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Archive for February 2012

Creativity in the Midst of Darkness

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I find it interesting that some of the most creative people are also those who struggle with mental illness.  When you look at writers such as Edgar Allen Poe and Sylvia Plath, it is obvious that the majority of their writing was birthed within a maelstrom of a darkness from which they saw no light.  Author Julie Cameron talks about her own battle with alcoholism and depression in “Finding Water”, part three of “The Artist’s Way”.  She speaks of standing on the edge of a great chasm that she calls “the abyss”.  She speaks of how it takes everything within her to keep from plunging over the edge.

I think of my own writing journey.  I grew up in a home with alcoholic parents.  My father sexually abused me during all of my teenage years.  I began writing because it helped me survive the abuse.  I often wonder if I would have started writing had I not suffered.  I remember reading Psalms from The Bible, which is some of the most beautiful poetry ever written.  As a result, I found my solace not only in reading poetry, but in writing poetry as well.  My words were a desperate plea, but nobody really heard that plea other than a few close friends.  I suppose in some way, those poems were my plea to God…my own personal psalms.

I’ve noticed a shift in my poetry.  When I was young and writing about my pain, I wrote in first person.  Now when I write about that time, I write as if I am talking about someone else.  In truth, I am.  I am talking to my inner child…that little girl who had no choice in what was done to her.  Today I write as her protector.

I’ve struggled with depression, co-dependency, addictive behaviors.  But I am stronger now…and my writing is one of the reasons that I am.  For Sylvia Plath, it didn’t work that way.  Her darkness consumed her.  But for the grace of God, that could have easily been me.

 

REVISITING THE PAST

 

These haunted walls

were witness

to flailing hands and feet…

that dance of life

amidst solitary invasion.

 

These painted walls

were home

to violent shadows,

clinging to hope

amidst despair.

 

Today curtains billow

in silent tribute

to the little one

whose cries were lost,

but not forgotten.

 

I pace the silent hallways,

remembering…

cradling the child inside

as I shelter her

with love.

 

 

Written by cherylawilliams

February 25, 2012 at 12:11 am

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…And Two Young Brothers Were Killed

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Yesterday in Charlotte, NC two small children were struck by a truck and killed on Tyvola Road.  The boys were brothers, ages 1 and 5.  Their father was walking them to day care, just as he does every day.  The father was pushing a child in a stroller.  Behind him were the two brothers.  The 5 year old was pushing the 1 year old.  Since there are no sidewalks in this neighborhood, they were all walking along the side of the road.

Charlotte Department of Transportation has acknowledged that this area needs sidewalks, but has said there is no money to do so.

Well, they found money to put a second sidewalk along Scaleybark Road. The city also found money to jackhammer perfectly good sidewalks in the uptown area in order to make some changes to beautify the city for the upcoming Democratic National Convention.  They have also been spending money on planting trees and making improvements in other key areas of the city where convention goers might go.  After all, Charlotte wants to prove herself a world class city.

Perhaps Charlotte needs to ask what exactly makes a world-class city.  Is it having sports arenas, large shopping plazas, and a dynamic uptown area?  Is it having political conventions and sporting tournaments?  Or is it focusing on the citizens of the city and their needs?

I’ve lived in the best parts of Charlotte and in the worst parts of Charlotte.  The best parts of Charlotte always seem to have sidewalks and beautiful landscaping.  The worst parts do not.  Is this mere coincidence?  I don’t think so.  Was it mere coincidence that these two innocent lives were taken yesterday on a Charlotte city street?  I don’t think so.  Perhaps the driver wasn’t paying attention.  That is to be determined.  Perhaps the 5 year old should not have been pushing the 1 year old in a stroller on a street. That is questionable. Of course…if there had been a sidewalk…there is a very high probability that two young boys would be laughing and playing together today.

Something for us all to think about the next time we see city money being spent on mere beautification projects when there are projects of necessity calling.

Written by cherylawilliams

February 23, 2012 at 5:37 pm

A Message to Teenage Girls

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An astonishing new trend among teenage girls is to post videos on You Tube, asking the world if they are ugly.  Wow.  What a sad commentary on our society that we place that much emphasis on outward beauty.  Apparently these girls are so eaten up with low self-esteem that they will turn to complete strangers looking for some kind of validation in regard to their looks.  What is even sadder are some of the responses that these girls are getting, making them feel even worse about themselves.

I wish I could respond to each and every one of them.  Here is what I would say:

You are beautiful.  You are beautiful and one of a kind special because God made you that way.  He does not want you to look like everyone else.  He does not want you to be like everyone else.  He wants you to be who you are.  Perhaps you aren’t even sure who that person is.  That’s okay.  You’re still young, and have lots of time to find out.  Don’t waste your time worrying about fitting in or being like the prettiest girl at school.  Guess what?  Her life is not perfect either.  She goes home and has her own problems to deal with.  Life is not perfect for anyone.

You are beautiful.  You are beautiful because of the spirit that is inside of you.  You are beautiful because of your smile and the way it lights up a room.  You are beautiful because of the joy inside of you.  Perhaps you don’t feel joyful because you never think about happy things.  Well, it’s time to start.  There is always something to be joyful about.

Some of the most beautiful women I know would not have been voted as beautiful if they had posted themselves on You Tube looking for an answer to the question.  Their beauty came from something deep inside of them.  Their beauty came from their joy, their spirit of giving, their compassion for others, their laughter.

Think about that.  Then go look in the mirror and smile.  Ask yourself if you are beautiful.  There is only one answer.  Yes.

Written by cherylawilliams

February 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Losing My Way Does Not Mean That I Am Lost

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As I watched the funeral of pop legend Whitney Houston yesterday, I came to a realization.  Losing my way does not mean that I am lost.

This realization came after listening to a stirring tribute by Houston’s bodyguard.  He had been with her throughout her career.  He had seen her at her best, and he had seen her when she was in the dark throes of her drug addiction.  He spoke about the deep faith that she had in God, and talked about how her Bible was beaten and tattered because she carried it with her wherever she went.  He talked about how it was marked up inside with passage upon passage underlined.

When he spoke of this, I imagined Whitney with her Bible open as she was high or depressed or suffering.  Then I thought of myself.

I tend to read my Bible when things are either good, or when I am in need of something.  For some reason, when I fall prey to myself, whether it be addictive behaviors or just selfishness, I set my Bible aside.  I feel too unworthy to pick it up.  I feel like a hypocrite.  After all, how can I love God and want a relationship with him while I am pursuing things that I know are not good for me?  I have gone months without picking up my Bible, a victim to shame and self-condemnation, thinking “when I get it right, I will start reading my Bible again.”

I now know that I don’t have to get it right first.  I now know that there is no condemnation for those who love the Lord.  I also know that loving the Lord does not mean I will never stumble, fall, or fall victim to my own selfish desires.  He is with me regardless.

Thank you, Whitney…for opening my eyes.  Thank you for helping me to realize that I do not have to run and hide from God.  His mercy is there for me…always.

Written by cherylawilliams

February 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm

A Polite Child Came My Way

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A little girl came up to me the other day. She smiled and said, “Hello, Ma’am.  How are you today?”  I about fell over, simply because I was astounded at how polite and well-spoken she was.  She was probably about eight years old.  My first thought was that her parents must really be doing something right.  My second thought was how sad it was that I would be shocked at a well-spoken, polite child.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are a lot of polite children out there.  Do I believe they are in the majority?  No.  My experience has shown me the majority of children run over their parents.  Parents have become slaves to their children.  They buy for them and give in to their wishes as a means of pacifying them so they don’t have to deal with the real issues at hand.  Parents relieve the guilt they have over not spending enough time with their children by filling them with Happy Meals and video games.  Kids throw tantrums and turn into brats because it works.  They get exactly what they want over and over again.

The sad thing about it all is the fact that when these children become teenagers, the parents are going to regret all of the times they gave in to their children.  They are going to be faced with a mountain of issues that cannot be solved with Happy Meals and video games.

It would be nice if parents could have a flash into the future to see what their children will be like if they continue on their current path.  Perhaps then parents would see a reason to change their methods of parenting.

*Check out my book for Kindle on Amazon.com.  “Flash: A Short Story Collection.”

 

Written by cherylawilliams

February 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm

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Bound by Your Love

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February 16, 2012 at 8:15 pm

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Whitney and Me: The Battle Within

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Tonight I ponder the life and death of Whitney Houston.  Her music was a source of inspiration to me.  I saw myself in her.  I saw her inner struggles…and I identified with them.  She was a woman of faith and family.  She was also a woman who fell into the throes of addiction, giving her love to a toxic man.  How many of us can identify with that?  I know that I can.

Nobody is perfect.  Still, it is easy to throw stones.  I’ve had stones thrown at me.  I’ve also thrown my share of stones.  It can be easy to forget that life is not all or nothing.  People are not all good or all bad.  Life is a series of choices, and an unwise choice can put us on a path that may lead to destruction.  Still, a bad choice does not mean you are a bad person.

Whitney was haunted by bad decisions.  She gave her all to a man who wasn’t good for her.  She stuck with him and loved him, probably thinking it was the Christian thing to do.  After all, her love might inspire him to change.  Unfortunately, his influence on her led to an addiction to drugs, and the Whitney who we came to love seemed to disappear from our eyes.

When she made a comeback a few years ago, she was recovering from her addiction.  She had a new found faith in God.  She knew that He was her only hope of overcoming her addiction.  Her song “I Look to You” is a poignant reminder of how far she had come, with God’s help.”

In my own life, I have struggled with my own demons.  Though I have never been addicted to drugs or alcohol, I have had my share of other addictions.  I’ve been addicted to food, to relationships, to love.  I always felt I needed someone else to make me a complete person.  This led me to remain in a toxic relationship for over 30 years.  Don’t get me wrong.  I loved the man.  I still do.  But he wasn’t good for me…nor was I good for him.

My writing shows the demons I have struggled with.  It also shows where my strength comes from.  In “Flash:  A Short Story Collection”  I have depicted the demons that many people face, the angels that find them, and the love that can eventually be found. My book can be found on Amazon.com, and is available on the Kindle.

Written by cherylawilliams

February 16, 2012 at 5:45 am

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