Monthly Archives: August 2010

An 11-Year-Old Bride Escapes

Follow link for an amazing, sad, inspiring story…one of so many. I’ve always been interested in other cultures and their implementation of, or disregard for, human rights. In college in my Women’s studies courses I found the curriculum to be extremely Eurocentric (no surprises there). There is so much work to do in the cause for Peace, Equality and Justice, but I’d like to remind all of us including me, that there are atrocities being committed against women and children all over the world. Often these atrocities are condoned by the culture in which they occur whether covertly or openly. Since our ‘involvement’ in the Middle East we have heard more and more stories from women who are finally able to speak up. And we hear the stories of the amazing courageous women who provide shelter and safety for these women. I think that once in a while at least, it’s important to look outside of our own culture(s) and remember that oppression against women and children is worldwide; and often happens in situations and conditions in which the level of horror and powerlessness is beyond our imagination. And yet we also discover amazing stories of hope, courage and compassion that cross borders, cultures, and economic status. I’d like to propose a reader challenge. When we were kids we played a game where we would spin the globe and with our eyes closed put a finger on a spot on the globe, stopping its rotation. In our game we would pretend we were going to travel to wherever our finger landed and imagine glorious, dramatic and sometimes gruesome adventures we encounter. I challenge my readers to do the “globe game” and then take some time to research the Human Rights conditions in that area, and especially the role of women and children. This can be fun…it can be educational. It can open our hearts and minds to a world we never knew existed. Give it a try, I’m going to do it too. I’d love to hear your discoveries!  © 2010 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

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Finding your style, and running with it

The initial stages of my blogging experience involved a lot of trial and error and experimentation. I felt like an explorer with a partial map, discovering new paths, new tricks new avenues; it’s been fun most times, frustrating at others.
Like any other social situation we are new to, we enter cautiously, careful not to offend anyone, trying to make a good impression. So we continue to write, we force our friends and family to read our posts, anxiously awaiting feedback (and hoping its positive enough to keep us going).
Then one day we sit down to write, maybe one of those days were feeling a little sassy, and we realize we are no longer “company’ or the new kid in class who has to maintain face.
We develop this comfort level with experience; a little feedback helps too, (hint, hint)
Now we feel free to open up a little more about our personal lives. We bring things down to a real level.
Depending on the type of blog you write and your intended audience, self-disclosure and daily observations may be the primary focus of your writing and will come quite naturally. If your blog is intended to be more informational and educational, you may rarely self disclose, if at all. I’ve seen blogs intended to promote business that run the gamut from “strictly business” to shameless self promotion.
I’ve found myself using more discernment and seeking balance between telling my story, and promoting my mission to unite survivors to advocate for themselves and other survivors.
I’ve decided that in order to be true to my mission I have to let the “wild woman” Jenny out to speak her truth, along with the Professional Jenny who is has the clinical and community resource knowledge to assist survivors. As I reflect on my original intention I’m finding that it is the Survivor/ “Wild Woman” whose voice is most relevant. She is the one with the most courage, the most moxie, with the most important stories to tell and the most capability for empathy.
It is also exciting that this transformation that is occurring during that point in my life where I’m finally reaching the age where I have more confidence, bigger perspective and less concern for what others think of me. How liberating for a woman who was anxious and socially phobic literally for as long as I can remember. So here I am a sassy middle aged survivor with experience, opinions and ideas just begging to be shared.
I’m putting out the call to all sassy middle aged women “with a history” to come together, share our knowledge and experience, humor, antics, irreverence and who knows maybe pave bold path for our daughters, granddaughters and all the young women who will follow.
Peace and Solidarity,
Nanakoosa

© 2010 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard


Finding Power in Peace

“Our mystical power should not be relegated to the distant past. It still exists. I want mine now, and so does every woman I know. Our power is not evil but good. We must reclaim our goodness as well as our power. Today, the reason we haven’t found our grail, the key to who we are as women, is because we look for it in worlds of false power, the very worlds that took it away from us in the first place” Marianne Williamson
The last line of this statement struck a chord within me. It was one of those moments when you know the deeper truth and meaning behind mere words. We women want our power and that is the first step. We’re just not sure how or where to find it
I have come to the conclusion that it’s not for lack of looking, but of too much looking. Marianne states, we look for it in the worlds of false power. At the most superficial level we look to the media to tell us what will make up whole. The answer is usually something material, of cosmetic.
Even if we decide to connect with enlightened others, we don’t find our “others’ until we are truly ready. We need to learn that although we can benefit from mentoring and guidance or support, the only way we will know we are truly ready is when we are able to look within, rather than outside ourselves
There are some good teachers and guides out there; and there are also a lot of people making a lot of money by telling people how to become enlightened, successful, and whatever else they’re selling. Some of them probably believe they are right and doing the right thing. Some of them are pure charlatans. Some of them may mean well but are ill prepared or improperly initiated into whatever system they are preaching.
The co-opting of The Native Americans various beliefs is a common example. Having not grown up within the context of the native environment would require extra training and self reflection to understand a system of beliefs that is based on a lifestyle and culture that is completely foreign and misunderstood. And then there is the very real betrayal that Europeans have stolen everything from the Native Peoples and now want to take the last thing they can call their own.
Please understand I’m not saying we shouldn’t learn about other spiritual systems. In fact I believe the more we can familiarize ourselves with the more likely we are to open ourselves to possibilities. We find similarities within all the beliefs we explore.
One thing that has become clear to me is that we have to learn to listen within, and in times and places of peace, to connect with our spiritual power. Ritual has its purpose, but it’s not necessary. We have all we need within ourselves to discover and. celebrate our power.

© 2010 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard


>Prisoner of air conditioning, coping with side effects

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I hate to be redundant, but it’s freakin’ HOT! I never really liked air conditioning, I like open windows and a nice breeze; but when a friend recently offered to give me a small room air conditioner I finally broke down. It does help, quite a bit in fact, but I’m beginning to feel like a prisoner in my air conditioned room. I’m trying to avoid feeling useless and unproductive, which quickly leads to depression. I’ve been writing a lot, reading, and researching resources to help me get moved out of this apartment. All those years of Social Work and Advocacy are paying off. Resources are out there but knowing how and who to ask is essential. One thing that troubles me is the lack of support for Hep C patients. There are foundations for people with other diseases, but nothing, in my area at least, for Hep C.
But I’m digressing, what I wanted to do was talk about the importance of managing side effects. It’s kind of a snowball effect (mmmm snow); if you don’t manage the side effects, you feel crappy. When you feel crappy, you don’t get things done. when you don’t get things done, you feel more demoralized and depressed which leads to less motivation for self-care and side effect management, and so on it goes. We can’t change the weather but we can do things to be more comfortable. Air conditioning, cool showers, drinking tons of water and taking it easy. Sometimes we have to accept that we can’t get everything accomplished that we would like, but it is what it is. If there’s one thing I’m learning from all this its how to practice self-care, to ask for help (I’m still working on the not feeling guilty about it part)
It helps me to have reminders around telling me what I should be doing to take care of myself, and its a lot more effective than waiting until I feel horrible and then doing something about it.

A useful and comprehensive guide can be found at 

it’s good advice, and can help make this process a lot less miserable. Next time: coping with emotions, or the three faces of eve revisited.
© 2010 Jennifer Hazard
image courtesy of Microsoft clipart collection


News and Updates

In accordance with my original mission I have begun work on my sister site, http://www.whitewaveconsulting.org. The intention and goal of this project is to organize survivors who wish to be actively involved in public policy making, service delivery and public education. There are many ways to accomplish these goals. Writing our stories and sending them to politicians, service providers and funding sources can have a substantial impact. Forming Advisory committees, organizing survivor speak outs, using art and film to record our histories are all effective methods to make our message heard. We ARE the experts on Domestic Violence, we know what services are lacking and which ones are working. We know how we want, and deserve, to be treated by social service agencies, police officers, and the judicial system. Finally, as older women we can attest to the long term effects of abuse and the need for ongoing services. The key to change is Communication and Organization, let’s Unite as Survivors and help create a future of Peace, Respect and Compassion.
In other business, I am continuing to work on my memoirs, blogging and making connections online. It’s wonderful to find so many compassionate, creative and like minded individuals.

My latest project is my new Hepatitis C blog describing my experiences with the disease and, now, being on treatment. I had started including posts about my journey through treatment on my survivors blog, but because this experience has been so much a part of my life; because my day to day activities are dictated by my side effects, I decided this chapter of my life deserves it’s own space. I am also discovering an urgent need for information and advocacy for individuals stricken with this often stigmatized disease. I will continue to share my personal story while also accumulating useful information about Hepatitis and treatment options.

© 2010 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard


Long term effects of abuse finally getting attention

Domestic violence victims have higher health costs for years after abuse ends
Victims of domestic violence endure significantly higher health costs than other women for three years after the abuse ends, a new study finds.

Well Duh, right? But seriously click on the link to read article, I’m looking for more statistics and stories about the long term effects of abuse. This was part of my original mission for creating this blog because it is a painfully overlooked area in Domestic Violence treatment and research.
Peace,
Jenny

© 2010 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard


>I am not Immortal…..

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…at least not in the flesh. I won’t preach on the afterlife, we all have our own views on that. Fortunately I’m pretty comfortable with mine.
The more time I spend with doctors, taking meds, experiencing side effects from meds and learning about this disease the more my inner teenager is forced to relinquish her firm belief in immortality. Funny because in many ways I was always a rather neurotic kid. I was terrified of illness and death and yet I lived a life style that tempted harm on a pretty regular basis.There came a point in my life when this paradox suddenly made sense. I perceived my actions as some kind of protective ritual for me, a way of knocking wood. You see if I challenged Death and won, it meant two things: a) My existence was validated, I obviously deserved to be here, and 2)I didn’t have to feel so vulnerable to every potential disease, accident or fatal mishap that I had spend my childhood obsessing over.

One thing the young and daring fail to realize is that although they may survive one incident and lived to see the sunrise the next day, “validating your existence” and all that; there is a good possibility that something could come back to bite you in the ass 30 years later. For some of my friends it was HIV, then AIDS, most of them are no longer with us. For others it was overdoses, car accidents, liver failure and other alcohol/drug/brain damaged induced mishaps. You can only tease Death for so long before He gets weary and drops the old sickle on your head.
Others of us do the best we can, struggling along, eating healthy, taking vitamins, exercising a little, trying to maintain some level of sobriety and, like me, doing battle with the sneaky little virus that that set up shop in my liver some 30 years ago.

So, no, we are not immortal, but some of us are the “lucky ones” and we have the opportunity to appreciate life and to cherish the time and the people we have been blessed with.

© 2010 Jennifer Hazard