Friday, August 1, 2014

Post Workplace Abuse - The role of passions, interests and photography in recovery

I don't know about you, dear reader, but I enjoyed writing the last two blogs although they both took quite a bit of time - and mental energy - to create.  Why? ... you might ask ...  Why did they take so much time to create and why did you enjoy writing them so much?

The answer for both questions is the same:  the photographs.  They took a lot of time because I had to search through hundreds, perhaps thousands, of photos on my computer to find the ones I was looking for.  I knew they were in there ... somewhere.  I knew exactly what I was looking for.  I just didn't know where I was looking for them ... exactly.  For the first post about the tornado, I ended up doing a Google search for the news article to get a date so I could more easily sort through things.  (It does help if you are at least searching in the correct year.)

Writing these last two posts was also enjoyable because of the search through the photo files for the right set of pictures.  I went back through different experiences pictorially.  Good experiences.  Experiences which I relive through my pictures.  Experiences which had slipped from my conscious mind.

The last two posts also took me back a step from processing all the events, all the thoughts, both during and post workplace abuse.

Recovery is hard work.  Hard work indeed.

It consumes most of my waking hours.  It is exhausting.

I seem to use everything I can to work through and process what happened to me and come out of the past into the present learning to look at things in different ways.  Learning new perspectives.  New ways of handling things.

Recovery is hard work and my photography allows me the chance to take a step back and simply enjoy and experience life through the lens of my camera.  It allows me a respite in hard times to go back through the pictures, the various files and re-enjoy those good times.  It reminds me that life is not always about workplace abuse and my former co-workers in that abusive situation.

It reminds me that life is still good.  Life is still worth living.  There are tons of experiences out there waiting to be lived, to be photographed, to be shared ... and - perhaps - to be written about.

It reminds me that my life, my personality, my value is not defined by what a small group of others in one situation thought about me.  My life, my personality and especially my value are determined by WHO. I. Am.  My strengths, even my weaknesses, my talents, my passions and how I live and express them.

So today, although this was not planned when I first opened Blogger today and put fingers to keyboard, I will round out this week with a last picture blog.  These pictures were taken in 2010 on our Canadian Civic holiday weekend - which coincidentally is this weekend - when we walked across the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls for the first time.  We'd always enjoyed the falls from our side - the Canadian side.  The photos start as we walk across the bridge and end at the precipice between Niagara Falls, the main falls on the left below) and Bridal Veil falls (the little tiny sliver of falls on the far right).

A close up focussing on the American Falls

In the middle of the bridge, a full-on view of the Horseshoe Falls.

Almost across the bridge.  Crossing on foot allows people the chance to stop and take pictures - or just gawk at the magnificence of the scene.

A large pot of flowers marks the beginning of the State Park

Little birds - are they sparrows? or perhaps starlings? whatever, flitting on the planter.

The mighty Niagara River rushing towards the Falls

The Niagara River just before it goes over the drop off

The jagged lip of the Falls as seen from the viewing space between the main falls and Bridle Veil Falls

Words cannot describe the majesty, the power, the juxtaposition of this scene from roaring unbridled power to flowers to rainbow.

Looking down at people emerging from the Cave of the Winds

A second view of the same scene - just from a slightly different perspective

The rainbow.  It's there every day.

Again, same view, different perspective

With these pictures, I end my blogging week and head into the weekend to refresh myself - and to continue on the recovery process.

Sometimes it's hard for me to write these posts as I get little to no feedback from my readers - and I know I do have readers.

So today, I'm asking you for feedback.  What do you like?  What do you not like?  What would you like to see more of?

A publisher I met at the writers' conference advised me to make my story "everyone's" story.  I'm not the only one who has struggled with an abusive workplace situation.  We all have our own stories.  The problem is that most of us have swallowed the lies hook, line and sinker and believe that we were the cause, the instigator of our own hurt and subsequent damage.  Therefore, we tend to hide, licking our wounds as best we can.

Yet, I've discovered through my openness that survivors of workplace abuse are all around me.  The woman in the small town in Ontario who opened her own bead store.  The server at a local restaurant who is much happier working two or three days a week as a server than she was in her own profession.  The singer, songwriter, writer who reinvented her life post workplace abuse.  The woman beside me at lunch at the writers' conference.  My next door neighbour.

We're all over the place.  Isolated.  Alone.

Who are you, dear reader?  What is your story?  I'd like to know.

Until Monday ... have a good weekend.

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