Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, January 7, 2010


“When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires will come to you.” Jiminy Cricket was mistaken when he sang this song to Pinocchio, although in the fairy tale, Pinocchio’s wish to become a real boy came true. Not so in real life, however.

I can remember standing outside as a small child. When Venus first poked through the velvety blackness of the night sky, I couldn’t resist closing my eyes, crossing my fingers and silently saying, “Starlight, Star Bright, first star I see tonight, wish I may, wish I might, make this wish come true tonight.” My wishes were that my parents would stop fighting; that mommy would smile; that I knew what my teacher was talking about. I wished I belonged to another family. I don’t know when I first heard the term, “That’s wishful thinking,” but at some point, I learned that we don’t get what we wish for. So I stopped dreaming. It wasn’t until I was in my fifties that I understood it is okay to want things—but you must also understand that you might not get everything you want.


I was a pawn my parents’ used to fuel their arguments. Being an only child, I had no siblings to diffuse the negative energy directed towards me. One good thing about being the only child, however, was having my own room. It was a sanctuary of sorts in a child’s world filled with anxiety and fear. For hours I’d remain engrossed in music I played on my small victrola (a record player). My parents’ had Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Doris Day, and more, and I was singing “Witchcraft,” “Secret Love”, and “Cheek to Cheek” by the time I was seven. Patsy Cline crooning “Crazy” would drown out my parents’ loud voices in the living room. When I sang along with Patsy or the Everly Brothers, or even Elvis, I forgot everything else. At four, I began taking ballet and tap dancing lessons, one of the few bright spots in my life. But at seven, that joy went away, and all I knew was that I was a lonely little girl, hungry for love and comfort. And by the time I turned eight, I knew I’d never find that love and nurturing inside my own home.

The above is an excerpt from my memoir, "Following the Whispers." It appears in Chapter II, The Painter and it is the chapter that describes childhood sexual abuse. One of the major consequences of childhood sexual abuse is that trust is destroyed--trust in knowing your parents will protect you and keep you safe; trust in the universe; trust in adults; and most importantly, trust in self.
It's taken me 50+ years to finally begin to get a handle on trusting myself. I'm understanding that this is a lifelong issue for me. It comes in moments. It is the reason my new project is so damned difficult--because it is about trusting the process and trusting myself. Rather than beat myself up for what is not happening, I must acknowledge what is. The truth is, I may never end up with a completed manuscript. What I will end up with, however,  is the knowledge that I've moved further along my path during the journey. That is all we can ask for, in the end, isn't it?


Crystal Clear Proofing said...

Moving along and growing on this journey we call life -- that really is what it all comes down to.

Karen, you've done such a tremendous job of it too!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Continue taking those steps, Karen. We are either growing or dying, so as long as you keep moving forward and stretching and trying, you are growing!

And you new photo is so sassy!

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

You've come so far, don't ever give up!

Joanne said...

I'd like to cast my vote of trust, in you, that you can write that manuscript. It might not be easy, and may take you on an incredible ride, but can you do it? Most definitely, with an amazing story too! And btw, I love your new profile photo ... what energy and fun!

Cyndi said...

Yep every thing and every day is a new lesson that moves us further down our paths.

arlee bird said...

Parenting is just about our biggest opportunity to screw up in life.


Jen Chandler said...

Moving forward is key. Sometimes, just the act of sitting at the computer and typing "I don't feel like writing today" over and over is progress. We're sitting there, typing aren't we? Take this idea and see where it leads you. Let it lead you slowly. We all believe in you here, Karen :)

Have a wonderful Thursday,

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

You've had a lot to overcome and you've come a long way. Hang in there and don't beat yourself up when the creative juices aren't flowing - I've learned they come back when you least expect them. When I can't move forward on a project, I go back and work on a chapter I've already written, cleaning it up and adding more details - it makes me feel like I'm still moving forward.

Helen Ginger said...

You've come a long way on your path. And I think perhaps that is the key: your path. The path is no one else's and no one can push you or even guide you down your own path. The good news is that it is yours to explore and walk at your own pace, be that slowly or at a skip. Enjoy it.

Straight From Hel

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Self-trust is such an elusive thing. I think to have it one also has to have self-confidence. You've come such a long way and have allowed yourself the firm belief that you're worth being happy and content. That's a huge step. As for the manuscript? Don't sweat it. If it's meant to be, then it will come. Maybe just thinking about it will set you on a path you're just starting to discover.


Tamika: said...

Gripping excerpt Karen! I have such a deep respect for you choosing to be transparent so that others will be encouraged. Wow.

God has a special way of helping us peel away the layers so that we can experience His love intimately.

carolynyalin said...

Karen, you are an excellent writer. I read your passage in awe, it was so well done. I'm just sorry it was on such a sad topic.

I echo what everyone said above :)

Karen Walker said...

Thanks so much for your kind comments about the excerpt, the writing, the path I am on, and this journey called life. So glad we are all traveling together on this road.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

We believe in you, Karen. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Soon, you'll be surprised by how much ground you've covered on your journey forward.

Patricia Stoltey said...

This is a poignant post, Karen, the kind that touches my heart. You're a trooper and you'll keep writing. It'll come when it's time.

And I love the profile photo!