I suppose I, as a writer can be ignorant and forget how empowering and therapeutic being able to write is and how creative it is. This is is something that every woman should be able to access. I saw the results of the works of creativity in every face at ‘Behind the mask’ exhibition this today.
The exhibition was led by a passionate presentation by the highly charismatic Sharon Marsden from verd de gris
I spent most of my time in tears. All masks shed to connect with British white and British Muslim woman through the medium of poetry, their personal words and singing. Yes, what a strange bonding power it is to want to join in and sing with strangers.
All connected by our desire to be unburdened, it released even me from my cage. Today, I flew high and found my voice intermingled amongst a collective . I didn’t need to say a word. Someone already had and I identified completely. I had a taste of the 12-week journey these highly courageous women have been through. It reminds me of my own journey in life as a woman. I’m not alone. We are not alone. As painful as some of these emotions were to witness and experience the exhibition left on a high – I was carried away with a powerful gust of optimism and newfound courage to carry on in my own journey in life.
All faiths, all ages, all complex woman with the desire to be free from pain and to be free to show their real face and not wait for the words of acceptance . The message I took away is this:
This is me! take me or leave. I will not hide behind any more masks for you or anyone.
Here is my crane symbol to remind me that I too can be that bird that ‘flies to the heavens’
The crane is a popular symbol in Asian culture, and the practice of folding paper cranes for good fortune, healing, happiness, and success was popularized by Sadako Sasaki, a young victim of the radiation from the Hiroshima disaster. Chains of paper cranes, often numbering a thousand in total, are given as offerings at temples and shrines. The crane is also perceived as a bird capable of flying to the very heavens, and is said to have borne spirits of the deceased there upon its back. In ancient China, the crane was used as the symbol of highest-ranking officials.
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/Wellness/Environment/Galleries/A-Spiritual-Field-Guide-to-Birds.aspx?p=6#JvmBs22BfFs8PL8B.99
Caged Bird Excerpt
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
Female empowerment is continuing well into 2016. NEW RECRUITS NEEDED FOR THE NEXT BEHIND THE MASK COMING SOON!
I have also been moved to boldly upload my first video blog. What better inspiration than to speak with female empowerment. Seven minutes long but no apologies for what comes from the heart.
There are no rainbows without rain.
RISE ABOVE THE SMALL MENTALITY.
These folk have not experienced my darkest hours nor walked in my shoes.
Jealousy is a heinous crime to a person’s soul because it doesn’t take into account what the other person has and has yet to go through in life.
RISE ABOVE THE HATE of those who will never know & if they do hear a whisper of truth have no clue.
Judgements have no place in my world for those who don’t have a clue.
They tried to hit me where it could have hurt not me but my family
Gentrify their neighbourhood watch
cos I fly without further a due
I am not who/what they think I am ..
Oh, wait.. they made my case to succeed stronger.
THANK YOU, to my foes
You have made my goal closer.
I see that now.
I find it replenished
I am not down
THANK YOU for fueling my desire to start afresh better now than when I thought I was due
to give life to a new beginning.
these are my words. Simple words yet… meaningful to the author.
Here I stand
On a mountain 🗻 of solid gold
Praise be for the choices I’ve made.
The toxicity of my past ends with recriminations with my inner foe
Good riddance to the self-destruction of the days now old
A clean closet reveals a door ajar
a journey of new beginnings
If I vow to lift the cloak of doubt
Find the courage to replace it with hope.
Ebony’s shadowed legs followed like bone ivory music notes.
Umbrellas at dawn
No longer will the vampires mourn when each and everyone’s turn
Becomes an endeavour
Becomes closer to a pawn of the bloodless, pastry Underworld.
Fangs serve no required love
For the hearts that break
Under the tombstones engraved with dear forlorn amours.
Vials and trials make for complicated aisles.
Stephen Hawking’s shadow couldn’t blacken the suns holy masquerade without a tentative backhanded smile.
Flatulent legs pass an accordion player drowning out the tears of the past crystal nachts denial.
The fish bone corset of his lover – bygone
Weaved into a weathered, once feathered basket to uphold her now skeletal dignity,
A patched-up virgin awoken
A red sealed cockerel
His scarlet fever only breaks
out at night.
Nothing makes sense.
Not the severed maimed gingerbread men
Nor the black pudding
Nor the books written after the King’s night well spent.
Those paltry pawns of Christmas past climbed up the stairs on a general’s stare.
A goose-step march without all the trimmings
Merely a one-armed procured letter bitten off a one-off affair.
The traitor of Ebony’s moonlight dalliance wasn’t in his devilish dance on his journey
It was in the faces of his pseudo, mutilated, unvaccinated bastard offspring
Of each adultress, he gazed upon with an unassuming leer.
haven’t had my graduation ceremony yet and with all that has happened this year, I totally forgot that I have finally finished my degree. My other half was going ballistic (in a good way) and looked at me and asked me why I looked so down. I guess either I am still in shock or I don’t think it is that big a deal compared to what other goals and shit I have had to focus on this year. So let me high 5 myself and reflect on how the path to get my degree became – the successful one.
Way back in 2007,I had just come out of the hospital with a BMI of 16. I enrolled at my local college in the U.K. to do my BA in acting performance.
I was with a lovely group of talented individuals and managed one term. I was quickly losing more weight again and my mental health went down. I could not maintain a low BMI. I either had to go lower or higher and I went lower. I managed to get merit (when they still called it that) for my classical acting. How amazing is that?
I wanted to engage with my group but I couldn’t shift the anorexia. I had become a sub-host to it.
Back in 2008, I decided to have another go at it. I had gained a normal amount of weight. I met a seemingly lovely man who swept me off my feet. He worked in the army and ended up going on tour for 3 months in Canada. I went to live in Barcelona with my Aunt for a few months and partied hard. Hit Ibiza with my cuz and when I came back to the U.K I was ready to piece my life back together.
The night I arrived back in the U.K. was the same night the army guy got back and he came straight to see me, bringing me little gifts back from his tour. I was so touched and couldn’t believe we had another chance to get to know this one another again and give him my heart. I invited him for a meal at my Nan’s house the following evening as he was rather ‘fatigued'(such an elegant way of putting it) from his flight.
The following day he texted me to tell me he was getting his car serviced and would see me later. Later turned into 6pm And 8pm and then 9pm. The curry was losing it’s cool. I rang him asking him why he hadn’t pitched up and he completely dissed me on the phone and told me he was with his family and I can’t make him choose his family over me! WTAF?
If he had explained that he wanted to be with his family then I would of got it.-The lovely army guy broke my heart. He didn’t want to be with me. I internalised all this as my fault. I had put on weight, I had been homeless and had recently found somewhere in the U.K. to live and I thought I wasn’t good enough. I remember walking my Nan from my new home to the bus stop and I broke down. I didn’t know how much I liked this guy until I felt my heart tearing. Each sob caused another tear and another.
In 2009 I was finally in a better place and I was ready for another attempt to get a degree in the arts arena. I started a two Foundation Degree with 24 students. By week two that had whittled down to 7 students. Again a totally different bunch of lovely people. I fucked up. I stopped taking my meds. I was trying so hard to fit in but I guess I felt a bit intimidated by all the talented actors and talent. I didn’t know then that they were all just as frightened of failing as me. At first I was coping and I managed to go out get wasted and silly and form friendships. Standard uni stuff. One night a girl on my course rang me and told me to come out. She said the night was on her. I got dressed and put on my party face even though at that time I was taking 100 laxatives a day.
When people asked me out I would say ‘Awesome. I will be there’ I had a bad habit and once I had taken those tablets I was ill. I mean of course, I had the shits. Haha. Never thought I would be typing this but the moment before I purged I had stomach cramps that pushed and pulled and stabbed at me from the inside. I couldn’t walk from the spasms. SO that night I gave a big fuck you to Anorexia and went out to have some fun and bond with some friends.
My taxi pulled up at ‘the only reputable club’ in that locality and I saw my college friend wave at me and she was laughing and she gave me £50 and told me to come with her. It was a bit. Well, I was sober and everyone else was hammered. I didn’t find it funny. I wasn’t in the zone yet. I went to the bathroom and then I went to look for the pack and I couldn’t find them anywhere.
My mobile battery died and I turned around to the first person I saw to ask that person if I could use their mobile. I happened to bump into the person who went on to degrade and disrespect me in the most colourful and inventive ways. I couldn’t find anyone so we went back to mine and drank until………… I passed out mid-sentence.
This guy wouldn’t leave me alone. He was lovely at first but really full-on. I tried to back away. My friends told me he looked creepy.Leave him alone.
A guy from uni came up to me and told me that creepy ex was well and truly creepy and to stay away. Did I listen? no, I let my insecurities get the better of me. I melted into his world. At first it was flattering that someone would want to be around me so much. I didn’t think I was going to get in a relationship with him. I was trying to make friends and I had my eyes on someone else.
Out of respect to my daughter, I won’t go into a diatribe of events. He tried to take my soul. When he couldn’t have all of me he came up with a cunning plan to try and take my life away from me. Our daughter. During this time I could feel Anorexia clawing it’s way back inside. Cold, damp and merciless. I couldn’t allow it home again. I reached out to a couple I know and went on to meet my future husband to be. Before you judge- I have had my karma. I nearly lost my daughter as you may know from previous posts. I had time on my hands. Instead of being a full-time Mom to my daughter, I was a 10 hour per week Mom instead.
I decided while I battled it out in the court arena with social services and my creepy ex I would resume my studies. This time not in a mainstream uni but an online one. I worked my toosh off and today I can say I am a graduate. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my partner and my family.
DON’T JUDGE -if you can help it. That is a huge lesson I’ve learned. This piece of paper means so much more than the letters printed on it. It is a symbol – a tangible piece that reminds me of how I got to this place where I am today. I’m a bride to be with a gorgeous daughter who will be four in October. I’m working with mental health charities and I am a stable weight- super healthy. I don’t smoke. I drink mostly water ( with the odd cocktail of course) , I exersise. I am a success. I am proud of me. No one can take that from me. I won’t let them. Always be ready to learn a bit more. I may have officially finished learning but I will not let that stop me from learning in other ways. I treat every experience in my life as a learning curve. Always look for the silver lining no matter how bleak.
When the flowers stood still
My heart ❤️ skipped a beat
Because I thought by the grace of God I knew better.
The winter disarmed me with a smile, I was suddenly subdued.
Momentarily I knew my panic attacks were an illusion
A mind convinced I would die as a strumpet without learning how to be astute.
I couldn’t be a pale white whore for the others to flagellate me.
Keep me in line with further a duty
Because I know my experience wasn’t to be an accordion.
To the whims of those who asked me to be a subordinate
For a season
My tears wouldn’t be known
My tears wouldn’t be recognised
Unless I said NO.
Freed from the shackles
A feminine bitch called crazy and intense
I believe that I was one of the few…
One more month and I would blossom from the weed who knew how to decipher the language lost in translation to her tribe that all wouldn’t always be askew.
One reason passes quicker than one can muster
Bide your time to break free from the shackles
The time the birds will come back to us in due time.
Your soul will find the strength to be reborn by winters ❄️ rebirth the sounds of baby sheep, foals, kids,
All will be reborn renewed
Jotting my thoughts. I’m prompted to make a complaint.
Little four-eyes when you were half your current size -why did you doubt yourself so?
Looking back to a densely plotted past – hazy.
What would you have done knowing all people doubt themselves even if it means you becoming the foe?
‘Have no regrets’ – the tagline of the present.
When you are looking at granny in a catatonic state, unable to walk or talk.
Fragmented images of people now gone by, tell me you won’t wonder how life would have played out by not taking assertive bets.
See the sizeable queue
What can we do to answer people’s feuds?
Create a passage for people to commit to taking responsibility for themselves,
sign that in ink and wrangle with their moods.
The list unfolds until it reaches the flaws of flooring.
Finger-pointing in every direction.
prepare to look within
Glimpse how far you can go before you understand only you can change your state of deploring.
Control comes not from puppeteering others.
Cut loose – let the strings fall.
Let people walk.
Hell, let them figure it out- leave them to crawl!
Worry about how you are going to make it.
What you need to do to advance in the dance – motions to elevate and bypass the savage instinct to maul.
How many complaints is your God of choice dealing with?
Her brassic attempt to fulfil everyone’s wish…
Did it ever occur to you to get off your indignant knees tPpppp] ppl check out the employment vacancies for extras needed to help your God succeed in appetizing your particular dish?
She lived a life of colour.
She lived a life of dull.
Throughout her life, she learned
That her desire for instant thrills
Having seen her become a woman who is miraculously
Not a corpse waiting for her family to visit her grave mourning what life dispensed.
If her spirit inspired her desire to live as a dissident against the traditionalist life of her own free will.
10 days she was in a coma.
Today, she is alive and her perspective has changed on time,
on her ability to process the strength
She needs to draw upon less selfishness
to make life joyful for the ones who taught her that it’s okay to forget,
It’s okay to lose her way,
It’s all okay,
She decides to instil what her children will impart
whether they take her advice seriously… Or on a whim.
Write to Recover is an approved therapy called Bibliotherapy. It is used on people with Eating Disorders, PTSD, Depression and other illnesses. They are prescribed relevant material such as certain poems, novels and encouraged to write to find their inner being. Poetry as a form of healing dates back to Egyptian times in the 4th Millennium BC. Shamans used to write words on bits of papyrus and get their patients to swallow the words on them for the most speedy effective result.
In Roman times -A greek Born physician called Soranus of Ephesus was employed to come to live in Rome (in the 1st century AD) – to treat people with mania and melancholy with words.
The word Mania originates from the Grecians. Melancholia is can be interpreted as meaning ‘black’, bile or gall. Whilst Mania is was broken down into two words Ania- is interpreted as severe mental anguish and the word Manos is attributed as meaning a relaxed state or an extreme preoccupation of the mind and soul. Soranus was the first person on historic record to suggest that mental illness of melancholia and Mania were separate independant entities – it makes sense to understand why in later years Bipolar was referred to as ‘Manic Depression. It is documented Soranus, treated people with Mania by prescribing Tragedies to read and conversely prescribed those displaying a melancholic temperament with Comic works.
During the American civil war- American poet, Walt Whitman, used poetry recitations to treat the wounded before Morphine became the popular choice for pain relief. The humanitarian poet ( author of ‘Leaves of Grass’) also wrote a poem about his experience as a nurse on the battlefields of the American Civil War,
Thus in silence, in dream’s projections,
Returning, resuming, I thread my way through the hospitals;
The hurt and the wounded I pacify with soothing hand,
I sit by the restless all the dark night — some are so young;
Some suffer so much — I recall the experience sweet and sad;
(Many a soldier’s loving arms about this neck have cross’d and rested,
Many a soldier’s kiss dwells on these bearded lips.)
Walt Whitman, “The Dresser” (1867, later titled “The Wound-Dresser”)
In modern times Poetry therapy is used to help people express themselves through self-reflection. So,the saying, ‘Words Matter’ – indeed do matter and have a powerful effect on our emotions and cognitive faculties.
Poets such as Alan Watts, Walt Whitman, William Wordsmith and Antonin Artaud works are prescribed to patients as an alternative form of therapy.
An article was written by, Igor Goldkind, called ‘Towards an Uncommon Sense: the Practice of Poetry Therapy goes into greater detail of the breakdown of the three types of the most common approaches used to help people with Mental Health issues.
Towards an Uncommon Sense: the Practice of Poetry Therapy, Igor Goldkind
I identify as a humanitarian, I’m currently doing my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) training. I think I have found my new calling. Perhaps my next career move will be to do training to become a poetry therapist.
So, I will carry on with my ‘Write to Recover’ posts because I benefit from using this creative outlet to consolidate my Emotions and feel energised and purged from the unravelled thoughts I have in one day. My thoughts have a way of discombobulating my emotions and I become ruled by my emotions and thoughts that are not necessarily based on evidence and truth. I have made an ambitious start at using self-therapy DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy)to practice emotions distress tolerance, Wise mind and many other techniques to have more moments of Emotional Wellbeing than non.
I’ve downloaded many helpful apps to help me stay focused -The DBT therapy app, Happily, The recovery app because I do live in my head a lot. Perhaps too much and too often. and in the past when I have been unwell with my Bipolar, Chronic Anorexia and Emotional Unstable Personality Disorder.
Please, can the word labellers of the world reclassify the title of this illness because I hate the Stigma and connotations conjured by the term EUPD?
A post for another day…
I’ve also begun to throw myself into reading and educating myself across the entire spectrum of the Humanity & Arts subjects- Music, I have a Music blog, Photography, Art and reading up about different philosophers -all the subjects I have a great passion for and I never thought I was intelligent enough to grasp.
Reading back on these words,I find this tragic to put myself down to the point I feel that I am not like “normal” people who can enjoy these subjects and write about them (with a degree of credibility).
Momentarily I shall blow my own trumpet to state that I have a post-graduate certificate on the humanities I worked my booty off and received high merit. I received high merit towards my first year studying my MA degree in Advanced Creative Writing focusing on stage scripts! Writing about themes I want to shine a lot on – Homelessness, eradicating the stigma attached to mental illness.
Morality plays covering historical themes- the Russian revolution being a prime example.
I am compelled to volunteer my time in my community on the therapeutic benefits of creative self-expression and the connection with Mental wellbeing being. I have done this in the past. I’ve stood in front of Social workers, schools, NHS workers doing Anti -Stigma Workshops. Co-producing them. I don’t want chuffing letters after my name. I don’t want fame. I loathe it. I’ve been asked many times what it feels like to have so much insight into my mental health issues and “suffer” from them. Sometimes, I scream in frustration, I choose Ignorance!
Perhaps this is the reason why I’ve sought out “bliss” by self-medicating or trying to take my life because I have two live in my head.
I will wrap this post up by affirming my saying
Write to Recover or die to live the day of another
A breath of air
Fresh from the battle of morn
A new day has begun.
This has been a tough week for me- in terms of writing especially when I have to I am challenged to condense my words. The pressure to write comes when I’m under extreme pressure. The emotions I’m experiencing before I write are more often than not “negative”.
I wrote ✏️ this Haiku
A breath of air
Fresh from the battle of morn
A new day has begun.