Nicole, caught by early morning magic.
Vanbytheriver asks a question.
There is a form of collective PTSD that has emerged from the Twitter campaign started by actress Alyssa Milano, #Me Too.
Millions of women and many men have responded. It is not just about Hollywood’s casting couch culture.
My Facebook feed has blown up with the two word admission by friends, family, internet acquaintances.
It has stirred up a lot of unresolved pain, memories long buried but not forgotten.
It is not something we were comfortable talking about, not decades past, not today.
But if we are being honest, in some form, we have all experienced this.
Many are still not ready to admit it, few are willing to deal with the consequences.
For me, it happened in the most conservative of work environments, a community of professionals, an office of engineers and architects. Harassment led to rejection, loss of opportunity, work transfers. I moved on, but never…
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Kneeling, on one knee or two, is one of the basic human postures, one which throughout recorded time we have invested with many meanings. The Wikipedia article below lists many common ones:
In that list there are: Respect, supplication, prayer, begging, petitioning or accepting an honor from a monarch, being ordained as clergy or knighted, surrender, proposing marriage, and so on. There is one meaning that has of late been attributed to the taking of a knee that is new and novel, indeed, unprecedented and at odds with all those others. That one is disrespect for one’s country and its symbols. That is indeed a strange reversal. Someone’s thinking is upside down.
Discover and embrace the poetry of Insane Roots.
The sadness comes in waves sometimes, breaking me before I even know it’s there.
It is not its presence that is off putting, but rather the crippling unknown source of the pain.
This mask is beginning to shows its age now and some days the light shines through.
Exposing the vulnerability of a wounded soul.
It is odd, how feelings of joy can welcome this pain.
As if to remind me, that everything fades.
And the greater the love, the deeper the loss.
I guess I have grown accustomed to the emptiness.
That dark cloud looming over my existence.
On the outside, I appear not to be damaged, but on the inside I am falling apart.
Or at least I always was.
It is unfamiliar and perhaps the root of this struggle.
For lately, I find myself less broken.
A peculiar state of mind for a member of the strange.
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The #MeToo stories have come like a flood, like a Tsunami. My Face Book feed is overflowing with them. It seems nearly every woman I know there (and her friends, and her friends’ friends) has one. Some are brief, even just the hash tag with no detail, and some are long lists of many instances, starting as an early age. In that latter category, something stands out to me. It is how often there comes a point after repeated abuse and assault, at which the person (its not limited to just women) describes no longer seeing “No” as an option in any sexual situation, having learned that their needs, wishes, desires, and will are not relevant, that it is their place only to comply with whatever is suggested to them, asked or demanded of them, even in situations where that may not necessarily the case.
Noticing this, I have been stirred to review my own history with women and ask: Could it have been that in any of those encounters and relationships (not a very large number really) that what I took for free and unconstrained consent was actually that sort of compliance? Did she say “Yes” or did she only not say “No”? In most cases as I remember them, the enthusiasm for the project expressed by the other person seems to mean the “yes” was real, that they were not just going along. I can’t, now, think of any about which I’m in significant doubt. Still, the possibility bothers me and I can’t ask. I only have any contact now with one former partner, and she was abundantly clear in communicating what she wanted, when, where, and how (and, being one of the first, helped show me the advantages of an enthusiastic partner). Of the rest, I know at least three have passed beyond asking, and I’ve long since lost track of where the others are and what they are doing. So, I don’t expect I’ll ever know for sure.
What can I take away from this? The only way to know is to know the other person’s story. If it is a #MeToo kind of story, to be present for it, to listen, to ask how to help, to advocate, and to care. And, if need be, to be patient with the healing process.
I wrote what’s above last night. This morning I find I have two incidents I do wonder about in this context, realizing I don’t know what was really happening and why those two women in those situations did what they did. Here, I find I don’t want to go into intimate detail. It seems not the place for that. Suffice it to say it involved oral stimulation that I did not request, demand, or expect. In one instance as a substitute for penetrative activity, and in the other as (functionally unnecessary) foreplay. I realize, as I did not then, that I don’t know if they or either of them did that impulsively, or because they enjoyed it, or because they thought it was somehow required of them whether or not they liked it. Those unanswered questions will almost certainly remain so, and remind me that without knowing the stories, I can’t just assume. My truth is that I don’t want, and never have wanted, someone to do anything sexual with me that she doesn’t freely want to do, or allow me to do anything she doesn’t want done, and I don’t like being in any doubt of that in the present or the past.
Often, people don’t want to discuss their previous experiences with a new partner, or to hear about the other person’s. That seems to be true regardless of whether those experiences were good or bad. We like, it seems, to imagine that we can come to a new relationship as a clean slate and that love will make everything happen as it should, but, we are our stories. For good or ill, we bring with us our learned and accumulated expectations, our maps of how it is supposed to work, our desires and predilections, our established habits, our hopes of what we want to gain and what to avoid. This is true of the abused and the un-abused, the abuser and the non-abuser, the predator and the cooperator.
The #MeToo stories matter at every level, from the most intimate and personal, to the macro social and political. Yes, they can be uncomfortable, even triggering, but that really is the point beyond the individual release and possibility of healing by telling them. As a society, a community, we need that discomfort and those wacks up side of the head and heart to think this stuff through, to feel the meaning, and to make change.
Beth Caplin shares her spiritual journey on interwoven paths.
I just finished reading Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr, which is one of those Christian books that’s part devotional and part self-help. The book focuses on “two halves” of spiritual development, or what members of the resistance have dubbed “being woke”: at some point in your spiritual life, you begin to realize that just because a group calls itself “Christian” does not mean everyone within it is alike. Not every Christian has the same questions, the same doubts, and the same experiences.
When lived experiences conflict with what you’ve been taught about God and the Bible, spiritual stretching is inevitable. It may be that some of our spiritual needs are better met in places outside of church or bible study.
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Devon has gratitude
Today has been a strange day of people reaching out to me for advice and help and while I genuinely love the people that have come to me I just don’t feel qualified.
So today when I woke up to this amazing piece of advice from a woman I love and admire I woke up to tears of true love.
I was so proud yesterday to see Alyssa Romano and her “Me too” campaign because with that one act she gave a platform to over 200,000 people instead of making it about herself. Which I think is why I’ve been so angry lately.
There will always be days when you just don’t have it in you to participate in the world and even if forget to get up and walk, away to take a breather.
I forgot that yesterday. Instead of walking away I sat back and watched while these…
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Matt speaks. How many more Matts are out there?
They talked about what was lost, what had been taken away
They cried about broken trust and they poured out their rage
I sat in the circle wanting to fix them, not speaking
They took turns revealing wounds and scars and falling to pieces
They saw each other as safety, recognition of shared experience
I cried quietly and wanted to undo their past
They looked at me and asked the question
I couldn’t speak
I couldn’t share
I hadn’t lost anything
I could still see the untouched, innocent, pure picture of me, in my head
I couldn’t reach him, but he wasn’t dead
So I didn’t tell them I understood, because I didn’t
I didn’t spill my hurts, my pains, my betrayals,
I was scared that they could tell the difference
If I showed my wounds
They would know that I hurt so much more for theirs
If I told…
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Hasty pens an anthem for the many broken by the ones who abuse.
You found me in my dreams again
And again I couldn’t see your face
Only a shape dancing around me
Coaxing me from my hiding spot
Chasing me to the next dark corner
Destroying any safety, any comfort
You stole my peace. And my trust.
And here I am left picking at wounds
Trying to get out all the painful shards
That jab and damage my insides
Because of you I require special care
Because of you I’m high maintenance
Because of you….
Yes I put the blame on you
Because of you I am broken
Because of me… I am stronger
Because of me… I am healing
Because of me… I am learning
Because of me… I am overcoming