Archives for posts with tag: no means no

There’s more to say on such a big topic. A paragraph or two about love and lovers isn’t going to cover the subject thoroughly at all. I won’t try. It’s early in the morning, and I’m headed to work soon. The morning is rainy. The coffee is hot. My mood is merry. Easy stuff on a Tuesday.

The view from my weekend away.

I scroll through my Facebook feed, catching up after a weekend away. I flip through the posts – what’s with all the angst-y relationship drama? (More than enough over the weekend, as well – seasonal?) I don’t laugh – it really isn’t a cause for amusement or celebration when lovers suffer in each others arms, most particularly consider the great care some lovers take in crafting their shared misery. The choices! The effort! The lovingly hand-crafted artisanal misery! It’s amazing to me that even if pointed out such that awareness is unavoidable, a great many people will still “well, she…”, “well, he…”, with real ferocity to return to an acceptable understanding that allows them to rationalize not making any changes at all. It’s weird. It’s as if – wait for it – they are actually choosing to be unhappy together instead of choosing to be actually happy, or at least content and blissful. So strange. It’s hard to watch. It’s always been hard to watch. It makes my acid reflux flare up to have to watch it. It makes me heartsick to have to turn away. (I can’t fix it!) 😦

Love isn’t misery. If you are miserable, I assure you, it isn’t the love causing that. It’s the bullshit. 😉 Drop the bullshit. lol (Sounds so easy in those terms, but yeah – there are still a lot of verbs involved, and you can’t avoid those, or pay for someone else to do them.)

I’ve had cause to be soaked in drama recently. Not so much a choice as a test of endurance, loving kindness, compassion, and the experience and (limited) wisdom that come of age – and that come of fucking up several potentially wonderfully promising relationships myself over the years. Doesn’t make it easier to bear witness to the misery of lovers who refuse to see that they are choosing their misery for themselves, with great care, and putting every ounce of their being into tending and maintaining it. Yikes. I can’t even imagine the power and joy of a relationship into which similar effort and energy are put directly into actually loving each other!

Sharing the love, and sharing the building. Destruction is far less joyful.

…Oh. Wait. Yes, yes I can actually imagine the power and joy of a relationship into which lovers are putting the full weight of their effort and energy directly into actually loving each other! I have that! How wonderful! 😀 I worked – and work – with great care to build (instead of destroying) to support and nurture (instead of criticizing and tearing my partner down) to attend to my own chaos and damage (because we really only have the power to change our own ways, to deal with our own issues, to put down our own baggage), and to learn to love well.

A gray, black, and tan moth is colorful up close. Perspective matters. 🙂

I’m still learning. I practice every day. I make mistakes. I make amends. I screw up. I make it right. Again and again. I learn something new that works. I practice it often. I find out something I do is problematic. I look at ways I could change my approach for a better result. I face the awareness that something my lover does is uncomfortable for me. I learn to bring those issues to the table with kindness, patience, and understanding that I am having my own experience, and “demanding change” is not always the most effective (or efficient) way to achieve the result I want. I learned to assume positive intent, and learned to share my words gently, and to listen deeply. I learned to let go of assumptions and expectations, and to distinguish between acceptance and being a doormat. lol So many life lessons to love well! We have to learn each of them on our own. The verbs pile up.

I may be writing about love for the rest of my life – there is that much to say about it, and I’m no expert. 🙂 Love matters most. Love inspires. Love pulls us. Pushes us. Changes us. Love is powerful stuff. I spent the weekend wrapped in love. Home now to begin a new work week, I’m still thinking about love – and lovers.

There is always time for love. (Make time for it.) What could be a more worthy use of your precious limited mortal life than to love?

Speaking of time… it’s time to begin the work day. 🙂 One new beginning among so many. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I am slow to wake this morning. The alarm roused me, but I sat quietly for some minutes trying to understand why I was awake, and why the light was on. I have trudged through the morning so far, mostly spent looking over my camping plans for an upcoming weekend of beach camping spent meditating, walking, and observing the autumnal equinox, but not really getting anywhere with my thoughts; I haven’t any.

I notice my first coffee is nearly gone, and more than an hour of my precious limited lifetime too, and still I am not really awake. I add another item to my “to do list” for the upcoming weekend, which I plan to spend on quality of life improvements, generally, and housekeeping, tidying up, and things of that sort. A relaxed weekend of taking care of myself and my living space seems like just the thing to follow a weekend road trip.

I make another coffee. I make some oatmeal. I remind myself to start the dishwasher when I leave for the day. I wonder briefly when I will actually feel awake, and “why today?” I could so easily just go back to sleep… a rare thing for me. I find myself wishing it were already the weekend so that I could – also not my usual approach to morning. A loud irritated sigh punctuates the silence. I definitely need to begin this one again…but…where to start?

This is a very physical experience, so I begin in a physical place. I get up and stretch, and take some deep cleansing breathes, make my way to the kitchen and pour a big glass of water, and take a multi-vitamin. Oatmeal is my common breakfast, but it can’t be said to be nutritionally dense as it is. Coffee? Isn’t water. I walk from room to room drinking my water, and adding a few things to the list of planned weekend tasks. I make a point of being aware of my posture, and holding myself fully upright as I move through my space. I make a point of being aware of my breathing. Hell – I make a point of being aware.

…In time, being “aware” becomes being awake. Beginning again? It’s a thing we get to do, if we choose to do it. There are verbs involved. My results vary. Still… as often as I’d like to do so, I can begin again.

There were other things on my mind to write about as the evening ended last night. Oregon is burning. It’s sort of on my mind, you know? The air is hot, sort of humid or thick feeling in my lungs, and irritating to breathe. The smokey sky has worsened over the past two days, as has the fire in the gorge. I chuckle when I think of the POTUS awkward hurricane Harvey photo-op; I know he won’t be coming to Oregon to be pelted with rocks by black bloc protesters. For some reason, that makes me smile in spite of the terrible natural tragedy of the many wildfires destroying hundreds of thousands of acres of forest as days pass (at least one of which was caused by careless people who didn’t think the fire safety restrictions applied to them). This too will pass. The fires will dwindle, or burn out once their fuel source is consumed. The weather will change, as will the climate. The land will be re-seeded, and will bloom again. More likely than not, the Earth will survive us.

Will we? 

Isn’t that what we’re really all afraid of? It’s less about the Earth than it is about our own experience on it. Perhaps we are seeing the end of our human infestation on the Earth…? Grim thought. We could do better with our resources, with our conservatorship of this fragile singularly lovely world, and with each other. We could choose to save the world…

Will we begin again?

 

This morning I am sitting here in the quiet of dawn, and contemplating this sweet chill moment of satisfaction and contentment; I want for nothing. At least right now, this very specific and limited immediate moment of now, I am not experiencing desire, hunger, craving, yearning, or any urgent sense of need. It’s lovely.

It got me thinking, though, of recent tragedies, and lives lost to the dark side of desire: entitlement, jealousy, possessiveness, attachment, and yes, craving, yearning, wanting, ‘needing’ – those urgent hard-to-resist feelings that say there is something amiss in the world when some object, experience, or person is not available for ownership, possession, or purchase. I doubt it is the desire itself that is the challenge. My own experiences tell me that the difficulties (and horrors) develop when a person is overcome by the conviction that some outcome is their due. Expectation. Demand. Entitlement.

I’ve struggled with it, too. It’s very human to want something or someone so badly that it takes over reason and good sense, destroys compassion and consideration, impedes respect, or seems to justify bad behavior; it isn’t appropriate to take action on those feelings in any way that encroaches on someone else’s will, personal liberty, control of their own body, sense of safety, or freedom to withhold consent.  Rapists are a problem, and the lack of consent is the defining thing, and even in the face of the obviousness of it there manages to be discussion about it, as if there is some permissible amount of non-consensual conduct that is acceptable. (There isn’t.)

It took me a long time to get here. I have been wading through a lot of wreckage, and looking back on me over the years, I owe a number of very good-hearted people apologies of one sort or another; damage doesn’t truly excuse being a shitty human being.  I have struggled with myself, and I still do, figuring out the consent piece, for myself, as I find my way in the world.   I wasn’t exactly brought up to respect my own boundaries, to expect that my consent – or lack of it – would be respected, or even to say no and mean it in clear, explicit terms.  The result? I sometimes didn’t treat other rape survivors well; I treated them as badly as I treated myself. I didn’t understand the nature of consent, or that the word ‘no’ had any power to change events. My own experiences didn’t support that. I didn’t understand it is my right to choose, to say yes or no, and to have those choices be accepted and honored.  I spent years as an unwitting accomplice to rape culture; the survivor-apologist, so busy being ‘accountable for my own actions’ that I was willing to excuse my violation.  Getting past that and building a healthy understanding of the sanctity of my consent has been a complicated battle.

[Are you listening? It isn’t too late to show yourself compassion, to respect your own pain, to stand on your values and say ‘no’. It’s okay, too, to feel shame at the damage you’ve done as a tool in your own destruction – and to choose another path, now. You said it would matter if just one woman, one survivor, would say “I’m sorry I made things worse.” I’m here. I’m one woman. I’m sorry.]

So… here we all are… talking about the issues more openly, more insistently, more frankly. That, in spite of the pain and the circumstances, is an important step forward.

In the midst of pain, there is still beauty.

In the midst of pain, there is still beauty.

Today is a good day to talk about difficult subjects honestly. Today is a good day to be compassionate and concerned. Today is a good day to respect myself, and others. Today is a good day to change the world.