As a follow-up to the previous Open Letter to Barrie City Council, I gave a deputation to City Council tonight on the same subject. Since I was rather rudely interrupted, TWICE, by my other least favourite City Councillor, here's what you missed in the mayhem:
And I'm not using the term "triggered" in the modern new-agey snowflakey buttercuppy kind of sense – as someone who has spent the last several decades learning to live with her complex post-traumatic stress injuries, I am fully aware of the difference between being psychologically triggered and merely a little annoyed, thank you very much.
It started when I saw the (sadly, unsurprising) news that last week's massacre in Nova Scotia had started as domestic violence. Which the media twisted into being a rampage that had been sparked by "a domestic dispute".
A domestic dispute is arguing over which way the toilet paper roll gets hung, or how best to allocate the family budget. It does NOT include one of the parties having to run away from said domicile to hide in the woods until 7am.
The latter is ASSAULT, or DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (although the addition of "domestic" has always bothered me, as it often seems to be used to make the violence seem not as bad as if some stranger hauled off and punched you in the street).
Then, I was masochistic enough to read some of the comments (I know, I know...), which included such gems as accusing the woman who had to hide in the woods until 7am of being a part of the murderer's plot, or at least somehow responsible for it; another who was happy that the December 6 massacre was no longer Canada's worst (so we wouldn't have to hear from all those yammering feminists again); not to mention all these armchair pundits coming out of the woodwork to declare this to have been a random, unpredictable "snap" by someone with obvious mental health issues.
Okay, I'm going to go into further detail in a sec, but if you want to just skip to the punch line(s), here we go:
If you re-read paragraph #2, you will recall that I have spent the last several decades with some pretty damned serious mental health issues. And yet, I have not murdered a single human being. I haven't even hit one. And while I now have lots of tools and knowledge to help keep my C-PTS symptoms at a low murmur, even at my wildest, bat-shit crazy moments, neither murder or violence were ever, EVER even a remote possibility for me. There's a reason for that. (Oh, keep reading, you didn't think I'd give the ENTIRE punch line away this early, did ya?)
For the last couple months, women's shelters and other organizations have been warning us all that the current self-isolation guidelines, mixed with stress and uncertainty over the pandemic, were going to create a tremendous rise in domestic abuse and femicide. And we'd already seen those rates ramping up – at least, those of us who were paying attention. This wasn't a random act, it was predictable and predicted. Not because men would, in their boredom, suddenly decide to become abusive during isolation, but because those who were already abusive would, in a time of stress and uncertainty, escalate their behaviour, and the only target available would be the woman forced to stay in isolation with them, with no workplace or friend's place to safely and excusably escape to, even for an hour.
Using the term "mental illness" as an excuse for misogyny and toxic masculinity is just plain wrong, and perpetuates the damned problem. It's about bloody time we call it what it is, so we can start to prevent these very predictable occurrences from occurring.
As those who have followed my musings already know, September always feels more like a new year to me than January – even though I've not been a student for [cough cough] decades, and haven't even been a part of the school system since the early part of this century, this time of year always feels like a new beginning. The nights start to cool down at the end of August, and I still remember the feeling of National Music Camp, as we tucked our clothes into our sleeping bags at night, so we could get changed without subjecting ourselves to the crisp morning air. Knowing that once camp was over, it would be time to gather the school supplies, and face the new school year. It's still the time of year when I dream up new projects and adventures, get back into some semblance of a routine, start fresh.
This year is similar, in that I'm excited for change. But oh, so different in what that change is gonna be.
I have a daily creative practice, which includes a 20-minute free-write, inspired by a line (or two) from the "poem of the day" at Poems.com. The writing isn't meant for public consumption, just to get the juices flowing, before I get started on the "real" stuff. But today... I kind of like what I came up with, so I'm going to break my own rules and share it (with the caveat that the other rules include no editing, no polishing, so please don't come back at me with fixes, because THAT AIN'T THE POINT).
Today's jump off point was from Two Poems by Julie Bowsma – the first poem began with "Dear ghosts, how can we stop the sunlight spinning the story from our hands?" and ended with "All I know is this: even before I was born I breathed a loss not my own." (So you just know I relished it!)
Here's where that took me:
Trauma has tentacles. Backward and forwards. Like the stone chip on the windshield, left unattended, as it spider-webs across the flat clarity, until all is unstable. Until the soft bounce of a feather sends it into oblivion.
Am I the feather? I was afraid I was, for the longest time. Now I feel like the fist. Don't you see this is broken? Don't you want it replaced? Here, let me speed up the process, before somebody loses an eye.
As I know I've said in these entries several times, there's nothing like an annual holiday to help you mark the days and see the changes that each year brings. This year and this Valentine's Day is no different.
September 10, National Suicide Prevention Day. So little-miss-truth-and-beauty should probably write something inspiring, eh?
And yet, I feel like a total faker writing on this topic, since I was wrestling with my bullshit brain over this particular issue as recently as last week. (Now, don't go panicking on me, I wasn't in any imminent danger, I can keep using cutlery. It's just that there are still some bits that sometimes need some wrangling, or distracting with shiny things occasionally.)
But... I do know a bit (!) about suicide prevention.
Back when I was a kid, and I didn't really have any understanding of just how fragmented my brain and soul were (a pretty genius survival technique – thank you, neurochemistry – which got me through some desperate times, but wasn't terribly useful in later years), I already understood there was an internal battle. I knew there was a bit of myself – or perhaps even a few bits of myself – that flirted with the idea of "accidentally falling" off the subway platform just as the train was coming. Nothing that could be seen as intentional, of course, because that would open up a whole whack of unpalatable scenarios, depending on whether I succeeded or failed in my "accident", but... you know... elbowed off by a distracted commuter, caught by a big whoosh of air... anything that could keep me from being hospitalized and never taken seriously again if I survived, or turned into "the bad guy" if I succeeded. Fortunately, there were a lot of other bits who thought this wasn't such a good idea, and so I would plaster myself to the back wall until the train had safely passed. That way, even if one of us got the urge to dash, the rest of us could probably catch her before she reached the edge. To this day, when I go back to Tronna, I still tend to hold myself at the back of the platform, because the memories of those days are so intense, especially in the stations that haven't been re-tiled since the '80s (which I think are most of them... amIright?)
So... forget being a faker. I am a MASSIVE SUCCESS STORY when it comes to suicide prevention. I'm here to tell the tale.
Alrighty, I'm not Chinese (at least, not that I know of...), but my Shambhala group celebrates the lunar new year, and we're not even going to be doing that until Saturday, so I don't think I'm THAT late with…Read more
...and I'm even later than last year in posting something about it. Why? Well, in part, because I still think last year's post already says what I have to say about it. I'm not sure I have much to add…Read more
If you happen to live in Canada, and happen to be tuned into media and/or social media, you will certainly see that a whole lot of conversation around rape culture has opened up, in the wake of the numerous allegations…Read more
It has been... A Week. A week of painful triggers for many, including myself, although one that seems to have burst open the all-important discussion we needed to have on sexual assault and balance of power and the silencing of…Read more
"June is PTSD awareness month, a time to remind ourselves that PTSD is real. It is a recognized medical condition and millions are affected. Ten percent of women and five percent of men will have PTSD at some point in…Read more
(Sorry for the absence. The weekly "awesome" just hasn't been in the cards, recently. I will be back, things will be awesome again. Just have needed a lot of time to deal with a lot of things recently -- the…Read more
Not only is the Awesome Report on time this week, but Lisa's hubby Paul got the One Billion Rising photos and video to me just in time to be included in -- nay, the focal point of -- this week's…Read more
After declaring last year that I would treat my birthdays a la Merrill Markoe's "It's My F---ing Birthday" heroine (see here if you missed it and are bothered by said missing), it seems I totally blew it on the…Read more