"The world isn't the deadly place you have made it out to be... but you have to move and breathe and THINK with it to truly live in it." - Cutter
Ask me anything
So in a lot of the curriculums I see tackling unhealthy/abusive relationships and sexual abuse/rape the use skits to show the behavior.
My fear of course in any of this is in triggering a survivor. For people who are triggered by this kind of thing, what’s the best way I could handle this subject that gets the needed information out there while limiting triggers as much as possible?
Flip this part of the curriculum. Make a video with people/actors that are comfortable acting out these skits. Discuss emotional triggers (what they are/how they affect people) with the class well in advance, then assign the video to be watched at home or in private. Don’t make it due immediately, but let a due date be known. Before you have a discussion/lecture on the subject, allow students to anonymously submit questions and comments to you.
When you finally get to the discussion/lecture, consider ways to make the information session feel like an open dialogue, instead of a notes-taking lecture. Potentially plan out some hands-on activity, like matching items in columns. Recognize that not everyone will want to comment out loud and respect that. Consider typing up a list of discussion points ahead of time and let students use that list as a springboard for discussion.
Finally, make sure you’re familiar with good discussion styles, especially Socratic dialogue (to keep discussions on topic and to drive to deeper questions) as well as explaining and practicing Devil’s Advocate with the students on uncontroversial topics. If you have a ton of time (which I know is never the case with teaching), consider giving a primer on persuasion (logos, ethos, pathos, and fallacies).
It’s normal and healthy to eat a fattier and more carb-heavy diet during the winter months. Your body needs extra energy to keep warm.
It’s normal and healthy to exercise less, walk less, and spend more time inside during the winter months. Your body does not want to be out in the cold.
It’s normal and healthy to gain weight during the winter months as a result of these normal and healthy lifestyle changes. Most people will lose this weight again without effort once warm weather approaches and lighter meals and outside time become the norm.
Your body is normal. You do not need to be scared of this winter weight gain. You do not need to diet it off.
Fuck magazines. Fuck ads. Fuck every company that tells you to start dieting now to be ready for summer.
Trust your body. It’s trying to take good care of you.
Some useful lessons I have learned about (and from) pain:
1) Your pain is your own. Your grief is your own. Whatever you are feeling is valid and real. You do not need to justify it or explain it to anyone. It is not useful to compare your pain to the pain of others. Just notice when you start beating yourself up, thinking “it could be so much worse. I’m not starving, I don’t live in a war zone. My life isn’t really that bad. Why am I hurting this much? I shouldn’t be hurting this much.” While a wider perspective can be helpful in opening space, there are no shoulds or should nots when it comes to what you feel. Do not be ashamed to feel the reality of your own heart. There is a dignity in the acceptance of one’s own suffering, a cleanness to a pain that is owned and fully felt.
2) We can choose to suffer unconsciously or consciously. Suffering unconsciously involves numbing, avoiding, pretending, denying, suppressing, plastering on a fake smile. Suffering consciously means being torn open, probing the depths, expressing, facing oneself, asking for help again and again. The first option provides immediate relief, but is shitty over the long term. The second option is excruciating at first, but ultimately leads to transformation and a deepening joy.
3) The idea that it is noble to suffer in silence is fucked up. Do NOT be silent. Let yourself cry as often as you need to. Scream your pain! Paint its colors, write it into angry poetry, sing it fierce and loud, talk it through with people who can hold you. Let your pain flow freely through your body. Dance your wild dances and speak your stories. Expression is healing, for yourself and for the people who are blessed to witness you.
4) There is no “getting over it,” not really. There is softening, integrating, making peace. There is continuing along one’s path, opening to new experiences, to new adventures and new loves. But the idea that there is a set time for grieving, after which time you should be able to “move on” is bullshit. Everyone’s timing is different. And the truth is that some wounds will never fully heal. I have friends who have lost children and life partners to sudden tragic accidents. I have friends who have been raped and abused. We cannot go back to who we were before these experiences happened to us. These wounds will always hurt. What we can choose to do is simply to keep walking. We can learn to embrace the breaks into the wholeness and beauty of who we are. This is real healing.
5) You are not alone. I repeat, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We are all in this together, as soft, frightened, tender, immeasurably strong and beautifully vulnerable human beings. We live in a sick society that does not know how to address or hold pain. Collectively, we are so afraid of grief and pain that we relegate it to the secrecy of once a week therapy sessions. We push it underground and pathologize people who are going through the depths. This is damaging to all our psyches.
In truth, pain is a natural and unavoidable part of our collective human experience and it does not need to be feared in the way that we have feared it. Suffering contains the seeds of transformation if we choose to stay with it and be cracked open. I know from my own experience that there is treasure to be found in pain’s abyss. And there is connection to be found also. REACH OUT. Take another warm hand in yours. This is life and it is precious. Let’s all choose to hold each other. Let’s allow ourselves to be held. Let’s walk each other through.