This post ain't gonna sit well with some people. Belieeeeeve me I already know that, but that being said, I'm writin' it anyways.
With what's going on for a lot of women right now, I feel like I'm just.. on the verge of writing a novel in a week. I will be discussing wounds of sexual trauma and going into detail about some instances, so please by all means, if this is not your speed for today, read no further. No hard feelins! I'll see ya next month!
And here we go-
When my group of friends and I would be standing on the playground as a child, I'd regularly count out five of us, then three including myself. I'd heard over and over during our counseling sessions before the trial that three out of five children are sexually abused. I'd count it out in my head thinking, "It's not just me. Someone else is hurting."
Those statistics of course are only the instances that have been reported and docummented. Checking them now in 2019 it seems the numbers have gone down, but i find that incredibly hard to believe. I think in fact it's being infiltrated into our culture in such a way that the lines of what is named abusive has become blurred. Take one look at what's sold to us as regular nightly entertainment and the state of mental health throughout the collective right now 'n tell me there ain't a cry for help screaming from behind it all.
Let's bust up this concrete floor yall. This is just me brain storming with what I've been feeling and witnessing throughout my life, so please feel free to agree or not, but this is how we learn, we just share what we feel.
Many people like to discredit our wisdom, downplay things and say, "Well that's only triggering you from your past trauma... It's just you. You're just being too sensitive." But trauma and pain isn't useless, it serves us if we allow it. If we can begin to witness our own inner workings with compassion and patience for our own unraveling, we can begin to see the incredible gift of our scars. Of experience. Of gained insight and knowledge. Just like a scent is added to natural gas so we can identify a leak when it would otherwise be completely invisible to our senses and cause us serious harm, experiences in life will associate and register with certain physical feelings, signs and red flags within us so it doesn't sneak past us again. Our very discomfort in fact allows us to recognize that same feeling, that same toxicity and know quickly that we're in an unsafe situation. Our discomfort, is trying to save our lives.
How many people do you think truly dive into their belief systems and learned patterns? Unafraid to dig up what's caused much of their struggles and addictions in life, taking responsiblity to iron out the kinks? How many families discuss and even joke about alcoholism and mental health issues running through generations, but when it comes to sexual abuse and incest...
Nobody wants to really discuss that one. And understandably so. It's the ultimate unforgivable act.
Statistics today believe 20% of girls and 8% of boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. (Again... I believe these statistics to be incredibly off simply from the stories brought to me and what I've heard over and over...and OVER throughout my life. There's nothing rare about it unfortunately.)
Countless articles and books teach parents to teach their children how to talk about unhealthy touch and keep open communication with their parents rather than books to help adults take responsiblity to heal themselves and the wounds that cause these actions. This is about as genius as making our teachers responsible for carrying firearms in the classroom to prevent attacks.
That's the whole point folks...children are WIRED to trust. To look for safety in adults. To forgive easily and to innocently trust in the goodness of people. To obey and believe as they're told. To receive love in whatever way they are given it or not. To do what is asked of them so they can receive love, acknowledgement, and praise. If we can be manipulated as grown adults, please just imagine our minds as children just looking for a strong bond with the people around us.
So yeah...ya get what I'm sayin? The responsiblity is passed off to children to understand extremely intricate and insideous psychological manipulations. The buck gets passed once again, rather than looking at what causes another adult to commit these acts, or why a parent may disregard the signs and turn away from acknowleding it, the child is taught how to keep an eye out for it instead. I hate to say it yall but... manipulative people are good at what they do. You cannot expect a child to mentally grasp horrific actions and insidious intentions no matter how many times you explain it.
Also according to recent statistics, (this one I agree with completely) 95% of sexually abused children will be abused by someone they know and trust. 73% do not tell anyone about the abuse for at least one year. 45% do not tell anyone for 5 years and some never disclose it at all, and 1 out of 3 adults will not believe their child when they do say something.
So how many grown adults are walking around with these wounds? How many people learned that this is just love, that this is the bond between human beings, that shame is part of life and so why not just embody it and call it strength and power? That control over our own bodies is overrated?
And so the cycle continues.
As a Massage Therapist I saw these unhealed scars in clients far too many times. Women repeatedly stating that they're so comfortable with nudity that they need no draping, all the while their shoulders would be curling forward, their voice racing and shaking and their body closing in on itself. Their eyes looking like that of a child in fear, holding a steady lock with mine as if calling out for reassurance that they are good. Upon entering the room their arms would be locked around the table in a cemented grip. I'd go to move limbs but they were frozen. I'd often end up doing these massages with them completely draped, trying to silently express to them that their being exposed isn't needed for them to receive compassion and care. I wanted to leave them notes saying, "Your deserving of compassion and saftey has NOTHING to do with your willingness to live without boundaries."
I saw it in myself over and over when during continuing education classes, we were told we'd be practicing undraped if we so wished so that we could completely connect with our partners and release our inner judgement and shame. (Mmhm... I've since realized of course that the instructor was enjoying ever minute of puppeteering adults like innocent children. Ripping open their wounds and assuring them only she could help them heal.) Just as we would've done in kindergarten, all of us followed one anothers lead, not wanting to be the "uptight and unhealed" student. I was partnered with an older male in class and I remember laying on a table face down with my ankles at the corners of the massage table thinking, "I can do this, just breathe. This is healing. Relax. Look at me being so calm and relaxed and strong... I'm so strong. I don't even care about being naked around complete strangers because I'm SO comfortable with my body." So comfortable that I was checked out of my body throughout the entire thing...
There's a lot of tears in these situations, and its so easy for a manipulative spiritual guru or instructor to get us to drop our boundaries by saying, "Don't fight it. Don't be afraid. Ya gotta let me in." And so we assure ourselves it's healing...it's working. This is us expanding and growing.
Not even a few hours before this exchange, we had all sat in a circle sharing stories. I brought up my sexual abuse as a child, and not a few but EVERY single adult in that room, men and women, slowly shook their head and said, "I did too..." Many had never spoken of it.
The cycle of abuse can look a lot like healing. It can be portrayed as overcoming and strength, when in reality repeating abuse is more of a becoming, an adapting. We can internalize the shame of what has been done to us to such depths that we take it on as our own and create it as part of our persona. We become extremely sexualized. Hammering the nail in over and over that it does not over power us because now we hold power over it. No one else will ever expose us again, because we'll do it ourselves. Just like self deprecating jokes, we'll beat em to the punch. No one else will ever take our power again because we'll give it away ourselves and call it freedom. It can't be taken against our will if it's our choice to give it right?
I see so much of this happening, translating in different ways but the pain is the same. Either completely locking down and isolating, or living without any boundaries whatsoever and imposing on everyone else.
I stood in our kitchen, taking long deep breathes and expressed to my husband what I was feeling as tears rolled down my cheeks. "I know it cause I've DONE it. I'm still healing from doing it... But it hurts SO BAD to see people I love, people I care about, cling to the very things that hurt them. Protest that the very things killing them are their right and their choice to live their life freely, when in reality, the only thing they're free from is making their own choices, their own responsibility, because they're handing it all over to someone else."
Our own wounds, show us the wounds of the collective. Our own lessons show us what needs to be learned in the collective. That identifying scent is added to the invisible toxins and we can no longer ignore it when we feel it and see it in the world around us, and so our hearts ache with the same pain. With the same symptoms of a poisonous intruder.
As far too many women are naming men in general as the enemy, the ultimate opressor, do we long for a true companion? A safe haven and place to express our sexuality, compassion, power and light with no fear? Whether male or female, the gift of connection, trust, safety, and love is something we each long for, it is part of the human experience, and if we feel it cannot be found or it's been taken from us, we may scream we never needed it in the first place. "Fuck em! Never needed em anway!"
I watch objectifying nudity and pornography become more and more mainstream. Todays protests and messages of feminine healing and strength are too often done by the very things used to opress us. Complete objectification and over sexualization of the feminine. I hear the statements over and over, "It's JUST boobs..." "It's JUST sex..." Removing all sacredness and power from our very bodies and source of creation does nothing to remove abuse and objectification, in fact it only cements it. It only reinstates the fact that, "It's nothing. It doesn't matter." All the while we're begging to be seen as anything BUT nothing. We're begging to be seen as more than JUST a body, JUST an object, JUST a woman. We're running ourselves in circles.
We teach people how to love us, by the way we love ourselves. Period. It has very little to do with what we write on poster boards or wear on t-shirts, and everything to do with how we love ourselves.
There's a lotta mixed messages goin' on yall. Sounds a lot like me laying spread eagle on a massage table telling myself, "It's JUST a body, this is fine. I don't feel overpowered at all, I CHOOSE to lay here exposed cause I'm past feeling like a victim!" as I dissociate and step aside so someone else can take control.
I saw abuse manifest and translate differently in both my parents. Complete shame and disgust in sex all together while simultaneously objectifying the opposite sex and constantly begging for acknowledgement in self-abusive ways. Even as a child I could tell that their selves were split, internally fighting against their own shame and then acting out the very things that wounded them trying to clumsily honor their inner dialogue and urges, but listening to the wrong side.
It doesn't require healing and acknowledgement of our divinty to dissociate, to expose ourselves constantly and drop all boundaries. That's the easiest way to just paint over our wounds, to avoid our pain, to appear untouched and unbothered.
We talk openly about mental illness but rarely discuss the possible sources. It just IS. It just runs in our family like cancer or high blood pressure. YET epigenetics is surpassing all prior beliefs held about disease in family lines so let's just put a pin in THAT ok... We pass along far more than DNA. If physical disease isn't even looked at as simply passed down anymore but something manifested by repeating experience and environmental patterns... I think it's time we see our emotional and mental health in the same way.
Just cause your Aunt Connie had type 2 Diabetes and ended up in the psych ward, doesn't mean you're doomed to the same fate. It does however probably hold some clues for you when you come upon your own struggles. It didn't start with you, but you might be the one to see your discomfort as a signal rather than a sentence, and so you can see an opportunity to take hold of your life.
Don't be afraid to learn, about yourself especially, because the more compassion and understanding we have for our own aspects we see as faults, the more our love expands, the more we can hold that same love and safe haven for others to do the same.
Our health is our responsiblity, and don't let that scare you, instead let it empower you. Let it remind you that you are not victim to circumstances or anyone else's limitations or beliefs. Be brave enough to observe all of it and see it's all in your power. It's people who've decided to turn their back on their own light and avoid their pain that inflict it on others.
Some people decide to completely dissociate, disconnect from human emotion and go through life unbothered and unworried about anyone else. They completely pussy out 'n call it strength. Then there's those of us who quickly become depressed, anxious, physically ill, and exhausted from ignoring subconcious messages. There's nothing weak or wrong with that, it's just that those who are disconnected don't wanna be reminded of what it is they're ignorning so they desperately need us to become disconnected as well.
So what happens when we judge what is "normal" what is "acceptable" and what is "healthy" by someone else's standards? And what if that someone else is completely disconnected from the human spirit and has lived their life by embodying shame and abusive actions to have power over everyone so they never have to feel their own pain?
We become sick. We feel we're malfunctioning. We're told something must be wrong with us if we can't thrive in the same environment. We believe we'll have to find a way to survive through life but never thrive.
How many of us instinctively turn away when someone around us starts making out or practicing heavy pda? Right? It's just a natural reaction. Most of us naturally respect boundaries and turn to give them privacy.
But how many times over and over are we told it's artistic expression as we sit through graphic scenes even involving rape? We're told its, "an important part of the storyline" (I cannot call bullshit ENOUGH.) Being told over and over, "If you have a problem with this, then you must be uncomfortable with sex. That's YOU'RE problem." Is it? IS it though? Is it normal to stop at your neighbors window on an evening walk if you see em having sex 'n just hang out 'n scroll through Instagram til they finish? Or is someone in power forcing on us what was forced on them so they can create an environment that matches their internal toxicity so it becomes the norm and they don't have to turn and face themselves?
So many times people like to defend the extreme oversexualization of society right now and say, "It's natural, it's a part of life. It should be expressed." Yes. I know, but so is takin' a shit 'n I don't see THAT comin' up in story lines constantly with every scene leading up to another bathroom stall moment.
Know why? Cause over exposure to bowel movements don't objectify and slowly dissociate us from ourselves. They might gross us out haha but they don't rob our power and split our personalities, slowly causing us to objectify other human beings and over time stop connecting through our hearts all together and solely see one another as a means to and end. Sex used as distraction can do that very well though.
There's a reason a side effect of constantly watching pornography is depression and erectile dysfunction. Which I mean, aint that a bitch, it's like how drinking too much coffee just leads to needing more and more caffeine. There's no way around it, self-responsiblity yall, I don't make the rules here.
Sex can create life, or rob it. It's never nothing y'all, even if we're just lookin' for a good orgasm, there's a transaction happenin one way or another. Just like eating foods can bring us closer to health, or closer to disease, it can be done in expansion, or repression. The word rape itself feels like a painful void, just as the word orgasm feels like a flower opening to the sun. One act can have completely opposite outcomes.
It's not until we become grown adults that many of us look back on things in our childhood and go, "Wait...that was a lil fucked up..." I was used to both parents inviting me into the room while wearing shear undergarments, positioning themselves in front of be awkwardly and I remember thinking, "Why didn't you just tell me to wait a second...?"
We are built to adapt to our environment, to find stability and keep going. Just like if we are around a rotten smell for long enough...we get used to it. That doesn't mean it's not there, we've just adapted. That doesn't mean it's healthy or normal. We've lost incredible singers and songwriters to suicide who were brave enough to speak up about experiencing molestation, being robbed of innocence far too young, and our hearts break for em. Yet here we are, projecting our own wounds on todays children already, expecting them to dive in and understand the things WE can't even make complete sense of yet, asking them to state and express their sexuality as young as elementary and middle school! Let em be fuckin' KIDS yall my God. I couldn't even decide on a career path in the sixth grade let alone my absolute gender specification and sexual expression. Let's not impose our own search for self-acceptance and sexuality on children when they should just be tryin to find Pokemon and eat bagel bites alright? They have the rest of their lives to get on TalkSpace and read self-help books. Let em enjoy life without so much noise for a minute.
The truth is, there's a lot of "adapted" adults walkin' around trying to create our environment for us. Trying to permenantly avoid their pain by putting themselves in roles of controlling media, entertainment and education, telling US what's acceptable and healthy.
Are we adapting to being objectified and dissociated and overpowerd by just...givin it up? Are we smellin' a gas leak and deciding to just stick it out, meanwhile developing multiple physical and mental illnesses the longer we wait? People are exposing themselves more and more, and yet seem to be feeling more and more isolated and unseen.
To put it real simple, I'm seein us expose our bodies, our sex lives, our wildest kinks, begging to be seen and accepted, when in reality our spirits are longing for us to expose our hearts and our wounds so we can finally TRULY feel seen and accepted...but that shit hurts. That shits painful... It's easier to call it all "kink" rather than admit:
"Something inside got twisted around at some point... I didn't receive love without it being connected to pain or feeling used and so that's the only way I know how to receive it... ehhh... yeah I'd rather just take my top off in public than go there."
"My first feelings of sexual arousal happend from a situation out of my control so I guess that's just the expression of who I am."
"I learned I'm not safe in expressing love unless it's done in complete domination and on my terms, removing someone else's power so I know I'm safe."
So we go about illustrating and reenacting things in ourselves,find people to reinforce our shame and share in our missery, and refill our antidepressants and wonder where it all went so wrong.
And let me be real clear, we don't have to experience sexual abuse for something to effect our sex lives and personal boundaries. ANY kind of miresprentation of love and connection can send us in the wrong direction at an impressionable age.
I know. I'm COMPLETELY steppin' on toes here, but again...I'm just thinkin' out loud as I usually do.
Yall the things is, shame ain't removed by just repeating it over...and over...and over, screaming acceptance of it louder until we just get used to it and overlook it. BELIEVE ME when I say, I get it. I really do. I understand. I woulnd't if I haven't felt the same way and done the same things. When people discuss incest kink I'm like, "Yep...unfortunately completely get it." I've had dreams I've woken up from and thought, "what the fuck is wrong with me!?" Does that mean it needs to be completely accepted and seen as a normal healthy urge and practice? Yeah no. It definitely came from somewhere and I was told it was normal. Yall, how often do ya think that happens? Cause if you asked some people in prison right meow, I bet they'd describe pedophilia and rape as an urge or a kink. Please just think about that for a second.
It's painful, its uncomfortable as all get out, and it feels dangerous to look at things in ourselves sometimes and simply be brave enough to ask, "Why?" I'm not bringing this up as a blanket statement for ALL practices, I'm just sayin, we cant keep discussing mental illness but circling the sources with our eyes shut.
So could we just talk about this please. In the midst of daddy fetish and rape culture... There's a line. And this is a time where love and understanding is being confused with seeing wrong in NOTHING and accepting EVERYTHING. People that are abusing us and using us LOVE to turn things back around on us and point to how much pain and shame we're making them feel if we object to something they've done to us. How awful of us...They want us to feel close minded and judgemental for recognizing something completely harmful.
The truth is, only we know where exchanges stop being expanding and start being oppressive and we owe it to ourselves to figure that out. To stop believing the advice given to us by people who they themeselves are reenacting their own disempowerment.
I'm not tryin' to call anybody out, but I read a book a few years ago about a woman hiking the pacific trail and reclaiming her power and I was excited to see the film when it came out. I didn't even make it through the movie because by the third unnecessarily graphic sex scene, I'd had it yall. The book neeeeever went into that much detail and did not spend so much time on that subject, it was simply another symptom of her state. The film however, hammered it in habitually. When it could've easily respectively eluded to this repeating pattern in the womans life, instead it played into her promiscuity objectifying her once again and reenacting the very moments in graphic detail.
There's this constant twisted message that by us reenacting sexual violence and graphic scenes in general, that it will help us heal move past it and remove stigma...by exposing ourselves to it over 'n over, to get used to it and give ourselves a voice by forcing ourselves to play it out and look at it repeatedly.
Let me be very clear, that doesn't give us a voice at all, that gives the act itself a voice. All we're doing is forcing ourselves to sit through it and feel it over and over and allowing it to infiltrate more and more into our lives until it's seen as something to adapt to...until it's seen as nothing.
Whether on film or in our own lives, how often has it healed us to relatiate in the same violence we experienced? To harm ourselves again in the very way we were harmed? To fight evil with evil? Yep...s'never worked. So what are we doin' to ourselves here?
I'd put money on the statistics that 100% of sexual assault is commited by someone who themselves have experienced some kind of violence or abuse, and they are also reenacting what was done to them.
So many times we hurt oursevles and one another, we're trying to wipe the shame off our shoe and we don't know how, so we keep doing what's gotten us by up until this point. We haven't learned yet that WE are in power of ourselves and our environment, we get to say what's healthy and acceptable and what's not. We don't have to toughen up or ignore elephants in the room by acting comfortable.
As I was working on a man's abdomen one daying during a massage he immediately saw it as a sexual invitation and pushed the sheet down. I calmly pulled it back up, unfortunately dissociating and going through the motions, explaining to him calmly, "I asked if you had gastrointestinal discomfort and would like abdominal massage because that's what I'm doing is assisting your bodys elimination process...To help you poop." "Oh..." he said.
A week later, Joe and I were walking through Walmart and I spotted this same man with his wife. Without even thinking about it, I bee lined toward him, smiling and patting his shoulder assuringly, "Hey! How ya doin!" His face went white. I didn't understand what was wrong and then I remembered, "Oh shit...I bet he thought I was gonna say something in front of his wife haha!!"
I share this because I wanna show what my natural reaction was to the situation. My natural reaction to adapt and overcome, to not only wipe it under the rug, but befriend this man and SHOW him just how unbothered and in my power I was.
It ain't just me that's gone about this the wrong way yall... It aint just me that's incorrectly learned to survive by emobodying the pattern of abuse.
I ain't sayin' it's everyone... but I'm just sayin.
Trauma bonding is no joke. Stockholme syndrome is a real thing.
Women are voting against the right to abortions, naming their very sisters as unclean and shameful, and reenforcing mysogonistic views because somewhere in themselves is still just looking for acceptance. For love. To belong. To be pat on the back and told, "I'm proud of you. I'll keep you safe." Women will continue embodying misogynistic views to receive love and men will keep living by them to feel powerful until we each heal this in ourselves and stop waiting for someone else to tell us what to do.
I confronted a male massage therapist I worked with years ago. After witnessing the body language of the women who came out of his room, all of them with shoulders curled forward and a look in their eyes very familiar to me, he'd have his arm wrapped a little too firm around their shoulders. I decided to ask if he'd work on me the following week to see what was going on. Sure enough as he went to work on my lower back he pushed my underwear down under the sheet.
Oh heeeeeeeell no.
I confronted him in person a week later outside a coffee shop downtown, letting him know under no circumstances do you remove someone's underwear. That's basic ethics in bodywork, they're WEARING IT for a reason... "But I'm a healer," he said. "But do you know how much you stop someones ability to open to healing when you cross those boundaries?" I calmly told him, trying to speak blunt but kind. He again just let me know he was a healer and knew what he was doing as he puffed away on his cigar.
Weeks later his anger with me built up to the point that he cussed me out in public and finished his rant with, "Namaste sister."
Yep...love 'n light Chester.
Yall...women FLOCKED to this man. He stayed booked solid. That's called trauma bonding. And so these ridiculous actions continue to be seen as completely normal, because these women are led to believe it's completely normal for them to cower, for their lines to be crossed because it's for their own good. They need to step aside for their own sake because someone else knows better about their own bodies. Aye yi yi...
(This same man later confessed when moving out of state years later, that he was in fact stealing sheets and face cradle covers the entire time he'd been employed, and boy did it make him feel better to say it. But he's a healer y'all.)
We have to learn to heal ourselves cause we can't heal anyone else, we can only show them the way we wish to be loved and respected and accept nothing less. Either that lights up realizations in them, or they'll have to go the other direction.
It ain't men against women yall. It's all of us together. ALL of us have been taught incorrect ways of love and connection many times over, and we're turning to face ourselves.
Disconnecting ourselves from anything and calling it nothing doesn't bring about healing, it brings certain death to the very thing we've seperating ourselves frm whether it be our bodies, our wounds, or the opposite sex.
We cannot heal what we're not willing to feel.
So please, my heart begs of you, love yourself enough to call bullshit on a sick society claiming itself to be healed and you to be too sensitive.
Now more than ever, our inner vision, our intuition, our wisdom is our truest compass. Our bodies have become increasingly ill and our mental state seems to be beyond grasp as messages of danger and toxicity scream from inside us as we're told by so many that we're mistaken, they see no sign of danger or deception.
I wish I could say I'm kidding when I say I've recently heard people refer to necrophilia and cannibalism as healthy self expression as long as it's between consenting adults... (How the hell you consent if ya dead!? A ouija board!? Anwyays...) But this is where we are right now...we are THAT afraid of offending someone and sayin, "Mmmm are ya sure everything is fine? Cause I feel like horror films are written about your healthy self expression..." That's not shaming someone...that's recognizing somethins wrong yall.
So we can either walk on eggshells so as not to offend anyone and just stay copacetic... Or we can turn to face ourselves and find where the leak's coming from. We can show people how to treat us by treating ourselves with respect, compassion, and love.
I know. It can be scary to realize no one's gonna save us but ourselves. It's far easier to pray for a magic bullet than to think about changing our entire lives. It's far easier to say there's no pain than to feel it. It's far easier to say evil doesn't exist than to face it. It's far easier to walk on eggshells everyday and follow popular opinion than to cause a ruckus, but man I hope you cause one hell of a ruckus.
"Your feelings and emotions are not meant to be an inconvenience. Your discomfort is not meant to be a permanent state of living. You are meant to take action from these triggers, to interpret your inner dialogue and swim for the surface. Do not hold your breath believing it's what you must do to survive. You know how to swim, now kick those legs!"
All my love and joy-
PS- If you made it through this entire book I wrote today... Thank you. Whether you agree or not...thank you for hearing me.