Pell Take 2 🥵

Aaaargggghhhhhhhhhhhh.

Getting the anger out yesterday helped.

We know I’m into acknowledging the benefits and drawbacks in every situation to maintain balance. I did that yesterday too. It empowered me to enjoy the day. And it gave me space to process.

The triggering I felt yesterday wasn’t about my abuse situation – I’m grateful for that journey in its entirety. What triggered me is that in this society, as much as we’ve seemingly moved forward, we haven’t really at all. Well, in a minuscule way. And, yes, it’s better than nothing.

I guess, until the patriarchal power structures change, we will continue to fall into the same sort of patterns.

It’s like in Child Protection – referring is mandatory, but the legislation stops there. Report, but no, there’s no real support for the mandatory reporter or the child who shares their story. You guys just do what you have to do.

If we were serious, really serious, about changing this culture and healing the children, men and women who have become prey to it, we would focus on rebuilding social attitudes, and ensuring help and real support for those who need it – perpetrator and victim.

Instead, we have a situation where a judge acknowledges the barbaric and self-serving acts of an official of the Catholic Church, acknowledges the short and long term impact for the victim who did not die from a drug overdose (the other did), acknowledges the lack of remorse from the official, and with the potential for a fifty year sentence, orders 6 with a non-parole period of 3 years and 8 months.

Because the perpetrator should not have to die in prison and has health concerns and has been vilified in the media. FFS.

Balance, Tina, and breathe. Fucking ridiculous.

So, where is the benefit?

In the outrage. Palpable outrage that people from all walks felt yesterday. From the outrage, change will come. From the outrage, healing will happen. From the outrage, people will unite and a community will be borne.

Yes, the outrage will start conversations – uncomfortable and challenging – but conversations that will spur movements and that, inevitably, will trigger the cultural shift in attitude that we need.

Life CAN Be Hard

Modern life can be really hard. We work long hours to pay for the rent/mortgage, power, gas, phone, internet, cars and their many expenses, food, school fees, and the list goes on.

The time we have off, we feel pressured to socialise and catch up, when all we really want to do is lie on the lounge to prepare our energy to repeat the entire process the following week.

Life can be hard.

It doesn’t have to be.

We choose for it to be.

Me included.

It doesn’t have to be though.

Three weeks ago, I turned my intermittent meditation into a daily ritual. I’m sleeping much better and more deeply. I wake feeling more energetic.

I’m not the guru of meditation. I use an app (Insight Timer) and I try different meditations, mostly guided. It works for me.

A week ago, I decided to follow my sister’s example and, except for business, disengage from social media. All of a sudden, without mindless scrolling, I have more ‘free’ time. My mind is less cluttered and I feel more grounded.

I also decided to stand on the grass for five minutes a day to just breathe. I feel more centred and calmer.

I’m consciously and mindfully eating and engaging with food. I have more energy and feel like I’m healing my body.

Life can be hard. Our choices make the difference.

A War Within Yourself

I think one of the hardest parts in resolving trauma, in particular childhood trauma, is that it is a long process. A looooong process.

The journey for me, has spanned decades. I had to go through every uncomfortable thing I did to get to health, and I’m still getting there.

Through my twenties and thirties and early forties, I struggled to manage depression. I engaged suicidal thoughts too much and was a roller coaster of irrational emotions.

I endured an inner blood curdling scream for over twenty years. I never felt in control and I never felt worthy of good things. I sabotaged friendships and potential good relationships all of the time. I was almost happy being unhappy, but not.

My mid forties has been a reckoning for me. I’ve learned so much about myself, about the healing process, and about managing our pain.

Two things have to be present for healing to take place:

1. The desire to heal.

2. The right time.

You might scoff at both. You might say, No one wants to be unhappy.

You are wrong. It’s not that people want to be unhappy, but they have become safe in that place and pain has become their identity. Breaking through that requires a great deal of work.

I encounter people all of the time who say they want things to change, they want to heal, but they are stuck where they are and unwilling to take any steps away from the safety of where they are.

I get that. It sounds harsh of me, but it’s true. Sometimes, in our head, where we are and what we know feels safer than the unknown. Feels safer than risking it and failing.

The worst thing we can do though, is stagnate, not move, die where we are. You don’t want that.

And yes, the second we have little control over.

I have had opportunities my whole life to heal. Most I’ve taken, some I have not.

What I know for sure is that if we don’t listen to the whispers of intuition we get that we need to change something, our lives will eventually crash around us and force us to take action.

That’s what happened to me in 2016. I had been too scared, too stuck in the fear of life outside of teaching, that I had not left. As a result, investigation for almost a whole year.

Now, I’m grateful for every second of the torment and anxiety and life as it was.

The Phoenix rose.

Because of that, because of the psychological and emotional healing, I’m now ready to manage my weight effectively. The last frontier for my healing journey.

After this, it will become a journey of maintaining mental, emotional and physical health whilst I grow spiritually and intellectually.

I’m excited.

Healing takes a lot of work and a lot of time, but it’s worth it. Every tear, every breakdown, every second.

Living With A Trauma Survivor

I write a lot about what it’s like to live with a trauma history. I’ve only occasionally thought what it must be like to live with me or to be my friend or partner.

You see, when you have experienced a trauma, the person you were and the person you could have been, no longer exist. There is a grief attached to that, the loss of you and of your past potential, that takes a long time to heal for most.

And the rules that apply to people without trauma, don’t really fit those living with trauma and it’s impact. Trauma breaks people; most temporarily, but for some, permanently.

It changes the way you see the world, and people, and relationships.

When you are abused as a child, you lose trust and a sense of positive self-worth.

As a result, as an adult, you need validation continually that what you are saying, what you are doing, and what you are feeling is okay. You second guess yourself all of the time. Trauma survivors don’t know what the boundaries are and can drive the people closest to them nuts by seeking validation and/or approval constantly. It is hard to live with, but harder to live through.

Remind your survivor that they are safe with you, and that they are enough, especially on the really hard days.

Once a survivor opens up and trusts you, you’re pretty much in for a hard ride. You’d think it would get easier, but it doesn’t.

Because a trauma survivor’s sense of trust has been demolished, when we trust, we trust wholly and expect you to live up to our expectations. It’s not fair, but it is what it is.

We don’t trust easily. We are used to people letting us down, but we expect you to be better than everyone else which sometimes means we don’t allow you to be human, and you feel like you can never win. You can’t. Sad, but true.

Your survivor still loves you, they just need more. Like, if we are feeling something or processing something or working through something, we need to work it through fully. You need to listen. You need to engage. Until it all makes sense in our heads from our perspective, just nod, hold a hand, remind us, “I love you. I’m listening. Keep talking.”

If we express that your behaviour doesn’t help our situation, listen closely, say what you are hearing back, and maybe negotiate a compromise on your behaviour. If that could work.

It’s hard, living or being close to a survivor of trauma. Most of us experience, especially in the early days of healing, irrational rages. If not rages, serious bouts of depression-like behaviours – not wanting to leave the house or interact with others or get dressed or do anything.

We hurt those closest and we try to push them out of our lives before they can hurt us. Even if you stay, we will keep pushing and trying to see how far we can push you, what it takes to break you, because we don’t believe we are worthy of you or your love or your friendship. If there is a chance you can hurt us, your life won’t be easy.

We are damaged.

The world doesn’t look to us like it looks to you.

Where you see sunsets, we see night coming, and that means fear of someone hurting you.

Where you smell eucalyptus, we smell the abuser who wore Vick’s as they hurt us.

We are triggered by the weirdest things at random times, and often can’t access why until we have completely lost our shit. After the release of breakdown, the shedding of another layer of healing, we return to the vulnerable human you know and love.

It’s a hard life for everyone involved. You, the partner or the friend or the parent, well, you need to self-care, you too, need a support network, you need to do what you can for yourself to ensure you cope okay.

You’re right, it isn’t fair.

But it also isn’t fair for the survivor. Healing is a process. There isn’t a one size fits all. And often, healing can take a lifetime as the survivor learns how to live in a world that allowed the damage to happen in the first place. Surely, that, is the ultimate betrayal in trust.

The Hard Lessons – Shame

Third post in this series that started this morning with a mid post breakdown.

I mowed the lawn after the last (second) post. The cortisol moved through my body, I sweated heaps, showered and vomited, and after my shower, I felt cleaner and the cortisol had subsided enough that I knew taking time out and just being, with some meditation later on, would bring my body back to balance. Oh, and eating food with nutrients. Plus a coke or chocolate (this part is not nutritionally sound and a habit I need to break – just not today – don’t judge).

I have worked hard to dissolve the actual abuse triggers. I realised this as I pushed the mower through the grass. This isn’t about the sexual abuse itself. I am grateful to those people for my abuse; I have posted about that before, and this trigger hadn’t changed that. This is about the impact that the trauma of my childhood made. This is about my automatic reactions to things and having to work through every trigger as it comes up.

And that’s okay. Three hours after the incident, I am lying on the lounge, feeling much better, empowered and fully feeling that my mission to empower others is my soul work for this lifetime. So, I’m good.

I want to talk about the shame though. Receiving those messages made me feel like I had done something wrong.

Maybe I shouldn’t have replied. Maybe I said the wrong thing. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough.

Intellectually, I know otherwise. Trauma is a funny thing though. And trauma is not intellectual.

Posting my initial Facebook post yesterday made me feel vulnerable; I was worried that people would judge me, blame me, hold me responsible. I was worried that people would say, and I shit you not, that I am ugly and no one would look twice at me, how many tickets have you got on yourself. I posted anyway.

I wasn’t letting irrational fears guide my choices – this is real growth for me. Trauma is fear based and very hard to ignore or move through. It requires feeling the vulnerability and dealing with the shame.

When people, out of love and kindness, pointed out that George was probably a bot or a Nigerian catfish scammer, my brain told me that I was stupid and I should have known that (how, I don’t know). I felt significantly more shame. I am still unwriting this shame narrative. It will take time.

I think my belly weight is the shame manifested physically. This is really important for me to realise because that knowledge will empower me to lose my excess weight. I thought it was the abuse that caused the weight. I think it is actually unresolved shame. I think my underlying narrative is a strong shame narrative that I fight against.

I now own that I’m an amazing teacher. It took me years to not feel like I was being conceited and to stand in that truth. When I said it to some people, they tried to shame me out of it, but I refused to be shamed.

I now own that I’m a very attractive woman – and the belly twinges – I am, I argue with my belly. I’m not model beautiful, but I’m gorgeous. I am me, wholly and proudly, and shame only has the power to make me buckle, not drop.

Trauma is insidious. It told us we weren’t valuable, we weren’t important, we were disposable, unworthy, undeserving. Trauma is wrong though. And my trauma and my healing is the legacy I will leave this world.

There is more to say. I’m not sure what it is at this point. But I am so grateful for being able to express my self, grateful for having a medium to express myself in, grateful to have the courage to acknowledge the shame publicly, and grateful that I empower myself to stand in my truth.

Unwanted Attention and One Man’s Inability to Listen 🤨

I run a healing business. I post weekly videos on my Facebook business page (@akashichealingthirlmere). Yesterday, I went to our local botanic gardens to film my video. At the moment I have very blonde hair and feel very empowered. I’m in an exceptionally good place. I am radiating that.

Already I’m looking for reasons.

Blonde hair (men love blonde hair – seems to suggest sluttiness).

I’m happy (suggests to men I’m low maintenance).

Ridiculous, Tina. Stop believing the conditioning.

I posted my video. A couple of hours later, I received a private message from a man, possibly not a real account – how do you eve know.

He said, “Hello pretty angel.”

Automatic replies are sent to all messages (important to keep that response banner there). Because it is my business page, I felt the need to reply and to be kind. On personal pages, I ignore these messages. I choose to not engage.

Too many men, too little time – as I roll my eyes.

Business pages are different. My reply was short and dismissive, I thought. It resulted in a very long message about who he was and what he was looking for. I realised my initial reply was not dismissive enough. I became more blunt. No change.

I posted about it on my personal and private Facebook page and beautifully, one of my friends told me how I block/ban him (I’m old lol). So I did.

I was not intimidated, but I was very uncomfortable. I wasn’t being heard which diminished me. He treated me like an object and showed no respect and no regard for what I wanted, which diminished me. And frustrated me and aggravated me.

He wasn’t sexual. But he was belligerent. He said he was a good listener, but he isn’t.

I am going to post the chat here. I have reread it. Some people might say I answered inappropriately – odds on some people will say – oh, you shouldn’t have said that or done that – yep, that’s why people don’t speak out about these things.

The response of others suggests the person receiving the unsolicited attention should feel ashamed. I don’t think I’m expressing this very well – abnormal for me and a sign that I really am uncomfortable about this, as much as I could laugh it off yesterday.

Today I feel angry. I could unban him just to abuse him. And I’ve literally just realised why.

This is why I keep weight on.

I was sexually abused as a child, by three different males, of different ages and with different relationships to my family. Male attention makes me uncomfortable unless I’m in control of it. Fat keeps men at bay.

Fuuuuck. Now I want to cry. And am.

Those males had no right to impose their needs and desires for power over me as a child. And George Hackman had no right to impose his needs on me yesterday.

I should be able to be my best and healthiest self without needing to worry I’ll be targeted or receive unwanted male attention. Now I become articulate. What the. I just do need to write the C word.

How dare any man or any person violate the peace and safety of any other living thing. How dare they. How can someone feel so entitled and be so selfish that they impose their will onto others.

I need to decompress. I’ll post the messages. I’ll get up and process what I’m feeling. I’ll be back when I have.

Childhood Trauma

Obviously, I’ve decided to start writing every day again. I’ve missed it. I think (it could change) that a lot of my posts might focus on childhood trauma and abuse and healing.

I was sexually and physically and emotionally/psychologically abused during my childhood. The way I perceived it all, I grew up believing that I wasn’t worth very much. This made it easier for other people to keep me feeling small in my life. After all, when you aren’t worth much you believe you don’t deserve much.

I have recently read two amazing books on childhood trauma. Dr Bessell van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score and Dr Nadine Burke Harris’ The Deepest Well. If you are interested, the second one is a much easier read than the first. She also has a TED Talk.

An ACE Score is an adversity in childhood experiences score. There are ten questions based on childhood experience. The higher the score, the more traumatic your childhood experiences were. This leaves you open to greater health problems and dysfunction in adulthood.

My score is 8 out of 10.

I’m flabbergasted I function as well as I do hehe.

I always felt motivated intrinsically to heal though. I never wanted my life to be restricted because of my childhood adversity. After all, it wasn’t all bad, it’s just that the bad had no voice and no way to release itself or moderate itself so it took over.

As I read The Body Keeps the Score, I realised how significant the impact of silence and shame has been – especially physically. The physicality extends into the psychological.

I have achieved a great deal in and throughout my life. I continue to grow and to heal. I don’t know why I never really fell off the rails into promiscuity and drugs. Possibly fear lol.

I do know though, that we are better informed today than we were in the seventies and early eighties. I know that counselling and support could make the world of difference in an abused child’s life.

I do not understand why it isn’t mandated in the Child Protection legislation. Trauma counselling should be a given for children experiencing trauma. Research indicates that it can make a significant difference to life outcomes.

So, I will be advocating for this. I want children to have hope, and passion for life, and the belief that they deserve to have their dreams come true.

That’s why I taught for so much longer than I think was healthy for me. I believe in our children, and I’ve seen too many parents, out of their depth, not know how to support their child through trauma. Parents need support too.

We know better. It’s time we do better.

Tina says 🤪

Unsolicited Advice 🤪

My whole life I have had very strong opinions about a lot of things. I was idealistic, passionate and very focused on my vision for this world. I would listen to the views of others, but only ever add to my arsenal of opinions rather than change them.

As we begin to age, I think we lose or temper some of that fervour, and some of my opinions have moved closer to the right side of politics (not right as in accurate, right as in right wing). The delivery of those ideas though would always encompass support and education.

For me these days, empowerment of individuals is vital to happiness and fulfilment. I guess that’s my underlying value and philosophy for living. People need to become empowered, by themselves or through a facilitated process.

In New South Wales in Australia, where I live, we have to vote in a State Election at the end of March.

I have always taken my vote seriously because the only dictatorship I would like to live in is one dictated to by me. When I turned 18, way back in the dark ages, and my first vote was coming up, I fastidiously researched (without Google I might add) the philosophy of each major party in Australia at the time (Liberal, Labor, Greens and the Democrats) and then I researched their leaders and then I found out about my local candidates.

I thought it was important to know all of this. During my twenties, I became involved in local politics, joined a political party, became active, a little militant, and served.

During my thirties, I became disillusioned. Candidates that WERE the best choice weren’t being supported by Head Office as much as they should be and I saw the yucky side of party politics.

Now, towards the end of my forties, having resigned from the political quagmire of school and education bureaucracy, I feel my passion and voice returning.

It has been bothering me that there is an election coming and I don’t know who to vote for. Here in Australia, politics and governance has become an ego riddled joke. Our Prime Minister changes with the winds and politicians don’t really seem to care about us real people and what we want.

So, for the first time in my life, I’m looking very seriously to vote for a candidate that quite possibly won’t gain office this time, but might next time. I’ve gone back to grass roots, and I think I’m going to vote for my local independent.

I met them on Saturday. They are traveling around the electorate to meet and genuinely hear from their potential constituents. Irrelevant who it is. I’m not trying to tell you who to vote for. That’s personal choice and your values may be different from mine.

I am suggesting though, that you find out about your candidates and the parties they belong to, and don’t ignore the independent candidates. Some independent candidates are stooges from the major parties placed in the ballot to extend the preferential votes. Find out.

Find out what each candidate stands for and don’t just vote a way that you always have – I truly believe our major parties need to know how disgruntled we are that they do not choose the needs of their constituents over their own and/or party needs.

It’s time for a political shake up and massive awakening in our country, and we start with our vote at the next elections.

And, yep, after months, two posts in a row hehehe.

Because I’m human … sometimes 😜

Yesterday was an interesting day. It ended in frustration at what I perceive to be the inefficiency of the health system.

This morning was also interesting. After going to bed very late (happens because I finish work so late), I woke this morning with a strong message from the universe.

The lump in my breast (more than likely a benign fibroamenoid), the smashed thumb and the smashed car – all on the left side – are signs to let go of needing to control and be in control.

A shock, I know lol. I’m usually so trusting 😳

And, that message is right. Life has a fluidity that, when trusted, leads us to exactly where we are meant to be, in peace. I guess it’s similar to having faith in God. But, different too.

I arrived for my appointment on time. I was quizzed about cancelling the mammogram. It was accepted. I was relieved.

I had the ultrasound. Nothing unexpected. A big lump on my left breast, near the surface, very obvious. The routine questions:

When did you discover it? How long do you think it has been there? Do you have a family history of breast cancer? Any cancer? When was your last mammogram? Do you have the slides?

My last mammogram was in my twenties when I had been hit by a student throwing something and it resulted in a lump. So, no, I do not have the slides. In fact, never received the slides.

No history of any cancer.

I found it two and a half weeks ago. I hadn’t noticed it during my last self-exam. No, I don’t remember exactly when that was, the last three months or so.

Why didn’t you come earlier?

I booked in with the doctor and it took me a week to get an appointment. Then, I immediately booked in here and today was your first free appointment. I called eight days ago to book in.

Oh. And giggles, God love her.

Then the doctor came in. Felt the lump. Looked at the scans. Asked the questions. Explained that whilst he is fairly certain it’s a fibroamenoid, he is concerned that it grew suddenly when usually they are with you since menstruation starts. I mentioned the IVF for five years. Faces changed and ohs were emitted.

Yep. IVF – the gift that keeps giving.

Again, for me, a lesson in trust over control. One I think I’ll still be learning on my death bed lol.

Then, half naked, that gross gel over my chest, Why did you opt out of the mammogram?

I gave my reasons.

I don’t want to pressure you. It’s your choice, it’s your body. But …

I got so frustrated. I know enough to know I didn’t want it, but I can’t argue with a doctor. Ended up with the mammogram too.

Frustrated with my lack of balls here. And, that frustration lasted until this morning’s message.

I’m at peace now. Wish I’d been dressed and standing for that argument. There’s a vulnerability that is disarming on a table half dressed. But, it is what it is.

I am a work in progress. Constantly evolving and learning.

I’ll be fine though – I know that for sure.

Pic 1 – visual metaphor – Tina yesterday between scans lol

Pic 2 – nice view behind the visual metaphor

Pic 3 – the sunrise of illumination and trust this morning

😉 yep, I’m crazy lol

Bullying 😳

My puppy sits on the lounge and watches television. When any animal comes on (I now think it may be when he wants a cuddle), he barks and does a little dance. This morning, Queensland’s Premier, Anastasia Palaszuck (spelt wrong – sorry), was on television demanding a national plan for bullying to be stopped in schools in the wake of Dolly’s suicide as a result of ongoing bullying.

I’m a big fan of bullying being outlawed. But, I’m not an idiot. This is way too simplistic an idea. It will not work. For so many reasons.

Bullying has existed for a long time. A long time. Not just in schools, but in workplaces and homes amongst adults first and foremost.

Bullying happens when there is an imbalance of power. It stems from the ego governing the choices of a human. That ego is often fed by a deep insecurity and fear that the person has no power themselves. The person addresses this by exerting power over another. When this happens, repeatedly, to the same person, we call it bullying.

Until our society works on healing the damaged adults who model this behavior, and we call systems to account (like institutions whose policies mandate bullying behavior), bullying amongst children in schools will continue.

However, we can attempt to mitigate the impact of bullying by strengthening the resilience of children and, case by case, responsibly dealing with early incidents of bullying. This, too, requires that egos be checked at the door.

By ego, I am referring to the part of our psyche that tells us we aren’t good enough or that something is our fault (this ego operates from a lack position), and so we become aggressive and single minded when we try to bring a situation back to balance (impossible, where the ego is concerned, because it needs to win to be satisfied).

Bullying is not okay. Not ever. Not between adults, not between kids, not towards animals.

It will continue to happen whilst ever our society runs on the adrenaline of ego, whilst ever one person has more power than another (and uses it to further their own desires), and whilst ever power structures form the foundation of every organization, including government.

So, dealing with bullying. I am often charged with handling a bullying situation at school. This often occurs at an early point because I don’t tolerate kids saying mean things to one another or being mean to one another.

In fact, in my classroom I maintain strict expectations for how we treat each other during the learning process. I expect students to respond to questions, to ask questions and to make mistakes freely ( we learn more from mistakes than getting things right). I create a safe environment for this to happen, to empower my students to learn.

I warn my students that no one will laugh at someone else without serious consequences. They only ever need one example of someone being minimized and me reacting to know that I am true to my word.

Whatever people think of my strategies, they work. Kids feel safe with me and they learn. I pride myself (bloody ego) on creating a safe learning environment for my kids. This extends beyond the classroom walls.

I am regarded by some as a bitch. I don’t care. Students in my classes regard me as fair and only a bitch if I catch you doing something you shouldn’t. I have had many kids referred to me by ex students who say, Go see Meyer. She’ll deal with it. Yes, yes I will. Every child deserves to feel and to be safe at school.

I will share my process. This is a general summary. Every situation is different and might require some tweaking, but this is it basically.

I speak to both kids individually. I try to work out what has happened and why it has happened. From both sides. Why is the bully needing the power and why is the victim willing to sacrifice their’s.

Before you jump, I have been bullied. In each case, I need to work out for myself, why I sacrificed my power. It’s a hard conversation to have with yourself because we lie to make ourselves feel better. I encourage the kids to be honest with themselves, and with me, so that we can resolve the core issues.

Often, bullying isn’t about either child, it is about the feelings of powerlessness and worthlessness – on both sides. These need to be resolved so that the bullying does not continue.

I will then often sit the kids together and I mediate a conversation, a sharing of how each child feels and the real reasons as to why. The kids start to see their same-ness rather than their difference. I do a lot of the talking in this mediation until the kids feel safe with being honest. It usually results in a lot of tears (from me too – nothing more beautiful than kids seeing each other as equals after pain and seeing a way out) and resolution.

Very rarely have their been repeat offenses. And, if there are, I become a bully to the bully. Not nice, but effective.

The core issues are integral to solutions. They are often ignored in the resolution of bullying incidences. There is too much blame and too much anger and too much a need to be right rather than happy. Us adults model this poor behavior all of the time. We need to model our authentic selves rather than our masked selves.

Realistically, the solution to bullying relies on us adults being honest with ourselves. The bandaid solutions that will filter down from government are bullshit. They will achieve nothing. Us adults needs to be empowered to be our best selves. Only then will we empower our kids to be their best selves. Only then.