The fundraiser to raise funds for the Male Survivor Weekend of Recovery Scholarship Fund wraps up at Midnight Ontario time tonight. How can y0u help? Buy any of my three books from any bookseller anywhere and 100% of the royalties from the sale of those books is going to go directly to the scholarship fund. Male Survivor awards scholarships to those men looking to attend their Weekend of Recovery retreat program who were victims of childhood/adult sexual abuse and in need of financial assistance.
If you do not wish to purchase any of my books, please consider making a direct donation to Male Survivor through their website.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you will see that I try to do this every few months or so…so if you miss this fundraiser, I will have another one sometime in the future.
For those of you who have made purchases inside the fundraiser window, thank you so much. Know that your money is going to an extremely worthy cause. This program saves lives. It transforms lives. I have been to two of these weekends and they have drastically shaped my own recovery process, so I know firsthand the power of these weekends. They are a crucial step. THANK YOU!
I absolutely LOVE the movie THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL! Love, love, love it. I won’t tell you how many times I have watched it. I know it’s in the double digits, though. I don’t know what it is about it…I just find it absolutely delightful.
One of my favourite mini-moments in the movie is when Tom Wilkinson’s character, Graham Dashwood, says, “TODAY IS THE DAY.” He’s in a room filled with stuffy lawyers and says it very calmly and then he walks out on a pretentious retirement speech and heads out of his life and into adventure. It’s a fantastic line, delivered flawlessly. When is the time to make change? You’re struggling because you know you’re not happy, but you’re somehow too immobile to do anything about it. There is this moment where it all falls away, and you just say to hell with it. TODAY IS THE DAY.
Today is the day that I set up another fundraiser for MALE SURVIVOR. Every few months I like to donate the royalties from all book sales to Male Survivor. They are an integral part of my own recovery…and I would like for them to be there for other men on their healing journeys. They have a program called WEEKEND OF RECOVERY. It’s a weekend retreat that helps men on their healing journey from childhood OR adult sexual abuse. For men who cannot afford the program, Male Survivor have set up a scholarship fund. That scholarship fund is what I like to contribute to when I can. I can’t stand the notion that men are missing out on this step in their recovery because they can’t afford to attend. The weekends are fully transformative…an integral step in the long and arduous journey from victim to survivor to thriver.
I have a NOVELS page on my site now, so you can go to it and click any of the buy links posted. Click here to go to my NOVELS page. Easy-peasy. (-: You can also buy directly from my publishers OR at any online retailer that carries the books. You don’t have to purchase from the links I’ve posted. Rest assured that if you purchase a copy during this time, all my royalties will go to the scholarship fund.
Thank you in advance for helping me to send others forward into their new and newly empowered lives!
March has arrived. The end is nigh! Not the end of everything. Though, not knowing the punchline to this universe, I can’t say for sure it’s not coming up on the end of everything. I just know the end of winter is nigh. This makes me happy. This makes me very happy.
With March entering lioness style, kicking and screaming and dumping snow on the city of Toronto…I can finally envision the end of this miserable terrible awful atrocious unseemly horrendous ludicrous horrorshow of a winter.
On the 1st, I celebrated the beginning of this new month in style, taking in the Paul Simon/Sting concert at the ACC. I was astonished when, after the concert, I walked out into a street covered in snow. Enter the lion. As terrible as it was to see even more of the white stuff, it made me consider the fate of the end of the month. Out like a lamb, right? So, as this is a highly accurate scientific way of measuring the severity of winter in March, I was SO relieved to see the lion at play. It means the month will edge out of existence quietly. No big final HURRAH from March, then. Something to look forward to. This winter has been an absolute bitch.
I’d like to take a moment to talk about something I don’t often talk about, but also don’t avoid…the Sexual Victimization of Boys & Men. There is a phenomenal organization in North America that is doing glorious things to help men and boys recover from sexual trauma. MALESURVIVOR.ORG is literally saving lives. They are also tireless champions of THE VOICE OF MALE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE. They are getting people talking about this thing that nobody would talk about. Between removing the stigma faced by male victims of sexual abuse and helping male victims to move from a place of darkness to a place of Survivor to a place of Thriver, this is a well-needed organization. Their message to male victims of sexual abuse is that they are NOT ALONE, that it is NOT THEIR FAULT and that they can overcome. Heal. Thrive.
Here in Toronto, Male Survivor is putting on three events in the month of May, 2014.
The first event is on May 29th – Dare to Dream. This is a Free event – Presenting a special screening of Boys and Men Healing, directed by Kathy Barbini, and co-produced by Simon Weinberg. The screening of the movie will be followed by the Q & A with Jim Struve, LCSW, Dr. Howard Fradkin Ph.D. LICDC, Co-chairs of Malesurvivor Weekends of Recovery, Rob Hawkings MA, MES, & Lynne MacDonell BA, CADC, CHT. I’ve seen this movie at a past Dare to Dream event…and it’s truly a must-see. Watching it was one of the first times I realized I wasn’t alone. It will change your life.
The 2nd event is on May 30th. “Breaking the Silence”Training workshop – $141.25 ($125 +HST) This workshop will explore issues surrounding the sexual victimization of males. Included will be a focus on myths surrounding male victimization, distinguishing between male and female survivors, sexual conflict issues and clinical dynamics and treatment approaches for male survivors. Presenters include clinical case material and will provide time for questions and case consultation.
The 3rd event is on May 31st – Safety & Connection -Creating a Community to Heal for Male Survivors Workshop – $111.87 ($99 + HST $12.87) – A one day workshop based on the Male Survivor weekend of Recovery designed to help empower you as a male Survivor of Sexual Abuse.
If you’re in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), and you are a victim of male sexual abuse, I urge you to seek help. Do yourself a favour and attend these great events. If you can’t make all three, attend those you can. I’ve been to a Male Survivor Weekend of Recovery. In fact I’ve been to two. They are trans-formative. There is no time like the present to take back your life. The shame is NOT yours. The guilt is NOT yours. Aren’t you tired yet?
In two days I head to Whitby, Ontario, for the Trafalgar24 Play Creation Festival. My heartbeat has already begun the rat-a-tat-tat of sheer panic that comes prior to me entering the castle. But this is good. Honestly. I would NOT want to walk into this situation with confidence! There are times that my lack of confidence works fully in my favour. Trafalgar24 is one of them.
When one is being locked into a haunted castle for eight hours with the Herculean task of writing a play before the expiration of that time, one doesn’t want to walk in there knowing they will accomplish their goal. Confidence is sometimes the thing that will kill you in your tracks. One wants accelerated panic. Confidence tells a writer they don’t have to stretch themselves. They know they can do it, so they can ride the backseat and get it done. Panic and worry and doubt and fear and loathing…these things can be fed off of…these things can motivate a writer. We should always live outside our comfort zone. I get inside that castle and I think about the 300+ audience members who will be converging on the place in less than 24 hours. That audience expects the best. They want to be entertained. They’re coming to see six new plays…and by god, they best be fantastic. This is the thought that keeps me awake through the night…the thought that keeps my hands moving on the keyboard…the thought that keeps me walking in circles in my designated room, acting out my scenes and having an all-round meltdown.
I enter in to this event in a heightened state of panic, yes. But I also enter into it in a completely overwhelming state of euphoria. It’s a tremendous blessing to be able to push the envelope in such a creatively insane way. Somebody is taking a chance on me as a writer. This means something to me. I need to honour their faith in my ability to deliver in the best way possible. I need to write!
Please know that I write about all these things together as a subtle way of making a point. We should be talking about sexual abuse openly. I no longer feel the need to be silent. Or to talk about it as an aside. The moment we address this issue on the side, segregated from other events in our lives, is the moment we assign shame. Life is short. Taking on the shame of others is something I’m no longer willing to do. It’s time to open up the dialogue and speak candidly about sexual abuse. Today, it’s one of the many things on my mind. So I have discussed it here. If you’re finding this post because you searched TORONTO MALE SEXUAL ABUSE HELP or the like, please look into these events. It’s time for you to do something about the burden you’re carrying. Let MaleSurvivor.Org ease your pain…it’s never too late to reclaim your life.
Thought I’d share another piece of found writing today. I wrote this piece in about 15 minutes. It was the deadline for the WCDR Whispered Words Short Story Contest…and I wanted to get something in. Mostly, I was thinking I’d support the organization that has done so much for my writing career. I really didn’t think anything would come of the entry. I had procrastinated to the finish line, and time was ticking away. WRITE-SUBMIT-READ. That was the genesis of this piece. To my surprise, it made the anthology! This was published in 2011.
The subject matter is a little delicate. It’s a story about sexual abuse…but it’s not very blatant about the subject matter. It’s written in dialect, and from the first-person POV of an 8-year-old boy.
Before we go to the story, if you’re in the Durham Region area–or the GTA, for that matter–it would be worth your time to look into the WCDR!
Here it is:
Momma said Angie had to go be with Gramps on accounta Gramps’s glaucoma. But I know in my heart that’s not what the truth of it is. Angie didn’t like Gramps enough to follow him around for all eternity just so he won’t bumpity bump into tables and trip over curbsides. Angie didn’t like Gramps none at all. She just died ‘cause she died. That’s all there is to it.
Besides, if her eyes was so good and twenty-twenty and all that, she wouldna walked offa that rock and into the falls way she did. Angie been spending her whole waking life trippin’ and fallin’ over things. If that Jesus fella thought he’d better get a body up there to help ole Gramps walk around inside all that Heaven, you’d think he’d pick a somebody who didn’t always hurt theyselves just walkin’.
Angie mighta even done it to get away from all the badness, too. I know I been thinkin’ ‘bout that Heaven place and wonderin’ if it be the place for me and all that too. I just don’t know if I’d have the courage Angie had to walk off the world and into all that water, way she done.
Angie always protectin’ me against Daddy, saying, “boys don’t need no trouble way you got trouble. Don’t forget, Toby, it’s a secret you keep to save yo’self. Ain’t got nothin’ to do with helpin’ Daddy. We don’t evah needs to be helping out Daddy.”
I’m sure she’s up there in the Heaven place thinking she left me down here t’meself with all this trouble, and now times two without her to share it. But she just couldna tooken it no more. She didn’t fall down those waters for the fun of it, nor did she trip. And fo the love of Jesus Please-us, she ain’t never done a thing for Gramps but complain about the smells of his feet when he kept them too close to the fire and they got all the stink all cooked up to fill the house. No. She just hadda ‘nough of Daddy. One can take only so much ‘fore they crack like glass. You whisper all yo life and soon enough it comes to a scream and you ain’t never able to stop it then. Only thing left is ta flung youself from the falls and hope the landin’ take ya to Jesus.
Angie gone now almost a year or so. I remember when she whispered in my ear at night, “Toby, everything’s gonna be ok. Sun’ll come, Tobs. Sun’ll come. Always comes the next day and takes the night away.” I remember the tickle on my lobe ‘cause her mouth was too close and the wetness of her words ticklin’ down deep and cold. I sure did like that. It calmed me down sompin’ awful.
Now I’m eight I can take after my own self, but I sometimes ask Momma maybe Gramps done need another hand to walk him through all that Heaven. She just say, “Don’t leave me, Toby. Don’t leave yo Momma with that man. That’s not fair or right. We in this ta-gether.” I don’t know why I has to be in it with her. I didn’t choose him. I didn’t make the marriage agreement with all the death-do-parts and no-mans-put-us-unders.
I ain’t never signed on to do the things with Daddy that he always be asking me to do. Tellin’ me to do. And that whisky breath near enough to make me drunk and stupid just like him. I know Angie be up there in Heaven some nights shoutin’ down, “Sun’ll come, Tobs. Sun’ll come. You just wait and see.” But it ain’t never come no more. Not with her not here to help fight him off when he get like that. He has more hands than a octopus. He just take what he want from ole Toby now. I been sleepin’ in the closet, but he know where I’m hidin’ mostly. He know where to find ole Toby when the Devil got him all liqueured up and ready to play with fire. Hands movin’ so fast, cain’t hardly keep them offa me.
I just have ta remember to whisper this stuff to no one and wait for maybe Angie’s words to brush past my ear like a tickle and tell me everything be okay in the mornin’.
Momma says Daddy’s gettin’ all better lately. Been smiling and even one time with whistling when he comin’ in from work at the mill. But she just foolin’ herself way she always done. He ain’t nothin’ but evil. Nothin’ good comes from a man who done that to his own kids. That’s what Gram once said ‘bout ole Gramps ‘fore he up and died off like bad wood gone to rot. Yeah, Angie gonna follow that man to help him from fallin’ up in Heaven. I believe that like I believe the day’ll come when Daddy get’s all better. Ain’t never gonna happen.
I know what. If I ever decide not to fall down those waters, I ain’t never gonna do that to my kids. Ain’t wantin’ my boy to get told in whispers that the sun’ll come up in the mornin’ and take all that darkness away. ‘Cause that’s a lie and nothin’ but. The sun comes up. It does. But it ain’t never took the darkness back. That’s there always.
Even Angie knowed that all those things she said to make my days go better were nothin’ but whispered words. Whispered words that tickled my ear and made me just for a second giggle and forget. I think that why she done it all the time. Makin’ me tickle was her way to take away the madness and make it all more better. But it ain’t better now. Not with Angie gone ass over the teakettle over them falls. I ain’t even got her whispered words on my earlobe no more. I only got myself. Then, that all I need. Sun’ll come, Tob.