Becoming an Optimist…

15 Nov

It matters not how ideal our life may seem to others, or how we pretend all is well, we all encounter those days where nothing, and I mean nothing seem to go right, how do you cope?

I am learning day by day to just be! To be present, to be still, and to accept that no matter how hard I try there will be days where nothing goes according to plan. But, the off days are much easier to handle than an off week or two.

My current situation: I have been mostly immobile  for over two weeks due to an unfamiliar health issue. Living with a chronic illness such as sickle cell anemia it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when the body starts acting up or you experience new symptoms. After all, Sickle Cell Anemia affects EVERY area of your body, no part of the body is exempt, from your brain to your toe nails.

These new symptoms however startled me. Dizziness, I have experienced dizziness before because I struggle with abnormally low blood pressure but, this, this is different. Imagine being so dizzy that the very ground beneath you moves, the roof above you spins rapidly and you cannot maintain a steady balance. The only thing I can possible equate this experience to; as a child my very first trip to the amusement park I was so excited to ride the rides but found out half way into the ride I had horrible motion sickness, not only did I barf but I lost all sense of gravity. (That damn fling-mi-dash at Hope Gardens, Jamaica)

I was recently asked, “Aren’t you use to this by now?!” To which I sarcastically grinned and replied as calmly as I possibly could “Can one ever get use to being sick?!” Normally I would freak, stressing about being confined to a bed, which would only result in a worsened crisis that would end with me being in the place I hate most (the hospital) but, as much as I hate this, and it’s really starting to annoy me, I am choosing to take it all in strides believing that this too shall pass, that everything happens for a reason and all things work together for the good! From a pessimistic belief to optimism, ha, it feels better this way!

This is how I cope, I talk to myself! I’m not crazy (well, maybe a little) but, my current self talk: Well Larissa, It’s been almost three weeks, it’s about time you get back on your feet. They’re places to go, things to do and people to see and being in bed is just not working for me! This bout of illness has just about run its course, I’m so over this now whatever the source. Regardless of what the doctor says child you never listen, you are not about to start now by giving in. So with the dawn of the new day, you’re going to get up comes what may, if you stagger, if you stumble and even if you fall, you’ll simply get back up and try again, cause girl you’re a survivor above all. With that said, I await daybreak.

 

SETBACKS…

8 Nov

Consistency have always been a major issue for me, I struggle in this area not because I’m lackadaisical or lazy (though sometimes I am), but simply because my life have been a series of leaps and bounds and setbacks. This isn’t mental (though in some cases it is) this is simply because there’s a major factor at play and that is, living with a chronic disease. I make no excuses, I do what I have to do, working as hard as I possible can when I’m well, then, they’re those days when…

The pass few weeks have been a perfect example of experiencing highs, then accepting the lows. I’ve accomplished a great deal within the pass few months but in the midst of executing, prepping and planning there is another major part of my life I must contend with, living with Sickle Cell Anemia. Much like being tight lipped about being sexually abused as a child, this other part of my life I NEVER speak about openly, until now!

Living with a chronic disease such as SCA is debilitating to say the least. The good days are great but, on the days when every part of your body aches, your energy is gone and you struggle to even take a breath, it’s bad! To avoid the questions, the stares, the pity glances the insensitive and sometimes crude comments, I seldom speak about living with this disease. Outside of my family, a few close friends and my medical team only a very selective few knows how challenging a plight surviving with this disease has been.

However, like everything else in my life it’s about acceptance, realistically speaking I’m living with this thing that sometimes renders me immobile for days, at times weeks! I used to be so bummed about this and if I’m to be honest, ashamed. Yes, I use to be ashamed of being sick… My name is Larissa H. Rhone I have sickle cell anemia, sickle cell anemia does NOT have me… We speak from here on out.

We Need More Voices!

25 Oct

Over the course of the last 10 months I’ve had this recurring experience, each and every time I open my mouth and speak about Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) regardless of where I am and to whom I am speaking, I find that individual or person’s I’m addressing have experience this ordeal or, they know someone that have had the experience. I have seen and have read the stats, and I must admit I am left questioning the approximation of the (one in every three (3) girls and one in every six (6) boys figure). I happen to know that the stat’s recorded is that of reported cases, which leaves me dumbfounded and truly afraid, questioning what is the actual figure?! How many of US are their really?! How many of US have actually experienced this evil AND how many more will their be?!

More light is being shed on this topic in recent years HOWEVER, much more NEEDS to be done! CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE ALTERS AND YES, RUINS LIVES!!!

In the underdeveloped mind of a child their sense of wonder and optimisms is interrupted, trust is broken, curiosity altered and everything that was once beautiful, innocent and a mystery is now mystified and fuddled. Behaviors that follow often perplex others. A  child that has been sexually violated will NEVER be the same! A shift happens in their brain and the act of betrayal permeates every fiber of their being. Studies show that victims of Child Sexual Abuse displays one or more of these harmful symptoms, symptoms such as:

Depression

Addiction

Suicide

Homicide

Psychosis

Intimacy

Dissociation

Trust Issues

Promiscuity

Self Mutilation

Self Esteem Issues

Anxiety/Panic Attacks

Sexual Dysfunction

Anti-social Personality

Sexual Identity Disorder

Withdrawals and the list goes on…

Many of these symptoms manifest during adulthood and many symptoms go undetected for years. For far too long Child Sexual Abuse have remained the most taboo topic. Many still struggle to SPEAK or have a basic discussion, yet, it’s still happening at an alarming rate! Why?! Victims struggle to speak, because (relying on the stats) it’s reported that 93% YES 93% of victims know their abuser. Therefore, it causes US victims to remain mute, ashamed and afraid because God forbid someone finds out my father, mother, grand-pappy, uncle, aunty, pastor, coach, teacher, brother, sister, cousin raped or sexually violated me, oh the horror, the judgement, what will the world think of me and how will I be viewed? The truth is, these predators strive of our silence, oh yes!  Our not speaking enables and emboldens the perp. I heard it said that SILENCE IS A PREDATORS BEST FRIEND, and this proved true not only in my case, but almost in every case!

In my life I have dealt with and experience ‘several‘ of these symptoms. I will be sharing my personal experience with some of these symptoms in hopes others will be able to relate and identify. But, in the meantime I encourage, in fact I implore victims and survivors alike, ‘Be emboldened and let’s start speaking out!‘ Our life, our children’s life depends on it! Being sexually violated is NOT your shame!

Let’s Reassign The Shame and focus on saving another from having to live with the torment! From my heart to yours… Journey 2 Free.

 

FICKLED

12 Oct

Until you CHANGE your thinking, you will always recycle your experiences. (anonymous)

On the days you feel most alone, those days you’re surrounded by many yet entrapped within the walls of your solitary existence are the days the repetitive acts of betrayal resurfaces forcing withdraw and isolation. Those days when emotions run wild, feeling, believing, convincing self (they) everyone, no-one can be trusted! We retreat, we fall back, retiring to that place where we feel most safe even if it’s only in our heads.

There is no time frame given on how long (we) the overcoming survivors of child sexual abuse may require to be in this head space, that space where no-one is allowed. We break down, try to process and make sense of the chaos around. It’s a secure place to be, where nothing or no-one from the outside world can infiltrate or permeate or thoughts our thinking because we look at everything and everyone sideways, everyone is a suspect just wanting, waiting, seeking that which they may devour.

Those moments when the memories emerges and self-pity dangerously toys with taking up familiar course, it’s usual residence. When anger starts to rise with seething disdain and distrust and the feeling of being robbed of your innocence and pride dances recklessly a little too close to that place where tainted belief of self resides and the not good enough anthem starts to sound the alarm.

It’s a very thin line between sanity and insanity!

A victim of child sexual abuse would know this. Everyday is a constant struggle, a mental struggle of how to act, think or feel. Do we remain in a state of victimhood? Do we continue to not trust and look at everyone wide eyed? Do we do the infamous neck pulled back (yeah right smirk) to every questionable promise or comment made? Do we let our guards down? The questions are endless…

For some of us it gets tiring! Frustration takes hold, the constant back and forth in our heads. It’s unsettling not knowing who to trust, having no confidence in our self or our abilities. Uncertain when to release, questioning, replaying, rethinking ever choice, ever decision, the internal dialogue and obsessive chit chatter never ends UNTIL, UNTIL we decide to make a change (whoosaaaah) ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

A child sexually abused that was silenced and never afforded the help or opportunity to heal now an adult would attest to the fact that there is a thin line between sanity and insanity or at least that is how I strongly feel!

 

DON’T SPEAK!

24 Sep

Each time I hear the question asked “why can’t you just get over it!” I cringe, yes my stomach churns, these three words  ‘get over it! triggers a less than pleasant response.

I’ve garnered support and established new friendships with a few ladies I will respectably refer to as ‘age-ables’, and though our chance meetings may be summed up as bittersweet, I cherish every moment I spend in their presence and cling to their every word. Our stories is what binds us, the familiarity of our ugly truths, a common theme PAIN. The pain of being taken advantaged of as little girls now adults, ‘adulting’ from a place of brokeness. These women are well into their sixties (60’s) and still carry with them the ghost of what could have been, the ash of what should have been and the stagnant remnants of a past experience that never truly decays. Forced to lock away, to hide, to suppress memories while unknowingly hiding, suppressing, loosing themselves and everything else in the process. Sixties (60’s) and still struggling, some still barely surviving, still not knowing who they are at their core, some still unable to shake off or break free the invisible restraints of family secrets and shame, yet, are still being expected and asked (why can’t you get over it?!). With each exchange, with every shared detail I’m privy to, in the voices I hear a longing, coupled with deep sadness yet masked as full fledged, totally capable, well put together and competent functioning beings. When will we get over it?! When the game playing and hypocrisy cease!

A child that has been sexually abused grows into an adult that have been sexually abused. Trapped beneath the surface is a tortured soul. A soul that is disconnected, a soul that’s in search and in need of being whole. We learn to disconnect, separating mind and body. Like functioning alcoholics we compartmentalize separating body from our feelings and are fully capable of playing the roles, meeting our demands, our responsibilities, being everything to everyone at all times with little or no regard to self and what it is WE (the tortured souls) actually needs.

When will YOU see, know or understand, there is a loss that is experienced when sexually abused as a child?! Loss of power, loss of pride, loss of dignity, a loss of truth and a true sense of who you really are, loosing an identity before even having the chance or ability to develop or create one.

I’ve become accustom to the callous, uncaring and insensitive remarks of those that have not had the experience and chooses to be closed minded, even worst are those that have had the experience but lack empathy, is void of compassion and struggles with sincerity these are the same folks that say ‘I understand but’… A victim of child sexual abuse doesn’t seek to be pitied, and unless you’ve been there we truly don’t expect you to understand! However, If you insist on asking questions from a from a place of judgement and misguidedness do us ALL a favor, DON’T SPEAK!

While on this journey of navigating unfamiliar paths and charting new courses, I honestly thought time would have healed the wounds and it will, but they cut deep!  Being made aware by the ageables that though ‘scars may appear faded on the surface they are permanently tattooed on the soul’. Some are fortunate to have received needed help, others like myself are on their way to healing while others remain loss and unfortunately will never find their way. Most painful of all, are those that have gone back to the earth with the secrets, never having the opportunity of being free. It all hurts and one things for certain, it NEVER goes away, You NEVER forget and for DAMN SURE it’s not something YOU JUST GET OVER!!! 

Yes, healing is possible but it is constant, the pursuit is never ending, the process is daunting and tedious and it takes loads of work! While on this journey… From my heart to yours…

To be continued…

 

 

Pained

23 Sep
“A life lived in constant pain, suppressing hurts and misinterpreted shame is no life lived at all!” (LHR)
 
I hurt for you! I cry for you! My heart breaks and bleeds for you!
 
I wonder, how many people have died taking with them secrets that drove them to an early grave? Secrets that weren’t theirs to even keep and if only those secrets were revealed they would still be here… Freed!
 
I hurt for you! I cry for you! My heart breaks and bleeds for you!
 
My heart is heavy…

My First Born… I prayed…

20 Sep

         OH I PRAYED FOR YOU! 
At a point where I was lost and loosing hope, I prayed for you, I needed an anchor, something secure to hold on to, unbeknownst to many, preparing mentally to bid the world adieu but God knowing my thoughts, foreseeing intent granted my hearts desire, He gave me you. Hope was restored, faith was renewed but truth is my darling, I’m afraid I don’t have what it takes to be a mother to you!

I am broken, I’m defective, I’m scared and oh so scattered, You, You are beautiful, you’re sweet, you’d remain perfect if my loving you was all that mattered. Undefiled, brilliant, you’re curious and loves unsparingly no bars hold, but mommy worries that fear and residual pain is the mold conflicting her mind, body and soul. You are kind, well intentioned and equipped with a gentle heart and I your mother who’s life was fragmented bears battle scars and deep seated wounds of woes I could not have prevented. I stay in constant prayer for you, praying my crazy doesn’t rub off on you. Oh, my sweet baby, my darling child, you’re simply one of a kind, possessing a forgiving and caring mind. A mind that deserve to be nurtured, developed, set ablaze severing the cords of dysfunction with which I was raised. 

Jhayden-Ateir I ask your forgiveness early, I humbly request that you be patient with your mommy. I’m sometimes moody, often impatient and at times act less than kind but baby I promise it has nothing to do with you, I was defected and short fused from a child. My dysfunction spans generation and I’ll be damned if it’s passed on, so son, though young, I promise I’ll make it better for me, for you and your baby brother. You both forced me to challenge self now we, the older and younger me stands at the junction, in an attempt to rid ourselves of the internalized destruction attained from a childhood robbed, but now defiantly seeks to create a shift and make your voices the voice of a more informed and empowered generation.

 Jhayden, my promise is guaranteed, I’ll fight always to be the best version of me and time, only time will tell baby if I succeed. Jhayden I am truly afraid, frankly I am shit scared, don’t want you resenting your mother for being flawed, imperfect, blemished or impaired. I promise my child, I am willing to put in the work of fixing me, I promise I’ll remain honest as possible, as honest as can be, refusing to pass on jaded fallacies. Again, I ask my darling boy, please be patient with me, rest assured mommy loves you beyond explanation this is true, and I am ever so grateful to God for meeting you. 

Thank you my child for the lessons you teach, lessons far beyond what I could have foreknown or even foreseen. My baby, my inspiration, one half of a miracle, my saving grace, I speak the blessings of God over you, trusting His spirit of excellence indwells you and His goodness continuously reflects on your face. God, all this and more before You I bare, desperately seeking to relinquish ALL my fears and with that assured confidence declare sincerely I love you JHAYDEN -ATEIR! 

HAPPY 7th BIRTHDAY my prince!! I promise to love you for all eternity baby… We’ll be ok!

Grateful…

15 Sep

When you just have to drop an impromptu testimony…
God I’m so grateful… I have journeyed a far way… Thankful…

Journey with me…
https://journey2free.com
https://www.facebook.com/Journey2Free/
https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/110088415741561503460/110088415741561503460

https://www.instagram.com/rhone.rizzy/

I STILL STRUGGLE…

6 Sep

“I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be.” – Joyce Meyer

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines Self-Esteem as having respect for yourself and your abilities. The definition of Respect a feeling of admiring someone or something that is good, valuable, important etc, or feeling or understanding that someone or something important, serious and should be treated in an appropriate way…

Hmmmm, well, well! I knew prior to my Journeying2Free that I had major self-esteem issues, I masked it well, or so I thought! The last few months have been challenging, on one hand I’m amazed at how far I have come while acknowledging how much farther I have to go. Since January of this year, I have had numerous opportunities to speak to adults and children alike and with each opportunity the feeling of inadequacy emerges before the first word spoken or the first crack in my voice. The “Who, do you think you are?” The “no-one cares about what you have to say!” The “what qualifies you to speak to anyone? questions. I sometimes feel like an unqualified fraud, nevertheless, I know my story, I know my truth, and on truth I can securely stand because it’s my experience, lived and experienced by only me, however, I struggle…

Journeying to mental freedom I have discovered so much about myself, being able to ascertain truths about who you are can at times be pleasantly pleasing while other times the realization leaves you in a bemused state of mind. Being mentally and emotionally abandoned after being sexually abuse, you learns the negatives. Negative self-talk – when a person speaks, thinks and believes every thing negative relating to themselves. When a child is not supported, loved, protected, encouraged, reassured and/or worst forced to carry shame for the actions of another, the negative self talk begins. The negativity stems from lack of belief in self, doubting ones abilities, feeling inadequate, feeling worthless, feeling void of value and undeserving of good things. I felt this way for many years! Truth is, I still struggle… 

On three separate occasion this was evident. Thursday, July 27th, I was asked to facilitate an overnight retreat, I’m unsure as to if my nervousness was evident to others but I was so frayed, not only did I over-pack for an over night trip, but I questioned my abilities every step of the way! I worked myself up into such a frenzy that when it came time to present, I was mentally and emotionally wired. The first realization came when I boarded the bus along with 30 girls to Kingston. I was one of two facilitators on the bus, a bus I didn’t have to be on, but choose to ride in supporting the very young girls onboard. I was the only person that should up with a suitcase! The girls all had overnight bags and rightfully so being it was an overnight trip! In the morning I awoke to get dressed for the days event and while going through a fully packed suitcase, not finding anything to wear, It was only then I realized my being in such a frenzy had very little to do with the day’s event and everything to do with the fact ‘I am still not that comfortable in my own skin!’ I caught a glimpse of my self in the mirror, looked myself square in the eyes and uttered “child you are who you are, you look the way you look pimples and all and It doesn’t matter how you dress it up or try to cover it over with makeup  you are who you are and it is what it is!” In that moment having changed a couple times I did the Jamaican “kiss teeth” a sign of frustration, I threw on something and finally went out the door. I had an AMAZING day!

On Saturday, July 29th, I had my 22nd High School reunion. I intentionally planned on being late. I was asked only days prior to pray the opening prayer and immediately after being asked the anxiety began. I pray but apparently I had an issue with praying publicly, my nerves got the better of me. I ended up being late (Guess I really spoke that into existence!) My sitter got out of work late, I had no choice.  The venue was beautifully decorated, my schoolmates/classmates were looking oh so stunning, now being as late as I was my nerves ran wild. I grabbed the closest seat I could and sat down feeling so uncomfortable and out of place. After allowing my nerves and the voices in my head to run a mock for a while, good sense prevailed, I silently shouted at the voices inside my head to ‘shut up’ I mustered the courage and chimed back “Larissa (Rizzy) Rhone get off your ass, walk around those tables and greet everyone’!  I made a move, my nerves were shot and the voices inside my head screamed louder “ you better sit your skinny, ill-shaped ass down and not draw any attention to yourself!” I stopped, I was tempted to listen, however, I hugged the first person in my reach, then the next, then the next, until I greeted everyone nerves and all. When it came time for dancing the voices resurfaced, once again, I did the infamous Jamaican (suck teeth) and decided, It’s been a long month all work, no play, my children are safe, and that wasn’t about to change tonight, I broke loose, believing , so what if I’m judged, I deserved this moment right ‘ere’ and I enjoyed myself mingling, co-mingling, chatting and dancing the night away with my some old schoolmates, classmates, friends, associates, and friends of friends, even if some were just friends only on my head. I had an AMAZING evening!

Sunday, July 30th the mecca of tests. Placed in an uncomfortable situation where I alone made that decision to place myself. The voices inside my head screamed at this point. ‘What the hell are you doing Larissa!” It was one of those situation where you know better, but for whatever reason you decide to go with the flow, then reality hits. I know I deserve so much better and I should not have to settle for less but in a moment, in that moment, a moment of weakness, a moment of wanting to be loved, needed and accepted just the way you are… in that fugacious, fleeting, momentary, short-lived, passing phase I  could have and had placed me in a situation that I must have been only relying on one side of my brain, the not so rational part. Here again, I had to quiet the voices, I had to allow the rationale part of my brain to be dominant in ruling. I whispered (and yes, I do talk to myself) “Larissa (Rizzy) Rhone, it’s completely ok to feel vulnerable, to want  to be wanted, to feel like you are needed, to desire to be loved, but not at the expense of over stepping bounds you may not be able to come back from kid!”. I stepped back into the here and now, I was engaged and fully aware, being fully present I walked away from that situation feeling empowered and encouraged with my pride and dignity in-tact, knowing I did not come this far only to throw it all away for… It was an AMAZING night!

I am so tired of putting/placing the wants and needs of others before my own, sometimes at the expense of my own safety/sanity (something learned and imbedded from childhood as a result of being asked repeatedly to put my needs and feelings aside to accommodate everyone else’s) When a child is asked and expected to make compromises and accommodations for the adults, instead of the other way around they are taught and learn that their feelings, their needs and their desires takes a back seat to the needs, desires and wants of others. Again I say, ‘it’s ok to have and experience all these emotions, It’s ok to fall short, it’s ok to make mistakes and horrible emotion based decisions but you also have a duty to see these for what they are and rise above it all! Too many of us allow vulnerability and negative self-talk to override good judgement. Free will not happen overnight hence the journey, but as long as I/you remain open, honest and maintain an attitude of growth no matter how difficult or uncomfortable ‘you/I will be just fine!’ So, with a heart that’s not fully intact, being emotionally wired and mentally frayed it’s ok, Get up, Show up and get on with the rest of your life! I still struggle… BUT

Discovering, NO, knowing I have self-esteem issues I MUST continue on this path. I am fully aware of my lack of self-love prior to this journey nonetheless, I have been working on MYSELF and Yes, I Still Struggle in a few areas. I Still Struggle with acceptance, accepting and loving me, my gifts, my talents, my abilities… I know and now believe I am priceless in worth and pray my actions reflects that. I have come a LONG way and for that I am proud! For after all, I can truly say “I’m not where I want to be but I surely I am not where I use to be. I AM working on ME.

SPEAK!!! 

5 Sep

I wonder who thought it was a good idea to force a CHILD into covering the fact they’re being sexually abused?!! 

How could anyone think a CHILD harboring such a secret, carrying that pain and worst the shame of an adult breeching trust barriers would result in a CHILD being unscathed mentally and emotionally?! 

I wonder where the notion came from that having sex, fondling, fingering (as the children in Jamaica refer to it) a CHILD would be okay?!!

I wonder WHY so MANY of us STILL believe it’s our shame to carry when it was an ADULT that sexually violated and HARMED us?!!

It’s time WE (those of us that were taken advantage of) Reassign The Shame to the rightful owners… 

We MUST change our thinking and our beliefs in order to get to free! 

We MUST know WE did NOTHING wrong and it WASN’T our FAULT that WE were entrusted to the care of a child molester/abuser…

We MUST understand that in order to create change, to bring about awareness, to empower, to heal, WE MUST be willing to SPEAK!!! 

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE RUIN LIVES!!! 

HELP YOURSELF! HELP A CHILD!! SAVE A LIFE!!! 

                         SPEAK!!!

#J2F #journey2free #CSA #Speak #children #savealife #Help