Let Them Throw Stones

Then there are the ones that like to hold you to the mistakes of your past.

Who will try and drag you back through your own shame and make you believe you don’t deserve the dream you have fought so hard to achieve.

Their words will be calculated – targeted missiles they will aim at the places they know will be the weakest; the places they know have been wounded before.

This is what they will tell you:

That the person you once were is who you will always be.

That the person you were at your worst is the most you will ever amount to.

That you will never be anything more than the mistakes you once made.

That you are worthless, hopeless, useless.

Don’t listen to them.

Because here’s the thing:

Nobody has the right to judge you.

Nobody has the right to hold you prisoner to your mistakes when they don’t know a damn thing about the choices you had to choose from and how hard you fought just to survive.

Nobody has the right to shame you for your humanity.

To deny you the right to be human.

To deny you the grace of the human condition that sees us all fuck up at times and learn from that and do better.

Nobody has the right to take away your redemption.

To take every drop of blood poured for your healing, your growth, your change, your becoming, and make it worth nothing.

We are not held captive to our yesterday’s, to the person we once were when we knew no better.

We are not bound by our mistakes, to the ways we hurt others when our hearts were hurting so much inside our broken chests.

We are not defined by our rock bottom, when nobody knows what it has taken us to claw our way out to become the person we are today.

We are not our past.

We are not our shame.

Nobody has the right to judge the heart they do not see.

Your heart is beautiful; made new with each day you have woken and determined to do better.

You are worthy. You are deserving. You are everything they will never be.

Forgiveness, grace, second chances:

These are the things we offer other humans when we understand the frailty of our own humanity.

When we understand that mercy always triumphs over judgement, and that is how we bring healing and offer love.

There will always be those who throw stones.

Let them.

For their feet will forever be bound by the shore, destined to watch as you, my darling, become the ocean.

Art Matters.

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It’s hard to write today.

It’s hard to not feel like my work is pointless. That anything I write at this time is futile. That I have nothing significant or relevant to add to the already overcrowded media sphere.

I am struggling to find meaning in what I write; instead I sit here finding ways to both avoid and appease my inadequacy.

Not wanting to read headlines yet not being able to look away.

With all that is transpiring in the world I feel heavy and burdened; and anxious. It is hard to focus, to find creativity and any kind of joy or satisfaction in my work.

It’s hard to believe it matters.

But it does.

And I think this is what we need to remember in the midst of such volatile and unsettling times. The best art comes from authentic truth-telling. People who can create from the depths of turmoil; who can both preserve the moment and make us see the beauty that still exists within in.

More than ever during these hard times, creatives need to create. We need to bear witness to the human spirit which radiates through these seemingly impossible times. It’s often difficult; we are the empaths who carry the suffering of the world too close to our hearts. We find it hard to confront such suffering; to not be affected to such a degree we can no longer function ourselves.

But if we can find a way to hold these moments; to feel them, to carry them, to create beauty from destruction, then we leave not just a memory, but a legacy that generations who follow will hold even closer.

It matters.

Happy New Year ❤️

Shoutout to those home tonight eating cake made by their daughter.

To those home tonight caring for little children, or older parents, or anyone dependent on them, who can’t be out celebrating.

To those home tonight because their mental health is struggling at this time of year, and tonight feels overwhelming and too much.

To those home tonight feeling isolated, alone, or far away from the people they love.

To those home tonight because this time of the year brings up memories that are hard, and sad.

To those home tonight to stay sober, and clean.

But especially to those who aren’t home tonight, or don’t have a home to be in tonight, because of fires. To the ones who have lost homes, lost towns, lost people they love. To those who have fought, and are still fighting, to contain fires and protect others.

My heart, and thoughts, are with you all.

Happy New Year ❤️

Merry Christmas ❤️

This is the part where I had planned to write something meaningful about Christmas. But this year seems harder – to acknowledge, to celebrate – when so much of our country is suffering. It’s hard to find the joy. It’s harder still to find the hope.

But I think the moment we lose these things is the moment we lose what makes our humanity so breathtaking. That we still find joy and hope in the face of suffering is beyond comprehension. Yet how resilient is our human spirit. How undefeatable.

And maybe this is what we need to remember this Christmas. That regardless of what you believe, we celebrate today because of a God who knew suffering yet was not defeated.

After the weeping always comes the joy.

Merry Christmas ❤️

The Audacity of Authenticity

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Let’s talk about authenticity.

So much of what I write is to challenge, and empower, and push against the system of both religion and patriarchy which women have been forced to live under; to speak words that those who have upheld this system may find uncomfortable, or unacceptable.

I don’t believe there’s any need to shock, or be shocking. But I do believe in the importance of challenging perceptions which have led to repression and injustice. If my words offend people, I couldn’t care less. I’m not here to play small to enable those around me to feel more at ease with their narrow-minded thinking.

But here’s the thing when we push against the system. Sometimes, it pushes back: Can you believe what she wrote? Did you see what she posted? What gives her the right to think she can say those things? What will her family think?

How dare she be so honest, raw, real, unapologetic?

HOW DARE SHE NOT CONFORM.

This is essentially what authenticity is. The act of not conforming. Refusing to forfeit your personal power for the approval of others. Brené Brown says this on authenticity: that it’s not so much the act of authenticity that challenges the status quo, but the audacity of authenticity.

Authenticity is threatening to those who live in conformity. Who live in fear of what others will think of them. It’s far easier to gossip about those who live in authenticity than to risk being the one who is gossiped about. It’s far easier to slander those who challenge our insecurities than dare to question why it makes us feel uncomfortable. People will rarely tolerate the freedom in others they choose to deny for themselves.

But to live authentically is to live in freedom. To live our truth, to speak our truth, free from the fear of what others will think, or say about us. It requires us to be vulnerable, courageous and resilient. It requires us to step beyond our comfort zone and no longer play it safe. But it’s only here, when we live in this freedom, will we be unafraid to challenge and dismantle the systems of conformity and repression that have controlled us for long enough, and empower others to do the same.

How Flattering Things Appear Under Soft Light

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We always meet beneath street lamps
how flattering things appear under soft light
you tell me I am beautiful under soft light
here, where the edges of my knife blade skin
are dulled beneath yellow hue
the way the city skyline reflects
in the cool steel of my limbs; lights
twinkling, dancing,
we are always dancing
around things we do not say
how flattering things appear under
soft light that veils the sharpness of my teeth
the bear claw trap inside my mouth
always set and ready to protect myself at the first rustle
of footsteps inside the forest of my healing and
you tell me I should be flattered
with this back-alley late-night soft-light love affair
do you remember when you said you preferred
my hair long; the way it fell like a sepia watercolour
around my face, disguised the hard edge of my jaw
the upward tilt of my chin; unyielding
how flattering I am to you when I am soft
beneath these blurred lights, blurred lines
bloodlines before me who traded the
full meal of their strength for a pill of submission
so they would become easier to swallow
and these lights appear so flattering when you do not
have to squint against the truth of who I am;
soft lights, often-lies we continue to tell ourselves
this appears so flattering until we are laid bare by the dawn
my eyes slowly adjusting to the illusion of how flattering
you first appeared to be under soft light.

© Kathy Parker 2019

No. Means. Motherfucking. No.

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Here’s the thing.

No. Means. Motherfucking. No.

When someone claims to love you, but continues to violate your boundaries, they do not love you.

When someone says you are safe with them, but continues to violate your boundaries, you are not safe with them.

When someone tells you they would never seek to control or manipulate you, but continues to violate your boundaries, they are seeking to control and manipulate you.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s family, a friend or a lover. If you have drawn a line around yourself and someone continues to disregard that line to gratify their own needs, that person does not belong in your life.

It doesn’t matter how nice that person may seem. Or how well-intentioned they say they are. Or how much they tell you they love you. There is no excuse or justification for intentionally and wilfully disrespecting the boundaries another person has put in place to feel safe. Even if they don’t understand. Even if they don’t agree.

Too often, abuse survivors who have had their boundaries violated from a young age struggle to put necessary, appropriate and healthy boundaries in place as adults. We grow up feeling powerless, voiceless, and not worthy of being protected. We also grow up as chronic people-pleasers, seeking the affirmation and validation we lacked as a child, making it easy to disregard our own needs for the needs of others in order to be accepted.

We believe being NICE and KIND means people will love us. We believe being NICE and KIND means having to be okay with people violating our boundaries. We believe being NICE and KIND means having to tolerate people in our life who are toxic. We believe being NICE and KIND means never being able to say no, or speak up about how we feel, or have our needs met.

It doesn’t.

We can be NICE and KIND and still be worthy to be seen and heard, and still be worthy of respect, and still be worthy of standing up for ourselves, and still be worthy of saying no, and still be worthy of putting boundaries in place, and still be worthy of having those boundaries honoured.

And when we’re done being NICE and KIND and people in our lives still refuse to accept or respect the boundaries we’ve put in place, we can in turn be NICE and KIND to ourselves by telling those people to fuck off, and doing what we need to ensure they are no longer part of our lives.

We are never responsible for the reactions of those who have chosen not to respect us.

We never need to apologise for choosing to love, honour, respect and put ourselves first.

We never need to believe we aren’t worthy to determine how we deserve to be treated, and demand nothing less from those around us.

“No is a necessary magic. No draws a circle around you with chalk and says, I have given enough” – Boundaries

Beloved, Come Back To Yourself

This morning you woke again and carried the weight of your sadness into your day, and you wonder how you got here, to this place where you are so broken, so lost.

You no longer even know who this woman is, the one with the drawn face and colourless eyes. She is a stranger; a shell of emptiness and grief.

There is nothing left of you, only the parched skin that covers your withered bones. Somewhere within you a heart must still beat, but it is faint, and you wonder how it even draws life when you have given so much of it away.

You never meant to lose so much of yourself. You thought maybe if you broke off pieces of your heart and placed them in the hands of others, they would see the gift you had given them. Maybe they would know how much it cost you to tear apart your flesh, and they would cherish this piece of you that rested in their hands. Maybe they would see you, know you.

Maybe they would love you.

Piece by piece, you ripped yourself apart. Piece by piece, you gave yourself away. Sometimes for a moment, sometimes for a night. Sometimes for a promise that fell from a hasty tongue onto the barren ground at your weary feet.

But never for the love you so craved.

But it didn’t matter. You were desperate to be seen, to be loved, so you continued to give your heart away, until now your breath is weak and your chest is empty and you can no longer feel the life force that once pulsed through your veins or the hope that once thrived in your soul.

You allowed the pieces of your heart to fall through the fingers of those who didn’t know how much it was worth.

Because no-one ever told you how much you were worth.

But hearts as valuable as yours were never made for careless hands.

Beloved, come back to yourself.

Roam the earth, far and wide, and gather back the pieces you have lost. Bring them close, dust them off, and place them back inside your chest. Feel as you begin to mend. Watch the way your heart draws back together. Listen to its strength as it beats faster, the way it finds the song that has called your name since the moment you were born into existence.

Beloved, come back to yourself.

Your heart contains the mystery of the universe within its every breath. You are the ferocity of wild storms on a summer night, the whispered hush of the sun as it kisses the horizon. You are the thunder that rattles the windows of cities, the gentle harmonies that wash people clean with their tears. You are the fury of untamed oceans that lash against beaten shores, the softness of rain that lands silently upon fallen leaves. You are madness and chaos, passion and fire, stillness and calm; a beautiful contradiction that leaves the world breathless in your wake.

Beloved, come back to yourself.

No longer give your heart away to those who do not see the beauty that lies within their hands.

Love your own heart with every measure of the love it deserves, so you will never again settle for a love less than everything you have ever been worth.

There Is Nothing Easy About Breaking Generational Cycles

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There is nothing easy about breaking generational cycles. The responsibility of change carried in your often-weary arms. The battle to not only heal your own wounds, but also to not inflict those same wounds upon others. The overcoming of all that has come before you, the defeating of all that still tries to find its way back in.

It is heavy work. Back-breaking work. Thankless work. Exhausting work. It is scraped knees and blistered hands. Faces marred with sweat and tears. It is lost sleep and unheard prayers and always wondering if it is enough. If WE are enough. To do this. To be this catalyst for change.

But, dear woman, see? See the work you have already done. See the dirt under your fingernails; the way your hands have worked callous earth that fresh seeds could be planted; these fields now swollen with new birth, the promise of abundant harvest whispered to you beneath the warmth of this early summer sun.

See all you have already accomplished with the empty hands you were given. See how much stronger you are for the hard work; the straightness of your spine, the way your chin does not yield. How sure and tall you stand upon this land once covered in weeds.

You have been given the work because it is you who has what it takes to complete it. It is you who has the fire of determination in your stomach, the strength in your bones, the persistence and will to keep going pulsing inside every fibre of your being.

It is you who forged your way through unholy ground where others have feared to tread. It is you who remains unflinching and courageous; the heart of a lion and the spirit of a warrior burning inside you. It is you; headstrong and uncompromising, who will not rest until the work is finished.

I know these days of planting have been long, and hard. But see the way the light has shifted; the way the shadows have become less, days stretching out beneath beams of warmth and hope.

Dear woman, I know there is nothing easy about breaking generational cycles.

But see?

The harvest is near. The harvest is near.