Friday, February 26, 2010

Purim, Queen Esther and the Impossible Dream

© (2010) Photographs by Vicki Polin

This film is dedicated to all of the "Queen Esther's" living in the world today who are struggling to accomplish goals in their lives that many believed were impossible, especially to the women who are risking their lives to make the world a better place for us all.  I especially dedicate this film to the women who are fighting to survive after being sexually victimized and are being shunned, shamed and blamed for the actions committed against them by their perpetrator.

 I too have been facing a great number of challenges over the last 18 months.  I know that soon the dream that at times felt was impossible will soon become reality.  

They say Purim is one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar since it commemorates a time in which the Jewish people were saved from extermination while living in Persia.  What always concerned me in this story is that all of the Jewish people were freed, except for Queen Esther.  After risking her life, she was left behind, cut off from her people.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Purim and Survivors Childhood Abuse (emotional, physical and sexual abuse)

© (2010) by Vicki Polin

For most people, the holiday of Purim brings up great memories of dressing up in costumes and being silly.  For others Purim is very difficult and confusing time of the year.  It's a time that may conjure up past memories of parents or other adults who cared for them drinking a little too much alcohol and or being drunk.  When this happened their parent, grandparent or another adult care provider  might have lost their ability to control their anger, impulses and or inhabitions. 

For some Purim often mean that families get together, routines are changed, there is also the added stress of cleaning and preparing meals. These issues alone can be extremely stress producing. Unfortunately the reality is that there are parents who are already inclined to use their children as an outlet for emotions and urges. They are even more likely to do so when under the pressure of increased anxiety. Many survivors of childhood abuse report that they were abuse became more intense around and over all holidays (both Jewish and secular holidays).

It is not uncommon for symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to emerge after times of relative remission and/or intensify in those already struggling. You may experience an increase in disturbing thoughts, nightmares and flashbacks. Thoughts of self-harm, even suicide, may be an issue. The important thing to remember is these feelings are about the past, that the abuse is over, and that it is of utmost importance for you to be kind to and gentle with yourself.

This is written as a reminder to all survivors: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
It's important to remember that whatever works for you is OK --know that you are not alone, not wrong, not bad for having second and third and forth thoughts about how to celebrate and if to celebrate the holidays. Look into yourself and see what you need, then do what you can to do it, and be kind to yourself for needing to make these adjustments.

If you are a survivor of childhood abuse and this is a difficult time of the year for you, please make plans to be with friends or support people. Be sure to call suicide hotlines if necessary.  CALL: 1-800-784-2433 and you will be connected to a crisis center nearest to you.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Baltimore's Jewish Community Digging Out After The Second Blizzard of 2010

© (2010) Photographs by Vicki Polin
Music by Three Dog Night 

I took these during a walk to a friends home.  It was a bright sunny day, much different then yesterday. People were busy digging out their cars. Everyone had to walk on the streets since the sidewalks were covered with four to six feet of snow.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Second Blizzard in Baltimore 2010 - Photos Taken Between 4:00 - 6:00 PM

© (2010) Photographs by Vicki Polin
Music: "Wintertime", by Steve Miller Band

Also see: Part 1 of the second blizzard in Baltimore

Second Blizzard in Baltimore 2010 - Photos Taken Around Noon

© (2010) Photographs by Vicki Polin
Music: Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull

I started taking some pictures last night.  When I woke up it was just freezing rain.  Around 11:30 it turned back to snow.  When the wind blows it turns into whiteout.  They are saying so far we have about 19 inches of snow.  Baltimore is calling this a phase 3 storm, meaning no one is allowed to drive within the city, except emergency vehicles.

The National Guard is in my neighborhood driving Hummers.  While I was out several people from Shomrim stopped to offer me a ride.  I told them I was just taking pictures.  I also mentioned I was from Chicago. They smiled and oh, your fine then.  The storm has changed since I was out and it's even too dangerous for me.  It's about 2:30 - 3:00 PM.  There are four different video's below.  Also see Part 2 of the second blizzard

Western Run

Clarks Lane and Fallstaff

Off of Clarks Lane

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Pre Baltimore Blizzard Number 2 (February 9, 2010)

© (2010) Photographs by Vicki Polin
Music: Bad Moon, by CCR

We started off the day by going to the grocery store.  It felt like it was the day after xmas or they were giving away free food.  The shelves were getting pretty empty.  It sort of felt festive in a strange sense.

I went out with a friend in and around Hunt Valley. Just needed to escape before the next blizzard hit Maryland.  I have a feeling we will be snowed in for another week.

We already had 2 to 3 feet of snow.  Another 12" to 24" inches expected.

Monday, February 08, 2010

48 Hours Post Baltimore Blizzard 2010

© (2010) Photographs by Vicki Polin

It's about 48 hours since the blizzard ended, yet recovery is very slow in Baltimore. These pictures were taken within the eruv (Jewish community). Everyone I know seems to have cabin fever, including me.  I had to get out and walk around.  Almost everyone I know still get their cars out due to the amount of snow on the side streets.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The 2010 Blizzard Within The Eruv of Baltimore

© (2010) Photographs by Vicki Polin
Music:  Lara's Theme from Doctor Zhivago

The following pictures were taken within the Jewish community of Baltimore and Pikesville, Maryland.  

We had a major snowstorm.  I started taking pictures when the storm began, and then the next day once I was able to get out my door.  In some places the snow drifts were just about as tall as me.  Most places the snow came up to my hip.  It was absolutely beautiful.  

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Day After The Storm - Carrol County, Maryland

© (2010) Photographs by Vicki Polin

I went out with a friend the day after a major snow storm in Maryland and took the following pictures.  I divided them up into two different videos due to the volume of photographs taken.

Part 1

Part 2