1st Prize – Juliana Palmcook – Balloon Rally

Do you remember when you were a child and held on to a helium balloon? Have you ever had the experience of the balloon getting away and flying way up into a blue sky? For me I had those childhood experiences many times and even wondered how I would get my balloons back. As well when I was a child I was severely abuses for many years. Besides living in an abusive household when I was in middle school I met and wound up the subject of gang related assault and manipulation. Despite the abuse in school and out of school I could at times manage to carry straight A’s and be invisible in the eyes of my teachers. At high school graduation there was still some abuse and I had setbacks in grades at times. However, I still was accepted at the University of Michigan and my school principal let me walk the stage with the honor students at an awards’ show.

My healing tool was my creative mind and art. My guiding grace was my kindness and reaching out. Faith carried me through the darkest nights.

Three years into my university repressed memories surfaced and I could no longer keep up with my curriculum. I left and went back to my home near Detroit, Michigan. I picked up odd and end jobs and eventually met my future husband. It was the very first time I received my first true hug in the world. I could have hugged him forever.

Two years later we married and two years after that we lost our home in a foreclosure. My husband found a job in Wisconsin. During this time he worked 10 hour days and would be gone for over 12 or more. In this isolation since we lived in the country my mind broke into 3 parts. His care-giving toward me came first and he lost his job. We then moved to the city of Wausau to gain more support and that we found.

I started attending the Womens Community and groups. I learned that I was not alone. Some of my counselors taught me how to make special envelope cards and dolls. My husband taught me how to sew. I learned how to knit, make dolls, pop-cards, quilts, stuffed animals and to be an inventive cook. I reached out everywhere to volunteer at benefits, make care packages for people having a rainy day and cook meals and deliver them to those in need. As I did this I realized I was nurturing the neglected parts of myself from the past. It was a win-win.

Since then when I would get angry I sometimes would yell. I learned that there are other ways to deal with anger than harsh words toward the people who care about you. I started to walk briskly in the morning and work on more art and cooking. I learned how to communicate with my husband and to tell him directly what I needed like -please rub my back and calm me.
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Within a few years since my first time at the Women’s Community I learned how to forgive. I constantly let go of the pain, anger and fear so I could find joy and experience the here and now. I was missing out on a lot with having DID-Dissociative Disorder.

Today we have money woes, etc…but I learned with my creativity that I could let go of that too. In my mind, at night I visualized a helium balloon and wrote with a black marker -Money. That balloon flew to heaven. The next day I received an unexpected check in the mail. Every night I write a word on a balloon and let it go to heaven. I have made amends with this and now my heart is not as heavy. I still have scars, but I let so many balloons go and gave it to something bigger than me-the infinite universe. It actually worked better than planned and today I can proudly say I am victorious because I found love, was able to forgive, gained wisdom, am still able to be kind and can be joyful. I will end this with sending a balloon up to the sky with my signature quote “ It matters how we walk on others’ hearts either harshly or softly, both are remembered.”

by Juliana Palmcook

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