Former teacher facing indecent treatment trial

One of BBC’s previous Staff (Nick Lloyd) today began being confronted by Court Charges. The Courier Mail had published this Article, which we hope to re-publish ASAP. The dramatic boosts in our recent Visitors had indicated searches for “Nick Lloyd” & various other BBC Teachers. These Stats should be included in future eNews.

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Sudden surge in Blog visitors!

While we are quietly confident at some reasons for the sudden jump to around 600 visitors, each & everyone of you are welcome to ask any questions, post any comments & piece together how you may want your location layer out.

We are planning an update to this site, in the near future. Your rapid visit, may be the motivation needed!

16 ‘Hidden’ Habits of People Who Experienced Child Abuse | The Mighty

Juliette Virzi  •  FollowOctober 31, 2018

It has been said that “no one escapes childhood unscathed.” But sayings like these can have an especially significant meaning for a person who was abused as a child. Unfortunately the effects of childhood abuse don’t usually stay confined to childhood — they often reach into our experience of adulthood.

Maybe your experience growing up with abuse left you with a steady internal monologue of not good enough, not good enough, not good enough whenever you try to accomplish a task. Maybe the only way you can fall asleep is if you rock yourself to sleep — literally rocking back and forth on your bed. Or maybe you experience intense internal shame that no one sees behind the smile you plaster on your face every day.

We wanted to know what “hidden” habits people who were abused as kids have now as adults, so we asked our Mighty community to share their experiences with us.

No matter what your experience of childhood abuse was, it is important to remember you are never alone and there is help available. If you need support right now, reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

Here’s what our community had to say:

1. Rocking Back and Forth Before Going to Sleep

“I rock myself back and forth to sleep every night. I can’t stop myself from doing it unless I concentrate really hard.” — Vade M.

“I sleep in [the] fetal position every night. I rock back and forth when I get too emotional. I run at any sign of yelling or raising of the voice. When someone cusses at me, I get defensive and angry.” — Leo G.

2. Hiding Food

“I hide food. It sounds ridiculous but I have random stashes of canned food spread throughout my house in the most ridiculous places. I always got shamed for being hungry and fighting for food was commonplace in my house because my parents thought a dinner meant for two people could feed their two growing kids as well as themselves. If I didn’t get much dinner to eat then, ‘Oh well, better luck next time.’ So when I got a little older, I got smarter about stockpiling cans of tuna and soup to eat with the money I made from walking other people’s dogs. It wasn’t too bad then, but it’s still prevalent in my life 14 years later whenever I go grocery shopping.” — Ai L.

3. Engaging in Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors

“Biting and chewing at the inside of my cheek until it bleeds. I’ve also developed a bad habit of picking until I create holes in my feet.” — Patience A.

“I shake my leg and/or fidget with my skin, sometimes causing small sores.” — Princess K.

4. Carrying a “Grounding” Object

“I carry a special pillowcase with me wherever I go. It’s my security blanket. I can’t go anywhere without it. I will play with seams with it in my purse and it’s weird that my hand hangs out in my purse all the time but it’s how I handle my anxiety and my flashbacks and just life.” — Kimberly L.

5. Always Having a Secret “Escape Plan”

“I have a really hard time with people walking up behind me. I always have to have an escape plan, and I hate being cornered or my movement restricted in any way. I was chased and cornered a lot as a child, so it’s very triggering. I also struggle with physical contact, especially when I don’t initiate it.” — Shalene R.

“I always know where every exit and possible hiding place is in a room. It’s the first thing I look for in a new place.” — Jenn S.

6. Having Imaginary Friends

“I’m 37 years old with six imaginary friends. One is a comforting mother to me, and three are parts of little girl me at different traumas in my life that I comfort, as if someone was comforting me during those traumas.” — T B.

7. Not Eating Around Others

“Not eating much when I’m around people, then sneaking and stealing food later. One parent was lenient with what I ate so the other one made up for it by trying to ‘keep me healthy.’ Doesn’t help that the first one was always trying to lose weight and not hiding it.” — Sadie B.

8. Sleeping With a Flashlight

“I sleep with a flashlight always on my bed or constantly in reach of my bed ( so I can see what’s coming if I hear any noise or footsteps). I’ve been doing this since I was 3 years old and never felt safe.” — Linda C.

9. Lying

“I was taught as a child to lie. I was forced to lie to cover my abuser, I was forced to lie by my mother to cover the fact that she didn’t protect me, I was forced to lie by my school system because they didn’t zero in on the fact I was being signed out by my abuser once a week so he could abuse me on his schedule. As an adult, I feel compelled to lie to protect people I shouldn’t have to. It’s an everlasting revolving door.” — Jammie G.

10. Having a Complicated Relationship With Sex

“I started to believe I was only an object. I let people use me because I thought that was what I was supposed to do — especially men. I felt I was supposed to have sex when they wanted to, not when I was ready.” — Maria M.

“I get shameful and feel dirty if I enjoy sex.” — Debbie C.

“[I] couldn’t say no to sexually pleasing others, even if I didn’t want it.” — Miranda D.

11. Feeling Responsible for Other People’s Feelings

“I often feel responsible for how other people feel. I feel guilty when others feel bad, even when the situation has nothing to do with me. I sacrifice my own needs in order to make others feel good.” — Kaitlyn L.

“I feel responsible for other’s feelings and their state in life. Like it’s my responsibility alone to make sure their bills are paid etc. I also adopt animals, and most recently learned that it’s probably because animals don’t withhold affection when they are ‘upset’ with you.” — Summer S.

12. Being Unable to Fully Relax

“I am hyper-aware of my surroundings and find it hard to relax and just be. Sometimes I find myself in a fight-or-flight mode, even if I know I’m safe.” — Anthea V.

13. Never Asking for Help

“I’m too afraid to tell people what’s wrong or ask for help. The first time I went to my mother about an issue (I was being bullied in school), she told me to deal with it myself. As a result, I’ve just allowed things to build up because I’m so afraid I’ll be rejected, that I may as well keep it to myself.” — Veronica S.

14. Being Hypervigilant

“I’m hypervigilant. Physical touch isn’t something I do easily, [and I’m] always looking for exits. I size people up, look for physical vulnerability, [have] strong boundaries [and] over-protect my children. That translates to an overly ‘hermitty’ existence, but I’m not complaining.” —Yoli T.

“Hypervigilance 24/7. It’s helped in some of the jobs I’ve had where you need to be on alert, to mask the true source of my hypervigilance. Being overwhelmed and exhausted and needing time to recharge my batteries after going out with friends. I love to be around people, like going to concerts and stuff, but it takes a few days for me to recover from the sensory overload. Insomnia I’ve learned to just accept is part of my life now.” — Jason T.

15. Pushing People Away

“I push people away when they get close to me. I push people away when I get in fights with people. I am reactive. Negative self-talk. I feel guilty a lot.” — Ryan C.

16. Reminding Yourself You Deserve to Live

“When I’m alone I tell myself I deserve to live, that I deserve to be happy. It’s a struggle every day. I still have suicidal thoughts sometimes, but thankfully I have the most supportive group of people around me who love me. Without them I don’t know where I would be.” — Ginna B.

RETRIEVED https://themighty.com/2018/10/hidden-habits-child-abuse/

Knight only Public Predator?!

Resulting from Public Information available, there is great reluctance to have some of the Core recommendations of the CARC Final Report actioned (put into effect). From the Final Report’s Preface, the following topic grabbed many Survivours’ attention: ‘Why have some institutions not protected children?‘ Of particular interest is that some of these situations continue”:

I have never really been able to come to terms with was the part society played – or didn’t play, I guess, being the point.
Face Screaming in Fear

All institutions should prevent, identify and mitigate risks. An appropriate response should also be made, whenever CSA occurs. Thankfully, BBC’s PMSA is among the schools that have clearly outlined stages and processes, whenever anything occurs involving current students (Policies & Strategies). Of particular relevance is the PMSA Historical Abuse Redress Policy, which relates to official stages including (Procedure; Report and resolution; and Care strategy).

Blurred logo

A PDF of the latest PMSA Historical Abuse Redress Policyis available from https://www.pmsa-schools.edu.au/library/files/PMSA%20Historical%20Abuse%20Redress%20Policy%281%29.pdf

Under current Qld Laws, CSA Survivours may be limited to not being able to mention the monetary figures of Private Damages Claims, yet they are able to simply help others by letting them know they are not alone!

Kasurs child sex abuse victims struggle to rebuild their lives

Sound familiar? Great to read on of another’s coping with CSA!



HUSSAIN WALA: “I don’t regret speaking out, but since then, people have looked at me with strange eyes,” laments a 16-year-old Ahmed*.

He was one of 20 children sexually abused by a gang who sold videos of the acts and used them for blackmail purposes.

The police, who had conspicuously failed to act despite pleas from some parents, eventually arrested 37 men after clashes between relatives and authorities brought the issue into the media spotlight last summer, years after the abuse began.

Six months after one of the country’s biggest paedophilia abuse case broke, police now confirm 17 of the accused remain in prison awaiting trial, while three more are out on bail.

Read: Kasur child molestation case baseless, says inquiry report

This photograph taken on November 20, 2015, shows Hussain Khan Wala village in Punjab province, the scene of one of Pakistan’s worst child abuse cases. — AFP

But the young victims who defied taboos to seek justice say they have little hope for rebuilding their lives.

In recent years, more and more families in Pakistan have dared to speak out against sexual abuse of their children.

But the fight against predators remains in its infancy. 

Powerful taboos, gaps in legislation and a lack of awareness continue to fuel a phenomenon that remains hidden, yet deeply embedded within society.

Media glare

Ahmed drags his feet listlessly in the narrow winding streets of Hussain Khan Wala, a large village in rural Punjab. 

Like the other abused teens, he feels stigmatised and without any kind of support after five years of abuse.

“I feel terrible when my friends stare at me. I know what they are thinking,” he mutters. “My classmates and teachers look down on me, so I stopped going to school.”

Also read: Kasur sex abuse ─ ‘I thought of killing myself everyday’

Though the case finally made it to the national news media in July, the local police were found to have turned a blind eye to the crimes for several months “which amounts not only to criminal negligence, rather it was connivance”, according to a report by the National Commission for Human Rights.

Several of the accused belong to locally influential families.

It took a series of clashes between the victims’ families and police, in which dozens were injured, for politicians to act and demand arrests.

The families and victims were then served up to the media, with some local leaders placing the number of abused children at 280 — though that figure is believed to have been inflated as a result of attempts to leverage the tragedy for business and political gain.

Explore: Kasur child abuse case ‘not organised crime’

Authorities established that 20 youths were raped and sodomised, the only two sex crimes recognised under Pakistani law.

The country’s penal code does not prohibit sexual abuse that does not involve penetration, nor child pornography.

“This case shows there are no institutional structures to tackle sexual abuse or to protect children,” says Valerie Khan, the director of Group Development Pakistan, a local NGO which advocates legal reforms.

A law criminalising sexual abuse of children is currently being debated by Pakistan’s Senate.

These reforms are all the more urgent given the growing number of cases being reported, according to child rights’ group Sahil, which records statistics based on press reports in the absence of official data.

The group recorded fewer than 2,000 cases in 2008, but more than 3,500 in 2014, a rise it said “reflects an increase in social awareness of the problem”.

Post-Kasur: This project helps people break silence over child sexual abuse

Veteran human rights activist Hina Jilani said that while increased reporting was welcome, cases must be handled sensitively — noting that activists, judges and police were not trained in how to question child victims.

Another obstacle to greater reporting of crimes are the families themselves, who are often reluctant to intervene when they feel their “honour” is at stake, according to Jilani.

‘They should be sent away’

Eighteen-year-old Sara* says it was unreported childhood abuse, and the subsequent loss of her honour that drove her toward prostitution.

Forced to abandon her studies to work following the death of her father at the age of 16, she found herself at the mercy of an employer who she says raped her.

“If I would tell my family, they would not go to the police station,” says the frail young woman, because of the shame it would bring.

Read: Accused says children abused in his presence

It was difficult for her to make her complaint herself because “there (are) no lady police” at the station, she said, and she quit her job fearing more attacks.

Having lost her sense of worth, she turned to an intermediary at a beauty salon who guided her toward prostitution, which she now uses to support her family.

Wearing light make-up and modern but modest clothing, she has all the airs of a carefree high-schooler — apart from the fact she walks the streets alone at night.

Back in Hussain Khan Wala, the parents of abused children are waiting for the government to help them rebuild their lives anew elsewhere.

Hasan*, a labourer whose 17 year old son was among those abused, said “(They) should be sent to Islamabad or abroad because they can not study here, you must remove them from the atmosphere.”

─ *Names have been changed to protect identities of victims.

RETRIEVED https://www.dawn.com/news/1233985

The Secret Jehovah’s Witness Database of Child Molesters – The Atlantic

In what is becoming all- too-often a common thread, here’s Jehovah’s Witness (hidden) darkside:


PHOTOGRAPHY BY LEXEY SWALL

A former Jehovah’s Witness is using stolen documents to expose allegations that the religion has kept hidden for decades.

In March 1997, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the nonprofit organization that oversees the Jehovah’s Witnesses, sent a letter to each of its 10,883 U.S. congregations, and to many more congregations worldwide. The organization was concerned about the legal risk posed by possible child molesters within its ranks. The letter laid out instructions on how to deal with a known predator: Write a detailed report answering 12 questions—Was this a onetime occurrence, or did the accused have a history of child molestation? How is the accused viewed within the community? Does anyone else know about the abuse?—and mail it to Watchtower’s headquarters in a special blue envelope. Keep a copy of the report in your congregation’s confidential file, the instructions continued, and do not share it with anyone.

Thus did the Jehovah’s Witnesses build what might be the world’s largest database of undocumented child molesters: at least two decades’ worth of names and addresses—likely numbering in the tens of thousands—and detailed acts of alleged abuse, most of which have never been shared with law enforcement, all scanned and searchable in a Microsoft SharePoint file. In recent decades, much of the world’s attention to allegations of abuse has focused on the Catholic Church and other religious groups. Less notice has been paid to the abuse among the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian sect with more than 8.5 million members. Yet all this time, Watchtower has refused to comply with multiple court orders to release the information contained in its database and has paid millions of dollars over the years to keep it secret, even from the survivors whose stories are contained within.

That effort has been remarkably successful—until recently.

A white Priority Mail box filled with manila envelopes sits on the floor of Mark O’Donnell’s wood-paneled home office, on the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland. Mark, 51, is the owner of an exercise-equipment repair business and a longtime Jehovah’s Witness who quietly left the religion in late 2013. Soon after, he became known to ex–Jehovah’s Witnesses as John Redwood, an activist and a blogger who reports on the various controversies, including cases of child abuse, surrounding Watchtower. (Recently, he has begun using his own name.)

When I first met Mark, in May of last year, he appeared at the front door of his modest home in the same outfit he nearly always wears: khaki cargo shorts, a short-sleeved shirt, white sneakers, and sweat socks pulled up over his calves. He invited me into his densely furnished office, where a fan barely dispelled the wafting smell of cat food. He pulled an envelope from the Priority Mail box and passed me its contents, a mixture of typed and handwritten letters discussing various sins allegedly committed by members of a Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Massachusetts. All the letters in the box had been stolen by an anonymous source inside the religion and shared with Mark. The sins described in the letters ranged from the mundane—smoking pot, marital infidelity, drunkenness—to the horrifying. Slowly, over the past couple of years, Mark has been leaking the most damning contents of the box, much of which is still secret.

Mark’s eyebrows are permanently arched, and when he makes an important point, he peers out above his rimless glasses, eyes widened, which lends him a conspiratorial air.

“Start with these,” he said.

Among the papers Mark showed me that day was a series of letters about a man from Springfield, Massachusetts, who had been disfellowshipped—a form of excommunication—three times. When the man was once again reinstated, in 2008, someone working in a division of Watchtower wrote to his congregation, noting that in 1989 he was said to have “allowed his 11-year-old stepdaughter to touch his penis … on at least two occasions.”

I was struck by the oddness of the language. It insinuated that the man had agreed to, rather than initiated, the sexual contact with his stepdaughter.                 

After I left Mark’s house, I tracked down the stepdaughter, now 40. In fact, she told me, she had been only 8 when her stepfather had molested her. “He was the adult and I was the kid, so I thought I didn’t have any choice,” she said. She was terrified, she told me. “It took me two years to go to my mom about it.”

Her mother immediately went to the congregation’s elders, who later called the girl and her stepfather in to pray with them. She remembers it as a humiliating experience.

Her stepfather was eventually disfellowshipped for instances that involved “fornication,” “drunkenness,” and “lying,” according to the letters. But according to the stepdaughter, his alleged molestation of her resulted only in his being “privately reproved,” a closed-door reprimand that is usually accompanied by a temporary loss of privileges, such as not being allowed to offer comments during Bible study or lead a prayer. The letters make no reference to police being notified; the stepdaughter said her mother was encouraged to keep the matter private, and no attempt was made to keep the stepfather away from other children. (Calls to the congregation’s Kingdom Hall—the Witness version of a church—for comment went unanswered.)

By the time the letters were written, the man was attending a different congregation and had married another woman with children; he is still part of that family today. Near the end of the final letter in Mark’s possession is a question: “Is there any responsibility on the part of either body of elders … to inform his current wife of his past history of child molestation?”

Mark O’Donnell’s childhood was an isolated one. His parents, Jerry and Susan, had started attending Jehovah’s Witness meetings in the mid-1960s. Another couple from Baltimore had told them of Watchtower’s prediction that the world would end in 1975, bringing death to all non-Witnesses and transforming Earth into a paradise for the faithful. In 1968, just after Mark was born, Jerry and Susan were group-baptized in a swimming pool in Washington, D.C. Mark was an only child, and he inherited his father’s peculiar love of record-keeping. Mark would show up to meetings at the Kingdom Hall with a briefcase full of religious texts.

As in any religion, there’s some variation among Jehovah’s Witnesses in how strictly they interpret the teachings that govern their faith; Mark’s upbringing seems to have been especially stringent. As a child, he attended at least five meetings a week, plus several hours of private Bible study. On Saturday mornings, he joined his parents in “field service,” knocking on doors in search of converts. He was taught that most people outside the organization were corrupted by Satan and, given the chance, would try to steal from him, drug him, or rape him. Mainstream books and magazines were considered the work of Satan. If he broke any of the religion’s main rules, he could be disfellowshipped, meaning even his own family would have to shun him.

Throughout Mark’s childhood, he heard elders cite Proverbs 13:24: “Whoever holds back his rod hates his son.” Mark’s parents took the lesson to heart and beat him frequently. The religion forbids celebrating birthdays, voting, serving in the military, and accepting blood transfusions, even in life-and-death situations. Witnesses were encouraged to devote themselves to bringing more converts into the religion before the end of the world arrived. “Reports are heard of brothers selling their homes and property” to spend their last days proselytizing, said a Watchtower publication in 1974. “Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world’s end.” Some Witnesses stopped going to the doctor, quit their jobs, or ran up debt.

But piety, Mark noticed, did not always translate to morality. When he was 12, Mark became suspicious of a local Witness named Louis Ongsingco, a flight attendant who would bring home Toblerone bars for the local Witness kids and invite them to his apartment to act out religious plays. Mark noticed Ongsingco touching young girls in a way that made him uncomfortable. He told an elder about his concerns. But rather than take action against Ongsingco, the elder told him what Mark had said. Days later, Ongsingco pulled Mark aside and scolded him.

Mark’s instincts seem to have been right. In 2001, one of Mark’s childhood friends, Erin Michelle Shifflett, along with four other women, sued Ongsingco for sexual assault. The cases were settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. Ongsingco died in 2016.

To Mark, the lesson was that for all the emphasis the elders placed on moral purity, there was no greater sin than speaking out against other Witnesses.

By the time Mark was in high school, in the early 1980s, 1975 had come and gone, but Watchtower had a new prediction for the apocalypse. It said that the world would end before the passing of the generation that was alive in 1914. At the time, the youngest members of that generation were 70, so the new prediction created a sense of urgency.

“My parents basically told me, ‘You’re not even going to live to graduate from college,’” Mark said. At 17, despite having a year of college credit and a guidance counselor imploring him to apply, he decided to settle for a high-school diploma. He was baptized and later started his exercise-equipment repair company. The business provided enough flexibility for him to perform 50 hours of field service for the Witnesses a month, which qualified him for the rank of auxiliary pioneer.

Though many Witnesses left the religion after 1975, membership was on the upswing by the 1990s, and the organization was building new Kingdom Halls. Mark was installing a sound system in a new hall in Baltimore in the fall of 1997 when a young woman named Kimmy Weber asked to borrow his ladder.

At 20, Kimmy was putting in more than 90 hours of field service a month, making her a full-fledged pioneer. She had completed a two-year program at a community college on a scholarship, and would later get permission from the local elders to get her bachelor’s degree. Mark was drawn to her drive and intensity. He tracked down her email address; they flirted over AOL Instant Messenger and were married within eight months. They wanted to start a family, but decided to wait until after the arrival of paradise on Earth, when they, and their children, would be perfect. In the meantime, Kimmy began opening their home to abused and abandoned cats.

As Mark’s business grew, he brought on employees, mostly other Witnesses. When he and Kimmy had saved enough money to buy the house across the street as a rental property, they filled its three units with other Witnesses. There were ski vacations, softball games, dinner parties, and game nights—always with friends who shared their faith.

But as much as Mark enjoyed his friends’ company, he started to chafe at the insularity of their social life. It felt less like intimacy and more like a self-imposed bubble. These frustrations eventually grew into suspicions about Watchtower itself. He’d heard rumors that the organization was covering up cases of pedophilia and child abuse. But Watchtower always dismissed such criticism as “apostate-driven lies.”

A few years after he and Kimmy married, he saw a protester outside a Witness convention holding a sign that read a jw elder molested me. “I looked at that sign,” Mark told me, “and I locked it in my brain. I’ll never forget it. I said to myself, There’s no way he’s lying. Nobody would stand out there and hold a sign that says an elder molested me unless it really happened. No way. He’s telling the truth.

Watchtower adjusted its estimates for the apocalypse several more times. In 2010, it introduced the Overlapping Generations theory, which claims that the end will come before the death of everyone who was alive at the same time as anyone who was alive in 1914. Mark found these revised predictions difficult to accept.

In late 2013, Mark had an extreme reaction to an antibiotic and was confined to his couch for several weeks, away from the meetings and Bible studies. Left alone with his thoughts, he began to admit to himself that he no longer believed Armageddon was imminent. The Jehovah’s Witnesses he knew were no more deserving of God’s mercy than the nonbelievers he’d met. And here he was, 45 years old and facing a health crisis. How much more of his life was he willing to waste inside the bubble?

That November, as he and Kimmy were preparing to spend the weekend at a friend’s house, Mark suddenly stopped packing and told Kimmy he couldn’t maintain the facade anymore. He never attended another meeting.

/ . . . Continued . . . /

RETRIEVED https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/03/the-secret-jehovahs-witness-database-of-child-molesters/584311/

RCbbc Blog eNews – prelaunch!

With the anticipation, similar to days before birth of a first child, another form of publication will soon be released. From our smaller presence in earlier days of the 5 yr Child Abuse Royal Commission (CARC), the need to ‘join the dots’ began to call out. Hopefully, with the increased-global visitors of our RCbbc Blog, we’re now able to Share another media: Newsletters! eNews are becoming a greater extension of the 247 work-cycle, allowing wider varieties of audio, visual, text & combinations of media to be exchanged. A business plan is still being developed, yet many feel that these swapping of ideas is helpful.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

Psychotherapy, Counselling and Personal Development in Glasgow, Scotland

ABUSE AND EXPLOITATION, DISSOCIATION

Still Like A House

Fractured?  No, curiously I feel fractured but I see myself in the mirror and I’m whole, standing still like a house.  The mirror may be fractured, but my eyes still swivel like windows in this head, guided by a nose that acts as a weather vane.  I open and close my mouth like a door and my ears sit like unoiled hinges.  But I don’t feel like a house.  I feel like a room: a room divided against itself.

Whole Not Hole

If I am whole, how come there are holes in my experience?  Not holes; they just feel like holes.  They’re no more holes than my forgetting what I had for breakfast last Tuesday is a hole.  If I decide, out of my indecision comes a need to follow a trail of breadcrumbs, walking backwards in flip-flop sandals: Shameday, Shatterday, Frightday, Thugsday, Whensday, Chewsday: vegetarian bacon that tasted like cardboard soaked in lapsang souchong.

Not Broken

Broken.  Like a wine glass washed in a lapse of concentration, snapped stem in the sink?  No, I just feel broken.  I’m no more broken than my daydream in the bubbles is a symptom of a broken mind.  I just went travelling for a second and broke a glass, not my hip.

A Name for Now

No fractures, no holes.  Not broken, nor split.  I am a house of rooms, not a room divided.  The room I’m in is ordered, organised, geometric wallpaper, square like Kant; catalogued like a library run by a nunnery.  My lamp has a name and a function.  My telephone first rang in ’76.  My sofa has a history, and I remember my happiness the day I bought it; how angry I was when I spilled wine on it;  how annoyed at the bit of chocolate that fell between the cushions.  I feel my weight on it.  Feel the cold in my fingers.  I am here.  It is now.  I am here and I am now.

The Hall

The hall.  A place for uninvited guests.  I ran down it when I was 5, I’m-alive, scurried into the cupboard and was never seen again.  The hall connects me to the rest of the house I have forgotten, but more importantly to the front door, which leads out into the garden; into the world.  I never know if it’s locked.  Instead of checking, I forget that it’s a hall, save the ticking of an old clock that I forget to hear whilst listening to the fizz of my ginger beer, age 7, pray to heaven.  Instead I convince myself that the livingroom I’m in is all there is.  Then, by switching off the light and locking the door, forget myself and my convincing.  Until I need to pee, or eat.  And then I find myself sock-sliding down the hall like a uterine ghost, so focussed on my empty belly or full bladder I forget to remember that I opened the door; forgetting which room I was in, until I am in the other room, floorboards creaking with the slightest shift in weight.

Wordless Rooms

Another room, another name, another door, another age.  Age 6, pick up sticks.  Other shadow, other feeling.  Cooling, cooler, cold and colder.  The familiar unfamiliar.  No lightbulb in, no switch to fumble for.  In this room I forget to remember and remember to forget.  Boxes stacked on boxes, dust and cobwebs.  I pick a box in disarray and ginger ale my way in beneath the lifting lid.  It contains hundreds of fizzing photographs, sepia toned, disorganised, random, full of Leica moments hastily shuffled away, forgetting to remember; each snap the snap of a twig in a dark damp wood; the snap of a little finger; the snap, crackle and pop of a nice crisp morning in December, and then a dread-filled evening; and all with felt feelings, felt, falling.  The sea swell of a gut without words; the electric surge of anxious malady rising in my spine.  Shapes without outlines.  Tone without form.  Colour without texture.  Chaos without order.  Things that happened before I had words to describe them.

Chaos

I find myself in a drawer inside a mood inside a box inside a room.  Another lapse.  Like driving from the house to the store and realising I wasn’t conscious of driving at all. At all.  At all. New room, new mood, new name, new world.  A ball of string, a roll of tape, some false teeth, a paperclip, an old birthday card from a forgotten friend, a rubber band and some tic-tacs.  There are reasons I don’t come in here.  It’s a mess: deformed, unfinished.  I’ve no energy for this: to clean it out, tidy it up, organise it.  Too many memories.  One day.  Some day.  Just not now.

The Unseen Tree

Hallway.  Like the drive to the store I didn’t notice, or the tree I ignored on the street I’ve walked for a decade and suddenly appears out of nowhere one day, when the light hits its leaves and I awaken to its colours and the breeze, warm like Frankincense whispering through its branches, and my feet in my soft shoes, so soft I forget my feet.  I want to say sorry to that tree.  Sorry to my feet and to my shoes.  Sorry I neglected you.  A three hundred year old tree growing through twelve hundred seasons, existing for everyone else but me.

Safe Trembling

My hallway stays forgotten; conduit to my wholeness; pipeline to the world.  Invisible as I close my eyes.  It connects my rooms, my fears: it is the forgotten centre of my house: the house I forget to remember to forget.  I prefer the known knowing of organised places to the unknown knawing of my silent spaces.  Sunlight comes in through the south window, hot coffee in a comforting cup five inches from the table’s edge, precarious, but no spinning head.  Here, I know my name, I have words for things and things for words, and syntax and paragraphs.  I know my here and now, I know my differentiated place, I know my own familiar face.  It is the face of a house of rooms, and rooms of boxes.  Some are ordered, stacked and indexed, comprehendible by their stories, hand-written and clear as etched metal.  Some are filled with a confusion of shadows, wordlessness, uncertainty, memories, darkness and a child’s trembling.  Still the trembling, still the heart.

I am still like a house.  But I feel like a room.

Photo credit: wikimedia commons

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