Alice, Milton and Oscar: Making Sense of it All

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Source: Google Images photo: Ruya Foundation

When children are trying to make sense of things that are beyond their understanding, they will usually try and work it out within the context that they do know and understand. … I watch as art is used as a reconnection point, the bridge, between the destruction of self, and the beginning of some sense of future, of hope. It seems that in this reclamation of the soul art is reborn”. – Justine Hardy, author and trauma psychologist, on art, conflict and healing.

Alice, Milton & Oscar: Making Sense of it All

Later much later, but before she had discovered that Oscar wasn’t really wild, and Milton’s paradise wasn’t lost, at least not lost the way she perceived it, rather that it wasn’t in the place that she had put it, and it was there after all, on the book shelf, partly covered by Alice’s adventures in wonderland, a place that she would not want to visit even if the mad hatter personally escorted her there. Besides, she hated tea parties!

Her own reality was such that it seemed more fitting to smile outwardly, while life as she knew it passed her by in a fog of pretence. Much of her childhood embraced activities which should have been enjoyable but were somehow grubbily tinged by the other stuff which did not make sense, at least to her, but she was in no position to prevent, avoid or escape from. So while brushing her teeth each morning, she would squirm as something else brushed up against her which on inspection did not foam and certainly did not leave her feeling clean and sparkling.

A sense of inadequacy pervaded the world in which she existed, and she questioned what was real and what was not. But childish views and thoughts are no match for the dark complexities which swirl in never-ending circles. There was not enough time to make sense of it all, and yet there was more than enough time, so she decided that instead of going around and around in circles, she would place it all in the attic that Oscar talked about. And if somehow, paradise lost, languishing on the book shelf could be found, then, perhaps the mad hatter would be just the person to help her find it.

~ Marie Williams – 2017

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Windrush Children

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Source: Google Images

It was never the same once you left. Try as I might, the subtle hint of your perfume could never lift the gloom that shrouded me always in ways that I could not define, so early on in my new life. My cries permeated the sadness – they were cries for you, but you did not come. You had left with the promise that you would one day return to hold my small hand and look lovingly into my eyes, eyes that spoke a thousand words although the language that I spoke then was somehow not recognised by you, because it was not sophisticated enough to catch your attention. And so I looked for you each day in the air that I breathed, the careless touch of a stranger’s hand, a voice that spoke kindly but was not yours, and when the sunshine of a perfect day met the twilight of an uncertain night, I sank into a deep sleep in which my still simplistic memories rested on a pillow of hope.

You were never the same. How could you be? You had forgotten me, just as I had forgotten you in the intervening years. My cries, no longer cries, but the silence of the rejected, resilient, resourceful soul that I had become. I no longer trusted the part of me which hoped, but instead learned to examine carefully every glance, every look, every touch, even softly spoken words, before deciding if it was safe to venture forward – and often times, it became clear that it was folly to feel, much safer to sit, confusing and tricking emotions that I knew not how to appease.

I was never the same. I often wonder how it would have been, had circumstances not conspired to prise us apart when our relationship planted in the garden of love, vied with the winds of change, became secondary, and your pioneering spirit fought and won the battle over your desire to nurture and protect. Separation for me was the ship in which I sailed the ocean of abandonment – for you, it was a new life, anchored to hopes and dreams of prosperity. We cannot live our lives in retrospect and we cannot know what we do not know. But surely, the hopes and dreams of a new life in your mind’s eye can never be as fulfilling as the hopes and dreams of the new life nestled in your arms?

~ Marie Williams – 2017

It Happened

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Source: Google Images

It Happened

I never told you did I? I didn’t even tell myself. It took a while you know to come to terms with all that happened and even now, thinking about it and actually daring to share it seems like a betrayal somehow – but I know that I have to speak and the time to do it is now. How could I allow myself to doubt that it happened? How could I think that making the link between then and now was totally unconnected when the very fibre of my being shouted, screamed, the pain was real, and not a figment of my imagination, but a nightmare stealing surreptitiously into my dreams, locking every door, tossing the master key into a river, rolling relentlessly into a sea of despair.

I’m not ashamed you know. I do not blame myself. I don’t expect you to understand. You didn’t understand then, so why would you understand, years later, when the passing of time has minimised it, diminished it, so that the ogre that it was, looming large, fearfully fierce, is reduced to nothing more than ashes in a dusty corner of your memory. Ashes which you refuse to sweep away. To acknowledge them would suggest you played a part so they lay largely undisturbed, the specks becoming spectators at their own show.

So here I stand, and I know it’s inconvenient for you. Why couldn’t I have chosen a better time? Well I’m afraid that with the passing of time, I grew. I choose this time and it belongs to me. I claim and reclaim all that was lost. I’m telling you now that it happened.

That master key tossed so carelessly on to the ocean bed glints gleefully in the sunlight, sparkling on the shore, assures me that my memory serves me well.

~Marie Williams – 2017

If

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Source: Google Images

If the things that mattered to you
No longer matter to you
Then there must be something wrong:
It doesn’t mean that you’re not strong

If the things that mattered to you
No longer matter to you
And you cannot find the love that you seek:
It doesn’t mean that you are weak

If the things that matter to you
No longer matter to you
On finding that laughter has lost its way:
It doesn’t mean that you have feet of clay

If the things that mattered to you
No longer matter to you
Search the chambers of your mind
Keep delving until you find

The things that mattered to you
They still matter to you
Your mind sometimes feels the strain
And troubles can be a source of pain

So that the things that mattered to you
No longer matter to you
When things go wrong:
It doesn’t mean that you’re not strong.

~ Marie Williams – 2017

Life Sentence

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Life Sentence


Source: Google Images

The past was nearly always tense. The future seldom perfect. Life became a sentence imprisoning subject and predicate: which often times were punctuated by dashes, question marks and ellipses …
The full-stops when they came were soft and sudden. They crept up slowly behind, blocking the way, preventing progress of any kind and making the escape route barely visible: an abrupt pin-prick in a confusing world.

Clear and present danger alleviated, those dots and dashes now form the much longed for and welcome SOS signalling pathways, prising open those prison bars, and like innocent inmates – embracing freedom – make a dash for the exit vowing to colonise the state of freedom.

~ Marie Williams – 2017

Missing You

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It was never the right time to speak of things that really mattered, and yet we spoke, you and I in a language that we both understood. We had learned that it was never going to be the right time for us early on and so we lived side by side in a world where dialogue was only necessary for the inconsequential issues of the day. At least to you, they were inconsequential but to me they weighed heavily on my heart: because I ached and longed to know you in a way that would bind us together and satisfy those deep desires, release the pain of unspoken feelings, construct ethereal edifices eagerly in which we both could meet and greet ourselves, linking us eternally and tethering us to our truth.

I learned from bitter experience that our truth was a lie. You and I were never meant to seize the day, smile unfettered by the sadness that came our way from time to time, engage in conversation, cleverly constructed, clearing the way for an understanding far removed from the murky maelstrom our lives seemed bent on taking – a direction in which we were both passengers and yet neither of us knew the way.

Now separated by death, not by choice, but because that is the way of life: I linger longingly in the empty space that has been left with all the questions I didn’t ask, all the answers I might have been given, all the different ways you made me feel, but mostly all the missed opportunities that presented themselves but I was never brave enough to grasp, grateful though that I experienced your greatness in all its flawed guises.

Marie Williams – May 2017

Empty Houses

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Source: Google Images

Empty Houses

Why do some memories make more of an impact than others? Do empty houses make more noise and if they do, how do the noises sound to you? Are they kind, loving and inviting or are they the exact opposite and do they make you feel lost, alone and fearful?

I remember as a child of about 11 or 12 years old an incident which pops into my mind regularly even though it happened many years ago and if truth be told it was nothing major. By that I mean that nothing actually happened and that was what was so fascinating about it: nothing happened. Yet that nothing happening is a source of intrigue for me.

It was a summer’s day. It was around 4:00pm and it was a very ordinary day. School was over for the day. I had changed out of my school uniform and into a skirt and a blouse. The skirt was blue and was several inches above my knee and the blouse was loose and white. I was fashionably dressed for the time: mini-skirts were ‘in’ and although it wasn’t technically a ‘mini-skirt’, I had made it so by rolling it up several times so that there was a thick belt of material around my waist. But you couldn’t see that, because my long blouse hid it.
On arriving home from school, my father was in the kitchen cooking the evening meal. He found he had run out of an ingredient and asked me to go to the corner shop to get it. I willingly obliged. I was at the age where I wanted to show off my newly-improvised mini-skirt and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. I was so innocent.

The corner shop was only a few minutes away from home and to get there I had to walk down a street two streets away from where I lived. The street in question had houses which were mostly inhabited, but at the top of the road were about three or four empty houses. They were rather dilapidated and the windows were broken and I guess it wouldn’t take much brute force to enter any of them through the front door if you were so inclined.
As I turned the corner into (let’s call it) Kempton Road, there were a group of eight to ten boys playing. They were aged between 10 to say, 15 or 16. They usually collected there of an evening to play football or cricket depending on a whim. I had seen them there so often that they posed no threat and had many times walked by them to get to the corner shop. If they weren’t playing games, they would sit on the walls of the empty houses, in smaller groups chatting and laughing amongst themselves.

This particular day as I turned the corner they were in the middle of the road, talking loudly and playing. One of the boys called me over. I did not go. I kept walking as if I had not heard them and I wasn’t afraid or disturbed in any way. However, this same boy called again and again, and probably frustrated by his inability to get my attention and not wanting to look small in front of his playmates, he ran towards me and grabbed my arm. I was now afraid. Several others came to his aid and all I could see were arms pulling at my arms and clothing and dragging me towards the empty houses at the top of the street.

I struggled but I could see that I did not stand a chance. Whatever was in store for me was going to happen whether or not I tried to defend myself. I resigned myself to my fate, whatever that was going to be.
‘Let her go!’ A voice called out. Blindly I looked on. I could not see who had called out.
‘I said, let her go!’ The voice said again even more forcefully and with authority.
The boy who had grabbed me first released me first, followed quickly by the others who had followed his lead.
I took the opportunity to walk as fast as I could away from them and never walked down that road with the empty houses again on my own. To this day, I can’t remember what the young man who was part of the group looked like and blind with fear, I don’t think it would have registered anyway.

But all I know is that I’m thankful to him. Nothing happened because he spoke up. And because empty houses cannot speak I do not know what their story would have been had he not spoken up for me that day.

~ Marie Williams – 2017

The Community Associations’ Winter Carnival 2016

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Sometimes, Cheryle, experiences outside of our ‘comfort zone’ can be the most inspiring experiences. It’s taken me many years to learn this as I’m shy, reserved, quiet and a little bit unsociable :))), but I find when I make the effort to do something which is unsettling, I derive great pleasure and a sense of achievement which (sometimes) spurs me on to get involved in other uncomfortable places. Thank you for sharing.

Lightwalkers Blog

Today was a day filled with children and activities definitely outside my comfort zone.  Today the Community Association held its Winter Carnival.  Today I played with children of all ages. Some were three and some were eleven and the others were all the ages in-between.

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Yes, I helped out at the colouring contest table sponsored by the Ogden Seniors 50+ Activity Club.  We had a multitude of Christmas pictures to colour, crayons, and prizes to be won.  The kids lined up at our table excited to spend a few minutes shading stockings, wreaths, and Christmas trees with the waxy crayons. A chance to win a five dollar McDonalds gift card was an easy enticement for many of the young people tagging along behind their Mom or Dad as they wandered from booth to booth.  Alone in their zone, they chatted quietly about their schools, their ages, their siblings and in some…

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(March 19/17) “Come As You Are…You Can’t Help But Be Beautiful”

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WOW!!!!!!!!!!! What an amazing post! I LOVE IT!!! Seriously Truly, I love this post on so many levels:
Level 1 – I was the inspiration
Level2 – You my dear are one helluva writer
Level3 – I didn’t need to keep reading and re-reading (but I’m lazy like that lol) (Give me easy over hard anytime!)
Level 4 – the content was just brilliant: sharing, explaining, revealing a ‘deeper and more meaningful’ character – not to say that you are not already!
Level 5 – your versatility!
Level 6 – being so accommodating and respectful of my lone voice – so sweet!
Level 7 – I’m going to stop here, because I realise I need the rest of the day to write all the other levels and I don’t want to be the ‘bore’ at the party.
Thank you Neal for ‘spinach’. Thank you Truly for listening to Neal. Thank me for my audacity! And most of all Thank you for being ‘Truly’.

trulyunpluggeddotcom

Hi, Wonderfuls,

Just now, Marie and I were exchanging comments; and when I thanked her for taking the time to read/re-read…and re-read my posts (in order to wrap her head around my messages) she wrote….

“No trouble at all, Truly. I just wish that the real world would emulate the blogging world in the respect that we try to understand each other better.  Sometimes the “gift” is wrapped so well you need to take the time to remove the layers to truly(!) appreciate what others give. <3”

What a beautiful perspective…how generous.  This is evidence of a true desire for connection–this willingness to meet people where they are.  And, it is in that spirit that I share what follows.

(But, first, here’s where to find Marie…she is amazing!)

https://mariewilliams53.wordpress.com/

So, I love creative writing/writing creatively–it’s my equivalent of painting, or figure skating, or belting a power ballad, or rocking a…

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The Twins, Part 2 – Perfectionism

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This is the second part of Anna Waldherr’s brilliantly written post on the twins: procrastination and perfectionism. Again thank you Anna for inviting me to collaborate on this – not only was it a joy, but it also helped me to see why it was so important for me to be perfect in an imperfect world. Now I know that I don’t need to be and I hope others will see that they don’t need to be perfect either. We are worthy just as we are.

ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse

Siamese Twins, Nuremberg Chronicles (1441-1514) (PD) Siamese Twins, Nuremberg Chronicles (1440-1514) (PD-Old)

This post was written in collaboration with Marie Williams whose remarks are highlighted.  Marie blogs at Come Fly with Me, https://mariewilliams53.wordpress.com.

We return to the topic of procrastination and perfectionism, related patterns of behavior in which many abuse victims find themselves trapped.

The part we play in creating our own dilemmas – the large and small crises in our lives stemming from procrastination – was discussed in Part 1 of this series.

Chance for Failure (Imperfection)

“…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1: 7).

Apart from the problems it would generate for anyone, failure – defined by many abuse victims as imperfection, to any small degree – results in shame and self-revilement for us.  Since creating these dilemmas greatly increases our chance for failure, the question arises why we persist…

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