My First Float - March 22, 2018

It wasn’t on my bucket list, but it should have been.

I had the opportunity recently to experience my first sensory deprivation float. I had been experiencing a crippling level of anxiety in recent weeks, and members of my family gifted me the experience in the hopes that it would help. Leading up to the appointment, I encountered numerous people who wanted a report back on what the experience was like. So, I decided to write this in the hopes that it can help you decide if a float is something you would like to try.

Unfortunately, I had not prepared myself well. I arrived stressed, nearly late, and in a considerable amount of physical pain. In my life, however, the odds were good that no matter when I arrived, I was likely to be in that state anyway. I imagined that going into an environment specifically depriving your senses for a long period could have dramatically different end results based on what input you started with. Therefore, as I waited for my appointment on the small couch, I decided to listen to worship music and begin the process of calming down and relaxing before even entering the tank. I am a very spiritual person and decided to invite God into the experience with me, to ask for his help in addressing the anxiety I was struggling with.

I experienced my float here in the Mat-Su Valley at Float Alaska. I knew little to nothing about the experience outside of first seeing the concept in the movie Daredevil. Lucky for me, when you arrive for your first float you are shown a video that gives you a good idea of what to expect from the experience.

The first step of the process was being shown around the private float room. The staff pointed out all the supplies that I would use: specific soaps for before and after your soak; earplugs to keep the salt water out of your ears; water to use to flush your eyes in the case that you get any salt in them; towels; bathrobe; etc. The initial time you take to shower off and prepare comes out of your appointment time (you can schedule for 60 or 90 minutes), but the shower-off at the end does not. They show you how to safely enter and exit the tank, they start your timer, and then they leave you in peace.

The Process of Relaxing

You float in your birthday suit, so there is no need to bring a bathing suit or other supplies with you. The water in the tank is kept very near to your body temperature, so even the sensation of the water itself fades away as you float. Hundreds of pounds of epsom salt are dissolved into the water you’ll be floating in, which makes the water so dense that you will float without any worry of sinking. They do have a couple of options to use to support your head and neck in the tank, which can be especially useful if you have a hard time keeping your neck in a healthy alignment. I took one into the tank with me, but ultimately didn’t end up needing it.

After carefully climbing inside (the epsom salt makes the floor of the tank fairly slick), you close the door above you and are enclosed in complete darkness. The first sensation that hit me was the humidity in the air. With the tank keeping the water at a constant higher temperature, there was a considerable amount of moisture in the air which felt thicker when being drawn into my lungs. If you have ever experienced a steam room, it was similar but not as harsh. As I laid back in the water I spent a few minutes just adjusting to the sensation of drawing deeper breaths and becoming comfortable with that humidity.

I also spent what I would guess was the first 10 minutes or so just trying to get my body to actually fully relax. It sounds easy, and is anything but. I kept realizing my neck was still tense, or my leg, or my back. Part of it was not fully trusting the water to hold me buoyant. The water had to earn my trust, and it did as I realized that more than half of my body was completely out of the water when lying horizontally. I focused on my body one piece at a time, deliberately relaxing it further and further until I felt no tension anywhere.

Then the twitching started. For context, I am a chronic pain patient and have been most of my life. I experience both painful and non-painful muscle spasms daily. My physical therapist recently explained that this was a common trait of chronic pain, because the nervous system in my body is not ignoring the random, incorrect signals coming from my brain the way that it should: just like Fibromyalgia is my brain’s inability to tune out the constant false pain signals being sent from my nervous system. I would guess that I spent another 10 minutes just relaxing into the water as I waited for my brain and nervous system to sort themselves out and calm down all their drama.

The other thing going on for me in this initial 20 minutes (only my guess) was the adjustment to the sensory deprivation. With ear plugs in, my ears fully submerged, and no ambient sound in the room at all, I was shocked that it felt so LOUD. My ears were ringing for quite a while as they struggled to pick up on sounds that were simply not there. Similarly, my eyes took their own time relaxing into the darkness, which brought its own form of relief to the muscles in my face when they finally did. Some people describe losing the feeling of the water entirely, but I never fully did. It dimmed considerably in my awareness, but every now and then I would feel the faintest brush of the edge of the tank against my finger or toe as I drifted around in the water. The simplest movement of even a single digit would then drift me back out away from that subtle cue, and I would then only feel the faintest edge of the water itself against my skin again.

The Transition

When watching the introductory video, it informed me that studies had shown that around 15 to 20 minutes into the float experience, most people’s brain waves actually change from beta waves into theta waves. It’s a shift from your brain being in its standard conscious, thinking state, into a more trance-like state closer to sleep. It sounds crazy, even to me, but I would swear to you that I literally felt that happen right after my body had made its final adjustments.  

I am a person that even when trying to be quiet and contemplative, whether in analyzing a problem or trying to pray, cannot seem to ever quite get my mind to shut up. As part of my mind was focusing in on trying to relax through the process I described above, the rest of my mind was running circles around all kinds of things. I am a writer, so I was drifting in and out of various ideas for my current SciFi novel. I was trying to speak to God, and be open for anything he had to show or tell me. I was wondering what was happening to my husband and the rest of my family. When the shift hit, I was quite honestly not prepared for it.

I am a person who has experienced a lot of trauma in my life. If you are unfamiliar with it, you are welcome to check out my other blog at and to get an idea of what I mean. Despite the trauma, I am also a person who rarely cries or actually physically exercises grief. I have had counseling recommended more times than I can count, but to be frank it’s just not a solution that works for me. The therapist ends up traumatized and crying just from my basic introduction - no joke. It’s impossible for me to feel safe in an environment with any doctor, because of the sheer power they can wield over your life, and I am a person that’s incapable of crying in any environment where I do not feel safe. Outside of my husband’s arms, which I no longer have real access to, I haven’t felt safe in more than ten years.

When I felt the transition, I had a very spiritual experience, and I have read since then that it’s not uncommon. All of a sudden, there was just my God and me. I was shocked to realize that the version of myself I could see was crying, and I mean the screaming, gut-wrenching, hysterical kind of crying. In the stillness and weightless embrace of the water and my deity, everything that I keep so tightly controlled and so deeply buried came rushing to the surface.

I was suddenly frightened that I would start really crying so loud that someone would come to check on me, but thankfully crying without sound is an artform I mastered many, many years ago. For the next 40 minutes at least, I worked my way through wave upon wave of trapped grief. At the start of the wave, I would full-body sob in silence. Then I would breathe deeply over and over again as the intensity faded and I struggled to breathe normally again. Then I would relax back into the water and rest just before the next wave would wash over me. Despite the intense physical movement of this experience, I never fell further into the water. It kept me floating high, able to even wrap my arms around myself without the salt water encroaching any further on my face. The water earned my trust even more.

I knew consciously that I needed what was happening desperately, although I probably never would have asked for it. The few times that I have cried in the last 10 years have been only when I had been pushed beyond a dangerous breaking point. Research has shown that as human beings, we cannot only deal with our grief in the theater of the mind. I’ve had numerous doctors tell me that my illness has progressed so severely because, “Your body cannot do what your mind can do.” Unless we physically exercise the grief from our tissues, it stays and it builds. When it is forced to erupt, it can be incredibly freeing and/or damaging. I have woken up many times in so much physical pain that I could not stand or walk normally. I have screamed so hard once that I actually burst the blood vessels around my eyes. Crying in the tank for me was an unexpected way to relieve that pressure and exercise my grief in smaller, safer measures, and in an environment where I felt safe.

Finding Peace

As I cried, the waves became more and more spread out, with more time to relax and talk to God between them. Just about the time where I thought I was relaxed and relieved enough to actually fall asleep, the timer went off and I took a deep breath before greeting the world again. I showered off and put myself back together with the provided supplies.

I found that I felt a little weak, which wasn’t truly surprising after such a dramatic experience. It’s just like how you feel when you climb out of the bathtub at home, but turned up a few notches. I can see why some people like to schedule a massage immediately after, but even without one I was able to sink back into complete relaxation back in my chair at home.

I was headed to a church service that night, and normally the amount of pain I’d been in when I’d arrived at my float would have made it difficult for me to participate in anything later in the day. With the float intervening in the middle, however, I was overjoyed to realize I had the strength and freedom from pain to actually raise my hands to heaven throughout much of the service. I haven’t been able to do that in years.

I can’t say for sure whether any of you would have a similar experience to me or not. Since my experience, I have read a couple of reviews from people who had terrible experiences in the tank, but I noticed a pattern in those. The bad reviews I read involved a person carrying their negative expectations and/or fears into the tank with them. In contrast, I specifically mentally and spiritually disciplined myself to invite positive thoughts and expectations. I invited my God, and I invited peace. I truly believe that what you bring with you, or how you specifically design the experience for yourself around your faith, can have dramatic healing qualities. At least, it did for me.

If You’d Like To Try It For Yourself

I’d had such an amazing experience by the time that I left, that I asked them if I could write about it, and share their information online. They informed me that they have a referral system that I could share with everyone I want, and all of us could benefit from. Shameless plug! If you’d like to try a float yourself after reading this post, you can sign up for an appointment on their website at  If you enter my referral code rg-944509, you will get a $5 discount and it can earn me free floats. I am eager to go back. *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* Seriously though, whether you use my code or not, I encourage you to think about the possibility for yourself, and what you would be bringing into the tank with you. If you’d like to try an alternative to treat your chronic pain, fibromyalgia, anxiety, etc, this is worth trying.

My float experience was a million times better than any other therapy ever could be.

My Hunger Games - October 30, 2017

I came home last night to my father-in-law watching movies downstairs; which is normally the case in this new life of mine. It took me a moment to realize that he was watching the last movies in my favorite series; Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games. I know, I know… I can hear now the cries of why I “should love something more than a current popular series.” But if you’ve never read the series, or perhaps… never read it from my perspective, you have no idea what lies beneath all that clever text.

First of all, I’m a Journalism and Public Communications major, turned professional communicator, turned author/activist. I take true delight in the fact that the series reflects lessons in the power of propaganda as much as it does the horrific costs of war. Secondly, I identify with Katniss Everdeen on a level that sometimes frightens me, and keeps me awake on long nights like tonight when I have nothing but my own mind to keep me company.

Initially, Katniss is the unsuspecting victim of incredibly bad luck, and soon finds herself in a battle for her very life. However, a young boy from her home, Peeta Mellark, is pulled into the same string of bad luck. By the end the series, Katniss’s actions have little to nothing to do with the preservation of her own life. She is instead motivated by a desperation to keep Peeta alive, and kill the one she sees as responsible for the suffering of Peeta and countless others.

I first read, or devoured might be more accurate, The Hunger Games series after the release of the first movie. Yes, I am typically that person. My husband, the proud bibliophile, had read them long before, and been the one who convinced me to see the film. After coming home from watching the movie, I read the entire series in a matter of two days. While I found the first and second books captivating, it was the third book - Mockingjay - where I began to draw personal parallels I would never be free from.

As I pad restlessly around my house once again tonight, I realize that the more time has passed since that initial warning tremor in my spine all those years ago, the more of Katniss’s experiences become eerily similar to my own. Katniss’s experiences revolve around a war that results from the cruelty and callousness of Panem’s leaders. Mine revolve around the cruelty and callousness of the U.S. Justice System. Both of us also battle the indifference and sometimes unintended cruelty of those who live untouched by the system itself.

War is not required to amass casualties. Panem had a lengthy body count long before Katniss won her first Hunger Games. The National Registry of Exonerations has already catalogued more than 18,000 years that have been stolen from more than 2,100 innocent American citizens who cannot be given back the lifetime they’ve lost. Even then, experts agree this barely scratches the surface of the true volume of innocent Americans sitting idle and often forgotten in U.S. prisons. And just like Panem’s Capitol lived a world apart from the districts that sustained its excess, the United States is steadily creating a uniquely separated class of citizens who are restricted from basic aspects of normal life because of their history of incarceration.

When I read the series, my husband had already been wrongfully accused of our precious daughter’s death; meticulously framed by the professionals involved. Jocelynn’s death had left me aimless; often wishing for my own. It wasn’t until we were attacked a few months later, that a desperation to save more than myself steeled me into action. I couldn’t afford to die. Clayton would not survive without me. I recognized that motivation in Katniss’s character well.

I also recognized her trauma. Both Peeta and Katniss suffer from fairly severe PTSD in the series; which increases with each new type of arena they face. My first arena had been the hospital, where I faced down a cruel and calloused doctor and officer who inflicted intentional harm during my final hours with my child and her body. The second had been an interrogation room where officers, who acknowledged my innocence (and age at a mere 22-years-old), attempted to mentally break me with autopsy photos of my precious baby cut open on a metal table like a high school science lab dissection.

PTSD is a very real and familiar companion of mine. There was a period of my life where I lived in perpetual terror of my own mind and actions. Violence manifested in my dreams that was so real and palpable, I was terrified I may not be able to control the impulse if confronted with the opportunity in real life. Flashbacks would strike me out of nowhere; which I was powerless to pull myself out of. Sometimes, I would scream myself awake at night or run to the bathroom to vomit, but equally often my husband would shake me loose of my nightmares. I understood Katniss’s dependence on Peeta for sleep, and the character Haymitch’s motivations to drink. Fortunately, for me and my liver, the drink brought me no relief.

I remember watching my husband, and wondering to myself, after reading the final book. I began asking myself what I would do if they did take him from me. Would I have the strength to fight them for him? Would I be able to watch him suffer? Would I win him back? These were terrifying questions that haunted me often; until I received the answer to the first 3 years later.


Yes, they would take him from me through wrongful conviction and imprisonment. Yes, they would torture him as I watched helplessly; unable to stop them, and unable to fight with anything more effective than my own words and voice. But yes again, I would fight; with all the strength I could manage day by day.

Like Katniss was consumed in the games by the gamemakers and the audience, Clayton and I were forced to play, for our third arena, the sick and twisted U.S. Justice System game at trial. Its gamemakers are the lawyers and judges, and its audience is the American people and press. As I kiss Clayton’s cheek, “That journalist is taking our picture… Will they use it to help us or hang us on the front page tomorrow?” As they play the 911 call of my child dying, “If I sob uncontrollably I’ll be thrown out of court… but if I do not, will the jury believe the prosecutor’s lies that I do not care?” My husband’s shaking hands after my cross-examination as he asks with confusion, “They think I lost my temper and killed my child, but I could sit there and watch that man torture you?”

The song The Hanging Tree, which was taken from the series and has now become fairly popular, has lines that both haunt and comfort me. Our hanging tree is the prison. ‘They say’ we did a lot of things we didn’t actually do. He has ‘called out’ to me before to flee from this terrible sentence, and many frequently expect me to act as if he has died, but I will not abandon him. Sometimes it’s hard to process or abide that ‘strange things have happened’, and continue to happen, but just because something took place in a courtroom, doesn’t mean it was legal, just, or fair.

Katniss and Peeta lost their home to fire bombs, and Clayton and I lost ours to foreclosure. Peeta and Katniss both lost family to the war. Clayton and I lost his mother to heartsickness. Katniss would not risk having children for an arena, and we would not risk them to a government that would seize them and force them into foster care. Now they are stolen by separation and time.

I am thankful that, unlike Peeta, Clayton has not been broken or twisted into something other than himself. Instead of facing a sociopathic enemy, he has been continually worn down by an apathetic system which often inflicts intentional harm to force cooperation. Despite being forced into solitary-confinement-like conditions for months at a time, he fought to stay positive, keep active, and advocate for relief for himself and the others trapped with him. Clayton has been motivated all of his life by helping others, and this continues to be one of his most defining traits.

There are also many aspects of Katniss’s character that I am continually thankful I have the age and maturity to rise above. I am no longer so crippled by my PTSD. I do not afford myself the option of hiding away. No one controls my voice but my God and me. I may be trapped as a piece in someone else’s game, but I am no pawn. I am an opponent. I may not have a bow and arrow, but my voice and boldness have worked major miracles in a system so corrupt it no longer even recognizes justice, truth, or human compassion.

I keep fighting. I tell myself that Clayton, just like Peeta, will one day be released. He may be damaged, and he will definitely be different, but he will be alive and free. I promise myself that one day, we will make a new home, and live without the fear of being forced into another games.


(c) 2017 Christiane Allison

Acceptable Crimes - August 18, 2017

I don’t think it is necessarily unusual for a writer to have more difficulty with their craft when they feel highly stressed. However, when you are a writer who feels specifically compelled to share experiences that are both very personal and very stressful to you, it presents a unique problem. I have chosen to write this blog today as a conscious effort to overcome that challenge; so, I can finally get on with my real work.

Today I would like to share with you the experience of being a victim of an acceptable crime. Wrongful conviction does not always fall into a classification where it could be considered a crime. No system designed by men, no matter how carefully crafted, can ever be perfect. We can strive to get very close, but everyone with an MBA, and every true scientist, will tell you that true perfection is unattainable. There will always be accidents, and there will always be errors. That said, a very large number of us do fall in the category of crime victims.

According to the National Registry of Exonerations, 52% of analyzed cases of wrongful conviction included official misconduct in some form. In Alaska, where I live, A.S. 11.56.850 specifies that official misconduct is a class A misdemeanor carrying a sentence of up to one year in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Many of us would argue that this classification is exceedingly imbalanced with the years and decades stolen from a person’s life as a result; however, the point is that it is unambiguously a crime according to state law.

Sadly, Alaska is also a state where the victim of a crime has no say whatsoever in whether that crime is ever prosecuted. I have personally hand-carried and reviewed with the head of our criminal division the documentation and other evidence clearly showing the crimes committed against my husband and myself by multiple state officials. The response is that they are, “electing not to prosecute at this time.” The crime committed against me is inherently an acceptable crime. The criminals in question are considered immune due to nothing more complex than their job titles and employer.

Living as a victim of a crime is already a difficult daily reality. Finding out that you are the victim of an acceptable crime, and that the officials responsible for protecting you and upholding the law have utterly no interest in doing so, only compounds that difficulty. I doubt that most of them truly understand the direct harm an indirect danger their willful negligence puts victims like myself into.

Vigilante Justice

Most Americans associate the words vigilante justice with Batman and Robin, wild-west heroes, or crime dramas that present police officers who break the law in a positive light. In our modern age, vigilante justice often takes on a whole new form rarely portrayed in the media. The Internet has become a platform where people can spew hateful, ignorant opinions in violent terms with little fear of consequence. It never ceases to amaze me when people express these opinions as responses to accusations of crimes, and then suggest in the very same posts that someone commit an even more heinous and violent crime against the accused as an appropriate response.

The result is a toxic and dangerous combination of complacency and negligence. The people who leave these posts often would never commit the act themselves if really presented the opportunity. If I put a gun in their hand and stood in front of them, the vast majority of them would never actually pull the trigger. However, there is an unknown quantity of people in the mix who would. Perhaps this person would never leave a post of that nature themselves, but could be motivated to action by the compelling words of someone else. Especially, when that person’s violent discourse is defended again and again by additional individuals from the community.

This may all sound highly dramatic to you if you haven’t lived through it yourself. I have.

After my husband was wrongfully convicted for my daughter’s accidental death, I had friends regularly beg me not to read the comments on various news articles. I stood in bold support of my innocent spouse, and publicly spoke about the wicked mutilation of my beloved child’s memory. I tried to communicate the truth, and expose the actual crimes that were being committed against us.

According to the raging, ignorant voices of the Internet, the appropriate course of action was to rape and murder me. I was a 22-year-old girl when my daughter fell down the stairs and later died of a brain injury in surgery. Three months later I was tortured by Alaska State Troopers for four solid hours with autopsy photos of my child cut up into pieces; screaming and yelling at me that I wasn’t a good mother, and I didn’t love her if I wouldn’t look. If you don’t believe me, the video is publicly available on YouTube. I was never a suspect in the case, and the torture committed against me was purely for the purpose of turning me against my innocent spouse.

That night was probably the first time that I felt like a crime victim in this situation. I was held by police under the belief that I wasn’t allowed to leave. For more than 2 ½ years I had: blank spots of memory, panic attacks, cessations of breathing, insomnia, night terrors, uncontrollable flashbacks, and other extreme symptoms of severe PTSD. I tried self-medicating a couple of times; which did not slow or stop the symptoms in any way. I desperately wanted to die, and if I had not defeated the temptation of suicide as a pre-teen I likely would have.

Attorneys simply told us not to talk to anyone, about anything, for any reason, because innocence served as no form of shield. For months, I could not even admit to my husband what had been done to me, and he had no idea how to help. Finally, a veteran in my life learned what was happening to me, and stepped in to save me. They explained to me what triggers were, how to exercise avoidance, how to find safe spaces, and how to even admit what was happening. I’d never felt so out of control of my own mind in all of my life. It haunted me that my symptoms were not caused by my daughter’s death, because they were so extremely overshadowed by the mental and emotional torture I had been subjected to.

This is where I come from. It will always be a part of who I am. It was only the beginning.

After my husband’s wrongful conviction more than six years later, the general population now screamed for more blood. How dare I support someone who is convicted of murder. How dare I tell them they were wrong. How dare I “pretend” to love my little girl.

I became the target of their vicious words, but even those who love me became at risk of their action. One of my family members had someone pull a gun on them at the gas station, because he recognized them from the nightly news. A friend of mine had people openly swear at her, and throw things at her children in the grocery store, because they’d seen her hugging me in the newspaper. Someone eventually tampered with my vehicle, and I went into hiding for a brief period after my husband’s sentencing; emotionally gutted every day by my inability to visit him.

Things eventually improved. I knew that the bulk of the rage and venom being spewed at me and the people I loved was fueled by ignorance, and lies which had been published in the press. I’m a communications major, a professional public speaker, and a writer. I could not sit idly by.

With the help of numerous other people who still actively support my husband, we set about the task of informing the public of the truth. I know exactly how difficult this is for anyone facing a wrongful conviction. We have an entire team, and it has taken strategic planning over multiple years for our message to reach the eyes, ears, and heart of the community.

Our success has brought me hope. I have an unfortunate tendency to still expect the rage and venom when I share my story with new people. In recent months, however, I have instead been met by compassion and empathy. It is not uncommon now to hear that they have heard about my story, and have even prayed for my husband and me.

Then, days like yesterday happen, and I have to write out posts like these to consciously remind myself about the progress we’ve made.

The Definition of Who You Are

I am very excited about one of the current projects I’m working on. It’s a children’s picture book for kids who are struggling with the wrongful conviction of a loved one. It is my hope that our experience with the subject can lead to something positive, and inspire at least a little hope for these families trapped in situations which feel so hopeless. The book is not about our particular case, but is a generic reflection of the experience children trapped in these situations have.

Yet, when attempting to share this project with my local community on a Facebook news group yesterday, I found myself thrown once again into that Internet cesspool of ignorance and rage. The admin of the group apparently found it appropriate to allow my post, and then immediately post a link to the news article about my husband’s conviction and make the ‘announcement’ that I am his wife. She was challenged on this choice almost immediately by someone I don’t know personally, but defended the decision by stating that it showed “the other side of the story.”

I was flabbergasted.

The book has nothing to do with our specific case, other than the fact that I am the author. The manuscript is not publicly available, and the book is not in print yet. The only “other side” to any “story” that I could come up with was my statement that I have experience with wrongful conviction. Apparently, an argument broke out in the comment section (imagine that) and the post was ultimately removed.

I believe God shielded me from the worst of it. After I saw the admin’s initial strange choice, I stopped monitoring the situation so I could attend a fundraising event for our local innocence project. My Facebook app had spontaneously corrupted on my phone, and I didn’t even realize I wasn’t receiving notifications. I sat with a couple of my friends last night, and casually mentioned how her choice had made me feel. They immediately pulled it up on their own phones, and grew very angry after reading through the continued conversation. They once again begged me… not to read the comments.

I intended to be “strong” this morning, and look it over anyway. There’s something in me that always feels obligated to read the precious words of those who try so valiantly to jump to my defense. When I saw the post had been removed, I realized it was not meant to be.

So here I am. Trying in entirely too many words to explain what it feels like to be defined by crime. One camp defines me by the inexcusable crime my husband is wrongly convicted of. I often need to define myself by the acceptable crime that was actually committed against me out of vengeance for the original crime that was invented.

My experience yesterday felt vaguely like walking into a room of strangers to hold up a piece of art I was very proud of, to show it to them. Then a woman stands up on the front row, pointing a finger and screaming about me being a loose woman, when in fact I am a rape victim instead. It feels like no matter what you say, or what proof you might be able to offer, the damage has been done. You are being redefined once again not as a human being, but as a name associated with a series of events and an acceptable crime beyond your control. I wanted to defend myself. I wanted to reason with them. I knew that both were impossible.

In the end, I know I am not the only one that faces this kind of struggle. I am far from alone. If you face this reality with me, I beg of you to consider the following words and hold them close to your heart. God knows the truth, even if no one else ever does.

““no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17 - New International Version (NIV)


(c) 2017 Christiane Allison

Father God on Father's Day - June 19, 2016

At 1:00 AM this morning, the Lord gave me a Father’s Day present.

Now, I know what you’re thinking… Kids give their Dad’s presents on days like today. But God is different. He is a perfect Father. Even both of my Earthly fathers, Robert Vaughn and Phillip Allison, look for excuses to spoil me rotten on Father’s Day. They always have. How much more then does our Father God, who is perfect, look forward to bestowing gifts on us that no one else could ever give?

God has been working on this one for a few weeks.

Father God

He started by prodding me to broaden my understanding of my relationship with him. Many of you who know me, may know that he does this through showing me natural examples of relationships I already trust. For example, when he was prodding me for the position as lover of my soul he would show me the numerous ways I already had complete faith in Clayton’s love for me; despite not fully trusting in the Lord’s.

A few weeks ago, God used my father, Robert Vaughn. He reminded me of a time when I was young that I was battling an abnormally severe problem at school. I was a gifted student, unaccustomed to failing, who was thrown in with a group of teachers who believed you should teach gifted students by piling 10 times the volume of work on them; instead of more advanced concepts. I had three friends that year (seventh grade) who tried Speed for the first time out of desperation not to fail. I had a learning disability hiding in the shadows, and felt doomed to failure.

God reminded me, as if it were yesterday, of what my father did. He learned what my problem was, and saw my desperation, and he became very angry.

He got up in my face and said, “CJ, I want you to fail!” I was so shocked I actually laughed at him, but he just kept repeating it over and over again. “I want you to fail the 7th grade.”

I told him he was crazy. I couldn’t fail. It wasn’t an option. My life would be ruined forever and ever amen.

“You’re not looking at it right!” he said with tears in his eyes. “I know how smart you are! You know how smart you are! What they believe doesn’t matter. You’re not even in high school yet! This year will be washed away after next year. I’m not telling you not to learn. I’m telling you not to allow yourself to be held to their ridiculous standards! You love school. You will learn anyway. Just do your best, and know that I don’t care what they say. Right now, your mother and I are the only voices that matter.”

I began to cry and object, “But they will get me in trouble!”

He pulled me into his lap and said, “Sweetheart. If they give you any trouble… you tell them your Dad told you to fail. You are just doing as you’re told. They can come pick a fight with me.”

In the end my father was right. I let go of my desperation to please them. I stopped killing myself and destroying my health. I cried as I watched my friends buckle under the pressure, but I didn’t go with them. I went from straight A’s to straight F’s (except for French where my teacher was not crazy). The following year, after “failing,” I transferred cities and schools. I was so advanced that I was literally pulled out for independent study in nearly every class, because they didn’t provide the level I needed. I eventually went on to begin college in high school, and complete an AA, BA, and MBA. Surprisingly enough, no one seems to care that I failed the 7th grade.

I tried to understand what the Lord was showing me by reminding me of this. I realized that in my current life, I have been waging a war that for all practical purposes looks impossible to win. I was beginning to buckle under the pressure. Losing is simply not an option. God was taking the time to point out that he is my Father God, and more importantly, “You’re not looking at it right.”

I don’t have to win at all. God wants to fight my battle for me; not the other way around. They can “come pick a fight with me.”

Daughter of God

I have been trying to let his latest little revelation sink into my spirit; the same way I had to adjust my thinking as a child. Then this Sunday, I went to a trusted friend of mine for prayer. She is a prophet of the Lord and an Elder I respect very much. I never tell her what I need or want prayer for, because she never needs me to. She just tells me what I need to know anyway.

She took my hands this time and said, “You need to understand that you are a daughter of God.”

I nodded my agreement, remembering that the Lord had brought the subject up before. She then shook her head and said, “No. You are a daughter of God. He loves you. He calls you his Go-Go girl.” She then giggled and said, “He says that about me too. He loves his go-go girls, that he can trust to go when he says go.”

Since Sunday, I have been trying to understand that better in my heart, because I know my struggle is not with the concept but with the actual tie to my identity.

The Gift

This week has been a struggle beyond imagining. I have been launching a new wave of effort in the battle for my husband. My house was foreclosed on Monday. My church helped me schedule a prayer appointment Thursday for my daughter’s upcoming birthday next Wednesday (she would have been nine). Then Friday took my legs out from under me completely, when we discovered that my Mother-In-Law had passed away suddenly in her sleep without ever seeing justice for her son.

My Father’s Day went up in smoke, as no one from either family can even bring themselves to do more than grieve. Then the Lord decided to give me his Father’s Day present instead. A dear friend sent me a prophetic word she read and felt was for me on the 16th; the day before my Mother-In-Law passed. I did not get a chance to read it before, but she reminded me tonight when she saw that I was puttering sleeplessly around Facebook. My heart is so broken; not only by loss but by anger that she never saw justice. The message was all about it being God’s timing for breakthrough, but a particular line caught my attention.

It said, “There was still a drop of faith that was working inside of you, and the faith I had given you was working its work.”

Just after reminding me of the event with my father, God began bringing an image to mind over and over again. It was a picture of a mustard seed. It immediately reminded me of the bible verse Matthew 17:20, where Jesus explains, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

I remember thinking, "Yes, I know, it doesn't take much."

But then he brought the image of my father all those years ago, angry and stern. I could feel the, "No! You're not looking at it right." Then he showed me an image of Pioneer Peak, and he said, "Find the seed."

I remember thinking... Wow! My perspective REALLY is off, isn't it? No matter how many times I’ve heard that verse, I never truly tried to visualize it the way I should. Why? Because it’s impossible to do.

Even after the realization, I have tried to focus on the seed and understand why he was emphasizing it to me. What relevance did it have? But when I read that line just now, "There was still a drop of faith..." I finally understood, and it brought me to tears.

He whispered to me, "You were asking. Why would you even ask me if you possess something so small?"

I didn’t even truly realize that I was beginning to doubt my own ability to move mountains. My Father God, however, took this Father’s Day to remind me that I don’t have to. I’m a daughter of the King. He loves me. I have more than enough faith in him, and they’ve picked the fight with him; not with me.


(c) 2016 Christiane Allison

Life With Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome - April 8, 2014

So... got some difficult news today. I know that's an ominous start to any post, but I want to get this off my chest and the easiest way for me to do that is usually for me to write it out. So here we go.

First off. I am NOT dying. Just so you don't tear through this post in panicked fear. 

Many of you probably already know that back in 2009 I went to Mayo Clinic and finally got a diagnosis for my life-long medical complications. That diagnosis turned out to be Ehlers-Danlos Type 3 - Hypermobility Type. I am not the only one affected in my family - far from it. Many of you probably also know that I suffer from chronic pain and a terrible injury in my shoulder, which leaves me debilitated rather often. 

A couple of years ago I fought a new battle to try an determine what exactly was wrong with said shoulder. I went through umpteen tests, injections, painful therapies, and doctors appointments before having this conversation:

Me: "What's wrong with my shoulder?"

Doctor: "Well, you have a significant tear in the cartilage. However, that's not what's causing the pain. The pain is most likely coming from your neck."

Me: "So what's wrong with my neck?"

Doctor: "I don't know. I'm a shoulder doctor. That's beyond my expertise."

Sing it with me now... "The shoulder bone's connected to the... what?!"

I wish I were kidding, but sadly I'm not. I was referred to the Alaska Spine Institute who told me very rudely when I called, "Don't call us. We'll call you." At that point, I hit the end of my endurance with the battle and gave up yet again. I can only fight the doctors for answers for so long at one time before I have to give myself an emotional and mental break from their stupidity. So for the last couple of years I have just continued to fight the good fight through the pain like I have for the last 11 years. 

Well... recently my world changed once again.

For the past couple of months I have been waking up from my sleep with my muscles so twisted and spasmed around my spine that I can barely sit up. There are four distinct spots that have hurt to the touch for years, but if you left them alone were relatively fine. Now... no such luck. Additionally, I went on a recent trip alone (during which I stupidly carried my luggage) and went from having to take my pain meds on a bad day, to having to take them every 8 hours just to function. 

After returning from my trip the pain has been excruciating and my exhaustion at an all time high. I have had to call into work becuase I literally don't have the strength to get out of bed at times. All of this drove me back to the doctors, in a desperate attempt to find the ever elusive answer. 

Well, today... I got the beginning of an answer. 

In a nutshell, my spine is terribly injured and unstable in numerous ways, thus causing the nearly immobilizing pain. It's apparently layer upon layer of various injuries due to the EDS. They could only take a peek at my neck today, but were able to see 3-5 major tears in the supporting cartilage around the bones. Thus my bones are moving around in all kinds of ways they're not supposed to. I sat there on the little metal stool as the doctor pointed to the moving X-ray saying things like...

"You see this here... look the bone slides completely off the side over there."

"You see this.. that's obviously torn."

"This here is why your hands go numb when you look at the ceiling."

"See how this woman's spine is curved? Now look at yours..."

I'm not complaining about the doctor. He's a wonderful man and a medical genius - the same one that saved my father's life with the stimulator surgery all those years ago. I thank the lord I got in to see him. His moving X-ray machine can only show the movement errors and obvious injuries in my neck. They plan to do a full series of MRIs on my entire spine this week (to make sure there are not ruptured disks further down). 

Then he got into the tough stuff.

"I'm sorry to say... these injuries are what's causing your pain. But you're likely to get more of them, and there is nothing we can do to repair them. They are what they are, and will always be."

"No more carrying bags. Ever. No more holding a phone to your ear - or God forbid, between your head and shoulder. Get a bluetooth. No more looking up if you don't have to. Move your monitors down at work. Drop your TV down at home. Looking up will only bring you pain."

"Whether your disks are injured or not, you're likely going to need to fuse some of your spine in the next 15-20 years."

Me: "How will I know when? I'm already in pain. What do I look for?"

"Oh, you'll know. It may come on slowly, maybe not. You'll lose functions you're used to. You won't be able to grip a jar with one of your hands. You'll have a needle-like sensation, or complete numbness, in one of your hands or arms. You may get slightly lame in one of your legs. That sort of thing. That's when we'll have to intervene."

All I could think about was that article in the Washington Post I read a few weeks ago about the young woman who just had her spine fused and was hapy about it. I kept thinking, "God. Thank the Lord I'm not as bad as her." Surprise!

When I left his office I cried for a long time. This means a few more lifestyle changes. One of which means I no longer get to carry bags around (purse included). I don't know why that little fact was so particularly hard for me. Maybe it's part of my identity as a woman (and shouldn't be I know). Maybe it's fear of being that much more obviously different to strangers passing me on the street. Maybe it's the pity in their eyes that no longer makes me feel beautiful. Maybe it's because I don't want someone asking me where I'm traveling to every hour because I'm tugging my carry-on around behind me.

Regardless... I let myself have a good little sulk and then did what has to be done. I picked myself up and said, "Fine. I can do this." It has even inspired me to change my birthday present request. I'd never used Pinterest before, but just started myself a new account. I made a board called "Wheeled Purses" and set to work. [] Turns out, there are a lot of wheeled bags that are designed to look just like a woman's purse, and they'll be a good enough size to tote the things I don't have enough hands to carry (since I'm mostly walking with a cane lately). You wouldn't believe how hard it is to use a cane, drag a carry-on bag, and still manage to figure out how to hold the cup of lemonade you bought while you're "hobbling at full speed" back to the office.

Anyway... I didn't write this note so that you would feel sorry for me. I wrote it because it helps me. I wrote it because I want to share with you a little bit of what it's like to live with a disease like mine, and assure you that I'm not giving up. God gave me a brilliant mind, quick tongue, and gift for communication. This useless body just keeps me humble. 

I won't be stopped. 


(c) 2014 Christiane Allison

A Country on the Brink - July 20, 2016

There’s an entire sea of people waiting to go up like gasoline.

How can you not see?

Death as the spark, Race as justification,

but the gasoline is Desperation.

Knowledge is the fuel for Rage.

What is Reality? What is Truth?

Illusions of prosperity pile high the tinder of our own funeral pyre.

A country of insomniacs with leaders telling us to dream.

Slaves who no longer recognize slavery,

as they struggle to fight the imbalanced sides of the equals sign.

The powerful obscure the definitions of right and wrong,

good and bad, rich and poor.

Cowardice has become intelligence.

Inaction has become safety.

Posturing has become action,

while Exploitation and Injustice just sad truths.

Will you not hear the storm siren’s call?

Will you stand in awe as the forest fire rages through the trees?

Your words and disdain cannot shield you.

Your own ignorance will not save.

I cry out to my fellow victims.

Fear is the enemy that leeches strength from your bones.

Anger is a wound that leaves your soul battered and bruised.

Violence is pressurized helplessness breaking through the tissues.

You are not helpless, for you are never truly alone.

Comfort Offered can be more potent than your pain.

Forgiveness is the only path to peace.

Compassion is more compelling than anger.

Courage is more effective than violence.

Hope lives longer than desolation.

Love is greater than hate, and Passion burns brighter than rage.

Justice is never served when

bodies are buried in the backyards of our protectors.

But neither is it served when victims become attackers.

Let us speak to one another before God,

before our country falls beyond the brink.


(c) 2016 Christiane Allison

Lonely Lover - May 11, 2015

I sit in my living room, letting the sounds of spring wash over me.  Despite the sunny sky, the sound of rain fills my ears, first gently then pounding.  The small droplets run in rivulets down the glass windows on one side of my house.  I wish he were here.  

If my lover were here, I would sit in his lap.  I would whisper into his ear about what I hear; the sounds that he usually cannot detect.  He would hold me in his strong arms as we sat quietly.  No need to rush.  No need to to busy ourselves with anything other than watching the Earth wake up from its dark Alaskan slumber.

He was taken from me; just as surely as our daughter was taken so many years ago now.  I turn a thankful face to the sky that the world can no longer harm her the way it harms him each day.  They stole his life in her name; with deceit and trickery.  I am powerless to save either of them.  

I am never alone, and always lonely.  My heart aches beneath my smile, and my spirit trembles behind the strength I show the world.  We are persecuted, slandered, and tormented.  My daughter’s life is twisted into a vile mockery of her true former beauty.  I remind myself daily that it does not matter what the world believes.  Our God knows our story.  My lover knows my heart and I know his.  

But he is not here with me.  There are whispers of him everywhere I look.  He built the planter boxes on my porch; eagerly awaiting the young plants they will house beneath the sun and rain.  He sat and read in this chair beside me, and laughed at my continual antics.  He made this house my home.  

Some cannot bear the pain of being here.  The whispers bring them too much pain.  I cannot bear to lose them or leave them.  They are all I have left.  Unlike our daughter, I am blessed with more than just boxes of old photographs or plaster molds of hands and feet.  I live for the brief time each night in which I am allowed to see him.  

In those moments, he is still not allowed to be my lover.  He must lock away all but the most basic aspects of himself.  He can embrace me briefly as he comes and goes.  He cannot hold me.  He cannot tickle me.  He cannot carry me when I am weak.  I can see the pain in his eyes when he sees me limping, and the fear when he sees my exhaustion.  

My lover is my strength.  For many years now, he has carried me when I could not walk.  He shouldered burdens I could not carry.  He reminded me to take my medications, and leaned me against him when I no longer had the strength to stand.  He is still my strength.  My love for him fuels my every action, and safeguards my every word.

As the sounds of the rain slowly tapers off, so do the tears upon my cheeks.  My lover would not want me to wallow in my grief.  I hear his voice whisper to me as it has for so many years, “Take your medicine.  Eat something.  What are you going to do today?”

Today, I take on the world again.  I fight until the day he comes home to me.  


(c) 2015 Christiane Allison

Judges for Kings: Americans Experience Helplessness Against Their Own Courts - August 5, 2015

When I went to school as a little girl, I was taught a principle about the way our country government was established and have lived my life from that time forward accepting without question that the explanation was true.  Now that I am a grown woman, and my life has been irreversibly damaged by that same system of government, I can no longer fool myself into believing that those core concepts still function as intended in America.  

I do not have a degree in law, but I am also not uneducated.  While I have achieved a Masters in Business Administration and Bachelors in Journalism and Public Communications, I do not pretend to know the ins and outs of court rules and procedures or all the intricacies of political science.  This writing is an attempt to explain what I see happening all around me, and its immoral nature regardless of legality.  Most of you can relate to the common human experience of seeing actions in motion and knowing that whether something is legal or not, it is not moral and should not be allowed to continue without consequence.  

As a child, I was taught two key principals of government: separation of powers, and checks and balances.  Separation of powers is the principal reason we have different ‘branches’ within both our state and federal governments which have uniquely separate functions and responsibilities.  We have the Executive Branch (president/governor), Legislative Branch (congress/house and senate), and Judicial Branch (courts).  As Americans we recognize the purpose of each and the various times their opinions do battle in the public arena.  Which brings me to my next point.

Separation of powers is a concept doomed to failure without the other key principle of checks and balances.  Checks and balances are designed into our systems to hold one branch accountable to one or both of the other branches, and prevent one branch from running roughshod over the others, and more importantly over the people.  After the experiences I have had with our court system over the last 7 years, it is my firm belief that the checks and balances system in America is failing, and our people are paying the price for that failure.  

Part of that failure is the fact that we have decided that separation of powers is more important than the checks and balances system.  I also believe there is a failure to understand the true meaning of separation of powers itself.  We have come into an age where we believe that this separation means the authority of one branch can never touch the actions and responsibilities of another branch or it is ‘inappropriate’.  We still seem to accept that one can ‘block’ another or ‘overrule’ another if their opinions differ; however, we’ve lost the fundamental concept of accountability for the actions that are actually enacted.  

When someone is being abused by an agency of the government, or sometimes even an independent party, one of their options is to go to their legislator and request assistance.  Frequently, that legislator can investigate the situation and step in if it is appropriate to prevent or halt abuse.  But what if you are being abused by the judicial branch?  In my experience, and the experience I see echoed across the realms of journalism and social media, you are simply out of luck.  When you call a legislator or governor over outright corruption in a legal case being carried out against yourself or a loved one, the response is all-too-frequently, “I cannot help you.  That’s currently being handled in the realm of the courts, so I cannot become involved.”

Where has our accountability gone?

If you take this response to the next logical conclusion, what it means for the average American is, “I’m sorry.  I have to wait until you have been so badly abused and tormented by our flawed system that your life is now unrecognizable and you have lost all hope, before I can step in and see what happened.”  At which time, some of them may be more likely to hide the mess due to shame than help the wounded individual.  It is akin to watching a woman be raped, but standing back and saying, “I’m sorry, but I don’t have the authority to get involved.  When he’s done, feel free to come to me and I will see what help I can arrange for you.”

Perhaps the analogy feels a little extreme to those of you who have not experienced the court system yourself, so I will try to put it in perspective.  If you are accused of a crime and indicted in a court - federal or state - you are imprisoned; sometimes with the option for bail and sometimes with a bail so purposefully unreasonable it could never be met.  If you cannot meet bail, you must remain in prison until the court gets around to trying your case, and most lawyers will tell you that in a serious case, you must waive your right to a ‘speedy trial’ immediately unless you want to go to prison, because they have not had time to familiarize themselves with the facts, or arrange the needed experts.  

In cases of a rape or child abuse accusation especially (and I am in no way indicating that it is not a real crime or that it doesn’t happen), the evidence may rest solely upon someone’s word or opinion and we as a society need to recognize - that is an awful lot of power to bestow upon someone to destroy someone else’s life.  After all, even if the accused wins against a false accusation and are set free, the reality is that they have already spent significant time in jail (often years) and have been punished anyway.  I have a very recent example in my own community, where a young man spent 2 years in prison before being acquitted.  His bail had been intentionally set to an unachievable level, and he was only 17 years old at the time.  

We also need to recognize that prison time is not the only penalty doled out on the accused, or their friends and family.  The separation, isolation, and daily risks to life and health are enough to cause great harm to anyone, but it doesn’t stop there.  Family and friends who stand by the accused in support typically become additional victims of the system.  They find their own character defamed along with the accused.  They often are threatened and attacked similarly by members of the public.  More disturbingly, they are often accused themselves of wrongdoing, in an attempt to scare them away from their stance of support, or weaken the appearance of that support, before a judge and jury.  They are afforded NO way to protect themselves. In my own life I found myself in this situation - and since that time I have met many, many others with similar experience.  

My character was being attacked, state prosecutors were lying repeatedly on record about my prior testimony or lack thereof, and a judge was ruling against my ability to provide complete answers to questions I was being directly asked by the same prosecutors.  On January 27, 2015 - feeling trapped and helpless, and knowing I would be called to the stand yet again before the trial’s end - I entered the clerk’s office at the courthouse and declared, “Help me!  I am a primary witness in an ongoing murder trial, and I am being forced by a judge and prosecutor to either perjure myself or appear as an uncooperative witness, and I don’t want to do either!”  

The clerks looked shocked, naturally, but I could not believe their response.  They informed me that there was nothing that could be done to help me unless I was to hire my own lawyer to defend ME during my husband’s trial.  We had not even been able to afford one for him!  He was represented by public defenders.  So the trial proceeded, and the damage continued, because the prosecutors in our case knew that defaming my character and belittling my love of my child was the assured way to win the case against my husband.  After trial, this pattern only continued as the Parole Officer assigned to the case informed me that the very prosecutor who victimized me in the court was the only appropriate person to represent my interests as a victim in the case.  

We can look at other examples of the courts’ power at the federal level.  We have a supreme court that is issuing rulings which do not in any way have to represent the will of the people, but only their interpretation of law.  I am not taking a stance on any of these rulings, however, it must be acknowledged that the only way for the people to combat this type of action for a checks and balances system is to get all of congress to work together to push back against an action of this nature.  How often is our system of partisan politics able to achieve this kind of feat in our current age?  I would wager that it’s practically impossible, regardless of the topic.  

If our systems are this out of balance in major political issues, what hope is there for the individual or family being victimized by the courts?  We have made our Judges our Kings, and there is no one willing or able to challenge them.  I wish I had an answer for how to solve this egregious imbalance of power within our federal and state governments, but I believe that would take a lof of creative and intelligent minds working together.  Instead, I hope to raise awareness of the problem, and ask each of you to seize the opportunity to speak to your legislators if you have similar concerns.  Please spread the word, and ask the Lord to lead you in whatever actions you decide to take.  


(c) 2015 Christiane Allison