things like wet cloths in the sink, left open bread bags, dirty tubs, hole digging dogs...

Mine are those questions that are unheard and the answers dismissed.

Mine are all the times that that little demon whispers in my ear, "not worthy, not good enough, not smart enough, they were right about you all along since you were a kid, worthless, unlovable..."

And instead of, at least for the past couple of days, losing control I'm feeling at peace.  I know their little pointy faces, I know their digging ways and I am staring them down.  Little foxes, little foxes, go away! Go away!  I feel like I am able to really see the roots of the lifelong struggle I've had and now I can start dealing with them.  Little steps to deal with little foxes, leading to big leaps forward!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Shadow of the Hammer

Hammer. An amazing tool. For certain jobs.  The problem with hammers is you are limited to what you do with them.  Hammers, except in the strangely gifted hands of my husband, have a limited range of jobs. They do those jobs well, when used in the right hands.  In the wrong hands or used in the wrong way they can be brutal, deadly, hurtful and terrible to see.

We all know people who use their words and their hands, their actions and intents like hammers. The problem with people hammers is that every situation is reduced to a limited set of actions, just like a real hammer.

What can a hammer really, basically do?  Hammers pound in nails.  Hammers pull out nails.  Hammers bend over nails.  Sometimes hammers can be used to break things, bend things and rarely open things.

People hammers are no different.  They use their words, their actions and their presence to hammer us, pull us or bend us to their will.  They try to break us, bend us and sometimes tear us open.  They have only so many options because they only have one tool - a hammer.

Abusers and controllers may have other tools but the prefer their hammers.  They like the power of it. They like the brutality of it.  When I started to write, to heal, to finally feel unafraid there loomed over me the shadow of an emotional hammer.  The memory, the shadow, the ache of those times when it was not the only tool but the preferred one.

No wonder I still flinch at a tone or pull back from a gesture.  I'm reacting to that shadow.  That hammer that is no longer really there.  Some days I see hammers everywhere and mentally wish for everyone to have more multi tools! Some days the words hammer me and some days the actions hammer me and some days the silence pounds me and breaks me.  I'm bent over with the hurt and I'm torn open by words.

Those days are fewer between because I know, I understand the hammer. I know the shadow cannot hurt me.

Sadly, I struggle most with what I was taught about BEING a hammer, and as a Mom that is the last thing I want to be.  As a wife it is not what I want to do.  As a friend I would rather have empty hands.  I confess I can be a brutal hammer but I'm learning.

I'm learning to not reflexively grab the worst tool I have but to consider what the situation calls for.  As my son says, "The right tool for the right job!" and that fits for actual physical work as it does for emotional and spiritual work.  I'm learning not to lash out and swing wildly hitting whatever I can.  I'm learning that my temper was given a hammer too young and was taught too well.  Now to unlearn. To unwire, rewire and relearn.

To get out of the shadow of the hammer.