Category Archives: Personal News

Coming at You From The Other Coast

Oregon! Still hundreds of miles from home but in the right state!

 

So yes, I did make it to our new home in Oregon last week. I am still catching up on the photos I took during the drive over on my photo blog, but I realized today that I’ve neglected to post any updates over here!

I’m still getting used to being on a three hour time difference and living in a new place, but it’s coming along. I keep reminding myself that the frustrations I’m feeling are actually normal for anyone moving to a new place; finding things, not really feeling comfortable and let’s face it, after that drive, just feeling a bit run down! Those are not signs of “survivor issues”, they’re normal. Isn’t it weird that any struggle we have has to first go through that lens of figuring out if this is a survivor struggle, or a plain old regular struggle, as if survivor struggles are somehow different? They’re all struggles and obstacles to overcome, that can be overcome! Eventually, I’ll figure out how to get around Corvallis, what places I like, which I don’t, how to get an Oregon driver’s license, and so on. People move to new states, I did it myself just three years ago. It’s not without stress, but it’s hardly impossible.

I will say this though, even though I know I’ve said it before many times. Going through the trip here and all of these changes is only possible because I have spent the last few years embracing small, and large, changes and seeking out new adventures, building the confidence to deal with change. Driving across the US is not without it’s perils. I worried every day about the car breaking down, for example, but I also knew that if it did, I could figure out how to deal with it and get to where I needed to be. Luckily, no such thing happened, the trip went off pretty well and I was able to have a new adventure and see some new things.

I look forward to not only settling in and getting comfortable in our new surroundings, but to new adventures in Oregon as well. From what I’ve seen so far, I do believe there is plenty to explore here, and I know that I can explore it without fear!

Permanent Victim Status

A few weeks back, Patricia wrote about being an advocate, and being accused of being “stuck in victim mode” because she continued to talk about child abuse.

It’s something that I’ve been thinking about too. Part of that thought process had to do with some cleaning up of old links that I’ve been doing on the blog, and seeing how many survivors have simply stopped blogging and dropped out of the online community, as well as thinking about some of the things I see online about healing in general.

First, before I even get into my thoughts, let’s make one thing clear. All survivors are individuals, and what works for some, may not work for others. Whether you feel lead to continue being an advocate, or sharing information like I do here, or Patricia does, or if you’d rather spend your time with other interests and put this behind you, is totally your choice. Part of being healed is giving yourself the ability to make your own decisions and have control over those decisions. Far be it for me, or anyone else, to demand otherwise.

On the other hand, part of being healed is being more than “just” a child abuse survivor. That can be a tricky line to walk. I’ve been at this blog for 12+ years now, and it’s still tricky. In fact, maybe it gets trickier the longer I go on, because it would be easy for someone who doesn’t know me to look at this site and come to the conclusion that I’ve been going on and on for almost 13 years about being a survivor of child abuse. Wow, talk about someone who is stuck!

Continue reading

Dealing with Change and Challenges

oregonThose of you who follow my other blog may already know this, but we are moving again! To Oregon of all places!

As I look ahead to the challenges of moving to a new location, and dealing with living across the country from my wife for a couple of months, it occurs to me that I feel pretty confidant about the whole situation, because we’ve done it before.

When we moved to South Carolina just about 3 years ago, I moved down for my job, and Angela stayed behind to pack up the house and fulfill some work commitments. We lived apart for more than 6 months. This time it’ll be under 3 months, and since I work from home when I’m not traveling, I don’t even need to switch jobs, just locations.

Anyway, to the broader point. Child abuse survivors, many times, do not have the experience of dealing with change and challenges to fall back on when faced with this sort of challenge. We have spent so much of our lives trying to survive, and protect ourselves, that the confidence that comes from making our own decisions, or overcoming new challenges is a foreign concept. We want nothing less than to have anything change, and yet life is all about change. We can’t avoid change, we can only learn to deal with it. The quicker you can learn to deal with it, by taking on some small challenges, and gaining confidence, the more you can make positive changes in your life, and take advantage of new opportunities.

Self confidence is like any muscle in your body, it only grows stronger by exercising it.

What are you waiting for? What small challenge can you accept, and face, today?

Welcome to 2014!

Usually, as part of my year end ritual of looking back on the previous year, I post a slideshow of my favorite photos that I took during the past year. This year, since I started a blog dedicated to just photography, you can find that slideshow over there if you’re interested!

The end of the year, and the beginning of a new one, is always a good time to take stock of yourself. For survivors, it’s always a good time to look back and use this as a guide to help determine whether you are making progress in your healing, or not. It’s very easy to focus in on the small details of our every day struggles and miss out on the big picture of healing, so I’ve always been a big fan of using this time to take a step back and look at healing from childhood abuse, or any trauma. and assess where I am compared to this same time a year ago. Have I learned a new skill, have I improved in my relationships, have I learned to trust a little more, to feel joyful a little more? All of those steps of improvement are evidence of healing, of the work we are putting in having a positive effect, and they should be recognized and cherished. It’s the truth of these accomplishments that gets us through the days where it seems no progress is being made. Continue reading

One Reason I Love the Internet

Light a Candle for me

Last Thursday my grandmother passed away. She had been ill, and was 93 years old so it wasn’t a shock, but it was still a sad occasion, obviously. I was teaching an online course for a client on the West Coast so while I found out during an afternoon break, I wasn’t really done working until close to 8PM my time. So it was a bit later when I got time to return phone messages, after which I turned to Facebook as a way to let some of my friends know what was going on.

When I got there that night, something interesting was in the process of happening. I took a look at the Facebook profiles of a couple of my cousins, and realized that we were all doing the same thing. We spent much of the night looking at Facebook, sharing stories and photos with each other. Even though we are spread all over the place, the technology of Facebook allowed some of us to connect right in that moment and mourn our grandmother, instead of having to wait for all of us to travel to the funeral.

As it turns out, it was also the day that Nelson Mandela passed away, which made it even more interesting. Not only were my cousins, aunts, uncles and I sharing thoughts about my grandmother that night, but much of the rest of the world was also sharing thoughts and stories about Mandela on Facebook and Twitter. I got a really good glimpse at the ability of the internet to connect us during a world event, and to connect a small group over their own event, at the same time.

It was a vivid reminder of why I started a website in the first place and why I still see online social networking as such a powerful force for good in our lives. Sure, it has the potential to be a dangerous place too. Just like any relationship, we have to be careful who we connect with. But it also provides us with a chance to connect with people who share our interests regardless of geography. Whereas in the past when there had been a death in my family, I would find out about it and then spend the evening apart from my family, and only really get to share those stories and memories if I could happen to travel for the funeral, this time all of us could jump on Facebook in different states and across time zones, and connect.

Think about that for a minute. Thanks to the internet, we’ve eliminated the obstacles of distance and finding a mutual time to talk, or the time it would take for mail to get delivered, when it comes to staying in touch. We’ve even eliminated the obstacles of not having someone to share ideas and thoughts with. You’d be hard pressed to find a subject that someone isn’t blogging about, or doesn’t come up on Twitter. When a world event like the passing of Nelson Mandela occurs, we turn to Twitter to see what other people are saying about it, or get more information. When it’s something closer to home, we turn to the same place, where we can communicate with the group all at once.

I’m very glad that Facebook helped me stay in contact with my family at a crucial time, and I’m very glad that being part of the online world has helped me stay in touch with far-flung friends and family. I’m just as glad that being part of this online world has brought people into my life who I wouldn’t have met anywhere else. Both of those things have made all the spam, technical issues, and trolls worth it.

A Much Needed Break

And we’re back…

OK, so I know I’ve been offline for the last couple of weeks, and am just now starting to catch up on emails and other things from around the old Internets. If you’ve been waiting on some comment from me or response to something, it’s coming. The wife and I were off on vacation, cruising in the Mediterranean with no real access to internet while we explored Spain, Italy and a bit of France. I highly recommend all of them.

I also highly recommend getting away yourself, in whatever way you can, every now and again. It was refreshing to be able to simply spend some time away from every day life. The constant routine of our daily lives can get to be sort of soul-crushing when you don’t spend some time occasionally doing something just because you enjoy it. A vacation is a good way to remind yourself of that simple pleasure.

I will be sharing some of the 1700 photos that I took while on vacation. In fact, I’ve already started that process with a short look at the port in Barcelona over at the photo blog. I will continue to add new posts there, with links to my Flickr account as new batches are added. Hope you enjoy them!

Now, what did I miss? ;-)