The Questions of Children

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My heart is heavy today after the conversations I was forced to have with the children I teach. I teach in a low-income, racially diverse elementary school just across the border to a large city. My students have various learning disabilities, but they are astute and curious about the world around them.

On Monday, we held a mock election and the children were very excited to be a part of the election hooplah. Many voted for one candidate or the other for childlike reasons…”She’s a girl”, “I like the boy”, “She has a blue jacket on and I like blue.” Others voted based on what they have heard their parents saying. A few voted their own conscience, against how they knew their parents were voting.

As always happens during an election year, my students ask me who I plan to vote for. Of course, I maintain neutrality and tell them that voting is a secret process and you do not need to share your vote with anyone. I never ask who they voted for. This year, their questioning was more insistent and had a greater purpose.

They were attempting to figure out what their place would be in Trump’s America. They were carefully watching the television and they were scared by what they saw. To a child, all of my students confided in me that they did not like Donald Trump and that he scared them. More

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Chicago Bound! (Probably!)

Well, Mr. OneWoman gave the financial go ahead to my Chicago trip.  Apparently there is indeed enough money in the bank to finance a short trip!  I am very excited to go see the Monument Quilt when it stops in Chicago next week.  I think it will be an extremely emotional trip, but one I need to take.

There is one very large snag in the plan. More

Panic in Unexpected Places

The delightful thing about PTSD, panic attacks, anxiety disorders, and the like, is how they can sneak up on you out of the blue and without warning.  It’s very unsporting of them.  One should be given a fair shake when trying to deal with one’s demons, I believe. Today was one of those days.  We awoke to a lovely blanket of snow.  It was light and fluffy, very pretty, and deceptively slippery.  Mr. OneWoman and I sighed and said, “Ugh, not more snow!”  But we brushed off the car and headed off to church like the troopers we are.  We’re used to this winter nonsense, even though this year has been particularly wintry. More

Triggers

triggers

(A special trigger warning applies to this post.  Please take care of yourself.)

Survivors speak a lot about triggers.  We use trigger warnings on everything we write, we say something triggered us, we apologize for triggering others.  Trigger is both a noun and a verb.  And triggers are the bane of our existence.  For those of you lucky enough not to know, a “trigger” is something that brings out our memories of the trauma that we went through.  It can be anything and it draws us back into the original traumatic experience.  A trigger can bring on a full-blown flashback, or it can just set off a series of emotional and physical responses.  Because they are so common an experience for survivors, I thought I would attempt to write a piece about my triggers to help others understand.

Triggers can be anything.  Seriously, anything.  A smell.  A sound.  A seemingly innocuous object.  A place.  An action.  A time of day.  Our friends and family are often baffled by our reactions to what appears to be “nothing” to them.  Whatever the trigger is, for some reason our mind associates it with our rape or our rapist.  When we are triggered, it is a very distressing experience.  This is why we post trigger warnings.   The last thing we want to do is cause our fellow survivors distress.  A rape survivor sees the warning and can judge for himself/herself whether they are feeling strong enough to read on.  It’s a “spoiler alert” of sorts. More

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