February 25, 2006


Survivor Acronyms: SI, ED & PTSD

If you saw my post from February 7th about reaching out in cyberspace, you know that I've been posting on some survivor support message boards lately. I can't tell you how helpful this experience has already been for me. So far, I've found these forums to be truly supportive, uplifting and helpful. One of the reasons I wanted to join these groups is to see what other survivors seem to want and need on their journeys of recovery.

I'm amazed at how much I've found out already. I truly want to be of some help to other survivors through this blog and my website: www.survivorscanthrive.com. But, I can't just assume to know what might be helpful to other survivors-turning-thrivers. What I've been doing on these boards is--posting, yes--but also listening. What I'm hearing is that there are quite a few topics near and dear to these fellow survivors that I have yet to include in my blog or on my website. In the weeks to come, I'll be adding some new topics. Here's a laundry list of what I want to do so far:

Gotta go! I've got a lot of work to do.

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February 24, 2006


Survivor Links

I've been out of town, but I'm finally including some links on my blog. I kinda hate to bump the "Your Beauty" poem. I'd like every survivor out there to feel those words and believe in her inherent beauty. It's not surprising that a survivor of such an ugly crime as rape, sexual assault or incest can feel that he, himself, is ugly. My hope is that each survivor will regain her belief that she is precious, worthy and beautiful. I've gotten some good feedback on that poem and I appreciate that.

One comment came from
survivor. I am very drawn to her blog. Her words move me. She is refreshingly honest and intimate with her readers. Her blog is called "My Story My Shame." I wish she'd lose the "my shame" part. That shame doesn't belong to her. It may have been projected onto her, but it is not hers. I can relate to where she is coming from, however; I felt like I carried the shame of my perpetrators for a very long time. Survivor's blog is one of the first permalinks I've installed.

I also got some helpful support for my poetry from a blogger named Kirk. His blog is the
Recovery Vehicle. I found the vehicle to be a very helpful and attractive site. What I like most about Kirk, however, is his courage and his candor. He's got an abundance of both.

The other permanent link I got up right away is for
Holly's Fight For Justice. I love this blog! It reminds me that, in this life, people can obtain rightful justice. Holly fought and fought and was able to bring her rapist--a serial rapist--to trial. He was convicted and sentenced to years in prison. Let's all exclaim together: YES!!! The amazing thing about Holly is that she has turned her personal fight into a fight for all who seek justice. She is very aware and provides much information for similar causes, crime victims and justice-seekers everywhere.

The research I'm doing to include additional blog links is a slow one. But, I'm glad to be doing it. The work I've put in to do this research has helped me uncover these wonderful gems. Please be patient while I dig up some more. If you want more links in the meantime, visit my website: www.survivorscanthrive.com. I've got a large resource section with many links there.

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February 13, 2006


Do You Know That You Are Beautiful?

Hey, I admit it. I'm no poet. I'm a fair non-fiction writer, but not a talented poet. I'm not sure I even understand poetry. I certainly don't know much about its punctuation or structure. Yet, over the past few years, I've been drawn to poetry and to writing poetry...of sorts.

It just started pouring out of me when I was working on some abuse recovery issues. I'd wake up in the middle of the night with these weird word strings in my head. I was compelled to write them down. As it turns out, I have found my "poems" to be quite meditative and helpful in my healing. So, I continue to write, whether what I write is true poetry or not. (You can view some of my stuff at my survivor website: www.survivorscanthrive.com.)

I've got a poem here I want to share with you. It is not sophisticated at all. Heck, it even rhymes. That's totally lame in the real world of poetry these days, isn't it?

But I want to share this poem, and I'll tell you why. Lately, I've been reaching out over the Internet. I've been posting messages on boards and participating in forums. I'm also in the process of checking out a lot of other blogs and I'm going to include links here soon. What I've discovered during this process is this: A lot of folks out there feel like shit! And they feel like shit about themselves. Many seem to feel bad about themselves as a result of what other people have done to them--very abusive stuff.

I have felt this way myself. I have felt shitty about myself--for various reasons--many times. People! We've all got to stop this! I don't care what you've done; we've all made mistakes and have regrets. I don't care what's been done to you. I don't care where you're from or what color your skin is. It doesn't matter whether you're male or female, young or old. I'm telling you, you're beautiful. You have an inherent beauty that shines from within. No matter what happens, where you've been or where you're going, your beauty remains. No matter what. Here's my poem for you:

Your Beauty

I see the beauty you can't see
You're unaware of what it does for me
It's the light shining in your eyes
Lifting me up to brighter skies

Still you walk around
And you hang your head
Sometimes wishing
You were dead

But if you could see
What I see in you
There'd be nothing, love,
That you could not do.

Copyright 2005 Marj McCabe ~ All Rights Reserved

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February 07, 2006


Survivors Reaching Out In Cyberspace

On the last two blog entries where I talked about my A Day of Thriving poem and what thriving looks like for sexual abuse survivors, I was exploring the concept of reaching out. It's about breaking the isolation that abuse survivors so often struggle with. My poem (that can be viewed in the archives section of my "Meditations" page on my website www.survivorscanthrive.com) says, "I don't isolate." It also says I'm assertive with others and, "I'm not afraid to express my feelings or voice my opinions."

I guess, even on the days when I'm overwhelmed with the challenges of life and/or don't feel like I'm really thriving that well, I am still reaching out, expressing my feelings and voicing my opinions. Look, here I go again. I'm doing it right now. I launched my website in September and continue to express myself through it. I began this blog in November and have started to update it more often and consistently. Hey, I'm even playing meme games these days!

What else have I done to break my survivor isolation? Well, after an eight-year hiatus, I joined another support group for survivors of childhood sexual abuse last spring. Quite frankly, I can get really bummed talking about incest and survivor issues, but I really like this group. It's run by an organization in Colorado called
WINGS. When I joined WINGS I received a helpful, well-written survivor's guide. It's a great reference. I also appreciate the fact that the group meetings are well-facilitated and include healthy topics of conversation. I think the recent self-esteem discussion (mentioned in a previous post here) was helpful to all.

Although I spend my days alone, writing at my computer, I've also found ways to reach out interactively over the Internet. There are some very useful survivor forums and message boards out there and, recently, I've joined a few. My favorite so far (because I've had the most exposure to it) is After Silence at
www.aftersilence.org/forum. It has public and members-only forums for survivors of rape and sexual abuse. The members--almost 2,000 strong--are surprisingly intimate with each other and provide a lot of uplifting support. Pandora's Aquarium is even bigger with more than 2,000 members. This is a cool, Tori Amos-inspired site at http://pandys.org. This site is so hip it even offers its own blogs to members. Another board I like is an offshoot of The Wounded Healer Journal at www.twhj.net. The forum at twhj is for abuse, trauma and PTSD recovery support.

February 03, 2006


Five on Friday Meme

I found this meme on The Daily Meme. It's from Five on Friday and here are the five questions for today:
  1. What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a stewardess--that's what they were called back then. Also, way back then, the airlines had height and weight requirements, etc.
  2. Did you follow through? If not, what happened? No, I certainly did not. My stubborn, rather feminist self decided I did not want to be a "waitress in the air" and deal with all the sexist b.s. that was involved at the time. I still love to travel, however, and have even been able to do some travel writing.
  3. Is your life turning out the way you thought it would when you were a kid? If not, is it better or worse? Much, much better. I was severely abused as a child (story at my website: www.survivorscanthrive.com) and did not hope for much at the time. As a kid, and young adult, I believe I subconsciously thought that I would marry anyone--no matter how abusive--who said they loved me. Now, I am married to a man who is very kind, loving and supportive of me and my recovery from abuse. As a kid, I also had poor self-esteem and not much confidence in my abilities. Today, I believe I'm a talented writer and am able to move people with my work.
  4. Paradoxes aside, if you could time-travel back to when you were 10 years old, what would you tell your 10-year-old self? This question reminds me of the movie, The Kid, with Bruce Willis, except that story involved an eight-year-old kid who traveled forward in time to help out the adult. I would give similar advice that was used in the movie, as in something like, "Everything's going to be alright." I would also tell my child self: "You are beautiful. You are unique. You are precious and worthy. You have so much to give and to get out of your life. You go, girl!"
  5. Do you think the child you were would like the adult you've become? I think the child I was craved an adult like me! I am affectionate and loving. I am accepting, compassionate and understanding. I try to give these gifts to my own offspring, and I think he appreciates being loved no matter what.

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February 01, 2006


Survivors Thrive With Self-Esteem

Last night, at my survivor's support group, we discussed affirmations for self-esteem. Self-esteem has got to be a challenge for any sexual abuse survivor. I know I've struggled with it many, many times. How do we learn to honor our selves when we were so dishonored by the abuse? How do I know when I am properly honoring my self?

In my group, we talked about this issue of self-esteem and honoring the self. We discussed how it is okay to be angry, as long as we express the anger responsibly. We talked about how it is okay to say no, without any excuses, reasons or apologies. We discussed our right to say things like, "I don't know." and "I don't understand." I guess healthy self-esteem is about acknowledging that we are, indeed, okay. We have rights and it is okay to assert them.

In my "A Day of Thriving" poem (located in the archives of my "Meditations" page of my website: survivorscanthrive.com) I note the following: "I'm assertive with others. I'm not afraid to express my feelings or voice my opinions. I set and maintain healthy boundaries." To me, these are all a part of having healthy self-esteem. For me, it was necessary to forgive myself for what happened to me. I also had to learn to love myself and believe in my inherent worth. Then, I was on the road to practicing the many aspects of healthy self-esteem.

I looked up some websites that have content that I found helpful in regards to self-esteem. The first, www.self-esteem-nase.org is the website for the National Association for Self-Esteem. This site defines self-esteem and gives healthy "self-esteem boosters" anyone can implement. They also include a self-esteem rating guide, books on the subject and a forum for discussion.

I also found a page I liked on the topic of assertiveness. It is at the "Coping" website here. The site's section on assertiveness talks about steps to improve the skill, your "assertive rights" and even includes a journal exercise about the topic.

Last, but not least, I looked up the subject of "boundaries." What are boundaries, anyway? I'm sure many a sexual abuse survivor has struggled with this issue. When we were being abused, our personal boundaries were extremely violated. As abuse survivors, we may have some people in our lives who are just downright toxic. In order to finally be true to ourselves and develop the healthy self-esteem we need, we must set firm boundaries with these people or protect ourselves and say goodbye. At the "Joy 2 Me and You" website, boundaries are discussed along with ways to use "I Statements" to express feelings. Link to it here.

Copyright 2006 by Marj McCabe. All Rights Reserved.

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