Hillary, Has Written a Best Seller, Did You Forget?

Dear Beloved Readers,

Here is Part 2 of My Series about Hillary Clinton,

During that first presidential campaign in March of
1992 Hillary Clinton would come under fire from the media. During a campaign
coffee break, campaign staffers noticed that Hillary Clinton was having
informal conversations with members of the media.  Reporters began questioning her about her role
as a law partner at the Rose Law firm and its possible improper relationship
with the State of Arkansas when her husband was Governor. During the
questioning Hillary responded “You know, I suppose I could have stayed home and
baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my
profession, which I entered before my husband entered public life.” The
statement would cast Hillary Clinton as a feminist out of touch with women who
had chosen traditional female roles.  This
implication of “out of touch” would trail Hillary Clinton over the years, but the
Clintons surmounted the obstacles and in November Bill Clinton was elected the
42nd President of the United States. Within days of Bill Clinton’s
inauguration, Hillary Clinton became the first First Lady to have an office in the
West Wing. Days later, President Clinton would appoint Hillary as the Head of
the Task Force on National Health Care Reform.
Bill and Hillary’s new titles of President and First
Lady did not shield them from Whitewater. Whitewater was the name given to  the investigations into the real estate
investment of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their associates, Jim and Susan
McDougal, in the Whitewater Development Corporation, a failed business venture
in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Whitewater resurfaced on July 20, 1993 when Vince Foster,
Deputy Counsel to President Clinton and the man in charge of handling Hillary
Clinton’s legal matters including the Whitewater affair was found dead, his body
resting on a slope besides a civil war cannon with a pistol by his side.
There were multiple investigations into Vince
Foster’s death including one headed by Special Counsel, Robert Fiske Jr.  Fiske’s investigation team consisted of four
lawyers, five physicians, seven FBI agents, approximately 123 witnesses; as
well as DNA, microscopic and lasers tests.   Fiske would conclude that Foster’s death had
been a suicide.  Other investigations
would come to the same conclusion, but the Foster suicide remained a subject of
conspiracy theories. Some say the fact that Foster’s office was sealed from
investigations created suspicions that Foster’s office was sealed because Whitewater
related documents had been removed.
A year after his inauguration, in January of 1994,
Bill Clinton asked United States Attorney General Janet Reno to appoint an Independent
Counsel to investigate Whitewater. This was another first for a sitting First
Lady.  A few months later in May of 1994,
Whitewater would be momentarily pushed out of the headlines when Paula Jones a
former clerical worker in the office of then Governor Clinton filed a sexual
harassment suit against President Clinton. Two months later, Congress would
begin hearings into Whitewater.  Later
than year, in fall of 1994 Congress would abandon   Hillary
Clinton’s health care reform plan.
Rather than lament the failure to attain health
care reform, Hillary Clinton writes a book called “It Takes a Village.”  In January 1996, Hillary Clinton went on a
ten-city book tour, making numerous television appearances to promote the book
but wherever she went she was plagued with questions about her involvement in
the Whitewater and Travelgate, the name of the scandal which some
say ultimately led to Vince Foster’s suicide. Nine days after Hillary
began her book tour, the tour and Whitewater were momentarily forgotten when a
three judge panel ruled that Paula Jones could go forward with her sexual harassment
lawsuit against Bill Clinton. The Jones story quickly lost momentum, and the media
continued to besiege Hillary Clinton with questions about Whitewater. She
responds as she had on many occasions saying “I will do anything to cooperate
and to bring this matter to a close, and I’ve said that continually.”  Ten days later under subpoena from the
Independent Counsel, Hillary Clinton appears before a grand jury.  This was another first for a sitting First
Lady. Five months later, the Clinton’s former Arkansas business partners in the
Whitewater affair Jim and Susan McDougal and Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker
were convicted of fraud in the first Whitewater trial.  Forgotten amidst the Whitewater investigations
was Hillary Clinton’s book, “It Takes a Village” which spent 18 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List including
three weeks at number one.  Within a four-year
period from the date of publication Hillary Clinton’s book would sell 450,000
hard cover copies and another 200,000 in paperback.  A year later in 1997, Hillary Clinton
would win a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for her audio recording of her
book, “It Takes a Village.” Moreover, although she fails to reform health care,
Hillary Clinton led the fight to pass the Children’s Health Insurance
Program; worked to increase funding for cancer research and treatment,
osteoporosis and juvenile diabetes; and supported the Brady Bill and the
assault weapons ban.

Signed,

Brianna S. Clark
The Addict Writes

When Lipstick Becomes Racial

TO: My Beloved Readers,

A Mac lipstick photo has sparked controversy. The above photo is a photo from Fashion Week that the cosmetic company released via instagram.
The photo features a dark skinned model   with extremely full protruding lips wearing black lipstick. The photo received 30, 000 comments encompassing a wide range of opinions either disliking the photo or embracing it. I found the photo somewhat offensive.  It’s not that the lips are full, but the image is reminiscent of when white actors wore blackface. That’s the image that it triggered in my mind.

 Some Caucasian women distanced themselves from the company claiming the photo did not reflect  their racial demographic. With no racial animus implied. clearly the photo did not reflect people who are white.

What was Mac’s intention?  Was it a tribute to the darkest spectrum of skin color ? A tribute to the fullest extent of the human lip during Black History Month? Or was it an example of a big conglomerate who derives a substantial amount of income from racial groups about which it  knows little? A third cynical  option is that the photo got people talking about MAC makeup.

M.A.C. has long courted
various ethnic groups, including black Americans, and Estée Lauder sees the
brand as the key to unlocking growth in emerging markets.
M.A.C. is already the
best-selling high-end makeup in Brazil, India, South Africa, and Turkey,
according to the company. The brand’s tony stores are a revelation in nations
such as Nigeria, where Western-style retailers are so scarce that wealthy
shoppers must go abroad to purchase many upmarket brands. Once M.A.C. has a
foothold in a market, Estée Lauder sends in its other brands, such as Clinique
and Aveda. “The biggest play for the corporation, period, in terms of market
development today, is the M.A.C. brand,” says Group President John Demsey. “It
is the singular biggest source of growth for the company.”

In the past, Mac has apologized when creating lipstick products targeted to the Hispanic community using names like “Juarez”, however Mac has made no comment or apology, but posted that their product was  for all races, all skins and all sexes.
What do you think? Is the photo a positive image of black beauty or a thinly veiled insult?

Signed,

Brianna Clark
The Addict Writes.

We Were Designed to Function in Groups

My Dear Friends and Readers,

I know what its like to wake up in the wee  hours of the morning  filled with the fear and anxiety of loneliness; that sense of feeling all alone in a dark and dangerous world where I am incapable of meeting its challenges.  In an  ideal world I would turn to my sleeping significant other and feel the reassurance of  another body sleeping next to mine.  However, when alone and in those moments of emotional and physical paralysis for a few moments I feel it would easier to die than fight the enormity of loneliness.  In the past, when those moments occurred, when I did not have the skill to talk myself out of this blackness and simply turn on a light-literally and metaphorically, I suffered.

I have since learned  that the human species was designed to be communal. In primitive times, as a species we could only survive in groups. Because we are neurologically engineered for survival, chemicals in our brains  begin to fire off warnings telling our bodies you better be ready to fight or flee. This high level of hyper- arousal is taxing on the human body.

According to University of Chicago social neuroscientist John Cacioppo, the effects of social isolation or rejection are as real as thirst, hunger, or pain. “For a social species, to be on the edge of the social perimeter is to be in a dangerous position,” says Cacioppo, who co-authored Loneliness:
Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection. “The brain goes into a self-preservation state that brings with it a lot of unwanted effects.”
Cacioppo’s research suggests loneliness actually alters gene expressions, or “what genes are turned on and off in ways that help prepare the body for assaults, but that also increase the stress and aging on the body.” Animal studies have shown that social isolation alters levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that determines impulsive behavior.

The combination of toxic effects can impair cognitive performance, compromise the immune system, and increase the risk for vascular, inflammatory, and heart disease. Studies show that loneliness increases the risk for early death by 45 percent and the chance of developing dementia in later life by 64 percent.

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I have described the emotional pain of loneliness and listed some of its consequences, but what is there to do?
The obvious answer is make friends and create a community. This may be difficult for a lot of people, especially those who have isolated themselves for long periods.
But all it takes is reaching out. Yes, not everyone will want to be your friend. Keep reaching out anyway.

Fifteen days ago, I reconnected with the two women in this photo.  It’s a beginning, and I will continue to make new friends wherever I go.

I close by saying reach out and touch somebody. In the end all we really have are our relationships.

Signed,

Brianna S Clark
The Addict Writes

.

The Confining Box of Race

My Dear Friends and Readers,

It’s another cold wintry day in Baltimore and thankfully I am inside and warm and still glowing from a wonderful Valentine’s Day where I was able to do a combination of things that I love. I worked a little bit in Washington D.C.  Sunday morning. I came home to my wonderful home in the sky and made and ate a healthy Valentine Meal with my Valentine.

Today, I opened my news feed to find  a Saturday Night Live skit trending called “The Day Beyonce Declared Herself Black.”  It was funny and poked fun at recent comments made about her Super Bowl half time performance, that former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani declared to be an “attack against the police.” The skit made fun of white people who did not know that Beyonce was black. Really? The issue of race continues in its own unique and complex fashion in America. As an example of this discussion,  I would like to share with you a conversation about race that I had with a young woman while on the train from Baltimore to Washington D.C. 
I first caught sight of her when she was on the platform waiting for the early morning train. Reddish brown hair, green eyes, a ring through her nose and no- coat with temperatures in the 20’s. She happened to sit in the seat across from me on the train and began to chat with me. She told about  me her unusual family living situation where she lived with step parents because her birth parents were artists in New York. The conversation turned to race and I think I was the one who asked her what she racially considered herself. She and I are both multi- racial and I was curious how she identified herself.  Her mother is White, her father is Chinese and Black. She looks White, but identifies herself as Black.  As we discussed the issue of race, this young woman, whose name means Magic, so I will call her that, discussed the incident last year where a white woman posed as a black woman. Magic said that that incident made it harder for someone like herself who is racially black, but looks white. 
This meeting with Magic got me to thinking about embracing who we are and expanding the narrow confines in which we package things- including ourselves. In my own day and time, I too had chosen to identify more with one of  my multiple races  rather than the others. I  did not feel comfortable with identifying myself with either being Chinese or Indian because those areas of my racial ethnicity had never been explored in my family except for in the food, which often times included curry dishes. There was no or little reference to my Asian ancestry at all. If I were forced to choose based on the pre-dominance of a blood group, then technically I would be considered Asian. I am- since we are forced in this country to be at least 1/16 in order to claim to be Native American and one drop of black blood will make you black according to one drop rule- so although I am 1/8 black and 3/8’s white and mostly Asian, I choose to call myself an African American.   
When I made this decision  decades ago, it was not without  a lot of thought. I had been emancipated by a California court when I was sixteen and I was forced to choose a box under the Race column. I hovered over the box that said “Other”, but I didn’t want to be known  as an “other”. I was already an outsider. The coolest people, and everything that I loved was “black”, this included Dianna Ross,  The Temptations and Martin Luther King. Yes, this Caribbean born multi-racial woman, wanted to be a part of the race that included the Black Panthers and Malcolm X.  Besides, at no time during the D.C. race riots  which  I experienced as a child, did anyone stop to point out that my eyes were Asian. No, I was a non-white. I chose to declare myself an African American in the little square box of race. 
 Magic, my young train companion told me that she chose to declare herself as an African American because she said that there were  many more opportunities in terms of scholarships for people claiming to be African American rather than “other” or “white” which she clearly looked like. Oddly enough, this was another reason, that I  more than  4 decades ago had chosen the box next to Black or “African American.”
Back then when I made this choice, as I entered college in the early 70’s,  people had their opinions about my choice. This was manifested in many ways including the fact that there was vocal disapproval to me joining the Black Student Union when I was a freshman in college. I didn’t wear an Afro. My hair was shoulder length and my skin was the color of coffee with milk and my eyes clearly portrayed my mother’s Chinese ancestry. Twenty years later, while I was in law school one of my classmates who was Chinese and black and was a member of the Asian Law Club suggested I join that group instead of NBLSA which is the National Black Law Student Association.
After my classmate made the comment, I literally stopped as I was entering the NBLSA offices at the University of Washington School of Law. At first, I was taken back. He looked a lot more “black” than I did, and yet he had chosen to be a part of the Asian Law Students. I don’t recall what I responded to his suggestion.  I think I said, that I would think about it, but in my heart I knew that my orientation, my soul was aligned with being African American.
 Even today, there are people who tell me that I am not black at all and that the darkness of my skin comes from my father who is a Madras Indian- those are the very dark skinned Indians born in southern India. I don’t understand the need of people of any race to question what a   person chooses to consider themselves, when they are of multiple racial ethnicities. This is especially true because even though the race boxes have expanded to include “Pacific Islanders” and Native Americans, the choices are narrow and exclusive rather than inclusive.
Magic told me three sobering facts. When she was younger and living in an almost lilly white section of Baltimore Maryland called Roland Park, her teachers urged her to declare herself white. But Magic, who knows her Chinese Black father knows she is not “white” although her skin is the color of milk and her eyes are green and her hair is a dull red. She said, “If I had called myself white, or “passed” for white, every white person would know that I was really black and I would get called out for “passing””,   However, she says that while some people of color question her choice of  black, because her skin is pale and her hair is red, they quickly understand that she is in fact black. 
It is unfortunate that there is such a need to categorize by race. There is really only one box and that is the race of human beings and no box will ever match the diversity that exists within the human race. But, if you force us to choose then Magic and I are both African American.   My ride and conversation with Magic ended with me putting my name in her phone in the event that she chose to accept my offer of a winter coat. And yes, we should find all children and young people to be our  children and all people to be our siblings, parents and members of our magical human race and family. 
I close today with the wish and hope that you all live with joy each day and celebrate your uniqueness in a world uncomfortable with things and people who don’t fit within a box,
Brianna S. Clark,
The Addict Writes

Love Never Fails

My Dear Friends and Readers,

Tonight, I write about love and how my beliefs about love have changed and matured. Here’s is where I began my journey in love:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Almost 30 years ago when I first got married these were my beliefs about love, and as a general guide they served me well, but  I continually failed to keep most of its tenants. Despite the trials and tribulations of life I have always carried the last part of this biblical verse in  my heart “love never fails.”

Then after my husband died I began a tumultuous relationship with a man who stretched all my notions of love. First of all, he loved his work and he could get lost in it for days. I envied this since I had nothing in my life that engendered such passion. Secondly, he had a young child that he personally cared for and placed as a priority in his life. I was a distant third in his life and oftentimes he chose to care and nurture his aging aunt and his mother.

There is nothing in these set of facts that anyone could find fault with, except I was often jealous and envious of all the people who he loved. Moreover, I wanted to be the center of his universe and I was not. I wanted to normalize his life. He should turn his creative work life into something I could work with. Dinners and lunches and breakfast should fall into some reliable pattern.

It wasn’t going to happen, he was moved and designed his life around inspiration and the needs of his young son. Yet we were passionate about each other- or least I was passionate about him. In the end I couldn’t take being a distant third and ended the relationship with him.

In my initial analysis of why the relationship ended I came up with three reasons- none of which put any responsibility on me.
1. Never date a man with children, especially young children.
2. I felt I gave more than I received.
3. Never date a man who loves his work more than me.

On a more psychological level I realized that this man represented aspects of both of my parents that I had never resolved. But there was more, there was something that I  could not quantify, something that if it were not true would make most of my beliefs about life  and love to be false. Had love failed? Had everything that I had believed about love only been naive proclamations like “all you need is love.”

For two years I despaired believing that love was not enough.  I spent the next two years coming to grips with the fact that I had lived most of my life believing  in this thing called love which I believed was the only real thing and that everything else was an illusion. I read Rumi, the entire works of Carlos Castaneda, Depak Chopra on Love and everything that I could to explain why love
had failed. I don’t recall how and why I began listening to a DVD series by Wayne Dyer. He was not my kind of go to guy. But nevertheless, I began listening to what  Dyer  had to say about love.

The singular most important thing that I learned from listening to ten hours of Dyer was that if I wanted someone that fit into my image of love that wasn’t love- but only my ego’s projection of myself unto to another person. Secondly, love cannot be measured or compared. Finally, true love was to love the person exactly the way they were and exactly the way they were not.  Here are my new tenants of what I consider love:

I leave you free to be yourself
To think your thoughts and indulge in your tastes
To follow your inclinations
And to behave in ways you decide are to your liking
And you still have my love.

These were difficult words to say, far more difficult that the biblical words which to me were an impossible standard that only God had attained. I added to my new tenants that I needed to love myself more than anyone else and that there was no neediness in love.

As we approach Valentines Day I have come to learn to live by my tenants and there are times that my beloved and I need to calibrate our constantly changing needs and desires. I will add that after those two years of searching that I rekindled the relationship that I had ended. Things are not perfect but the love we have for each other is steeped in respect and care and this has been an on going Valentine’s Day for me.

Find your passion and your heart’s desire.

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Brianna S. Clark
The Addict Writes

What lays Beneath Your Anger?

My Dear Friends and Readers,

I have come to understand the components of my rage. The elements of my anger/rage are betrayal and or disappointment. The other components of this dynamic are my expectations and unmade requests. There is always dual responsibility when people are upset or things go wrong-unless “the thing” that goes wrong is an act of nature or God. And oftentimes we are blind to the real cause of our anger.  Sadly random illogical thoughts can rile us up even without actual evidentiary cause. Or we reignite anger by dredging up old thoughts and memories. Acting this way is a form of insanity.

It easy to be angry. For instance, my boyfriend is late and he’s not answering his phone. I could start off by declaring “He’s always late.” Then I could add ” Who allows their phone to die?” “He’s so damn irresponsible!” “He’s so immature!” “He doesn’t respect me or my time!” “I should break up with him.” This mental barrage evidences little truth. Is he always late? I have on occasion let my phone die. Is lateness always a sign of immaturity? And does he really not respect me?

But we don’t stop to interrupt the negative untruthful thoughts in our heads- at least I didn’t in the past. Now when I catch myself revving up my anger like a snowball gathering form and speed, I can slow the process by deeply inhaling and focusing on my breath as I exhale. If this fails, my next action is to ground myself by tapping my body in a predefined structure with associated speech. That process goes like this “Although I believe that (fill in the blank).” I tap my forehead as I add that “I believe this in my head. Then I touch my eyes and say “I know this with my eyes. I know this in my body” as I touch my sides. “I know this in my heart.” I repeat the taps as I say “Even though I believe (fill in the blank) I know that I do not have to voice my anger or act upon it.”  To those of you who have never practiced grounding by tapping, this may sound crazy, but it works.  Usually, I do this tapping when I am alone and not in public. However, even if I am in public and feel the need to control my anger, I do it anyway. Either way people will think what they will, but I am likely to come off looking less crazy by tapping rather than screaming in public.

If I’m  upset in public I have a different form of grounding. Silently,  I ask myself if the thought that I’m entertaining is true? I usually can answer “no.”  If I can’t say it’s not true, I ask myself does entertaining this thought serve a valuable purpose to me or anyone else?  If I cannot say no to this question, I ask myself “Do you have any control over what’s bothering me? The answer to that question is usually “no.”  If I haven’t calmed myself by then I ask myself “What actions do I need to take to make me feel better or rectify the situation? If I answer this last question truthfully,  I  am usually not  as caught up in whatever gabbled me and I am hopefully in action in making myself feel better. In being in action hopefully I am acting with more logic and more love, especially towards myself.

While my exposition of these processes may seem simple or easy, they will only work if you have a true commitment to control your anger- otherwise these strategies won’t work. So why does  controlling your anger matter? It matters because who were are to a certain degree is defined by our relationships. We cannot grow or develop in isolation.  Relationships make us stronger and create our best selves. Uncontrolled, illogical anger will damage our relationships or end them and nobody really wants to be alone.

These lessons took a long time to learn. They are not easy to incorporate, but each day not lived in harmony with yourself and others on this little planet, is a day lost that you can never retrieve. There is little joy in un-shared accomplishments and achievements. Accomplishment and attainment ring hollow if you experience them in a solitary state. In the end we only really want to be loved as our authentic best selves.  When we feel betrayed or  angry it is because we feel we have lost an opportunity and/or  have spent time and love on the wrong person. Yet, time is never wasted in love- even if it is unrequited. Anger hurts others and the angry person. Search to find what’s underneath the anger and from there you will find a path to what you seek.

With Love,

Brianna S Clark
The Addict Writes

Caring Communities Equal Safety.

My Dear Friends and Readers,

One of my earliest memories from childhood is of  me weeping and saying “nobody loves me.” That was me at five years old. The funny thing was that I held that belief -that nobody loved me and that I was intrinsically unlovable for most of my adult life.

I did not realize that I had operated out of these beliefs until I was in my late 40’s. Through therapy I uncovered  that this was my core belief about myself .What got me to therapy  so that I could learn this important lesson was a boyfriend who I suspected was cheating on me. I broke into his office to find him with his ex-girlfriend. They were working on something, but the mere fact that he was secretly with her was enough. I screamed and yelled at both of them, so that he had to escort her out of his office, because she feared that I would physically attack her. Later at home, I wept and I realized I was crying because maybe I was not good enough for him.

I was so stunned at how out of control I had been, that  I found a therapist and got the first available appointment. I was  fortunate that it was a therapist who specialized in addiction and abuse. He helped me unconceal from myself the unconscious thoughts that were running me. It was a valuable experience, but recovering from early childhood trauma- in my case severe physical abuse, neglect and incest, is like peeling an onion. You peel away as much as you can and then you practice in life what you learned in therapy. While therapy may not be a staple in most people’s lives- partially because as a society we are ashamed of therapy,  in my life when I feel out of control and I don’t know why, therapy is where I go to find out.

As I reflect upon how my abuse has colored and shaped my life, I see how because I felt like I had been damaged I felt “less than” and undeserving. I felt like I didn’t belong and that I carried a secret that would cause people to shun me, if they found out. I felt like I wasn’t good enough and I was lucky to get anything in life. Worst of all I blamed myself for what had happened to me.

None of these feelings which sometimes still creep back, are unusual for a person who as a child  had to plan and figure out how to avoid a father who alternatively beat me or raped me. Add to the scenario a mother who didn’t protect me or believe me and you create a suspicious angry person who was on her way to becoming an alcoholic until cocaine got me into treatment first. Succinctly said, I could not  perceive who I really was or could be.

So you might be asking, like some of my friends and family  members why am I still writing about this issue?  I write to provide information that may bring understanding and hope. Be clear, I do not write for sympathy or to receive comfort. I write not as an example of  perfection or from a superior position-I write to educate and to inspire. I also write this blog because I believe that it’s the silence,  the denial and society’s desire to just cover it up or get over it that keeps people ill. There is power in saying I am an incest survivor. There is power in saying I was once a crack cocaine addict. There is power in not hiding. There is power in telling your truth. When people are able to articulate what happened to them they remove the story from inside of themselves. then they can begin to deal with their trauma and when they can  do that, they can begin to heal.

Years ago when the aids epidemic was beginning, the gay community had a saying that “silence equals death”. Silence in the community of trauma also equals death- death of the soul. Tonight  I want to write about an aspect of trauma that I have just learned about and it’s called “freeze”. We have all heard about fight and flight, but for many children who are too small to fight back or flee there is only one other option and that is to give up and freeze. When  a person disassociates and disappears because that’s the only choice they have, they take themselves  away. As a result they lose a sense of themselves because in absenting themselves from their pain they absent themselves from themselves. Unfortunately, if  a child disappears and disassociates long enough it becomes a coping mechanism that becomes a way of life- not being fully present. When a child disassociates they numb themselves from  pain and terror but also they dull the pleasure of life as well. Later in life many children who had to freeze are ashamed of what they had to do to survive. Don’t be. We lived, but it takes active work to come fully present to life. That means being able to be present to what happened when you were abused.  Life is about being present to all that you meet in your full capacity as a human- not being a person who is constantly watching and feeling left out. This is not what life is about.

I have learned another important thing in these past few months and that is that  community can go a long way in helping to heal. Create community. When you create a community that cares and understands you, you create safety. I close by saying  reach out into your community. There is help. No one needs to suffer alone or in silence. I am here to lend an ear and a heart. I understand. I survived and so can you. I send my love to each of you  with each blog that I write.   I wish each of you healing and love and friends and family who love and understand you.

Signed,

Brianna S Clark
The Addict Writes

Dream Sleep is Healing and Aides Creativity

Dear Friends and Readers,

Last night I had a very bizarre dream. It was about Donald Trump, yes Donald Trump. Before I tell you what the dream was about I want to let you know that I am no fan of Donald Trump. I think he is a braggart and I hope he does not become President. With that being said here’s the dream or what I remembered of it.

Some how I found myself in the presence of Donald Trump wearing a silk slip like night gown- think La Perla- in the oddest shade of brownish pink. The body that I remember wearing the sleep wear was not mine- it was a thin small breasted younger woman- perhaps me at a younger time in my life. Anyway, it seems me and my significant other was spending time in one of Donald’s homes. Somehow, I found myself  in a bedroom (in the dream it was more like a high-end hotel room) where  Donald announced  “The night-gown is a loser. Horrible. Throw it away. Buy something else.”

To put this comment in context, a La Perla night gown costs about $1,000.00 dollars. I have never owned one, but if I became extremely wealthy, I would only wear La Perla. But this of course is Donald Trump and a $1000.00 night dress is a tip to a nice looking waitress. But let me continue.

Then Donald and I had a discussion about jewelery. He gave me an odd set of rings that somehow looked like his initials set in diamonds and connected with two bands. The rings were artistically attractive, but not for me. I think I said something about them and I don’t recall what he responded. However, the response was something like the rings were only temporary. I recall thinking in the dream whether the rings had belonged to his current wife Melania.

The next part of the dream was where Donald was giving me a very expensive designer ensemble. In my recollection of the dream it looked like a St. John knit which is a very expensive knit line for women. The odd thing about the outfit which was a mostly a cream colored dress with a jacket with a band of red and blue around the collar and cuffs, was that the tags were still on the outfit and that the outfit had been bought on sale. I thought that this  was odd. Why would Donald Trump or his wife (or his underlings who buy  their clothes) need to buy anything on sale?

As I was looking at the dress, it occurred to me that Donald had perhaps “dumped” Melania and I was going to be her replacement. Not that he was going to marry me- just replace her with me. (This is not exciting news for me, except for the life-style, but that unfortunately includes Donald.) Then in a surprising turn of events Donald told me that I should go home because I had come with my boyfriend and he didn’t think that it was good form for he and I to start our relationship that way.

In the last scene of the dream I am driving with my boyfriend in a car and I am only wearing a white Speedo bikini bottom with the word Speedo written in blue. My boyfriend asks me where did I get the Speedo and my response was “It is after all Donald Trump.”  The dream ended.

I am going to use this dream, which any of you are welcome to send me your interpretations, to segue way into sleep and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD sufferers, like myself are notoriously associated with disturbed sleep meaning that we don’t sleep well. We wake up in the middle of  the night often upset and in the throws of a nightmare. Many people with PTSD try to self medicate with alcohol or drugs- prescription or otherwise so that they will be able to fall asleep. Unfortunately drugs and alcohol further disturbs Rapid Eye Movement which is the sleep that really restores us.

Research over time has shown that both deep sleep and REM sleep play important roles in how memories change overtime. According to  Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD, the preeminent specialist on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder “The sleeping brain reshapes memory by increasing the imprint of emotionally relevant information while helping irrelevant information fade away.” Furthermore, Van Der Kolk says that the sleeping brain can even make sense out of information whose relevance is unclear while we are awake and integrate it into a larger memory system.

“Dreams keep replaying, recombining and reintegrating pieces of old memories for months and even years. They constantly update the subterranean realities that determine what our waking minds pay attention to… dreams help forge new relationships between apparently unrelated memories. Seeing novel connections is the cardinal feature of creativity, as we’ve seen, it’s also essential to healing. The inability to recombine experiences is also one of the striking features of PTSD.”

For many suffers of PTSD our brains are stuck on often times deeply buried horrific images that continuously cause us to be anxious or depressed and to mistreat ourselves by over eating, gambling, drugs, alcohol or bad relationships because we feel damaged and undeserving. Often times, the prescription drugs that we consume only blunt our reactions to these memories but don’t do anything to integrate them into our current consciousness so that we may understand and distinguish those images as the past.

While putting traumatic memories into the past sounds easy to do, in theory it is not. Many of  us who have been traumatized, especially those of us who have been traumatized as children, never seek the help that is required to free ourselves from the long-term effects of this trauma. As a result we live  lives where our brains and our bodies are in constant states of vigilance for the next bad thing to happen. This kind of vigilance, which is managed by our hormones, when they remain constant result in harm to our bodies which occur as fibromyalgia, heart disease, asthma, arthritis and a host of other physical ailments.

Over the next few blogs, I will be discussing more of the coping mechanisms as well as non-traditional types of healing from trauma. I hope to enlighten anyone who seeks to understand why they are constantly irritable or who cannot sleep or who is depressed. Understanding and coming to terms with  behaviors which prevent us from being our best selves and which hinder us in our relationships is a terrible on- going price to pay,  but when we do face these demons of trauma we can heal.

I hope that you will continue to join me in this journey of healing. In the meantime, I will try to figure out what that Donald Trump dream means to me. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I answer all inquires and comments.

In closing,  I wish us all peaceful healing sleep.

Signed,

Brianna S. Clark
The Addict Writes