Category Archives: Dare to Create

Dare to Create – Could Prince Charming be too good to be true?

 ADB4C6C5-2633-4C6D-ABA8-49F995A41053.jpegImage source – skitterphotos.com

Hello readers, and welcome to another Dare to Create article from #ProjectLifeQuality. Your creative corner, where we discuss our topic of the week and you are provided with a suggestion to take away with you.

This will be something designed to encourage, and motivate you to explore your thoughts through the use of the arts. In January PLQ began exploring the topic of Self – A Fresh Start, and we continue this theme in February. Todays article focuses on the subject of good relations.

Following on from last week’s article and my personal example of an unhealthy relationship, we are diving a little deeper this week and asking ourselves what good relations look and feel like.

I’m writing this on the international day of love – St. Valentine’s Day – ironic, I know. I have found myself thinking about the contrast between my first ‘boyfriend’ and my supportive husband of fifteen years and the songs played on our wedding day. With that in mind, today’s challenge and survivor story is a musical one.

Dare to Create – the challenge

This week, I challenging you to help me create a list of go-to music which can help us all find strength at times when we feel lost, unloved and without control. We have far more ability to change our situation than we often believe.

BC7D686B-A644-4A63-B1A2-67F08039ED40

The challenge – share your songs with us

  • Which songs remind you that you are good enough or strong enough?
  • That you are beautiful and powerful?
  • Lift your mood or give you courage?
  • Remind you that you can walk away?
  • Remind you what a good relationship looks and feels like?

The most popular suggestions received, will be added to PLQ’s Spotify playlist. 

These are my favorite songs for lifting me up

  • “You Make Loving Fun” – Fleetwood Mac
  • “How Long Will I Love You (2008 Remaster)” – The Waterboys
  • “Ice cream” – Sarah McLachlan
  • “Just the Way You Are” – Billy Joel
  • “At My Most Beautiful” – R.E.M.

Abuse leaves its scars and sometimes I need a reminder that life is good now.

Take time to ponder the questions in the challenge, look at the lyrics, then post your suggestions on Instagram. Please don’t forget to tag your photo with #plq and #daretocreate. The team at @projectlifequality loves seeing your participation!

Today I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a card. Both chosen with care and the aim of making me happy, telling me I’m special and loved for who I am. But it’s not the first time I’ve received gifts from a partner or admirer, so what’s different? Well, in my experience, a manipulator or predatory individual may use gifts as a way control your feelings and responses. (Love-bombing.)

This link explains it in more detail. (Remember abusers can just as easily be another gender, this is just more common)

http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/abusive-men-are-often-charmers-beware-of-gifts-used-to/article_4bde5066-c389-5483-8105-ca778d3d5b70.html

The video in my previous article also shows how giving can be a tool of the abuser.

https://projectlifequality.com/2018/02/13/dare-to-create-abuse-are-you-seeing-the-signs/

862018CC-1CBA-4C2A-83B3-33FDC6CE55E3.jpeg– Brittany Bexton

This week’s inspiration – Brittany Bexton

63872121-7571-43AA-8B5E-D655A6672954
Brittany Bexton in concert

Continuing the theme of good relations and music, today I’m going to share a snippet of an interview I recently did with Brittany Bexton, a highly respected singer-songwriter and musician, who’s talents are better known in America’s music magnet, Nashville, Tennessee. 

My initial impression was of a sensitive, confident woman who’d always had her life together and knew where she was heading, but in speaking to her I learned of the damage that can be done by abuse.

F28E7116-A022-4CAD-A331-9749B2FE4E3C.jpeg – Brittany Bexton

I was impressed by not only what she’s achieving musically but also how she’s moved on from the abusive.

3DD7F182-6DC0-4E0B-9E71-EFFB623A42F2.jpeg – Brittany Bexton

Brittany is now so much more than a talented singer, especially to those she reaches out to via Instagram and her website – http://www.BrittanyBexton.com Her social media platforms are also very inspiring, a place where she doesn’t only share updates on her latest gigs. Brittany is a force – a voice for survivors of abuse, an educator and an advocate for change in society.

You’ll soon get to meet Brittany properly, when I share my full interview with her, in one of our Sunday Survivor Portraits. In the meantime, learn more about love-bombing, and listen to her “soulful, rootsy rock with a positive message.”  You’ll find one of her songs in our Spotify playlist.

Thank you for sharing with us Brittany and for managing to carve out so much time for our chat from your precious rehearsal time.

Maybe this has made you feel like picking up your dusty guitar again or joining a singing group, or reconnecting with music you used to listen to, whatever it is, don’t let this day or this thought go – grasp it with both hands. This is the real you.

Be the person you want to be!

Sincerely

Rebecca Goldthorpe

PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist

 

Dare to Create – abuse – are you seeing the signs?

70D0B142-AB55-40F0-8720-AC139AC473AFhttp://www.pixabay.com

Hello readers, and welcome to another Dare to Create article from #ProjectLifeQuality. Your creative corner, where we discuss our topic of the week and you are provided with a suggestion to take away with you.

This will be something designed to encourage, and motivate you to explore your thoughts through the use of the arts. In January PLQ began exploring the topic of Self – A Fresh Start, and we continue this theme in February. Todays article focuses on the subject of warning signs.

Inspired by the courage of the many survivors I’ve interviewed for PLQ, today I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and share something I’ve told very few people. I believe that had my seventeen year-old self known that what I was experiencing was abuse, I’d have distanced myself a great deal sooner! If you’d like to know a little more of my story, you’ll find it below this weeks Dare to Create challenge.

“He lived just doors away, went to the same church, insisted on seeing me every day and for hours at a time. He also knew the layout of the college, having studied there.”

Dare to Create – the challenge

This week, I challenge you to think about what a good relationship looks and feels like.

The challenge

Describe a healthy relationship using five words. You can see what I chose, below the image.

1B901ADE-8AE2-4355-8153-0E07E69DC22C.jpeg

My five chosen words:

27C64163-4070-4C5C-BFC2-5CD361588E49

1. FREEDOM

2. CONSIDERATION

3. INDEPENDENCE (of thought & actions)

4. TRUST

5. HONESTY
What will yours be?

Be as creative, colourful and bold as you want, then post it on Instagram. Please don’t forget to tag your photo with #plq and #daretocreate. The team at @projectlifequality loves seeing your amazing artwork.

TRIGGER WARNING
This story holds content that might be triggering if you have been experiencing stalking, threats of violence or witnessed abuse.

Survivor story – a little about me

A74C6FCC-F41C-4A43-B8BB-B84511E3B8B4

I was the class nerd. I wore unfashionable glasses and was bottom of the class in everything. I was also desperately shy, insecure and very lonely. I struggled to make friends all the way through school and into adulthood and was bullied relentlessly. Those years were hellish, and I was only happy when away from the environment.

When not at school, life was good. I was fortunate to have amazing parents and when not bickering, my siblings and I were close. We knew we were loved unconditionally, and they were always there for us as we grew up, something I’m aware many of you reading this, sadly didn’t have. But despite living in this happy, safe family home, where I witnessed positive parenting and good relationships, I didn’t see the warning signs of an abuser in my first “relationship”.

I use the term relationship losely. Weird as this sounds, I wasn’t in fact consulted on the dating thing! He just told people I was his girlfriend and people assumed it to be true. He knew I wouldn’t feel able to dispute this, due to my lack of confidence. He also knew I was lonely. I probably should have recognised that this wasn’t going to be a healthy relationship, but I was naïve. I saw a friend in them and told myself it was okay, I would simply back-off if things got more uncomfortable. Little did I know how hard that would be!

Within weeks he was manipulating me in significant ways, overstaying his welcome, well into the early hours and straining family relationships. He found ways to accompany me everywhere, without invitation. He expected intimacy when I wanted none and even wanted me to wear a ring on my engagement finger, so it looked like we were in a serious relationship. He was controlling and narcissistic. Things turned particularly sour when I approached my exams. Carl hated to feel unimportant.

One day, while studying alone at home, he knocked the door. I knew he wouldn’t leave if I didn’t answer, so I agreed to a couple of minutes. When I continued revising, he got angry, took out a kitchen knife and threatened me. I freaked!

After that, I refused to see him, but he stalked me daily for three years. I told nobody and remained terrified of seeing him again for decades. Shame and disgust kept me quiet, but if I’d known there were warning signs of abuse, this may never have happened.

Warning signs of abuse – useful links

https://www.breakthecycle.org/warning-signs

https://www.breakthecycle.org/how-common-dating-abuse

https://www.equation.org.uk/is-it-abuse/

Though I dislike the American term “battered” and the genders stereotypes, this is a good video explaining the Power and Control Wheel, by the researchers.

http://www.theduluthmodel.org

Be the person you want to be!

Sincerely

Rebecca Goldthorpe

PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist

Dare to Create – the value of self love

0300752B-07B8-4929-AF3D-AC545E5A4C44.jpeg– Image by Bruce Mars http://www.pexels.com

Hello readers, and welcome to another Dare to Create article from #ProjectLifeQuality. Your creative corner, where we discuss our topic of the week and you are provided with a suggestion to take away with you.

This will be something designed to encourage, and motivate you to explore your thoughts through the use of the arts. In January PLQ began exploring the topic of Self – A Fresh Start, and we continue this theme in February. Today’s article focuses on the subject of self-love.

 

Dare to Create – Write a loving message to yourself

This week I challenge you to write a message of self-love. A positive message to yourself, in the shape of your hand – much as I have below. Make it a message which tells you exactly why you are good enough. That you are beautiful and smart and wonderful, just the way you are!

The Challenge – what you will need

  • A pen
  • A piece of paper
  • A hand to draw around
  • Some beautiful, compassionate thoughts about yourself

37AFB9A5-6158-4203-AEC2-11031A8D41BB

Here are some ideas of what you could think about.

  • Things that you are grateful for
  • Things that make you happy
  • Positive words to describe your gifts, skills and personality
  • Your motto for being happy
  • Things that help you feel good about yourself

Be as creative, colourful and bold as you want, then post it on Instagram. Please don’t forget to tag your photo with #plq and #daretocreate. The team at @projectlifequality loves seeing your amazing artwork.

What is self-love?

It’s a phrase we hear a lot nowadays, isn’t it? But what does it mean? If I’m honest, I referred to Google for this one, as I wasn’t entirely certain either. I mean, is it just about believing you look good, taking luxurious bubble baths, and allowing yourself a lie-in at the weekend? Well if you are nodding your head to this, you’d be halfway there, but there’s much more to it than that. In a nutshell, it’s about looking after yourself – your own welfare, and overlaps self-care. It is about allowing yourself to be, well, yourself. Doing what makes you happy. Putting yourself first and allowing yourself time to be completely and authentically you. The wonderful being that you are, but which maybe gets buried under your weight of responsibilities as a mummy, husband or manager, for instance. It may sound selfish, but it really isn’t.

D61386FA-C632-4582-84F9-0A21FFDE979E

It’s also about considering how we talk about ourselves and showing ourselves respect. It’s about not harshly judging our abilities and imperfections or punishing ourselves for giving in to that yummy slice of chocolate cake – if it made you happy, great! Consider it a treat and show some self-compassion. After all, if we laugh in the face of compliments or frequently belittle and criticise ourselves, how can we expect others to treat us well?

“If you talked to others, the way you talk to yourself, you probably wouldn’t have any friends.”

This saying is one I learned from poet Caira Lee. You can learn more about her and her message, just below. It’s a wonderful video on self-love and self-respect. I encourage you to watch it. It’s really inspiring and contains some fabulous spoken word poetry too. What a bonus!

 

Survivor story and a message on the importance of self-love

This week I was truly inspired by a video I found on YouTube and I want to share it with you. The speaker is Caira Lee, a national award-winning slam poet and author. She shares her thoughts on the great importance of “radical self-love” through a portrait of illustrations and stories, spoken word poetry and her big personality.

I found such a terrific message in this video, and I really hope you will put your feet up to watch this. It’s eighteen minutes long, so why not make yourself a cuppa and grab a Hobnob. It’s definitely worth sitting down for!

 

I search 4 it blinded: the power of self-love and self-esteem | Caira Lee| TEDxSHHS

 

Be the person you want to be!

Sincerely

Rebecca Goldthorpe

PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist

 

 

 

 

Dare to Create – Why did you stay so long in the abusive relationship?

help-164755_1280http://www.pixabay.com

Hello readers, and welcome to another Dare to Create article from #ProjectLifeQuality. Your creative corner, where we discuss our topic of the week and you are provided with a suggestion to take away with you.

This will be something designed to encourage, and motivate you to explore your thoughts through the use of the arts. This month we’re exploring making a fresh start. Today’s article focuses on loneliness and will be dedicated to this amazing being chris, a narcissist abuse survivor, he will be portrayed in our first survivor portrait series the 25th of February.

 

Dare to Create – finish the quote

Inspired by Chris’s honest interview,  consider the question below and finish the quote.

 

ACDAFF48-D5F9-4FCC-8D98-59790217088A.jpeg

So, how would you answer the above statement?

Perhaps thinking about when or how you left your abuser, will give you the answer. If however, you are still in the situation, why not share your reasons for staying in the abusive enviroment?

The circumstances of abuse are never straightforward and there are so many reasons why a person might choose to stay or can’t escape. With this in mind, it’s time for the challenge.

 

The challenge

Okay, are you ready to get creative? On a piece of paper write the following:

I feel a lot of people stay for so long because… “

Now complete the sentence.

Be as creative, colourful and bold as you want, then post it on Instagram.  Please don’t forget to tag your photo with #plq and #daretocreate. The team at @projectlifequality loves seeing your amazing artwork.

 

Survivor Story and background for this challenge

Allow me to introduce Chris, a loving father of two young daughters, an ex – serviceman who’s experienced domestic abuse in his marriage, for 12 years.

98E28924-B6AC-4B9A-99BA-0EE05D210278“I used to be a professional racecar driver into my 20s, very confident. Joined the military and felt invincible but after those years of being put down and almost tortured, I became a shell. Depressed, sad, always putting myself down. But when I got away it was a total 180° turn for me. I remember after the divorce I felt extremely lonely. I couldn’t talk to people. I pushed everyone away. But with time and after opening up and being honest I could hold a conversation with just about anyone. At this time, it’s extremely lonely. I focus on the good things, like my kids for example. I think about that day I’ll see them and how ecstatic we’re going to be.”

Hearing Chris reveal how traumatic and far-reaching the abuse has been in his life, it was hard to take in how this quiet, almost submissive personality could be the same man he described with such animation, prior to the abuse. To say the change in his demeanour and life situation has been dramatic, would be an understatement. One question this raised, which is a common one, was why did he not leave earlier? – or rather, why do people in general not leave sooner? Which is what inspired this week’s creative challenge.

The reason why I’m challenging you on this is that through creativity we can often find answers to things. It gives us a chance to pause and reflect. In doing this, we can better understand who we and recognise what it is we most need and want In our lives. With reflection on what has happened we can gently dissect the situation and gain clarity of mind, which is very important on our journey to healing from

Chris’s story opened my eyes to so much. I’ll touch on just a few things. His account helped me to grasp just how much self-esteem and self-confidence is lost when a person is physiologically and emotionally abused – and how long the road to recovery can be. Secondly, his courage in speaking up impressed me greatly. It’s never easy to share a personal experience about abuse, and this is extremely difficult when the abuser is also a woman. The stigma attached to male survivors of abuse is very real and damaging, which is another reason I admire Chris’s decision to share his story. Also, as someone who  identifies with being physically disabled and requires a wheelchair to cover distanc, as Chris does, I recognise the degree of danger Chris was inwithin his abusive marriage. It’s scary how easy it would have been for his wife to keep him dependant and trapped through her abuse of power and control, and understand how isolating and tough that must have been.

You will be able to read the full interview with Chris, on Sunday 25th February. I hope you’ll return to read it.

Thank you for sharing so openly with us Chris.

Be the person you want to be!

Sincerely

Rebecca Goldthorpe

PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist

Dare to Create – How you can find freedom through creativity

AB3593E7-76D8-43DA-B7DD-C04316FFC400http://www.pexels.com

Dare to Create – addiction, abuse and sexuality – finding expression through art with Cai Vescuso

Hello readers, and welcome to another Dare You Create article from #ProjectLifeQuality. Your creative corner, where we discuss our topic of the week and you are provided with a suggestion to take away with you.

This will be something designed to encourage, and motivate you to explore your thoughts through the use of the arts. This month, we’re exploring ways we can make a fresh start and this week the focus is on the way creativity can help us heal.

 

Dare to Create – Let’s make a mandala

Today, try cranking up the volume, dancing to a favourite tune and drawing a mandala. If you prefer a more techy alternative, try this.

Mandala Colouring Pages

https://play.google.com/store/apps/collection/topselling_free

You’ll find more creative apps at the end of this article!

8826EA80-ABA8-4910-B731-FEBF5DC540BC.jpegImage in left corner – http://www.pixels.com

Don’t know what a mandala is? 

Don’t forget to tag your mandala. We love seeing your creativity.

 

 

7ED49D55-9935-4575-89E9-AB860AB0ABE4– Cai Vescuso

TRIGGER WARNING!

The content of the following discussion
could be disturbing to some people.

65FC659A-C79A-4503-A12C-C5D9E537A9B5Cai Vescuso

Survivor Story

Let me introduce Cai. This week’s inspiring survivor. Someone who’s come through abuse in many forms including from within their LGBTQ community, but who’s found their creative gifts as a pianist and artist, have provided a source of enormous comfort and healing. Read on to learn about Cai’s personal journey.

Cai – I come from a family that has a long history of alcoholism and addiction. I grew up in an abusive and addicted household. By the time I reached 12 I was already addicted to drugs and alcohol and by 16 I was in my first AA meeting. My first attempt at sobriety. At that AA meeting hall, I met my ex-girlfriend.

When we first met I had no idea who she really was – no idea she was an abuser. She was very charming, sweet and good to me in the beginning. As time went on she slowly started to reveal her true self. Starting first with name calling, and at its worst, breaking my nose. I went through 8 years of cheating, lying, physical and mental abuse.


13103597-E92D-415B-9918-4CDD0665EE81.jpeg
– Cai Vescuso


PLQ – “That must have really hampered your escaping!”


Cai – “Yes it did. Every time I tried to leave she would find me and manipulate me into going back to her. It was a vicious cycle for years. The last year I was with her I was able to find an amazing therapist that helped me figure out an exit strategy. This therapist was a lesbian. Which was what I really needed to be able to finally leave. I am forever grateful. I think at the time I was in this relationship, the LGBTQ community didn’t have as many resources available to queer folks in abusive relationships. Abuse in the community was pretty hush-hush. Now there is way more support! Which is so awesome! It’s still somewhat hush-hush, but not nearly what it used to be.

 

D34A61C2-2DC5-44F7-9067-E6C375D8E43F– Cai Vescuso

PLQ – “Thank you. I know that is something which straight individuals may think impossible between women. It’s important it’s recognised.”

Cai – “Exactly! Thank you! I just know how important it is for others to hear these stories that aren’t talked about. I want to help others”

PLQ – “So how did you rebuild your life after this? What helped?”

Cai – “Therapy therapy therapy! I can’t say therapy enough! It’s a huge help! I am currently in therapy again. I play piano. Also art – I paint.

PLQ – “The arts are a remarkable way of processing feelings. Do you find it a good way to express what you can’t put into words?”

Cai – “Yes, it does help express feeling that I can’t put into words. It is wonderful. I feel like it’s a great tool for everyone. I am drawing something now that was homework from my last therapy session. Which is coming out as a nonbinary person and how it feels to be misgendered all the time. This also relates to my abusive relationship with me ex, because she never allowed me to be myself. So I suppressed this part of me for years and years. 

 

This is how it feels when someone misgenders me. How it feels like I am fragmented, which also is how it can feel being in an abusive relationship. Like you are fragmented, not whole. - Cai Vesuveo
This is how it feels when someone misgenders me. How it feels like I am fragmented, which also is how it can feel being in an abusive relationship. Like you are fragmented, not whole. – Cai Vescuso
Image shared with kind permission from Cai Vescuso

 

Cai is now in a very happy, healthy relationship and is a respected artist who’s looking forward to showcasing their paintings in a local gallery.  Therapy through talking, art and music will continue for many more years, but Cai is seeing progress, and life has moved on in many positive ways, since distancing themselves from the abuse.

Has Cai inspired you? Remember, we all have the ability to be creative, be that through singing, music, garden design, dancing and even how we choose to dress.

 

Creative apps 

– 18 Apps Every Creative And Artist Type Should Download Right Now
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/09/art-apps_n_5762584.html
– The 13 best free Android app                                                          http://www.creativebloq.com/android/free-android-apps-11410252
– Music Maker JAM                                                                                  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.magix.android.mmjam
– Learn to Seeing – Sing Sharp                                                            https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.magix.android.mmjam

 

Want to know more about the term nonbinary?

 

– What Does It Mean to Identify as Nonbinary?
https://www.healthline.com/health/transgender/nonbinary

 

My Life Without Gender
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/07/my-life-without-gender-strangers-are-desperate-to-know-what-genitalia-i-have 
Thank you for sharing so openly with us Cai.

Be the person you want to be!

Sincerely

Rebecca Goldthorpe
PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist

Dare to Create – keep on walking and let your feet do the talking!

55A33DE0-BA09-410D-9463-9CCADC0F8289http://www.pexels.com

Dare to Create – how one person’s life mission was shaped by abuse

Hello readers, and welcome to another Dare You Create article from #ProjectLifeQuality. Your creative corner, where we discuss our topic of the week and you are provided with a suggestion to take away with you.

This will be something designed to encourage, and motivate you to explore your thoughts through the use of the arts. This month we’re exploring how to make a fresh start. This week the focus is on methods of training.

Before this week’s inspiring interviewee shares their story, let’s take a look at today’s creative prompt.

Dare to Create – the challenge

It’s easy to feel disconnected with our environment, especially when we have chaotic lives or going out is challenging physically or emotionally. I was recently reminded of this fact on a personal level.

So, this week I’m suggesting we take ourselves on a walk, even if it’s only to the end of your garden. Get out. Feel the air on your skin. Listen to the birds. Find something beautiful and take a photo to share with us. If you can’t leave the house, photograph                                                          something you can see from indoors – flowers, your view etc.

4C8098B3-C593-4720-90C6-8194A37D9DA9Image in left corner – http://www.pexel.com

PLQ would love to see your artwork and messages, so don’t forget to tag us.

E0DF3C29-824E-49F2-B7B4-70B289D4CEA7

Maha Alotaibi

TRIGGER WARNING

Some people may find the content of the following                                                                       discussion distressing.

EC995F8E-D0C1-4692-B4FA-D376B9A48EBD

Meet Maha Alotaibi, a feisty entrepreneur who’s personal brush with domestic abuse gave her the conviction to help others affected of domestic abuse, through a rather creative idea – shoes!

Maha grew up in Kuwait and moved to America in 1999. On a visit home she bumped into an old school friend – let’s call her Halimah. Little did either of them know the impact this would have on them.

Maha – “I saw Halimah out in a shopping mall. She hugged me so hard – like I was very special or she wanted to say something and need to be comfortable. We exchanged numbers and she called me always, the funny thing was, Halimah never invited me to her house, although I invited her.

Something about her was not right. She was very weak, not focused – not like her in high school. One day Halimah told me on the phone that her husband just hit her. I was mad and shocked. I called my mom and told her and was advised to stay away.”

Families in the Middle East have to solve their own issues.        Getting involved would’ve hurt Maha’s family, but like a good friend, she couldn’t let it go and even considered accompanying them to safety in America! Maha’s family were concerned, but never told her no, so she found the strength to get through it.

CAC40BBC-CA86-42A4-8699-93B3F20B203A

Maha – “The plan was to run away to my house and stay there, then think of what to do – you see he could take the kids from school and no one can stop him. But he came home at night, had a fight about cold dinner and beat her up. She called when he was asleep and went and picked Halimah up with the girls, packing nothing.”

Next morning, they filed for a divorce at the courthouse, afraid of reporting the violence to police due to the lack of a solid domestic abuse system in Kuwait, and the risk of repercussions from Halimah’s husband and even Halimah’s family.

Maha – “They can’t do anything except call your family and talk to him. There’s no protection if your family doesn’t support you, but if you go to court and hire a lawyer before him, you win! So I took my own pictures of her with the damage he did, called Halimah’s family and told them she’s staying with me. I talked to my lawyer, who talked to a divorce Lawyer, who met us and took the case.”

 

12CA4C65-34D1-498B-BD15-14B055C38ADD

– Maha Alotaibi

Following some assistance from Maha to get an apartment, her friend is now financially independent and works as a special needs teacher.

13180DA5-A92E-4381-BA21-F6334E0936D2As a result of this life-changing experience in a culture dominated by men, Maha found the confidence to set up her thriving international cosmetics company in America, Madly Yours plus her second initiative Maha’s Walk.

Maha explains the concept behind Mahaswalk, as this.

34FDA244-966C-4D6B-8D3B-9496AF9AD28C

– Maha Alotaibi

The shoes, which Maha handpaints, are symbolic of these challenges and she very generously donates these to survivors – a visual reminder of how far they’ve traveled from. Take about inspiring!

5C4C5A27-1DBE-47EA-9036-3AB3B13134B3.png

Maha Alotaibi

A personal note from Maha

“I am looking to support women who have walked out of needed support.                       If you know of a survivor of abuse who would value a pair of my hand-decorated shoes, you can contact me via Instagram.“

https://www.instagram.com/mahaswalk

A89ABB7A-5D82-425A-B3EE-BC66376F79D5

Shared with kind permission from Maha Alotaibi.

What I learned from Maha was that nothing is insurmountable, if you have the courage to try and work hard at it, and that being human comes ahead of all else. I think that’s a great motto to live by, don’t you?

0CEC2DB9-1F99-4CEC-9AEA-0440DF4E6AB4.jpeg

– Maha Alotaibi

Thank you for sharing with us Maha.

Be the person you want to be!

Sincerely

Rebecca Goldthorpe
PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist

 

Dare to Create – Nutrition, eating disorders and why we are what we eat.

BF4C9FDC-EC9D-469A-81B7-FC4F27B263DA
–  Courtesy of Michal Grosicki – http://www.unsplash.com

Dare to Create – nutrition and how eating disorders might stem from abuse

Hello readers, and welcome to another Dare to Create article from #ProjectLifeQuality. Your creative corner, where we discuss our topic of the week and you are provided with a suggestion to take away with you.

This will be something designed to encourage, and motivate you to explore your thoughts through the use of the arts. This month we’re exploring ways of taking those first steps away from an abusive environment and discussing nutrition.

Before this week’s let’s take a look at today’s creative prompt. I know how much you look forward to this, so here it is.

Dare to Create – the challenge

Nutrition and abuse can affect our body image. Consider your relationship with eating and write a message on a part of your body, then photograph and share it with us.

 

640171AC-C276-4551-BA72-45CEBB2CC21AImage bottom left @NorWood – http://www.unsplash.com

PLQ would love to see your artwork and messages, so don’t forget to tag us.

 

6CA4075E-CDF9-4BCB-A649-279A6753D319

– Miriam aged 8

TRIGGER WARNING!
The content of the following discussion
may be distressing to some readers.

Balanced nutrition is fundamental to clear thinking, healthy growth, and reducing the risks of obesity-related diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. But there could be many dietry challenges for a person experiencing abuse.

  • Food and drink may be restricted.
  • They may only have access to dry foods they can store, such as crisps and cereal bars.
  • They may only be able to eat when the perpetrator of abuse is asleep.
  • They could also develop an eating disorder as a result of incidents or the risks of being in a kitchen with boiling water and knives. Bulimia and anorexia nervosa, for example.

The following was written by survivor.

Mind Charity UK – “I haven’t been formally diagnosed with an eating disorder, but the professionals who are supporting me in my recovery from childhood abuse and domestic abuse have used the term ‘eating disorder’ more frequently over the last few weeks. I told them they were wrong. They told me denial was part of the illness. I told them I wasn’t ill. I found every reason why they were wrong, that I was in control. One said “but it’s not in control.” I shrugged off their comment as wrong. They couldn’t know how I was feeling. I felt in control, and to me that meant I was in control. I’m beginning to realise that feeling in control and actually being in control can be two very different things.”

“I was abused as a child, and in an abusive relationship last year. I want to explain how being a victim of abuse has been the cause of my current eating disorder. I hope that by explaining, people will realise how things link together, and not only understand more about eating disorders, but also more about the impact of abuse itself.”

8CAE022A-F576-41F0-AF95-7B60A7E7155E

Mind Charity, UK – “Trying to carry that such a big secret and live life normally is exhausting and crushing. At times it felt close to impossible. It also meant my reality became secret, which meant my own reality was being undermined and invalidated. The reality I put on as a show wasn’t the real story, and so the act of carrying such a secret meant I was living a lie. Living such a lie gradually broke me.

This level of trying to manage living with such horrendous secrecy and a double-life seems to have manifested itself, to a degree, in my eating. On the one hand I so desperately want to lose weight, and on the other hand I try to cover it all up with layers and deny to anyone that there’s a problem. The illness is a secretive illness. The damage, again, from living in such a secretive double-life is extensive, and it fuels the eating disorder. In short, it’s a massively vicious cycle.”

49951400-A561-4456-9168-D40A83F5B328– Miriam aged 8

 

8A438167-9970-4CDE-B56A-AEEFD6EF3210

Mind Charity, UK “Living such a double-life between trying to be a normal student/child/teenager whilst being abused in secret has made my life frequently feel far beyond my control. Eating felt and feels like the only thing completely in my control, that nobody else can take away from me. Every hunger pang I get, every wave of dizziness or heart palpitation, or every time I throw up…these make me feel in control. I get a kick each time. I feel relief each time. Sometimes if I’ve had a horrendous day and I then feel dizzy, I actually cry with relief. Why? Because I feel like I am therefore in control. Maybe that sounds crazy. I don’t like the feeling of stomach pain or dizziness. I don’t like it at all. But I like what it means; to me it means I’m in control, and that feeling is addictive when for so long my life has been beyond my control.

And ultimately, if the only time you’re called ‘good’ is when you’re submissive and let people use your body, then where else was my self-worth and sense of body image going to go? I hear their cruel words when I feel I’ve put weight on or when I eat. The memories haunt me and frighten me.”

Useful nutritional tips

If you are experiencing an eating disorder, specialist support is required. However, if you can eat but experience anxiety, stress or depression, take a look at these links below. Did you know that some foods are scientifically known to reduce these symptoms?

Anxiety Treatment: The Best 7 Anti Anxiety Foods.

Eat to beat stress: 10 foods that reduce anxiety – The next time you feel overwhelmed, eat your way calm by putting these superfoods on your plate.

Brain food: What you eat could help manage depression and anxiety.

 

Finally a remarkable art project that came from personal experiences of abuse.

Thank you for sharing with us Miriam.

Be the person you want to be!

Sincerely

Rebecca Goldthorpe
PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist