Whether we like it or not, and whether it’s logical or not, it’s extremely common for women to want to please men. Somewhere, buried deep in the recesses of our brains lies this vestigial microchip that compels us to acquiesce, to go along with men’s desires and wishes, and to silence our own self-advocation, truth and voice. I’m not referring to circumstances of fear necessarily… rape, assault, coercion, etc.
I have been physically and sexually assaulted many, many times by men, and I feel very lucky that these physical and sexual assaults did not escalate to the level of out-and-out rape, as it did with many of my friends, or worse, death. Nevertheless, I have experienced things that no person should have to experience. Ever. Period. And in this moment, I’m feeling kinda pissed about that. Such is the nature of a psychological trigger.
In the winter of 2011 I walked over 800 km (500 miles) on the Camino de Santiago from the southern border of France, across 4 Spanish provinces (Navarra, La Rioja, León, and Galicia) to finish at the sea in Finisterre… “the end of the earth.” There is much myth and lore associated with The Way of Saint James, a pilgrimage walked by thousands each year, for the past two thousand years.
I had no idea what to do. Zero clue. Flapping madly in the wind, totally devoid of solutions, I called a dear friend. "I'm out of my wheelhouse here. How should I handle this?" I asked my wonderful therapist, "I've never dealt with this kind of situation before and have no idea as to how I should proceed. I would love your insight." Usually I sit with things and write about them, pray and meditate on them, but my intuition led me to the truth that in this situation I had nothing. I needed external, even professional help.
And with that, the Goddess rose and released her great wings into the wind like sails. The sun caught the shimmering scales of her feathers, casting a resplendent iridescence across the sky. She nodded to the woman before ascending to the opal heavens like a magnificent bird, beaming telepathically through her amethyst eyes, "My dear, you must believe."
When the world feels crazy, I seek the solace of a horse’s neck. That’s the spot for me, and always has been. When I was a kid, and things were rough at home or at school, I could always burrow into that warm nook, burying my head under a cascade of mane to feel safe, to feel home, and to feel love.
It’s easier to just do things my own way. Then I don’t have to deal with the inevitable inconvenience of other people’s shit. I get things done quicker, more efficiently and without having to compromise. This is a great attitude if you live on the moon, but I live in the world, with people, and doing everything as a lone wolf removes the richness of collaboration and the experience of shared joy and connection.
I can’t recall where I first heard the idea that you can raise a child in the same way you can grow tomatoes within a wire cage, but I liked it immediately. Tomatoes love a good cage. Wire, wood, bamboo – they'll be happy with anything that provides good structure and support to leaf out and burst forth in a mad bramble of foliage and fruit.
I keep searching for some wise elder grandmother whose lap I can crawl into for solace. Someone who can tell me, "Sweetheart, we've been here before... we made it through... all will be well." But then I realize... all the wise grandmothers I know are equally stunned and silenced and these are unprecedented times.
There are a whole lot of bumper stickery quotes out there pertaining to change, and none of them do a goddamn thing for me. I don’t do well with the phenomenon of change, and yet, from time to time I crave it like the most urgent and mandatory nutrient. It’s a funny conundrum that drives me a bit mad, but change is like Morse Code to my future, tapping unrelenting and deliberate at the window.
As though I needed another reason to love and adore sex columnist Dan Savage and his Savage Love podcast, last week he produced a profound show, offering his African American listeners an opportunity to speak their minds about what it’s like to be black at this current juncture in American history, and to weigh in on the Black Lives Matter Movement.