Archives for posts with tag: don’t rape

[Trigger warning: sexuality, sexual assault, female anger, vaginas]

Today is weird and wobbly. I’m just finally finishing up Vagina, by Naomi Wolf. Powerful material that really resonates with me. I feel heard. I feel understood. I feel… betrayed. Shit. That’s not what I expected… Wait… did I expect something? What was I looking for? Healing. That’s going to mean staring into the damage… Scary.

I can read a book. There are still verbs involved in changing anything.

I can read a book. There are still verbs involved in changing anything.

“Vagina” could be one of the most important books I’ve ever read. I finally added it to my Reading List, too, linked for convenience of course. I considered and reconsidered adding it, again and again, because… well.. hey, only half of us or so actually have vaginas in the first place… and… well… I’d have to use the word ‘vagina’… in public… Facing that I feel resistance to doing so pushed me in a whole other irritated direction, because why the hell should I be the slightest bit self-conscious about the word ‘vagina’ when half of us have one?? Seriously? I am so irritated with myself over that. I am sick to fucking death of cultural defaults intended to meet male needs or support male emotional comfort at the expense of my own. (If that came out with a snarl, you’re hearing me correctly, and I’m even sorry about feeling the way I do… because… brainwashing. So fucking over this bullshit! How do I end it without… ‘ending it’?) Sorry about the anger. Why? Um… I always apologize for my anger. I don’t know. Shouldn’t I? I’m a woman. (Yes, I heard it, too. It’s a journey.)

Every sexual relationship I’ve had has contributed to real-life challenges I now have as a sexual human being, including the relationship I have with myself. Maybe that one most of all… I have profound difficulties feeling comfortable sexually, and have for a while. I feel as if my sense of ‘agency’ is completely lost. Facing ‘having to’ ‘fix’ it seems a mammoth and overwhelming task, and I don’t even think I know what ‘fixed’ would look like, for the woman in the mirror. These are very ‘me-centric’ issues, far more than they are issues to do with partners, partnerships, lovers, techniques, frequency, orgasms, sexual satisfaction, or any of all of that; this is about being and becoming, and sorting out the chaos and damage, and healing the woman in the mirror. It’s about taking back my soul, and my personal authority over my own experience. My agency. Over my life. Trusting myself on this very dark bit of path is scary. One foot ahead of the other… one step at a time… It’s time to take a deep breath and get to work on the hard stuff, the scary stuff, the stuff that is so very painfully real it generally goes without mention. Fuck.

I think about my physical therapist saying something to me yesterday about having to be patient about restoring motion to joints that have been stiff or frozen up for a long while. I think about my feelings, my very hurt feelings about being female, and about the impossible standards, impossible odds for success, and very different demands, limitations, and expectations placed on female human beings. I think about my anger – because thinking about it is far less difficult than feeling it. It seems beyond cruel to have to exist in a world that doesn’t value me as a human being solely because of my gender. That sucks… most particularly considering how powerfully valuable females are to the survival of a species. It sucks that it’s almost impossible to discuss easily with trusted male friends; it isn’t part of their experience, and defensiveness often precedes actually hearing me… and it is hard to hear, harder still to accept how terrifyingly commonplace it is, for all the women they know.  I’m emotionally impaired in my relationships with women on this whole other level, and trusting enough to be vulnerable enough to talk about some of this is painfully awkward – and then I’m ‘preaching to the choir’ anyway. We can commiserate, but there is no satisfaction in it. No sense of being more understood, or nurtured, or healed… or changing anything. I don’t want to injure them further in the telling, either…  I guess that’s the hope in discussing feminist issues with male friends and lovers; I somehow hold on to the possibility that the world will change for having had the conversation. They can’t easily change something they aren’t guilty of themselves  – in some cases they can’t even see it happening around them. 😦

Hell yes, I’m an angry feminist. Get over it. I’ve been egregiously wounded, trauma specifically directed at my very femaleness (some literal physical trauma directed at my genitals and brain through violence; rape), repeatedly, over time (some of it legislated, by putting me permanently at a disadvantage on purpose, creating a culture of diminishment, dismissal, and disregard – yep. Traumatic.). Why would I not be angry? How could my anger not affect my relationships? How could my anger and pain over being sexually assaulted not affect my emotional life and my sexual wellness? Why would anyone reasonably expect women to ‘just get over it’? Does that even sound sane? Or supportive? Or healing? Go fuck yourself – I’m not over it. (Sorry, it hurts every time I recognize that some bit of me is still locked up, frozen in time, wounded and stalled over things that are so far in the past.) I can’t retrieve what was taken from me.

I want to be over it. Fuck I am so grateful for the strength of the women who have told their stories in so many public ways, lately; I have been silenced for so long. Silenced – and everywhere the silence touches my heart, my heart is frozen. When does summer come?

Today is a good day for meditation. Today is a good day to understand I’m not alone, however alone I feel right now. Today is a good day to walk on – anger and all – and keep practicing. Today is a good day to cry honest tears, and remember to begin again. I’m okay right now.  ❤

I woke easily but wanting to sleep later. I lingered in bed for some time, but sleep wasn’t happening; the day had begun. I sat down with my coffee and opened my Facebook feed – generally a very positive place these days, because it actually does work to continue to refine my feed preferences over time. I block ‘news’ sites that aren’t legitimate news sites, choosing to refrain from injecting poison into my brain through my eye holes every day, if I can. I’ve even chosen to unfriend some long-time historical connections whose values, and means of expressing those, continued to cause me stress and rouse emotions like fear, panic, anxiety – hard to call them friends, if that is my reaction to their words, right?

The world is what it is, though, and incremental change over time on a global scale is crazy slow – because we don’t all share the same values, and frankly, it’s not even a given that we all make choices in favor of our own survival as a species. I mean… actually… it’s clear we don’t.

Isn't the beauty of a sunrise important, too?

Isn’t the beauty of a sunrise important, too?

Two articles got my attention in a fairly painful way this morning.  The first was an article about the artist Kesha losing a court case seeking to end her contractual relationship with a record company requiring her to continue to work alongside a producer who raped her. Wow. Seriously, Sony? Evil much? Is a record deal actually worth sacrificing a young woman’s mental and emotional health? My first thought is ‘how dare you?’, followed quickly by my own memories of attempting to report a sexual assault to my unit commander and being told I didn’t really want to ‘ruin that young man’s life that way’ and besides ‘it would be bad for unit cohesion’ and I should ‘grow a thicker skin – boys will be boys’. Yep. Apparently that’s still the world we live in. How about we fix that?

We could choose to change the path we're on.

We could choose to change the path we’re on.

The second article was entirely different, very peculiar, and tough to fit into my understanding of rational adult governance; the Southern Poverty Law Center produced their annual report of hate groups, and I guess I’m not really surprised, but… the Republican Party made the list this year. (Oh hey, guys – go you! It’s like an award for being… the worst people in the nation. WTF? Certainly validates my choice to register differently some years ago, just saying. Don’t hate.) Yeah. I actually don’t know what to say about it. I seriously doubt that my own Republican friends meet the definition of ‘a hate group’… then recall that I’ve unfriended a number of former associates, friends, and colleagues, for reasons very much relevant to the politics of hate: racism, sexism, xenophobia, religious fundamentalism, and political extremism of the sort that seeks to create a bigger and bigger divide between some arbitrary ‘us’ and some frightening ‘them’. So… huh. What now?

Taken in context, fully considering what you know of the world, yourself, are your individual choices building the world you want most to live in?

Taken in context, fully considering what you know of the world, yourself, are your individual choices building the world you want most to live in?

If Republicanism has indeed become a hate group… do we now see the wholesome, compassionate, educated, forward-thinking Republicans among us lead their party to a better way of viewing the world… or do they leave the Republican party? Those aren’t the only two options, of course. Another option is pissing and moaning about how misunderstood their hate is, and how they are only seeking to improve things for “everyone”, and perhaps something about how ‘that’s just a few extremists in the party’. Scary, though. If I were told, with supporting documentation and evidence, that ‘being an artist’ was a hate group… would I stop painting? Would I paint differently? Would living my own values require me to change my actions based on the new information – or would it require me to acknowledge the truth of it, and continue to live it?

What matters most? Taking care of me is not at the expense of others - it never had to be.

What matters most? Taking care of me is not at the expense of others – it never had to be.

When I realized I had gotten sucked into a very dark place quite early in the morning, even letting my coffee go cold, I set the world aside – it’ll still be here later – and take time for me. I calm myself with meditation, and take time to watch the morning unfold beyond the window. The sunrise was worth taking the time for it. A fresh cup of coffee is nice, too. I breathe, and let go of my own hurting resurrected by the unpleasant, uncomfortable, all-too-human hateful bullshit that snuck into my experience this morning. Hurts from the past don’t have to be indulged in the present; it’s something my traveling partner pointed out to me early in our relationship. Having the injury that I do, it’s often very difficult to ‘let things go’ once visceral real-time emotions are aroused, but it isn’t impossible. Verbs. Always with the verbs. 🙂

Be love.

Be love.

I don’t have to live within my emotional pain. It isn’t a requirement to hold onto the worst moments as though they define the present ones. They are now only memories, scars, and lingering impressions caught in my implicit memory. I allow ‘now’ to become prominent, again. I step more firmly into this moment. I hear the music in the background… it’s apropos and I smile, and relax.  I think of my friends, their wit, their wisdom – even the Republican ones. The world is damned scary filtered by fear and hate, isn’t it? That isn’t the world I actually live in, myself… You? Maybe it’s a matter of speaking up when we hear it around us, just simply saying ‘Dude, not okay!’, and reminding each other of Wheaton’s Law.  Maybe it’s bigger than that – maybe we’re not the most amazing primates, after all? Certainly we’ve got room to grow as beings. We live in the world we choose to build. Could we do better? Choose more wisely? Well… yeah. 🙂 Let’s do that!

Today is a good day for sunshine, and for logging off Facebook. Today is a good day for being. Today is a good day to buy products from companies that don’t promote hate, or rape culture, or slavery, or exploitation, or… I didn’t say it was going to be easy. It’s going to take practice. 🙂