It’s up! Trigger warnings for emotional abuse, verbal abuse, ableism, CPTSD. http://www.muthamagazine.com/2019/08/what-is-kindness/
One day about two years ago, my mind was running wild, planning out what to say to a person who has hurt me over and over. They would hurt me, and I’d spend hours and days thinking about how to explain my feelings just right. “Maybe if I say it this way they’ll hear me this time,” I’d think obsessively, awake in the dark, trying to make our relationship tolerable through the power of creative expression and empathy.
I’d been running this hamster wheel for years. Maybe my whole life.
With the help of non-violent communication, a friend who’d been in therapy a long time, another friend who taught me kindness and compassion, and another friend who modeled boundaries, I was finally able to snap out of it. I remember that moment. I realized: these words in my mind are valuable.
“Stop signs are for safety.” It started there. And I stepped off the hamster wheel with the thought: I don’t need to say this to the person who hurts me again and again. They can’t hear me. I can’t change them.
I need to say this to other people who are dealing with emotional and verbal abuse. I need to say this to people asking for help. I need to put my energy into people who are kind in return. So I started writing.
I am really lucky to have in my life a great artist and friend, Kerry Vineberg, who agreed to take this on. We’ve been working on it ever since and I’ve learned so much about the creative process in that time.
And I’ve learned a lot from working with Meg Lemke, the editor at Mutha Magazine who also volunteers to do this work. She knew exactly what to do to make this better. Mutha Magazine has showed me that mothering is a creative, intellectual work. I couldn’t have written this comic if I hadn’t spent years soaking in the work of other artists and writers on that site.
So here it is, my comic “What is Kindness.” Trigger warnings for emotional abuse, verbal abuse, ableism, and CPTSD.