This week I wish to introduce you to a very special friend of mine. A lady who has supported and encouraged me in my healing journey as well as in my literary endeavours. Author and an amazing survivor of so very much, Virginia Lee.
Virginia knew it was my birthday on Saturday 19th May and asked me what I would like as a gift. I am not a material man and I asked her for the thing she brings magic to. Words. I admire her and her writing. She writes from a place deep within her soul. This is her gift to me, and I think a gift to us all in fact. She has survived and overcome much. She is an inspiration. Thank you Virginia.
Penblwydd Hapus Jan L. Frayne! Happy Birthday, May 19th!
I am very pleased that Jan has invited me to be a guest here on his blog. I met Jan on Twitter near the end of July 2011. I have watched him progress in leaps and bounds these past months and come into his own. I am very proud to know him and be his friend.
I don’t know what I will write of here. I walk into an empty format. There is no form or structure given, no questions to answer. The unknown looms darkly before me.
I asked Jan for suggestions.
“Write what you wish!” He responds magnanimously. I imagine him with a grin and opening his arms wide. Carte blanche?! My eyes widen and blink rapidly as my mind scrambles through dozens of possibilities at once, all daunting. I draw a deep breath to calm myself.
“I’m a novelist! This means I can at times go on and on and on!” I exclaim, asking him to make a suggestion or give direction as to what or how much I am to write for him. It is his blog afterall!
“Write as much as you like!” I can see him smiling with a twinkle in his eyes as he offers me this honor.
“Ah…” I murmur to myself, feeling lost as I open my word processor and stare at a blank page.
I take a deep breath and recount the many areas of commonality I share with this wonderful friend. What of me and my many labels, or facets of self, do I then share here? I bite the inside of my lip and think.
I wish to create something here, something of importance to honor him. A decision is made. I will write of what Jan has encouraged me to share of my experience, strength, and hope for any who have suffered abuse as we have. I step across my threshold of resistance with a smile and a sigh…
Words, when woven well together and threaded with colors, can create a beautiful tapestry. I pull out my loom and set the threads beside me. My selections begin, keeping in mind that even the dark threads are necessary for beauty to stand out with depth and dimension. I want to make this the very best I can for my dear friend.
Enter Rumplestiltskin – he spins straw into gold for me. Each word a slender stalk filled with the delicate grains of ideas. I must have more thread for my loom!
Inspired by Jan’s “I Chanced Upon a Stranger” from his book, “Beyond Survivor”, I begin…
One of the greatest facts of life that I have discovered is that people are hungry to connect with others; to feel welcomed, worthwhile, validated, and part of a whole. We seek to find areas of commonality and reach out for more in an ever expanding universe. We thirst to exchange our thoughts and feelings with others; the triumphs and tragedies of the human spirit through the condition known as “living.” We need to be one and not alone.
This need is even greater in we who have suffered abuse, particularly if we have been victimized as children. We hide from this contact we crave, fear it, and withdraw; isolating even when in a crowd. Distrustful, "fight or flight" mechanisms are in place at all times. We live on an edge and don’t realize that the tension does not have to be there. That which helped us to survive the people and events, becomes a handicap to any healthy living now. We have rights we never knew. What "normies" take for granted, are unknowns to us. Some of the "tools for survival" that we learned because of our being abused, become weapons against ourselves, harming us as we
attempt to be adults. Our role models may have taught us how not to be but gave little input as to how we can and should be had we not been "damaged."
We need to learn what victim means. “Victim” means more than the attacks and abuse that we endured. It is the additional fact that these “events” have created in us patterns, character traits and habits, that allow the abuse to continue as if there’s a sign on one’s back saying, “Go ahead, step on me, use me, hurt me.” Others may survive with a wall around them that they defend violently at times. We add to the damage when we deny or rationalize what happened, and thus allow further abuse to follow. We often become self-abusive, making bad choices and decisions. Alcoholism, drug abuse, even suicide is prevalent in we who have so suffered.
Awareness of all of this becomes the first key to doing more than just surviving. We must see and feel that which is kept hidden. We need to share and walk with others despite our fears. Shine the light strongly into the recesses and discover there are gifts hidden among the dross and debris. You are the gift you can give to yourself. Give yourself wings!
Acceptance is the next key. In the end, it doesn't matter as much who put the foot print there that harms us still, as it does that we take responsibility in improving, recovering, and becoming, more. We need to learn our rights. Yes, set boundaries and grant yourself rights, including the right to be happy and to be loved! Know too that you have responsibilities, actions that must be taken to be and remain healthier, happier, and able then to contribute more to the whole. Continue making these efforts. Develop compassion and tolerance. Become confident in your own self worth. Wash, rinse, and repeat. Make a positive contribution to the person that you wish to be and to all others by connecting with life and disconnecting from that which destroys. Get out into the sun!
I thrive in spite of my past. I have had countless episodes in all varieties of abuse since infancy and on into my adult years. I have battled self destructive behaviors. After many years of work and continuing efforts, I live in the present! Thriving is so much more than surviving. This requires embracing self with love. I found that love when I became aware of and began to accept that which had been dominating my life,
and I set to work. The next important key I had to use to allow any love and greater healing… was forgiveness. Not for anyone else’s sake but for my own. I had to break the last chain that chaffed me in remembrance and caused me continued pain. We have the right to live a life worth living; no longer just existing, lost, confused, angry, or afraid. I had to learn balance and then continue to practice the enforcement of my rights and responsibilities. I can quite honestly say, “Been there, done that.”
I’m no longer handicapped by what was done to me. I’m challenged at times but this is nothing new in my life. There’s always been a challenge in one way or another, there always will be. This is truth for all of us. It’s called, “Life!” Changes may affect and redirect the flow of “me” yet I am still Me! I have learned to Change what I can - Accept what I cannot change - and to do this with Wisdom. Because of this I have gained Courage, Strength, and Serenity. Pain is part of living, growth is optional, choose wisely. Never forget to find and share the wonder that is always there, even in the darkest of nights. The mosaic of life is breathtakingly beautiful!
“Peace, be still!” Some storms seem to go on forever… Today, I choose to live no longer in fear but with peace. The greatest key for me in my personal recovery has been the awareness, acceptance, and trust in my belief of a higher power, whom I choose to call God and Christ Jesus. When I walk hand in hand with Him, I can and most certainly do, enjoy the journey!
Sit in the mud or choose to make pies! Dance in the rain. Sing through the storms. Seek and you will find the way. Challenge yourself to reach and grow. The more you do, the more you will find!
We are worthwhile, valid and wondrous human beings, part of the whole. We are needed and wanted. We can make valuable contributions if we tap into the stream of life around us. We are both students and teachers as we allow ourselves to join with others. We are one and we are not
I stand upon a beach and gaze about me. A vast ocean teaming with life stretches to the
horizon. I smile!
ENJOY THE JOURNEY! ~ Virginia Lee
I love words, spoken and unspoken, and delight in the sound of them whispering
stories to me through everything that life presents to me. As soon as I learned
how to write, I was off and writing! As I progressed on my journey in life, I
learned to further develop my writing skills as a tool of survival and creation
that would uplift me through anything dark and enrich everything else with
brilliant radiance. As such a mosaic of life and living is my interest, I write
in many genres. Though I had to learn to live on this plane of reality,
mankind’s earth, and to do so with positive energy and spirit; it is from my
mind and heart, in my universe of words, that I truly live.
Virginia has travelled extensively and is currently settled in Ohio with her
family. She has worked primarily in the field of alcoholism and drug abuse as
well as having been a foster parent and mentor to teenagers. Her experiences
encompass the heights and depths of the human spirit, enriching her writing
with the faith, courage, and hope that she has found and shared with so many.
“Writing is not, for us, an art, but breathing.” ~Anais Nin
is a member of the Independent Author Network http://bit.ly/n6Ns86
Published work ~ Dagon’s Blood
Read more about this historical fiction romance at Dagonsblood.wordpress.com http://bit.ly/rh58Eh
You will also find excerpts from this and her current works in progress there: “Enjoy
the Journey!” – an anthology of inspiring, positive stories; and “Morgan’s Way”
the sequel to Dagon’s Blood.
Read exciting reviews of Dagon’s Blood on Amazon! http://amzn.to/xYy0gL
Dagon’s Blood at http://on.fb.me/zlvzBq
to connect with Virginia Lee on Twitter @dagonsblood , where Virginia is known
by her signature smile! ;-) ; Facebook http://on.fb.me/nNDg1u
; and Goodreads http://bit.ly/LbPFMH