Contact Us:

 

img_4249Comments: I love hearing from you and so please feel free to comment on any of my posts, I endeavor to answer all of them. Anything attacking or rude will, however be deleted.

Email: You can also email me on: JPeaSmith@kingsroadchronicles.com but please understand that I am often flat out and may take time to respond. I do not accept spam of any kind.

Newsletter: I send out semi-regular newsletters, which I only send when there is something interesting happening like progress on a new book, a change coming up, but also to let you know when my books are available on special, or sometimes even free Free-For-A-Day. I promise not to spam you! Simply click HERE to be added to the list, and you can opt out any time you like.

Where I hang out:
@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman
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Memoir Writing.

img_8897I loooove train rides. Especially sleeping trains. They are my passion and my favorite place in the world to be. My writing for me is very much a series of train trips as it is all about the various journeys that I travel on in life. My health, my heart, my faith, my personal growth and my physical travels all around the globe. They are often lonely and they are deeply emotional. What I love about blogging is that I get to take people on these trips with me and I love that. I truly love my readers and their support and the fact that they choose to come on my rides with me blows me away!

The only writing that I have ever done is from my heart and soul. My experiences, my opinions, my thoughts and my dreams. I started a new memoir with NaNo on the 1st of November and since then it has been pouring out of me with such great force that I feel as though this train has a mind of its own. This one is a runaway train and I love it. Sometimes we fly through deep dark tunnels that seem to never end as I relive all kinds of experiences that I am writing about which bring up horrendous pain, nightmares, anger, frustration, …but those experiences allow me to write with feeling and color and I believe that they enrich the story and help keep them extremely real.

Then there are the highs as I write about the good things or more often they occur when I am writing about the bad but the chapters come together well or the writing flows in a way I hadn’t imagined it could, or when something or someone (usually a stranger on social media) encourages me out of nowhere. The highs are thrilling and they keep me going through the hard days. But throughout this experience, the train hasn’t stopped for a moment and it is an exhausting but thrilling ride!

I can totally appreciate why writers want to go and hide on a mountain somewhere and simply immerse themselves in their writing. It is addictive and it flows and in many a way, it is like they are living a completely separate life. This is me.

Sadly I am forced to spend some of my time in the real world and often I am finding that I enjoy it less and less. I am sure that this is not a good thing, but right now I am not sure that I entirely care. Is that shocking? Is that terrible? Am I morphing into a hermit? … my husband and my readers are the only people on this train journey with me and I am loving it. So thank you to all of you who are making this journey so exciting, I cannot wait to start publishing!

Where I hang out:
@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

FAQ: Why no Family & Friends Launch Pad?

IMG_3561I wrote this article a couple of weeks ago on the family and friends launch pad that many of us launch or social media platforms off, and the fact that I don’t have one, which doh, I should have realised would prompt people to ask me why. So here it is:

For all kinds of complicated reasons I have never known my own voice. I thought that I did and that I was good at standing up for myself, but it turns out that just because we can talk loudly, a lot, or boldly, does not mean that we know ourselves and our needs either deeply, or for some of us it turns out, at all. And that was me… I was absolutely gobsmacked when my psychologist worked it out, but in the same space and moment I also knew that they were 100% correct. The scariest thing was that I knew they were right but could not for the life of me find what my voice was saying. It was an extremely traumatic few years and deeply painful as for over a decade I had felt the weight of a thousand stones in my soul and so I knew that they were there and I knew that I was in deep deep pain… I knew that I had things to name and say, but I was so conditioned and practiced at silence that I could not access them AT ALL.

It was extremely frustrating, and deeply exhausting. I honestly thought at times that we would never get there, but as I started to write I started to find a voice that in one sense I never knew was there but in another sense always knew it was. I started to share that voice and those writing some of those around me and I got such a mixture of reactions. Some told me that I have to share it with the world and write my story, but many told me that these were things best kept silent. The more people wanted to silence me the more I knew that I needed to write and to tell and even to speak it out loud (which I can’t quite do yet, but I want to one day)…

Then there were those who didn’t expect me to keep silent but at the same time it evoked things inside themselves that they were trying to keep silent and so they asked me not to speak of my things around them. Others simply didn’t get it and weren’t very interested. And that’s OK too. It has to be OK, I need to let them have their own life journeys. And so a year ago I moved from my private blog that only they could see, and started my public blogs without telling them. The world can see this and I feel more free to speak what I need to than if I had any of them looking over my shoulder. Yes they might find me, but if they do then they have the choice of hopping on board or staying silent. It is up the them rather than me shoving it in their faces and expecting them to come on board.

My parents and family of origin have elected to let me go a very long time ago, so there are no family constraints as far as that goes, and my children are too young to journey with their mother, (and maybe that is not the job of children anyway). And so with only my dear husband cheering me on on the sidelines, I am going this alone, for now anyway. Thank you for coming on this journey with me … I can’t tell you how much it means to me 🙂

 

FAQ: Chronic vs Acute Abuse

Today’s post is a biggy. Not that there is ever anything small about abuse of any kind, but another blogger asked me a question the other day about the word Chronic and what it is. This is SUCH an important question, and the answer even more so.

All around us these days we see stories of the most traumatic and unbelievable abuse, from fathers and strangers stealing and hiding young girls in their basements for years on end, to brutal attacks and rapes. Like it or not, because it is everywhere on the news, in movies, and on the small screen, we are becoming somewhat desensitised to them. We are still horrified and we are still shocked, but the line has become blurry between what is real and what isn’t, but worse than that, is that our measure of what we think abuse is, is so extreme that we miss a different more subtle kind of abuse that is often right under our noses.

Domestic Abuse is also very much in the spotlight right now (and rightly so) and on those screens we see women with black eyes and swollen lips, purple and blue bruises and frazzled hair. The look in their eyes often speak even more deeply of the tragedy and the violence, as well as the deep emotional pain that they are in. We are shocked and horrified and look around us but don’t see anyone in our neighbourhood looking like that and so we assume that we don’t know anyone who is, or ever has been abused.

Sexual abuse is another deeply traumatic and violent act that we see on the big screen. This one in theory we know happens all around us, but we don’t like to pry or ask. 1 in 4 girls, and 1 in 6 boys have been sexually abused in one way or another, and we assume that for all of them, they are people we don’t know, and that they were physically raped.

Abuse can be at the hands of loved ones or strangers and it can take many forms. Physical and sexual abuse are the obvious, but we do hear from time to time about emotional abuse. I don’t want to take anything from these deeply tragic and abusive physical situations, but my concern in this article is for both women and men and a different kind of abuse. One that goes “unnoticed” and “non validated” sometimes even by the victim. Emotional abuse is much harder to define and capture, and because it goes hand in hand with squashing the voice of the victim, it is very hard to see or even measure the impact. For these as well as those who are more “subtly” sexually abused, there are no dark basements, no physical bumps or bruises, but the damage can, and often is, just as bad.

Let me go back a step and explain a very important concept, the difference between Chronic and Acute. We often hear these two words associated with medical things and the easiest way to explain it is to use a cough as an example. Someone with an acute cough would have a really really bad one. It may even be Pneumonia. It requires hospitalisation to treat the cough and maybe even save the patient’s life. We all get a huge fright especially the patient who is suffering tremendously.

A chronic cough on the other hand doesn’t look so bad, but it goes on and on and on. A normal cough virus (or bacteria) should last no longer than 10 days, and then if all goes well it goes away. But a cough that lingers for weeks or months or a cough that is not so bad and heals, but keeps coming back over and over again can be a sign of something  else far worse going on.

Take a different example. Say someone hit you over the head with a hammer. Hard enough to knock you out and leave you in hospital with a major head injury. That is called a brain trauma and it is a massive assault. It is called an acute trauma.

But what if someone only hit you with a rubber mallet? Not hard enough to knock you out or cause any “damage”, but they did it over and over and over again. What if every time you woke up someone hit you once on the head with this soft rubber mallet. Over time, it would still be a trauma, but a different kind of trauma, a chronic trauma. The mild bruising that occurred would never get the chance to heal, and the same spot would become tender and damaged in a different way. The bruising and healing would become stagnant and the body would not get a chance to take the damaged cells away. A blood clot could form and the person could eventually have a stoke and land up in hospital in just as bad shape as the person who was hit hard with a metal hammer that broke through their skull. This is called chronic trauma.

Much of this may seem obvious to a lot of people when looking at the outside world or the theory of abuse, but I have a huge heart for men and women who live in all kinds of chronic abuse. Bullying is a perfect example of constantly and consistently being emotionally (or even physically) hit over the head with a soft rubber mallet.

Physically it can mean a parent, sibling or school mate who constantly and regularly smacks you on the back of the head “in jest” each time you walk in the door. One whack can be funny, or simply “not nice”, but when you can’t ever get them to stop, it is abusive. More than that, it may look physical but it is actually emotional. For the bully it is a mild yet chronic way to remind someone who has the upper hand, over and over and over again. To constantly and consistently knock a person down a peg. It may not be about squashing them under foot, but it is a way of never allowing that person freedom to grow or branch out. It is about keeping that person trapped by fear and insecurity.

If someone who is hit over the head like that every single day complains, we tend as a society to measure that against the stories on the TV. We assure them that what they are suffering is nothing compared to “real” abuse and tell them that they should be thankful that it isn’t worse. We tend to judge their experience and diminish it, and we don’t help them to rise above it and to stand up to the “bully”. But no one likes to stand up to bullies right? …and anyway, these kinds of bullies are so subtle and because as they whack us they laugh and tell us that they love us, or scruff our hair …. No one else notices the victim’s hurt, and we all think that the bully is wonderful for saying that they love them. The victim then often feels bad, as though being hurt (emotionally or physically) is their own fault, and that they should the bully like everyone else does. And so way too often these kinds of experiences are never validated or recognised.

This chronic abuse can be emotional or it can be sexual as well. We constantly hear of rapes, multiple rapes, and the massive, life destroying impact on the victim by these massive, acute, sexual, emotional and physical traumas, and my heart absolutely breaks for the victims both at the time and forever onwards. But what if a young boy or girl was being chronically abused? What if a family member kept trying to look at and laugh at her budding breasts? What if she was mocked for not growing them fast enough or big enough for someone’s liking? What if a mother kept “accidentally” leaving the buttons of her shirt undone and wore no bra when her young son is the only one home and tries to get him to have an eye full, …then mocks him when he tries to look away? What if there is no sexual touch as such, but while watching TV many evenings a mother sits way too close to her hormonal teenage son, becomes sexually aroused and makes comments and gestures that leave him feeling ill and confused, or a father who does the same to a daughter and his breathing becomes heavy and hot on her neck? What if all these children have no words to explain their experiences and one to tell anyway? What if they are confused and degraded confused about what they are feeling anyway? What if when they try to verbalise it even to themselves they sound like they are making mountains out of molehills and so they silence themselves in fear of sounding stupid or being told that it is their fault?

In a completely different way, what of the child who is constantly mocked by her parents for the colour of her hair or the freckles on her face? What if she is mocked and blamed for being a girl instead of a boy? What if the focus was too much on the negative and not enough on the positive and that she was never equipped for the world out there? What if she is never taught skills to use her voice, to stand up for herself, to ask healthy questions, or to find her own skills and passions, … what if she doesn’t know how to healthily say no? What if her parents kept her isolated from family and friends so that there were no other influences on her life to fill in the gaps that she so desperately needed? What if she was never cared for medically and always told that she was making it up, …so no one even looked to see what was going on under the surface?

Silence and secrets, unspoken pain and confusion, youth and innocence … all these things conspire against anyone who grows up in or lives with chronic abuse; the constant hits on the head by a rubber mallet, which dull our senses and keep us in fear. For every battered face there are a dozen battered hearts and broken souls. For every rape there is a handful of sexually broken men and women who don’t understand what is going on other than that somehow it hurts like hell.

Much of that emotional abuse is mild, but psychologically a good chunk of it is actually not as subtle as it appears. But even if it is all mild, the constant whacking over the head with the emotional hammer, all through a child’s growing years, does not equip him or her for adult life. It sets paths for their future which were no where near to the God-given potential that they was born with. Patterns were set for choosing partners, building relationships, and the bruised and battered effects of abuse continue into adult life….

Unless … what if they are brave enough, and strong enough and manage to break free… to start on a decades long lonely, exhausting journey to achieve what is supposed to be the impossible, …and what if they are prepared to lose everything to get there?

Twitter’nStuff; hindrance or help?

Nearly 6 years ago I started my first blog. It was private with only a small handful of readers that I trusted. “Share your heart” they said. “Share your story” they said. “We will listen and hold your hand” they said. And some did. But most just read it without support, feedback, thanks or encouragement. I felt hurt and let down, ….but a door had opened that could never be closed again.

And so I went deeper. I started to tell things as they were, unfiltered and unmasked. I didn’t invite anyone who knew me to see any of it, but I hit that “public” button instead of the private one and hid behind a pen name. Lots of strangers heard my voice and commented and replied and asked questions and encouraged. It was thrilling that for the first time in my life I didn’t worry about what anyone expected of me, no body told me that I was wrong, and for the first time in my life I felt “heard”. I was going through the hardest time of my life, going through heartache that I had never ever imagined would be mine (in this way anyway). My soul had been shredded by those closest to me and I was in so much heartache that I could barely breath.

I didn’t know until later that I was in such deep trauma that I was in danger of a complete breakdown, but every day, instead of allowing it to destroy me, I wrote and wrote and wrote and strangers heard me and carried me and for the first time in my life I belonged somewhere, to a group of fellow journeyers who were as crushed and broken as I was.

I worked hard at healing and growing and eventually I needed more light in order to survive. My heart ached for those women who were not able to climb out of those holes, often through no fault of their own. But my own light and survival was so new and fragile and it became unhealthy for me to spend time in that dark desperate place. I want to write about that place and share it one day, but first I need to create a safe enough space, up in the light of the rest of the world, before I can do that.

A year ago my physical mess of a body was diagnosed and I had a whole new space to write about, process and a different journey to share. This January I at last felt robust enough to start writing my whole story, …. and this blog was born, to carry me through that journey and hopefully lead to one day finish writing my book. I have felt encouraged and blessed in the process, but 2 weeks ago I was encouraged to take it another step further…

You need to get Twitter they said, and Instagram they said, oh yes and Pinterest they said… Just use this or that handle and everyone will retweet you they said… “it’s easy” they said…

What they didn’t say was that it is fast and overwhelming and scary and crazy! What they didn’t say was that complete strangers follow you hoping that you will follow them, and that some of them are great people but for others it is just a numbers game and if you don’t follow them back then they dump you. Even though they “tempted” me with their cleavages and their duck faces…

They didn’t say that there are apps and ‘bots and programs who churn out tweets at a great rate of knots and that if I am not careful I could sell my soul to be heard or seen or noticed… I am learning that you can’t just speak and someone will hear, …you first need to become noticed (and cool and popular? Like school maybe?)

I feel a little like I am back in school again, …. And back to being invisible … I don’t want the Twitter Train to run me over or kill the voice that I am only just now starting to find, but I’m also pretty sure that I still don’t want to have to change everything that I do so that I too can be cool and “fit in”….

Maybe I’m just feeling fragile today … Maybe today isn’t a good day to bear my soul….

Hang on …. Must I only bear my soul when I’m feeling strong and uplifting and encouraging and make everyone else smile and feel good about themselves? … Am I only to use my voice for everyone else’s good?

Thank you for all the support of those who have risked following me on this journey, I hope that I stay worthy of your follow, and if not … well … I will cross that bridge when I get there, …but I am determined not to be bowled over by the Twitter Train!

Who Am I?

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Jennifer Peacock-Smith is an emerging memoirist in the process of writing her first full-length memoir through 2017. Author of “The Lion and the Peacock”. Blogger here on WordPress, Regular guest blogger on The Mighty, Surviving My Past, and One Stop Fiction Authors’ Group.

Jennifer is a South African Australian who has lived in many different countries around the world. She is a Third Culture Kid (TCK), dual-citizen, world citizen. The issues of belonging and acceptance and tribes and roles in Family-of-Origin are fascinating to her and form the backbone of much of her writing. A chronic emotional abuse survivor she is committed to surviving and thriving, redemption, encouragement of all kinds and bringing joy and meaning to my life and others.

From Jennifer:

“People have spoken for me and overruled me my entire life. They have controlled and tried to define me in all kinds of ways. I was born into anxiety and have never felt safety but I am working hard on getting there. This has affected my soul and my body in untold ways, but it has also meant that I never found my voice. I have felt a strange combination of constantly standing out and always being different, highlighted yet invisible, like a purple onion in the bag of brown onions. I have been a leader, a teacher, a mentor, but deep inside I had no idea who I was, or what I wanted, other than the break the chains that bound me (which I could not define) and to break the patterns of behaviour that poisoned my family of origin. The voice in me was there and I kind of always I knew it, I just didn’t know how to find it or how to use it.

I have hated being voiceless, hiding and wearing a mask my whole life and as I break out I want to stand on a rooftop and shout my stories! …. 2016 was a year of writing writing writing … and 2017 is the year that it starts to unfold into my first memoir. Although my voice is still new, fragile, scared even, after a lifetime of being smacked on the head every time I pop up, like “whack-a-mole”,  I am starting to find my way”.

 

 

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Where I hang out:
@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman