Just a quick note to let you know that Alexa & I are reopening our etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/sillyauntjen just in time for the holiday season!
This go round, we are featuring Lego jewelry (that you can BUILD on) as well as vintage inspired bits and baubles such as hair pins, barrettes, earrings, necklaces, and charm bracelets. We even have working crayon rings!
Our goal is to provide cute, handmade accessories that are affordable and fun for all ages. Most creations are under $10 (WITH shipping in the USA… sorry internationals but our postal rates are insane but still trying to keep it as low as we can)! Perfect for stocking stuffers, little Hannukah presents, or that ever elusive “What in the world am I going to get my office Secret Santa” gift. ;-)
Most items are listed as having a quantity of 1 available. Please contact me by email at email@example.com if interested in multiples/bulk orders. New items are being added every day & custom orders are always considered!
Thanks for giving us a look! :-)
~ Jen & Alexa
Meanwhile, when the Peanut asks if Lady Jane can come visit, Lady Jane comes to visit! :-)
Happy Halloween Downtonians!
According to Kevin, this is the song he performed (accompanying on piano) with Phyllis at the Downton Abbey Childline Ball…
I can’t even imagine the level of hilarity.
Taffy Shop - Estes Park, Colorado
A month ago, downtown Estes Park was all but destroyed by what was to be named the “hundred year flood.” Today, we took a little trip up there to help support the largely tourist based economy… by buying lots of candy.
WARNING: DISCUSSION OF SENSITIVE TOPICS.
The internet was set ablaze with discussion of the events which occurred on Downton Abbey this past Sunday. Almost every argument has been made from the sexual assault of Anna Bates being used as simply a shock value plot twist to breathe new life into an upmarket soap to a bravely voyeuristic look into what women in service had to face given their position in society during this time. Many feel the warning at the beginning of the episode wasn’t enough and that the content was too graphic for a Sunday night, “everyone round the telly” piece of programming whilst others argue that it was sensitively shown and tastefully done.
As a survivor, I can only offer my own point of view.
The only thing I can equate to experiencing a trigger of a traumatic experience is the feeling you get when you suddenly smell your grandmother’s famous recipe for Sunday dinner wafting about or the smell of your grandfather’s cologne. Your mind automatically recalls a memory, good, bad, or indifferent. How about when a song from childhood suddenly starts playing on the radio or in the background of a movie? At these times, I find myself magically transported back to the waiting room of my pediatrician or first fumbling attempts at slow dancing in the school gym.
When the character of Green forcefully took hold of Anna, memories long forcefully, purposely, and carefully buried came bursting to the surface. The juxtaposition of the grand concert going on upstairs brewed up the perfect storm to a flashback of my own assault yards from a grand society affair where friends were celebrating the casting results of a new production whilst I was being attacked. Each one of Anna screams brought back potent memories - fingers bent back on the arm twisted round my back but covered carefully, threats being growled into my ear on the dance floor whilst others smiled, blissfully unaware, the ache in my head as I tried to silently scream for help through a look as I was being hurried out the door. I felt like I was a ghost outside my own body, watching what happened to me all those years ago through a very disjointed lens.
As I reflexively gasped, I felt the tears stream down my face. It was then that I realized that I wasn’t just crying for a fictional character. I was crying for the person I used to be before it happened to me.
I had been inexplicably drawn to the character of Anna Smith from the outset of Downton. My attachment to the character I found just about as unexplainable as my attachment to the series as a whole. Throughout my life, from my earliest memories of childhood, I have become very attached to fictional stories. They have been a method of escape, a way of dealing with the world when everything gets to be too much. I find comfort and solace in diving in wholeheartedly to a story, making connections with myself and what I wish to see in the world.
I couldn’t understand why the dialogue from the previous episode played over and over in my head like some sort of record maniacally skipping its way round the turntable.
Anna (regarding Ivy): I suppose we were all young once.
Bates: Yes, but you stayed young. That’s the difference.
When I began to reflect beyond the jarring events, when I was truly able to look past my own flashes, I began to realize that Anna has always been a fictional vision of the person I used to be, the person I was before I was forced to see the evil in the world.
I have no doubt that everything I love about Anna will still dwell within her character. Her strength, her lightness, her care, her compassion, her humour & sass, her love of fun - as I believe that they still dwell within me - but from this point forward, to be true to such a situation, they will reside in a broken shell of someone who resembles Anna but will not truly be who I came to love just as it is virtually impossible to recognize me as I once was.
Do I think the powers that be made a mistake by undertaking this track? The answer might surprise you.
Even though I have been struggling through the past few days to deal with the haunting memories of my past, I AM DEALING WITH THE PAIN OF MY PAST. That is huge. I have told a few trusted friends and those I have made a go of relationships with over the years, with mixed results, but have never been able to broach the topic with family. Yesterday, I had one of the most painful conversations of my life as 11 years later, I finally told my mother.
One thing I am perhaps controversially applauding Downton for is for telling the story of a character who is unable to report such a crime. The media at large, particularly American fictional television, has a very singular focus on the reporting of abuse almost going so far as to villianize those who feel that they cannot. In an ideal world everyone would be able to find justice as a result of being victimized, but that world does not currently exist. Please do not take me wrong. I do not advocate for keeping abuse a secret. I do, however, know what it is like to be in a situation where not even law enforcement can save you. It is against all that we are brought up to believe and is absolutely terrifying. To take on the subject of dealing with trauma in a private, secretive way I feel is very bold and brave and gives a voice to those who have had to suffer silently through this type of ordeal for any reason imaginable.
As a survivor and as a performer, I give the utmost credit to actresses like Joanne Froggatt and KaDee Strickland (Private Practice - Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King) who are brave enough to immerse themselves in such a harrowing place. Yes, they are actresses and in the end get to go home and have it all be fictional, but to make it as real as possible, they have to take themselves to a very dark, raw place emotionally and often physically. This certainly does take its toll. There are many people who immediately jump into the “Well there’s certainly a lot of awards to be won here,” mentality, but from a person who has both worked in that world and lived to tell the tale of real trauma, I can tell you that no award would ever be worth putting yourself in that place. I would like to think that they do it to bring awareness to such issues and help, not hinder, the healing and advocacy of victims.
Everyone experiences things in their own way. A smell, a song, a television program… No one person can ever invalidate another’s feelings because we all are a product of our own unique experiences. Has it been hard to read reactions of those who have never been through such an experience? Damn straight, it has. I would be completely lying if I said it wasn’t. Does that make their opinion or feelings any less valid? Not in the least.
My only hope is that, if anything, this will give people the ability to talk more openly about what they are thinking and feeling. I struggled myself with whether or not I should say anything in reaction but came to the conclusion that if it was to help even one person feel better, or at least heard, it will have been worth every word. Sweeping it under the rug certainly does do more harm than good, but such a topic is the epitome of sensitive ground.
If you know someone who has experienced sexual assault, my only wish is that you be patient with them. This is not a subject to be taken lightly, fashioned as something to simply “push past” or be forced to talk about. If you feel comfortable, and I certainly hope there are some of you that do, be sure to let them know that you are there to listen if they ever need to talk. Just the knowledge that someone cares is often enough to boost someone off the depths of rock bottom.
Though it has been a difficult road, to say the least, I like to think that I am still fighting. Every once in a while, the happy, social, sarcastic, fun-loving girl I used to be manages to peek her head out and say hello. I take note of the little things that bring her out - having loud pantomime sing-alongs in the car with my niece, an unexpected side hug from a student on their way out the door at the end of the day, a surprise email from an old friend - and grasp onto them with both hands and an open heart.
The old girl is still there, she’s just slowly finding her way back through the dark.