Tuesday, October 24, 2017

{ regarding #metoo } - writer. woman. yogi. mother. austin, tx

For a week I've been thinking about whether I would say more, but for 20 years I've known I should.

The first time it happened I didn't speak up.
I didn't say anything because I was just a kid, a very scared kid.
The first time morphed into an ongoing situation of abuse that lasted several months.
When you're 15 and feel ashamed, everything is a mess.
I was lying to protect the very person who was routinely hurting me.
I was lying to protect myself from what I thought would bring on more debilitating guilt.
I was completely shut down because that's what happens when you're afraid and underinformed.

It was a party, there was alcohol, I said "no" but should have tried harder.
In a small town, there was gossip by the very next day.
My upbringing taught me that I was responsible for making those bad decisions that placed me in danger.
I was completely isolated in my suffering.
Instead of allowing others to blame me, I went straight into blaming myself.

Years later I would come to acknowledge that my innocence had been stolen and that I was not the thief.

The next time it happened, I should have known better.
I was an adult.
I was with friends in a safe place.
How did I let this happen?
Again, I defaulted to shutting down and placing all the blame on myself.

It happened at a time when my heart was profoundly broken and I felt all alone.
I threw away regard for myself and began a path of self-destruction.
I wanted to earn every bruise and scratch he put on me.
Self-hatred carried me down a dark road.

And then I broke.
I split wide open and watched the darkness, I sat in it and begged to understand.
I touched every painful place and screamed at the demons I'd held down.
Light came from a place inside me.
I thought I had nothing, but it was there all along.
It was stifled and smothered and tender.
I saw it like a scared animal lost from a loving mother.
My light.
My loving touch.
I wasn't alone and I didn't deserve the years of believing that I was.
But I'm so grateful.

It's frightening to smile at strangers.
My heart cries "danger" far more often than necessary.
There is a hard-wired fear that I will always be left alone and unprotected.
I have to call my deeper wisdom to practice and choose to trust daily.
But I'm so grateful.

I learned that who I am is not what I've been through.
Who I am is love and forgiveness.
Who I am is compassion and connection.
And I can bring a soft and knowing touch to those who also hurt.
I know the darkness and the alone place and I'll go there with you to find your light.
It hasn't left you.
It never will.