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1. Trauma permanently changes us.

This is the big, scary truth about trauma: there is no such thing as “getting over it.” The five stages of grief model marks universal stages in learning to accept loss, but the reality is in fact much bigger: a major life disruption leaves a new normal in its wake. There is no “back to the old me.” You are different now, full stop.

This is not a wholly negative thing. Healing from trauma can also mean finding new strength and joy. The goal of healing is not a papering-over of changes in an effort to preserve or present things as normal. It is to acknowledge and wear your new life — warts, wisdom, and all — with courage.

2. Presence is always better than distance.

There is a curious illusion that in times of crisis people “need space.” I don’t know where this assumption originated, but in my experience it is almost always false. Trauma is a disfiguring, lonely time even when surrounded in love; to suffer through trauma alone is unbearable. Do not assume others are reaching out, showing up, or covering all the bases.

It is a much lighter burden to say, “Thanks for your love, but please go away,” than to say, “I was hurting and no one cared for me.” If someone says they need space, respect that. Otherwise, err on the side of presence.

3. Healing is seasonal, not linear.

It is true that healing happens with time. But in the recovery wilderness, emotional healing looks less like a line and more like a wobbly figure-8. It’s perfectly common to get stuck in one stage for months, only to jump to another end entirely … only to find yourself back in the same old mud again next year.

Recovery lasts a long, long time. Expect seasons.

4. Surviving trauma takes “firefighters” and “builders.” Very few people are both.

This is a tough one. In times of crisis, we want our family, partner, or dearest friends to be everything for us. But surviving trauma requires at least two types of people: the crisis team — those friends who can drop everything and jump into the fray by your side, and the reconstruction crew — those whose calm, steady care will help nudge you out the door into regaining your footing in the world. In my experience, it is extremely rare for any individual to be both a firefighter and a builder. This is one reason why trauma is a lonely experience. Even if you share suffering with others, no one else will be able to fully walk the road with you the whole way.

A hard lesson of trauma is learning to forgive and love your partner, best friend, or family even when they fail at one of these roles. Conversely, one of the deepest joys is finding both kinds of companions beside you on the journey.

5. Grieving is social, and so is healing.

For as private a pain as trauma is, for all the healing that time and self-work will bring, we are wired for contact. Just as relationships can hurt us most deeply, it is only through relationship that we can be most fully healed.

It’s not easy to know what this looks like — can I trust casual acquaintances with my hurt? If my family is the source of trauma, can they also be the source of healing? How long until this friend walks away? Does communal prayer help or trivialize?

Seeking out shelter in one another requires tremendous courage, but it is a matter of life or paralysis. One way to start is to practice giving shelter to others.

6. Do not offer platitudes or comparisons. Do not, do not, do not.

“I’m so sorry you lost your son, we lost our dog last year … ” “At least it’s not as bad as … ” “You’ll be stronger when this is over.” “God works in all things for good!”

When a loved one is suffering, we want to comfort them. We offer assurances like the ones above when we don’t know what else to say. But from the inside, these often sting as clueless, careless, or just plain false.

Trauma is terrible. What we need in the aftermath is a friend who can swallow her own discomfort and fear, sit beside us, and just let it be terrible for a while.

7. Allow those suffering to tell their own stories.

Of course, someone who has suffered trauma may say, “This made me stronger,” or “I’m lucky it’s only (x) and not (z).” That is their prerogative. There is an enormous gulf between having someone else thrust his unsolicited or misapplied silver linings onto you, and discovering hope for one’s self. The story may ultimately sound very much like “God works in all things for good,” but there will be a galaxy of disfigurement and longing and disorientation in that confession. Give the person struggling through trauma the dignity of discovering and owning for himself where, and if, hope endures.

8. Love shows up in unexpected ways.

This is a mystifying pattern after trauma, particularly for those in broad community: some near-strangers reach out, some close friends fumble to express care. It’s natural for us to weight expressions of love differently: a Hallmark card, while unsatisfying if received from a dear friend, can be deeply touching coming from an old acquaintance.

Ultimately every gesture of love, regardless of the sender, becomes a step along the way to healing. If there are beatitudes for trauma, I’d say the first is, “Blessed are those who give love to anyone in times of hurt, regardless of how recently they’ve talked or awkwardly reconnected or visited cross-country or ignored each other on the metro.” It may not look like what you’d request or expect, but there will be days when surprise love will be the sweetest.

9. Whatever doesn’t kill you …

In 2011, after a publically humiliating year, comedian Conan O’Brien gave students at Dartmouth College the following warning:

"Nietzsche famously said, ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ … What he failed to stress is that it almost kills you.”
Odd things show up after a serious loss and creep into every corner of life: insatiable anxiety in places that used to bring you joy, detachment or frustration towards your closest companions, a deep distrust of love or presence or vulnerability.

There will be days when you feel like a quivering, cowardly shell of yourself, when despair yawns as a terrible chasm, when fear paralyzes any chance for pleasure. This is just a fight that has to be won, over and over and over again.

10. … Doesn’t kill you.

Living through trauma may teach you resilience. It may help sustain you and others in times of crisis down the road. It may prompt humility. It may make for deeper seasons of joy. It may even make you stronger.

It also may not.

In the end, the hope of life after trauma is simply that you have life after trauma. The days, in their weird and varied richness, go on. So will you.

Catherine Woodiwiss, “A New Normal: Ten Things I’ve Learned About Trauma”  


(via depressionresource)

(Source: soishothimintheface)

It’s Monday. I’m going home at 6pm and a middle aged man and a teenage boy are the only people left on the bus with me. I consider the fact that because the driver is also a man I am the only person left on the bus with the correct genetic makeup for boobs. I’m automatically scared, scared because of my own anatomy. I wonder how old I was when I realized that my own body was going to be the cause of the constant anxiety and fear I feel in situations like this. I get off at the last stop and the older man smiles at me while following me up the street. His smile drips, drips, drips and my heart is pounding, pounding, pounding. He turns off down another road, but I run the rest of the way home.

Not all men.

I’m at home on a Tuesday, beginning to plan the travels I want to go on next year. I dream of wandering the streets and meeting strangers. I just can’t wait to escape the city I’ve lived in for 17 long years. But… my mum is hesitant. She’s forever worried about the danger that being a young girl traveling alone can bring. I’ll be alone and she’s scared. Surely I’m invincible. I feel invincible. But I know, I know this danger is real and I can’t help but think to myself, if I feel unsafe in my own city, how am i going to feel in a strange place with strange men who don’t speak the same language as me? If I was my brother planning this, I would probably just be wondering if European girls are going to be hot.

Not all men.

Wednesday is a beautiful sunny day but I’ve always been told that I don’t have a “nice enough body” to wear a bikini on the beach. Ever since I was 6 years old I’ve thought that having tummy fat was ugly. That skin that doesn’t have a perfectly golden glow is undesirable. I amble to a clear patch of sand in my one piece and I can feel pairs of eyes latching onto me. Hairy men in speedos who I don’t look twice at eat into my body with their stares. I’m a piece of meat. I am a piece of meat? I am here for their amusement. Please don’t let me be eaten alive.

Not all men.

Thursday night two friends and I are walking to our god damn school dance when we hear “Jesus look at you! You sluts heading to a pole?” These words snarl out of the mouth of a respectably dressed man and we stop in horror. Shivers roll up my back in fear. It’s dark. We are alone. What. Do. We. Do??? One of us pulls the finger back. I can never be sure how quickly a sexist man can get angry so we walk quickly away. We’re angry, so so angry. But also so… deflated. I wonder if we deserve this shame.

Not all men.

Sitting on the internet, Friday night and scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed:

“Haha, good job at the game today bro. You RAPED them!”
“Damn with tits like that, you’re asking for it :P”

Another sexist comment…
Another sexist comment…
Another sexist comment…

I’m shrinking and shrinking and shrinking and I want to CRY because these boys don’t realize how small they make me feel with just pressing a few keys. I see these boys on the streets, I talk to these boys, I laugh with these boys. Dear GOD, dear GOD i hope these boys don’t think actions speak louder than words…

Not all men.

Three rules that have been drilled into me since I was young run through my mind at 1.30am on a Satur… Sunday Morning:

-Don’t ever talk to strange men
-Don’t ever be alone at night in a strange place
-Don’t ever get into a car with a stranger

I break all 3 of these laws as I pull open the taxi door. Making light conversation with the driver, he doesn’t see my sweaty hand clutching the small pocket knife I keep hidden on me at all times. He doesn’t even realize the fear I feel at his mere presence. He cannot comprehend it, he never will. How easy would this 15 minute car ride be if I was born a boy?

Not all men.

It comes to Sunday, another snoozy, sleepy, Sunday and someone has the AUDACITY to tell me not all men are rapists. I say nothing.

I’m a 17 year old girl.
When I am walking alone and it’s dark, it’s all men.
When I am in a car with a man I don’t know well, it’s all men.
When men drunkenly leer at me on the streets, it’s all men.
When a boy won’t leave me alone at a party, it’s all men.

Not all men are rapists. But for a young girl like me? Every one of them has the potential to be.

Not.
All.
Men.

a piece i wrote for an english assignment about my personal experiences with rape culture, in particular with the saying “not all men” which i know has been makin a lot of controversy on the internet recently! idk just wanted to share (via trueho)

I am almost in tears because this hit me so hard

(via badgorlbribri)

  • Track Name

    Oblivion

  • Album

    Visions

  • Artist

    Grimes

The song recounts a specific sexual assault (“One of the most shattering experiences of my life,” Grimes, who was born in Vancouver as Claire Boucher, told SPIN in 2012) by describing the psychic fallout: “And never walk about after dark/ It’s my point of view/ Because someone could break your neck/ Coming up behind you always coming and you’d never have a clue,” she lisps in her high, pinched voice. It’s a dazzling, paralyzing performance, in part because Boucher sounds almost playful, and in part because the skronking behind her—the song’s springy, propulsive synth line was one of 2012’s most unforgettable—indicates something other than victimization. “See you on a dark night,” Boucher repeats. […] But what “Oblivion” ultimately offers is victory. It’s the sound of one woman turning personal devastation into not just a career-making single, but a lasting anthem of transformation.

Grimes’ Oblivion is the best song of the decade - so far.

Love her.

(Source: ozhin)

I really like how Tori Amos covers songs written from a dude’s perspective and, in her version, turns them into something striking, dark and mildly terrifying. Really gives one pause, and an opportunity to reflect on what is being said, and how, and the things we tend to subconsciously accept as a culture. Very clever, Tori.

fleetwytchmac:

The Making of “Boys for Pele” by Tori Amos

Recorded from January 1995 until May 1995 in Delgany Church in County Wicklow, Ireland.

Released January 22, 1996

During the recording of her previous album, Under the Pink (1994), Amos’s longtime professional and romantic relationship with Eric Rosse, who co-produced a considerable amount of her pre-Pele work, disintegrated. That loss, combined with a few subsequent encounters with men during the Under the Pink promotional tour, forced Amos to re-evaluate her relationship with men and masculinity. Amos explained, “In my relationships with men, I was always musician enough, but not woman enough, I always met men in my life as a musician, and there would be magic, adoration. But then it would wear off. All of us want to be adored, even for five minutes a day, and nothing these men gave me was ever enough.”

Songs began appearing in fragments, often while on stage during the Under the Pink tour. After a trip to Hawaii and learning about legendary volcano goddess Pele, the album began taking shape and the songs represented stealing fire from the men in her life as well as a journey to finding her own fire as a woman. From there, Amos explained, the songs just came. “Sometimes the fury of it would make me step back, I began to live these songs as we separated. The vampire in me came out. You’re an emotional vampire, with blood in the corner of your mouth, and you put on matching lipstick so no one knows.”

Along this journey, Amos, who has openly discussed her experiences with psychedelic drugs, particularly in relation to Boys for Pele, did ayahuasca ceremonies with a South American shaman and experienced meeting the devil, leading her to write the track “Father Lucifer.”

The album would ultimately consist of 15 full-length songs and four short “interludes”. As Amos was finding “parts and pieces of myself that I had never claimed” on this journey, the 14 primary songs represent the number of body parts of the Egyptian god Osiris that his wife, the goddess Isis, had to find to put his body back together in Egyptian mythology. The arrangement of the songs on the album reflects the progression Amos intended to achieve on the double vinyl LP of the album; each of the four sides of the album on vinyl would open with an interlude track that leads into the rest of the three or four songs on each side. The vinyl release is the only occurrence when the interludes (“Beauty Queen,” “Mr. Zebra,” “Way Down,” and “Agent Orange”) are not numbered and when “Beauty Queen” and “Horses” are not combined into one track.

Of her first self-produced album, Amos said, “I was at the point I could not answer to anybody. I’d been answering my whole life to some patriarchal figure.”

Fucking amazing.

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