INFLUENCE

I am going to be doing some different things on my blog to switch things up a bit. This blog is an evolving living thing-far more than just the nuts and bolts of WordPress templates, domains, widgets and JPEGS that constitute it.

This blog is an extension of me and my inner world which I choose to share with you. I also like to believe this blog has soul-and the reason it has soul is that there is someone with a strong soul at the blog wheel, driving this operation (in other words ME). No offence to people who have weaker souls hides face…all I’m saying is I know mine is a particularly strong one  ;)

Why do any of us blog? It can be for all sorts of reasons, but I guess unless you are an extremely tentative anxious blogger who thinks EEK everytime you hit publish, I think blogs that persist and have longevity probably do so because they have some kind of overriding purpose driving them, plus a person at the helm who is confident about their purpose and who has the skills to execute their purpose. Getting those posts written and published-basically.

I blog with a purpose, but my purpose is evolving over time ,so I wanted to share how things are changing and do a mental exploration of it, writing pretty much as I think.

Puts thinking cap on and adjusts it so it’s a comfortable fit Imagine ‘sticking out tongue’ emoji inserted HERE

Blogging is less about my own therapy these days, although it is still therapeutic in the sense that is makes me feel better and I benefit from writing expressively about life and all it’s randomness.

It is becoming less about me and my painful and difficult feelings (I hope), and more about my purpose and what I hope to achieve to benefit others in life.

I have changed my blog tagline to describe myself as a writer (because I want to publish books and write on a freelance, read PAID basis) doodler (because that’s my fun escape and I think it’s a different way of creatively expressing my ideas) survivor (I survived abuse and rape without ending my life by suicide, and my post-trauma identity is strengthening by the day so a bit tick in the survivor box ) optimist (yep, because my outlook these days is increasingly positive and that is aiding my ongoing healing), and INFLUENCER – that last one is my focus for this post.

It is maybe unusual to describe yourself as ‘an influencer’. Not many people do this explicitly (that I have ever heard of anyway). In job interviews I doubt many people would offer up the adjective ‘influencer’ when they are asked to describe their skills and personal capabilities/U.S.P’s.

It is possible people may think it’s slightly arrogant of me or above my station to describe myself that way. Please for goodness sake don’t call me a narcissist though readers. I lived with a whole bunch of undiagnosed narcissists growing up, and I can assure you I am categorically NOT one of them. Narcissists are toxic. Narcissist are grandiose. Narcissists only intentions are self-aggrandizement and self-interest. They lack empathy. They will use you and exploit you to bolster their self worth. They care about image. They care about status. They care about how they appear, not who they are or who they benefit.

It is true I am beginning to self-promote with greater self-confidence and self-belief. But I don’t believe I am the blogger equivalent of an X factor contestant who can’t sing, stating in deluded fashion with all sincerity that they will be “BIGGER THAN ADELE”.

Nope. I know I have the skills and capabilities to back up my claims. I do what I say on the tin.

This is the tin…

LOL ;)

I do want to become someone who is known in the media for writing, radio interviews and TV appearances, but that is not because I like the idea of the whole of England and beyond knowing I was abused as a child and now have two diagnosed psychiatric disorders. If I was going to pick an ideal niche for getting famous, I would not choose this one!…BUT this is my life, so my life dictates my direction. I went through what I went through, and now as an adult I am trying to create meaning from my previous suffering. As in the amazing book ‘Man’s search for meaning,’ written by a psychiatrist (Frankl) who survived the Nazi concentration camps… if you can create meaning and purpose from life shit, life basically ceases to be as shit.

I believe by becoming linked with the media and telling my story and talking about my experiences more and more, that it will be making something good out of something absolutely SHIT. The shit bit being “my life to date”. I don’t want to continue to reside in this bog of shitness. I want to rise on out of it, shower the shit away and live a life with minimal shittability.

‘Shittability’ is a word I just made up and I think it means the degree of potential for shit things to happen in your life and for you to feel shit about those shit things that just happened.

I promise I will not use the word shit anymore in this post. I appear to have hit my shit quota in one measly minute of typing. Oh crap.

Showers the **** off and moves on

I want to generate a media presence beyond my blog, because I know I have the capacity to potentially help and support a lot of people. That inner confidence is based on repeated positive feedback I’ve had from my network of shiny friends, chums and associates (chums and associates are terms borrowed from my blog friend Buffy Devane to cover people I know on differing levels)-god love him and his English gentleman charm X

My shine network is quite complex (I think I will draw it…)

Here’s one I drew later…

My network of shine has a lot of well-chosen and lush people in it. PS. Where I’m from (in the North East of England) LUSH does NOT mean a drunk…it means LUSH, as in fuckin ace! :)

I am not a blogger who blogs in isolation. I am an extremely socially linked up blogger who truth be told often feels overwhelmed at how much communication I do everyday with so many people. That is all hidden and consuming and tiring for an introvert like me…so my challenge is to spend more of my time working on constructive ‘influencing’ posts on summerSHINES that will be read by more people… so more people can be positively influenced in one go. In order to do this I will have to invest less time on one to one informal chatting, supporting and advice giving. Sorry peeps :(

I am trying to be more time-effective and think of the bigger picture. I want this blog to be a bit less stream of consciousness, and a little more planned and structured and purposeful. My writing style will not change, and I want to continue to write and doodle in a way that expresses my kooky personality, but how I approach blogging will be a bit more purposeful and focussed in terms of topic.

I am going to write a series of advice posts, pulling together lots of times I have advised my friends about things and what questions have been asked of me, and doing some generic advice pieces. I think I’ll call them #SHINEOLOGY, or #summerSAYS ;)

Note-If you are a friend of mine who I’ve interacted with about very personal private sensitive issues please be assured I will not be describing specific things about you and what you’ve said. NO WAY! I totally respect confidentiality and value people’s trust in me, so I will only be writing generalisations, and a lot of the advice posts will contain the kind of general advice I tend to give to people when I’m asked about various dilemmas. It is a challenge for me to combine what I’ve learned from my interactions with several people to form a general picture and overview which I believe I can share and will be helpful to people who are struggling to make sense of, or make decisions on a particular issue. But nothing is individual, or identifiable.

Aside from tweaking how I post on here (not twerking-that’d just be weird), I am considering doing one-to-one mentoring/coaching/supporting, but on a small fee basis, charging for an hour of time on Skype or messenger. hides face

Imagine summer renacting this emoji.

Is asking for payment for my time cute? Maybe I can make it cute 😊😂

This is because I do need to earn money to contribute to the paying of the bills, and at the moment I invest A LOT of time into A LOT of people, while still remaining essentially unemployed, which is just not sustainable for me on an ongoing basis with a family to support. I am only toying with the idea, and quite whether anyone would want to pay for what I offer remains to be seen, it’s a bit of a leap into the unknown…but I am having to have a drastic re-think on how I do things and what is the most effective use of my time, considering my goal is to benefit as many people as possible and keep my eye on my longer-term goals.

If anyone has any thoughts, feedback or suggestions on anything I’ve said please let me know in the comments.

Hopefully, my new stall is set out now, and that you will embrace and understand the rationale behind the changes I wish to make.

Thank you to everyone who helps me to shine bright every day. Summer wouldn’t shine half as bright without you. I genuinely mean that X

PS. The digital version of my magazine article was published yesterday! Woop woop :) claps and cheers Here is a link HERE [Hopefully it’ll work…I am on p40 onwards, titled SUMMER STARTS TO SHINE! Cracking title don’t ya think ;)] Here are a couple of photos of it…(not that I expect you to be able to read the writing, but it gives you a flavour of how it looks in the magazine. I’m really proud…though too scared to read it myself as too self-critical EEK! :)

PPS. I got the letter from my psych-(Dr Cautious) today and it is one of the most positive EVER yaay! Here are bits of it…my fave bits :) ps. Imani Summer is totes my real name 💛💛

I am so excited my Mental State Examination was psychiatrically judged as EXCITABLE EUTHYMIC yaaay! (Euthymic mood is neither elevated nor depressed…I have only achieved the mental health accolade of euthymic on one other occasion in four years! I think it was in October 2014!!!

Dr Cautious SAW MY SHINE !!!

(I wonder how my sharpie drawing went down with her) lol ;)

Anyway I’ll stop wittering now.

Keep shining people! Xxx

MWAH

summerSHINES ©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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INSPIRE & SHINE

http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/today-i-rise/#.VlnAMzE-EnC.facebook

This is my Facebook post from earlier. I have no other words. This video has got me right in the heart x

**Interruption of usual social media vacuous BS coming right up.

It is literally impossible for me to watch this video without crying…why? Because this is not just a film to me. Not just something to waste away four minutes of my life while I have a brew and a biscuit and surf social media.

It is what my soul wants to do in the world-this is my life purpose.

It starts with my summerSHINES blog, but I can do SO MUCH MORE than blogging. I know I can AND I WILL.

I literally believe every word of this video, and with my recent accomplishments it has given me a taste of what my life can be and all the possibilities that lie ahead. When you have drive and focus and vision, nothing is insurmountable.

This film is dedicated to all the strong women I have the pleasure to know and the strong sensitive men by our side.

X

ABUSE OF TRUTH

This post talks explicitly about child abuse so carries a trigger warning as I appreciate this may prove difficult reading for some. I don’t personally believe child abuse should be skirted round. I don’t think words should be used that soften the reality of abuse, to make it more palatable…there is nothing worse in my view- and by worse, I mean, nothing more painful and traumatic in life than child abuse. I am a child abuse survivor. If I hadn’t suffered a breakdown after my previously repressed abuse memories came flooding back, SummerSHINES wouldn’t exist.

I would not be so motivated to write, and my writing would not be quite the same in substance or style without the trauma history I have. It has all made me ‘me’. Child abuse is something that never goes away. It affects your whole life. You never ‘forget’. You also never reach a point where you are “over it” or where you have “moved on”.

I prefer terminology such as moving forward, transforming, developing a post-trauma identity, or reaching a state of acceptance, rather than “getting over it” “moving on” or “leaving it in the past”.

Child abuse can never be left. Not that survivors don’t want to leave it behind. OF COURSE WE DO (!) But adult emotional recovery from childhood abuse does not have a beginning, a middle, and a definite end.

An abuse survivor will spend a lifetime in search of an ever increasing state of peace. But there is no end point.

In running (which I started doing in January) there are recognised couch to 5k apps to help you achieve that goal. 5k is seen as a desirable destination point. When you reach 5k you may be happy with that, or you may want to progress further to 10k, then a half marathon, then a full marathon. However far you wish to aspire to go there are regular marker points of distance…then you can work on running faster with no stops or walking intervals. There really is no limit except your desires and physical capacity.

With recovery from child abuse I don’t know if there are any psychological recovery equivalents to couch to 5k and beyond.

It is a fluid process. It is a daily focus. It is a constant background life theme that affects your thoughts, feelings, behaviours and decisions.

If I didn’t have this background life vision of transforming myself after childhood trauma into a brighter and shinier Summer, I am sure I may tire of blogging so much.

My purpose informs my writing, and it is rare I deviate from my summerSHINES theme which is post-traumatic growth, and the daily challenges of working towards that goal.

Recovery from childhood abuse is work. It isn’t play. It isn’t self-indulgence. It isn’t choosing to “stay stuck,” to “play the victim,” to “get the sympathy vote,” or “to manipulate people” to ensure they endlessly support us, which is what I think some people think about survivors who publicly talk about their abuse.

Societal attitudes towards child abuse victims can be cruel, cold and heartless. Luckily most people are not like that-but disrupting the status quo by  openly blogging or speaking about your experiences DOES  make our audience of people feel uncomfortable.

Today I posted this on my Facebook together with a photograph of a letter from my Dad refuting my allegations.


I am sharing this on Facebook with the message that child abuse happens. It happened to me. 

When you confront your abusers you hope they will admit their wrong doing. They very rarely ever do. Self preservation comes above anything where child abuse is concerned. An abuser will NOT admit to previous criminal behaviour, so you are left with an abuser who is refuting the truth just like my dad did here. This is an excerpt from his typed out letter to me. The fact he typed it and didn’t hand write it speaks volumes. No way could he have written these words in his own hand. He knows full well he is lying. He distanced himself from the truth by typing it out, as though he is writing some formal letter to someone he has no emotional relationship with. He seems to forget I am his daughter. Although to be fair, appropriate treatment and respect towards his daughter was lost years ago. I don’t know why I expected anything else but instinctual self-preservation. This is what abusers do. They lie to self-protect, and the victim is left to make sense of this utter refusal to accept just how much that person or people destroyed your life. This is a life lesson on child abuse, learned the hard way by a victim. (Me) 💙 If you want to share this post-this real-life letter from an abuser to his victim, please do. People need to talk about child abuse. It will be happening right now to children you know. That is the shocking reality of this silent epidemic. 💙

I hope the shock tactics will get people’s attention.

This morning I did something really positive. I went through the memory box of all the stuff associated with my parents-all the letters from them (some of which I threw away as they were meaningless to me) and things I’d written at different stages of my breakdown.

I am sharing them on this blog as they no longer hold the same emotional resonance. I did not feel anything negative when I looked through everything. The items did not turn my stomach or make my eyes well up with tears or anything. I remained serene and ok with it all-and THAT demonstrates post-traumatic growth in me. For me to be able to look at triggering items and not feel emotional is a HUGE step forward and an indicator of how much my healing is progressing.

Yesterday I went to a place where I used to go a lot with my parents but I did not feel upset or awkward. I was there with a friend and her kids and I just enjoyed their company and did not let anything from the past intrude enough to spoil my enjoyment of being out in nature.

That is post-traumatic growth in abundance right there. :)

Does this mean I’ve smashed the psychological equivalent of couch to 5k?  I don’t know, as there are no standardised markers of healing.

We all have to judge ourselves, against ourselves-and definitely not against other people.

This recovery process is LONG. But I am comfortable sharing some of these personal items as they no longer have the same emotional chokehold over me.

Everything photographed and included from now is evidence of what happened-what I felt-how I overcame it-and what exactly I was up against.

This I hope will bring home to you, whoever is reading this, the reality of what summerSHINES is all about. This is specifically what my blog sprang up from.

It sprang up from pain, and I am moving towards success-a future where I can take more and more of an active role in the media to publicly discuss the issues I’ve faced and how I’ve overcome them.  That makes me so proud!

But this stuff pictured below is some of what inspired it…the abuse of truth, the abuse of respect, the abuse of boundaries, the abuse of privacy, the abuse of morals, in my case the abuse of religion, and sadly also the abuse of innocence.

That is what abuse is. All of that stuff which created a paper trail, some of which is this…

Bedtime bear. What I’d cuddle at night time.

Here are two trauma work exercises I did-writing with my non dominant hand (my left) to access the childlike parts of me to allow them a voice. I was surprised what came out when I wrote.

No names or personal identifiers are published here to protect his anonymity. Because I’m a nice ex-daughter like that…but this is his handwriting.

Am I really a daughter with a loving dad? He seemed to think so.

SummerSHINES 

One more time…the typed out letter from a father to a daughter, trying to pretend he didn’t do it.

 And my empowering song lyrics…music I used to listen to to fire me up…plus a poem x


 

 

 

TOTES EMOTES

These were given as a Christmas present to my eldest daughter and I’ve only just looked through them.

They are a set of flashcards to make sense of the world of emojis-what they mean, and how they can in some circumstances be wrongly construed (defeating the object of why they’re there in the first place!?)

Emojis are meant to make virtual communication with strangers online (or even friends), easier by making it clearer how we actually feel when we type out a comment or reply….But it doesn’t always work this way, as not everyone interprets emoji useage in the same way. We all have different emoji styles. Just like back at school- even though we all receive the exact same uniform list, we know that not everyone will rock up to the school gates looking exactly the same. Rules are there. But rules are not kept. And not everyone understands the rules in quite the same way.

Emoji use is one factor influencing how we end up perceiving the personality and intentions of the person we’re interacting with-particularly when it is someone we’ve never met before and have only ever interacted with via our keyboards.

We have all heard of the statistic that 97 percent of communication is non-verbal.
These days is 97 percent of our virtual communication emoji based??

Are emojis the new non-verbals?

What about how we pose (or don’t pose) for a selfie? Does that affect how we are perceived by others who have never physically sat in front of us? I think so. People tend to like my selfies. I don’t know why but they do. People will have to tell me what you think about me based on a selfie…when you have never met me.

Any thoughts? Assessments? Snap judgments? What do you infer about my personality based on a selfie? You can be brutally honest here. I’m just curious how much people’s evaluations match up to my self-concept.

The majority of my social contact with humans is with my husband and kids-then online. (Facebook, WordPress etc.) I cannot bring myself to communicate that much on Instagram, and I stopped tweeting on Twatter some time ago. I am totally emoji’d up the eye balls already on my blog and Facebook. Online communication is tiring. We are still socialising. We are still figuring each other out. We are still deconstructing and decoding social rules. We are still considering online etiquette. We are still pondering whether that person is offended by something we said or whether that person is being ‘off’ with us because normally person X signs off a message with three kisses and today it is two, or they didn’t put a smiley on “OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE WRONG!!”…Then we have to actually use brain cells and engage our pre-frontal cortex to engage in rational thought processes where we go through in our heads all the potential reasons why this person would reduce the kiss quota or go easy on the smileys.

We actually use our brains to do this paranoid rumination. What a drain on precious resources!

Emojis can reassure, but can also signal danger or social threat when rules or expectations are not adhered to.

If someone sends me a blog comment or comments on my Facebook or writes on messenger etc- sometimes I am genuinely too knackered and overwhelmed to concentrate enough to write back immediately and it might be a couple of days…but I worry that they’ll think I’m blanking them. I am not….I am just tired. Simple as.
Not responding to a message or text these days is the modern day equivalent of blanking someone you know who you meet on the street, or seeing someone on the opposite pavement and not being in a sociable mood so putting your hat down further over your eyes to make yourself as unseen as possible and hoping they won’t see you.

People now know if you’ve read a message they’ve sent you. Thank you technology for this gift of unending stress! Are read receipts really neccesary?! I mean-c’mon technology people! Have you heard of a thing called privacy? No one can ever hide anymore and that is not good for introverts like me.

I like introverting a great deal.

I don’t recoup energy from social chit chat. That kind of thing drains me.
My commenting prompt on my blog says I don’t always write back depending on mood. Some people might think that is rude. But I feel a need to manage people’s expectations of me socially.

I am drained by any type of social stuff. I love solitude and being alone in my own thoughts.

Sometimes I get so frustrated that there are so many online people I really like and admire and respect- yet cannot sit in a writer-friendly coffee shop that sells all things artisan, chatting about intelligent thoughtful stuff over a giant slab of cake. I miss that reality. Emojis-however well executed and appropriately used in typed out messages are not going to make me feel the same as a real person would. Yet online is where the like minded people are. So I can’t drop this virtual life completely. I feel attached to you all. I feel I need and want you in my life.

But all these fucking emojis and analysing every social consequence of every punctuation mark! Fuck me it is tiring and taxing and a pain in the arse!!
Save me from a life of emojis :(

I have friends on the autistic spectrum. How on earth do they cope with emoji selection when writing messages?! This is all totes stressful to me…totes emotes actually 😊😀😂😃😄😇😨😳😲😱😵😣😩😍😋😜😚😎😔😫🙈🙉🙊💪❤💛👊💟💞👐💖💗✌👌👍

In the comments section I am interested to hear your stories on Internet communication-what effect emojis have on how you perceive people’s feelings towards you (are emojis good/bad/useless), and how you think a stranger might perceive you based on a selfie :) X

SummerSHINES ©

4 SHADES OF GREEN

A sharpie offering…explaining how it feels to be a harassed mum in the school holidays….In my summerSHINES world anyway…

Tomorrow is day nine. The last day. On Monday my life will become safe-routine-ordered-planned-controlled-ok-zen-calm.

When I was childless I never ever appreciated my ability to control my stimulation and socialisation levels. I took it for granted. The overstimulation of parenting and emotional taxes of it are far harder than I ever imagined they would be. 

I thought parenting two girls would be like a princess fairytale. 

It will be…once they go to bed and I can enjoy some hours of peace to restore me for the next sensory onslaught tomorrow.
On Monday morning I will probably cry with relief when I drop them at school. I actually mean that…I don’t say things on my blog I don’t mean. In order for me to keep well I require certain conditions…unfortunately many of the things that keep me well are unintentionally scuppered by my children…who are just ‘being children’. They are not doing anything wrong so I am never angry with them. 

But neither am I wrong for expressing how difficult I find parenting during school holidays when I have chronic illness.

If my chronic illness was physical it would be easier to express my feelings around this. But my illness is invisible. Some people still don’t believe mental illness is real!

It is very real…and I write this with tears in my eyes.

I LOVE my children so much. But I don’t love how I feel when I am with them 24-7 with a constant soundtrack of noise and PTSD aggrevating movement.

Noise hurts. 

Unpredictable movement startles me.

Touch causes panic. 

I am so bloody desperate to feel calm. Nobody told me it would be this hard :(

SummerSHINES