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 …?
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 …
In moments of pure fantasy
And wild imagination
I fancy that Karen could be
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
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
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!
has got a bad rap
That’s why I’m gonna
Put it on the map!
Shout it loud
and shout it clear
There’s nothing to fear!
Me: When I say Professor
You say: Green
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
Image: Google Images
When I’m floundering fixedly on facing fears; fully aware of my shortcomings, I find you pointing proudly in the direction that I should go. Don’t you know that if I go, I go with the knowledge that I am not enough out there on my own? My needs are not necessarily manifold, but many are they and they won’t go away without first feeding that part of me which hungers for your staunch support; stepping in line with me.
So when you point, please don’t point with those elegant finely forbidding fingers. Instead, firmly hold my hand, grasp it lovingly and lead me along the path where the bluebells grow, dancing in freshly fallen snow, in the chill wind of April’s noon-day sun.
I was overwhelmed by the response I received from writing about Florence. There was such an outpouring of love and compassion on a scale which I had not expected. All of those amazing, wonderful voices that spoke to my post, I want to say a very deep and heartfelt thanks from the bottom of my heart. Thank you so much. I would love it if Florence could have shared in the love and compassion too but sadly she is no longer here. But that does not mean that because she is not here to hear all those wonderful sentiments, she cannot share the love. Florence was my mother. And because I am her daughter a piece of her, a very valuable and precious part of her lives on in me, and so because she did not have a voice while she was a victim of domestic violence, I hope by sharing with you a very poignant time in her life, her voice will speak once again.
Image: Source unknown
Florence, my mother, your once tortured soul I hope rests in peace and I hope that you don’t mind sharing that wonderful day you had in the Holy Land shortly before you left us. I found your journal in amongst your things, and I read about the amazing time you had. You didn’t have many amazing days for longer than I care to say, sadly for you, but I know you treasured life and all it had to give despite facing many dark days. This light-filled day was a blessing to me when I read it and so many were saddened by your experience, that I would like them to know that you experienced joy and you were able to record it so that I would one day find it and share it with others who care for you.
Florence in her own words:
“The tour of the Holy Land is a most exciting and moving experience. The Bible is made alive. It surpassed all my expectations.
During my grown-up years it was always my desire to visit the Holy Land – Christ’s birthplace. Oh I wish I had been there when He walked among men.
Now that I have gone there, I was really overwhelmed by the vastness of the land and the awesomeness of it. I have seen a lot, and I am certain that there was much more to be seen. But the place that had the greatest impact on me was the Garden Tomb where Jesus was supposed to have been laid after His death. I entered the tomb and saw the imprint of His body and as I emerged I glanced upon the wall and saw the words: “He is not here. He is risen” and then I suddenly realised that my Redeemer lives and for a moment I was transfixed.
Then we began to wander through the Garden and the visit was terminated by Holy Communion and prayer. I never experienced such peace in my life. All the tiredness had left me and I felt so relaxed I had to tell my experience to my room-mate when I returned that evening to the hotel. I am so glad I was able to make the journey to Jerusalem because what I saw and heard will linger with me for the rest of my life. We returned home on the 24th February 1996 and our lives have never been the same since that week that was spent in the Holy Land. We stayed at the King’s Hotel in Jerusalem”.
I am pleased to have given my mother a voice. So many of us are unable to use that most precious of gifts for whatever reason. It is such a powerful instrument and with power comes responsibility. The responsibility to use our voices wisely.
~ MEW 2016
Cometh the Shower, Cometh the Man – the plight of the homeless
Four walls, three windows, two doorsteps front and back, one roof. Zero! Countdown to loss and a loss so profound it has no bounds. Too difficult to contemplate the rate at which this loss creates the fate of anyone of us. Because we are not immune, to any of the fates that wait unseen ready to pounce without fore-warning. Crouching like a tiger, amongst the foliage of life, breathing soft, aloft the cares, concerns and worries of it’s prey, it leaps and you become the very thing you toiled and sweated to avoid: the homeless person, the bag lady, the tramp.
When you lose your home, to a great extent, you lose yourself. Your identity forged on the furnace of the place from which you come. You lose yourself. You lose your rights. You lose your body, becoming visibly invisible for others see you but choose not to acknowledge you, because you don’t have an address. An address, sought after, a number placed upon a door, a number which identifies you and shouts: this is where you can find me on any given day at any given hour, for this is where I live.
Paula* talking on the radio, loud and clear for all to hear. No longer a statistic but a person with a place to call her own. When she opened her front door, I can’t tell you how her spirit soared. Soared to heights it’s hard to describe. She speaks of stepping in the shower in which she spent over an hour, no water saving there! An hour in the shower, is a luxury for a woman who lost the power to shower for longer than she cares to say. Sleeping on a pillow became the stuff of dreams. She slept for as long as she wanted, her head resting on a pillow. The joy, the pleasure to sleep at leisure when one has slept on a cold pavement with fresh air for a pillow and fresh air for a blanket cannot be denied.
To clear the streets and house the homeless they talked of Bills and Parliament. Talk of cross-party support was vital: to get the Bill through Parliament. This becomes a burning issue. Reasons for homelessness are mooted. Domestic violence cited and indicted. Domestic violence stands accused, for who would choose to lose their home? Who would choose to lose their identity? Who would prefer to walk the streets, alone, afraid, if Domestic violence at first charming, so disarming, becoming outraged, impossible to assuage had not moved in and changed the locks on their front door?
*Dedicated to “Paula” who spoke of her plight of homelessness and the part domestic violence played on BBC Radio 4, in London. Enjoy your shower, Paula!
When we need to feel the way we think we ought to feel, what’s the first thing we look for? We grab a pen and a sheet of paper and we mark that piece of paper with the deep stirrings of our heart. Feelings felt are emotional words which will not rest. Restless, they birth in the mind’s womb, children of (sometimes) unequal bedfellows. Having nothing in common save a lust for life and life at its best, not a life of struggle or unrest. And who does not want to live a life free from encumbrance of sadness, sickness, greed and grief? A life that meanders along a lane of lasting twists and turns and leads you lonely, lost and drowned in sorrows which forever abound.
Those children words in infancy come screaming, raw and red. They hit the paper with a bump. When washed free of literary placenta, they open their eyes and survey their surroundings: their parents if they are fortunate to have two, sigh with relief that they have all their fingers and their toes. They do not dress them in pink or blue, lemon or white they find will do. Those words, those precious longed for words, those words which never required IVF, fertilized by need, born to succeed, they speak the depths of the human heart. They utter the joy, they express delight, they sometimes quarrel noisily and fight. But each and every word that’s born to parents of their need to perform the seemingly endless tasks that life requires is always thankful their child was born.
We write to right the wrongs. We write to speak of our delight. We write to fight. We write for peace. We write to rally our battle cries. We write to herald birth. We write to make a friend of death. We write to champion life.
~ MEW 2016
Warning: this contains controversial subject matter.
“Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.”
― Oscar Wilde
What is it about sex? Why does it catch everyone’s attention in a way that other subjects do not? Let’s face it if you open a newspaper and there is some scandalous snippet about a well-known politician, do your eyes not immediately wander over to what you might perceive to be something juicy, something to gossip about on the telephone, by the water cooler: “Who would have thought it? Yes, and he’s married with three children!” Sex elicits shock, surprise, disbelief, smugness. It questions morality. It excites. It turns you off. It turns you on. It can bring on a headache. Some can take it, others prefer to leave it. Some will only do it if you put a ring on it. Or so Beyoncé would have us believe.
So what is this three letter word all about? Why is it so pivotal? Is it because we cannot exist without it? We can’t exist without the air we breathe, but does talk of “air”, (incidentally another three letter word) impact the human race in quite the same way as sex does? An article on air and an article on sex? Which do you read first? Air or sex? Sin -an old-fashioned word with religious connotations. Sin too is pivotal to the human condition. Who doesn’t sin each day, intentionally or not. Sin excites, shocks and questions morality, but not in the same way as sex does.
We cannot live without sex. It is central to our lives. And if this is the case, why is it not revered? The association with dirt cannot be denied. When I was growing up, my mother could not say the word “sex”. So I was introduced to menstruation, by being given a little pamphlet about it with the warning: “Don’t fool around boys”. That was the extent of my sex education from the woman who gave birth to me. You would have thought that I would have been given more detailed information from someone who had been there, done it, got the “T” shirt – right? So the shy, confused eleven year-old, was left to negotiate her own sexual journey armed with a pamphlet and an ambiguous statement. What exactly did “don’t fool around boys mean”? Don’t appear to be an idiot in the presence of boys? What would a boy consider to be foolish behaviour?
Sex, sadly is also a commodity. This some would say, beautiful expression of connection between two people can be bought, sold, bartered, negotiated, and disposed of. Sex has been reduced to a retail concern, with economic connotations. Just as you can “pop” to Tesco for your bread, milk and potatoes, you can pop out to buy sex too. Both sustain you. But when was the last time you got excited about spending a night in with your loaf of bread? Isn’t sex more satisfying? Especially with a loved one with whom you’ve forged emotional ties.
So what is sex? A beautiful expression of connection or a physical urge which needs to be satisfied? It would appear to be both. A sexual paradox?
And then, there’s abuse. Using sex to ruin a child’s life. Wrong! Forcing yourself on an individual who does not want to be part of your desire to satisfy your own physical urge. Wrong! How can it be acceptable to be irresponsible about sexual gratification if it involves stealing a child’s right to explore their own sexuality in their own time, at their own pace, when they want to? Yet this is what child molesters, paedophiles, and those inclined to this criminal behaviour would want to impose on those of us who find this reprehensible. This is not sex. This is depravity. Make no bones about that. Once you have stolen someone’s innocence, you might as well have killed them. Yes, I know this is unpalatable for many. But it is the reality. I have to shock you. Because I have no other way of stressing the hurt, the pain, the distress, the emotional turmoil, the mental turmoil, the taking of a valuable life. Who knows what that child, young person would have achieved had they not found it necessary to heal that trauma in later life? Hiding away from the world, instead of boldly shining their light.
So I’ve dealt with “sex” and I’ve touched on “ties”. Now you’re wondering what I’m going to say about “which road to take”. It was in fact a play on the words “Sex, Lies and Videotape”, that well known film starring Andie Mcdowell and James Spader. I have nothing more to say than I hope you appreciate my pun.
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