AUTHOR FEATURE: OBELIA AKANKE
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I’m pleased to welcome Obelia Akanke to Kit ‘N Kabookle. She’s here today to discuss the perspective she brings to abuse through her writing.
We would be able to save ourselves a lot of time and heartache if hindsight was something we could see in the present. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. The benefits are that we can learn lessons, might have some good memories, and meet new friends during those trying times. It is a true statement that past experiences and knowledge gained contributes to who we are now.
Most of us don’t give a second thought to our daily routines. For instance, we don’t actively concentrate on brushing our teeth, walking down a hallway, driving to a store, or navigating the settings on our phone. After we figured out what to do, our minds switch to “autopilot” and allow us to concentrate on other things while we do these tasks. This is why we can mentally go over a presentation or practice giving a speech in the car on the way to our destination.
What if your “normal” was drastically interrupted? Imagine:
– Instead of being able to take care of your personal grooming or hygiene habits in peace, your partner berated you and called you ugly or smelly while you washed for the day. – practically tiptoeing down the hall and checking open rooms to avoid being startled because your partner football tackled you into a wall since the heels of your shoes clicked when you walked.
– driving to work and continually checking your rearview mirror – not for tailgating cars but to see if your partner is following you again.
– being afraid to talk to your friend longer than 10 minutes or visiting unapproved websites on the phone you pay for because your partner forced you to show him your usage and internet history.
Once you have seen, heard, or experienced something impactful or traumatic, your “normal” is altered. It’s like the difference between being told a stove is hot and actually burning yourself on the stove. Both teach the same lesson, but your brain processes it differently because you now have a new and more powerful teacher – pain (and possibly a scar). You will be extra careful around hot items in the future because you do not want to go through that hurt again.
Victims of domestic violence and/or other traumatic events live in a state of “hypervigilance.” They may be jumpy or appear on edge, overly compliant, on their guard, or display other behaviors of being alert and ready to protect themselves from harm, even if there is no sign of danger. They have experienced the reality of worst-case scenarios and are mentally and emotionally preparing to avoid them. Therapy and a strong support system can help people work through these thoughts, but “triggers” or reminders of the trauma can cause the person to experience the same emotions as if he or she were being hurt the first time. This can happen even years after an incident.
One of the main reasons I wrote the Heart of Crystal series, particularly Reclaiming Celeste, is because it is sometimes difficult for people outside of abusive relationships to understand why people are responding the way they respond. We may assume they’re overreacting or “should have gotten out” of the relationship sooner. I’ve never encountered anyone who wanted to be abused. Victims are usually trying to figure out what’s happening to them, why it’s happening, trying to make the situation better (or, at least, tolerable), and/or trying to find a safe way to escape.
The series does not focus on abuse. My reason for mentioning it are to:
1) validate the person who has experienced it. Too often we dismiss someone’s pain.
2) attempt to help the person who has not experienced it understand some of the thought processes occurring as a person works through what altered their “normal.”
I am a “true life poet.” My hope is that through the drama, comedy, and entertainment of these books, people will walk away with a bit more compassion and patience for their acquaintance, friend, or relative. I would like us to remember they now have new knowledge and experiences that affected them and that they are doing their best to cope, adapt, and restructure their lives. Our support means everything.
\”Obelia is a “true life poet.” Her topics center around life situations and may be comical, practical, or written to bring awareness to a situation. Depending on her mood, she may write for no other reason than to entertain herself. Obelia likes to challenge herself to learn and improve her art. She has chosen to express much of that through poetry and contemporary fiction. Her unique style can be felt through print or audio. She currently resides in Hampton Roads where she may be found at poetry venues, book fests, or interacting with and supporting other local artists.\”
Find her online:
The Heart of Crystal series: