Tag Archives: survivors

Under Stress? Remember your Dreams!

My personal dream has always been to save lives, and  I hold on to my dream: to become a Volunteer Firefighter.
(My dream for the world is to see a Tiny House or at least a small well-insulated room with kitchenette and bathroom, with potable water, green vegetables, brown rice and dried beans and solar/windpower with backup pedal power for every man, woman and child over maybe, the age of 10, world wide, free for that person’s use from birth to his/her death with no charge, no questions, and no way to lose that right.)

Then I journal, walk, run or plan (esp. for my training for the fire-fighter’s test:  41MarathonVert2016 ) and work some more.

Peace,

 

Read, Write, Run, Teach !

ShiraDest
7 February, 12016 HE

updated with my Dream for the World:
Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
22 February, 12016 HE

(update:  after 3 weeks off for the start of an intensified job search, I am bumping down to a Half-Marathon…)
Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
23 March, 12016 HE

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Groups to join as Coping and Family-building measure

Personally, I have a high need for connection with others.  In order to avoid burning out my nearest and dearest, I’ve decided that finding groups that share my values may help diffuse some of that pressure on my supporters.  So, I personally want to find:

  1. A progressive chavurah, shul, temple or synagogue to join, and a Women’s Mosque as well, if there are any lady Imam or leaders around (there was one in Ankara back in 2005…)
  2.  A Quaker (Friends) Monthly Meeting to join and stand silent Peace Vigil with,
  3.   Greek or Balkan or other international folk dance,
  4.  a walk-run marathon group
  5.  a public library-based book or reading club
  6. A public library based writer’s critique group
  7. an NVC and also maybe Literacy Volunteering group (and give blood).

 Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
24 March, 12016 HE

Rain+Tendonitis = Nightmares??

The night before, I dreamt I was a consultant on a ship w/an insane captain somewhere in the North Atlantic, with giant waves that froze around us like a white out.  I ordered and got a shovel, dying digging while the sailors around me gaped as if I were the crazy one.  No, digging did not help, but at least I think I died on my feet.

Last night, it was me being attacked by a crocodile : not sure if it was Sacred or not, but at least I died warm!

Ok, I will admit that trippling the number of km Power Walked (Fr, but accessible) (in compensation for km not run, trying to reach 45km/week by mid-March (English, log in needed) ) may not have been the best idea I’ve had lately, but why the renewed ‘My Life is in Serious Danger’ dreams now that I’ve stopped running/walking for the last 4 days?

While I know that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) aka la Dépression Hivernal, is linked to light, but also to excercise levels (which is why I always take my walks and runs early in the morning), I wonder if the feeling of a cold or flu coming on, combined with having to rest the ankle tendon due to my own stupidity, makes me feel powerless?  Obviously the answer is Yes!  But it remains irritating, and a bit scary, to see how quickly those fears and despair of just a short while ago can come screaming back, threatening to overwhelm you, just after a few days of darker than usual weather (weekends I generally do not write, so do not sit with my SunLamp), and enforced ‘rest’ (which is making me more restless by the day, but with a tendon still aching for no apparent reason…).

So, dear friends, my reason for writing this post is as follows:  if you feel down, do not give in to despair.  Drink a spicy hot chocolate (soy milk and Fair Trade chocolate with cayenne if possible, but if you feel rotten, just a hot choc. may help), and then turn on the lights for a few minutes, and bask in them.  Then, get out a pad of paper, and write.  Preferably while you wriggle your toes and think of Frodo Baggins!

Then, plan to change your life.  Taking risks is scary, but sometimes the only way to make life better, for you and for someone else.  Don’t let those dreams that tell you your life is in danger go unheeded:  especially if the one putting you life in danger might be You.

Human Love,

Read, Write, Run, Teach !

ShiraDest
31 January, 12016 HE

Neville Longbottom and Harry as kids with PTSD?

It is interesting to see how different cultures hide the mistreatment of kids.  The Brits seem to be a bit more up front about it, but also more harsh than say, Turks, who adore children.

I am being lazy and re-reading HP2 to work on my Turkish reading, instead of continuing to slog through something by Orhan Pamuk, because I am just too tired (and I am starting to hit words like bequeath while watching my favorite family TV show of all time: My Magical Mother! (Sihirli Annem!) so it really is time to get back to some reading to keep up my Turkish.

But back to Nevile -I identified with him immediately: I was the one walking into walls in Middle School, forgetting everything, and being told to come down out of the clouds.  Now I know (and we see in later books with Neville) that these are symptoms of childhood PTSD, which presents differently than with adults.

So please, for the love of God, Humanity, Children and the Human Race, or at least for the love of the planet and the potential creativity of the human race, please look out for such signs in kids and try to understand and help them rather than yelling at them.  Don’t let them turn into Invisible Children, or worse.

 

In Solidarity with All Kind People,
Peace via Cooperation and Non-Cooperation,

ShiraDest
5th of December, 12015  HE

What I learned from NaNoWriMo about Writing and Depression

My second practice novel actually started on Wattpad , but much easier to track the deadline on the NaNoWriMo2015 website, has taught me several things about managing Depression (or PTSD -> anger->depression, sort of…).

First: Making a deadline feels good, even if it is Just/Only YOUR deadline. You DID it.
Second: Physical activity every day, like running  or dance, etc, is, at least for me, imperative (and also read, and have a sun lamp).
Third: Making a deadline a second time, better than you did the first time, proves you can repeat the feat, thus showing discipline and perseverance. This makes me feel like less of a waste of oxygen, provided I can find a way to use that to help other folks.
Fourth:
Writing 1.) When writing your first/second/fifth practice novel, be sure to have a physical workout routine, preferably involving boxing gloves, AND several people to talk to about all of the crap your writing will drag out of you.

(Remember NOT to use the gloves on the people…)

Writing 2.) For me, at least, plan the ending first…
Writing 3.) Plan setting, time and weather for each scene, not just the plot!!
Writing 4.) Outline by scene, not by # of words (I outlined by 300wds, which ended up driving me nuts toward the end…)
Writing 5.) Do not write a chapter per file, it is a formatting nightmare to insert 18 files (one for each chapter) into one ‘book’ file on an exhausted day 28!
Writing 6.) Lay out the chapter plan on one large calendar in the same notebook (if at all possible) as the planning notebook (and resist the temptation to plan each chapter on small scraps of paper!! You cannot believe the number of scraps I now have floating around…).
7.) Start on day one, and don’t punish yourself for not planning ahead. A planner is not a pantser, and you will feel annoyed if try to write stream-of-consciousness just because you have 2000 words to finish That Day.

Better to take the day to plan out the next two scenes and write them the next day, at least for me.

I found that when I knew the time of day and year and weather as well as what the MC was supposed to do in the next couple of scenes, I could just imagine the flow and zap, 2000 words came out of no where (I did NOT say 2000 Good Words, but that is for the next 3 or 4 re-writes!!!).

and the real

Writing 7.) Set a new notebook aside for the 30-Day 50k challenge, because it will turn into at least a year, and probably 80k words. Before it goes back down to 60k again.

🙂

In Solidarity with All Kind People,
Peace via Cooperation and Non-Cooperation,

ShiraDest
29 November 12015 HE

Shira

Does this Climactic Chapter Work?

Dear Readers,

This is my 2nd draft of Hubris and Hemlock, a very short novel (40k words or 150 pages), which is Women’s Fiction, so: 1. Relationships are Key, and 2. The Heroine saves Herself.  But my question, before I go to polishing the prose, is: Does the plot hold your interest?    Especially Chapter 17, the climactic chapter.

I plan to post the last chapter shortly, but it is just a wrap-up, so if chapter 17 doesn’t work, neither will chapter 18.

Thank you for any feedback,

 

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
23 March, 12016 HE

Glad I shared a Smile that day…

Short story: glad I smiled at someone I did not know -who thanked me, and made me grateful to be alive, back in 2005. And also today.

Less short version of the story:
Ok, so after a useless day yesterday of only 1100 words written, and desperate fears of 8 more days zero, (I have another 10k words to write), I was reflecting on the use, or lack thereof, of my life.
moving morose meditation on beauty to bottom…

When I lived in Izmir, that summer I took long walks on Saturday afternoons. I had the habit of smiling, or at least nodding, to every person I saw because frankly, I hoped someone would smile or nod back at me. At least acknowledge me as a fellow human being, as I tried to do, even passing the homeless people lining the streets as you go into the Metro (DC).

So, I nodded at a lady in passing, never met her, just kept going because I was too tired to say Gunaydin (Good Morning/afternoon in Turkish), and my Turkish was only rudimentary any way.
Then I heard a call behind me. I turned to see that woman walking back toward me, and her eyes were glistening.
She put her hand on my chest, nothing scary, nothing sexual, just an ordinary safe contact, and said, in very simple Turkish that was clear and slow, that in five years in Izmir, no one had every greeted her. She thanked me, and I nodded in return, too moved to get out even one word of Turkish. We both turned and went our own ways. And now, over ten years later, I am glad that I smiled at a random person whom I had never met, and never saw again.
I hope that I can share that joy with …
Everyone.

On the uselessness of being beautiful:
I have always hated being called pretty, beautiful, fine, foxy, etc, and being thanked for existing by some guy who apparently thought I was the equivalent of a painting on the wall for him to admire. well, not so useful. But when YOU (any of you, dear readers!!) smile, you too are beautiful, no matter what you look like. You are beautiful, and USEFUL, when you smile at another human being just to acknowledge that he (or she) too, exists, and is worthy of recognition as a human being.
Smiles, (2000 more words to go, it is 3:30pm -aghh!!)
Shira
24 November, 12015 HE

19.2.12016 edit via old LJ post from 2008-11-28 00:19:00

“kalbin temizmis”

“Feeling very grateful recalling a friend telling me ‘my heart must be pure’ to have found her just when I needed her, to help another friend with a CV.

Feeling grateful for the lady in Izmir who expressed such appreciation for a simple greeting in the street, and the other lady in Izmir who told me that our half hour conversation on life (in Turkish) was worth more than any English lesson.
Grateful for those whom I have helped, and for those who help me, for my dostumlar, my truest and closest friends, who really are family for me.
May I always remember your love, and love you all in return."

(STILL grateful!!  :-)  Peace, ...)

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
19 February, 12016 HE

Why we should be doing Tai Chi (and training pigeons) in the Parks

First of all, it gives us something in common with our future conquerors, ok just kidding!!

First of all, it is a Free way to socialize in a non-superficial way.
Second, it is physically and mentally health-full (free) activity.
Third, it teaches part of the skills needed for physical self-defense.
and
Fourth, it teaches moving meditation, needed for emotional self-defense.

Did I mention that being together thing, next to other folks of all ages, especially those older folks, who know how to do it all best for having done it for years?
And did I mention the FREE thing, as in spend no money, just move slowly in the public park?

1. If the first point needs explaining, please let me know.

2. I think everyone knows the health benefits of Tai Chi.

3. Many people may not know that this Soft side complement of Chinese Kung Fu is required by many instructors, like my own Shi Fu, in addition to the so called hard side, the fast Kung Fu. The same blocks and attacks or counter-attacks are used, but as slowly as possible, forcing you to develop your balance and stong muscle coordination.
4. On emotional self-defense, of which I believe meditation is an important part, having the strength of sternum to straighten your back and say “I Refuse” to a big drunk guy can often come from your memory of many expensive Tai Chi lessons after those expensive Kung Fu lessons. Worked for me. Again, ask for details if interested, please.
Ok, time to make dinner, too bad the baby lima beans I remember as a kid no longer seem to be around. Oh well, just have to train those pigeons to go fetch some decent corn and beans. Oh, no more carrier pigeons either. What, did Tom poison them all?
Peace,
In Solidarity with All Kind People,
Peace via Cooperation and Non-Cooperation,

ShiraDest

21 November, 12015 HE

Writing a novella feels like playing Frida Kahlo, frighteningly enough…

Now I know why I avoid writing. And Frida’s story.
People came up to me after every production of that play to tell me how amazed they were, how I looked like the splitting image of Frida, and was I Mexican or Mestisa. Well, yes, as an African American of light skin with Cherokee blood, yes, I am technically a mestisa. And the splitting was happening in my own head (maybe more afa my roommates were concerned).
It’s not just to be more practical, find paying work, mend the shirts and weave a few more belts to give as birthday and holiday gifts. Those are all ‘legitimate’ reasons to avoid my writing, but I know deep down why I avoid it. Just as much as why I am compelled to write, anyway. On chapter 9 of my 50k word story, I feel the same pain, but emotionally mostly, that I felt when I played Fridah Kahlo in a community theatre for a few months. And I didn’t even have a speaking part. I just danced with furniture and la-la-lahed a bit. Nevertheless, by the end of the 6 week run, I was having back aches and depressions that made my roommates ask if acting was not a bad idea, and whether I had multiple personality disorder (sorry, now they call it Dissociative Disorder, which actually is more acurate…). And I had to ask if they were right.
Writing this damneable novella makes me feel like I am right back there, stomach cramps and all, and it is liberating yet terrifying at the same time. Can I now face what I was not strong enough to face then, and do it in a way that is not too terrible for others to read, even others who have not lived through such things? Can I write a book that other folks will actually want to read, yet taht will move them so that they can understand the perspective of someone who grew up in various types of pain, and more importantly, so that they will be moved to want to learn more about how to help all of our society, by learning how to help all of us work through our individual and collective pain and help each human being reach his or her full creative potential? Can I overcome my own fear to even get to a place to really really want to do that, and then, can I do it?
Thanks for reading this, and even more thanks my friends, if you can add your pebble to building the new edifice that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr spoke of, when he said that the structure that produces poverty needs to be rebuilt.
Here’s to rebuilding, pebble by pebble,
let our mourning not be in vain,
Peace,
Shira
16.11.12015 HE

review of Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence by Judith Lewis Herman

Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence--From Domestic Abuse to Political TerrorTrauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence–From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror by Judith Lewis Herman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book, for me, was a horrible read. Horribly accurate. Yet hopeful as well.

Horrible to see that I am not so different after all -I see myself in every comment she makes on adults who survived long-term trauma as children.
Horrible to see that my experience is not so different.
Yet hopeful to see that there are ways of solving the problem, living ‘normally’ -just that ignoring it is not one of those ways.
Most irritating.
Especially after burn-out has twice stopped me from working enough to distract myself from my distracting memories.

She mentions The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma in her 2015 epilogue, and that book seems to recommend both movement and writing -both of which helped me until I had to get back to sitting in a chair looking for a job all day long.

I seem to be stuck in Stage 2, and worst of all, I read over and over again that either in writing or in talking therapy, I must now stop “living in my head” and move back into my body. I have always found it easier to forget to eat then to bother about my body. Work has always been a useful form of escape, until now. Ok, not so much -once I get to about the intermediate level of just about anything, it seems no longer to hold my interest, and I find myself assaulted by unwanted memories that refuse to go back into their Blankety-Blank-Blank!!! boxes.
Irritatingly enough, this is the first place I have seen such a thing predicted.
She even has the gall to predict and counter my ‘unique’ perspective on my right to choose when to die, and how. Apparently this too is normal for folks like me. Huh. So much for being misunderstood. I guess she has us pegged, finally, Thank the non-existent God!! Finally someone actually documents what we go through, and tells us it is a normal response to a hideous start in life. Ok, now, on to how to fix the problem: start with saftey (years of martial arts did help some), get a good therapist, talk, write, and move your body. And remember that faking functionality will not work forever.

Peace,
Shira
27.10.12015 HE

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