Category Archives: writing/poetry

the end of an era

In fifteen minutes it will be January 20th. In approximately eleven hours Trump will take the oath of office and Obama will say goodbye to the post he’s held for the last 8 years.
 
The last 8 years have been revolutionary for our country. Even if you aren’t a fan of Obama’s you can’t argue that this man made history. As history was made and the future shaped so was my life. And in many ways Obama’s presidency represents my recovery journey.
 
You see 8 years ago the weekend before inauguration day I broke up with my abusive boyfriend with the help of some amazing friends. As Obama was sworn into office I stood in the office of the hall of my college hiding from the man who terrified me. I had no idea what was to come and I’m sure neither did the man who I was watching with his hand on the Lincoln Bible taking an oath that would change his life, his families and many others including my own.
 
In the next 8 years that Obama watched over our country I experienced more change than I thought possible. As Obama began forming his legacy I sat in treatment centers with women who would become life long friends and others who I would mourn their deaths just a few short months or years later. I learned how to eat again. I was taught that I was enough as I was. I experienced flashback after flashback but worked my way through them to see the light that was waiting for me. I received my first service dog and then just four short years later held him as he died in my arm. I trained my second and returned to the show ring for the first time in 10 years.
 
I got the word hope tattooed on my arm. A word that Obama embraced and the thing that saved me when I was in the depths of anorexia.I celebrated five years of recovery. I gained weight instead of loosing it. I ate ice cream whenever I wanted and enjoyed every flavor of Cadbury eggs. I watched Michelle kiss the queen and ate snacks everyday.
 
As Obama negotiated international and domestic conflicts I negotiated my own conflicts of who I was as a person and how I could live this life limited by the confines of my own brain. I began to talk about my trauma in college thanks in a large part to Biden’s work on campus assault. I learned to set boundaries and became a proud feminist who admired Michelle and watched with tears in my eyes when she spoke about Trump’s actions. I watched Obama treat his daughter’s and wife with respect and the belief that they were equal. And I unknowingly absorbed the message for the first time – that perhaps being a woman didn’t make me “less than”.
 
And today as I prepare to go to bed on the last day that Obama is president I realized that this last eight years was the first time that I have lived without abuse. No bulling. No harassment. No rape. No partner abuse. In the entire time Obama has been president I have known that I have not belonged to a man who would abuse and use me.
 
And so as the Obama’s leave and this chapter of history is closed so does a chapter of my own life. Both America’s last 8 years and mine can be explained as chapters of pain, conflict, confusion, unexplainable joy, hope, despair and most importantly freedom and safety.
I’m saying goodbye to the man who has traveled a road at the same time as me. A road that was unknown and unpredictable for both of us. I also say goodbye to two men and one incredible woman that fostered an environment that gave me the courage to begin to heal.
 
Life doesn’t end here for either Obama or I (or for America). It’s just beginning. It’s time to spread our wings and experience a new adventure; one of freedom but informed by experiences of the past 8 years. And so as Obama says goodbye to the White House and the presidency I say goodbye to the 8 years of healing and recovery. It’s time to truly live.
 
 
 
 

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Filed under abuse, abuser, anxiety, Ben, body image, bullying, culture, depression, dog training, dogs, eating disorder, eating disorders, Election 2012, election 2016, feminism, Hope, Identity, life events, Life Story, New Life, politics, PTSD, Recovery, service dog, social change, society, survivor, the past, trauma, writing/poetry

dear facebook friends and family

 

Dear Friends and Family who Voted for Trump,

I’ve posted political articles on and off since the political season began (whenever that was…seems like it went on forever). I supported Bernie and then happily and with no reluctance moved my support to Hillary. I was open about that.

 
I got some comments on things I shared and some discussion but for the most part it was respectful. For the most part people left things I posted alone or agreed with them or maybe liked them.
 
I deleted someone because they kept posting the “haha” reaction to articles I shared about how Trump reminds me and other victims of their abusers but that was it.
 
Since Trump won it’s been different. I’ve posted articles, memes and graphics. None of it is in anyway more polarizing than things I posted before the election. However, some of you (some who I wasn’t aware were Trump supporters – the Bradley Effect is real) are now commenting, arguing and dismissing my opinions.
 
Why? Is it because your candidate won so now you have some sort of bravery you didn’t before? Is it because the things I post hit too close to home? Why do you feel so defensive and entitled to argue with me when you ignored my posts before the election? This puzzles me. It’s Facebook. I know there will be disagreements. I just wonder why after the election people suddenly feel the urge to comment and argue when before my posts were left alone before. That’s the part that confuses me. 
 
 I’m a survivor. I make no secret of that fact. Trump reminds me of my abusers just as he reminds thousands of other people in this country of their abusers. Trump makes me feel unsafe just as he makes thousands of other people in this country feel unsafe.  As a survivor I’ve learned that I can’t keep everyone in my life. Sometimes I have to let people go entirely – other times, I have to limit how much my life intersects with theirs.

The majority of my posts post-election day have not been about politics as normal. They have been about how this man makes people (me) feel. When you dismiss what I post or what I write with a “sorry you feel that way but it’s not true” or long explanations as to why what I just posted is plainly just wrong when it was an opinion piece that expresses hurt and sorrow, you aren’t saying my political views are wrong, you are saying that the way I feel and am choosing to heal is wrong. And that is far more damaging and hurtful than anything you could argue with me about.

I’m not going to stop posting articles to Facebook. I’m not going to stop talking about what I am doing to heal from my trauma – on a global scale and on a personal scale – but I am going to be limiting who can see what I post. It may be a relief to you too. You probably don’t enjoy seeing what I’m posting because you disagree with it so strongly anyways. Perhaps it offends you. I’m not going to apologize for that but I am going to make it easy on both of us and limit our contact. Because you must understand, when you argue with me over articles or memes or whether something is true or not; whether I have the right to feel this hurt.; whether I have the right to feel this way about Trump; I hear that you are telling me you don’t support me. You don’t support survivors. If you met my abuser’s and they told you their version of the story you would believe them over me. Or you just wouldn’t care. That is what I am hearing. More than likely I’m wrong. But I’m not claiming to be rational. I’m simply claiming to be doing what I have to do to survive.

And so you’ll still see me post on Facebook. I would’t want to keep everyone from seeing my dog pictures now would I (maybe those annoy you lol I don’t know)? I do wish you luck. But, I can’t wish for everyone to “just get along right now” because as the movie quote says “I’m mad as Hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”.  But I do wish you health and hope.

– Still very proud to be “With Her”, 

Kate

gus-and-i-for-hillary

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refugees

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

  • Martin Niemoller

 

I seldom get into politics on my blog (I can’t say never because I do sometimes) and I realize I’m breaking a long silence with a controversial post but I’m tired of being silent.

I first read this poem at The Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. And it struck me then as important and in these recent days it has been apparent to me just how important the lesson in this poem is. And how it still applies today.

The refugee debate on Facebook has been strong this last week and it has saddened me how hateful and coldhearted some people can be. At some points it has just plain scared me. Have we learned nothing from history? Condemning a whole group of people as terrorists, dangerous, unclean and unwelcome seems dangerously similarly to how Jews were treated during WWII.

We once turned away a ship full of Jewish people and that act is regarded as shameful as many of those people returned to Europe to be murdered. Yet, here governors, presidential candidates and my Facebook friends call for us to turn away another generation of refugees. We shall someday regret this and look with shame on our actions I believe.

People have given many arguments for why they don’t want refugees coming to the United States and one I have heard is “we don’t have the resources to take care of our own homeless”. At the end of the day that problem will still be there whether we take in more refugees or not. And I ask you – how much did you care about the homeless before this debate started?

I don’t even want to touch on the terrorist argument. It just seems absurd to me that we should deny a whole group of people entry because one or two may put us at risk. And that isn’t guaranteed. It is stereotyping of Muslims that drives me crazy. I’d rather debate about how many people white males kill with guns.

Returning to the poem at the beginning of my post: while people sit at home typing on their computers I hope they remember that we as human beings have a responsibility to be there for one another. One day we might be the person that needs taken care of and if we don’t help now there may be no one there to help us when the time comes.

 

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ugly

Ugly

Who first called me that?

Was it me or was it them?

And when did it sink down into my bones and begin to strip away my flesh

Was it the first time it was uttered on the playground

Or a passing insult at age thirteen

Or none of those at all?

Was it something my mind simply whispered to torture myself in the wee hours of the night

And then drilled into my brain, then my heart, my liver, my kidneys

Trying to kill me and almost succeeding

One word.

So much power.

So much destruction.

So much…

ugliness.

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Filed under body image, bullying, eating disorder, eating disorders, Identity, Life Story, Recovery, the past, writing/poetry

falling, falling

This poem/thing-without-a- proper- name describes some of my past experiences with dissociation.

Falling. Falling.

I’ve lost control of my own body.

My brain has once again betrayed me.

Not in thoughts. They betrayed me there long ago.

But in my movements, my mechanisms of survival.

I am trapped. Trapped in a body that won’t connect.

That skips flight and fight and goes to freeze and fall.

Holding onto banister and walls to walk willing myself to stay upright

But what good is will when the brain can trump all the willpower in the world?

They say – “walk. Don’t fall. You lie.”

I stand and walk.. But then – something happens. Something I do not see and suddenly the floor is rising up to meet me.

I cannot comprehend how my brain has forced my legs to betray me.

And neither can they. Attention seeking they call it. Despair I call it.

Wheelchairs, lectures, the silent treatment.

My brain has once again brought me to this lonely place.

A place I am familiar with. A place I am disliked and despised.

A place where my history has proven I belong.

A place where people hate little girls who have the wrong haircut

Sixteen year olds whose only crime was to play the wrong instrument

And an eighteen year old whose worse offence was to be born female

And now my brain has brought me there again – forcing my legs to slide and slip.

And so I’m back where I belong.

Alone. Hated and disliked for something I did not choose and cannot control.

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Filed under eating disorder, eating disorders, life events, Life Story, PTSD, Recovery, survivor, the past, trauma, writing/poetry