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Aug-Oct-2017

Monday, 11 September 2017 16:03

The Same River Twice

Written by
Scene
Sitting room of 3rd floor apartment overlooking the city. Jo is sitting at her desk, working on her laptop and EM is standing by the window, staring out into the night.
 
JO:
Em, what are you doing? You’ve been standing there not saying anything for the past 20 minutes?
EM:
Do you not hear them? The helicopters? Jesus I hate that sound, phut phut phut, big ugly flying yokes, like some harbingers of doom.
JO: (trying to laugh)
They always remind me of the opening scenes of MASH. Em, it’s probably the medical one going to the hospital.
EM: (looking at her)
No, no they’re Search& Rescue alright, I can see the lights strobing across the water. There’s at least 2 of them.
JO:
Come away from the window Em, you don’t know that it’s…..you know….again.
EM: (teary eyed is drawing pictures of drowning people on the steamed-up window)
I do know Jo and so do you. Sure, what else could it be?
JO:
C’mon Em, you know those fucking drawings will show up every time the windows are steamy. We’ll never get rid of them. Look, I’ll go on FB and see if anyone has posted anything about a search.
EM: (still absentmindedly doodling on the window, drawing figures with speech bubbles calling for help)
“Good idea”
JO: looking at her laptop
Nothing here….maybe….
JO’s mobile rings and she answers
JO
Hi Izzy, Yea we see them, do you know anything? No neither do we.
Jo leaves the room
She’s not great, to be honest, won’t come away for the window. She’s kind of gone into a daze. I know. Sure it’s barely a year since Sean and she hasn’t remoely come to terms with that. Do you know Iz there are times when I get so furious with him, even though I know I shouldn’t. I wouldn’t say this to anyone else, but he fucking knew it’d be her that would come home and find him. Shit I’m getting freaked out myself now and I need to stay calm. Listen will you phone around and call me back if there’s any news. Thanks love.
Jo goes back into the room. Em is still at the window.
EM:
I wonder how long they’ll stay searching
JO:
Izzy’s going to phone around and let us know if there’s any news.
EM:
It feels like when little Ali went into the river, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it Jo.
JO: (quietly)
Yes! It feels exactly like when little Ali killed herself.
EM: (crying quietly)
First little Ali, then Sean. I don’t think I can take another one. It’s a horrible thing to say but I hope whoever they’re searching for isn’t another one of ours.
JO:
Well at least we all always have each other, no matter how much we bitch. I remember Ali’s family and the Guards couldn’t believe how so many of us went searching the coast every day for the whole 3 weeks she was missing and when Moira found her, how we were like a tower of gay strength holding each other. I’ll never forget it, in the midst of the horror how proud of our little community I felt.
Poor little Ali, sure we never knew….
They look at Jo’s ringing phone
JO:
Hi Iz, well? Rachel and Steve? What did the text say?
Bursts into tears, shaking her head at EM
EM:
Who?
JO:
Sophie, it’s Sophie
EM:
But it can’t be her. There’s a mistake. Weren’t we only out with her last night. It was last night, wasn’t it? She was in grand form, a bit pissed but that’s only to be expected what with that bitch Sara cheating on her, but she was singing and everything. I don’t believe it’s her.
 
JO:
Yea, do you remember what she was singing though?
EM:
I do but it’s her favourite song J, she always sings it. That doesn’t mean anything.
JO:
Yea but think of the words Em,
JO sings through tears
“Looking back on the memory of
the dance we shared beneath the stars above    
For a moment, all the world was right
How could I have known you’d ever say goodbye”
 
JO breaks down and Em recites the remainder of the lyrics
 
“And now I’m glad that I didn’t know
the way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
 I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance”
 
Fucking Garth Fucking Brooks. How could she J? How could she do this?
Was Izzy absolutely sure it was her? Maybe there’s a mistake. Should we try phoning her?
JO:
It’s her love. She sent texts to Rachel and Steve saying she loved them and she was sorry and by the time they’d called the Guards and run down to the bridge, she was gone. A pile of cigarette butts, empty whiskey bottle and her cross and chain left on a ledge.
Come on Em, get your coat, everyone is meeting in the pub. We have to start organising the search.

                                                                They finally hold each other in desperate silence before they leave.

Monday, 11 September 2017 15:35

Communications

Written by
Mother Shaming

“I’m a bad mother” “I’ll never get this right” “He just won’t stop crying for me” “He prefers you” “Is it something I did?” “I don’t know what to do with him” “I’ll hurt him”

I don’t know if mother shaming has always existed in some form but what I am sure of is that social media has reinforced the concept of mother’s guilt and shame.
We are constantly presented with unrealistic images of perfect babies and perfect mothers and somewhere in ourselves, even when we know we are being manipulated, we believe that we should strive for that perfection.
Mothering has almost become an extreme sport and a competitive one at that. In a baby’s first days, weeks and months it’s mother (I am speaking only about mothers in this post) finds herself in a foreign country. Even when it’s not a first baby she can struggle as both circumstances and the baby’s personality may differ. In this foreign country she is sleep deprived, she may or may not get an opportunity to eat nutritional food, her body is at the baby’s beck and call (if breastfeeding), she may be in pain from stitches and be unable to sit down, or get dressed or even bend down to tie her own shoes!
And the most challenging aspect of being in this foreign country is for a mother to find her way, whilst attempting to take some care of herself.
There is a myriad of obstacles; physical, mental and emotional but one of the biggest obstacles is that of mother shaming.
New mothers are vulnerable and in seeking perfection they may stumble on the path of shame. It is too easy to believe that you’re not doing a good job, when you haven’t slept in days. It’s easy to believe that you’re a bad mother because you’re not breastfeeding or that you are breastfeeding but it’s a struggle. Is it wrong that your baby sleeps in bed with you? or that your babydoesn’t sleep in bed with you?
I could go on and on because there is absolutely no shortage of areas that mothers can feel inadequate. Guilt about things we do or don’t do as mothers is growing as societal expectations grow.
Post-natal depression has become an issue that people are now willing to discuss, but I think that as with any mental ill-health, there is still shame involved in admission. The women who have been brave enough to bring the subject to the fore have given a great gift to new mothers.
Feelings of failure and shame brought about by messages we have received or are receiving about ourselves and our mothering are insidious and unhealthy. Whenever we can, we must attempt to change the narrative of the messages we send ourselves so that we can replace shame with pride. What an incredible gift to present to yourself and your baby!
 
 
Monday, 11 September 2017 09:18

Blog - political participation and twin studies

Written by
My audience: 50yr old male - feels younger. Divorced, 2 children. Educated - works as a teacher. White, Liverpool man, politically active. Lives alone, hates sheeple, likes football. votes Labour. Enjoys real ale and 70s and 80s music. 

The Blog:

So, political participation is, in no small part, hereditary – at least according the findings of a twin study Fowler, Baker, and Dawes (2008). We don’t just vote because we watched our parents take a stand for what they believed – we share a common genetic influence that compels us to vote.
Alternatively, if you barely notice the endless political campaigning and haven’t even registered to vote, you were probably genetically predisposed to this apathy. Further studies have even identified which genes influence our level of political participation (Fowler and Dawes, 2008; Dawes and Fowler, 2009).
If our genes are telling us how we contribute to society, and we get our genes from our parents, and they from there’s, then are we in a never-ending cycle of politics? Are we repeating the same political rhetoric, to involve the same type of people to vote? Presently, it is easy to see the similarities between today and my parents’ political landscape of the nineteen eighties – right wing leaders in Britain and America, threats of terror, rioting, protest; the list goes on.
Is there any hope for a change? Fowler and Dawes (2009) found that genetic predispositions can be influenced by external factors, citing religious attendance as a mediating factor in political participation. They believe that religious groups stimulate political activity.
I must admit that I come from a family of politically astute people, active in politics and I don’t doubt that there may be some genetic predisposition. I haven’t always voted in a similar way to my parents and don’t always agree with their politics. But every election, I take my twins to the voting booth to register my viewpoint, however statistically insignificant it turns out to be.
How do we get those who are not genetically predisposed to vote, to register their opinion? I’m not suggesting that everyone get involved in a faith, but we need to look at other mediating factors. Jeremy Corbyn was very successful at appealing to younger voters through social media. He roused them into action at concerts and youth participation rose significantly in the last election.
What has prompted you to vote?
Do you agree that we are genetically predisposed to voting? 

cite refs. 
Sunday, 10 September 2017 19:15

Mindfully does it

Written by
In our day to day lives we run around like headless chickens.  In fact in our everyday running around and getting everything done we are in what is called  'DOING MODE'. Obviously this is a
very good state of mind to be in because without it we would get nothing done. However doing mode is also associated with the desire to change things, pressure and expectations. We can easily be affected by negative thoughts and uneasy feelings.

Mindfulness offers a way of managing these issues so we can achieve a more healthy balance between doing and another state of mind called /BEING MODE'. Mindfulness enables us to quickly get into being mode, which means delibrately paying attention to the present moment with an open attitude of acceptance and compassion.

HOW DO WE DO IT?

The easiest way to start is to anchor yourself on your breathing. The anchor point can be the abdoman where you can feel this rising on the in breathe and falling on the out breathe. You can also use the nostrils as an anchor point where you breathe in cool air and breathe out warmer air. A simple process is to breathe in and count 1 and on the out breathe count 2.. If you find that your mind wanders in this process, simply accept the thought and guide it back to one of the anchor points and then simply carry on counting. When people first begin mindfulness, they start to panic somewhat when a thought creeps in. This process though is all about the very essence of mindfulness. You have to go through this to learn. The very idea of accepting the thought and dealing with it with compassion means that it will slowly just wander away like a passing cloud.  So later on when the whole thing can be used in everyday life, when a nagging thought creeps in, dealing with it in the correct way and watching it slowly melt away will not only give you immense satisfaction but also the ability to stay calm and relaxed as you get on with your day.

In mindfulness we can also focus our attention on our external world such as what you can see,hear,taste,touch and smell moment by moment. As a good rule of thumb if you can anchor yourself in one of the 5 five senses tghen you should be able to get into a mental state of being. How many times do we actually sit down and just completely not think about nothing at all? It's very difficult! With a concerted effort if you can sit and just clear your mind of everything, after about 5 minutes you get a very relaxed feeling within. 

Try now looking at an everyday object like a piece of fruit sitting in the fruit bowl. Dont make any harsh judgements. Simply describe to yourself what you see in relation to shape and simple things like that.
Again dismissing any thoughts that are not relevent with acceptance and compassion..

The one thing that mindfulness enables us to do is to stay in the present moment. We have to understand that truly this is the only way to live a satisfying life. Problems like depression creep in when one dwells too much in the past and anxiety  pops up its ugly head when we fear the future.

NEXT TIME

LETS TAKE A LOOK FURTHER INTO HOW IMPORTANT LIVING IN THE NOW IS AND CONSEQUENTLY HOW BENEFICIAL IT IS TO PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
Sunday, 10 September 2017 14:29

Blog Entry 2

Written by
So we had to rewrite our blog entries for a different audience. The person I got was: Jo, 58 years old, female, full-time council worker, 2 kids (1 at uni, 1 graduated and now in work, both married to partners with degrees), married, husband works away, watches boxsets. So here's my rewritten blog:

With it being 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality, it seems a prudent time to start this blog.
However, because all my experiences as a member of the LGBT+ community are post-millenial (so I have no idea what it's like to be illegal to be gay), that is the time period I will concentrate on. 
I came out as a gay man in December 1999. It felt like I was taking my life in my hands - gay people were routinely outed in the press and it never ended well for them - but I feared being blackmailed. So, to circumvent that possibility, I felt the best thing was to come out. Not that I told my employers - it was still entirely legal for employers to sack their staff for being gay - but everyone else knew.
My parents took it better than expected, as did my brother, but my uncle felt the need to write to tell me I was a pervert. Some friends didn't take it as well as I hoped either. They'd find excuses not to meet up with me. A friend being worried that people would think I was his boyfriend was possibly the most honest anyone ever got about that. As much as I told myself I was better off without them, it hurt to be so coldly rejected. As did being sacked from my job because, seemingly, it was easier to make up a false accusation against me than deal with a homophobic employee who'd been with the company for 25 years. 
It wasn't all doom and gloom of course. I will probably remember to my dying day my first Pride. It was London and Holly Johnson singing The Power of Love is one of the rare moments in my life where I felt like I was ascending to heaven. Other such moments usually revolve around falling in love with my husband to be - including the time, 6 years later, we were allowed to have a civil partnership. Sadly, he didn't live long enough for us to turn that into a proper wedding (even if we'd wanted to). Sadly, his death showed me how cruel UK law could be against gay men and how much awareness training even those who wanted to help me, such as the registrar of his death, needed.
As well as experiencing life as a gay man, I've also experienced life as a Trans person. Even in the gay community, we aren't always welcome. As my husband put it once, the fight for Trans equality seems to be 20 years behind that of gay equality. 
I believe a large part of the blame for that lies with the media - but certainly not entirely with the right wing media; the left wing media can be just as bad. For example, in 2013 the coroner accused the media of contributing to the suicide of primary school teacher, Lucy Meadows, who had come out as Trans. The news group who broke that story was Trinity Mirror (parent group of The Daily Mirror). So you might find it ironic, as I do, that I was once employed by Trinity Mirror. After all, if they wanted a story about someone transitioning, they didn't exactly have far to look for one. I was in the office next door.   
Even though things can seem slow sometimes, I think it's without question that a lot has changed in the last 17 years. For some, the way things have changed may be bewildering - which may explain why there is resentment which now seems to be turning into a backlash. For example, homophobic hate crime rose by 147% in the wake of Brexit. So what real protection does the law offer even now after so much change? It certainly doesn't seem to be stemming the flow of casual prejudice, homelessness, or murder that is the daily reality of many in the LGBT+ community.
Nothing in the past 17 years has suggested to me that people don't care, though. So I don't believe the issue is indifference but ignorance... which is why I'm starting this blog. 
I hope you'll find it informative but, most importantly, interesting as I look at how the changes in UK law this millennium have helped drive this country towards LGBT+ equality.
My next blog post will be about Section 28, the law that forbade the teaching of 'the acceptability of homosexuality', and it's 2003 repeal. So do come back to find out why I have always refused to travel with Stagecoach, and once found bananas confusing. 
   
Key to Some of the Terminology Used in this Post:
Hate Crime Crime against person(s) for no perceived reason other than hatred
LGBT+ Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans plus all other non-heterosexual and non-cisgender people
Cisgender Those whose gender identity matches the gender they were assigned at birth
Trans Those whose gender identity doesn’t match the gender they were assigned at birth plus persons, such as crossdressers and transvestites, who may wish to be associated with them
Crossdresser Person who wears clothes not conventionally associated with their own gender identity but may not necessarily wish to appear as a person with a gender identity opposite to their own
Transvestite Person who dresses so as to appear - but not necessarily identifies - as a person with a gender identity opposite to their own for any period of time but not typically 24/7

Further Reading:
https://robinwinslow.uk/2013/03/23/hes-not-only-in-the-wrong-body-repost/
https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/may/28/lucy-meadows-coroner-press-shame
http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/13264#.Waa7d63Mwko
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/brexit-hate-crime-hatred-homophobia-lgbt-147-per-cent-rise-double-attacks-on-gays-lesbians-a7352411.html
http://www.stonewall.org.uk/about-us/key-dates-lesbian-gay-bi-and-trans-equality
Friday, 08 September 2017 12:43

Breaking Into Heaven

Written by
This is my attempt at writing a bit of dialogue for a radio play. I have no idea of the correct format or whatever yet. So please bear with me...

Snippet of Breaking Into Heaven by The Stone Roses.
Sound of intercom buzzing as button is pressed.

Peter: Hello?
Fred: Oh, hi. I’m here to see the boss. Can you let me in please?
Peter: Oh, my darling. I’m afraid that won’t be possible. We don’t want your sort here.
Fred: My sort? What do you mean my sort?
Peter: Well, you, my darling. You’re so hateful.
Fred: Hateful? I’ve only ever loved.
Peter: Oh, my darling man. Do you really call picketing funerals ‘love’?
Fred: Yes, I do call it love. Trying to save America from the pits of Hell is definitely an act of love.
Peter: And who are you to judge that, darling?
Fred: I am an instrument of God.
Peter: Oh, my darling man. Whilst I must concede that you are a tool, I do not see how you are an instrument of God.
Fred: I do God’s work, as commanded in The Bible.
Peter: Oh, darling. Where does it say in The Bible to picket funerals?
Fred: Leviticus 18:22, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination”.
Peter: Oh, that old chestnut. Where does it say in that, darling, to picket funerals?
Fred: I am simply trying to save America from the wrath of God.
Peter: Oh, my darling man. God is love. How can you have read The Bible and not have understood that?
Fred: Not so. Corinthians 6:9, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God”.
Peter: And who are you to judge that, darling? It says quite literally in The Bible, “Judge not, that ye be not judged”.
Fred: Yes but I am an instrument of God.
Peter: As I said before, darling, you may be a tool but you are no instrument. You have forsaken God.
Fred: Never. I do God’s work.
Peter: Oh, my darling. You are deluded. God does her own work. And, yet again, it says exactly that in The Bible. You, my darling, were called upon to “live peaceably with all”; Romans 12:18.
Fred: But I do God’s work.
Peter: You’re really getting tiresome now, darling. Écoute moi. God does her own work.
Fred: And I’m just helping out.
Peter: God does her own work.
Fred: And...
Peter: God does her own work.
Fred: Oh, never mind you. Let me speak to the boss man.
Peter: God is no man. God is love, darling, and you have forsaken love. So you have forsaken God. So you are not coming in.
Fred: Let me in, God damn you!
Peter: God does not damn me, darling. God is love, darling, and if you are not prepared to understand that simple concept then I have nothing more to say to you. Good day.
Fred: Let me in, God damn you!

Sound of fists pounding on the door  
[Dialogue piece for Jeff. Formatted for radio drama - hasn't transferred well on this page, I will print off properly]
 
1. INT. HALLWAY, SCOTLAND ROAD FLAT (JANUARY 1980) - DAY
LAUGHTER FROM MUSIC HALLS, LAUGHTER FROM LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT SHOWS, CANNED LAUGHTER FROM A STUDIO SIT COM, LAUGHTER FROM A MODERN COMEDY VENUE, FAMILY LAUGHING IN THE HOME.
 
GREAT NAN (75, 5ft tall with a commanding presence), NAN (52, VERY TALL, LOOKS YOUNG FOR HER AGE) MUM (21, TALL, STILL SUBSERVIANT TO HER ELDERS) AND AUNTIE (30, 5FT, KNOWS HER PLACE) ARE SITTING ROUND A TABLE IN THE KITCHEN WITH THEIR AFTERNOON TEA. A NAUGHTY FOUR-YEAR-OLD IS HUMMING TO HERSELF BUT LISTENING INTENTLY.
 
Great nan:                 She’s a funny one, that one.
 
LAUGHTER OF AGREEMENT. TEA BEING POURED INTO CUPS.
 
Narrator:                    They always laughed after the fact. Never at the time. Then it was shouts and screams and what’s wrong with you. But when the dust had settled, the laughter poured out of them like the tea from the teapot.
Great nan:                 I don’t know where she gets it from.
 
THE OTHERS HUMPH INDIGNANTLY AT THE STATEMENT.
 
Narrator:                     It was just a plastic statue. I didn’t know it was her only relic from her one and only pilgrimage to Lourdes. I was thirsty and I couldn’t reach the tap. I thought they’d would have realised that when I fed them toilet water in my toy teapot.
 
A TOY TEAPOT BEING DIPPED INTO TOILET AND POURED INTO TOY CUPS. SCREAMS FROM THE ADULTS.

2. INT. LIVING ROOM, KIRKBY, IN FRONT OF THE TV - NIGHT
 
NAN, MUM, AUNTIE AND NAUGHTY FOUR-YEAR-OLD ARE SITTING IN FRONT OF THE TV. THERE IS A RERUN OF THE FROST REPORT ON – THE ‘I LOOK UP TO HIM’ SKETCH. THE FAMILY LAUGH.
 
Narrator:            I know my place!
 
THE PHONE RINGS. AUNTIE ANSWERS IT. SHE CRIES LOUDLY.
 
3. INT. HALLWAY, SCOTLAND ROAD FLAT (JANUARY 1980) – NIGHT
 
NAUGHTY-FOUR -YEAR OLD IS PLAYING WITH THE SPOONS FROM THE CUTLERY DRAW. SHE’S LISTENING TO THE TO THE ADULTS IN THE KITCHEN SOBBING INTO THEIR MUGS OF TEA.
 
Nan:                No last rights. It would kill her to know that!
 
Auntie:             And her holy water gone – thanks to her!
 
Mum:               Leave her alone. She’s just a baby.
 
Auntie:             Nearly thirty years she had that.
 
THEY TURN ON THE RADIO. RADIO 4 IS PLAYING SOME OF THE BEST OF MONTY PYTHON. THE DEAD PARROT SKETCH IS ON "SHE IS A DEAD PARROT. SHE HAS CEASED TO BE”.
 
[Dialogue piece for Jeff. Formatted for radio drama - hasn't transferred well on this page, I will print off properly]
 
1. INT. HALLWAY, SCOTLAND ROAD FLAT (JANUARY 1980) - DAY
LAUGHTER FROM MUSIC HALLS, LAUGHTER FROM LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT SHOWS, CANNED LAUGHTER FROM A STUDIO SIT COM, LAUGHTER FROM A MODERN COMEDY VENUE, FAMILY LAUGHING IN THE HOME.
 
GREAT NAN (75, 5ft tall with a commanding presence), NAN (52, VERY TALL, LOOKS YOUNG FOR HER AGE) MUM (21, TALL, STILL SUBSERVIANT TO HER ELDERS) AND AUNTIE (30, 5FT, KNOWS HER PLACE) ARE SITTING ROUND A TABLE IN THE KITCHEN WITH THEIR AFTERNOON TEA. A NAUGHTY FOUR-YEAR-OLD IS HUMMING TO HERSELF BUT LISTENING INTENTLY.
 
Great nan:                 She’s a funny one, that one.
 
LAUGHTER OF AGREEMENT. TEA BEING POURED INTO CUPS.
 
Narrator:                    They always laughed after the fact. Never at the time. Then it was shouts and screams and what’s wrong with you. But when the dust had settled, the laughter poured out of them like the tea from the teapot.
Great nan:                 I don’t know where she gets it from.
 
THE OTHERS HUMPH INDIGNANTLY AT THE STATEMENT.
 
Narrator:                     It was just a plastic statue. I didn’t know it was her only relic from her one and only pilgrimage to Lourdes. I was thirsty and I couldn’t reach the tap. I thought they’d would have realised that when I fed them toilet water in my toy teapot.
 
A TOY TEAPOT BEING DIPPED INTO TOILET AND POURED INTO TOY CUPS. SCREAMS FROM THE ADULTS.

2. INT. LIVING ROOM, KIRKBY, IN FRONT OF THE TV - NIGHT
 
NAN, MUM, AUNTIE AND NAUGHTY FOUR-YEAR-OLD ARE SITTING IN FRONT OF THE TV. THERE IS A RERUN OF THE FROST REPORT ON – THE ‘I LOOK UP TO HIM’ SKETCH. THE FAMILY LAUGH.
 
Narrator:            I know my place!
 
THE PHONE RINGS. AUNTIE ANSWERS IT. SHE CRIES LOUDLY.
 
3. INT. HALLWAY, SCOTLAND ROAD FLAT (JANUARY 1980) – NIGHT
 
NAUGHTY-FOUR -YEAR OLD IS PLAYING WITH THE SPOONS FROM THE CUTLERY DRAW. SHE’S LISTENING TO THE TO THE ADULTS IN THE KITCHEN SOBBING INTO THEIR MUGS OF TEA.
 
Nan:                No last rights. It would kill her to know that!
 
Auntie:             And her holy water gone – thanks to her!
 
Mum:               Leave her alone. She’s just a baby.
 
Auntie:             Nearly thirty years she had that.
 
THEY TURN ON THE RADIO. RADIO 4 IS PLAYING SOME OF THE BEST OF MONTY PYTHON. THE DEAD PARROT SKETCH IS ON "SHE IS A DEAD PARROT. SHE HAS CEASED TO BE”.
 
Monday, 04 September 2017 18:40

I WILL LOVE YOU EVERLY

Written by
The instruments, clear and lovely,
Matched and balanced by genes
And by years of practice.
Singing with their Daddy
In cowboy outfits,
Then on their own,
All cheekbones and haircuts
In the 50s,
Waking up Little Susie,
Saying Bye-bye Love,
Being Cathy's Clown.
Their voices bending, curling
Dipping like twin kites,
Locked together 
In an architecture 
Of layering melodies,
Bracing, crossing, 
Peeling away,
Leaving 
A helix of harmony,
Sometimes filled with
A brief solo by Don
Instead of Phil
But mostly together - 
Everly.
Monday, 04 September 2017 16:01

Communication.

Written by

 

Constuctive Communication

Shame

Shame is a multi-generational, familial and culturally learned concept and experience. It is felt as intolerance and often verges into hatred, typically experienced as self-hatred. Children learn to be ashamed by experiencing ideas and language of hate and shame from family members and further from society. When shame is used as negative parenting or teaching tool, children are not taught the intrinsic difference between who they are and what they do. They then experience themselves as unlovable.
Brene Brown Ph.D *  defines shame as " the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection. Brene Brown Ph.D

There is much written about effective communication and the effects of healthy versus unhealthy communication within families. From the moment, a baby is held and with every word that the parents speak they are delivering messages that the tiny humans absorb. Of course, it’s not just words at that stage because babies don’t understand words. But they understand tone of voice and tactile response. They understand eye contact, smiles and grimaces. Babies learn quickly. Within the larger family group, if they have contact with grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles etc. they will absorb and process more and more messages. The baby, transforming into toddler and then small child will have learned to read nonverbal signals and emotions without any verbal input. Then verbal interaction is experienced and the child is sent out into the world and specifically into school.
In this post, I will focus on just one element of what is communicated to us throughout our childhood and influences and is often compounded by our behaviour as adults. That is shame. Shame is an insidious interloper that lies hidden within our psyche and launches its attack, often unexpectedly and destructively.
. Here are a few obvious examples of what we can be taught to be ashamed of being:

A ‘certain type’ of /girl woman: TOO pretty/notpretty, fat/ thin, submissive/ aggressive, clever/dumb, frigid/slut
A ‘certain type’ of boy/man: TOO handsome/ugly, strong/weak, aggressive/thug, many/weak, new man/chauvanist
Gay: TOO: flamboyant/straight acting, butch/girly, effeminate/aggressive, 'in your face'/not out, camp/embarrassed
Transgender:TOO in your face/hidden, militant/pretending, confused/confusing
Black: TOO Black/not black enough, beautiful/ugly, militant/submissive, 
White: TOO white/not white enough, complacent/aware, educated/uneducated, privileged/underprivileged
Religious: TOO bigotted/unrealistic, prozletiser/quietly spiritual, powerhungry/silent
Atheist: TOO uneducated//smug, inactive/too active, vocal/self contained
Left wing: TOO, uneducated/entrenched, liberal/not liberal enough, working class/middle class, social conscience/leftly
Right wing: TOO priveleged/underpriveleged, self-serving
Mentally unhealthy: TOO mad/not mad enough, attention seeking/reluctant to get help
Physically unhealthy: TOO needy, 
Etc. Etc. Etc. Unfortunately, the areas are limitless and I've only touched the surface.

“When our instinctual life is shamed, the natural core of our life is bound up. It’s like an acorn going through excruciating agony for becoming an oak, or a flower feeling ashamed for blossoming.” 
― John BradshawHealing the Shame that Binds You
As human beings, communicating with other human beings, we owe it to ourselves and others to understand our own shame and the ways in which it has been communicated to us and how we have both internalised and externalised such toxicity. Allowing ourselves to feel our own shame, to be unafraid and to understand the ways we transfer our beliefs and our, often distorted truths is a wonderful gift to ourselves and to our children.

As we are brought closer to an understanding of our authentic selves, we then allow our children to grow into the oaks and flowers they were destined to become.

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