The Art of Taking Up Space

This week has been less work and more yoga; a gentle coming back to myself. Connecting breath to body, body to mind. Being still, and present. Remembering my worth beyond productivity and performance. Working through blockages. Making changes where I can. Finding acceptance and peace where I cannot.

The thing that continued to come up this week was our worth: how we either play small, or strive and compete to be seen. How both of these things are disempowering, and exhausting.

In a world where we are conditioned to remain small, yoga reminds us to take up space. We weren’t created to contain ourselves inside the expectations of others, or inside the walls of our own fears and inadequacies. We do not need to shrink ourselves to be accepted; to remain compliant and submissive to keep those around us comfortable and unthreatened.

However, we also do not need to force our worth upon others; to push and shove and elbow our way through the crowd to be seen. We do not need to yell the loudest to be heard. We do not need to compete with others, to strive to be better than those around us so our worth is seen and acknowledged.

I have always been more inclined to shrink; to believe I am not enough. The last while, I have felt small. So incredibly small. Through yoga, I am reminded to create space — to stretch beyond the limits of what I believe I am capable of.

As I inhale space and exhale surrender, I am reminded this is how we learn to take up more space in the world: every day we breathe a little deeper and stretch a little longer and push a little further against the constraints of our society, of expectations, of ourselves.

We already stand inside the space we have been given. One we do not have to shrink to fit inside. But also one we do not need to be afraid to fill. We learn to take up more space as we learn to stretch into the bold and sure truth of our existence.

Happy weekend x

(Also, someone come clean my windows, thx)

When The Threads Of Our Healing Become Loose

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I’ve not been myself in the last while.

I can always tell when something needs dealing with by how adamantly I avoid the page — I couldn’t tell you the last time I wrote. Really wrote. Writing is confronting; if you choose to write without filter, to write from the naked marrow of your bones, there becomes nowhere left to hide from yourself.

It’s not an easy thing to stare oneself in the eye, yet necessary if we are to endure growth in all its disquieting elements. The act of writing exposes us. But such as a band-aid torn from our skin — callous, often ruthless — we cannot heal if we deny ourselves the necessary divulgence to light.

I pull at the threads of my healing.

The words spill out at 5am, tumble onto the ravine of my page and are dragged along with currents of jumbled thought; unnoticed. Only later, as my hands dig through soil while condensation from my breath mingles with dense Autumn fog, does this line snare in my mind, demanding to be examined. Such is the enigma of morning pages — that it is not our role to scrutinize or appraise our words, merely to write, uncensored, and allow our subconscious to bring to our attention that which it gleans important in its own time.

If you’d have asked me in the last while what was wrong, I’d have said nothing. Busy, I’ve been unaware of how much the last few weeks have affected me. Though I have written articles surrounding triggers leading to disassociation, it has been from an intellectual point of view — standing back from a distance and observing the process in motion, those thoughts not amalgamating with my own sense of real-time experience.

I hadn’t realised the permanent numbness of which I had been existing. The means of avoidance. The utilisation of distraction. The unhealthy coping strategies that had sidled in through the crack of the door when I wasn’t looking. I hadn’t realised I had ceased existing and was merely functioning, at best.

But this is what disassociation does. It covers our eyes, smothers us in a heavy blanket of bleak nothingness; we grasp it over ourselves because we cannot deal with the rawness of our pain and our emotions and our triggers and our lives. We are satiated by the weight of its suppression, mainline its apathy into our veins like the addicts we pretend not to be.

What we fail to see is how soul-destroying this extreme state of nothing is; how withered we become from lack of emotion and lack of connection to both ourselves and others. We realise too late the blanket has become too heavy; our lungs collapse as we struggle for air, terrified we will never breathe again. Terrified we will never feel again.

The pendulum swings.

I pull at the threads of my healing.

We pull at the threads of our healing because we know beneath those seams lays waste to a treasure chest of pain, destruction, affliction. We know it will cause us to hurt. We know it will cause us to feel. But we are ravenous for sentience; desperate and hungry to feel. Something. Anything other than the aching nothing that has consumed us to the core.

We pull at the threads of our healing with the restless, anxious hands we would prefer were occupied with a bottle or a lover or the lever of a slot machine; attempt instead to maintain a facade of fine as we battle against the temptation of our vices and carry on with our day-to-day lives even as the stitches fall away and our decomposed past drips onto the floor next to our feet.

We pull at the threads of our healing as emotional self-harm in contrast to physical self-harm. Systematically, we damage and sabotage our lives instead of our bodies — become careless and reckless with our choices, with other people, with ourselves; desperate for an outcome that will de-fibrillate the unresponsiveness of our existence.

We pull at the threads of our healing until, terrified of the wreckage we hold within our hands, we shove all that feeling back within us and pray to God the thread hasn’t frayed so much it no longer holds our destruction intact; left searching once more for the elusive middle ground.

This ongoing pendulum swing between feeling nothing and everything is difficult to navigate. Some days we step back into places we have come from and feel we have failed, again. Our healing will never be linear. And it’s impossible to measure our healing by how far we have come when the trail of footprints left behind us is haphazard and disorderly.

But there is an implicit difference in whether we choose to work through our destructive patterns, or spiral into them. How long we choose to dwell, or not dwell, in our reasons and excuses is what defines how far we have come. How long we choose to justify our actions as opposed to taking action. It is here, in this difference, our healing is measured, even when the thread becomes loose.

We tie the ends, and carry on.

Pretence: An Attempt To Make Something That Is Not The Case Appear True

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Cursed with the hands of an explorer,
I am persuaded by eyes as dark as caves,
always intrigued by the burial ground of people’s hearts.
I have become a professional in the archeology of pretence –
raised with dirt beneath my fingernails
I cannot help but dig for evidence beneath earth,
intention beneath word;
pick at meaning until it bleeds
then blame the wasteland for the flies.
He asks if I’m alone but not if I’m okay.
Letters fall from his tongue like charms of a bracelet;
I excavate truth not in the words he speaks,
but the emptiness between.
Pretence: An attempt to make something
that is not the case appear true.
Forgive me for wasting your time,
and mine.
I thought there would be more to find here.
I had forgotten how caves are nothing more
than vacant spaces
another would desire us to fill,
all the while left hollow ourselves.

© Kathy Parker 2019

The Silent Retraumatisation of Sexual Abuse Victims We Don’t Talk About Enough

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“There is nothing untoward in his examination yet I am not in control and this touch is not wanted and it’s too much and I am unclothed and vulnerable and overwhelmed with triggers and the only escape I have in that moment is disassociation.
 
The switch flips; in less than one second I am mentally and emotionally no longer present, retraumatised by a simple and routine medical procedure deemed necessary to potentially save my life.
 
It takes me weeks to recover and find my way back to myself again.
 
Two years later, a reminder letter comes in the mail.
 
I throw it in the bin.”
 

I don’t often publish my articles on my blog, but I want to share this one with you today.

Having a Pap smear is an uncomfortable moment for most women. For survivors of childhood sexual abuse, it’s nothing less than traumatic.

There is not enough help or support for those in this situation, with three out of four women denying themselves life-saving care because the fear of being retraumatised is greater than the fear of cervical cancer.

There needs to be more discussion, more awareness, more understanding, and more care for both victims of sexual abuse and violence and the people who care for them.

This article was incredibly difficult to write, but needs to be read.

Full article over at 10 daily today, link below x

Why A Routine Trip To The GP Leaves Me Mentally And Emotionally Shaken

 

#IWD2019

May we be women who do not judge the way another woman walks when we have not seen the dirt on her knees.

Who do not push another woman out of her lane when we are running the same race.

Who do not compete against another woman but cheer her on instead.

Who remind another woman of how kick arse she is when she has forgotten herself.

May we be these women, and may we raise them.

“As for my girls, I’ll raise them to think they breathe fire” ~ Jessica Kirkland.

Shout out to all the incredible women in my life; the mentors, the nurturers, the warriors.

The ones who have shown me everything it means to be a woman ❤️

#IWD2019

Day Twenty-Eight #PoemADayFeb

Hi. Sorry I couldn’t finish #poemadayfeb but, this.

So much this.

How often do we do this? Leave out the parts of ourselves we feel are unworthy and unloveable. Cross out the words we fear will turn people away from us; the ones we fear are both our too much and not enough.

February pushed me to the edge of my limits; despite all good intentions to finish poemadayfeb with glorious resonance, I just couldn’t make it happen. I messaged @laura and @paul last night, apologised for letting them down. They were, of course, full of love and understanding and grace; two people with hearts of pure gold who reminded me I have nothing to apologise for.

Sometimes life happens. It’s okay. We take a deep breath and try again tomorrow. Go gentle. Whatever you have today is enough. We weren’t made to achieve; merely to live. The road is often winding.

I’ve really loved writing the poems I have this month! Thank you to everyone who jumped on board and wrote along with us, your words and enthusiasm have been an inspiration to me. And thanks to Laura and Paul for being such kick arse co-hosts. See you all next Feb! In the meantime, keep writing x

Words courtesy of Alicia Cook 💗

New Spoken Word Poem Uploaded!

So, February has been crazy busy and part of that for me has been revamping my YouTube channel and recording some new spoken word poems as well as re-recording a few older ones in my swanky new studio setup, thanks to my firstborn, William Parker – Youtube – who, with over 100k views on one of his YouTube tutorial videos, is far more savvy than I’ll ever be.

Today I wanted to share my most recent poem, performed for the first time this weekend at the Paroxysm Press Showcase Series. It’s a reflection on the journey I have been on recently; the struggle to dismantle the strongholds of our survival and understand that allowing ourselves to become soft doesn’t mean we become weak; yet how tightly we cling to what we have always known.

For those of you who are new to my channel make sure you check out the other videos while you’re there – I’ll be putting some more up in the next while but for now I’m also many days behind in #poemadayfeb so have some catching up to do there first!

Much love x

Day Twenty-Two #PoemADayFeb – Sun


And when we couldn’t turn the page
we burned the book;
yet isn’t this the truth of love:
that we would rather
fill our houses with ashes
than promises;
that we would rather
curse the sun for drought
than believe for the coming rains.

©️ Kathy Parker 2019

Day Twenty-Two #PoemADayFeb – Sun

Day Eighteen #PoemADayFeb – Tanka (form)

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Rain beats like Morse code
taps the letters of your name
on tin roof pages
drenches my skin with wanting
still I wait for you.

© Kathy Parker 2019

Day Eighteen #PoemADayFeb – Tanka (form)

The Japanese tanka is a thirty-one syllable poem, traditionally written in a single unbroken line. Tanka translates as “short song” and is better known in its five-line, 5/7/5/7/7 syllable count form. Tanka poems are usually written about nature, love, sadness, and other strong emotions.

Day Sixteen and Seventeen #PoemADayFeb – Cusp and Unveil


And this is where we will meet;
this place in-between, where
we will shed our clothes and
watch all we have been fall to
the floor; unspoken promise
heavy beneath our tongue.
Your lips will taste of warm soil,
my skin of summer rain;
tear-stained earth, sweat-stained
sheets, thirst-stained promise.
We will write new stories on each
other’s bodies, volumes of words
we have longed to say, but couldn’t –
unveiling flesh, unveiling desire.
Yes, this is where we will meet,
my love, on the cusp of what
we once were, eager hands
grasping for what we now become.

© Kathy Parker 2019

Day Sixteen and Seventeen #PoemADayFeb – Cusp and Unveil (missed yesterday so throwing two in for today!)