I can hear the Cicadas in the tree outside my window. I love the sound they make because it is only such a short time that they are alive and yet they are so loud and busy in the heat of summer, they know they need to make their time count (well they should, having spent something like seven years underground as grubs before getting out into the light!) I’m not going to draw any overt parallels here but you get my point. Life is short.
Life without good friends and supports to lean on makes that short life even more difficult. I didn’t have good friends for a long time, not ones that I could really count on to be there in a crunch. I found that out the hard way when I went into the shelter and got a text message from a couple who I thought would be kind and understanding and turned out to be the exact opposite. They threw the whole “how could you do this to your kids?” line out then followed it with “we don’t understand why you would do this; we like you and support you but are really worried that you have made a big mistake”. Oh yes they were so supportive that I never heard from them again.
Last year I found out about SAGE Camp offered through Good Shepherd’s Services for Women and Children. I heard a lot of great things about it and decided that I desperately needed to connect with people. My kids and I had left the women’s shelter but I had done what I usually do: isolate myself. I knew that I needed friends but I was hesitant to trust again, I still felt pretty raw about how people had treated me when I needed their help. SAGE Camp by the way is a camp offered to women and children who have experienced abuse; there is a weekend winter camp and a week long summer camp. The kids get to sleep in cabins and get that really great camp experience with energetic counsellors who have done some extra training to understand any special needs they might have. The women get to do ABCs which stands for Adventure Based Counselling and the whole week means that not only do you not have to do any cooking (and the food is great!) but you get to make connections with other people in the same boat as you. Some of those other people have become dear friends of mine. So my point? Making friends and trying to connect with people is stressful but if you are willing to be open, even just a little bit, you might be surprised what happens when you are around others who feel just the same way.
One of the biggest reasons for doing this website is to be a voice that helps women to connect with other women and to services that can help whatever the needs. If you check out our community partners tab and our calendar, you will see lots of services and agencies in the city who do just that. If you think you might be experiencing abuse but aren’t sure, do what I did : call a crisis line…they aren’t going to show up at your house or call child welfare, you don’t even have to tell them who you are…call from a pay phone it that makes you feel more comfortable. Calling and telling someone what is going on in your life is very hard to do but can serve to take a huge load off your back. You never know, it might start you on the road to healing and the next thing you know we’ll be sitting next to each other at one of the support groups that I love so much.
So back to the cicada (they are really something to look at if you ever get lucky enough to see one)…life is short, reach out and talk to someone while there is still time. Some of us are in more danger than others so I know that sounds dramatic but you are important and it’s nothing for me to say that but it is everything if you are the one that needs to hear that and you listen….and act.
Take Care and let us know how you are doing, we would love to hear from you.by