On Impotence and Biting Monkeys

Since childhood, I’ve had safe spaces in my imagination.

Perhaps because reality often seemed to afford so few of them. Or because the safety of those dark, comforting nooks and crannies I squeezed into as a child to escape painful situations was so rapidly compromised. I still love being in tiny spaces, hemmed in by the edges of things, and shadowed from discovery by the dark. Now my ‘space’ is a fantasy.

It’s under my BlogWife, Beth’s desk.

Now bear in mind for a second that Beth and I have never met (BUT IT’S NOT LONG NOWWW – #September!), and that I don’t think her desk is of the traditional variety (I remember seeing a photo of a funky little stand-alone item of furniture just perfick for an accomplished author), and you will rightly conclude that the physical reality of me turning up, barging into her house and scooting under her desk before cowering, legs drawn up, until it all gets better Out There, is utterly impossible.

Nonetheless, mentally/imaginationally/emotionally, that’s what happens an embarrassing number of times per month. And bless her boots, she gives me cookies and passes me tissues then either carries on writing at her laptop, or (in times of dire need) comes under the desk too, and snuggles me while I tell her what’s wrong.

[Dislcaimer: if you think it’s a bizarre little place I inhabit in this World Between the Wires, then you’re right – I’m a writer! Carry on…]

Most of the time a short stint under the desk will ready me to face the world again, and I emerge feeling aligned, rejuvenated and capable.

This evening was not one of those times.

I scooted under the desk so fast I hit the back of it with a thud, in floods of tears, because people in my Worlds were hurting and there was not a damn thing I could do to help.

Earlier in the day I had discovered that one friend had been subject to a severe domestic violence attack at the hands of her fiance. Then I discovered that another friend had been sexually harrassed at work. I did my best in the there-and-thens to support them and offer empathy and compassion (which I variously got right and got hideously wrong and all things in between). I probably made it a little bit better and a little bit worse, but at least I was as ‘there’ as I could be.

I ranted and raved about these FUCKING MEN! and how much I wanted to slap particular individuals across the face. With a bus.

And a small part of me wryly appreciated the coincidence of such a vehemently anti-man stance being taken on a day when I came out on Facebook as ‘something of a mixture’ (just so no heteronormative assumptions remain in play now I’ve chosen to leave a marriage to a (cognisant) man I chose to have a heteronormal* relationship with). In the end I decided that just because men were the perpetrators in these instances, it didn’t mean all men were bad, and that (as I know), women can be equally capable of inflicting damage on others.

Then the aftermath hit me, and sent me triggering back into other situations where I had been utterly impotent to help people in my Worlds who really, really needed it: another victim of domestic abuse; a friend made homeless and imminently to be sleeping on the streets; the reveal of depression so deep that suicide attempts had been made; a disclosure of child abuse…and I cried and cried and cried for the wickedness in the world, the hurt suffered by people I loved, and the utter impossibility of me making any kind of headway in these situations.

Then after that, I cried for myself and my stupidity and how useless my tears were, because whether the affected person was 4000 miles or 4 miles away, the power of my upset was equal at absolutely NOTHING. I talked good common-sense to myself about ‘not my zoo and not my monkeys’, but I cried more when I realised that the not-my-monkeys were biting my heart to shreds, and that what I needed to do was learn to care less.

Not My Monkey

But I don’t want to. I don’t want to care less.

I want to love my people abundantly, generously, maybe even recklessly, and I want all the Feels which accompany such depth of relationship, because the love is worth it.

I’m still convinced that in the end, Love Wins, and I *know* we’re stronger together.

In the meantime, if you know someone affected by domestic violence, PLEASE take time to give them contact information for relevant helping agencies, and let them know that you will provide a non-judgemental listening ear if they need it, and your help in other ways if they ask it.

PLEASE….because I’m sick of shaking with anger and wanting to crawl through impossible distances (growling, with hackles raised and no plans set) to protect the people I love.

PLEASE…because too many people have already been hurt.

PLEASE…because wherever these hurting people are, they need you to be part of their Village.

And PLEASE…because it’s the right thing to do.

National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247
Men’s Advice Helpline – 0808 8010 327
LGBT Helpline – 0300 9995 328
Website: http://domesticviolenceuk.org/

The National Domestic Abuse Hotline – 1-800-799-7233
Website: http://www.thehotline.org/

Get out there and get building that Village.


*Well, only ‘ish’, if you’ve been following the saga of All The Things, cos yeah..


58 thoughts on “On Impotence and Biting Monkeys

    • Ergh, in that case I’m SO glad you’re in an environment which has NONE of that kind of thing. I’m so glad for your marriage, and all the love you have πŸ™‚

      I think it’s important that everyone stands up against DV…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Ten Things of Thankful 116 #10Thankful | Considerings

  2. How awful that so many people are hurting in so many places in this world, some of whom we know and love deeply, and often we can do nothing to assuage the pain. Hiding under a desk or under the bed sounds very comforting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is. Beth *is* very comforting. She’s a wonderful voice of reason when my mind goes into meltdown, and I adore her for being such a calming influence.

      And yes. SO awful that so many people hurt, and we just…sit. Or try our best, but know we can’t fix it.


  3. I want to comment, because, well…you know…but, Oh Bean…it’s been a hell of a tough day here, for Littlie and therefore for me too, and I’m knackerbobulated o_O

    However, if I had enough brain cells for anything other than muddle, (and made up words)… I’d have said what Corinne said… well said Corinne! πŸ™‚

    Big loves, Kimmie x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhh I’m sorry you’re kackerbobulated, but I understand, and I get it, and thank you. Go and be with your Littlie, and do that mum-ing thing you’re so good at. It will all work out in the end. Somehow. Probably.

      You’re an awesome bean *HUGS*


  4. In my clinic, we see women in abusive relationships more often than you might imagine (and so many of them are pregnant). Although information is provided to them about how to find help, financial support, food, clothing, housing, and counseling – most of the time, it’s all for naught and the woman choose to remain with their abuser. Legally, there is nothing to be done – these women are adults and no one can force them to do anything, even if it is in their best interest. We can’t even report suspected abuse – because they are not children or elderly – and there are no laws on the books for intervention or investigation unless the woman calls for help or neighbors report an active incidence of battery. Even when the occasional woman leaves, most of the time they return to their abuser (studies show that women leave the relationship an average of seven times before they leave for good). It’s frustrating for us, to see these women so unhappy and frightened, but feeling that they must stay (or convinced that it is their own fault — if only they did things β€œright” he wouldn’t be abusive) – especially when we know they are bringing a child into that volatile mix. All one can do is just keep offering assistance and hope that circumstances change.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re really at the coalface of this, in many ways, and that statistic is atrocious. I hate that these women are so put-upon that they stay. And yet, I see it playing out and know that I’m powerless to override another’s choice, but must just be around to pick up any pieces, if/when they need collecting up.

      It sucks, but that’s all I can do.


  5. Your big, big heart is what makes you so special, Lizzi. Please know that your words and your actions move others (even across continents, like me) to act in positive ways to reach out to those around them. Love and hugs…Stay YOU, because YOU are BEAUTIFUL.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Corrine, that’s such a lovely thing to hear. I still feel very stymied in comparison to how much I wish I could help, but it’s a relief to know that my words can support and encourage.

      I really believe in The Village, and the more people committed to building it were they are, the better. Thank you for letting me know that I’ve had an impact on you 😊😊😊


  6. You can’t “fix” all things for all people. That is reality. But your great big loving heart and your never-ending desire to raise awareness and show people how to help may just make more difference than you’ll ever know. And that’s just it – you may never know. And that is reality, too. And it’s OK. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. OH gosh Lizzi… so so much here. And there is always so so much everywhere… under layers of life, there is pain and horrific tragic circumstances. I know. I get that pain, both from your side and the people you love. It’s SO hard to live so deeply and love so fully. Because when you do- everything is revealed. BUT- the beauty is threaded through it all…. hold on to the beauty when others have lost it or it was taken away from them. We pass it along and treasure it and pass it along and treasure it and pass it along… and sometimes fight like hell for it to appear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s both more painful and more glorious than I thought possible, this love stuff. But then…look at the example we’ve been set – we KNOW love is going to hurt, and yet it still redeems. So I’ll keep doing it and I’ll keep fighting like hell, because it’s worth it even if I can’t do anything BUT love and feel ineffective, it still counts for something if people KNOW they’re loved. I think. I hope so, anyway.

      I know I love YOU and I miss you πŸ™‚


    • *HUGS* Ohhhh no 😦 That sounds very very realms of not good. I hope she chooses to take her meds again soon. It sounds as though she really needs them, and I hope there’s not too much awful fall-out from what’s happened so far.

      Hang on in there, Andra. I have every confidence in you as a supporter. *MORE hugs*


  8. No, no, no, no, NO! Never ever care less. You’re right! In the end it is love that wins out. I believe that with every fiber of my being and you must too. We all must! I will pray for you, for all those you have listed here, for all of those who are going through this that we don’t know, and I will pray over this post, that every person who reads this will know, this post = love.
    Hugs to you my friend. ❀ YOU, we need more of you on this planet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are just absolutely, 100% AMAZING and thank you so so much ❀ You've just made my evening πŸ˜€ I'm bad at remembering that prayer might just help, so thank you for stepping up πŸ™‚ And thanks too for your wonderful encouragement πŸ™‚ I feel more empowered today, and perhaps I was just tired and not coping, as well as feeling All The Feels yesterday πŸ™‚


  9. I think it is awesome that you quickly went from “all men” to some people are evil and asshats and just not right. That you realized quickly to be there for your friend did not mean you are not allowed to get pissed off at the situation. I think we should get angry. VERY angry. It is when the anger leaves that apathy starts. Then the world goes to hell … but it’s people like you that stop that from happening. Because you care. It hurts but you care and that you care in spite of the hurt matters

    Liked by 2 people

    • Honestly I don’t know how to stop caring, and I truly don’t want to. I think it matters, too. And YES – we collectively need more righteous anger and to use it to galvanise us into action for GOOD. And thanks. I do TRY to moderate my thoughts down from ‘ALL THE THINGS TO THE EXTREME’ to something a bit more reasoned, but sometimes it takes a moment. Or half an hour.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Just remember that your tears don’t HAVE to achieve anything. They are the result of you being a human being with empathy; they aren’t meant to fix the situation. They don’t have a moral value. They just ARE.

    Also remember what Dan said at church this week about the shortest passage in the Bible: ‘Jesus wept’. Even the Son of God knows it’s all right to cry at evil. Because it’s evil. It’s upsetting. It’s MEANT to be upsetting.

    For anyone who is reading this and is a target for relationship abuse of any kind: you did nothing to deserve this treatment, the blame lies squarely and unambiguously with the abuser, and there is help and advice available to you if you should wish to access it. Call one of the agencies Lizzi listed and report any injuries to your doctor or the hospital as soon as you can. X

    Liked by 2 people

    • Few moments of my World Between the Wires are as deeply emblazoned in my memory, and the impotence I felt then was searing. And it is my honour and privilege to be ‘on top of that situation’, and I’m there for good. And thank you for bearing with my worrying. I’ll still be doing that when we’re little old book ladies…

      Liked by 1 person

          • AND. You keep me accountable. You remind me every time it looks as though I might be slipping that I have to be safe, and keep Little Dude safe.

            My friends in Real don’t stay on top of me about that the way you do. And you think you’re impotent? Nonsense.

            For the rest of my life I will remember you Skyping with LD that night, and calming and distracting him with your lovely voice.

            That was the beginning, you know. Of him falling in love with you. Not to get all mushy here, but he associates you with safety. That’s why you have such a special place in his heart.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I love you both. Plain and simple. And I want you both to be okay and will do all that I can to help and support you. I’m glad I helped. And okay – I’ll keep ‘impotence’ to a feeling, rather than an actuality. Maybe if I’ve been able to actually be helpful to you, then I have in other situations, and the helplessness is just how I feel because I can’t charge in and actively MAKE it all okay.

              Not that I could anyway, but…

              I love that LD might associate me with safety. I adore him and hope that I get to ‘keep’ him for a long, long time πŸ™‚

              Liked by 1 person

  11. There is a lot of evil in this world. There is also, however, a lot of goodness in this world. Somehow, though, it seems like the darkness outshines the light. At least, that’s how it feels to me.

    Anyhow, my friendship with you is one of those points of light in the shining darkness of this world. Thank you for that.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. OH your heart. Your giant, golden heart. It just gets you into all kinds of trouble, doesn’t it? Sorry you had a rough day and felt impotent. I know it’s hard when you can’t fix things for people you love. The WORST is knowing a loved one or friend is hurting. Just be there for them. It’s all you can do. *hugs*

    *hides cookies under desk for next visit* (sugar free cookies, of course)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, ALWAYS, for having my back, and giving me a safe space and such sensible, wonderful advice about all the things and feelings and for helping me step away. A bit.
      I hate not being able to fix, but I DO do what I can, and that’s great.
      And yes. Trouble with that heart. Oyy!

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s really encouraging, thank you, Honeybee. It’s so hard to make enough time, and to make it all count, and these emergency awful things mean that I’m torn even further. But I’m so determined that ALL PEOPLE should build community and look after each other.

      I’ll keep trying.


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