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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The Twins, Part 1 – Procrastination

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Once again Anna, you have given us a clear, compassionate and sensitive view on the ways in which abuse affects the lives of survivors. I don’t personally believe that procrastination affects only those of us who have been abused because it is something that can be present in the lives of everyone to some extent. But here we are talking about how chaos affects those of us who have experienced severe and traumatic abuse and how procrastination manifests itself in a way that makes a survivor’s life even more difficult than it already is.
As Anna Waldherr says: “In the aftermath of emotional abuse, victims may try desperately to be perfect — at home, at school, at work — in the hope of winning the approval denied us as children. Of course, we should not have to “win” love at all. It should be freely given, certainly to children. As for procrastination, the longer we put off a task, the greater the likelihood we will fail to complete it “perfectly”, perhaps fail to complete it at all”.

ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse

Entwined Geminis, Safavid Dynasty, Persia (c. 1635), Author Unknown, Source pinterest.com (PD)Entwined Geminis, Safavid Dynasty, Persia (c. 1635), Author Unknown, Source pinterest.com (PD)

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

“Most of my life has been spent circling or avoiding important things that I need to do and I get very frustrated with myself.  Sometimes, I find myself trying to locate passports or important papers at the 11th hour, when I’ve had ample time to deal with matters like this.”

-Marie Williams

Procrastination and perfectionism are patterns of behavior well familiar to abuse victims, twin destructive forces that have deep meaning for those who have suffered abuse.

We invest the necessary (the “shoulds” and “musts” of life) with the power to annihilate us, or at least demolish the fragile image we have of ourselves.  Then we defer, delay, and defer again – certain that we will…

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International Women’s Day 2017: Woman

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Source: Google

WOMAN

Woman rise free and strong
Don’t be subservient to a world all wrong
A world that says stay home and imitate a bee
The busy, busy worker bee

No! Woman you are wise, mighty and free
Free to be an amazing tool
Free to rule in whatever capacity
You choose to decree

That’s not to say
We rise and lose our femininity
It is to say, we stand proud
And claim our rightful place in society

A worker bee is simply that
A powerful creature in its own right
And so we don’t denigrate that little mite, but own
The premise that each creature

Stakes its place in time and space
So women of the world unite
And take a bite of that cherry
Taste and see how sweet

Sashay and move those dancing feet
We don’t need to run a home to
Show that this is our rightful place
We can choose to be whatever

We want to be or do
Doctor, lawyer, street cleaner
Creativity comes from within
It is divine and it’s your right

See that cherry – go ahead and bite!
Succulent and sweet its taste
Tarry for a while
Don’t haste

Woman you dictate your style!

© Marie Williams 2009

On going soft in the head

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Esme Upon the Cloud said this:
“I love how this starts, you set the scene so well that the reader is right there on that road in Oxford with you and Mickie; but moreso how it suddenly blooms into joy with a sudden awareness of love. Of metta”

And because I couldn’t have put it any better, Hariod, I have used her words to introduce your excellent post on ‘metta’. I am so pleased that in some small way I was able to inspire you to write this – thank you. Metta.

contentedness.net

Jessica. By Thomas Hawk, San Francisco Jessica. By Thomas Hawk, San Francisco — The homeless girl with love in her eyes.

It was during a balmy mid-afternoon in Central Oxford that I and my friend of some 20 years’ standing gingerly negotiated a crossing of the busy street that had first been lain a millennia ago during Saxon times — then a loosely set cobbled carriageway running northwards up from the ford of the oxen at Grandpont, some half mile or so distant along adjoining St. Aldates. The year was 1992 and a palpably self-satisfied, Thatcher-hewn metropolitan hum of affluence pervaded the air in equal measure to the oppressive diesel fumes belching from the buses and taxis that laboured and lurched their way along Cornmarket Street towards Carfax, twixt which our body’s wove, breathing in unnatural rhythms, yet mysteriously embracing the effluvium with bare arms and wide open hearts, unburdened neither by concerns nor the otherwise ubiquitously lugged, logo-laden…

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Love is like the Sea

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LOVE IS LIKE THE SEA

beachandsun
Image – source unknown

Love is like the sea
There are hidden depths
You never know how deep it is
If you only stick your toe in
Just think how much more
We have yet to discover –
Let’s jump in!

Romantic love can be
A source of pleasure and of pain
You have to let your spirit reign
With majesty yet humbly
In order to gain
The greatest gift humans can share –
Come on, let’s swim away!

And now we’re floating, like a boat
And now we’re diving – water in my throat
But that’s just how it is and will always be
Sometimes floating like a dream
Other times we want to choke
Unless we go for broke
And stroke this crazy emotion – we’ll be left standing on the shore!

© Copyright – Marie Williams – April 2009
Love is like the Sea

Primary Colours

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“Achievement has no color”
― Abraham Lincoln

Sometimes I feel that I will burst if I hear once again first and black in the same sentence. I have nothing against being first or excelling or being supreme in a chosen field or in a competition or even in a queue, but when I hear the words first and black, my spirit sighs and it’s as if I want to die. I know this sounds so exaggerated, and I don’t wish to degrade the achievements of those who have reached the pinnacle through sheer hard work, devotion to a cause, or mastered their craft.

Why is it that in the 21st century, when we have come so far, in terms of addressing racism, colour prejudice and the way we treat others in terms of the colour of their skin, speaking boldly about equality, diversity, inclusion and acceptance of other’s culture, mixing pots, melting pots, you name it – there’s a term which embraces it, yet still the races are not equal, such a pity that our ethnicity has shown that we haven’t grown and how much further we still need to go. It is woeful, that we are hearing about the first black president, the first black film director, the first black model on the cover of Vogue UK. It’s neither wonderful or amazing in my book. Yes of course the achievements are – of that there is no doubt. But ought we still to be referring to skin colour when praise is due? Is it some sort of an extraordinary feat to be both black and an achiever? Are those terms mutually exclusive, so when it coincides – ought we to be doubly impressed?

How can we as a race in present times, allow for such archaic language to seep into our consciousness? When Barack Obama became president of the United States of America, was it necessary for us to be enlightened and educated about the hue of his skin? And Steve McQueen of ’12 Years a Slave’ fame, when he became the happy recipient of an Academy Award for Best Picture, did it enhance the view to know that he was black? Would that have escaped our notice somehow, imagining that all the audience were in some way colour blind on that auspicious night? My heart sinks when I think that Donyale Luna a black model who covered in Vogue UK was the first to do so. But I was heartened when I heard the editor of Vogue UK (Alexandra Shulman) talking on the radio about this and I smiled when the presenter commented on her [Luna] being the first black model to do so, to which the editor responded “could we drop the ‘first black’ please?” A woman after my own heart!

~ Marie Williams 2017

What if?

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FGM may I introduce you to Chevvy8? I’m not sure if this is a coincidence …
What if it isn’t a coincidence? What if …?

WORDS IN THE LIGHT

What if
I close my eyes?

What if
you cross the Sea?

What if
I hold my breath?

What if
you make the wind chime sing?

What if
I let the breeze carry me?

What if
you let me see?

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What ifs

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Thank you Chevvy. This is lovely and relevant on so many levels for me and especially the 4th line of the second verse. I hope ‘What If’s’ resonates with others too …

Chevvy's Studio

train

These questions that gnaw at me,

nibbling at the joy that life brings,

feeding me with cheesy excuses,

muddling doubts, impotent fears,

stealing glitter off golden moments,

when I should have been totally here,

not wondering on my own out there –

an exile behind my own prison walls.

What if this is what was meant for me

all along, complete with every crack,

every blemish that prizes the antique,

aspired by most but afforded to a few.

What if I had made an irrevocable error–

taking the bus and not boarding the train,

believing that life had to ride the highway

instead of pausing at each station en route?

What if there were no what ifs to choose–

where automation usurped my controls,

clipped my wings so that I could not fly?

Would I be the me that has reason to be?

What if I told you that this…

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“It’s Good to Talk …”

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crazybagladydoors
Image: Courtesy of TheCrazyBagLady

HEALING HURT
(Talking Therapy)

In moments of pure fantasy
And wild imagination
I fancy that Karen could be
Just distantly
Related to Julius!

But I’m rudely awakened
And snap back to reality
As beaming, in black she beckons me
To her small but cosy surgery

Karen Caesar sees me as
Her work in progress
She’s dedicated to releasing
And decreasing the pressure

That calls me religiously
Each fortnight on a Friday
To discuss with some intensity
The demons that bind me

For Karen Caesar
Explained her calling
At the end of a session
Which begged me to question

The degree of her ability
To address the responsibility
Of dealing with healing
The complexity of the human psyche

Karen Caesar tells me
That caring seized her
From a very young age
And at the stage

Where she felt that
She was able to lend her
Tender, and compassionate bearing
To caring for victims
Whose minds were so painfully hurting

It’s a splendid opportunity
This talking therapy
To engage with a professional
As dedicated as Karen
Caesar, who certainly aspires

To deliver with some certainty
A tireless and dedicated approach
And unstinting efficacy

To help her patient,
Speak, cry or remain silent
In her surmountable journey
Of feeling, healing and self discovery!

Dedicated to Dr Karen Caesar

This poem was written eight years ago, but I thought it tied in nicely with my posts on agoraphobia which having spanned 17 years of my life to date has had an enormous impact on my life and the way I live. My counsellor encouraged my creative side which emerged in the form of poetry as I started my healing journey. She said very kindly when we parted after a year in counselling that she would be the first to buy my poems if they were ever published.

I also want to thank TheCrazyBagLady for allowing me to use her sketch in this post. I saw it months ago before I even decided I was going to write about agoraphobia, but I felt at the time that it was such a beautiful sketch that I would one day use it. The opportunity came today and I took it, just as TheCrazyBagLady says on her sketch: “Every day another door opens”.

And to close, in the words of British Telecom (in their sales initiative some years ago): “It’s good to talk…”

~ Marie Williams 2017

copyright Marie Williams – 2009

Agoraphobia: part 2: Professor Green, Talking Therapy and Me

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Warning: this post contains references to rap which might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But I hope this will not prevent you from reading to the end.

You may remember that in my last post I spoke about agoraphobia and how it impacted my life. Not to go on at length, but to explain how Professor Green (a British rapper, not a University professor) helped me in my own healing process, I would like to share my thoughts with you. I also want to touch on talking therapy/counselling which I really believed saved me during this uncertain and debilitating period of my life.

I was at home watching ‘Loose Women’* on television, and Professor Green was a guest on the programme. Professor Green is a well-known rapper who catapulted to fame in recent years. He is a young man who has documented how his early life impacted the way he is today and how his music reflects this. He grew up on a council estate in London, mainly raised by his grandmother. His father was absent for most of his life. This affected him in many negative ways, but he rose above this to become an international rap star. Professor Green’s father took his own life shortly after he had become reconciled with his son many years later and after he [Green] had become famous. This devastated him and he has since recorded a television programme about suicide in which he speaks openly about his love for his grandmother (who stabilised his childhood) and the impact his father’s untimely death had on his own life.

To get to the point, Professor Green spoke about counselling on Loose Women. He talked about how it helped him come to terms with his ‘demons’. I was incredibly impressed and touched at how openly this young man spoke about his own experiences with mental health issues that I listened with more interest than usual. Having my own mental health issues (PTSD, chronic anxiety and agoraphobia) his thoughts resonated with me.

Here comes the rapping! Those of you who have had the ‘pleasure’ of watching last year’s ‘X Factor’ will get a better feel of what I’d like you to do if you watched Honey G’s performance as a contestant. Honey G would rap saying:

“When I say Honey, you say G”, and this would be repeated many times, depending on how the audience received it. It went down really well. If you like that sort of thing. It’s a matter of taste. So here is my version:

When I say: ‘Professor’ you say: ‘Green’
Me: When I say Professor
You say: Green!
Me: When I say Professor
You say: ‘Green’

I was sittin’ in my home
All alone
got no friends
To call my own
Wanting someone to pick up the ‘phone
give me a call
so I don’t drown
In my sorrows
On my own

Me: When I say Professor
You say: Green!
Me: When I say Professor
You say: Green!

Mental health
has got a bad rap
That’s why I’m gonna
Put it on the map!
Shout it loud
and shout it clear
Mental health
There’s nothing to fear!

Me: When I say Professor
You say: Green
x2

I hope you managed to get a rhythm going. That helps! I hope Lady G and Tareau weren’t the only ones rapping along with me. Were you rapping Hariod? Anna?

Seriously, Professor Green was instrumental in getting me back on the road to recovery. He not only talked about how counselling helped him in his darkest periods, but he went on to say that although his situation was much improved, he still used counselling as therapy whenever he felt he needed it. And consequently, he was at present in therapy. Those words propelled me into action. If Professor Green was on daytime television, advocating counselling and he was not ashamed or embarrassed, what say me?

After the programme, I immediately went on-line to research counsellors in my area. I was very fortunate to find someone who has been incredibly helpful and who has allowed me to see that my case is not hopeless. That was over one year ago and I haven’t looked back since. Thanks Professor Green! I am not going to suggest that a few trips to a counsellor will make everything better. It takes time. It takes a willingness to partake in your own healing. It takes courage. It takes persistence. It takes faith. Often time, it can seem there is no light at the end of the tunnel. I’d like to encourage those who feel that there is no way out, that I found mine, and you can too.

~ Marie Williams 2017

* ‘Loose Women’ is a day-time television programme in which a panel of women discuss current topics.
– Final Part 3 to follow