A long silence and a quick update
It has been almost three months since my last blog post. So much for self-imposed deadlines!
I decided that it was worthwhile writing this entry in order to talk about what i have been doing, and to talk a bit about what it is like to heal from ritual abuse.
My long silence is partly psychological – I find writing about my abuse and my life to be both extremely helpful to my ongoing wellbeing, and difficult, fraught and triggering. Speaking out is validating and wonderful, and the support and positive responses only reaffirms this. At the same time, being open, honest, and vulnerable is sometimes terrifying. Not only is it potentially triggering to write about my memories and remembered traumas, but speaking out violates all of the brainwashing and programming intended to shut me up, and that tells me that no one believes me. Similarly the emotional and intellectual honesty necessary to put out well-written and worthwhile essays means talking not only about how I’ve been wronged and hurt, not only when I’ve acted courageously and with integrity, but also those times where I afraid and selfish, about those times I’ve hurt others, and this leaves me fearful of being judged and condemned.
I’m also making another attempt to stay completely sober – I’m on week 12 now, and it is good. I’ve also cut out caffeine and I’m trying to eliminate any compulsive activities from my life.
Since I was writing many of my first drafts with the help of a few beers, this change has meant that I haven’t been as writing as much as before. This is actually a good thing, even if it doesn’t always feel like a good thing. My mental and physical health are, in fact, more important than how many blog posts I’m able to put out, and how much writing or work I’m able to do. Fortunately, and co-incidentally, a man that I respect a great deal told me they thought it was essential, if one wants to be truthful and to connect with people in a good way, to create only when sober. I’ve been pushing this observation around in my mind, trying to decide exactly what i think about it. As usual, i decided that he’s probably right.
Also, from approximately December to early January is a particularly rough period for me as it is a period during which I, as with many others victims and survivors of ritual abuse, was abused even more frequently and brutally than usual. I was also born near Christmas, and birthdays in a cult, as you might expect, are not wonderful and loving celebrations of a life – more like the reverse.
I’ve also been working on writing two blog posts for the radical mental health organization Icarus. This writing focuses less on my experiences as a Ritual Abuse survivor, and more on my experiences being arrested for arson in May of 2010 (charges that were eventually dropped due to a lack of evidence), my experiences in jail and prison, and some reflections on the effects that policing and prisons have on people’s health.
I’ve also been working with a lawyer to compel the Children’s Aid Society to fulfill their mandate to help and protect children. Specifically I am trying to get them to investigate one of my uncles who abused me extensively over a period of years and who has part-time custody of his young son, and one of my mother’s cousins who also abused me as a child, and who is the father of 3 or 4 children. Although the CAS did send someone to meet with me and my lawyer, and, after listening to my story, they said that they would open a file, they have not yet taken any action, at least as far as I know.
Finally, I’ve also been organizing a panel on Ritual Abuse that features me and with another Ritual Abuse survivor, billie rain, and my psychotherapist, Diana Ralph. This is in addition to the organizing I do with the Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity Movement of Ottawa, http://www.ipsmo.org , and Books 2 Prisoners Ottawa, http://bookstoprisonersottawa.wordpress.com/.
But I’ve started writing again, so I expect to have more writing and blog posts finished soon!