Saturday, November 23, 2013

Mother


 Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.” William Makepeace Thackeray

Jade Beall Photography

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Broken

Some days I just feel broken beyond repair
Sullied, shitty, stamped with the word “no,”
A vessel of mismatched parts
None belonging to me and none
Really making up the flesh that I inhabit
A spirit that has been terminally ill
But through some miracle of humanity
Resurrected time after
Time, af ter each bloody battle.

The past rises up to haunt me
Grabs me by the neck and screams
Into my face loud as a goose in a chase
“You are not enough!”
Hesitantly, I swallow these words
Out of habit, command and apathy
Not knowing whether to vomit them now
Or later, stuck in the fear that paralyzes
Every atom of my earthly being

-T. Lamb



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Great Urgency

"...We have come to a time and place of great urgency. The fate of future generations rests in our hands."

 "Know that you are essential to this World."

 "Yes, our life energy must be a gift for our future. Your life, my life, everybody’s life must follow your given path. So pray or meditate. Follow your inner path and learn just how powerful you are and learn that you are a leader for your people, your family, your children, and the Mother Earth.

 Know that you yourself are essential to this world. Believe that. Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You yourself are desperately needed to save the Soul of this World. Did you think you were put here for something less..."

 -Chief Arvol Looking Horse,  Native American Peace & Environmental Activist,  19th Generation Keeper
 of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe

Friday, November 15, 2013

I am Goddess

Crawling on her knees tattered and torn, bedraggled and broken by years of conditioning, abused and being knocked down. Believing her worth was only in what she was told and how she was treated. Full of self loathing and anger she kept crawling. It would be easier to curl up and hide in the cave she had visited in her darkest of days...but within her was a deep and long knowing, a small, small voice which like a flicker from a flame warmed her heart and soul when those darkest hours came upon her...and she knew there was more.

 More for her to claim as her own...she crawled and came upon a pond of clear cool water and saw her own reflection. Not just the lined and tear stained face and broken flesh but beyond that face and flesh she knew was more ..... she asked the question "Who am I".... for the first time in her life came a deep well of love, divine love starting as but a drop from the brokenness of her heart. One drop of love gathered more drops from her spirit and soul until she stood up face to the heavens, strengthened now with arms outstretched and SCREAMED.... I AM WORTHY, I MATTER..... I AM WOMAN......I AM GODDESS.

 Ripping off the rags of disdain and anger and hate and all that she had been dragged through throwing herself headfirst into the cool clear cleansing waters of the pond..... She arose naked in all her feminine glory knowing herself for the first time... offering herself to the goddess within... such a sweet surrender. She was free, free for the first time in her life knowing she was enough.

 By Cheryl Field

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Wrong Question

Why didn’t you leave?  I would have left a long time ago.  Don’t you want what’s best for you and your children?  Why did you stay?

Almost anyone who chooses to stay in an abusive relationship hears some form of these words in their lifetime.  What might not be understood by those outside of the relationship are that there are so many complicated factors that play into this.  A better way to ask the question, why do women stay in abusive relationships, might be what keeps women in abusive relationships?  The first question sounds accusatory and produces feelings of guilt and shame.  It makes women feel defensive, embarrassed, stupid, and wrong.  The last thing we want to do as someone outside the relationship is push her further into isolation.  The second question can be answered more readily by women in the relationship.  It acknowledges the fact that there are things beyond their control that play in the decision to stay.

When asked this question here are some of the responses we hear.  There is a fear of the abusive partner and his ability to retaliate.  Staying with him provides security.  He may be the only source of income for the family.  If she leaves she will have no money, nowhere to go.  So she has to ask herself is it better to stay or to be homeless?  “Better the devil you know…”  He may have threatened her, her children, or her friends and family.  The most dangerous time is when she’s leaving and she is more likely to be killed.  There may be pressure from her community, culture and/or family to stay.  Sometimes women who leave are blamed, shunned, or disowned.  She may want to keep the family together.  He may not be a bad father to the children.

No one is all bad all the time.  Many abusers are quite charming and friendly at first.  What we know about abuse is that it happens in cycles.  There is a period of “making up” where he promises to change.  And she loves him so she wants to believe him.  Most of the time she doesn’t want the relationship to end, she wants the abuse to end.

It is never just one of these reasons.  It is 2 or 3 combined, and it is more likely all of them.  There are infinite more factors that keep women in abusive relationships, because while we can see general trends in these relationships each situation is different.  Each women and each man has a different story.  The most common reasons that keep women in abusive relationships are low self-esteem/poor self-concept, economic deprivation, witnessing violence as a child, and wanting to keep the family together for the sake of the children.

So the questions why didn’t you leave, or why did you stay, are not questions that encompass the complexity of the relationship and abuse she’s experienced.  Instead we should be asking why is he abusive?  Why doesn’t he stop?

Why do men abuse women?

As an anti domestic violence movement we pushed hard for a woman’s right to leave the relationship.  What we are discovering now is that the pendulum has swung too far.  She has the right to stay in the relationship as well.  I know that sounds a little weird but this is a movement about empowering women.  It is not empowering to fail.  It is not empowering to leave before she is ready because everyone else is telling her it’s the right thing to do.  Sometimes it really is safer to stay.  She knows how to keep herself safe and was been doing so long before she reached out to anyone.  So again, the question should not be about her, but him.

What is he doing to keep her in that relationship?  Why is he abusing her?  How is the larger culture teaching him that it is okay to be violent toward women?

_________________________

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a free, confidential, and safe hotline staffed 24/7.  Advocates are there not only for those in abusive relationsips but for friends, family, and allies as well.  Please call if you are looking for support or answers.
1-800-799-7233

Re-blogged with gratitude from Unladylike Musings

Friday, November 8, 2013

Facing Childhood Truths



“The truth about our childhood is something we cannot, and should not, forgo, either as individuals or as a society. One of the reasons is that behind the wall we erect to protect ourselves from the history of our childhood still stands the neglected child we once were, the child that was once abandoned and betrayed. She waits for us to summon the courage to hear her voice. She wants to be protected and understood, and she wants us to free her from her isolation, loneliness, and speechlessness. But this child who has waited so long for our attention not only has needs to be fulfilled. She also has a gift for us, a gift that we desperately need if we truly want to live, a gift that cannot be purchased and that the child in us alone can bestow.  It is the gift of truth, which can free us from the prison of destructive opinions and conventional lies. Ultimately, it is the gift of security, which our rediscovered integrity will give us. The child only waits for us to be ready to approach her, and then, together, we will tear down the walls.” ~Alice Miller, Breaking down the wall of silence

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Moral to care?



“In analyzing women’s thinking about what constitutes care and what connection means, I noted women’s difficulty in including themselves among the people for whom they considered it moral to care. The inclusion of self is genuinely problematic not only for women but also for society in general. Self-inclusion on the part of women challenges the conventional understanding of feminine goodness by severing the link between care and self-sacrifice; in addition, the inclusion of women challenges the interpretive categories of the Western tradition, calling into question description of human/nature and holding up to scrutiny the meaning of “relationship,” “love,” “morality, and “self.”  ~Carol Gilligan, Mapping the Moral Domain

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Woman's Inhumanity to Women

Woman's Inhumanity to Women by Phyllis Chesler

9 suggestions:

1. Humbly Accept That Change Is a Process.
We must first accept that change is a process--one that can't be rushed. We will have the rest of our lives to work on transforming envy and conformity into tolerance and individuality, and on doing good, not evil, in the world.

2. Acknowledge, Do Not Deny, the Truth.
A woman must admit that women are normally aggressive and competitive and that oppressed women are also very angry; as such, they tend to take their anger out on each other. Such an acknowledgement may help a woman become more realistic about what to expect from other women and clear about her own limitations as well.

3. Become Strong.
Each woman must develop a strong self and a sense of her own utter uniqueness. No one can take your "good" away from you. Honour your own ambition; honour other women's ambition. Support strong women who are "different" from you, not only weak women who agree with you totally and who therefore do not threaten you.

4. Become Strong Enough To Take Criticism.
Women often become offended and emotional very quickly. We may be oversensitive to criticism because we have been excessively and unjustly criticized by both women and men from a very young age; we might also have been treated as if we were invisible. Women have been readied to hear unjust criticism where none exists. Therefore, I would like to see women learn how to hear each other gently, respectfully. At the same time, a woman must become strong enough to hear outside, diverse, and critical voices. Asking another woman what she really thinks is not the same as asking her to support you, right or wrong, or to falsely flatter you. A woman has to be able to endure opposing views without feeling personally betrayed by those who hold such views.

5. Learn to Express Your Anger: Rules of Engagement.
A woman may hold a grudge against another woman for a long time; she might turn others against her entirely unsuspecting victim. A woman might instead learn how to express her anger verbally, directly, to the woman who has offended her--and then let go of the anger. This is not easy to do. Perhaps here is where women can learn some rules of engagement from men about how to fight fairly and then, win or lose, move on, befriend our opponents, or at least quit holding a grudge. Men find this easier since they comfortably occupy a psychological middle distance from each other. Perhaps women might have to modify our intense intimacy needs in order to create and maintain more stable or flexible alliances with other women.

6. Learn to Ask for what you want; Learn to Move On If You Don't Get What You Want.
A woman must be encouraged to put what she wants into words, to ask for it directly rather than waiting for someone to guess what it is she wants. If a woman cannot get what she wants, she does not have to blame herself, give up, disconnect, or become enraged. She must learn that she can get what she wants another day or at another job or with another person. Women must be encouraged to move on as well as to stay the course.

7. Do Not Gossip.
Do not initiate gossip about another woman; if you hear gossip, do not pass it on. Let it stop with you. It's perfectly all right to talk about a woman when she is not present as long as she is someone you like, love, care about, and if what you are saying will not damage her reputation or ruin her life. It is not all right to punish and sabotage another woman whom you may envy or fear by slandering her or by turning other women against her.

8. No Woman Is Perfect: Apologize When You've Made a Mistake and Then Move On.
If you behave badly, apologize directly and move on. Cut yourself some slack and cut the next woman some slack too. If she has slandered or sabotaged you, talk to her about it directly; deal with it quickly. Do not let it fester.

9. Treat Women Respectfully.
Finally, even if we disagree with another woman, we must do so respectfully, kindly. We must cultivate the concept of an "honourable opponent". We should not automatically demonize our opponents or competitors. Women are not obligated to "love" or "hate" each other. We do not even need to "like" each other. I am suggesting that women treat each other in a civilized manner. Finally, women might learn how to thank other women for each small act of kindness--as opposed to expecting everything from other women and being angry when we don't get it.