TRIUMPH OVER ADVERSITY

By Rasa Von Werder, May 24th, 2021
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I Strip for God  Part 4

 

Chapter 5    Triumph over Adversity    5-22-21

 

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          What I will attempt in this book is to portray how I overcame challenges & adversities by my Faith in God, & strangely enough, how the abuse which my family proffered, trained & prepared me for the future.

 

          The first challenge was to get over the abuse;byfighting the negatives within it, resisting the urge to internalize their hate.  To do that I had to practice the virtues of Jesus Christ – love thy enemies, do not hate or take revenge on them – forgive them – get over it. 

 

          But I must say this.  It was all planned, it was for my good, & the abuse started at age ten, not before that.  This is important.  Being severely neglected or abused in infancy causes brain damage. {I’m not sure what is the cutoff point for infancy?  Could it be Freud’s 5 years?  As he said what happens the first 5 years determines the future.} This destiny God protected me from.

 

 Children who are abused or neglected in infancy, & prior to ‘the age of reason,’ {considered by some to be 8} will probably suffer irreparable harm – their lives will be problematic.   {This is not to say that all failures & losers were abused.  My brother Jim was never abused but pampered, yet he was not a good fellow.  Others I watched suffered not one iota of abuse, but were held up & supported by family but were not angels.  Lack of abuse doesn’t guarantee sainthood.}

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          A man named ‘Harlow’ did extensive & cruel experiments on infant monkeys.  Those who were totally neglected developed lesions on the brain – this cannot be corrected.  In humans we call various forms of this Attachment Disorder {only the most extreme cases have the brain lesions}; it’s pandemic in a Patriarchal society where Mother authority / nurturing is compromised; the worst cases are called Radical Attachment Disorder.  This was only ‘discovered’ or identified recently, the 70’s, after Americans began adopting children from war torn Ukraine, they had developed this malady in orphanages. 

 

{But I have seen documentaries that evidence this from the 50’s & 60’s on Youtube – what they did to children in experiments is pitiful.  Instead of giving them the love they need, they studied them, which reminds me of the men at the Tuskegee University syphilis experiments – none of them were given remedies but the progress of their illness was studied.}

 

          I published a book called ‘Breastfeeding is Lovemaking Between Mother & Child’ – which has this article in it, {condensed by me} from Dr. James W. Prescott, PhD:

 

Alienation of Affection

 

         

          Deprived of their mothers, Harry Harlow’s monkeys were at times apathetic, at times hyperactive & given to outbursts of violence.  Raised in isolation, they were socially inept:  they often held themselves & rocked like autistic children.

 

          What Harlow could not know in the 50’s & 60’s was that these behavioral disturbances were accompanied by brain damage.

 

          During formative periods of brain growth certain types of sensory deprivation, such as lack of touching & rocking by mother – result in incomplete or damaged neuronal systems that control affection {for instance, the loss of nerve-cell branches called dendrites}.  Since the same systems influence brain centers associated with violence, in a mutually inhibiting mechanism, the deprived infant may have difficulty controlling violent impulses as an adult.

 

          James W. Prescott has an incredible website called Origins of Peace & Violence:     http://www.violence.de/

He is formerly the Health Scientist Administrator, Developmental Behavioral Biology Program, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health.

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          I wanted to make a strong point about abuse – how in infancy, early years it is MOST SERIOUS & has dire consequences, & I was SPARED from this.  My abuse started in a concerted, conscious way by Mom & those she brainwashed at age 10 – by then my brain was developed & so there was no incidence of brain lesions or damage.

 

          My first ten years went like this:  I was given love & affection by both parents to different degrees.  Mom breastfed all of us – that is important for affection as well as Immune System Development.  She did not single me out for ten years, it started when she & Dad split & not right away – they separated when I was 9 – & the abuse started after the separation.

 

          My Father was affectionate to me like a Mother.  He was tender, kind & sensitive.  He’d hold me in his lap, take me on walks hand in hand, he paid attention to all my activities & encouraged me – he took the place of the soft, sensitive Mom.  He was the whole world to me.

 

          Mom was ‘hard.’  In the last book she identified herself, in the way she was to me, as a ‘Monster.’  I can’t argue with her.  I recall her & Dad, him on his hands & knees on the floor, she sitting on his back beating him with her fists.  She was a psychopath – not all bad but to me, after age 10, monstrous.

 

          However, they gave me a good education & exposure to the Church; the Church gave me meaning to life & the answers.  As Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, & the Life.’  This is God speaking through him.  I don’t believe He meant his historical flesh was the only way, truth & life, his example was.  What He taught & lived was.  And He is not the only one who gives us this Spirit, all those who are One with God are of this Spirit, & they also are ‘Living Gods.’

 

          But I didn’t know all that when I went to Catechism.  I had Catechism in a Gothic Church, taught by contemplative nuns in black robes {who I adored & obeyed.}  They told me to sacrifice candy, I did.  They told me to take the blame for someone else’s wrong doing – I did.  One told me she was married to Jesus Christ – that was one of the knots on the belt of her robe; I from then on aspired to that & it would happen.

 

          Our week was filled with education:  Regular school, Catechism, Saturday Lithuanian School & Church on Sunday.  I took it all seriously.  My first Holy Confession & Holy Communion were great milestones for me.

 

          There were also healthy & happy community events, recitals, shows where we kids performed {I recited poetry} & Dad gave speeches {never failed to say we had to release our country from Communism.}

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 We were members of a creative community, all our holidays were feasts shared by a dozen friends.  The singles were invited, some couples.  I recall our gay female photographer, Panele {Miss} Narkailunaite always present; she fat & jolly, smiling, laughing, loveable.

 

          Never in my life did I neglect prayer, meditation or supplication to God & not only for me, but the whole world.  I recall my child’s prayer constantly was, ‘Dear God, please help everyone.’

 

          In my grammar school in the country, age 9, there was a field adjacent to our school yard.  I’d write my petitions to the Almighty on slips of paper, release them into the field on the wind, & all my requests were answered.

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          Now to continue my point, that I was not damaged but empowered  by my sufferings.  Yes, it hurt, & it hurt a long time, years & years, like most people do, I kept asking WHY?  And God kept saying, ‘To make you strong.’  But I didn’t get it until recentlyI couldn’t picture what they did to me making me strong, I only felt the pain.

 

          But the fact is I faced a whole number of abuses & obstacles in my life, & if I had been WEAK I could not have succeeded.  Here’s a list:

 

                               Being a Woman

 

          John Lennon said, ‘Women are the niggers of this world.’

          As a woman I had many obstacles men don’t have.  A friend of mine who changed his sex from female to male said that everywhere he went he was treated like a God once he changed genders. {His name is Les Nichols, I made a movie of him when I was producing called ‘Who is Inside Les Nichols?}

 

          I don’t think I have to explain this deeply – we all know that the 50’s & early 60’s when I began my move to adulthood were frightening times for women.  Everywhere you turned, a man was in control, I mean everywhere.  With the feminist movement things improved & now we’re moving into Matriarchy in leaps & bounds.  My first revelation from God was 1971,

 

          “Satan rules the world, & he works through men.”

 

          This disclosure from the Divine predicted my life’s work – Resisting the devil & all his tenets & temptations, his put downs & hatreds – & empowering women.  You can see how God had to arm me for battle with this foe.  The armaments were those described by Paul – the Shield of Faith, the Sword of the Spirit, the Helmet of Salvation, the Breastplate of Righteousness, Girdle of Truth, Sandals of Peace.  More on that:

 

 Ephesians 6:10–18

 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

 

Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

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          And so I demonstrate in this book that I was armored for battle, Our Lord’s battle, Holy Mother’s battle, against the forces of evil, most of which are enmeshed in Patriarchy, & I was given the education, then the suffering to toughen me up.  I could not be a tenderfoot or a wilting flower, I had to have this armor spoken of, & when I entered the adult trade, I needed it.  When I became the Progenitor of Female Body Building I needed it.  When I was the Stripper for God I needed it.  All these projects required faith & what kind of faith?  Not in myself, for the flesh is weak, had I relied in personal self I would have cracked.  No, I had little self esteem as a person or woman, no delusions of grandeur.  But I had total & complete faith, hope; trust & confidence in God, always had & always will have.

 

Battles I WonFemale BodyBuilding

 

          Is life a battle?  It certainly is, from time to time.  Just surviving can be a battle; then again, presenting new ideas to the world, representing them so the world improves can be daunting.

 

          Here is one thing my tough training prepared me to do:  Female bodybuilding.  I was finally given the award, ‘Progenitor of Modern Competitive Female Body Building’ by the World Body Building Guild in Feb, 2007.

 

          I explained in my book ‘The Origin & Decline of Female BodyBuilding’ is that it wasn’t about bench presses; it was about women’s rights.  On stage men were honored & paid, women were degraded as a ‘side show’, no money, no honor – same ole’ sex symbol stuff.

 

          My job was to bring forth the idea that women could be serious weight lifters, & they had a right to get muscular & still be respected, not laughed at.  They were not dykes or weirdos if they got muscular; they had muscles just as men did, why not develop them?  It was a taboo to develop our muscles; we were forced to be ‘feminine.’

 

          I will channel Mother God.  Mother, explain the challenge I was facing – in the beginning I was all alone, it was before Lisa Lyon, who was second {will explain some important dynamics here later}.  Explain in your words what the hardship was to present this idea of women lifting weights.

 

          MOTHER GOD:   You were storming a bastion of male supremacy; it was one of the enclaves where they reigned supreme.  Yes, men are bigger & have more testosterone by nature, they used this as part of their proof that men should dominate, as if physical strength determines who should lead, because might makes right.

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          It was a dangerous thing to challenge this assumption.  Men were scared, threatened, by the thought of women getting physically POWERFUL.  Everyone respects power – If they were bigger, stronger, had permission to work on this & increase it by any means, such as steroids, well & good.  They were in command.

 

          You were saying ‘society should permit women a level playing field.  They have muscles as do men, why can’t they develop them to the max?’  So you were frightening men, & they fought back with ridicule, laughter & lies.  At times it was uncomfortable; to break down any taboo or stereotype is a hard job – but you did it.

 

          ME:   And so, by doing this, presenting the idea to the national media, what exactly was accomplished?

 

          MOTHER GOD:   You empowered women & disempowered men.  Once they leveled the playing field & at least to some degree gave women as much leverage as men {not completely, several times they tested women for steroids but not men} women body builders shocked the world.  With enough steroids, they could be as muscular as the guys!  No one anticipated this, but we saw it with our own eyes.

 

          There were repercussions globally – it began a trend for women to become ‘macha’ or play the role of a tough cookie, not all became aggressive like pit bulls, some moved toward assertiveness, but being ‘feminine’ was no longer MANDATORY.  It opened the door for women NOT to be dominated by men. 

 

          You were accused of various things, such as wanting women to be lesbians & hating men.

 

 One of their arguments:  The males attacked you on the steroid issue.  They said ‘Hey, testosterone is a male hormone.  Why should women take it?’  You answered that if men had so much testosterone, why were they taking more?  And you pointed out that women also have testosterone, just not as much.  And so, if it’s OK for men to take steroids, it’s ok for the women.

 

Basically you invaded a male stronghold & broke down the door.  After this opened up, you weren’t needed.  It only takes ONE leader for the rest to follow, they imitate, the movement starts, it changes the entire world.

 

          When you did the Tom Snyder Show with Lisa Lyon in 1980, you told her about your 1975 Esquire article – the first article on female body building in a national publication.  She was startled & said, ‘That was you?’  This was proof she got the idea from you, the first.  And yes, she did a lot of promotion backed up by Arnold Schwarzenegger & Joe Weider.

 

  The Book: The Origin and Decline of Female BodyBuilding 

Kellie Everts brought forth Female Bodybuilding by taking the idea to the mainstream media, where it entered into our culture permanently; women will never be the same. Kellie Everts was honored in 2007 as The Progenitor of Female Body Building, the one who got Modern Competitive Female BodyBuilding started, by the World Body Building Guild.

 

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          ME:   Mother God, shall we mention my ‘battle’ with Arnold, how he tried to steal my thunder by promoting Lisa Lyon as he had a grudge against me?  And do you agree that his treatment of her was at least in part revenge against me, or am I being paranoid?

 

          MOTHER GOD:   Indeed, he was your adversary.  You were attracted to his best friend, Franco Columbo & were flirting with him.  Arnold came up to you demanding attention & lured you backstage where some hanky panky occurred.  But you weren’t infatuated with Arnold, you liked Franco, so you cuckolded Arnold with Franco.

 

          This got under his craw, & other things happened where you were lifted up or praised in the media, while he was being put down or ridiculed, & instead of hating them who did it, he, already hostile toward you, took it out on you.

 

          He did many things later on that were really big for Lisa – he got her a book by a famous author, he took amazing images of him & Lisa cavorting, with the help of Joe Weider, the notable image on Lisa’s back appeared in her book, ‘Body Magic.’

 

          He didn’t do it just for love, yes, they had an affair he said, but part of it was revenge.  At this point it was time for support & recognition, he used all his power, together with Joe Weider, to award her & deprive you.  At the time it was hurtful – you were swept under the rug by these powerful men, she was held up on a pedestal, it wasn’t about truth or fairness, it was politics.

 

          We aren’t going to belabor all the details now as you aren’t in the mood.  Suffice to say, in the end, you prospered & prevailed.  All the forces these big men put out for her, while ignoring you, were meant to make you diminish in the eyes of the world & her to be recognized as the number one – except it didn’t work.

 

          Over the years you did leave body building because you had done your work, what had to be done, it had changed the world.  But one day in 2006 you began to write accounts of your claims to body building recognition.  You gave proof of what you did, all the dates & times, on your ‘Kellie Everts’ website.  No one could refute, after reading that, that you were the first – the facts were there.

 

          Because of your accounts, the WBBG gave you the award & recognition for getting modern competitive female body building started – they did not give the award to Lisa.  Joe Weider & his International Federation of Body Building awarded her for doing great publicity, but that was not the same – only one woman was recognized as Progenitor – & that was you.

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          It took a lot of perseverance for you to stand up to the likes of Arnold & Joe.  You suspect that someone from their camp kept taking off information from your Wikipedia page, where credit was being given you as the first – but after you got the award – they could not deny the award & there it stayed.  So you stopped Arnold & his friend Joe from DEPRIVING YOU OF THE CREDIT DUE YOU.  That was another project requiring strength.

 

          ME:   OK, Mother God.  I’m beginning to see where hard training at home, deprivation, being ignored, being despised, made me not only stronger but also more ambitious, so being abused made me able to take more abuse – the world sure does meet it out – & I had ambition to prove myself.  We might talk on this more in the future, right now, I’m OD’d on it.  Thanks.

 

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