Healing Words: Reclamation–This Is My Body. I Live Here.

Zoe Azrael talks sexual assault, shame, and healing on bettysbattleground.com

A guest writer series about the ways we heal-on bettysbattleground.comIn an effort to relieve the misplaced shame many sexual assault survivors carry, Betty’s Battleground is dedicating the month of November 2017 to sexual assault and rape awareness. I began the series with a post about the psychological impact of being raped and how you can help a loved one who has been raped. For the second post of the series, I bring a guest post by one of my grad school cohorts, Zoe Azrael. Part of the Healing Words series, it discusses her experiences with sexual assault as a youth, the shame she experienced as a result, and how she has intentionally reclaimed ownership of her mind and body since.

Once you’re done reading Zoe’s story–and please do read Zoe’s story, it will be your loss if you don’t–I hope you’ll come back and check out my latest on Vice. This one is also about the way women’s bodies are hijacked and controlled, but this time it takes place in prison and it’s government officials who are doing a legally sanctioned version of bodily hijacking. Read “Another Way Prisons Treat Pregnant Women Like Shit” on Tonic/VICE.

Read how Zoe Azrael overcame shame and reclaimed her body after sexual assault on bettysbattleground.comZoe AzraelĀ holds an MA in Poetry from Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville and an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University. Mountains make her feel alive.

Continue reading

Fame, Fortune, and PTSD: Am I Enjoying My Success?

What is it like for someone with PTSD to experience success? Find out on bettysbattleground.com

I’m going to make a somewhat embarrassing admission. Well, it would be embarrassing if most people did not already know it about me. Ever since I was a wee gal, I have wanted to be famous. Specifically, a famous writer. Sure, I have entertained fantasies of being a rock star, or an Oscar-winning actress. On my especially bad days, I’ve contemplated what it would be like to be an infamous serial killer. But my dream has pretty consistently been rich famous writer.

I know, it’s a very difficult dream. Especially when you add the “rich” in there. I think it may actually be easier to gain recognition as a writer than it is to a make a comfortable living as a writer. But dreams are dreams. For better of for worse, we all have our big shiny pie-in-the-sky aspirations. Being a famous writer is mine–don’t get me wrong. I definitely have other motivations for writing what I’m writing these days. Reporting on stigmatized populations is not the most surefire route to fame or fortune…regardless of the practicality though, I’ve had big dreams since childhood.

I have not yet accomplished my dream of being a rich famous writer, in case you were wondering. But I have accomplished some success with my writing, which is a start! Betty’s Battleground was recently ranked number 26 on Feedspot’s list of top 75 PTSD blogs! HealthyPlace, which I also write for, was ranked #2. Pretty sweet! Writing for VICE was definitely a bucket list item; I just turned in my third assignment for their health sciences channel. I’ve had two widely circulated articles on Vox, both of which landed my subsequent radio spots. One of them showed up in my treatment counselor’s inbox as the title post for a mental health & addiction e-newsletter. I’m paying my half of the rent with my writing. Interesting people with blue checks by their names are following me on Twitter. There are still no guarantees on that fame, but it looks like I’m on the road to some form of success.

Problem is, this all doesn’t feel half as awesome as I expected it to. And it’s definitely because of my damn PTSD.

Continue reading

12 Articles You Need To Be Reading NOW

Need to know what you need to be reading? Betty's Battleground has you covered!

Heya, it’s time for some reading recommendations. And because I don’t have an author interview to feature, that means some blog post and article links rather than a book review. I’d say sorry, but I’ve seen my blog stats. Y’all like these posts way more than the book reviews.

Side note: I have historically hated the word “y’all.” This post is possibly the first time I’ve used it. I don’t really recall why I hated it, and I don’t know what has possessed me to use it now, besides convenience, but whatevs. It’s all good. I’m being flippant because I’ve been researching an excruciatingly depressing story, and I know that at least one of the women involved in this story is undergoing a lot of pain and suffering right now. So I’m trying to cover up some righteous worldly disgust. Ever done that? Commiserate in the comments, please. It will cheer me up.

Anyway, here’s what I think you should be reading this week.

Continue reading