Friday, December 30, 2011

Hair

I guess there are more important things to reflect upon as we enter the last hours of 2011.  I'm sure every blogger worth his or her salt will be composing and crafting great reflective blogs about the past twelve months and what they have learned and how they've grown...perhaps sighting accomplishments or regrets or life changing moments....births or deaths...loss and gain.  That's pretty typical, but if there is one thing I'm not, it's typical.  My reflection on 2011 is represented by my Hair.  My Hair has always been a source of great controversy since as far back as I can remember.  When I was very, very little, my Gran would stack phone books and Sears and Roebuck catalogues on top of a dinning room chair and then lift me and balance me on top of the pile so I would be high enough for her to roll my stick straight Hair on to little Lilt perm rollers.  My job was to sit very still and hand her the papers she used to gather the ends of my Hair so they could be more easily captured and reigned in and twisted around each colorful perm rod.  After all of my Hair was rolled Grandma would give me a towel to cover my face and eyes and cautioned me to hold it tight against my forehead as she wet my entire head with the strong smelling perm solution.  Then, we waited.  Waiting isn't easy when you're 2 or 3 years old.  Come to think of it, I'm 40+ years past toddlerhood and I don't think I've found waiting to be any easier at all, but I digress...


I don't recall how many of these home perms I had growing up, but it was definitely in the double digits.  Keep in mind, there was nothing wrong with my Hair as a child.  It was a natural, honey-blonde color that took on a beautiful sun-kissed look every summer from playing outside all day and swimming whenever I got the chance.  However, my Gran (who also had naturally straight Hair that she permed regularly) loved curls.  God didn't give them to me, so she did.


As I grew older, my Hair took on a staring role in my life.  I grew up in the 70's and 80's and Hair....big bouncy Farrah Fawcett Hair that took 1 hour, 2 sets of hot rollers, and 1/3 can of Aqua Net (Extra Hold, of course), was the desired norm.  I continued the perming process well past my high school years.  I was a young bride, and my husband loved my Hair-as long as I kept it the exact same style as when he first met me a few weeks after my 16th birthday.  He got very upset if I suggested cutting it or changing the style much.  It wasn't really my Hair, it was his Hair now.  I just was responsible for maintaining it.


As you might guess, that marriage didn't last long and you'll be happy to know that I was re awarded custody of my own Hair in the divorce.  I have to admit, I went a little crazy with my newly acquired Hair freedom.  I teased and fluffed and straightened and even colored it (Gasp!) for the first time.  This was around 1988 and I am proud to say I have not seen my natural Hair color since then, but for a few roots. ;0)  Can I get an Amen?


Another huge turning point in my Hair history came in 1998.  That was the year my long, beautiful Hair was used as a weapon against me by my then fiance' turned abuser as he pulled my Hair by the handfuls and dragged me down a dirt road in Oregon by it.  Several hours (and many beatings) later when the police finally arrested him for assaulting and kidnapping me and my baby, he tried to lie  and said "I didn't touch her!".  But my Hair, of which much was wound tightly around the buttons on the cuffs of his shirt, told a different story.  Within a few weeks of that night, after most of the bruises faded, I drove to the next town over and I demanded that my long, flowing Hair be removed.  I had it cut up to my ears.  No one would drag me by my Hair again.  Ever.  Problem solved.


Well, the loss of my Hair didn't solve anything.  All it was was a constant reminder of how I let someone continue to control me for years even when there was no hair to pull.  I kept my Hair fairly short for most of the next 10 years.  I was cautious to never let it grow much below my shoulders and rationalized that it was easier to take care of and that, after all, wasn't I getting too old to have long flowing tresses?  Wasn't long hair that could be worn in a ponytail something of youth?  Shouldn't I present a more "mature" appearance?


In 2009, I became very ill.  I was bedridden for months and months.  The only time I was not in bed was when I was at a doctors appointment or in the hospital.  This went on for over a year and a half.  I was often too sick to even wash my Hair, let alone have the strength to comb it.  I remember having to use both hands to steady the comb when I tried.   I didn't go to a salon hardly at all those 18 months.  I was just too sick.  My Hair just grew and grew as I laid in bed day after day, week after week, and so on.  When I was placed on a experimental medication for my illness in June of 2010 I started to be able to get my life back, but I now-for the first time in over 10 years-had this long Hair to contend with.  What was I going to do with all of this Hair??


I kept the Hair.  It has been growing like a weed since I made that decision in the summer of '10.  Now it is even longer than it was that night in 1998 when it was used to hurt me and  my baby girl.  A few months ago on my 45th birthday I went to my dear friend who is a talented and amazing Hair artist and colorist and he dyed my Hair the most bright, beautiful shade of RED I had ever seen in my life!!  When I stood up after he rinsed the color out and saw my reflection for the first time I said "Would you look at ME!"  


My Hair and I have come a long way together.  I baby it, braid it, curl it, condition it...but most of all, I LOVE IT.  It is my Hair.  My Hair is finally mine and, in the words of Lady GaGa, I am my Hair.  May this year you resolve to love and be loved for exactly who you are.


I just wanna be myself,
And I want you to love me for who I am
I just wanna be myself,
And I want you to know, I am my Hair

I’ve had enough
This is my prayer
That I’ll die living just as free as my hair



Watch Lady GaGa's video for "Hair" here.




*This post is lovingly dedicated to my first Hair stylist, my Grandma, Mary Louise Eye and my current Hair stylist Rick Stache.  I, and my Hair, love both of you, always.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Beautiful Disaster

So last week in our Christmas Eve service, right along with all of the familiar Christmas carols and songs I have sung since I was old enough to sing (which was around 8 months of age, according to my mother) was a song by Jon McLaughlin called "Beautiful Disaster" from 2007.  This sorta stuck out like a sore thumb at first in the midst of "Little Drummer Boy" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", but this pop hit that charted 4 years ago after I had left radio full time was not a song I was familiar with at all, let alone a "Christmas" song about the birth of Jesus.  However, I became transfixed immediately by the video and lyrics which were projected on the large screen as my favorite worship leader sang them.  I soon felt the hot flush in my cheeks and lump in my throat right before the tears gathering in my eyes began to obstruct my view of the video.  I realized my 15 year old daughter sitting by my side began crying softly too.  This was our song.  Our gift from Jesus on this Christmas.  It was as if Christ Himself put His arms around us and said "Lisk..Tal...this is just to let you know that I have seen it all and I know what you've been going through and I care more than you could imagine.  I love you and I am your God and I will heal you both and bring beauty from your ashes".  Yep, He said all of that to each of our hearts, and I would imagine some other hearts in that church as well.  I really want to share this song with you too.  May God say what He wants to you through it.  Be blessed in knowing that "happily ever after" does indeed exist...with Him.

"Beautiful Disaster"


She loves her momma's lemonade
Hates the sounds that goodbyes make
She prays one day she'll find someone to need her
She swears that there's no difference between the lies and compliments
It's all the same if everybody leaves her

And every magazine tells her she's not good enough
The pictures that she sees makes her cry

She would change everything, everything, just ask her
Caught in the in between of beautiful disaster
She just needs someone to take her home

She's giving boys what they want
Tries to act so nonchalant
Afraid to see that she's lost her direction
She never stays the same for long
Assuming that she'll get it wrong
Perfect only in her imperfection

She's not a drama queen
She doesn't wanna feel this way
Only 17 and tired, yeah

She would change everything for happy ever after
Caught in the in between of beautiful disaster
She just needs someone to take her home

She's just the way she is
But no one's told her that's OK

She would change everything, everything, just ask her
Caught in the in between of beautiful disaster

She would change everything for happy ever after
Caught in the in between of beautiful disaster
She just needs someone to take her home
She just needs someone to take her home



Watch Jon McLaughlin's "Beautiful Disaster" video here

Resolving for 2012

Resolve to stop the abuse in 2012!! Learn how on "Speak Out LOUD with Eliska Hahn" LIVE this Sunday 1/1/12 @11p EST on BlogTalkRadio!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Pixel Project-Stopping Violence Against Women-Together 12/18 Blog Talk Radio

Join me and my special guest, Regina Yau-Founder and President of The Pixel Project this week on "Speak Out LOUD with Eliska Hahn" only on BlogTalkRadio!!

Listen to the LIVE broadcast Sunday 12/18 @11p EST here

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Don't miss "The Game" 12/11 on Blog Talk Radio

Please join me tomorrow night 12/11 LIVE at 11p EST on "Speak Out LOUD with Eliska Hahn" only on BlogTalkRadio!!

The Game 12/11 by Eliska Hahn | Blog Talk Radio-click to listen LIVE here

On Demand episodes of my show can be found a little further down the right side of this page.

~For Dylan

Remember-
You can dress up evil
In a tailored suit
And white tie
Like "the good guys"

You can scrub it's face clean
Hide the tattoos and piercings
And slick it's hair back
Real nice like

But it's still evil
On the inside
Coming out of every pore
With every beat
Of the small black heart.

But there is One
Who defeats all evil
And sets a crown of glory
On the head of each
Who defend the truth,
Even at their own expense,
And pain, and discomfort.

You are a hero.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Second Article for The Pixel Project



16 Online Resources for Escaping/Healing from Violence Against Women


Some of the most difficult – and often, most dangerous – part of the work done by activists, organisations, grassroots groups and individuals for the cause to prevent and stop Violence Against Women (VAW) is helping women to escape and heal from the violence they have experienced. In cases where gender-based violence takes the form of domestic violence or culturally sanctioned ritual violence such as Female Genital Mutilation, an additional difficulty lies in getting women and girls to take steps to get or accept help to escape the violence being done to them.
In today’s 16 for 16 blog entry, The Pixel Project presents 16 resources for women wanting to get help escaping or healing from various forms of VAW as well as those who wish to understand why and how a particular form of VAW occurs in order to successfully help the women and girls who need it.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of resources but it is a good starting point. To access the resource for each type of violence just click the hyperlink.
It’s time to stop violence against women. Together.
Edited and introduced by Regina Yau; Research and summaries by Eliska Hahn.
——————————————————————————————————————–

Domestic Violence

“Power and Control” is a documentary film that addresses a life and death issue during a time of urgent crisis.  The film is a timely and comprehensive exploration of physical and emotional abuse in our society, as refracted through the story of Kim Mosher, a Duluth, MN mother of three. A significant amount of video content  for survivors, educators, law enforcement, and health care workers is available. Professors and teachers will find lots of new material in the “For Educators” section including resources to spark class discussion and material for assignments, research papers and further study.
Unfortunately, many women walk away from their abusers with life long physical scars, but it is also almost certain than every survivor will suffer from some form of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome/Disorder-commonly refered to as PTSD.  This site has several articles and links to other online resources as well as an excerpt from “The Courage to Heal” workbook for those that are healing from PTSD as a direct result result of Domestic Violence.
The Great Escape: Special for Victims of Domestic Violence is a special feature on the Women’s Justice Center website in based in Santa Rosa, California.  The entire site, including this article,  is complete with bilingual options (Spanish or English) for all of it’s content.  The Great Escape is intended to help those in a Domestic Violence situation form an initial plan and take the first steps to escaping the violence.  Part 2 lists and defines the potentials sources of help available to women in most every community.

Rape and Sexual Assault

From the A.A.R.D.V.A.R.C. (An Abuse, Rape, and Domestic Violence Resource Collection) website this resource is a brief, easy to understand assessment of the stages of emotional healing a victim of rape can expect to go through.  These, as well as many other issues that often occur after being sexually victimized, are covered in greater detail in other areas of the site.  This site also provided resources by state, a self help bookstore (for victims, survivors, family & friends) as well as a self defense/personal protection store powered by Amazon.
This list of positive affirmations is presented by Pandora’s Project which is a non profit dedicated specifically to providing support and resources to survivors of rape and sexual abuse.  One of the most potentially damaging and long lasting effects of sexual assault is the negative effect it has on the victims self perception and self worth.  Pandora’s Project supplies this list of affirmations tailored to the survivor that she can print out and read every day.  Many other resources, as well as an online support group called “Pandora’s Aquarium” are also available.
This 3 page paper written by the University of Texas at Austin Counseling and Mental Health Center is a practical, step-by-step guide for victims -from the first frantic moments after the assault happens through what to expect every step along the way on your journey back to reclaiming your life.  As well as tips for the victim on ways to take care of herself, there is also an advice and action section for family and friends so that they can be of help to the victim and deal with their own emotions toward the abuse and abuser.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/FGC)

A site that features a free collection of articles about female genital cutting (also known as female genital mutilation and female circumcision) published in The New York Times as well as a navigation portal for other resources from around the web about female genital cutting as selected by researchers and editors of The New York Times.  These resources include literally hundreds of articles, documents, reports, books, multimedia, etc. and is one of the most comprehensive resources on this subject on the web.
TRIGGER WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS DISTRESSING AND DISTURBING IMAGES
This nearly 9 minute video produced in July 2010 is a truly horrifying expose of how up to 2,000 Muslim girls in the UK are being taken back to the old country to have their genitals mutilated and prepared for forced marriage. Its heart breaking and difficult to watch, however it is factual and educational.  Survivors talk about the traumatic effect female genital mutilation has on their lives.
A short, 2 part documentary about Mary (aged 14 years) and Alice (who is in her early 20’s) from Kenya. Both are affected by the traditional rite of passage into womanhood: genital cutting. Mary and her community are preparing for her ceremonial cutting, and Alice is studying to be a social worker to work against female genital mutilation. As the first in her community to refuse the practice, Alice has paid a high price for her choice to break with tradition. Alice tells of the different myths she encounters in the community around her, as to why circumcision is practiced. Mary, on the other hand, has no voice. She just goes through the preparations and rituals in silence.

Forced Marriage and Honour Killing

A 2 page article written for National Geographic News that helps to shine light on the dark practice of “honor” killings (also known as “dowry deaths” or “crimes of passion”). Reports submitted to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights show that honor killings have occurred in Bangladesh, Great Britain, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Sweden, Turkey, and Uganda. In countries not submitting reports to the UN, the practice was condoned under the rule of the fundamentalist Taliban government in Afghanistan, and has been reported in Iraq and Iran.
British women are being pushed by their families into forced marriages, unprotected by the authorities.  This resource provides a five minute video interview with Jasvinder Sanghera, author of “Shame” and founder of Karma Nirvana (a registered charity which operates nationally in the United Kingdom, supporting victims and survivors of forced marriages and honour based violence http://www.karmanirvana.org.uk/).  Several other women’s stories of forced marriage are included in the article that accompanies the video.

Human Trafficking/Sex Trafficking/Forced Prostitution

This site by the Academy for Educational Development (AED) is the “go-to” resource on the web for global human trafficking education, news, activism, publications, reports, research, and much more.  The site states that “the purpose of this (web) site is to bring Government and NGOs in the East Asia and Pacific together to cooperate and learn from each other’s experiences in their efforts to combat human trafficking”.   Publications are broken down by topic/category or by country for easy location of information. This site also features power point presentations as well as “toolkits” for use in combating the many types of human trafficking.
Europe’s free circulation of people and goods has spawned a slave trade: Portuguese women are being lured over the border to Spain, where they are sold into prostitution. Electric shocks, cigarette burns and severe beatings frighten many Portuguese women into the job. We go inside Portuguese-owned puticlubs (whorehouses) – technically illegal, but tolerated by the authorities. You can buy sex with any one of the women gyrating in thigh boots by the empty dance floor. Those who refuse to work are tortured. They move bars every three weeks, to coincide with their menstrual cycle. We ask one bar-owner why he offers ‘hostesses’. He concedes: ‘There are no Saints here’. The women are exploited to the point of exhaustion, diseased or addicted to drugs. Video cameras, barred windows and high walls keep them in. Contains horrific testimony.
A 225 page complete journal from 2009 produced by The Protection Project Journal of Human Rights and Civil Society (a human rights research institute based at The Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.) that includes extensive information articles, short essays, interviews, book reviews, annotated bibliography, and other information for the purpose of education, awareness, and combating sex trafficking on every cultural level, worldwide.

Street Harassment 

Every single day in societies across the world, women are still openly harassed on the streets and in other public spaces. This video is a great educational tool that describes the leering, lecherous ogling, comments, whistles, honks, kissing noises, and non-sexually explicit evaluative comments, to more insulting and threatening behavior like vulgar gestures, sexually charged comments, flashing, and stalking, to illegal actions like public masturbation, sexual touching, assault, and murder.  Join the movement and stop street harassment.
Street harassment is any action or comment between strangers in public places that is disrespectful, unwelcome, threatening and/or harassing and is motivated by genderIn countries like India and Bangladesh, it’s termed “eve teasing”.  Street harassment is a human rights issue because itlimitswomensabilitytobeinpublic as often or as comfortably as most men.This website is a resource center where visitors can access lists of statisticsarticlesfilms, and campaignsaround street harassment as well asideasforaction to stop street harassment in their community. Stop Street Harassment also provides people with a place to sharetheirstories.