Trigger(ed)

•May 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I am marked
But I do not notice
Yet
The slightest pressure
Triggers an explosion
And a hollow point projectile
Slices the atmosphere
Slamming into me
Shredding upon entry
I NEVER EVER see it coming
I am hit in my blind spot
So hard I swivel
My brain sloshing
In my fractured skull
I am disoriented
What the hell was that?
My vision narrows to tunnel
I am suddenly sweating
From all pores
Profusely frightened
Blood is pulled from my limbs
I am numb
Shaking and cooling
My resources pumped and pooling
Inside my middle, vital
Organs filling for survival
And then
I am angry
WHAT THE FUCK!
I am sick of this
Trigger-happy culture
And the concentric circles
Of my psyche
Available for target practice
Whenever and without warning
Until I am left riddled with holes
Shreds of me swaying
In this stale exhaling wind
I cannot patch them
Fast enough
Before another flash
BANG
And I am thrown back
Again
Entirely
To the exact moment when
I said no
But he
Didn’t listen
And neither did anyone else

-a.r.

TattooedLady Jennifer DavisPainting: Tattooed Lady by Jennifer Davis

as bad (A Poem) as it seems

•May 21, 2015 • 8 Comments

It seems I am at a loss lately
Half poems
Half truths
Half me
It seems I dream of what I’m not
Full head
Full fool
Full stop
It seems there may be no escape
But to want
But to wait
But to tolerate
It seems, it seems, oh how it seems
And still
And yet
And…

 …Oh fuck it, I forget

-a.r.

Portrait+of+a+Self-Portrait+4 Alexa Meade

Artwork: Portrait of a Self Portrait 4,
by Alexa Meade

Fine Lines (repost)

•May 15, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I find fine lines on my favorite plates
The pretty porcelain is cracking
But I cannot keep from using them
Safe on the shelf our show would fracture

My little dishes soon will break
A certain spirit too will shatter
For I’ve loved our dance of servitude
We’ve balanced play and looking after

-a.r.

Spinning plates Amy June Bates

Artwork: Spinning Plates by Amy June Bates

Trauma and Meditation: An Open Letter to the Community

•May 13, 2015 • 5 Comments

Dear “Awakened” Communities,

Yes I mean YOU, Buddhist and Non-Buddhist alike. I am angry with you. Yes angry, oops am I not supposed to be angry? Well buckle up, you may not like this ride, or just jump off and avoid all these “negative emotions” if you can. You are good at that…unless of course you are wielding them at others while they are all dressed up as truth and passive aggressive compassion.

Yes, I am angry…but YOU are dangerous.

I am angry because I was raped when I was an eight year old little girl. You are dangerous because you tell me that I should live as if this didn’t actually happen.

Through my meditation practice I have learned to let go of my shame, and because of this I have learned to be open and honest about being raped and molested as an eight year old child. I have found the courage to sit with and write about the flashbacks, the anxiety, and the PTSD that has resulted from that traumatizing year of my life. Sitting still and silent has not made these things go away. Philosophy and critical thinking have not made these things go away. Cognitive behavioral therapy and other forms of counseling have not made these things go away. Alcohol, self-injury, exercise, and diet have not made these things go away. Prayer, and begging, and bargaining have not made these things go away. You know why? Because these things do not go away.  Full stop.

Trauma can be folded into daily life, it can be set safely in the background, it can be worked with, and looked at, and talked about.  It can also be ignored, dissociated from, and lied about. But it does not go away.  We know that trauma changes brain chemistry, especially childhood trauma. So until I undergo a lobotomy or brain death, these changes will not go away. I can maybe mitigate them with diligent self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self compassion. But, no amount of ephemeral “no-self” or “emptiness” is going to change the fact that the rape occurred, that these physical brain changes occurred, that PTSD is the result.  To offer “no-self and emptiness” to rape survivors as some illusory way out is a dangerous, arrogant, and self-serving game. It serves only to deny the reality of what happened.  It serves only to continue to silence us. It serves only to leave survivors feeling alone and like failures when inevitably these memories come charging back in the form of PTSD.  It serves only to allow YOU to feel more comfortable with what we represent…the loud, chaotic, unpredictable, and cruel nature of this world.

You want to talk about present moment, real present moment? At any given moment I can be unconsciously triggered into a flashback, into anxiety, into my PTSD symptoms. I can be sweating, heart racing, nauseous, short of breath, and physically incapacitated. I can be back in that bed feeling crushed by that man while he inserts himself into my mouth, my vagina, my brain. I can be once again looking out that window while it is happening praying for help, praying for my mother to come home, praying for God, someone, anyone to save me. These things happen exactly IN that “empty present moment” and they are anything but an empty illusion. But, do you know what I do? I stop and sit still and silent WITH them. I watch them occur, I feel them, I let these things wash through me and over me and I notice what that means, and I notice that I do not die…to spite every fiber of my being that tells me otherwise. I shake, and I cry, and I experience the present moment of PTSD. Then I get up and experience the other present moments during the day when the reverberations of PTSD and rape remain in my body. When these things pass, I live with and experience that relief as well.  I am fully aware that both of these things will happen, and I let myself experience both the pain and the relief. This is my practice. Present moment isn’t supposed to always be easy, blissful, and peaceful. Present moment is simply what it is when it shows up, and the real practice, the real bravery, comes in letting it be what it is, making real contact with what that is, for better or worse.

And you say “emptiness?” And you say “no-self?” And you say “let it go, it is an illusion, it is imaginary?” Why does what you say sound EXACTLY like what my abuser said to me in order to keep me silent, in order to keep me trapped, in order to continue raping me with impunity?

You may not understand this if you have not been through it. You will hold tightly to your belief that there is some simple on/off switch that can make the past disappear, that can make future flashbacks never happen.  Oh how I wish that was true, just as you do.  Believe me, I have tried to find that easy switch in nearly every way possible. That on/off switch does not exist, in any form, from any religion or belief system, and to pretend like it does is no different than selling snake oil to a terminally ill patient.  It is no different than turning your back on a rape-in-progress.  It is no different than telling the victim, and the perpetrator, not to worry it will all be over soon and when it is over it will all be imaginary anyway. Your “emptiness” denies the violence of the act as equally as it denies justice or responsibility for the act. Your “emptiness” denies the humanity of the person raped and the intentional cruel action of the person raping. Your “emptiness” denies a harsh reality. Oh how I wish I could deny it too, but I cannot.

You want to see my anger, my struggle, my vigilance, my embodiment, and my honesty as some sort of proof that I am not “awakened, realized, saved.” But oh how wrong you are. I spent most of my life trying to escape this human form, dissociated from it, and guess what…that didn’t work. Now I am in it, feeling it, allowing it, and I don’t know if this works either.  Hell, I don’t know what “works” is supposed to mean anyway.  But, I do know that I am done trying to be something I am not. I am no longer ashamed to be human, I am no longer afraid to speak openly about sexual assault or any other part of my humanity, and I am no longer looking out that window waiting for someone else to save me.  Not even you.

Sincerely, angrily, unashamed, and still sitting,
April Resnick

8 year old me Me when I was 8 years old.

A Fucking Reminder!

•May 13, 2015 • 4 Comments

No more attempts
At fixing me
Will be allowed
Long live the mad
And drooling demons
I have yet fleshed out

-a.r.

image

Painting: The Exorcism by Kevin Kinkead

Headfirst

•May 11, 2015 • Leave a Comment

The rocky ledge is crumbling
Beneath my barely bending toes
This layered life is buckling
And digits tire of grabbing hold

A chasm yawns below me
I hear dirt clicking down walls
But the echo’s growing softer
So I lean in towards the fall

I could step back and stay safely
Where sediment and systems rule
Or drop headfirst into wonder
A dissenting dusty fool

Will freedom feel like madness
Or will madness mask the free
No matter ’cause I choose to tip
A tumbling curiosity

-a.r.

image

Honest Word

•May 10, 2015 • Leave a Comment

My child
is not
the “best thing
I have ever done”
she
is
not
finished
nor am I
and to declare that as fact
is a sappy fairytale
an empty delusion
at best
And
a reduction of me
and my highest possible form
of usefulness
to
sex object
uterus
vagina
at worst
I will not do that
To either of us

-a.r.

image Painting: Motherhood By Veronica Jackson

A repost for this Mother’s Day.

 
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