Tag Archives: c-ptsd

Smoke & Vape: Public Health Menace, & Panic Attack Inferno

Despite early assurances to the contrary, vaping does leave residue, build-up, and second-hand spread to neighbors.  Check new studies, and last year’s deaths.

In an earlier  set of  blog posts related to a global pandemic, I pointed out that allowing accurate news coverage of public health information is vital for public safety. This point is illustrated by season 2, episode 13 of Spanish Public Television series El Ministerio del Tiempo. But what is not mentioned in the episode is the danger posed by smokers to those who are either ill or recovering from a virus, particularly one like the current malady, which attacks the lungs, much like SARS. For anyone who has allergies, asthma, any sort of lung-based or respiratory illness, or even merely a common cold, cigar or cigarette smoke, or even marijuana for those who are also sensitive to it, creates further breathing difficulty, hampering recovery. Thus, a public health problem is aggravated by smoking anywhere within at least a 30 foot radius.  But that does not take into account the other side of smoking: the personal side.  ptsd

For many individuals, suffering from anything from emphysema to asthma, the hazards of smoking, both first and second-hand, are clear. But there is another side, which is not as often seen. For survivors of long term very early childhood abuse, cigarette or marijuana smoke can often trigger unwanted memories, flight/flight/freeze reactions, or even panic attacks. And to confuse the matter further, the very survivors may not even realize the source or the connection between smoke and their anxiety or panic reactions.

One survivor of very early and long-lasting childhood abuse explained it this way, when asked why the mere smell of cigarette smoke could make anyone panic:

“As long as I can remember, I have always flinched, or had the urge to run and hide (which we now call the fight, flight, or panic response), at the slightest smells of cigarette or marijuana smoke. As I sat in a place where there was strictly prohibited smoking, having been reassuring by a manager on the property that someone would find the source of the cigarette smoke right way, I relaxed for a moment and closed my eyes.

I suddenly found myself a 4-year old back in a place I never want to live again in a dark room sitting on the floor, hoping that the person with the cigarette would keep walking past the door. As the door opens can I come back to a memory of being asked for forgiveness many years later. Reasons for never given, but in my gut, I knew immediately.

What my gut knew, when I was in my late 20s, took me until I was 51 years old to come up to my conscious mind. It happened at 3 in the morning on a day when I finally feel reassured by someone that I would be protected. Not from the cigarette smoke, but from the person carrying the cigarette.”

So, please, for the good of those suffering with the novel Coronavirus, 800px-Middle_East_respiratory_syndrome-related_coronavirus   and also for the good of those suffering with buried memories triggered by smoke, please help all of us to be healthy, and stop smoking.

Stayed on Freedom’s Call
(free copies at: https://archive.org/details/StayedOnF…)
includes two ‘imagination-rich’ walking tours, with songs, of Washington, DC. New interviews and research are woven into stories of old struggles shared by both the Jewish and African-American communities in the capital city.

Shared histories are explored from a new perspective of cultural parallels and parallel institution-building which brought the two communities together culturally and historically.

Please leave a review, if you can.

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

Babylon 5Hakan: Muhafiz/The ProtectorLupin, or La Casa de Papel (aka Money Heist) Reviews

Holistic High School Lessons,

           or Long Term Nonfiction & Historical Fiction Writing

Shira


Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

How a missed trash can led to Formation Tortue, but learning languages may help…

This is a slightly edited re-posting, to finish the theme of how childhood trauma informs and affects our adult lives, that has been going this past few weeks of Some Tours being Worth Marching, and then Some Beatings being Worth Taking, after Floating on the ceiling as Punishment for hitting your elders in the Jaw, and learning that I Shouldn’t Exist?

Why did that paper ball flying over my head make me dive for the floor?

Shortly after I turned 51 years of age, a young coworker launched a simple balled up bit of paper at the trash can in front of me. It missed. What I saw was not a mere bit of paper becoming litter, however. Out of the corner of my eye, something came flying at me from behind. I reacted instinctively: by ducking. Since this was not the normally appropriate behavior for a 51 year old woman in an office environment, you can well imagine my embarrassment. My coworker apologized profusely: the poor thing had simply missed a trash can with a tiny bit of paper. What he saw was a reaction out of a Roman Turtle formation . I also apologized profusely, but the damage was already done. For the rest of the day, coworkers eyed me suspiciously and slowly walked over to place their trash in the bin. The awkwardness was palpable, and I was grateful when some of my Mexican coworkers began talking and joking in Spanish, drawing attention away from the incident.

As I sat on my afternoon break with a cup of hot water, I suddenly recalled a time I haven’t thought of in over 40 years. Another object was flying over my head from behind me, but it was not a simple bit of paper.

It was a belt buckle.

Pandemonium had broken loose as an old man bellowed his wrath, and swung his belt. I was the only person in the room not running away. For some reason, I could see the old man, the belt, and the other kids in the room. All looked either furious or frightened. But it all seemed to be happening somewhere else, with me simply frozen in place. The sounds were there, but muted as if in an old fashioned film.

It suddenly hit me that this event was from a time that I had worked very hard to forget. I’d been 9 years old, in the house overnight of a babysitter who was rather negligent. I told my mother, yet she did nothing. So, I forgot. But I never knew why objects flying over my head made me panic; until today.

Spanish, in particular Mexican Spanish, has always been my favorite language to switch into when I need to move my thoughts out of English. As a child, I’d always wished that I had magical powers to allow me to fight, or that I had a fairy sister to defend me, but the reality was that I was thrown back upon my own resources, so hiding or being ready to run usually seemed to be my best option. Hiding from my own thoughts was fairly easily accomplished, even in my dreams at times, by singing or thinking in Spanish.

It turned out that I could not hide from myself indefinitely. Things we’d rather not remember have a way of springing up, in the end. As I began to get therapy for events from my childhood it turned out that hiding and forgetting was not an effective way of dealing with those events. I had to relive them, again. This was probably more frustrating for my therapists than it even was for me, as I was told again and again that pushing away the memories would only make my #C-PTSD worse. But the focus on just being functional made it easy to ignore, once I was back in a job where I could pour my time and attention into something complex. (This 13-26 week cap that Medicaid puts on the number of sessions is yet another reason that we need full #UniversalHealthCare for everyone. Complex cases of many illnesses require long-term therapy that, when covered, will make for a healthier work force and population, not just the functional-to-panic-back-to-functionality roller coaster that kills so much time and so many people, in the end…)

The final straw arrived when the regional economy took a dive, sending myself and the vast majority of people I knew out of work. Some went to California, and I went overseas for work. In a new country and environment, stress flared up, and so did my panic anxiety. But this time I had to talk to a therapist in a language I was only just beginning to learn. As it turned out, I was finally able to access a good bit of the emotional content, while remaining present and able to stem the tide of anxiety during each session. As we began to unpack more of the childhood memories I’d been avoiding, being forced to express myself in a language I was still learning appeared to keep me emotionally distanced enough to prevent being pulled completely into the pain of the original event. When I came back to the USA, I found in California that having a Mexican therapist allowed us to switch from my native English, which was required to access the full emotion of the memory, into Spanish. So when she needed to lower the intensity level of the session, but keep me in the memory, she would switch into Spanish, distancing me just enough from the experience to process it. Who would have thought that #learning a #language could help in this case? But, it did.

So, what would Astérix do? He’d ask the Druid Panoramix, who would say: Il faut #ArreterdeFumer tout de suite !!

originally posted in  April, 12020 HE

Action Prompts:

1.) Share your thoughts on how this story may encourage empathy-building cooperation, and might help, or hinder, inclusive thinking.

2.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses those thoughts.

*****************

Click here to read, if you like:

B5, La Casa De Papel/Money Heist, & Lupin & Hakan: Muhafiz/The Protector Reviews

Holistic High School Lessons,

Thoughtful Readers, if you are on Twitter, please consider following   #Project Do Better  on Twitter.

Shira

short narrative nonfiction: Some Beatings are Worth Taking, or Standing in the Gap…

      …  Memories of a “Brolly Lady” …

     There it was again.  I knew that sound.

 

“Oy, they’re having a fight down there!”

 

     That was what Mona thought.  I knew better.  That was an old sound, from a lifetime ago.  One I thought I’d finally escaped.   I should have known better.

 

     I looked out the window, counting five men holding smart phones up toward the screams.  Then my feet moved of their own accord.  It was only from hearing a muffled shout as the door slammed behind me that I knew I’d left the flat.  The rain had just ended, and the pavement was still wet.  My feet pulled me to the source of that sound.  Not the shouting, not the screaming, but the one I remembered so deeply that it still hid under the table with my inner child.  The sound of a head hitting a wall.

 

     There it was again, but this time, I could see them.  Both of them.  The woman’s head sounded like a watermelon when she slammed against the wall, sliding down those slimy bricks to finish crumpled on the filthy paving stones.  Her eyes were open wide, looking stunned and frightened, as a giant advanced on her from the ten or fifteen feet from where he’d launched her.  My stomach churned as the pain of that impact coursed through my own body, as if I had been the one tossed like a sack of rice into that wall.

 

     Looking at the giant, I wanted to flee, abandon this woman to her fate.  But my feet had a will of their own, carrying me right into the one spot where I didn’t want to be:  about 5 steps between each of them.

 

     I realized that I’d carried an old umbrella with me out the door.  At least those Kung Fu lessons had had one result: they kept me from rushing in where angels feared to tread entirely unarmed.  Then again, my next thought was that this flimsy brolly was more like a liability against that big drunk guy.  I took a second of comfort in hoping that as a foreign PhD student, at least the NHS would cover my hospital stay if I didn’t manage to duck fast enough.

 

“Move!”

 

     I flinched as the sound wave from the giant’s lips struck me.  It felt just like the impact of furniture breaking against the wall that night.  When the giant stepped closer to me, my feet moved me back the same step, but my body refused to budge.  That brolly, I now realized, was balanced in my left hand behind me, just like a short staff.  My stomach had turned into a solid ball, no longer churning.  As I saw him look at me, the giant’s eyes suddenly grew wider.  If he hits me, it is going to hurt.  But then why did he seem to be afraid of me?

 

“Move!”

 

“No.”

 

     Who said that?  Oh, wait, that was my voice.  So why did the giant look confused?

 

“Thank you.”

 

     I risked a glance backward.  That sobbing voice had come from behind me, as the woman I was foolishly blocking wept, her tears mingling with the rain on the wall as she’d stared up at me.

 

Focusing on the giant as I’d learned to do in so many sparring classes, I drew a deep breath, preparing.  But the giant stood frozen himself, staring at me with some odd drunken mixture of contempt and fear.  Both were clearly written in his face, as well as the frustration of being denied another chance to strike the woman on the ground behind me.  What was he waiting for?

 

“You prick.”

 

     He was treating me like a man?  He really must be drunk.   Then I realized that I’d dropped into an automatic fighting stance.  He wasn’t that drunk, then.

 

“Ok, but you should be ashamed of yourself.”

 

     As those words tore themselves from my throat, I began to tremble so violently that I thought I’d begin crying like the woman at my back.  The giant looked so confused that I could practically see the gears turning in his drink-addled mind.  Then, a tall woman stepped between us, her back to me, placing a hand flat upon the center of the giant’s chest.   I found myself letting out the breath I’d not known I was holding, and heard movement behind me.

 

     I turned to see the two young bar girls helping the woman, finally, up off of the pavement, and taking her inside the pub.  As I looked back at the giant, he had backed away, the tall woman’s arm guiding him to the curb.

 

     I stood straight, now in tears myself from the relief, and from the shock.  I was still four years old, still hiding under the table, while furniture still shattered, as my mother screamed in the other room.  But this time, I had not stayed hidden under the table.

 

     This time, I had come out to help.

 

 

     Lost in these thoughts, I turned down the bar girl’s offer of a drink.  As Mona came over, saying something I couldn’t hear, I wondered where she had been during all of this.  Recalling her nights of coming home drunk, I realized that she had been standing there, 20 feet away, the entire time.  Now I could see her in my mind’s eye, standing off to the side, just watching.  As the five men and two bar girls had stood by and just watched.  

   All standing idly by while…   And all but the young bar girls were bigger than me.  Including my lover, who had let me stand alone.

 

     Then, I resolved to get her out of my life.  

Because some lovers aren’t worth keeping.

 

I look forward to your thoughts.

Shira

Action Prompts:

1.) Share your thoughts on how this anecdote may encourage finding ways to prevent domestic violence, how to deal with or prevent C-PTSD, and how to build inclusive thinking.

2.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses those thoughts.

 

Fellow Thinkers, have you got ideas on learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning, on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking at least for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write

-we can learn from the past via Stayed on Freedom’s Call ,

        by Teaching and Learning (Lesson Plan list) in the present, to

                     We can  Do Better: a Vision of a Better World to create a kinder future

 

Peace    

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

the year, 2021 CE = year 12021 HE

( 5 month GED lesson 19 of 67 plans…),

  Ranger M.’s Babylon 5 review posts, because story inspires learning.  There is also my historical fiction series  Ann & Anna.  I  hope that these stories will move you to learn more ways to help use our history to build new tools….

Stayed on Freedom’s Call
(free: https://archive.org/details/StayedOnF…)
includes two ‘imagination-rich’ walking tours, with songs, of Washington, DC. New interviews and research are woven into stories of old struggles shared by both the Jewish and African-American communities in the capital city.

Shared histories are explored from a new perspective of cultural parallels and parallel institution-building which brought the two communities together culturally and historically.

Please let us know what you thought of the book.

Shira 

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Some Tours are Worth Marching, Part II

      …  Results of an UnSat Plebe’s Cost Benefit Analysis…

     I was  asked about the follow-on effects of last week’s post, and whether I decided to leave Annapolis.   I did not.

   This expedited my decision to fight harder, not bilge out. I never resigned, much to the disappointment of several: I did make some bad decisions about what to study, choosing those menus and extra briefings over my calc and chem, resulting in non-passing grades in those courses (my A’s in English and History were not enough to pull up the rest of my GPA), and the Academic Board, where the Superintendent informed me that I would be involuntarily separated due to issues that included my continuing weight loss, and my Company Officer’s report fearing for my health (who, having threatened to send me to Bethesda Navy Medical, I admitted that I had a history of weight loss, anemia, and amenorea under extreme stress, insisting that I could deal with it).

     But, not resigning, not even looking for the CIR brick (I wonder if that old joke is still part of the Tradition), made a difference.

     On the day I was leaving my company area for the last time, on the stairwell, an upperclassman, the only one I liked or respected, as I recall, stopped me, commented that he respected the hell of a fight I’d put up, asked me if I was part Native American (he was from one of the SWern states), and when I said that I wasn’t sure, but the family legend said yes, he said yes, too, held out his hand to shake mine, and when I said ‘Thank you, Sir, he said, not Sir, and thank you for fighting.’

     That handshake and comment taught me:

“Sometimes you gotta fight, when you’re a man.”

     And he respected me as if I were a man -the first time in my life that I had won such respect.

That mattered.

     I hope that that upperclassman who shook my hand has remained in service, because we need more officers in the Admiralty with fair-minded integrity, if we are to survive these crises we face now.

Shira

I look forward to your thoughts.

Shira

(P.S.:   the handshake and ‘brain-dumping’ C-PTSD symptoms I arrived with, were questions after posting this, and so this post is thanks to comments from part I

S.)

Action Prompts:

1.) Share your thoughts on how this anecdote may encourage out of the box thinking about our military, and might also help, or hinder, inclusive thinking.

2.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses those thoughts.

Dear Readers, ideas on learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning, on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking at least for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write

-we can learn from the past Stayed on Freedom’s Call for free,

        by Teaching and Learning (Lesson Plans offline) in the present, to

                     We can  Do Better: a Vision of a Better World to create a kinder future

 

Peace    

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

the year, 2021 CE = year 12021 HE

( 5 month GED lesson 19 of 67 plans…),

  Ranger M.’s Babylon 5 review posts, because story inspires learning.  There is also my historical fiction series  Ann&Anna.  I  hope that these stories will move you to learn more ways to help use our history to build new tools….

Stayed on Freedom’s Call
(free: https://archive.org/details/StayedOnF…)
includes two ‘imagination-rich’ walking tours, with songs, of Washington, DC. New interviews and research are woven into stories of old struggles shared by both the Jewish and African-American communities in the capital city.

Shared histories are explored from a new perspective of cultural parallels and parallel institution-building which brought the two communities together culturally and historically.

Please leave a review, if you can, on the GoodReads page.

Shira 

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

short narrative nonfiction: Some Tours are Worth Marching

      …  Memories of an UnSat Plebe’s Cost Benefit Analysis…

     I was chopping down the hall after breakfast, almost to my room.  No upperclassmen around.

 

“Miss Jones!”

     Him.  And of course, I’d not had time to memorize that damned menu for tomorrow’s evening meal.

 

“Yes, Sir!”

“Hit a bulkhead!

“Ay, ay, Sir!

     Before I had even gotten to the side of the hall, he was standing there, waiting.  What did this guy do, camp out in his classmate’s room by my door?  F***’in-A!

 

“Miss Jones, did you try to hip-check Mr. O?”

     That fat Firstie I ran into on the way to Morning Meal Formation?  Seriously?  He’s twice my weight!  Actually, almost every upperclassman was twice my weight.  This one probably weighed three of me.  Why on earth would I ever try to hip-check the guy?

 

“No, Sir!”

“He says you tried to hip check him this morning!  What the hell, Miss Jones!”

     Mr. Dizane stared at me with open contempt.  He was Marine Corps option, with muscles on his eyeballs.  I was 105 soaking wet, which was 5 pounds and several weeks below my “allowed” weight.  The day he’d jumped up on the scale with me to shout that I was “screwing up, Miss Jones, you’re not eating, Miss Jones!” was a study in stupidity.  How on earth was 10 minutes in the Wardroom, while hefting tables and singing Anchors, Away, followed immediately, of course, by the Marine Corps anthem, supposed to be enough to eat anything?  Being the only plebe in my company not getting chow packages was a serious problem.

 

“I didn’t see him, Sir.”

“Bullshit, Miss Jones!  Give me a Form 2!”

“But Sir -”

“Are you being a Sea Lawyer, Miss Jones?!  You are not getting Liberty until you graduate from this place!”

     That was it.  I knew he wanted me gone, but this took the cake.  My fist curled around the edge of the demerit form as I pulled it from the lining of my cover, placing it back on my head just so, before handing over the form.

 

“Permission to speak freely, Sir.”

     He’d looked me up and down, taking his own sweet time, my frickin’ study time, to answer.

 

“I bet you want to hit me, don’t you, Miss Jones.  Don’t you?”

     He stepped closer to me, his nose nearly touching my forehead as he looked down at me.  I gritted my teeth harder as I stared straight ahead, forcing myself to un-clench my fists.

 

“Go ahead, Miss Jones, let’s hear this one.”

     By the time he’d stepped back, I was shaking with anger, my jaw nearly locked closed.  I looked him in the eye, imagining him swallowed up by the Atlantic.  I could even smell the salty air beyond the Severn.

 

“Sir, I suggest we take our rifles, and both run the sea wall.  Let’s see who drops in first.”

     Had I just said that?  Oops.

     Cost of “correctly” insulting an upperclassman:

          1. yet another 15 minute full military briefing on the Pheonix II missile system,

           2. blowing yet another calc or chemistry exam, and

            3. likely going to the Ax Boards, if my GPA fell enough.

 

Benefit: the look on his face was priceless.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Shira

(P.S.:  too bad I didn’t think of the new title, or the handshake and ‘brain-dumping’ C-PTSD symptoms I arrived with, until after posting this, and partly thanks to commentors…

S.)

 

Action Prompts:

1.) Share your thoughts on how this anecdote may encourage out of the box thinking about our military, and might also help, or hinder, inclusive thinking.

2.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses those thoughts.  Writing is my personal contribution to Project Do Better.

Dear Readers, ideas on learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning, on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

   This, btw, was the first time I’d been given the respect that men generally only give to other men.  The second time was when I lived and worked in Izmir, in 2005, and the third time was when I was a PhD student in Bath.

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking at least for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write

-we can learn from the past via Stayed on Freedom’s Call,

        by Teaching and Learning (Lesson Plan list) in the present, to

                     We can  Do Better: a Vision of a Better World to create a kinder future

 

Peace    

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

the year, 2021 CE = year 12021 HE

( 5 month GED lesson 17 of 67 plans…),

  Ranger M.’s Babylon 5 review posts, because story inspires learning.  There is also my historical fiction series  Ann&Anna.  I  hope that these stories will move you to learn more ways to help use our history to build new tools….

Stayed on Freedom’s Call
(free: https://archive.org/details/StayedOnF…)
includes two ‘imagination-rich’ walking tours, with songs, of Washington, DC. New interviews and research are woven into stories of old struggles shared by both the Jewish and African-American communities in the capital city.

Shared histories are explored from a new perspective of cultural parallels and parallel institution-building which brought the two communities together culturally and historically.

Please leave a review, if you can.

Shira 

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

short narrative nonfiction: “I Shouldn’t Exist?”

      …  Memories of visiting mid 1970’s NYC from NJ…

     We were in one of those tunnels, smelling the stink of the city.  Was this the Lincoln, or the Holland?  I could hear Suzanna calling the gas station owner a putz, again, over the cough of her little VW’s engine.   I thought I’d seen a flash of blue light for a second, but then the engine stuttered.  I hoped we wouldn’t break down.   She’d said that he watered down his gas to make more money.  How did they put water in the gasoline, anyway?  Wasn’t it all closed up somewhere?    I turned to Suzanna.  She knew so many interesting things, and never told me to stop asking questions.  

She wouldn’t look at me.

     My stomach started to get upset, the way it did with other people, when they got mad.  But I’d never seen Suzanna mad at me, even when I peaked in her room at the Wonder Woman poster she was saving for my seventh birthday.

“Look.”

     Her voice was wrong, not hers.  I tried to look over at her, but I couldn’t move.  What did I do?     It was like …   Why were we pulling over?

     Suzanna looked up at the rear view mirror, at something behind us.  When she turned back, leaning to look me in the eyes, her face wore a mask of fright.

     “Alright, that cop is going to think you’re my daughter.”  

     She looked at me in a weird way.  Like I scared her, and went on,

“So he’s going to think that I’m dating a Black guy.  So don’t go making any of your smart alec remarks.”

     She turned back to her window, working the hand crank and pushing on it to finish rolling the window down.  Just then, a big white man with a very pink face appeared in her window, looking over at me, then back at her.

     It was that same look I’d seen every time a kid was about to beat me up.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Shira

Action Prompts:

1.) Share your thoughts on how this story may encourage empathy-building cooperation, and might help, or hinder, inclusive thinking.

2.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses those thoughts.

Dear Readers, ideas on learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning, on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking at least for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write

-we can learn from the past Stayed on Freedom’s Call for free,

        by Teaching and Learning (Lesson Plans offline) in the present, to

                     We can  Do Better: a Vision of a Better World to create a kinder future

 

Peace    

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

the year, 2021 CE = year 12021 HE

( 5 month GED lesson 17 of 67 plans…),

  Ranger M.’s Babylon 5 review posts, because story inspires learning.  There is also my historical series  Ann&Anna.  I  hope that these stories will move you to learn more ways to help use our history to build new tools….

Stayed on Freedom’s Call
(free: https://archive.org/details/StayedOnF…)
includes two ‘imagination-rich’ walking tours, with songs, of Washington, DC. New interviews and research are woven into stories of old struggles shared by both the Jewish and African-American communities in the capital city.

Shared histories are explored from a new perspective of cultural parallels and parallel institution-building which brought the two communities together culturally and historically.

Please leave a review, if you can, on the GoodReads page.

Shira 

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

from Commons by Claude Monet

Ann and Anna, (serial short story, Part 5): Naming

      …  Parts 4 (Home), 3 (Trust), 2 (Hope), and 1 (Nightmares) have posted on previous Sundays:

   I felt it more than I saw it: Anna was so startled that she nearly fell off of her horse.

“You were named by a what?”

Her whisper was sharp enough to cut through a dry pork chop.  Her amazement cut me to the bone.  It was understandable.  But still.

“I was named by a very old tree.  In The Old Dominion, of course.”

“So, exactly how did that happen, Miss Willow?  Did you hear a great rumbling voice speaking to you from out of the -”

She stopped speaking, giving me a look as if we were at Sunday meeting hearing of Moses and the Burning Bush.  I began to laugh and had to stop myself, fearing that I might endanger our escape with too much mirth.

“I had only just arrived in Virginia, the Senator having bought me from my first master, as far as I know.”

“Do you recall your birth home, or your mother, at all, Miss Willow?

“No, Ma’am, I do not.  Virginia is all I have ever known.  And you?”

“Both of my parents are now free, living in Washington, DC, but my mother was still in her bonds when I was born, and so I must run.”

“That must be very hard, having your parents here and having to leave kith and kin all alone.  How old are you, anyway, Miss Anna?”

“I am about 15 years old, Miss Willow, and you, Ma’am, are still straining to avoid my question almost as hard as old Mary there is straining to get to that grass.  Why don’t we stop for a moment in that little copse of trees up there and have a little respite, as the gentlemen say, to eat and talk a bit?”

The idea was certainly a welcome one, nervous though I was about what I had to tell.  I had no idea how far advanced the night had become, but it felt late, and we were all tired and hungry.

“That is a welcome idea, Miss Anna.”   I leaned in the direction I wanted to go, laying the reins that way, but to my astonishment, old Mary began to wander off in exactly the opposite direction.

“Pull the rein on the side you want her to go.  She got confused because some people use neck-reining, and that was what it felt to her like you just did.”

I followed Anna’s directions, apologizing to old Mary for my inexpert riding.  She didn’t seem to take insult as quickly as our young guide, I was relieved to see.  If we ever got out of this, and if I ever got to see old Mary here, again, up North, I would feed her as many apples and carrots as ever I could.  Sugar would have to be a treat she’d forgo, as all of the cane I knew of was grown and processed by plantations down Natchez way, and I was loath to buy anything that I knew came from the stolen labour of those still in bondage, as I was even now.

We settled in, leaving our horses saddled, but tethered close by and able to graze as we also took some small refreshment.  We had packed water, corn bread, apples, part of which I saved for Mary, and a few carrots.  We dared not risk a fire, but the short rest worked wonders for my tired and aching muscles, unaccustomed as I was to riding.

As it turned out, cold though it was, we were wise not to light any fire.  We’d just gotten our mounts under the shelter of an old bush arbor, as Anna said the old folks used to call them.  It seems that some of the field hands used to know how to bend young trees and saplings into the form of a shelter.  After covering them with the bark of a certain tree, they could make a living hut, round and supple, and reasonably warm, too.  I was surprised to learn how much this young woman knew about living and moving about out of doors.  Having been kept under constant watch in the house, I knew nothing of these things, and despaired of ever being able to learn them.

“Well, I think I will take this carrot over to old Mary-”

“Hush!”

Anna was holding up her hand as she ducked low to the ground, sidling over to take the reins of both our mounts and pulling their heads low as well.  I followed her lead, crouching down against the wall of our little shelter beside her.  All was silence, to my untrained ear.  Then I heard the sound of voices on the trail, some ways distant from us.  They were too far away to make out any words.  I found a dread overtaking me that rooted me to the spot as if that tree had adopted me as one of it’s own.  Even after some minutes, when their voices had passed, born away on the pine breeze, I found myself unable to move.  I also found the pain in my belly nearly overwhelming.  I was barely aware of Anna telling me that all was well again.  My breath, despite having opened my bodice before starting our ride, refused to move in or out of my lungs.  My body simply remained in a paralysis against which I was helpless to act.

“It’s ok, Miss Willow, it’s ok.  Just breathe.  Come on, breathe with me.”

I felt her beside me, stretching my body out, rolling me onto a blanket she must have laid on the floor of our little shelter over the pine needles.  I felt the rhythm of her breathing, her chest somehow directly against mine.  As the air returned to my lungs, I felt a soft pressure against my body, wrapping me in a warmth that made it feel as if it might be safe to be alive.  The warmth spread all along my back, and then into my legs.  I felt myself enveloped in a warm cocoon that made me want to breathe and stretch.  In my ear, a warm softness pressed in, uttering an unending command to keep breathing.

“That’s right, just keep breathing with me.  You’re safe.  We are safe.”

I opened my eyes and saw that we were lying together wrapped in a blanket, Anna’s arms around me in a protective embrace.  I blushed, feeling a carnal sensation that made me ashamed of myself, especially after my previous shameful paralysis.  My face and neck felt damp and irritated.

“Ssshh, sshh, sshh, it’s alright.”

I realized, as I opened my eyes again, that I must have been crying.  Anna’s smoothing of my hair, as a mother comforts her child, only made me feel more ashamed.  I was a burden, nothing more, and would do a favor for all the world if I would only have the strength to end my worthless existence.  My weeping must have gotten even worse, for Anna began to hold my head and rock me back and forth, as one rocks a baby to sleep.  And sleep I did, for a time.  When next I opened my eyes, it seemed that the sun was just about to shine the bright rays of morning upon us.  We still lay curled together, Anna’s hands tangled in my rebelliously curly long hair.

“Good morning, sleepyhead.”

How did she do that?  I hadn’t moved an inch, except to open my eyes.

“How did you know -”

“That you were awake?  Miss Willow, when you are on the road as long as I have been, you learn to notice things.  How are you feeling?”

“Oh, much better, thank you.  Just how long have you been on the road, Miss Anna?”

“Oh, since I was a young’un, I reckon.”

She smiled, a beautiful mischievous smile.  She leaned over, stretching her body fully over mine, gently arching her back so as not to smother me, and reached out for the plate with our leftover apples and cornbread.  I held her up at the waist, trying to be helpful as she held the plate even further out so that our horses could each take an apple.  The feeling of the curves of her body brought feelings back to my remembrance that made me blush again, as I also found my appetite return.

“Are you hungry?”

I looked away, hoping that she had not noticed my blush.

“Oh, yes, thank you.

“I’m afraid we don’t have any butter, and we’ll have to eat it cold.”

“Not to worry, Miss Anna, this morsel of food is like the manna sent from heaven.”

Her smile lit up my day as that pillar of fire must have lit the day of the wandering Israelites.

 We ate, arose and packed our meager belongings, taking pains to be certain that our tiny shelter left no evidence to betray our presence.  As we prepared to leave, and she was helping me mount old Mary,  Anna looked me in the eye:

“That is why you didn’t want to tell me, isn’t it?”

How did she doggon do that?  I could only nod my head.  She had caught me.

“I don’t think you have that tree around here, do you?”

She looked at me so tenderly that I thought my heart must break from it.  She touched my face, just brushing a stray hair aside.

“No, ma’am, we don’t have too many Weeping Willows up this way, not like further south.”

There we were.  I no longer needed to explain.  Relief flooded me, knowing that what became general knowledge before I could even speak had, once again, spoken for itself.

“But let me tell you this:  That particular breed of Willow is one of the strongest trees I know of.  Those trees survive storm, rain, wind, giving shelter to all who pass by.  They are useful, Miss Willow.”

I must have given her a baleful look, for her eyes firmed up, as she pointed a finger at me:

“And so are you.”

       This is the continuation scene in my new series  Ann&Anna.  I  hope that this series will move you to learn more ways to help use our history to build new tools.

  Part 4 was last Sunday, and Part 6 will be next Sunday.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Shira

Action Items:

1.) Share your thoughts on how this story may encourage empathy-building cooperation, and might help, or hinder, inclusive thinking.

2.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses those thoughts.

Dear Readers, ideas on learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning, on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking at least for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write

-we can learn from the past Stayed on Freedom’s Call for free,

     by Teaching and Learning (Lesson Plans offline) in the present, to

           We can  Do Better: a Vision of a Better World to create a kinder future

 

Peace     ! שָׁלוֹם

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

the year, 2021 CE = year 12021 HE

(Online pdfs of 5 month GED lesson 15 of 67 plans…),

       and Ranger M.’s Babylon 5 review posts, because story inspires learning…

Stayed on Freedom’s Call
(free: https://archive.org/details/StayedOnF…)
includes two ‘imagination-rich’ walking tours, with songs, of Washington, DC. New interviews and research are woven into stories of old struggles shared by both the Jewish and African-American communities in the capital city.

Shared histories are explored from a new perspective of cultural parallels and parallel institution-building which brought the two communities together culturally and historically.

Please leave a review, if you can, on the GoodReads page.

Shira 

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

His Jaw

 

 

What had I just done?  It was as if I was awakening from a bad dream, but the bad dream was still there, looking at me in what seemed to be stunned silence.  I was still more stunned.

 

-I guess you really were mad.

 

As the look on his face began to change, the full implications of what I’d just done began to dawn on me.  My stomach churned with the knowledge that there would be hell to pay for that punch, even if he had been teaching me to throw them, just like that.  Telling me how soft I was, how I needed to learn to fight, not let the kids at school walk all over me.

 

He’d taught me to block, and to throw a punch, demanding that I learn to be harsh, not to care if I knocked someone down, not to care how that person might get hurt.

 

Then, after a phone call from a boy, he’d demanded to know who it was, what the boy had wanted.  When I told him that I’d had to push off the boy’s attempt to kiss me, he’d asked me something, moving closer.  My grandmother was out of the house, out shopping.  I felt that warning pain in my gut, and I had tried to move away.  This man, my step grandfather, was my guardian, but not my kin, not safe.  I wasn’t fast enough.

 

He put out a hand, then the other, pulled me toward him, pressing his lips against mine.  I had twisted and blocked, just like he’d taught me, then backed away, shaking in my disgust, and he had laughed, saying I couldn’t be angry.  Just like my mother had laughed, after she’d told me not to tell, so long ago.  Then, it came out of no where.

 

He had been teaching me, and taunting me.

 

-Hit harder, don’t be such a sissy.

 

Teaching me to throw a decent punch, then a block, and then another punch.  He’d taught me how to throw a good punch, for a girl.  A hard punch, alright.

 

 

But at his shoulder, not his jaw.

 

 

 

 

Action Prompts:  

1.) How can we protect kids from adults, especially those in their own families?

2.)  Do you think that Project Do Better’s Phase IV (described in chapters 5 and 10 of the book) might help?

 

Dear Readers, ideas on learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning, on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

*****************

Click here to read, if you like:

B5, La Casa De Papel/Money Heist, & Lupin & Hakan: Muhafiz/The Protector Reviews

Holistic High School Lessons,

Thoughtful Readers, if you are on Twitter, please consider following   #Project Do Better  on Twitter.

Shira

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

 

Floating (& not in a good way…)

This is what happens when I allow myself to recall my childhood:

         I was floating on the ceiling, again.  I didn’t know how, but I felt sure that this was not the first time I’d been up, above, before.  In the quiet, in the calm.  The racket of shouting was gone, and so was the smell of anger, and fear.

 

Back up against the corner of that doorway, I’d seen the hand that reached down for me, the one that had hauled me up the last two steps as I had wearily climbed the stair case, wondering what I had done, or more likely, my step-sib had done, to provoke this latest round of rage.  I had realized that somehow, in some unthinking way, my question had managed to escape my guard, sliding through my teeth like the rattling of the wind in the windows, like the rattling of my jaw now, as it took yet another blow.  That weariness merely grew heavier.  Finally, I thought, finally, maybe I will be able to rest.  If Dad takes me to the hospital, like he said he would if this happened, if I was in a bloody mess, maybe I could just stay there, and rest.

 

Then, I saw the railing.  I noticed it because I knew that I had never seen it from quite that angle before.  We were studying angles in geometry, and I’d started to enjoy it, when I could get into the library, alone, unbothered by anyone else.  The pictures stuck with me, those beautiful lines, joined together, at different angles.  Not like this one, where the wood had long since lost its polish, and it wasn’t even quite joined at the right angle to fit the walk around the hallway.  But it was quiet, up here.  No yelling, no feeling every slap to my face, the hard wood of the door jamb pressing into my back.  No smell of hatred in front of me, and smoke from the other room.  It was peaceful, up here.  Nothing to feel, nothing to see, but the back of a head, and my head, moving back and forth in that odd way, giving with each slap of that large hand, while the other held my body up against the doorway.  None of that seemed real, below, as I floated up above it all.

 

 

“…pitch you down the stairs.”

 

Pitch?  What does that mean?  Throw, right?  Down the stairs.  Wait, what stairs?  I looked, really looked, as if opening my eyes for the first time in weeks, and then I got it.

 

The vice grip that was holding me up by the back of my neck, even though I was down on my knees, or was it one knee, I couldn’t tell, from the pressure on my back, pushed my head down.  In sudden and live color, there was the carpet, of the landing below.  Not the hall, not the railing, a floor, way below.  The landing of the stairs, with every single step between me and that landing below.  And the pressure of that huge heavy hand, pushing me toward it, into the void.  But just then, the void seemed to beckon.

 

If I go, I’m going to take you with me.”

 

Would I ever dare to say that out loud?  Maybe it would be the last thing I’d ever say, if I said it out loud.

 

 

 

 

Action Items:  

1.) Share two different sources to learn about your local library system’s funding,

2.) Please tell us where your information comes from, and how you know that the sources you found are reliable,

3.) Write a book, story, blog post or tweet that uses them.

4.)  Do you think that Project Do Better’s Phase IV (described in chapters 5 and 10 of the book) might help?

*****************

Click here to read, if you like:

B5, La Casa De Papel/Money Heist, & Lupin & Hakan: Muhafiz/The Protector Reviews

Holistic High School Lessons,

Thoughtful Readers, if you are on Twitter, please consider following   #Project Do Better  on Twitter.

Shira

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Smoking: a public health Menace and a private Inferno

One year later, it still holds true: (and has been updated again, in 12022 HE…)

In an earlier blog article related to this global pandemic, the #coronavirus, also known as covid-19, I pointed out that allowing accurate news coverage of public health information is vital for public safety. This point is illustrated by season 2, episode 13 of Spanish Public Television series El Ministerio del Tiempo. But what is not mentioned in the episode is the danger posed by smokers to those who are either ill or recovering from a virus, particularly one like the current malady, which attacks the lungs, much like SARS. For anyone who has allergies, asthma, any sort of lung-based or respiratory illness, or even merely a common cold, cigar or cigarette smoke, or even marijuana for those who are also sensitive to it, creates further breathing difficulty, hampering recovery. Thus, a public health problem is aggravated by smoking anywhere within at least a 20 ft. But that does not take into account the other side of smoking: the personal side.

For many individuals, suffering from anything from emphysema to asthma, the hazards of smoking, both first and second-hand, are clear. But there is another side, which is not as often seen. For survivors of long term very early childhood abuse, cigarette or marijuana smoke can often trigger unwanted memories, flight/flight/freeze reactions, or even panic attacks. And to confuse the matter further, the very survivors may not even realize the source or the connection between smoke and their anxiety or panic reactions.

One survivor of very early and long-lasting childhood abuse explained it this way, when asked why the mere smell of cigarette smoke could make anyone panic:

“As long as I can remember, I have always flinched, or had the urge to run and hide (which we now call the fight, flight, or panic response), at the slightest smells of cigarette or marijuana smoke. As I sat in a place where there was strictly prohibited smoking, having been reassuring by a manager on the property that someone would find the source of the cigarette smoke right way, I relaxed for a moment and closed my eyes.

I suddenly found myself a 4-year old back in a place I never want to live again in a dark room sitting on the floor, hoping that the person with the cigarette would keep walking past the door. As the door opens can I come back to a memory of being asked for forgiveness many years later. Reasons for never given, but in my gut, I knew immediately.

What my gut knew, when I was in my late 20s, took me until I was 51 years old to come up to my conscious mind. It happened at 3 in the morning on a day when I finally feel reassured by someone that I would be protected. Not from the cigarette smoke, but from the person carrying the cigarette.”

So, please, for the good of those suffering with the novel Coronavirus, and also for the good of those suffering with buried memories triggered by smoke, please help all of us to be healthy, and stop smoking.

 


***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

Babylon 5Hakan: Muhafiz/The ProtectorLupin, or La Casa de Papel (aka Money Heist) Reviews

Holistic High School Lessons,

           or Long Term Nonfiction & Historical Fiction Writing

Shira


Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


(free: https://archive.org/details/StayedOnF…)

Free copies are available at https://archive.org/details/StayedOnF…