“You Can be Broke and Self-Care” Exhibit Sept 21-26

About

“You Can Be Broke and Self-Care” is The Strange is Beautiful’s photo and interview project featuring 13 people in LA with mind obstacles (that’s what we call mental illnesses) practicing alternative self-care in their home or space. 

Expect to see polaroids, digital prints, 1-4 quotes of each of the 13 people interviewed, 3-5 journal prompts for each one, and self-care community events.

Visit it between September 21 and September 26 at Nous Tous Community Gallery for $5-$30 sliding scale donations (donate only if you’re able). Donations go to The Strange is Beautiful.

Sadcore Sundays: Yvette Young talks eating disorders, and creative ways to let go of perfectionism.

Nobody’s perfect.

No matter how many times we hear that, for some reason it can still be difficult to let go of perfectionism. For artists, this is often the case, as they strive for their work to be, well, perfect.

This was an obstacle Yvette Young, a 27-year-old Asian-American musician and artist from San Jose, California, struggled with, especially when she had an eating disorder. Currently the frontwoman of rock band Covet and a solo musician too, we had the pleasure of interviewing Young about how American and Chinese cultures affected her eating disorder, how she coped with suicides within her family, and more. To help you heal, she offered advice, created art and music activities, and a playlist so you can practice letting go of your own perfectionism.

How has your Acoustic EP versus Covet let you express yourself and relieve emotions in a different way?

I think that my Acoustic EP was more like just a way to make an album about feeling. I had a lot of depression back then, and I was trying to tackle themes like escapism and trying to kind of disappear or be somewhere else, or feeling like you don’t fit a mold or something. I wanted to address those themes. Lyrically, I think with Covet, I’m literally going to another place. Like I want to actually transport people with music and singing about it. I want to actually write instrumental music that can tell a story and if you want to leave for a little bit, you can just listen to the music and be taken somewhere.

As an Asian-American musician, have you ever felt as though traditional Asian ideals posed as an obstacle to your career?

I don’t think it has ever been an obstacle. I will say I have faced discrimination sometimes, like people assume certain things about me because I’m asian. People like to make the joke like “oh, damn asians are good at everything,” but I think that just show all the effort I put into my craft. I don’t take it too personally, but I wish that people would stop assuming that just because you look a certain way, you have certain skills. At the end of the day it’s all hard work. Actually, at the end of the day I would say that my upbringing helped my career, because it gave me discipline. I think that’s something in a lot of asian households, like responsibility, accountability, discipline, to work hard for something, and you’re not allowed to quit, I think that actually helped me work harder and have that same mentality when playing something, like I can’t quit, I can’t give up.

How has American culture and Chinese culture has affected your past eating disorder, if at all?

Yeah, I think that a lot of first generation kids probably experience what I experienced, which was cultural misalignment with parents. I think that parents that came over from China have different expectations, different values, different morals, and on one hand you’re raised by them, but when you go to an American public school or a private school, you’re exposed to American culture and it’s more individualistic and more liberal, and I think like open-minded about some stuff, so there’s definitely some classism there. I think part of the reason I got sick was because I didn’t have an outlet to express myself. I was just kind of following what my parents wanted, and I didn’t really have much of an identity for myself. I think a lot of people explore it different ways, some people explore it through body modification or something, or like a hobby or having some kind of outlet. I think it’s really important to have an outlet for that kind of stuff. My eating disorder came around because I didn’t have control over my surroundings and myself, so I kind of turned to food and exercise so I could have something to control. It’s kind of like self harming a little bit, I would hurt myself through not taking care of myself, and it was gratifying in a masochistic way. I think, going back to the culture thing, I think it kind of brought me and my parents closer and we understood that some things weren’t healthy, like total obedience. I think on the whole, our relationship improved a lot because we went through a hardship together and we went to therapy, and we kind of understand each other more now.

In one of your ask.fm questions, someone had asked about your tattoo “to exist in the world but not live in it.” They were curious about what it means, and you said you’re still trying to find words to explain it. Do you have any idea what it might mean to you today?

Yeah, you know, I’m really glad I got this tattoo because the more I live my life, the more I realize that it’s completely applicable to a lot of situations. Like, I got it originally to remind myself to not compare myself to others. I don’t have to conform to whatever the world wants me to do. I am an independent, autonomous person and I can chose to represent myself in whatever way I want and have standards and morals that I think are right. It’s just a reminder to myself that even though everyone around me may be doing something different, I don’t have to compare myself to them and if I disagree with something, I can stick to my guns. Even in the industry, I think that recently something I’m bummed out by is that it feels like a lot of selfish and backstabbing and manipulative people get ahead because they’re okay with stepping on other people to get what they want. That aggression and that individualistic mindset is kind of rewarded in American culture and in certain industries, like in the music industry I feel like aggressive people always get noticed. People tell me to be more aggressive, but it’s just not in my nature. I believe that you can be a good person and not screw someone over and still find success. I guess that success is also relative and subjective, but yeah, I think that recently I’ve been thinking about that and it’s like man, I don’t want to conform to manipulating or stepping on people. I want to exist in this space, in this industry, but I don’t live in it as in I don’t have to become that. I can still try to resist it and be a good person, or however I define myself as a good person.

Also in your ask.fm questions, you mentioned that a lot of your family members chose suicide or attempted. How have you coped with that?

I mean I struggle with suicidal thoughts myself all the time. Well, not really anymore, but I went through a really depressive period, so I think that just focusing on the losses in my family, I just remember that suicide is a permanent end. You can’t undo that. But if you kind of push through the hardest times, you never know what’s waiting around the corner for you. When I was going through my suicidal and depressive episodes, of course you’re not in the mindset to think that everything will get better. You think like, this is life, life sucks, like everything is bad. It’s a chemical imbalance too, but you know, you just have to remember that sometimes thinking about it in a very sterile way, like this is just a chemical imbalance, these thoughts aren’t real, like I wouldn’t feel like this if I wasn’t chemically imbalanced. Thinking about it that way is actually quite comforting because you know like once you snap out of it, everything will be better, and you never know what great opportunities are waiting for you around the corner. So just stick it out and no matter what, something good can happen. But if you kill yourself, then there’s nothing. You don’t have any more opportunities. Any of those opportunities that might have been there for you are gone.

How has your self care routine evolved overtime to let go of perfectionism?

I think I started realizing that I wasn’t enjoying experiences. I’m also a perfectionist with a lot of things, like music especially. I just want to get it perfect every time, and I think touring really taught me how to let go of hang up I have with getting, like a perfect set every time. In life, there are so many things that are out of your control, like so many parameters you have no influence over. I found that going out and playing in different places every night, having some bad shows where it wasn’t my fault and having shows where it was my fault taught me how to let go of trying to make it perfect every time, and it was kind of like an attitude change. I realized I wasn’t really having fun or enjoying the performance part, but the people in the audience were like super stoked even if I thought I messed up. So I discovered it is better to have an attitude that I did my best, I did what I could, and just focus on the positives, and of course keep track of what you can improve on. Just changing my mindset about it really helped me enjoy my performance experiences more, and now I actually enjoy performing whereas before I dreaded it.

Get Creative with Yvette to Let Go of Perfectionism

For a self-help sesh, here are some ideas from Yvette to help let go of perfectionism.

Musical Activities:

1. Record Freely

Honestly for this one, I just sit down at an instrument with the mentality that I am not here to have an end result or write anything and this whole session is about the process and exploration. I usually do this for 30 min-1 hour and I record the whole session. Then I’ll listen back and choose the moments I like the best and in future sessions I’ll expand and revisit those. This takes a lot of pressure off because you don’t have to think about having an end product to show and helps me view making music more like playtime/exploration time rather than work. Even if nothing sticks, it’s fine because you at least tried. The more times you try the more opportunities you have for something to stick and become something more! I do this most often on piano or guitar!

2. Jam Sesh

Another activity I like to do involves other people! I just find a friend to “jam” with or write stupid music with and it’s a lot of fun. We just improvise and make up lyrics and purposely make something sound really “bad”. Sometimes writing joke music can be really refreshing because it helps me realize that music doesn’t have to be a serious thing and you can just use it to socialize or have a good time with someone while at the same time building your ear! Sometimes we will record the joke song just to have a laugh and a positive memory.

3. Switch it Up

Sometimes in my band we also trade instruments and it’s a fun time as well! It’s like having a carpet pulled from underneath you and sometimes not having the comfort of familiarity can be really eye-opening!

Visual Art Activities:

1. Watercolor Washes

I do a lot of watercolor washes just to get ideas out for color play. You can do it with acrylic too! Basically you just get a bunch of colors on a palette and let your mind and eyes wander. You don’t have to think where you put the colors and you can let them bleed into each other or drip in an “ugly” way. Sometimes I even sprinkle salt over the watercolor to further “disrupt” the even-ness of the stroke and the result can be super surprising and cool. This is a great way to relinquish your desire for control because the end result is always unpredictable!

2. Make it You

I also sometimes buy thrift store canvases and “Enhance” them in playful ways…like I paint new characters or I just make it into an abstract mess. Sometimes I try to change the “meaning” of the painting if there even is one. This takes off the pressure of having to work on a completely blank pristine surface. I really enjoy the idea of working on something with a bit of history or the concept of a palimpsest. It’s kind of like a remix ;)

3. Make it New

I do this with my own old work too! I paint over a lot of old work I don’t like anymore. It’s OK to not cherish everything you make if you see an opportunity for something better!

What are three positive things you like to think of to uplift your mood?

I like to look at pictures of cute birds, that always helps. That’s one. And I always play music. Sometimes I don’t feel like performing, or I don’t feel like writing, but when I push myself to do it it feels so good. It like transports me somewhere and when I go to that happy place in my mind– it’s not even like a happy place, it’s like a peaceful, neutral place where I just think about the notes and how it makes me feel and like the textures and stuff. It really calms me down. I remember recently when I went to Japan, right before my performance I was having a panic attack. I was hyperventilating because I had a really weird altercation with someone and it was just scary. I’m also really sensitive, so I was just having a panic attack, and then I had to go onstage in like a minute. I literally wiped my tears off, and then my bandmates hugged me, and then I went onstage, and I played my heart out. At the end I was like, I feel so good, I don’t even remember my panic attack. I just felt really good to enter the music and forget about myself. Drawing makes me feel the same way, just creating something. Number three is finding good friends. Good people and good company, finding friends that don’t take from you, but like help you. I know that sounds really obvious, but sometimes I feel like I have had a lot of friends where I was giving them my time and stuff, but it wasn’t really reciprocated. So I think having good company really helps, like people to support you and people who push you. And people who will be honest with you and not just tell you what you want to hear. I think that’s really important, because it makes you feel like you have a family, and everyone needs a friend to lean on.

Do you have any advice for those struggling with an eating disorder or body image issues?

Yeah, stick to learning new skills. Learning any skill actually, whether it be dance or poetry or archery, pottery-making- anything where you use your hands and your mind to make something out of nothing. I think that any sort of outlet like that, any creative outlet, gives you a lot of power. And I think for those who feel out of control with their body or their lives or who are stuck with an eating disorder, I think that instead of focusing on yourself and your body, honing yourself into a skill and having an outlet is so much healthier because it gives you a voice first of all. Art and music for me is my voice. I’m not the best talker, I think that I’m often times soft spoken on some things, but I can express those things through my music and my art. It’s easy because I can put it out into the world and it’s not like I’m out there saying it, it’s like my work speaks for me, it’s an extension of me. I feel very powerful when I work on stuff like that because it makes me have a voice and I’m doing something. But I think in general it’s good to focus on something that aren’t external appearances because looks fade, everything fades, but if you have a skill, you’ll have that for life.

For a reflective and meditative playlist created by Yvette for when you need to feel calm:

Thank you to Yvette for taking the time to interview with us. She provided some really great insight into the mind obstacles she dealt with in the past and her career as an artist. She also gave us some really great creative activities to help let go of perfectionism, as well as a playlist for when you need to be in a calming mood. Thank you Yvette!

Listen to her latest EP below:

piano EP by yvette young

Interview by Nataline Ziola.
Edited by Shannen Roberts.
Artwork by Divya Seshadri.

Nataline Ziola (she/her) is a bi-racial writer who loves Marvel, pizza, and the beach.
Read her posts here.

Zine Review: “Processes: A Meditation” by Terra Olvr

There are many different ways to meditate that have been proven to calm your anxiety, depression or other mind obstacles, and to ground you. Some people like guided ones, where a person is speaking for the entire time and tells them what to do or visualize. Others enjoy practicing in silence, and simply letting the mind journey and wander to wherever it needs to explore. “Processes: A Meditation,” a zine by Terra Olvr (she/they) that I bought at their San Francisco Zine Fest table in 2018, is an inbetween option.

For each set of pages, there’s one philosophical sentence on the right-hand page that seems to both acknowledge daily mistakes and struggles, and to encourage taking healthier choices of self-love. And on the left-hand page, there’s a drawing representing what it would look like in a meditative physical form or “how the verses live in the body,” said Olvr.



Personally, I deeply resonated with a few of their verses, and often meditated on one of them for a whole week. Here are four of my favorites:

1. “Endless compassion that destroys my ability to protect myself.”

2. “Having everything we need despite appearances.”

3. “Staring at the sound of my own heartbeat.”

4. “Discernment between impulse and appropriate action.”

While their verses allow space for the mind to roam, they’re also a starting point offering reassurance, and an intimate feeling that the author feels your feels – they get you, they’ve been there, you’re not alone in these dark times because you are with their healing spirit.




Terra Olvr is a writer, poet, and author (“And Still To Sleep,” “An Old Blue Light,” “Processes: A Meditation”), and the founding editor of Recenter Press. Throughout their life, Olvr has followed a spiritual path including studying in ashrams and monasteries, practicing nonviolent communication and Vipassana (a meditation technique emphasizing “to see things as they really are”), wandering naturally into new habitats in eco-communities, India, China, SF and now Philadelphia, and completing a pilgrimage. In their work they explore unlearning toxic conditioning, mindfulness, working through experiences of trauma and exploitation, and collective liberation.” Below, Olvr talks about the deep meaning of their zine “Processes: A Meditation,” the impact their experience in China had in creating it, and how they hope it will support the healing of those who read it.

Mini Q&A with Terra Olvr

Tell us about your zine.

These illustrated verses are a witnessing of one’s self, in all that we have, in all that we’ve lost, in all that’s on its way to us. Processes: A Meditation unravels a small, unclouded window into a life in reflection of itself, as energy felt through the body, with the intent to bring ​the reader back to their awareness; their spiritual center.

Why did you make this zine?

I wrote Processes: A Meditation during an artist residency at The Schoolhouse of Mutianyu at the Great Wall of China in March of 2017. Each verse entered my awareness as I walked through Beijing, Mutianyu, and the Great Wall; they were some of the only pieces of clarity I could grasp onto while I was working through the overwhelming emotional and directional energy of a crisis. I think the verses of the book encapsulate some of the subtleties of my feelings, critically reflect on my decision-making process, and also serve as a motivator for the re-orientation of my life-path. The illustrations for the book were made nearly half a year later, after I moved to Philadelphia to rebuild my internal / external foundation, and are an attempt to show how the verses live in the body.

How do you hope your zine will help others?

In witnessing my own internal dialogue and emotional processing, and finding similarities or sameness in that, I hope that readers feel empowered to cultivate their own self-vigilance, to continue to untangle self-negation, and to develop deeper trust in themselves.

 

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Mantalai pilgrimage

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Make Your Own Self-Affirmation Flag Banner with Janie Johnson

Janie Johnson is a survivor of sexual and domestic abuse, and creates self-affirmation flags to help her healing process.

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Tell us about your self-affirmation flag banner.

My affirmation flag started in an art therapy group I participated in last fall. We were encouraged to create our own affirmations or choose from a list. I found the process of choosing resonant affirmations and creating something nurturing for myself incredibly therapeutic. On top of that, at the end of the process I was able to take the project home with me, allowing me to revisit the feelings of self-nurturing whenever I needed to. I kept my favorite affirmations on a list, and I continue to add and modify them. My flag is in my bedroom, and I also keep a digital version on my phone so I can access it wherever I go.

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How to Make Your Own Self-Affirmation Flag Banner

1. Print and cut out the following banners (or draw your own on paper).

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2. Choose six of your favorite affirmations from the list below, or write your own!

=&0=&a good person.
=&1=&self-care.
=&2=&alone today.
=&3=&to surround myself with people who care about me and support me.
=&4=&are valid.
=&5=&people in my life who love me and want to protect me.
=&0=&strong, courageous, and brave.
=&0=&an incredible person.
=&8=&about myself.
=&9=&I can feel better.
=&0=&an important person.
=&0=&a special person.
=&1=&good things.
=&13=&valuable and appreciated.
I value my individuality

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3. Use a sharpie to write your chosen affirmations onto six flags.

4. Optional: Decorate your flags with stickers, pictures or postcards.

5. Using glue, tape or staples, attach your flags to ribbon or yarn to create a banner of your flags.

6. Hang your self-affirmation banner flag on your wall, bathroom mirror, or anywhere it can remind you that you’re a BADASS <3.

What other self-help practices do you do?

Music, movies, and books have always been with me. When I couldn’t count on my family of origin for support, I relied on art. When I didn’t feel safe acknowledging my feelings of resentment, I turned to watching Charles Bronson shoot the bad guys in the Death Wish movies. When I felt like I couldn’t understand my father, I read Charles Bukowski’s poetry. When I needed hope, I turned to my favorite band, Pearl Jam. I would make themed mix CDs based on my mood. As I became an adult, that morphed into making themed playlists.

My current playlist is called my Empowerment & Positive Vibes Playlist. It reminds me how far I’ve come and it inspires me to keep going.

Empowerment & Positive Vibes

  1. “Ultralight Beam” – Kanye West
  2. “Paper Planes” – M.I.A.
  3. “Good Song” – Blur
  4. “Suture Up Your Future” – Queens of the Stone Age
  5. “Sissy That Walk” – RuPaul
  6. “Power” – Kanye West
  7. “Libre, Atrevida, Y Loca” – Miss Bolivia
  8. “Square One” – Tom Petty
  9. “We Did It” – Lil Yachty
  10. “Blessings” – Big Sean
  11. “Our Time” – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  12. “King of Spain” – Galaxie 500
  13. “Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues” – Eels
  14. “Magnificent Sadness” – The Growlers
  15. “Herjazz” – Huggy Bear
  16. “I Fink U Freeky” – Die Antwoord
  17. “Riding Round” – Kali Uchis
  18. “I Don’t Mind Failing” – Malvina Reynolds
  19. “Peace” – Depeche Mode

Advice for other survivors of domestic violence or sexual violence?

  • Your pain is valid. It’s okay to ask for help.
  • If the people you trust with your story don’t believe you, find someone who does. And never stop believing what happened to you. If others don’t show up for you, show up for yourself because you deserve it.
  • No matter what stage of the healing process you are in, you have already won. You’ve survived.

Janie’s Story

& more Q&A. *Read with care.

 

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My life has been #blessed (ha) by both sexual assault and domestic violence. Domestic violence entered my life before sexual assault. My father was an alcoholic, and he was very abusive to my mom and to his children. I can remember walking home from school with knots in my stomach, wondering if I would find police cars outside my house, if my dad would be sober or drunk, if my mom would die. The most damaging part of my father’s abuse was watching my mom get hurt while I was a helpless 5-year-old. My mother used to call my name when my father would beat her so I would come between them to offer her escape.

Because I was so young, I couldn’t process what was going on when my father abused my family. I learned to freeze when I was scared. This would set up the building blocks for sexual assault that would come later. During one attack of my mom, I was sleeping in my mom’s bed with her. I woke up to my drunk father arguing with my mom in bed. I heard him threaten her, telling her he was going to slit her throat, and then using some sort of dull object (I can’t remember if it was a pocket knife or just his nail) to scratch my mom across the neck. She had a scratch across her neck in the morning. While I laid in the same bed, I just listened, knowing there was nothing I could do to help her or myself.

We attempted to leave my father a couple of times, but we would inevitably come back. However, my parents began to separate. As my parents distanced themselves, both emotionally and physically, my father’s physical abuse faded. By the time I was in my teens, my father was out of our house.

During the tumultuous time my family was having when I was 6 years old, my oldest sister’s boyfriend moved in with us. He gave my family the opportunity to move to a 3-bedroom townhouse instead of the 1-bedroom apartment my family of 6 was sharing. He made himself out to be strong and dependable. He paid me special attention, which, as someone who grew up ignoring all my emotions to fly under the radar of a violent father, was new and welcomed. One night, while my parents were in the kitchen arguing, and I was on the couch watching Rugrats, he asked me to come into his room and he began to abuse me. As a 6-year-old I didn’t have the words for what was happening, and I felt to blame for it.

As is the case for many survivors, I had multiple perpetrators of sexual abuse. Around the time my sister’s boyfriend (now husband) began assaulting me, I was at a store with my mother. Even though I was fairly young, I would go off shopping by myself. While I was playing in between a clothing rack, an unknown man cornered me and stuck his hands down my pants. As I had learned to do when I felt threatened, I froze.

Almost as soon as I graduated high school, I moved out of my family’s home. My perpetrator, my sister, and my boyfriend were the only people who knew about the abuse then. When I planned my wedding a few months later, my sister suggested my brother-in-law walk me down the aisle. They were not invited to the wedding. In fact, I have officially severed all ties with them, a decision I thank myself for every day.

As it is for many survivors, sharing my story wasn’t always easy. One of my first experiences disclosing my story was to my perpetrator’s wife, my sister. By the time I was ready to tell my story, I was 14 years old, and I had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by my brother-in-law since I was 6 years old. I had finally mustered up the courage to tell my sister what had happened to me. When I told her, I was met with questions and excuses like, “what do you want me to do?” “Do you expect me to call the cops?” “You know, it happened to him, too. An aunt did it to him.” That experience taught me that my pain wasn’t valid, and it kept me quiet for another eight years.

At 22 I began to feel that everything I was carrying emotionally was unbearable. I sought counseling and took my first steps toward healing sexual trauma. My counselors were among the first people to validate my pain. I learned to trust myself again. I learned to trust my partner, my friends, and nourish my support system. I also learned to tell my story to others. I slowly worked on eradicating the ingrained shame to tell the rest of my family. Then, four years later, I got to a point that I was able to tell my story publicly at a local fundraiser.

The most important thing I’ve learned from telling my story is that I have to rely on myself for the empathy and understanding I never got from my sister. My strength comes from inside me, not from others. One important way I nourish that is through my affirmations.

Next steps for you in overcoming past trauma?

I have a few things that I continue to work through. One is dealing with my symptoms of PTSD. I struggle daily with anxiety and depression. I’m working to establish my inner feelings of safety and security. I’m also working to accept the ongoing cycle of healing trauma. I still find myself stumbling when an issue arises that I feel like I’ve already worked through. I’m trying to remind myself that trauma is tough to heal, I might be healing for a long time, and that’s okay because it’s possible. As one of my favorite affirmations says, “I am patient with myself and worthy of all the waiting.” I am trying to practice self-compassion. When trauma takes away your self-worth, self-compassion reclaims it.

Symbolically, how do you think culture – whether it’s American culture or your family’s culture – have added to normalizing domestic and sexual violence?

In my family, there is history of accepting abuse is going to happen. I’ve heard countless stories that extended relatives have sexually abused other family members, this ranges from people like grandparents and aunts and fathers, and these stories are told as if abuse is to be accepted and expected. There’s a trope in Mexican families about the “creepy uncle,” which also normalizes predatory behavior and makes a joke of it. The only way to stop abuse is to stop normalizing predatory behavior and supporting survivors.

In my personal history, this is exemplified by my sister’s reaction to my abuse. Statements like “it happened to him, too” and “what do you want me to do about it?” excuse predatory behavior and place blame on the survivor. The same can be seen with my father’s abuse. My family accepted his abuse because we didn’t know any different. If all we were exposed to were his physical outbursts, that behavior becomes the norm.

Tell me about the positive and negative reactions you’ve had when reaching out for help.

I’ve been very lucky to receive positive reactions from counselors and therapists. Every time I tried to minimize my experience, I was met with gentle assertions that my pain was valid. When I was a teenager, however, I had a doctor notice scratches on my arm that were self-inflicted. Instead of trying to find out what was going on and offering me help, he called me out on them and wanted me on anti-depressants instead. It wasn’t a direct call for help, but the interaction conveyed a message to me that my problems were more a nuisance than anything valid.

On a personal level, I’ve received negative reactions from family and friends after I’ve told them about my trauma history. One person asked, “what took you so long?” and another person said “you have to forgive him.” It’s not a personal attack, but an issue of education.

What resources do you believe are lacking for survivors?

Education! Specifically, general education to people who have not been abused. It shouldn’t fall on the trauma survivor to educate their families, friends, and significant others about how to respond to their trauma. This would also be a great way of educating people on how to stop normalizing predator behavior.

Similarly, training for the medical community about the far-reaching effects of trauma. Trauma has been linked to long-term and chronic illnesses, and while the physical illnesses can be helped, the source may remain untreated. As a child I was constantly in and out of doctors offices. I would have colds, migraines, and much of it was stress-induced. However, I received medications. When I started attending therapy as an adult, those constant illnesses and migraines disappeared.

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Photos taken by Janie Johnson.
Banner flag artwork by Janie Johnson.
Artwork by Thania.

Interview conducted by Shannen Roberts.

This interview first appeared in The Strange is Beautiful’s “It’s not as simple as just leaving” zine published on October 2, 2018.
Download the PDF version of it for free here.