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Showing posts from 2017

Goodreads Giveaway - Memory in Silhouette

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I'm giving away 10 copies of my book of poetry, Memory in Silhouette on Goodreads. Enter by January 11, 2018 to win 1 of 10 copies.


Goodreads Book Giveaway Memory in Silhouette by T.L. Cooper Giveaway ends January 11, 2018.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads. Enter Giveaway

Shame: An Old Foe Still in the Shadows

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Shame... Shame on you... Shame on me... You have no shame... Shame... Sighs!

I am not ashamed of who I am or my life experiences. I am not ashamed...

And, yet, there have been far too many moments of my life lived in shame, lived in the shame of someone else's perception of my existence and my experiences. We all have. We wear shame like a prism of everything we've done wrong shrinking us into our smallest selves and projecting reasons to not be loved into the world.

I recently read I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn't): Making the Journey from "What Will People Think?" to "I Am Enough" by Brené Brown (read my review). When I started it, I had no intention of doing the exercises; however, I quickly changed my mind. As I read I realized that to have the full experience, to truly understand the book, I needed to do the exercises. Still, to be honest, I didn't
expect to get much out of it... 

After all, I'd already done this work... I was sure of it.…

The Winds of Chaos - Dona Nobis Pacem

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In a world where it feels like chaos dominates our lives, it can be hard to recognize peace when it arrives. Sometimes, though, we have to grab the little slivers of peace that sneak into our lives and cling to them like they are life preservers.

When all we see is the chaos and pain life offers, peace slides into the recesses where it hides leaving us to question if there really is such a thing as peace at all.

We spend so much time highlighting violence and hatred and vitriol that we ignore kindness and love and compassion. Not only are we surrounded by the chaos of violence in the real world, but we surround ourselves with it in our entertainment. We invite chaos into our lives even when there's no reason. We binge watch the violence in fiction and pretend like it's separate from real life. We want justice against the chaos even if we can only find it in the violent acts of fictional good guys exacting revenge on fictional bad guys. But, I wonder if we've become so jaded …

How Many Times Must We Say NO MORE?

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It's October, also known as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I find it a bit interesting that we, as a society, have combined these two awareness campaigns in the same month. If I looked hard enough, I'm sure I could find a way to connect them.


However, let's focus on Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the No More Campaign.
I first wrote about No More back in 2015, when I wrote No More... Excuses... No More.
We live in a world that seems to be waking up... maybe. But how many times can we say No More?
We also live in a world that far too often excuses the behavior of those in power, whether in a large corporation, a small company, or even the home until forced to believe the truth when the evidence once dismissed piles up so high it threatens to topple over and crush all in its wake. Can we keep on this way?
Society blames the victim. Society shames the victim. Society silences the victim. And, let's be clear about who society is... So…

Why Women Don't Report...

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Sex... Sexual harassment... Sexual abuse... Sexual assault...

We wrap anything related to sex up in so much shame and guilt that it imprisons us in our own minds convincing us no one will ever believe us, that we should be ashamed for someone else's actions, that keeping quiet is the best way forward.
People ask "Why didn't she report it?"
I know my story will resonate with many women, and some men, too, because it's not a new story. It's been going on for ages. And occasionally a scandal brings it to light and we all look for ways to be make it better, to find common ground, to not need to say "Me Too." And, then the fervor dies down and we all go about our lives until the next time. Will this time finally be the one that's different? We can hope...
Still fairly fragile from being sexually assaulted in college, I started an office job at a cabling company(now out of business if my research is accurate) in Lexington, Kentucky. I started as a temp em…

Open Letter to Michael T. Benson, President of Eastern Kentucky University, Regarding Title IX Protections for Sexual Assault Survivors

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Last week Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that she intends to dismantle the Dear Colleague Letter Guidelines that have given survivors of sexual assault more respect in the reporting and investigatory process of sexual assault by utilizing the protections in Title IX to a safe learning environment.

Shortly before her announcement I posted Sexual Assault Happens... Then What?, my post to raise awareness about the importance of taking campus sexual assault seriously and urge people to stand up for survivors.
Upon learning of Secretary DeVos' decision to dismantle those guidelines, I wrote a letter to the current President of EKU, Michael T. Benson. As an alumna of EKU and a survivor of campus sexual assault I feel a duty to urge my alma mater to be a leader in the adherence of Title IX using the Dear Colleague Letter Guidelines to take campus sexual assault seriously and providing the support survivors need to move forward.
Here is the open letter version of the letter I s…

Sexual Assault Happens... Then What?

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I started this post over a year ago after I watched The Hunting Ground, a documentary about sexual assault on campuses and the way universities handle sexual assault on campus. I've come back to it multiple times but have hesitated to publish it yet I couldn't bring myself to delete it. So... With today's announcement regarding the plan to eliminate Title IX protection for survivors, I must speak up. I can no longer be silent.

The Hunting Ground affected me deeply. I stopped it several times when I needed to think and feel and cry and rewind to listen again. (Currently available on Netflix and streaming or DVD purchase on Amazon.)

As I watched, many thoughts went through my mind. I am still dumbfounded by the way universities dismiss and/or minimize sexual assault complaints. I suppose admitting the number of campus sexual assaults on their individual campuses might deter some potential students, but...

Sexual assault happens. It happens in every community. It happens in s…

Meet Me on the Other Side of You - A New Poem

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It's been a while since I posted a blog and even longer since I shared a new poem...

Yesterday I read a poem, The Other Side of You, by my poet friend, Butch Knight. The entire time I read I kept thinking "Meet me on the other side of you" and today those words morphed into the poem below.

You can read Butch's poem, The Other Side of You, now or later.

And, here's mine...



Meet Me on the Other Side of You                                                                              
Meet me on the other side of you Where the river filled with your tears flows Where the mountain scarred with your heartache rises up Where the valley of your vulnerability hides in the shadows Where your nakedness stands in the beaming moonlight
Meet me on the other side of you Where the trail leads past your smiles into the thorny brush Where the rocks on the path force me to stop and ponder Where the ruts fill with puddles of lost dreams Where roots of your past are exposed
Meet me on the other sid…

Talking About Kentucky on 50 Authors from 50 States

Today I talk about how Kentucky influenced my life and my writing on the blog, 50 Authors from 50 States.

The blog offers a glimpse into my complex relationship with the state of my birth... Please check it out...

50 Authors from 50 States

I Choose... Love

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My adherence to the idea that living from a foundation of love has gotten me more than a few patronizing smiles. But I cling to the idea that the more love we put into the world, the less hate there is to multiply. It's so much easier to hear one another when we approach one another from a place of love instead of a place of hate.

I've always thought we could bring people together by sharing our lives with all their differences and similarities. Lately, I've been doubting that. Some people seem so determined to hate that there's no reaching them. In a way, I almost feel sorry for those people. They cheat themselves out of so many glorious experiences, so many unique and beautiful moments, so much happiness just so they can cling to stereotypes and hatred, just so they can rail against a perceived enemy.

When someone says "but not this one person I/you know" when making sweeping hateful comments about whole groups of people, their disclaimer means nothing. If yo…

Foundation of Love... You'll See

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I am usually motivated by love, but the past few months I've found it difficult to live from a place of love. I fought that difficulty. I fought it hard. I like being motivated by love because as I explored in a blog post, What Motivates Me?, back in August 2015 anger, hate, and rage tend to overwhelm me to the point of feeling paralyzed. Love on the other hand frees me, gives me direction, gives me a foundation.

The past few months every time I've tried to tap into the foundation that allows me to live from a place of love, I've felt fear and anger, perhaps even a bit of despair, raging just below the surface. I've tried. I've pushed myself. I've worked hard to embrace the love I feel for the people and animals that inhabit this Earth, for the Earth itself. The Earth is home, the only one we've got, after all. 

I've tapped into the things that remind me of love. I've avoided the things that increase my despair. I've contacted friends who always h…

We Can Choose Love: Reflections on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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Sometimes the words you hear change... if not everything, then at least something. Sometimes that event you dragged yourself to even though you'd been running behind schedule all morning gives you exactly the inspiration you need. Sometimes a simple smile reminds you that you are not as alone as you think you are...

Yesterday was one of those days for me...

I walked into Franchesca Ramsey's talk at Oregon State University a few minutes late without a clue what to expect. She spoke to a decent size crowd about activism as part of the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day . As I listened to her speak, my mind began to wander in that way one's mind wanders when the words spoken spark a thought, inspire a new idea, and/or push one to think about one's own actions.

Following Franchesca's talk, I joined the Peace March on campus which ended up being relatively quiet with a bit of singing and a bit of chanting but with many people just walking quietly. I began to won…