Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sunday Selections

Today I'm taking part in Frog Ponds Rock's Sunday Selections, where she invites bloggers to post photos, any photos, no strings, just to get them off their hard drive (or in my case, my phone). It's a simple and enjoyable meme and anyone can join in. Just go to her site.

It's been a rough day here. Not anything I want to go into, but I thought it would be nice to revisit some photos that make me smile. These are from our recent trip to the zoo.


It was difficult to leave the pool,
even with the enticement of wooly animals



Pardon the hair and lack of makeup - this is my
straight-from-the-pool look. We didn't want to waste time
on frivolous preening when gorillas were waiting!




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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Flog yo blog Friday

Hey kittens, it's time to flog it.

Guess who's still in Kansas? That's right. The snow finally stopped but just as FYBF was packing up to leave the kids locked it in the playroom and tied it down with silly bands. I am plying it with wine in the hopes that it will stay here a bit longer and just fly back out to Sydney with me in March.

As you're probably aware, FYBF was started by former Nobel physicist Brenda at MummyTime, until she gave it all up to rescue orphans from raging infernos; at which point she passed it over to the reigning Miss Australia, Lori at Random Ramblings of a SAHM, with whom it currently resides when not held hostage in a Kansas attic.

Now. Lori. We all know Lori has had it rough this past month. Really, really rough. She has been writing her way through her pain, which I think shows an amazing strength. She mentioned that some had expressed concern that her posts were too raw, or offered up too much personal information. I disagree, and I'm glad she does too.

We are human and we react to immense pain with immense emotion. There is no getting around it. That is how we are wired. We can either deny it and stuff it inside, or let it out. Pain that isn't dealt with, that is directed within, can have devastating results. At some point, it can erupt into destructive or violent behavior, either against ourselves or another.  It may take a short while or it may take decades, but it will happen.  When we allow ourselves to express our pain, we can process it and heal.

So Lori, I'm glad you're writing and I don't care how raw it is or how long it takes to move through it. I'm just glad you're moving. We're here for you as long as you need us. I think you're amazing.


Click here

There is an auction going on right now to raise money for Lori to help her care for her children and basic day-to-day needs in the aftermath of her loss.  Kudos to the lovely Sarah at Just Me for putting it together. It's open until Jan. 31st so go have a look and bid on some of the great items (except for the dress donated by Sawhole, which I've already decided I'm wearing to the AMB dance - mine mine mine!). Then go vote in my completely unbiased Aussie poll and help break the Sydney vs. Melbourne neck and neck race. Results to be posted next week. 

Happy Friday!

Here be the Rules

  1. Follow my blog or RRSAHM or the Yellow Brick Road (I don't know, what's the protocol when it's on loan?)  If you follow me, make sure to leave a link so I can follow you back!
  2. Grab the bubbly button and post it on your sidebar.
  3. Link your First Name and/or Blog Name and URL of your post or blog.
  4. Add a short description (max of 125 chars). It could be a description of yourself, your blog or a teaser to your latest post.
  5. Follow at least 1 linkyer/blogger (Be nice and spread the love).
  6. The list will be open for linkyers on Fridays (and for the foreigners Friday as well).
  7. A new and fresh link list will open every Friday. And you will have to link up AGAIN. The previous link list does not carry over to the following week.
  8. And lastly, have lotsa fun.



rrsahm








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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Australia Day Quiz

In celebration of Australia Day, I have fashioned a little quiz for you. Now, lest my readers from other parts of the globe cry foul (as they did when I held my super spectacular giveaway open only to Australian readers) let me make it clear that this quiz honors ALL nationalities and I took great pains to set aside any bias I might have and make it truly multicultural. I've merely called it an Australia Day quiz because this post happens to coincide with a day honoring the discovery/invasion of that fair land.

But since I've never run a quiz before I'm curious to see how this works. So please, humor me and play along. It's supposed to tally...somewhere. And then I can share the answers with you. Or maybe they'll magically appear when you hit submit.  I can't wait to find out.





A


B

C


D

E


F


Scores will be tabulated and shared when I figure out how the hell google quizzes works.

If you answered A to all the questions, you are probably me. If you answered B, C or D, you need to study harder. If you answered F, rock on.


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Healing from trauma

Today's post is written by a close friend of mine. She didn't feel ready to put it on her own blog, but said I could share it on mine.

Life is a journey and like any long trip, often we encounter pitfalls. Sometimes those pitfalls leave deep scars on our souls and it can take years, even a lifetime, to heal. If we are fortunate, we are able to share a leg of our journey with someone who understands something of the road we have walked, because they have walked it too. And the empathy and compassion borne of that shared experience allows the balm of healing to penetrate that much deeper, and before we know it we are walking taller and breathing deeper because our load is suddenly lighter.

My friend, it has been a gift and an honor to walk with you.


*  *  *  *  *

Here is her post:

I was sexually traumatized when I was young. Very young. And I’m not going to say abused or molested. Because regardless of the actual insult, the injury left behind was trauma. I have been traumatized now for years – for decades, this trauma defining the entire path my life has taken in ways I could not and would not see, but that guided me purposefully and powerfully always, protecting and supporting me in ways that are just short of being as fully destructive as the trauma itself.

When I first experienced the trauma, I stopped breathing. And then mostly I just stopped breathing out. And I withdrew as deep and far inside of myself as possible, wanting to be a certain kind of invisible. With all that trouble breathing, I got a breathing disease, asthma, and my inability to breathe well and oxygenate my body, left me as sick and tired as I was feeling emotionally anyway. And I got sick a lot, my body expressing the discomfort that had no other outlet.

I did ok. Until I turned about 12 or 13. And then boys my age and older, and even men noticed me differently. And the need to be invisible to that kind of attention was a force beyond any other. So I became invisible the best way I knew how, which was to become fat. It was the one thing my father just hated, so I knew it would work. I mostly stopped getting the kind of attention I didn’t want and couldn’t handle, but I was so uncomfortable with my body. I didn’t like being fat. So I ate a lot, but the bulimia compensated for a lot of that crazy eating. Still. I didn’t feel like myself, and I didn’t like what I was becoming. And I didn’t like anyone else much either.

And then I went off to college, where I could reinvent myself. And I thought maybe the problem was just men, and that relationship with women would make things better. But it took absolutely no time at all to realize that I am not attracted to women sexually in even the teensy tiniest way. So I figured I was just that rare individual that wasn’t really going to connect that way. I had already decided years earlier I didn’t want to marry or have children, so what difference did it make anyway?

Then I found G*d. And I don’t mean that facetiously or in some evangelical way. And I didn’t find G*d – G*d actually found me. Which changed everything. For the first time I felt totally loved and accepted and where I belonged. So I threw myself completely into the discipline that introduced me to this G*d. And my new spiritual practice came along with the notion of celibacy as the highest sort of virtue and surrender. So now I had a whole community of people supporting my choice to be invisible sexually, and believing that choice was a divine one.

Which made me feel a lot better about how bad I was feeling. It just never made me feel good. Feeling better is not at all the same as feeling good when the twisted seed of trauma bears the bitterest fruit in all sorts of convoluted ways in your life.

But I was willing to accept better for the longest time. And then my father committed suicide. At the too-young age of 49, leaving behind so much devastation, and me, who finally felt free of the burden of his existence. Which made me realize that ‘better’ wasn’t going to be enough anymore.

So I ventured out a bit beyond the strict discipline of the choices I thought were required of me and tried things on my own. And had some fun, did some exploring, and even tried relationships with men. But I was mostly disappointed, mostly in myself. And I didn’t think my decisions and choices and life reflected any sort of improvement. So I dove back in head first, not breathing again, giving up everything in hopes of recovering myself.

I took on even more responsibility for becoming an angel, a human so connected to G*d that their humanness is transformed into divinity. And as I did, I felt more and more suffocated, more and more constrained by trying to do what I though I must to redeem myself from the awfulness I felt most of the time. I was naughty, wanting to cheat on the rules I’d agreed to live by, rules I was certain were useful, but that I couldn’t bear anymore.

And I knew that burying the trauma, the horrible, overwhelming feelings of being humiliated and shamed and betrayed, the certain knowledge that no one would help or protect me, the cynical detachment of knowing that no other human being could be trusted, just wasn’t a workable solution anymore.

I stumbled across a new community, a group of souls who were wrestling with their own humanity, but without the certainty of the answers I thought I had. And because of their own struggles and uncertainty, they were warm and inviting and accepting in the most wonderfully human ways. Which I’d had no value for before, never exposed myself honestly to anyone before. And I didn’t trust fully, and I didn’t trust a lot, and it didn’t all turn out roses, but from where I had been? It was a stunning change.

I just had to give up trying so hard to overcome the horrible feelings eroding my sense of self for so many years. And I stopped being so certain of the exact right things I must do every moment of every day to make things ok. And I surrendered the glorious spiritual vision of my divine future for the much more humble reality of daily life.

I returned home after 25 years to let all this settle, to use the great gifts t of my spiritual experience in ways that I know are personally meaningful, to take support of family and friends and community who are willing to be there just because that’s what they do, and to get comfortable with myself. I returned home after 25 years because being invisible was killing me, and whatever was taken from me so many years ago as a small girl, I’m taking back.

I have been unnerved and emotionally overcome and unable to share most of this ever. With anyone. And it isn’t getting much easier just yet. Right now, in fact, it feels harder than ever. I find myself in tears which is kind of horrfying. And I’m having a hard time focusing or paying too much attention. And talking about this helps just a little, but not nearly as much as you’d think. Though feeling anything at all feels like progress. And at least now I can breathe – literally and figuratively. So I know it’s getting better. And I know that good is next.



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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Flog Yo Blog Friday - Snowy Midwest edition

Good morning peeps. FYBF is still vacationing in Kansas. It was headed back to Australia but woke up and looked out the window and saw this...



...and decided travel was not such a good idea.  We got about 8" of snow overnight (or 10-12", according to some men I know).  Fortunately, with the schools closed for the day, there was plenty of free labor on hand to clear out the driveway.



So come on over, dodge the snowballs, link up a post and I'll pour you a cup of hot chocolate.

FYBF was started by the ravenously sexy Brenda at MummyTime. Due to time constraints caused by spending more and more time fending off amorous suitors and adoring fans, Brenda decided to hand over FYBF to the beautiful and beloved Lori at RRSAHM, with whom it currently resides (when not on holiday).

Keep sending love to Lori. We miss you babe and hope to see you back soon. xoxo


Here be the Rules

  1. Follow my blog or RRSAHM or the Yellow Brick Road (I don't know, what's the protocol when it's on loan??)  If you follow me, make sure to leave a link so I can follow you back!
  2. Grab the bubbly button and post it on your sidebar.
  3. Link your First Name and/or Blog Name and URL of your post or blog.
  4. Add a short description (max of 125 chars). It could be a description of yourself, your blog or a teaser to your latest post.
  5. Follow at least 1 linkyer/blogger (Be nice and spread the love).
  6. The list will be open for linkyers on Fridays (and for the foreigners Friday as well).
  7. A new and fresh link list will open every Friday. And you will have to link up AGAIN. The previous link list does not carry over to the following week.
  8. And lastly, have lotsa fun.





rrsahm









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Monday, January 17, 2011

Mile upon mile

Three deaths in the course of a week. All unexpected. All parents of young children. Tony, Amy, Lulu. Too much.

Lately, my heart is heavy for everyone who has lost someone, but mostly for the children who have lost a parent, my own included. It’s like you can see the wound that is there, that will be there, the way you see a mark on the wall, and you want to take a Magic Eraser and scrub and scrub it away. But you wear the sponge to a nub and the mark is still there and you realize finally it is not yours to erase. So instead you come to accept it and even love it because after all, none of us get through life without getting scuffed up.

The other night my son asked to sleep next to me. It was going to be his birthday the next day. He was turning six. Please Mommy. He gave me his sweetest look. Of course I relented. And so it was only fair that my daughter slept on the floor, on the other side of me, and thusly we drifted off to sleep. I don’t know how long it had been, it couldn’t have been that long, when I felt his hand on my wrist and his distinct presence in the room. Even in my panic I remembered that I had locked the doors, all of them, and yet here he was. I thought, my god, it doesn’t matter that the kids are right here; he will cross every boundary. And then I screamed and screamed. I felt them on either side of me, shaking me awake. “Mommy, you’re scaring me.” The dream faded away and I was there, sitting up in bed with my children. I held them. “I’m so sorry. Everything’s okay.” They fell quickly back to sleep and I lay there and stared into the dark.

The next day we were gone again. Our fractured, endless, destinationless road trip across middle America. “For your birthday we will go to a hotel with an indoor pool.” He was excited about this, beyond excited. “And we will go to the zoo.”

I let him pick the restaurant for his birthday dinner. We opened presents there—several for Danny and an unbirthday gift for Anna. At the table next to us were two men, one middle-aged and the other younger, probably his grown son. They didn’t talk much, just sat quietly. The older man smiled at my kids a few times as they oohed and aahed over their toys and I smiled back. I wondered if perhaps he was nostalgic for younger days when children’s desires were transparent and their love given freely.

When it was time to go I gathered up the gifts and picked up the check, reluctant to look at the total. I hadn’t even begun to pay off Christmas. The waitress stopped me as I pulled out my card to pay. “The gentleman who was sitting at the next table paid for your meal,” she said, “he said it looked as if you all were having a good time.” I was dumbstruck. The kindness of random strangers.

In the evening we swam and in the morning we swam some more. We watched cartoons on the television because we don’t have television at home. We went to the zoo and looked at the gorillas and the penguins and walked through the butterfly enclosure. Anna said the only thing she didn’t like about zoos was that they stole animals away from their real homes and put them in little spaces, and I loved her even more for saying that. We caught snowflakes on our tongues and took silly pictures of each other. Then it was time to go back to the house that is our home and not a home and we all grew a little quiet.

On the drive back, I feel an exhaustion come over me that is profound and complete, the slow giving out of a body run too long on adrenaline. The kids watch a movie in the back of the van and I look out the window at the snow. It is so beautiful. I love the Plains. Snow upon fields stretching out into the distance, mile after mile, framed by gently rolling hills. When I drive across the Plains I feel like I can breathe. I feel my body relax and my soul open up and my dreams unlock from my heart and spill into the light.

Someday, I will live far away from here, in a home that is mine, with yellow walls in the kitchen and handmade quilts on the beds. My children will run with abandon throughout the day and sleep deeply in their own beds at night. When I awaken at 2:00 in the morning, it will be with peace in my heart. My someday. There are moments when it is right here and I can taste it sweet and rich before it dissolves like snow on my tongue.


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Thursday, January 13, 2011

FYBF - Sadness, love and hope

Today I am hosting Flog Yo Blog Friday again. I’ve been putting it up in my guest bedroom for a couple of weeks. It usually resides with Lori of Random Ramblings of a SAHM.

Today Lori lays to rest her husband, Tony. Lori, we are all holding you gently in our warmest thoughts and prayers for comfort.

This past week has been one of heartache for many of us. Lulu at Unperfect Life unexpectedly lost her sister, Amy. Amy leaves behind a baby boy, Fin.

The devastating floods in Queensland have taken many lives and unrooted entire townships.

One way we are processing this influx of painful news is by writing about it. We communicate our grief, our love and support and our hope for the future through our writing. As I click from blog to blog, I keep reading about these same things. The blogosphere has become a collective expression of compassion.

If you’ve written a post of support this past week—for Lori, for Lulu, for the flood victims--I invite you to link it up today. Lori wrote a post early this morning and I'm going to put it first on the linky so you can leave her some love.

You can also simply link up your most recent post on any topic.  FYBF has never been a "themed" blog hop. I've only made the suggestion above because I know so many of you have written such posts.

The rules? You know the rules. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you really need a refresher, look back here.

Link up, share the follow love, leave a comment, keep sending #LovetoLori, keep writing it out. Thanks for participating. xo



Gone now is the day and gone the sun
There is peace tonight all over Arlington
But the songs of my life will still be sung
By the light of the moon you hung

Bang the drum slowly play the pipe lowly
To dust be returning from dust we begin
Bang the drum slowly I'll speak of things holy
Above and below me world without end

E.H.




rrsahm







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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Lusty Awards - Round II


What a fucker of a last week. Pardon my impeccable French, but honestly. I think we're all crying uncle.

What do you do when you’re emotionally strung out and at the end of your tether? Crack open a bottle of red? Break out the black humor? Torture your children by cranking up the Clash and doing a little air guitar in your underwear?

Me. I hand out some Lusties. I can’t remember the last time I gave away Lusties. Hmn, actually I can, but it's been ages.

So without further ado…

The Facepalm award goes to Sarah Palin for making George W Bush look that much smarter every time she opens her mouth. Is she still on the planet? How about now?

The Now That’s a Resolution I Can Get Behind award goes to Jadeluxe who advises for 2011: “think of the most off-the-wall thing you’d love to do, intend to do it, and then actually give in to the impetus,” and adds, “he who dies with the most toys, still dies”. Heya Jade, I think you'll like my intention for 2011.

The Where’s My Vicodin? award goes to my favorite little 5-yr-old migraine inducer: “Why do screws go around in a circle? How did the weasel go pop? I wish there was a hurricane made out of snow and it was 2x google. Mama, I can speak fly. What if my elbow fell off my body? Would that freak you out?” Yes, dear, it would.

The Banging My Head Against a Brick Wall award goes to the considerable red tape and bureaucratic nonsense of our local legal and law enforcement system. Don’t these people watch TV to see how it’s supposed to be done? Dammit.

The But I’ve Got a Really Hard Head award goes to me.

The Mother of the Year award also goes to me for managing to discreetly deflate and dispose of six ancient party balloons while the kids did interpretive bubble-popping in front of the Wii AND hide the fact that I accidentally vacuumed up Baby Shrek’s head. Shhhhh.

The Amazingly Big Hearts award goes to the incredible Aussie Mummy Bloggers. There is no end to the depth of their compassion. I love you guys.

The Lost for Words award goes to beautiful, brave Queensland. Because at this point, I truly am.



Money to be distributed to several relief organizations such as Red Cross Australia


I-I-I was saving those balloons!


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Monday, January 10, 2011

I am your friend

This morning I awoke to the news that Tony was gone. After three and a half days in the ICU, he passed quietly, leaving behind a young wife, a three-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter.

This morning I awoke to a world blanketed in snow. The view from my window had been transformed overnight. The boundaries of road and lawn and sidewalk erased by a single sheet of perfect alabaster. Absolute stillness. Life placed on hold.

Schools and businesses shut down. The kids pulled on their snow gear and disappeared outdoors. For two hours they played in the snow. I was left alone in the quiet of the house.

There is a website called Gratefulness.org where you can go and light a candle for Lori. I clicked on the site. I wrote a message by my candle. After lighting the candle, I was asked to take a moment to focus on my message. I closed my eyes and thought of Lori. I started speaking out loud, saying the things I would tell her if I was there with her.

The snow fell softly outside as I sat in the stillness of the house and spoke to Lori. I spoke words of comfort and condolence, but mostly I just said this: I am your friend. As I spoke, I felt the full weight of grief from the last several days come to rest in my heart and I began to cry. Not just cry, but sob.

The word compassion, when broken down to its Latin roots, means “to suffer together with”. By joining another in their grief, we experience the height of what it means to be human, and know for a brief moment the loss of boundary that is the interconnectedness of humanity. This past week I have witnessed that phenomenon on the web as hundreds upon hundreds of people banded together in expressing their love and grief and overwhelming support for Lori and her family.

One paradox of compassion is that the desire to alleviate another’s suffering exists together with the knowledge that we are often helpless to do so. Our gestures feel like drops in the ocean. But I know from my own recent experience that those gestures that seemed insignificant to others were incredibly significant to me. There is healing in community and the expression of love.

Lori, I hope you will draw deeply from this well in the coming weeks and months. It will never run dry. We will fill your cup again and again, as long as you thirst for solace.

*   *   *

You can light your own candle for Lori here.

On Friday I will plan to put up another linky for Lori, where you can attach your posts of condolence, unless Lori decides she is ready to host it herself. She is writing, as she feels moved. We will wait and see what each day brings.





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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Special FYBF dedicated to Lori

Today I’m hosting a special edition of Flog Yo Blog Friday here on Wanderlust. This is usually hosted by Lori at Random Ramblings of a SAHM (and was created by Brenda at MummyTime). As many of you may know, Lori’s family is in crisis right now. Her husband is in the ICU fighting for his life. Lori is a dear friend of mine. She has stood by me this past year as my own life fell into crisis. I am broken up by this news.

Here is what I’d like you to do as you link up today:
  • If you haven’t already, please read Lori’s searing and heartfelt post from last night (it’s first on the Linky) and leave a comment of support for her.
  • Send your prayers and/or good vibes to her and her family.
  • Link up for Lori. Let her know you were here.
  • If it is within your means, consider donating some money to help her family through this difficult time (her husband is the breadwinner and regardless of the outcome, this will be a rough financial ride for them). There is a paypal widget on the sidebar.
  • Spread the word about the Linky so she can have as much support as possible at this time.

The rest of the Linky instructions are below. Thank you so much for your kindness and support.

We love you Lori. We're rooting for you, babe. Stay strong. xo


The Rules (according to the big boss)


  1. Follow my blog, the Random Ramblings of a SAHM. I never seem to get to reading all the links here. But believe me, I try. Not that any of this is my idea anyway- FYBF is MummyTime's brainbaby. I stole it.
  2. Grab the bubbly button and post it on your sidebar.
  3. Link your First Name and/or Blog Name and URL of your post or blog.
  4. Add a short description (max of 125 chars). It could be a description of yourself, your blog or a teaser to your latest post.
  5. Follow at least 1 linkyer/blogger (Be nice and spread the love).
  6. The list will be open for linkyers on Fridays (and for the foreigners Friday as well).
  7. A new and fresh link list will open every Friday. And you will have to link up AGAIN. The previous link list does not carry over to the following week.
  8. And lastly, have lotsa fun. I mean it. If I detect anyone not totally loving the awesomeness, I will bump you off the linky list. (Joking) (Kinda).
  9. Ripping off my stuff- including these rules- makes baby Jesus cry. If you are doing your own blog hop, please write your own rules. You know who you are.


rrsahm






 

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Indie Ink

I'm honored to be a featured writer at Indie Ink today.  I love that site.  They publish some beautiful stuff.

Also, please hold Lori and her family in your prayers.  My heart just dropped when I read her post this morning. I love you, babe. You are on my mind, constantly. I wish I could be there by your side right now, but know that I am with you in spirit. xo

* Edited *

Please note, there is now a paypal widget on the sidebar. Some of Lori's friends felt it would be helpful to collect funds for her right now. Her husband is the family breadwinner and she will need some help while he is in the hospital. I know their car is in for repairs at the moment, for instance. If you can throw a little money her way, I know it would be appreciated.

At this point we still don't have an update on his condition, only that he is gravely ill and in ICU.

Please know that Lori is unaware of the collection. She has only asked for our prayers.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

To have a voice

The other day I was clicking through websites, as I oft do when avoiding laundry or bill paying. I came across the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. You may have heard of it as Sharni Montgomery of Sharnanigans is doing a 5k run next week to raise money for this organization that empowers Afghan women to have a voice in the world.

There were a couple of women’s stories highlighted at the top. I clicked on one. As I began to read, I was pulled in by the sincerity and rawness of the writing and the desperation of the woman’s story. I continued, breathless, until the end. Then I read another, and another. I was gutted.

These were stories of women whose souls were slowly dying and they were fighting back, resisting the stranglehold of the Taliban culture that was pulling them under. Perhaps a father, who had always protected them and seen to their education, had died, and now a brother was selling them off to an illiterate farmer, a man twice their age who spat in the face of education. Some women talked of being abandoned by husbands. Of having babies taken away from them. Of being given impossible choices to make. The stories were all different, yet so much the same. Each one was about a woman without options, without power. I left some comments. Hello sister, I am half a world away, but I hear you.

The stories stayed with me long after I shut my computer and crawled into bed. They lingered for days, weeks. I couldn’t get these women out of my mind. I wanted to reach out to them and pull them to safety, to a life of opportunity and safe harbor where they would know what it is to finally exhale and sleep through the night. At the very least, I wanted them to know that their voices had been heard, that their stories, which they had risked so much to tell, had been felt deeply.

I know what it is to be the voice of taboo. To stand up and say those things which no one wants to hear. It takes a lot of courage to expose our dark stories. But at least when I talk about something like the pain and fear of domestic violence, I have the full weight of society behind me. We all agree that domestic violence is not okay. But can you imagine what it takes to write your dark story when that story defies your culture’s tradition? When even attaching your name to a post could put your life at risk? These women are nothing short of amazing.

But here's something else I know. To stand up amidst that pain and fear and the unknown repercussions and say, "I have a name and this is my story" is incredibly empowering. It can crack open the boundaries of the world you thought you knew and allow in new possibilities. To have a voice is life-altering.

Through the website I met other women who wanted to help them. I met Rupee who wrote a post trying to help one 23-year old Afghan girl escape a desperate situation. I learned that there are people and organizations that have stepped in to help some of these women and their families emigrate.  I also wrote the AWWP directly and asked what, specifically, they most needed. They wrote back, grateful, and full of suggestions.

Here’s how we can help:

Sponsor Sharni in her run on January 8th, 2011. Pledge now and pay after the run. She has raised over $3,000 so far. Let’s see if we can double it and get her up to $6,000. You can read about her run on the AWWP website. You can sponsor Sharni here. The AWWP also has a donation button on their website if you cannot contribute today, but wish to at a later time.

Comment on the Afghan women’s stories. Many of these women write in isolation and take great risk to get their work to the AWWP. When you comment, you let them know that their voice has been heard and that their story matters. I cannot stress how important this is. Virtual support can make a world of difference. Trust me, I know.

They need laptops for the writing hut in Kabul. Sharni has been trying to find a corporate sponsor to donate laptops. If you are a technology company or know of someone affiliated with one, please pass this post along to them.

Add your voice. AWWP is looking for people to host gatherings in their home in February to get the word out about the project. They are also formulating a blog strategy for bloggers who want to help support the project. You can sign up for their newsletter and/or contact lynnharris@earthlink [dot] net if you’d like to help.

Share this post. Probably the easiest thing to do is take a moment to share this post on Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon or another social media site where it might reach someone else who can help.

These women are our sisters. Whether we are American or Australian or Afghan, Christian or Muslim or Agnostic, what does it matter? We all experience the tragedy and the incomparable beauty of life. Our hearts beat the same, love the same, break the same. At night we lie down with the same quiet hopes for our future.

I believe that there is hope for these women and that their lives can be different. If enough of us believe that, imagine what might happen. xx



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