Monday, December 22, 2014

There's No Place Like Home

Home can mean different things to different people. For some home is where you lay your head at night; for others home is where your loved ones reside. We make homes in our hearts for the ones we love and sometimes home is established in the place you go to speak to God. Whether home is defined by brick and mortar or the stuff that dreams are made of, one thing is for sure: home is supposed to be where we feel loved, safe and comfortable.
Home made cinnamon rolls.

Growing up I toiled with the idea of running away from home. Its weird when you're a child because that's probably the only time where home can be destructive, but leaving is an unlikely  consideration. I knew very little outside of home and the thought of wondering the world scared me. Though home consisted of pain, rape, mental abuse and humiliation, it was still the place where my brother and sisters lived. In my young mind the only way I could run away was if I took them all with me. 

When one of my sisters was a baby and the abuse from my father seemed unbearable, I had dreams of growing breasts and producing milk so I can breastfeed my baby sister and run away with my siblings. I still dream some of those dreams, and the town that we
Sitting up in my room
run away to has presently made it's way into some of my other sleep visions. This place of freshly paved roads lined with cream, gray and white houses and buildings with arches in front of them, became my other home. I became addicted to the feeling of serenity and safety that through it my subconscious offered and it contributed to my desire to sleep as much as I could to escape what was happening to me. Today it is one of places where I go to when I meditate, and I find myself drawn to architecture that reminds me of the buildings in my dreams.  

My mom and I went to church recently and the preacher spoke on bringing the glory of God home. He spoke about how people are happy outside of their residents, and jolly when they spend time with their friends; but miserable when they are at home with their family. I couldn't relate. It took me twenty-three years to get away from the home I grew up in and now that I have my own, I've created a space so filled with love it is the only place I want to be most of the time. My children are happy when they're home (I can barely get my eldest to go out with her friends and I anticipate a phone call in the middle of the night when my youngest sleeps over his grandmothers house), and my friends see it as a place to escape to. 
I go out into the world to work, learn, teach, help and expand my territory. And while I bring the glory of God home all the time, I am thankful that my home now is not only a destination for glory, but a source of it as well.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Repairing The Internet

As a survivor of sexual violence people I meet tend to walk on eggshells with me when it comes to things of a sexual nature. I am also expected to be modest and demure, and am judged on my expression of feminine sensuality. The vulgarity of what has happened to me has branded a salacious annotation on my forehead that I may never escape. When I relay my story I notice some of my audience reprocess their thoughts on my attire as they survey my cleavage and measure the clinginess of my pants. For a moment, I see their consciousness disconnect from my words as they attempt to imagine me as an exploited little girl; after which they compare their depiction of my child self, to the woman that's standing in front of them. Then their demeanor changes from that of engaged participation to withdrawn embarrassment.

When choosing the cover of my book, most that I looked to for feedback chose the picture of me wearing a turtleneck. Family members try to convince me to wear long skirts and loose shirts because they don't want anyone to think I "...liked what was done..." to me. And on my journey to expand my story to different media outlets I'm told that the posts on my blog where I speak of things like "yoni" and "orgasm", poses questions about my character. To this I ask: what gives? What is it about me that warrants such unrealistic expectations? I am a woman for crying
Bruce K. Cantrell
out loud; I have needs, I am confident, courteous, maybe a little flirtatious and most of all, just being myself! Then I realized; to blame myself for the discomfort people feel when they associate my victimization with my mature grown womaness (Grown womaness: feminine confidence and personal responsibility of ones own sexuality), is like saying as a child I did something to make my father molest me.

While I understand that the thought of a child being raped is difficult for most to digest, I can't help but be concerned how much of that difficulty is due to sexual arousal the thought provoked. Do people shuffle in their seats at the listening of my story, not because of a surge of compassion and sympathy running through their hearts, but because of a rush of passion and lust welling in their groins? Is sexual deviancy more common that we think?

Case in point: Kim Kardashian was recently featured posing nude in Paper magazine's winter issue

titled "Break The Internet". Before the release of the physical issue an internet sample was posted online, to which most people commented that they found Kardashian's pictures "shameful", "gross", "degrading" and "disgusting". Ignoring whatever photoshop or artificial enhancements that Kim Kardashian may or may not have had, the only adjective that came to my mind was: beautiful! There she is, a voluptuous, gorgeous woman standing demurely in the nude. All that was on display was her body. She is not presenting herself in a pornographic way. She is not spread eagle sticking something up her twat or sandwiched between two men with oversized genitalia. She is simply standing there, full breasted and big bottomed with an enduring smile on her face. So why are people so offended? I'll tell you why; because they are uncomfortable with their own thoughts (not including the haters of course). The problem with most Americans is that their minds
are in the gutter. An when I say "in the gutter", I don't mean erotic thoughts and feelings in general. I mean distorted, misguided, irresponsible, misconstrued interpretations of mental eroticism. How can an individual be so uncomfortable with their own sexuality that they hide, suppress and deny it, but consider themselves authorities on standards of sensual expression? All they're doing is impressing their own sexual guilt on others. The only reason why those that respond negatively to my expressions about sex in my writing take issue with it, is because they have a problem with what and how it makes them think and feel.

Now don't get it twisted, I don't condemn anyone for their thoughts; one's actions are all I'm concerned about. 
But, don't chastise me and claim I (or Kim for that matter) am inappropriate because I make you uncomfortable, when the fact is, you make yourself uncomfortable. 

Now that that's been said, seen and I'm sure very soon, heard; take some responsibility and instead of judging me, help me do something about those that do turn their thoughts into actions. The world (both physical and digital) will be the better for it.