Day 20


Day 20 of the 30 Day writing challenge is: post about three celebrity crushes.

Okay this could take me a while because I don’t really have any crushes on anybody, celebrity or otherwise.

When I was a kid I did, I guess, so that will have to do. In no particular order:

Davy Jones, Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy. Yes I am that old lol

Which leads me to add also in no particular order, Morgan Freeman (the brilliant soulful human actor) and the late David Bowie (brilliant at everything).

See? Told you I’m old.

 

 

Old Groves

somewhere between

ocean fragrant breezes

and flexing

whispering trees

my own language

faltered

altered

triggering unease

 

all that pain

she fired at me

because she hurts

too much to see

all that pain

she won’t let near

so Invested in serving

her anger muffled ear

pain never mine

misplaced wrath hers to heal

her peace will come only

when she lets herself feel

 

still learning

me too

how to gratefully

bow away

to write only on sea winds

words I vowed

never again

to say

 

(c) Janni Styles

 

 

 

 

Day 18 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge

Day 18 is: Post 30 Facts about yourself. Well, well, well. Wouldn’t that be giving up on being mysterious? Hah! As if. Not one to mince words nor do I care for mystery, bullocks to that, let’s just keep it real, lol, so here goes.

  1. My love of dogs once gave me nightmares when I worked to rescue them from vivisection and could not raise enough funds to save them all.
  2. Since I was a little girl I have yelled about injustice or unfairness, at parents, teachers, whoever, I think it’s in my blood because I cannot seem to stop lol
  3. If I could be a fictional character I would be Lisbeth Salander, love her strength, intelligence and sense of justice.
  4. I love strong spirited women who are honorable, no two faced gossip crap, just straight up loyally supportive as humans should be.
  5. I love strong spirited men who are honorable, no two faced gossip crap, just straight up loyally supportive as humans should be.
  6. I detest people who are rude, wishy washy or who engage in “gang think” to justify their malarky I can’t help calling them out on.
  7. I love vegetables. You may take away the meat or dairy or whatever but I would just die without vegetables.
  8. Ditto for fruit.
  9. People have told me I look like a movie star more than once in my life. (most often these three: Kidman, Streisand, Marilyn)
  10. Climate change is really scaring me. Really scaring me. I do what I can and wish everyone would hurry up and do what they can, too.
  11. I have Fibromyalgia, it runs in my family and is a physically grueling task master.
  12. I have PTSD from a brutal physical assault in 2012, something I never knew much about until I was struck with it.
  13. I don’t believe the number 13 is unlucky at all.
  14. I have a beautiful loving family and long time friends who I would do anything for, their steadfast love and loyalty for me moves me to tears.
  15. I am trying to write another book I think women of all ages will relate to but my energy and pain levels mean this is very slow going. Very slow.
  16. Simple is best, in food, in home, in life, it really is the simple things that make life worth living. Especially simple kindness.
  17. My musical tastes are eclectic.
  18. I like to drive at night time, it is quieter, there is far less traffic, the moody moon and glimmering stars my guides.
  19. I no longer own a car so number 18 may not happen anymore lol
  20. I hold an Interior Design Diploma I never really used because encouraging people to buy new when old still works sticks it to the climate.
  21. I am not afraid of anyone or anything. Not even of death. I will be dead so I won’t care lol
  22. The world is in such chaos at the moment, I take sanctuary whenever I can by the sea, church of all churches in my opinion.
  23. I once worked with victims of violence but did not think I was one myself. Violence takes many, many forms.
  24. I believe if we are constantly seeking peace we will never find it, being at peace wherever we are is where peace lives.
  25. Many have mocked my writing but were very pleased to know me when I was published or won awards for it. Art changes lives, writing is art.
  26. Baths are one of my favorite ways to ease my stresses, even watching the water go down the drain, taking away all that stress.
  27. Sleep is something I often struggle for but, if pain allows, I can sleep 11 or 12 hours straight, catching up on those “short” sleeps I guess, lol
  28. My favorite color is white. Then pink. Then blue. No my wardrobe and home do not resemble a nursery lol
  29. Walking is one of my favorite things to do. With the right shoes on my rare good day I feel like I could just walk forever and ever.
  30. My ideal life would be in a humble, pretty home near the sea with energy enough to write out all these books living in my head.

Day 17

 

 

Day 17 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge: Post about your zodiac sign and whether or not it fits you.

My Zodiac sign is only the moment I was born, the full rendering of my chart revealed that I am influenced by many signs:

  • Cancer appears frequently in my chart which fits my love of “nesting” and making all things pretty at home. It also fits my emotional and sensitive side, “feeling” too much has always been very overwhelming for me since childhood.
  • Libra represents my love of balance and harmony and explains why I am so “thrown” when things are out of whack, planets, people, you name it.
  • Aries is where my driven nature resides or, at least, used to. Youthful energies achieved much in my life but, as Aries also go, it could never be enough lol
  • Taurus shows my love of serene environments and beautiful settings. Arts, music and all things relationship live here for me.
  • Gemini means two of me so that worked, that’s how I got all those Aries things done lol
  • Sagittarius represents my unquenchable thirst for knowledge. As a life long learner, I try to learn something new every day and adore reading.
  • Pisces always has one foot in fantasy and this has served my creativity very well from writing to arts and interior design.

More detailed explanation with elements:

Fire signs: Aries, Sagittarius = passionate, dynamic, fiery

Earth Signs: Taurus = grounded, stable, loyal

Air Signs: Gemini, Libra = ideas, motion, action

Water signs: Cancer, Pisces = emotional, intuitive, dreamer

If you limit yourself to reading only the sign you were born under, you may miss a whole other realm of who you really are because no sign is perfect on it’s own. Having a chart done is a cool way to get the “whole picture” and I believe there are some online sites that will help with that, not sure if they are free or not but might be worth checking out if you are curious about your “whole astrological self.”

To answer the challenge, yes, all my signs and corresponding elements “fit me” lol

 

Day 15

Day 15 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge: Bullet Point Your Whole Day

  1. awoke
  2. opened blinds
  3. opened balcony door to welcome cool, fresh morning air
  4. made a coffee, drank it while reading bits from “Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  5. had to rest for a bit
  6. checked social media accounts, shared hopeful posts of “impeachment”
  7. sent message to someone struggling
  8. rested again
  9. answered unusual knock on door (buzzer in apt building)
  10. see RCMP
  11. started shaking, thought they were here to tell me someone else has died
  12. couldn’t stop shaking for a long time after, thank you PTSD (NOT)
  13. they were looking for my neighbour, hmmmm, should I be nervous
  14. answered text messages from loved ones to calm my trembling
  15. rested again
  16. emptied dishwasher and put dirty dishes in, wait, there were no dirty dishes, yet, lol
  17. washed face with beautiful gift of handmade soap, applied sunscreen and told myself I will go walk for a bit, if I have the energy
  18. opened blog to do this challenge and first answered kind commenters on prior posts
  19. rested again
  20. niece needs help, answered her request
  21. sitting with nephews for two hours, rather, they will “sit” me, lol, big boys they are now, good thing because my “littles” skills are no longer lol
  22. trying to get this post done before I fade away altogether, can rest the whole two hours boys are here
  23. haven’t eaten yet, that may help with the energy but what do you eat when you feel like nothing? Somebody cook for me please lol
  24. brought dried tops in from balcony drier, put damp things out to finish drying
  25. rested again
  26. thought about book I am trying to write but so overwhelming just had to say as Aria said “not today”
  27. thought about going down to fetch mail but legs are just too wobbly right now and vertigo is not helping, maybe later
  28. only half way through the day and I need to rest again
  29. opting to bullet point only half of my day here, no point boring you further
  30. That’s it, day 15 done, off to rest, hope you are having a pleasant day!

Day 14

Day 14 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge: Post movies you never tire of watching. Here are a few movies I love in no particular order:

The Red Violin

It’s a Wonderful Life

Forrest Gump

Cider House Rules

Mermaids

The Pianist

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

On Golden Pond

To Kill a Mockingbird

Steel Magnolias

The Deer Hunter

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Glass Castle

Dances with Wolves

The Best Years of Our Lives

Dolores Claiborne

Braveheart

Guardians of the Galaxy

What are some of yours?

 

 

Day 13 of 30 Day Writing Challenge

Something I am excited about.

Okay, as a writer mind, I am excited to be writing again. When those periods of “non-writing” strike as they often do whether from illness or a lack of inspiration, I always think I will never write again. Then, when I find myself able to, I am reminded once again that this is a temporary state for most writers. I have books living in my head that I am excited about writing. Word by word, I will get there. Thank you for reading and happy writing. What are you excited about?

Day 12 of 30 Day Writing Challenge

Five Blessings in My Life:

Children who love me deeply and tell me so for over four decades now. Wait. They aren’t really children anymore lol.

Relatives who “get me” – loving my relations, we know who we are. And aren’t, lol

A home, humble though it may be my home is the most safe, peaceful home I have ever known in my life.

The sea, living near the sea reminds me that you can take your troubles to the shore and by the time you leave, the waves will have lapped them all up.

My health, I have  some challenges but am ever so grateful that is all they are.

Love. I know this is a given as a blessing but had to add it because the love I have and know in my life is greater than anything I have experienced before.

There’s my baker’s half dozen, lol. 6 for the price of 5. Thanks for reading, wishing you a pretty day.

 

 

 

Day 11

Day 11 of the 30 day writing challenge: Something that you always think “what if” about.

Again, so much to choose from so here you go:

“What if they knew the truth?”

“What if God is only in our minds?”

“What if raindrops really were Gods teardrops?”

“What if aliens are already here, trying to help us?”

“What if you forget to brush your teeth?”

“What if the last thing you ever get to say is I love you?”

“What if you try your best and it is still not good enough?”

“What if all those years you thought you wasted were educating you to help others free themselves?”

“What if climate change is reversible if we get busy on it right now?”

“What if climate change isn’t reversible no matter how busy we get right now?”

“What if we are already in Revelations?”

That’s 11. Brain hurts. 11 for day 11 is my quota.

Okay. One more for the road.

“What if the last thing you ever get to hear is I love you?”

 

 

Day 10 of 30 Day Writing Challenge

Another one that opens up endless possibilities: Write about something for which you feel strongly.

Since I was recently asked to write about the plight of abused children being used by sex traffickers and pedophiles, I will say I feel strongly about protecting children. My voice may not amount to much out there but since I agreed to do this a while back I recently started a series on here toward that goal, and will be sharing more as time progresses. It is my firm belief that “turning away,” “excusing” and “shame blaming” have held many abused people emotional hostage to these crimes right through their adulthood. If we can raise awareness not just in practical terms of educating children to what “danger” may look like but also in sharing what parents should keep an eye out for, I think that would be of service. And what are we here for if not to be of service. A dear long time friend says humans have a tendency to put most tough topics in the “too hard basket” and leave them there. I hope that won’t be the case for my series. I hope it will help or save at least one child somewhere from a nightmarish existence. Watch for my next piece in this series, it is based on a powerful real life situation and I hope my friend’s piece will be a warning bell for everyone using social media.

 

 

Day 9 of 30 Day Writing Challenge

Words of wisdom that speak to me:

“I must be a mermaid, I have no fear of depth and a great fear of shallow living.” Anais Nin

“He meant well.” Christy Logan, character from Margaret Laurence’s “The Diviners”

“Once you witness an injustice, you are no longer a spectator, you are a participant and you have an obligation to do something.” ~June Callwood

 

 

 

 

Day 6 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge

 

Day 6 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge: 5 Ways to Win My Heart

  1. Be polite. Manners really matter to me. If you are rude, it tells me you are someone I should probably avoid. Nobody in this world needs more rude and especially not those of us who are kind and mannerly toward others. It’s called reciprocity. Mannerly people are a lovely uplifting breed of humans I adore.
  2. Be genuine. “Take me as I am” is a rigid statement that usually means your way or the highway and that’s abusive. No thanks. Ditto for if you are only kind when people can “see” you. Genuine people who are truly themselves really make me feel happy about being human and about humankind.
  3. Be affectionate. Show you care and tell people you love them, life is so short and today may be your last chance. If you are reading this I love you. We may not know each other in the real world but I love that you care enough to read my posts and therefore I love and appreciate you. Thank you.
  4. Never assume. I have a really hard time with people who “assume.” Assumers tend to get all jacked up over nothing and leave me asking “how did you get way over THERE from here?” They usually don’t even know themselves because assuming is direct evidence of errant judgement in the first place. I avoid assumers. People who ask questions thrill me. It shows they care enough to find out the facts for themselves and that is a wonderful human quality.
  5. Don’t be a grudge bearer. Grudge bearers only hurt themselves. I have seen countless lives wasted, steeped in years or entire lives of anger over something that didn’t even warrant getting so upset about in the first place. Whenever I meet a grudge bearer, I steer clear. Not my way, not my thing and not my people. It’s one thing to have a difference with someone but quite another to stew your life away over it. I will never be willing to do that with my life, thank the Gods and Angels. Fair minded communicators who sit down at the table to sort through things in a caring, kind manner win my heart every time. Talking is a very good thing to do.

That’s it, day 6 is done. Funny how I doubted the writing challenge would work. Now I am finding it is getting me writing again. I start thinking and then write more than intended. All good since I was too ill to do much of anything last year. Nothing terminal, thank goodness, so here I am back at it. Thanks always for reading. See you soon.

 

 

 

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 5

List 5 places you want to visit.

Machu Picchu – since I first learned of this magical place in school when I was 8 years old in grade 3, I have long been fascinated by the prospect of standing where so many ancestors once stood. Apart from the amazing and challenging topography navigated to erect the architecture, the location itself is, to me, a place of beauty and wonder with a mystic attraction unparalleled by any other location on Earth.

Nova Scotia – I have not visited Nova Scotia since childhood and while much has changed, my relatives and roots there have not. Would love to reconnect with all of my wonderful relatives there and spend time with them before we all become too old, too infirm or worse. Sigh. Hoping this will somehow become possible sooner rather than later. New Brunswick, too, such loving family I have there who I have not seen since childhood. Did not list it separately because it is beside NS.

Ontario – For the same reasons as Nova Scotia.

The Bermuda Triangle – my father was fascinated by this area and perhaps it is nostalgia driving this one but there it is, it intrigues me, too.

Europe – for the history, the charm, the art, the architecture, the people.

 

Day 4 of 30 Day Writing Challenge

Day four of the challenge is “Write about someone who inspires you.”

Oh my sweet Lord, how can I ever narrow it down to just one?  So many admirable souls have achieved so much for so many. This is truly challenging.

Here goes.

Maya Angelou has long inspired me and not just for her beautiful life observations, quotes and writings. Maya suffered horrible abuses in her earlier years and turned that pain into wonderful, moving ways to help others, inspire and give hope to people by always making a difference in every life she touched. Whether as poet, speaker, author, journalist, dancer or singer, Angelou’s activism was evident in all she achieved and she even said once it is her “duty to speak up for everyone.” The title of her autobiographical book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” compelled a question during a filmed interview where Maya was asked, “Why does the caged bird sing?” Maya calmly answered, “Because it must.”

“The caged bird sings because it must.”

Oh how that resonates with my heart and always will. This is why I will never stop “writing the wrongs” as long as my health permits. Because I must.

Jean Vanier is no longer with us either but his outstanding life’s work lives on. He was equally as moving and effective as Angelou at inspiring people to achieve goodness especially for those who cannot speak for themselves, people with developmental disabilities. As a humanitarian philosopher and theologian, Jean received many awards but those pale in comparison to the profound life long effect his work had and still has on so many around the world. The first book I ever read by Jean is called “Becoming Human” and I believe it should be required reading for all human beings. What a better world it would be if we all lived his words.

Okay, I made it. Starting to really fatigue out though so that’s it for now. Hope you are enjoying your day as much as I enjoyed thinking about and writing of two of the most inspiring souls I can think of. Who are yours?

 

 

 

Day 3 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge

It is likely obvious by now that I am doing my thirty day writing challenge when I can. Thanks to Fibromyalgia, life stresses and the daily business of life I am obviously not adhering to the notion that this challenge must be done in 30 consecutive days. That said, there is nothing to stop anyone who would like to do so. I just have no choice but to be here when I feel up to it. This minute I feel up to it. So thanks to all for reading and here goes.

Day 3 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge is: What are your top three pet peeves? Just three? Oh no! How will I choose lol Thinking… can you smell the smoke from my burning brain yet 😉

  1. People who blindly believe what others “say.”  It is our human duty to ask questions, dig for facts and draw our own well researched conclusions. If we don’t do that, we are agreeing to absolutely nothing at all because “hearsay” is not evidence and isn’t even admissible in court except under extraordinary circumstances.
  2. The incessant rudeness on the internet. My mother hated it if we behaved rudely nad let us know in no uncertain terms. She would absolutely blow a gasket if she could see the internet today. People flip one another “off” daily. Many don’t even bother to employ the common courtesy of a reply to a simple polite request. The internet seems to be breeding a mass of mannerless, flip, glib and apparently uncaring people who dismiss others in ways they would be ashamed of doing in person. I believe everything has to go full circle and I just can’t wait for this circle of arrogant rudeness to do just that. And I hope if my mom is watching she will give the “rudesters” all a good cuff on the ear. 😉
  3. The ignorance and denial around climate change. While we watch the catastrophic weather, countless fires and melting ice bergs, people are still consuming, consuming, consuming and wasting, wasting, wasting at far higher rates than our planet can take. Last year scientists said we have 12 years to get this right before climate change is irreversible. We are now in year 11 and counting down. I believe we need governments, federal, provincial and local to be on board with measures to address climate change. People laughed off Trudeau’s ban of single use plastics. I am not a die hard fan of his but I don’t laugh because I appreciate that it is one more step in the right direction. We need more of those. A lot more. Fast. And we have to do our parts as individual citizens who can “collectively” help turn this train around. This means buying only what is “truly needed,” buying second hand, reducing household waste, walking or biking instead of driving, basically just becoming far more “conscious” of how we are each contributing to the problem and change those habits to ensure our loved ones and their children all have a habitable planet to reside on.

 

 

 

 

Salad Matters

you look out the

window

of your life

a summer supper of endive salad

with tomatoes

plucked fresh

from patio planters

the daily exchange

of health hurdles

with neighbors

semi annual visits

from duty bound kids

pictures on the computer

of grandchildren

you once met

no more big houses

no more car

no more travelling

no more work

you ask yourself

am I?

Was I?

the weather

watching

a daily event

too hot

too cold

too much rain

not enough rain

am I

the stretching of pennies

never matching the rising

groceries

the watering

of hanging

flower baskets

between

plucking spent leaves

where did I go?

Was I just an

extension

a fringe benefit

in other’s lives

Was I?

Was I ever?

You grab your jacket

and head out

to run errands

on foot

because you

still can

I am!

This is all

that really matters

(c) Janni Styles

The Alchemy of Noise deserves to be on your summer reading list!

“The Alchemy of Noise” by Lorraine Devon-Wilke is a timely story I hope screen writers and movie makers will discover and develop. In the pages of this literary work the ride you embark on will make you stop and think more than once.  The “Alchemy of Noise” is a heart wrenching yet inspirational read as the characters inner lives leave us questioning our own role in dividing or unifying human beings.

Almost poetic in some passages, Devon-Wilke weaves “The Alchemy of Noise” with an intelligent pen of compassion and soulfulness. Her characters are all relatable as you find yourself transported inside the torn social fabric of our contemporary world to first person perspectives of family matters, addiction, police brutality and racism.

https://www.amazon.com/Alchemy-Noise-Lorraine-Devon-Wilke/dp/163152559X

While reading I felt such frustration on Chris’s behalf I yelled out loud just as I have been known to do at a movie where I felt the story so strongly. Overcome with anger or utter sadness just as in real life when witnessing injustice, I was so hopefully invested I finished the book in a mere two days. As a woman I relate to protagonist Sidonie in a thousand ways:  her work life, her love life, her family, her human needs. As a life-long activist I relate to Vanessa’s passion for justice and grew to love her for her fighting spirit alone. As a human witnessing racial injustice in the world, I hurt for her, her family, her “sisters” in the trenches, her brother and so many others in the world suffering the injustice of “white privilege.”Chris is such an easy man to love, he is a shining example for men and women alike in my opinion because his way of walking in balance, not anger, is so admirable, so honourable. No more spoilers here, you have to read for yourself to see exactly who I am talking about and what ultimately happens to each of them.

The day I finished reading “The Alchemy of Noise” a post appeared in my social media feed that shocked me: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/white-campground-manager-fired-after-pulling-a-gun-on-a-black-couple/  The gun toting woman was fired from her job, thankfully. Still, this incident is one of many similar injustices still happening daily in 2019. Yes, I said 2019, not 1920. Devon-Wilke poignantly brings this social crisis of racism to light with even-handed examples of human disconnection and the quiet, enduring power of love.

From the challenge of loving narrow minded relations to finding love without trust impossible no matter your race or level of privilege, this book is rich with raw human experience.  Deftly executed with grace and the author’s own keen sensibilities, the story left me wishing it would never end. It is well-paced with moments of epiphany that had me feeling I was not just a reader but part of the story. In some way, we all are.  Every single one of us can take responsibility for changing history for the better, lessons of yesterday are a chance to improve, to hate less, love more and a chance to be at peace with all people.

In my mind Devon-Wilke’s work is right up there with the movie “Crash.” My hunch is “The Alchemy of Noise” would make a block buster movie or a most deserving series with the much needed reminder that we are not separate as human beings, we are one huge “human race.”

https://www.amazon.com/Alchemy-Noise-Lorraine-Devon-Wilke/dp/163152559X

(c) Janni Styles

#summerreading #summerbooks #books #summer #worthreading #brilliantbook

Downsizing, Decluttering and Doing Better With Less

A decade ago when I walked away from my more than three decades of marriage I found it challenging to down size my belongings and wound up leaving a lot of things behind. I left him all the house equity, the new truck, most of the three bedroom house full of furniture and many other joint belongings. I didn’t care about many of those things because they represented a life I wanted to leave behind. What got to me were the sentimental things, the photo albums, the family keepsakes collected over the years and my beloved books. How was I ever going to part with my hundreds of books?

Well, I will tell you. I parted with many of them book by book. When storing many of these things at my former marriage home was no longer an option, I took what I could stuff into my one bedroom apartment and drove the rest to the thrift store. Book by book. Ornament by ornament.

My years of dabbling in Interior Design after earning my Interior Design Diploma saw me building collections of textiles from zippered cushion covers to draperies and bedding, cabinet hardware as well as scads of different styles of art. It wasn’t hard to find storage for these items while living in a house. There was always a spare room, a large shed or garage and ample crawl space. Condensing a house full of memories and things I loved down to a one bedroom apartment didn’t happen overnight. It took me quite a few years to get it right.

The funny thing is I didn’t plan it, I just inched into it as changes in my life occurred and decisions had to be made. Like many of the jobs I have held in my life, I just seemed to land in the situation I needed to, learning to declutter by coming into it all sideways. That was how downsizing and decluttering happened for me. It was little by little and as I went along, I really began to see just how much mental, emotional and physical real estate these things were costing me to keep.

At first I was a bit angry that I had to even consider getting rid of so many things I had collected over the years. Then as I drove car load after car load to the thrift store, it seemed I could see clearer and clearer with each trek. What had befuddled me and torn me in half to think of parting with became an easy call as I realized what really mattered to me. The more I had to do it, the easier it became.

For a few years I lived in a two bedroom apartment but the square footage was actually less than my previous one bedroom suite. Recently I had to move again, not by choice but a serendipitous move for me it was. You see, I had to downsize again because I am now in a studio suite that simply will not contain all the things I once owned.

My photo albums matter to me so I have all twenty of those with me. Some books I know I can never part with including all those with my mother’s hand writing in them when she gifted them to me and a collection of literary classics she gave me in my thirties. I was able to pass on to beloved young family members some treasures and gifted other young loved ones with some books and furniture they could use or sell if they wished. It felt a bit like coming full circle to be giving these things away and  not feeling badly about it in any way. My emotional ties were not severed, they just weren’t involved in the practicalities of it all. It was as if my higher self knew this was the right thing to do for all concerned.

My clothes closet was another story altogether. I had hundreds of hangers, over a hundred pairs of shoes and I bet you I had 20 black dresses. When I knew I was moving to a studio apartment near the sea, I knew I would no longer have two closets. My new apartment has very little storage. Off to the thrift store again I went with bags and bags of clothes and shoes I had not worn in years. I whittled it down each week until I was left with 15 hangers not including coats or jackets. This was a massive downsize for me. Gone were the desert boots I hardly wore, the spiky silver sandals I bought for a wedding and never wore again. Gone were all the black dresses save one because, I now know, one is all I really need. Same for my drawers. I had three dressers and am down to one with only what I need in it. And, oddly enough,  some days that still feels like too much.

I think it feels like too much because it is still needy, still needs care, maintenance, cleaning and still takes up valuable real estate. This is the way I view “things” in my life now. I have to really really love it. Or need it. Or I can live without it. I know this now because I am doing it and happily so. Having too many things can absorb a lot of time and that doesn’t make me feel happy. I know many who declutter talk about the sense of freedom. I don’t know that I would call it freeing but it certainly frees up a lot of valuable time. I remember a friend who was downsizing years ago saying “If I have to dust it, I can live without it.” At the time I couldn’t understand her thinking. Now, some twenty odd years later, I get it. She was right. If I have to dust it, clean it, maintain it, store it or otherwise spend my valuable time on it, I don’t need it.

Doing better with less wasn’t something I planned but I am grateful for it because I now look for ways to continue living minimally. Have you ever had to downsize or declutter? How did you handle it and what did you learn about yourself in the process?

When Home Is Not Where the Heart Is

Where we live can make us very, very ill. High pollution areas are treacherous for those with asthma or any other breathing disorder. And nobody will ever forget Julia Roberts in the movie “Erin Brokovich.” Many “Erin Brokovich” folks are working hard daily to improve living conditions for many around the world. But what about not knowing that where you are living is making you sick until after you move? This is exactly what happened to me.

When I first found my last place to live I was excited because it meant I would be moving back to an area I had once lived in for 15 years so I knew it well and was looking forward to living closer to people I love. Living near those I love worked well for those four plus years because it meant no long drives for dear ones to visit me daily or on weekends, easy access for getting together for errands or outings and celebrations. But the joy stopped there unbeknownst to me until my recent move to a new above ground apartment near the sea.

The suite I rented for over four years was in a mansion, around the side gate, along a walk to the back of the house with a pretty yard to a staircase 15 steps down into the ground. No problem, I told myself, I am able so the walk and stairs are no biggie and not seeing any trees or green would force me into going out more. Or so I thought. The windows looked out on a 15 foot high concrete wall. No problem, I told myself, as I gathered “fake greenery” and fashioned a “drape” of it to hang on the concrete wall outside my main (and only) window in the kitchen/living room. The area had only one park nearby and it was not a proper park, just a play pad for tiny tots, really. No problem, I told myself, I have a car, I will drive to parks and green space more often. A dear friend came to see my last suite when I rented it and said, “I just wish you had more windows.” No problem, I told myself, I will just “whiten, lighten and brighten” up the space with paint and fabrics.

As life would have it the area had “devolved” into what I said it would eventually, a ghetto, if the city did not control the negative growth and high influx of criminal elements. They didn’t. In time, I realized with all the deaths of innocent people due to stray bullets of gang violence, the daily crime and the accompanying drug addicts and other unseemly traffic in the area, the area was nothing like it once was when I had lived there for 15 years in the first home I ever owned. No problem, I told myself, I won’t go out at night alone anymore. The problem with that idea was that I was soon too nervous to go out in the day anymore either with the high crime in the area, the addicts dogging you for money or trying to steal your purse as happens almost daily near the bus exchange now, the stray bullets causing almost monthly elementary school lock downs and crack heads tweaking out crazily in broad daylight on the street right outside my house. It was no longer the peaceful, pretty and safe community I had left all those years ago and likely never will be again.

Staying home more was okay. At first. No problem, I told myself, I will just write more. I had no way of knowing that the stresses were already taking their tole with such force that I would soon be in far too much pain and much too ill to write let alone do my own self care. I even stopped writing altogether as the physical side of me started deteriorating so rapidly.

One month into my new apartment I was surprised to see my nails were returning to their former pink glory from the grey, whitish look they’d had and the fragility of rice paper was diminishing. As I type this I can feel my nails which I could not for the past couple of years because they simply would not grow or what tiny growth they had was quickly torn away by the merest of task. This has ceased. I also noticed my hair was dulling in color, looking very unhealthy and falling out a lot at the old place. Aging, I told myself, just aging, soon you will need to buy a hair dye from the drug store, that’s all. Just over a month in my new place and my hair is lustrous, the hairbrush is back to normal instead of enough hair to build a blanket every time I use it and the color has returned. Yes returned. Best of all, I am no longer living in the bathroom. I spent over a year being so ill with my intestinal disorder that doctors recently found has naturally worsened with age. Little did I know that all the stresses of adjusting to my former neighborhood were the greatest triggers for worsening this disorder which resulted in losing over 50 pounds last year. I no longer have to stay home near a bathroom. The only sad thing about it the weight is I could stand not to gain it all back but it is slowly creeping it’s way up. Still, it is a good news situation.

I did nothing extraordinary. I was under no new treatment from any source. I simply moved away from the place that was making me so sick. I am getting better and better every single day. Once when I lived where there was black mold my asthma railed daily and I had to buy very expensive air purifiers just to breathe. That, however, was far more obvious. “Black mold” to me now is any place that does not contribute to our well being. If we are in a job or living in a place that is “black mold” to the heart, soul and mind, we need to address that as best we can to put ourselves in a position of joy. Not everyone can instantly change where they live or their work but we can do small things to improve the situation for ourselves until we can make the big changes that will nourish our soul once again.

If someone had told me that where I live was making me so sick, I had to get out of there, I would have argued with them and said no, it’s just aging, it’s just my body, it’s just life. Nobody did. Nobody ever asked me if where I lived might be affecting my psyche and therefore, my physical health. Nobody knew. I didn’t even know. Until I moved.

For me, it has been like getting my whole life back, having a new chance to live again instead of slowly die as my mind, spirit and body were obviously doing where I was. They say we should never say never but I know one thing for sure: I will never willingly live down in a cave or bunker style home in a crime ridden area again. It nearly killed me the first time and I’m not going to assist in that if I can help it. Each day as I gain back more strength and feel less pain, I realize how much where we live can deeply and even gravely affect us.

Painting all my furniture white and using light fabrics did absolutely nothing to “lift” the heaviness of living in such oppressive darkness where now in my new apartment with a view and the sea right out the front door, my pretty fabrics and white furnishings fairly glow. Just before Christmas when I was watching the children of a young thirty something woman I used to provide daycare for myself, her two sons entered my old place and the six year old said, “How can you live here, you can’t even see when the sun is shining!” Indeed, wise child, indeed.

Have you ever lived where it was not good for your well being? How did you cope until you could move?

(c) Janni Styles

Voices are Vital: Silence Changes Nothing

Many of you already know my story and while it is not the prettiest, I am one of the lucky ones and I know it.

I have a nice, peaceful life filled with many people who love me and appreciate me just exactly as I am which is just exactly how it should be for all of us. Sadly, it too often isn’t so for many. A recent spate of young women dying at the hands of their partners has me talking about these matters again and I know you’ve heard this before, too, but with that innate sense of justice I can never seem to shake since childhood I am compelled to share yet again:

“Once you witness an injustice, you are no longer an observer but a participant.” ~ June Callwood

A dear friend recently interviewed me for her blog and I would like to share that interview with you. So many angels lifted me through those awful years after the assault and Lisa was one of those kind souls who was a bright guiding light on some of my darkest nights. I failed to mention in that interview that I am working on a book I hope to have published by 2020 at the latest, please God and the Angels who watch over me. If it seems I am meandering a bit, I am but not without intent. I mention my story again as a trigger warning because in this interview I talk about what happened to me again.

Recently I stated this “If we stop talking about what must stop happening, it will never stop happening.” This is why we must never stop voicing the truth and keeping it front and center.

Facts can be hard for some to take but for others, they are a sign of hope, a sign of strength and a sign that they, too, can have a better life. On that note, I will say goodnight and share with you my recent interview, enjoy:

Celebrating Women: Janni

 

 

The Travelers

I am not a well traveled person

Unless you count human hearts

Those I’ve traversed in numbers

Proved loving among fine arts

 

So many electric connections

So many eclectic perfections

 

Time building loyal bonds

Over miles of emotions’ dark night

Down back roads of human minds

Shared relief in laughter’s early light

 

So many winding paths to wander

So many heart seasons to ponder

 

Entire mountain ranges undone

Stone by vast heavy stone

When wearied hearts thought

Themselves battling all alone

 

So much love from so many

How can some not have any?

 

My stories aren’t of destinations

No photos of grand places I’ve been

I’ve been to the heavens of hearts

To places that are felt not seen

 

If tomorrow should I fall

I’ve done the best travel of all

 

My stories are of navigating souls

Who loved me pure as I they

Souvenirs will never line my shelves

Our hearts is where they stay

 

© Janni Styles

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rose Series: Hearts

some roses are born to love

some live just to poke holes

they are the misery dwellers

you must stay away from those

some roses are born for the love

they won’t let their thorns prick

hurting other roses so foreign

mere thought leaves them feeling sick

some roses were born of pure love

giving safety, protection and lift

they know all roses can live out this love

you just have to give away your gift

(c) Janni Styles

 

The Bike Series: Tilda

Matilda was born to a dirt poor clan in the great depression. She survived it all to tell of times when she finally “made it,” of not having to scrape for every bite of food anymore and of those times when she was without a man. “Of course,” she’d say, “back then you were nothing without a man.” In as many words she explained why so many women had “settled,” including herself. There was no one or nothing to fault. It was just the way in those times. Oh well, she’d say,  I burned three men out, they all died on me so that’s enough of that for me. Tilda, as those of us fond of her liked to call her, danced every Saturday night at the dance hall right up to the weekend before she peacefully passed in her pretty bed in the little two bedroom bungalow she had lived in for fourty years, the last twenty of those years happily on her own.  My memory of her always goes immediately to a pair of red leather lace up almost knee-high boots. She just had to have them when she saw them in a store despite the hefty price tag. She was already seventy by then. Even in her eighties she tied those boots on as often as she could. Tilda with her walker to stabilize herself, prancing through the mall showing off her red boots as if she wasn’t a minute over twenty. I still think of her from time to time, how she started life on such a rickety bike but by God, she knew how to ride.

(c) Janni Styles

The Rose Series: Arosen

Gathering the firstborn in her folds:

Oh petal, whyever do you cry?

No sad tears

Mother Superior

teacher to inferior

keeper of interior

internal contusion

years of confusion

a healing rosalution

No, this is not sorrow

escaping my learned eye

dark hearted flowers

said I couldn’t do it

it is for them I cry

they cannot see we are

born winged to fly.

(c) Janni Styles

The Rose Series: Sister Rose

As a child Sister Rose wanted to be a true sister in every sense. To serve the Lord, what more could be so pure? As a ten year old she was often left with four children not her own who she cooked for, cleaned for and kept safe from harm. Well, as safe as any child herself could until at age eleven it all became too much for her wee mind and she tried to exit the world. The angels kept her here, they told her you cannot cross over yet, who will the little ones turn to if you are gone? The child rearing and caring drove Sister Rose to breaking commandments, to stealing food to feed those four hungry mouths. That is what a good and pure sister would do, wouldn’t she? Commandments aren’t always to be heeded are they? Again it became all too much and thirteen found her nearly dead. Again the angels said, you are needed, you are not finished your life’s work yet.  Sister Rose spent the greater part of her life serving others, saving others, being there for the hurting, guiding the wayward and rescuing the lost. Don’t tell her about missing out on a safe childhood, the high school prom and such frills of life. Don’t tell her about missing out on those years in the convent getting closer to Godliness. Don’t you dare tell her she does not know who God is. She served as fast as she could learn how, her training and convent the world thrust upon her tiny shoulders years before she was grown enough to know what adult shortcomings meant. And all this long before she ever learned the meaning of intrepid.

(c) Janni Styles

The River Runner

one slippery rock

slid me barefoot

into roaring turbulence

ankles yanked by undertow

surface rapids no measure

of rogue currents below

tearing my born will apart

no besting a black river heart

frozen over cold

too hard to think too much

thoughts of home and kin and heaven

and of shores I could not touch

mind succumbs envisioning

one lonesome rocking chair

half love no love at all

one wing dangling in clear air

brain numbs, body slams

against herds of wordless boulders

everywhere glass shoulders

I clung

for every

breath

I clung for

very life

hurling over the falls

that left me

nearly dead

Oh, that almighty river

I rode

a long mapped

bloodless vein

inside

your blighted head

(c) Janni Styles

The Rose Series: Light Blooms

Oh Primroses! Oh Primroses!

Breaking winter’s back

Hardened earth will not stay you

Nor the brilliance you pack

One beacon of perfection

One harbinger of spring

Your gentle hearted openings

Of which the angels sing

Cold hoary frosts forgotten

Growing joyful by osmosis

Burdens fall from velvet shoulders

OhPrimroses! Oh Primroses!

(c) Janni Styles

 

 

 

 

Living with PTSD: How does it feel inside?

Let me tell you a little secret about PTSD. It is pretty much invisible just like the Fibromyalgia and Vertigo I also live with. So when you meet me you think I look just fine, what could possibly be wrong with me? What you don’t know about me and my daily struggle with PTSD is plenty. Happen if I share a bit here, it might help others who are living in the same invisible boat with me.

  1. Sounds overwhelm me. If I am in a room or area where loud music is playing and people are talking, I have to really work on not fleeing panic stricken from the area or room. You can’t see this but my heart pounds up into my throat and I have to calm myself and count my breaths when I can take them as a soothing mechanism.
  2. Sights overwhelm me. Social media is the absolute worst. Everything is busy busy busy flashing flashing flashing. And a lot of it is just me me me or ugly ugly ugly. Sometimes it is all I can do to just get in and get out. I don’t use very much social media. I only put quotes on Instagram, I don’t like Facebook either but so many long distance friends and family are there, I can’t quit them and Twitter is okay but can overwhelm with toxicity pretty fast. So I have to dash in, dash out. Or my head starts aching.
  3. Sometimes under stress I hold my breath. I don’t even realize I am doing it until I hear myself take a huge gasp of air in.
  4. Loud voices are very disturbing. I can’t handle them and really, unless I am in the path of a train there is no need for a loud voice around me.
  5. Change is overwhelming.  All change. But even on a daily routine level, I need my things to stay in their places so I don’t confuse or panic because I cannot find something. Safety is good. If things are not in their place, I feel unsafe.
  6. Noise is bad for me, very bad. If the television is on, the fan is on, there are outside noises and somebody plays another noise on their phone or computer, I could just about scream. Quiet is soothing. Quiet is my friend, noises are too much for my mind. One noise at a time or none at all is my preference.
  7. People I have known for decades get angry when I don’t recognize them in a public setting. In my overwhelmed mind, if things and people aren’t exactly where they should be, I lose the ability to recognize familiar faces. A neighbor chastised me years ago, said, I was waving like a maniac and you just went by as if you didn’t even know me. A friend’s father I’ve known for nearly two decades was in a grocery store I visited. I nearly jumped out of my skin when he said Hi, Janni. I whipped around and stared up at him, the fear on my face registering with him because he said, “I’m Brenda’s dad, Vern, remember?” I could have wept with relief. Bless his heart for seeing what others so often miss.
  8. Telling a person who has PTSD to just calm down or get over it is abusive. They have enough to contend with without being abused for something they did not ask for.
  9. Multi tasking is no longer an option for me. I overwhelm so easily if even trying to juggle two simple tasks. Best I slog along at a snails pace doing tasks one at a time. It means everything takes me so much longer than it used to. But it also means I don’t overwhelm and become immobilized.
  10. Too much information is really too much for me. If you talk too fast or dump a ton of information on me, I will never remember it and when people do that, it doesn’t even sound like they are speaking English to me. I had to have a note put on my account at the bank stating I have PTSD and to please speak slowly and clearly. This was done years ago right after the physical assault that left me with PTSD. I never asked them to remove that note and likely never will because the day I had to ask for it, the clerk was talking so fast and not hearing that she sounded like gibberish to me, I overwhelmed and cried in the bank in front of God and all the people. The note is my protection because it hasn’t happened since. Elsewhere, yes, but not at the bank.
  11. Stressful situations or people can trigger nightmares for me. If that happens, I awaken feeling as though I haven’t even slept because the nightmares were so terrifying and realistic, they leave me feeling disoriented and shaky. It takes hours to calm down from feeling terrorized by people who want to kill you.
  12. Simple things like asking me if I would like a glass of water can help. Not always. But normalizing behaviors are usually helpful.
  13. When my mind is screaming on overload and people keep coming at me, talking  or making noise when I need quiet, or trying to carry a conversation with me when I am already on the phone, it is so overwhelming, it feels like my brain is flashing and it can’t figure out what to focus on, it just keeps flashing.
  14. Things I learned, books I read, music I listened to are lost to me. Not everything but so many times since the assault, I grope for information I once learned and can no longer access. It is a limitation for me that my mind won’t do what it once did but I press on and try to recall as much as possible.
  15. If you see me shaking like a leaf or unable to speak (right after the assault, I could hardly talk, just stammered a lot), don’t hammer me with “can you hear me?” Instead, say something calming like “I can see you are in distress. Just take your time and go slowly. I can wait.” Recently I was unable to speak and a person practically yelled at me,”Well, you’re not saying anything so I’ll take it you agree.” No. I did not agree. I simply had no voice momentarily.

When people see me out and about they can’t see that it is taking every ounce of push I have to get my errands or appointments done. There is more. Of course there is always more. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can affect humans differently. I think this is enough for an inside look at my invisible PTSD struggle. If you have PTSD or would like to share any PTSD knowledge or experiences, I welcome your input. That’s it for me, Goodnight.

Day 22

Day 22 of the thirty day writing challenge is put your music on shuffle and list the first 10 songs. Well. If I had shuffle I might lol. I listen to the music on my favorite stations or from my CD’s so have no answer for this. Does that mean I don’t accept the challenge? Of course not. It will just be my way. Thinking. So tired. Can’t think of 10 right now. Five will have to do:

Eric Sate: Gymnpoedies 1, 2 and 3

Johann Sebastian Bach: Air

Jackie De Shannon: What the World Needs Now is Love

Norah Jones: Chasing Pirates

Simply Red: Stars

 

Day 21 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge

While I never had biological children of my own, I have mothered many. On mother’s day I received a wonderful greeting from a mother of three children I met as babies who are now age 33-39. The simple, elegant greeting said “Happy Mother’s Day to Janni, a wonderful second mother to my children.” I cried. Many have trusted me with their children over the years which has really been both my pleasure and honor to care for these little humans. Strong bonds were formed making us family to this day. Of course, they are all big people now who include me in their worlds, in their children’s lives as the “honorary auntie.” The honor is truly mine, they are such wonderful people and I was fortunate to be part of their lives. Most of my family are long distance (very long) so I look at these divine gifts as the Universal Mother Creator making sure I didn’t miss out on anything. Now to the 21st day challenge:

What three lessons do you want your children to learn from you? Well, any child I have mothered, here you go:

Even if you don’t feel confident, do it anyway, try anyway, carry on anyway. Life has a funny way of growing your confidence for you if you just try anyway and never give up.

Many times in my life this practice has served me well and “grown” my character and abilities to places I never otherwise would have stretched myself. I guess there is some truth to the concept of “fake it til you make it.” What I know for sure is that I would never have achieved everything I have in my life if I had “stayed too comfortable.” From achieving improvements in childcare and for victims of domestic violence in the justice system to owning my own business and winning awards for my writing, I pushed myself upward and onward as much as possible.That said, I still mentally nag myself daily about not being able to achieve more. That’s a whole other topic, though so I’ll just end this one by saying don’t nag yourself if you gave it your best. Doing the best we can is good enough.

Asking questions is always right and assuming is always wrong.

This phrase is something I have said often over the years. It is vital to apply if you want to avoid wasting a lot of time on “nothing.” “Assumers” often cannot hear a thing we say because it contradicts their own mistaken assumptions. It’s almost as if by defending nonsense, they lend more life to the assumption until it becomes, in their minds, more “real” than the actual facts. We only have to look at the indefensible president at the moment to see how many have “ganged” together in their errant assumptions about his daily proven false MAGA promises. Pride and ego are horrible monsters to serve. The humility of simply asking questions will ensure you don’t wind up in needless disagreements. Sadly, when the right questions are asked and the actual facts come to light, all those “gang thinkers” see they were all worked up, for years in some cases, over absolutely nothing. Please don’t waste your precious life minutes on “nothing.”

When in doubt, err on the side of kindness.

Life has a way of throwing us curve balls and challenges we cannot foresee. Even in the depths of your own daily struggles, stay kind. I truly believe Queen Karma is always watching us and will return in the way in which it went out. Anger and vengeful attitudes suffer like karma, we can see examples of this all around us in the world. Don’t set yourself up for that. No matter how upset you grow or how angry you are at someone, try to remember your kind heart and ask your heart, what should I do? A pure heart never lies. Following your heart will keep you kind and pave the way through obstacles once thought insurmountable. As an example I offer my own situation of being brutally physically assaulted in 2012 by two people I trusted. I was struck into PTSD which I struggle with daily, probably for the rest of my life and I suffered physical injury for over a year after that assault. I thought I hated the people who did that to me. Yet, when they were hungry because Queen Karma changed their lives, I shared what food I had with them. Hate and anger absorb a lot of healthy space in the human body and I believe those toxins make us ill. A wise medical doctor said this to me years ago right after the assault when I cried straight for two years: “If you can’t get a handle on this stress you are going to give yourself cancer.” Always staying kind ensures you never feed these soul eating toxins your goodness.

 

 

Awareness Series 6 Child Rape and Sex Trafficking: Silence is Not An Option

TRIGGER WARNING

When I was first asked to write about Child Rape and Sex Trafficking by a friend who works in the field,  I expected to be able to do more than I have. I had planned to do 10 installments in my attempt to lend a voice and possibly even make a difference for the children hurt in this horrible ages old crime. Or at least make a difference for one single person. Researching and reading to write about this vast and horrible subject has proven grueling. From sex trafficking of children to satanic abuse and senseless murder of innocents, the vastness of these crimes is mind numbing. What I discovered is this:

  • Child sex abuse exists in all socioeconomic levels and in all professions. The world is so saturated with child sexual abuse or child sex trafficking, you only need read the daily headlines from around the world to see that wherever deviant humans are, so is this ugly element of pedophilia. Of course there are the “big” players from the church to the obvious cases like Epstein and cohorts. What we don’t see as much in the news is the other levels of involvement.

 

  • In reading about this vast subject, what stood out sharply was there is no safe place on earth. Parents today really have their work cut out for them in keeping their children safe. These predators are day care workers, neighbors, social workers, politicians, police, judges, doctors, nurses, coaches, teachers, fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, grandparents, celebrity figures-  and on it goes. Predators are everywhere and I was shocked to see how close we all live to them. The lists of articles on child rape and trafficking are exhausting: a local minister is found to have a secret stash of child pornography, a parent sells her child for sex in exchange for drugs to fuel her habit, a child protection agency suspected of child sex trafficking. I would never be able to read through it all in my lifetime because, sadly, it is still going on.  Much of it never makes the headlines because nobody wants to hear about it.

 

  • Why don’t people want to hear about it? Trust me, I know why. I hate it, too. It makes my stomach hurt in ways I can’t undo. It gives me horrific headaches that take hours to dissipate. Sometimes just in reading about these crimes I would started trembling so bad, my whole body jerked spasmodically. Then the PTSD triggers went off, I started having nightmares and clawing my shoulders open again in my sleep as I claw my way out of horrific nightmares of people hurting children and me having no way to stop them. Nightmares of them stealing the kids, hurting them or killing them. Sadly, my nightmares are all too real. Yet much of the world just sits by silently while in reality these atrocities continue to grow daily.

 

  • If we all fall silent, we all fall. I have stated this repeatedly and still maintain it. While I am not falling silent, I can’t because that is just not my nature to stay silent in the face of evil, I do have to go quiet on this subject for a while. I may write the odd piece here and there but my psyche can’t take the punishment of all I have to wade through in researching to write effectively on this subject. This leaves me feeling both relieved and sad. The sadness comes from feeling I have let down adult survivors and children still trapped in these nightmares. The fact is, I am but one voice. We need so many more voices and we need people who are driven, relentless in their pursuit of justice and fairness. Humans are prone to burn out when they go too hard for too long. This is why we will always need more voices, fresh voices with new ways of cracking these cases and rescuing the children trapped in these sick systems.

I once thought technology would beat these rotten predators at their game. I was wrong. They use technology to advance their cause, procuring any wandering online mind they can to lure them in to the dark death of life as they know it. Supervised screen time is the only way to go. Limiting both time and accessible sites is not only wise but a must for any parent or caregiver in today’s world.

A young mom I love recently said “These days we have no choice but to helicopter parent.” True.

  • Wherever children are, we must stay vigilant. That’s the first line of protection.
  • The second is awareness, learning the signs of when a predator is not just grooming a child but “grooming a family” in order to reach his/her target.
  • The third is educating children. I don’t believe we have to ‘scare-teach’ them that all strangers are dangerous so much as what a suspect stranger might try to do to engage them in walking away or leaving themselves vulnerable. When I was a child we were allowed to sleep over at a friend’s home as long as we each had our parent’s permission but now we need to know who is going to be around children at all times. This may not be possible because there is always the unexpected but we can prepare the children for that, too, perhaps have them call you if anyone new shows up.

When I worked full time approving day care facilities everyone who was going to be on the premises age 16 and over had to have a criminal record check. This is just one measure of protection. There are many layers to ensuring safety and it is actually an empowering sensation to learn how we can improve our own skills in this area. There is a lot of information online about what to look out for in unknown people and how to teach children to stay as safe as possible.

Pedophilia is, sadly, rampant down through the ages and as the earth grows more populated every bad element of living on it increases. What was most disturbing to learn is the horrible way many victims of child rape and child sex trafficking are still treated. It is not even their fault. Yet those who perfectly destroy the lives of others often walk off practically scott free (the late Epstein to name one of thousands still out there including his hundreds of pals) while “old boys club think” contributes to the “double abuse” of victim shame blaming: “she was asking for it” or “what do you expect, he was always over there.” The truth is there is NO excuse. NONE. It is my opinion that excusing child rape or sex trafficking in any way is clear support for child rape and rape culture. This flawed thinking must cease which is why I wanted to join in the voices shouting out about this. I am not done shouting but must lay down my pen for now.

In my twenties while working to rescue dogs from vivisection, I started having horrific nightmares about the dogs we couldn’t raise funds enough to save. They were crying and I woke up crying. I had to stop rescuing dogs. In my thirties when I was burning out from working with victims of domestic violence (110 cases on average per month),  I started having nightmares about the bloody crime scenes (court file photos), dead or wounded adults or children and I saw a psychologist who told me, “You need to work in an art museum or a flower shop, this line of work is just too much for your sensitive psyche.” I woke up crying again and again. I had to stop working with victims of domestic violence. That was all many years before getting PTSD from a brutal physical assault I survived in my fifties. PTSD is a whole other world to reside in. I never know what might badly trigger me, leaving me so debilitated that even personal self care overwhelms. From cruel people to horrible images, noise, over stimulation, loud people, sudden noises and more, even social media overwhelms me. So much of the world can feel so unsafe with PTSD and I must avoid known “unsafe people.” Everything I do must be carefully planned and prepared for with lots of recovery time in between and planning escapes from hurtful people or situations if needed. So my sensitive psyche trips me up yet again and I have no choice but to heed it. Today I say goodbye to this subject. For now.

A young woman I love said she is too sensitive to everything in the world, she has to protect herself at all times. I relate to this wisdom and know I must do as she does, insulate, withdraw and protect myself. Other more taxing matters contributing to my situation is a recent abusive outburst by a relation that severely triggered my PTSD in August and I am dogged daily by a relentless abuser from the past so I am in no safe place to take on more than I can cope with at this moment in time. Everything physical flares under stress from Fibromyalgia to my intestinal disorder so this hasn’t been helping either. As I lay down my pen on this subject, please know I am not falling silent. I am not sure when I can return to writing, rather, shouting out about child rape and child sex trafficking but this is what I must do to take care of myself. Hopefully, others I support who are still actively working in this overwhelming realm of horrors will take breaks as needed to repair themselves, too. Whether we are sensitive or not, this is the toughest field I think there is for any human being to work in.

With that, I honor all who are actively working to free children and adults harmed by child rape and sex trafficking. You Earth Angels are all doing God’s work, you really are.

“If we all fall silent, we all fall.” ~ Janni Styles

 

 

 

Awareness Series 5: Child Rape and Trafficking

When I first started this Awareness series I was both flattered and humbled about being asked to write about a tough subject that needs as many voices as possible writing, shouting and sharing about it. The woman who asked me to write something on these crimes works tirelessly against child rape and sex trafficking. I so admire her tenacity and that of many others but I could never do what they do.

Still, I wanted to help and this is why I want to write about these crimes against children. I thought technology would help authorities get the bad guys and it does, I have learned, but technology is also used by the bad guys so the crimes against children continue to soar. This is why I have to keep writing. It is the least I can do.

Some interesting things have come to light in this process and I have only reached number 5 of the ten pieces I hope to post in this series. Here are a few of my discoveries:

1. Many would rather, as Alyssa Milano says, “look away.”

The reasons people turn away are always personal. Some may have been raped as children and this is something I completely understand as a person with PTSD, some times it’s just too hard to reawaken such pain no matter the positive intentions of the media.  Some may have raped children and would love to silence our voices. Some may prefer only “light” reading but that will never change the world. Neither will silence. Only shouting together, refusing to accept the unacceptable will change the world.

2. This is extremely tough material to research.

The amount of “ugly” reading required to extract meaningful links and facts is exhausting. It is draining me as much as my daily struggles with PTSD, intestinal disorder and Fibromyalgia. I am starting to have nightmares, lose sleep, my intestinal disorder is flaring mightily and I am suffering horrendous headaches. I have to take it easy, rest more, close my eyes more, avoid negative people and have a lot of “quiet time” with no stimulation whatsoever. I still hope to reach my 10 post goal in this series and am not giving up. It just may take me a lot longer than I hoped it would. I am not giving up and greatly appreciate all reader support or shares.

3. Trying to make a difference in the world while leaning on art seems to be my “go to.”

My lone voice may make no difference at all especially if the cyber trolls squelch the traffic to anyone shouting out about these criminal matters as I have read often happens. Yes, this child rape and child sex trafficking is “big.” Remember the crimes of the church against children? Bigger. You’ve all heard the name Epstein in recent months. Bigger. He was merely one cog in a giant wheel that continues turning after his highly suspicious suicide. The magnitude of all of this can be paralytically overwhelming. Writing has saved my life more than once so I try to rebalance by writing poetry or other thoughts unrelated to this dark underbelly of the criminal world. My voice may make no dent or help one single person. But I have to keep writing because what if it does?