When #METOO is the only thing you can say. . . [for mature audiences]

 

Written through tears. . .

Breath shuddering and fingers shaking with every keystroke. . .

The words are not enough. . .

The story is not enough. . .

No promises or life changes or time can ever erase the scars of something that destroys so much of you. . . things that you can never get back. . . and somehow, no matter what you say, no matter what you do, no matter how long it’s been, you will never be the same person again.

And, NO ONE who hasn’t actually been through it themselves can ever, will ever, truly understand that mile in your shoes.

How could they?

 

#METOO

 

It’s a start.

 

Sometime last year I saw this hashtag for the first time. It was a movement on social media, a way for women to reach out to each other, to say with as few words as possible that they understood what someone was going through, that they were there to support each other. It’s possibly one of the most important messages that social media has ever carried.

It’s a rally cry, a stand that only some of us can take, a way of telling the faceless. . . nameless. . . women and children and even men that they are not alone, that someone else has been through the same hell they have.

 

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

 

People ask me how I can have faith, knowing that God allowed me to be in that situation, lose that much of myself, experience that horror. . .

It hasn’t always been easy. I would be lying if I said otherwise, but God is and was just as horrified at what happened to me as I was. . . am. . . GOD is the only one who knows just how it feels. . . just how it felt. . . just how it still feels when I remember or when the nightmares come. HE knows because HE was there with me, beside me, behind me, in front of me, helping to protect me as much as HE could without taking away my free will. . . my free will that means I made a choice that caused me to be in that situation.

I made the decision to be in the relationship. I stayed in the relationship until I had no other choice. I even fell for the lies and the empty promises again years later.

But I also made the decision to leave when it happened again.

 

The devil is a cunning liar. He may not know everything, but he is a study of human nature and with thousands of years of experience, he knows how to read people. He knows what to whisper to the instrument of his abuse, what the victim needs to hear; to stay, to feel trapped, to feel lost, to feel that there is no other option for them.

 

We still make the choice, but I do not believe it is as cut and dried as most people believe.

 

I am here, standing with each and every one of you, the ones who can say “me too” and the ones who can’t. . .

 

©Naomi Claire 2018

Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes…

 

I see posts every day that talk about not judging parents of autistic children… not judging parents of adopted children… not judging parents of children with disabilities…

But like so many other aspects of this world, I have to ask myself why it stops there.

Why is it only parents of children who look disabled or disadvantaged who call for no judgement? Why is it only minorities and disadvantaged groups who deserve no judgement?  Why can’t we stop judging each other entirely? And why does the world require an official “diagnosis” to see that a child deserves special treatment?

 

As a sister who watched her brother’s life nearly destroyed by the “diagnosis” of ADHD… As a woman who narrowly escaped a similar diagnosis herself… As a mother who refuses to go down the same path with her own son…

 

I really wish the world worked this way already…

©Naomi Claire 2018

Truth-Filled Fridays: A Frightening Trend Among Christian Authors, Bloggers and Publishers

 

This is a subject that can be quite difficult to approach. . . mostly because no matter what is said, it sounds [looks] like finger pointing. However, as mostly an outsider looking in, I feel I have somewhat of an advantage.

So, I’m going to give it a go.

 

Publishing is an ever-changing thing that can, at times, be impossible to actually keep up with. And, while I understand that Christian Authors, Publishers and Book Bloggers have to make their way through this digital minefield and make a living and/or a name for themselves if they hope to survive, there have been some very alarming trends that have leeched over from the non-Christian world of dog-eat-dog, cut-throat, back-alley, under-the-table type dealings that we as followers of Christ are supposed to avoid at all costs.

In the last few years especially, there have been more and more Christian small presses popping up all over, filling the void left behind by the large presses that have either gone under or been swallowed up by the big 5. For the most part, they put quite a lot of effort into sticking to a mission statement, but there are more than a few (I will not name names, but if you look around a little, it’s not hard to figure out who is who) who proudly proclaim themselves to be a Christian press. However they only publish a handful of actual Christian fiction.

Sadly, the story is usually about the bottom line. They publish just enough Christian fiction works to get on the lists of the Christian Author/Publisher/Agent organizations’ lists and then they publish whatever they darn well please, while still putting out the occasional Christian fiction title (or edgy Christian fiction – as the term stands now) solely to keep up appearances so they do not lose their footing in the Christian fiction world.

And, sadly, that is the least of the reprehensible behaviors I am exploring today.

Next I would like to shine a spotlight at the bloggers who are on an ever-present slippery slope of trying to make just enough waves with their snarky “critical” reviews, while skating the line between truth and complete fabrication with either the authors or the publishers they do not want to fall out of favor with.

It’s a slippery slope to slide down, trying to make yourself sound more professional by tearing down authors who are published by small presses, while blatantly fabricating praise about others just so you’ll continue to receive free books and not fall out of favor with big-name authors.

It’s also a dangerous game to play with the emotions of authors who are notoriously an unstable bunch to begin with. To rip their work to shreds simply because you did not enjoy the formatting their publisher picked (which means they had ZERO control over it personally) or you don’t find enough murder and mayhem or drama between the pages of a book that specifically states it contains none of the above is not what it means to be an impartial or “honest” reviewer.

And the worst is yet to come. . .

Leaving aside the personal habits of Authors of Christian fiction who should be setting a Godly example, I am going to focus solely on their behavior within the realm of the Publishing world.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but there is a fine line between writing a book on a particular subject because it is currently popular, and taking someone else’s ides, tossing in a few name and place changes and calling it your own, especially when it is at the expense of a single mother who is struggling just to make ends meet. Sadly, this is happening more and more with authors who are small-press or Indie published–and because the mainstream authors have a large following and a big house behind them, no one bothers to notice that their stories are a blatant rip-off of someone else’s work. And if the Indie author ever pointed a finger, not only would they end up mauled by the social media monster, they would be effectively putting an end to their own career in the process.

 

It is a sad state of affairs indeed.

 

The bottom line here is that God calls us to lift each other up. . . not tear each other down or use, abuse and then leave behind an empty, bleeding shell of a person like the man from the well-known parable of the Samaritan.

 

 

©Naomi Claire 2018

Truth-Filled Fridays: Difficult words about a difficult subject…

There have been a lot of conversations lately about abuse, especially sexual abuse – and since this is an area I deal with in some of my work, I thought I would take the time to talk about it a bit.

Abuse – even sexual abuse – is nothing new. Thousands of years ago, in Biblical times, it existed. It was often punishable by death and in many cases ruined more than just the victim’s life (as it does now), but it’s nothing new. Unfortunately, the practice of covering it up or hiding it away is nothing new either…

The most difficult part of abuse (speaking from personal experience) is often how the victim feels that their family and friends will perceive them once they let that secret out. It’s nearly impossible to get up the nerve to tell family and friends – or in the case where they already know – to make yourself open up about it and talk over the event.

It’s easy to say that people need to be forgiving and accepting and gracious about speaking to the victim, but in my own personal experience, ultimately it wasn’t my family and friends’ reactions that made me feel ashamed and unimportant and dirty. It was the abuse itself. No amount of gracious acceptance can make you feel less ashamed when you have been abused – and sadly, many victims are never able to move past that feeling of shame… no matter how much time passes.

In my personal opinion of the subject, though it is a fine goal to educate people on finding a way to show compassion to the victims of abuse, a much more important (and often ignored) goal would be to educate our children on what abuse is, why abuse is wrong, and how important it is to NEVER put themselves in the type of situation that could lead to abuse.

We cannot just pretend that it doesn’t happen… in the dark, in the places where kids go to be alone. We need to shine a light into those dark places and bring the truth out where it can be seen and dealt with. And our kids need to know what can happen, and what does happen every day.

Pretending something doesn’t exist does NOT make it go away!

No, it’s not easy, but then, nothing about being a parent is.

Nothing about being a human is easy. It’s a hard world… and a hard life, but it’s worth living.

And yes… what makes it worth living for me just happens to be God. But that’s me.

What makes your life worth living?

 

 

©Naomi Claire 2018