A mixed bag

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Old Survivor Post but Still Relevant!–Reblogged

Published January 22, 2022 by Nan Mykel

10 ways I put myself back together after trauma


This is me at 17 years of age

I can’t tell you how much the response meant to me after I posted Til it Happens to you. The support was incredible! I was too overcome to respond for a while. People have asked how I got through it all. I suffered status epilepticus at 13, meaning I had continual seizures which couldn’t be controlled. I stopped breathing and was in a coma. It took a long time to recover from this event (it was predicted I wouldn’t). The next year, I met a monster, and was abused. The finale was being thrown off a building at fifteen. My healing has taken over twenty years. There are some things that have helped.

1. I can’t handle violence of any kind. I can’t discuss literature, nor movies, let alone view them, if they are violent. At first, I didn’t want people to think I was fragile. I didn’t want them to see the distress that talking about violence (parcelled as entertainment to the masses), conjured. I would pretend that it wasn’t hurting me. Nowadays, I don’t pretend. I gracefully bow out of conversations and invitations which would bring me into this sphere.

2. I couldn’t leave the house by myself, even to go to the letterbox. It has taken many years and many small trips to gather the strength to go farther afield. I plan ahead, and the apps I have on my phone make my preparations easier. If you are agoraphobic, be kind to yourself. Every little step is a triumph. My major incentive was that I had to get to the IVF clinic early in the morning, and simply had to do it. It made me braver than I actually felt! Now I take my daughter everywhere, and the freedom is liberating!

3. I have had to confront my deepest fears. The ones I was frightened of encountering, as I would surely fall apart. My fears included rejection, loneliness, being left alone and finding out that people weren’t as they appeared. Confronting these fears has been terrifying, and it has hurt. I have uncovered that people I looked up to were abusive behind closed doors. I have been let down and let go, but I have survived. I learnt not to leave myself behind in the process. Comforting myself became of premium importance.

4. People see a smiling, functional adult when you are out and about. They don’t recollect the child kept alive in Intensive Care on a respirator. They came into my life during a different chapter. I know what it took to get to here. The hundreds of hours of physiotherapy, the scores of surgeries… I have to remind myself of my achievements and give myself a quiet pat on the back.

5. Boundaries are a big one for a survivor. I felt as vulnerable as a newborn when I started to make a life for myself. I believed anything anyone said, and believed everyone was a friend. It has taken trial and many errors to come up with boundaries, and to trust my judgement above all else. It was a revelation, to give myself the space to honour my instincts. If a person or situation doesn’t sit right, and makes me uncomfortable, I walk away. It is imperative to do so, as I have a little girl watching me. I need to display good boundaries so she knows that its okay to be in touch with her own. It has sometimes taken me being struck mute in the company of somebody who is toxic, for me to comprehend that my body is trying to protect me by producing physical symptoms. I am free, and thus I get to decide who stays in my life. It may not be anything that anyone is doing. Rather,  they remind me of someone from the past. I still have to honour my discomfort.

6. Things will trigger me on a daily basis, and much of it is out of my control. It could be a song coming on in the supermarket, an aftershave I detect in passing. It might be a conversation, or visiting a friend in a hospital where I had prior surgery. Deep breaths are required, and sometimes a visit to the lady’s restroom to compose myself. I tell myself that my anxiety is a natural reaction, and I am doing fine. If I am with close friends, I will tell them that a memory has come up. If I am not, I will breath deeply, find a focal spot to concentrate on, and reassure myself quietly.

7. I will not drink to excess, nor take tablets to blot out a bad day. Sometimes, the memories hit hard, and along with the massive amount of pain I suffer, it becomes overwhelming. Alcohol is a depressant, and thus, is disastrous as an antidote. I will only have alcohol when in the company of friends at dinner, or as a toast of celebration. It only compounds the depression which inevitably comes after overworked adrenals have crashed. Instead, I go for a walk, swim or am otherwise active. It helps tremendously.

8. I will space out at times. When you hardly sleep, and are in pain, it happens naturally. When you put flashbacks or a panic attack into the mix, let’s say I am sometimes  away with the fairies! Writing (and preparing for a writing task), also lends itself to spacing out. If you holler at me on the street and I don’t respond, that’s why! I am escaping into my inner world, which is expansive and magical. I nearly jump out of my skin when I am walking along and a car beeps me. I remain jittery for the rest of the day. I am hyper vigilant; always scanning a crowd for danger, even when in my own world. It’s quite a combination!

9. You are allowed to say “no” to a request. You are allowed to rest. I keep going until I can’t, and at that point, I retreat for a bit. I have to. It is a revelation, when you learn that you can keep free spaces in the calendar. Even thirty minutes to sip tea and daydream is heavenly. I need time alone to restore and reboot. Time is precious, and I try to use it wisely.

10. My survival has been an odyssey of epic proportions. I tried to run from the memories. I attempted to smother them, as one instinctively does a fire. The smoke streams from underneath the cloth, and then the flames explode forth in a cacophony of rage. It is like burning off disease, only to have damaging adhesions form underneath. Running doesn’t work, and it certainly doesn’t help. Over many years, I have visited my places of trauma. I have wept and I have released at each site. I only did so when I was ready. You have to be ready. My natural instinct is still to run when triggered, but now I have tools. They come in the form of a laptop, a paintbrush, a pastel. They come to me as bird song, my walking shoes, my friends and my music.

When I was a child, I had big dreams. I had a determined spirit and an acute awareness that what was being done to me was not only wrong, but evil. I felt as though a cannon had ripped through my psyche, smattering me into pieces. Over time, I have laid out all the pieces, and put them into place. I am glued, sewn, fused and grafted together. I was once a china doll. Now I am reinforced and can never be broken again. It takes time to heal. You will want to give up. You will consider yourself beyond repair. You will want to run and you will try to escape your own mind. You will want to give up. Please don’t. The joy of finally accessing the tools to help you cope are worth the fight.







Published January 19, 2022 by Nan Mykel

It’s funny how some memories persist while others are scarcely registered or maintained.  For example, I have almost no memory of my visit to the Louvre, but many memories of…maybe incidents?  What would it have taken for me to have remembered seeing Leonardo daVinci’s  Mona Lisa, for instance?   Things about the trip that I do remember, for instance, include:

The perpendicular chain on the window of our cabin on the  slow freighter Marengo appearing to move back and forth as it was tossed to and fro on the north Atlantic…(It was the porthole that was moving, not the chain)…

Being introduced to the taste of a drop of rum in morning tea at a campsite in Bulgaria…

Unexpectedly meeting some friendly gypsies with a dancing bear in the woods–but I can’t remember the country…

Being interrogated at the equivalent of a police station by an official who was reading our passports until he came to the photo which caused him to turn the passport rightside-up…

Eating so many plums from the Bazaar in Instanbul that I got a bad case of hives…

Mistaking the drain in a shower for the local version of a toilet at a youth hostel in the early days in France.

Upon returning to Manchester to catch a slow freighter ride back home, we were afforded a few nights free because a strike was going on.

Lice at an overnight inn at Brindisi.

While traveling deck passage, the first thing I saw and heard when I opened my eyes the next morning were cliffs either side of our ship and far overhead the sight and sound ot a distant tooting train crossing a bridge over us: the Straits of Corinth.

The one-legged communist who ran the campsite in St. Remy and bought our bicycles, prior to our purchasing one Vespa motor scooter.

The wonderful beaded doorways in St. Remy.

Surprise that there weren’t any mountains across the lake in Geneva, until the mist thinned and way up on top of the sky the setting sun moved a hair, revealing alps at our zenith.

The expression on my partner’s face when a dog peed on him alongside the Seine in Paris and I had a laughing fit.

The sound of firecrackers when we camped in the Pompeii campsite, momentarily causing alarm when wakened by them.

Learning the small cafe in Pompeii had a special cutrate menu for campers like us.

The sight of a fountain in the train station in Marseilles that read “Defense de uriner.”

On the Vespa, traversing sandy roads en route to the site of Schlieman’s Troy, in Turkey.

Sitting in dejection when the guard at a Turkey military base wouldn’t let is drive through the area on the way  back.  I said, “But we’re on the same side!” until they gave us a military escort through their base.

I think it was in downtown Bulgaria where we saw a billboard with a fat pig on it with the label USA.

Camping at Monaco and keeping a low profile when the Gary Powers’ U2 reconaissance plane was discussed.

Surprise at seeing all the stray cats near the Coliseum in Rome.

Collecting a few fossils in the white cliffs of Dover.

A free visit to an emergency room when I tried to get off the Vespa when left alone for  a few moments. An unimportant broken bone near the top of my foot was diagnosed.  Can’t remember which country, but the emergency visit was free, I do remember that!

Maybe it was having to crane my neck to view Michaelangelo’s ceiling fresco in the Sistine Chapel in Rome that left a memory with me.

Being stopped in Florence in the middle of a foot bridge across the Arno by a man who charged us for crossing on foot.  We had just been admiring works by Michangelo , after having camped in an olive grove overlooking the city.

On the same slow freighter we took both to and from Europe accidentally, (by serendipity), we were almost the only passengers, and so we always shared the same table as the captain.

When docked temporarily in New Brunswick  we were astonished to note that when we left the boat we had to walk down the gangplank, and when we returned we had to climb it,  so great were the tides.

Learning to avoid looking at cars parked off-road in many of the countries.

Feeling ashamed of myself for getting so happy at the prospect of a hamburger, back in the U.S.


Published January 16, 2022 by Nan Mykel

A push back on the baseless election fraud claims by senior Republicans

The former president continues to berate anyone who does not support his Big Lie that the election was stolen from him. Senator Mike Rounds, from Pennsylvania, is the latest target of the vindictive acting former president. Per an MSN article called “Top Republicans stand up for Rounds after Trump’s attack – he told the truth,” more GOP Senators are emboldened:

“Senior Republicans are closing ranks behind Sen. Mike Rounds after he endured a scathing attack from former President Donald Trump for acknowledging the reality that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election.

The back-and-forth is the latest sign that many Republicans — particularly in the Senate — are eager to move past the former President’s obsession with the 2020 elections and instead focus on more fertile ground: The Biden agenda and their efforts to take back both houses of Congress in 2022.

Yet, Trump continues to hover over the party given his outsize influence with the base, his close hold over House Republicans and his ability to generate attention over his outright falsehoods and conspiracies over the outcome of the 2020 election. That has prompted concerns among senior Republicans that his claims over the election could depress GOP voter turnout in the fall, something that a number of senators blame for costing them the two Georgia Senate seats — and the majority — last January.

I think Sen. Rounds told the truth about what happened in the 2020 election,’ Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN on Tuesday. ‘And I agree with him.’

It should be noted the former president stopped an interview earlier this week on NPR when the interviewer kept asking him questions about his baseless election fraud claims. When it was noted that Senator McConnell does not support the baseless claims, the former president resorted to form by calling McConnell “a loser.” Well-articulated rebuttal is not the former president’s strong suit, one could say.

Speaking of losing, the former president has won only one court case out of around 65 court cases and has lost every recount, review and audit he has contested. It would be hard for him to lose any more than that, especially give all of the money spent to prove otherwise. In fact, some of his funders want their money back as they now feel misled by the former president. They were. And, it is finally good to see more push back on the Big Lie.


I Choose Hope for America

Published January 15, 2022 by Nan Mykel

Bravo! I’m re-blogging…


President Obama presents Congressman John Lewis with Presidential Medal of Freedom. Image commons.wikimedia.org

It feels as though the Doomsday Clock for American democracy and stability took a swing in the wrong direction these past few days.

Two greed-driven Democrats whose campaign coffers have been swelling with special interest money even though they’re not up for reelection announced they would not support even temporarily modifying the filibuster to allow passage of voting rights legislation.

Thus, they joined 50 Republican Senators in effectively killing the bill. Sixteen of those lockstep-voting Senate Republicans, as President Biden pointed out, were participants in the unanimous 2006 Senate vote for voting rights legislation—signed into law by Republican President George Bush.

The irony is that by definition, a filibuster is “an action such as a prolonged speech that obstructs progress in a legislative assembly…”

When the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 came before…

View original post 1,163 more words

E. O. Wilson (1929-2021)

Published January 15, 2022 by Nan Mykel

I just learned of the passing of the scientist whose writing first introduced me to the encompassing field of evolution: Edward O. Wilson, a Harvard professor for 46 years, who died on December 26, 2021, at the age of 92.   After he stepped down from his position at Harvard, the intellectually energized scientist published twelve additional books.

Wilson became increasingly concerned about mass extinctions and the effect on biological diversity, and ended his 1998 book Consilience  with the following words: “To  the extent that we depend on prosthetic devices to keep ourselves and the biopsphere alive, we will render everything fragile.  To the extent that we banish the rest of life, we will impoverish our own species for all time.  And if we should surrender our genetic nature to machine-aided ratiocination, and our ethics and art and our very meaning to a habit of care;less discursion  in the name of progress, imagining ourselves godlike and absolved from our ancient heritage, we will become nothing.” (Knopf, New York, 1998, p.298)

He recognized the seriousness of opposing forces to be reckoned with–“The time has come for economists and business leaders…to acknowledge the existence of the real  real world.  New indicators of progress are needed to monitor the economy , wherein the natural world and human well-being, not just economic production,  are awarded full measure.” (Ibid, p 292)


Published January 13, 2022 by Nan Mykel

I just realized that if you disagree with someone’s post (don’t “like,”)  you can’t respond to it.  I had just tried when I realized that, and therefore couldn’t respond to a creative  but questionable post.  I had thought to respond:  “Sorry, I can’t help populate your blog’s readership. My Likes go to those blogs which are marginally enriching.  I do encourage you to kick at restraints, but don’t want a hand in negatively affecting others. So sorry about your mother.”  (Maybe I just don’t realize how much I may be enjoying that policy also. being protected from negative feedback).

LGBTQ students are omitted from the list of protected categories that includes Nazism– in a new bill concerning re-structuring educational criteria in the schools, co-authored by Indiana State Senator Scott Baldwin. The bill drew attention when one of its co-authors said that teachers should be impartial in teaching about Nazism.  Nazism is recommended to be protected from criticism, but not LGBTQ.   There used to be a teacher shortage and I predict another one is on the horizon.  Daily Kos’s reporting on the proposed bill contains the concern that “Baldwin’s bill doesn’t just ban teachers from teaching that Nazism is bad. It also allows parents “to opt into or out of certain educational activities and curricular materials under certain conditions,” potentially forcing teachers to constantly adjust the curriculum for multiple individual students based not on legitimate educational needs but on the particular prejudices of their parents.  (Italics mine).

Moral Dilemma:  I’ve been struggling with the notion whether or not we have the right–or moral mandate–to interfere with other countries’ cultural practices, even if they are against humanity, such as clitorectomy or Sharia law any more than other countries have the right to interfere in any of our human rights violations.  It seems we may limit ourselves to providing aid to the victims of other cultures, but what have we done in the area of aiding one potential leader over another in other countries’ elections, possibly secretively?  It seems to be a murky area.  “One World Government” appears to be an anathema idea to many, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could all share amicable peace agreements?  The almost paralyzing prospect of a space war (see my earlier post “Who Was Eric Blair”) spotlights our vulnerability as a planet from ourselves.  A few have welcomed the notion of extraterrestrial “flying saucers” as a motivator to band together on Earth in a  truly united front … let’s say “bond together”.  And then I think of sharia law, and wonder.  Sigh, we’d have to get past our evolutionary limits and our insistence on the prioritizing of our own religious biases, and past the psychological need to compete, and think well of oneself by winning or excelling or amassing wealth, feeling ashamed if we do not measure up to how we think others judge us.  Undoing the class war is one gargantuan obstacle.  Will climate change or our own innate tendencies do us in first?

Melanie Nathan Reblog

Published January 12, 2022 by Nan Mykel

Pic: A lot of white men – and there are 9 more !

I find it fascinating that on Monday, the Washington Post (WAPO) published the first comprehensive database of every member of Congress who enslaved Black people. On Tuesday the President of the United States, Joe Biden, called out Republican Party senators in an evocative plea to pass the Voting Rights Bill, even going so far as to announce his support of changing the filibuster, to ensure its passage. There is an interesting sync in timing. A reminder of how history looks at the baddies! Those on the wrong side of equality, anti-racism, healing, justice, equity and progress. A hella lotta white men!

The President’s speech to the nation was especially impactful when he called out the 16 Senators who had previously supported the Voting Rights Bill and are now part of a silent recalcitrant Trump-led Republican-gang that refuses to even debate the issue.

So profound in its synchronicity is the very idea of history remembering and ‘outing’ these rotten Senators, in the way WAPO did of the legacy of the 1700 members of Congress.

The Biden-Harris strategy is to call for a vote on the Voting Rights Bill so that history will remember these particular Senators, especially in the event of failed passage. History will name and remember them for this only, in the same way as the WAPO has now recorded of the 1,700 men — and one woman, — who served in Congress and who owned human beings at some point in their lives.

As noted in WAPO today:

More than 1,700 congressmen once enslaved Black people. This is who they were, and how they shaped the nation.

Julie Zauzmer Weil, who covers Washington’s local government, first started the reporting for this massive project when writing about the buildings or sites that could be renamed in D.C. because their namesakes enslaved people or promoted bigotry in public life.

As infuriating as it is, we must name them and remind them – history takes note of baddies: The 16 who have previously supported the VRA are Sens. McConnell, Grassley, Shelby, Crapo, Collins, Burr, Inhofe, Graham, Thune, Cornyn, Blackburn, Blunt, Boozman, Capito, Moran, and Wicker !!

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. set next Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a deadline to either pass voting legislation or consider revising the rules around the chamber’s filibuster blocking device

Click to access 2021-10-26-Republican-VRA-Hypocrisy.pdf

Melanie Nathan



Published January 12, 2022 by Nan Mykel
dianeravitch posted on Diane Ravitch’s blogWhy Are They So Angry…About Masks, Vaccines, CRT, Voting, and More?

Marty Levine used to write regularly for the Nonprofit Quarterly  you can read his words on the foregoing topic also at

He ends his article thusly:

Have we reached a point of no return? Have we reached a time when the curtain can no longer be lifted and the little man, the real Oz, be revealed?

The answer to these questions will come from those shouting the loudest about their loss of freedom. Only when they realize that they are being used can we return to the real work of fixing our broken nation. Will that moment come in 2022? I hope so, but maybe I am just hoping that there are enough Dorothys coming forward to tear the curtains away so we can return to a saner reality.


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