Happy International Women’s Day.
There are so many ways to experience ourselves authentically and profoundly as women and so many ways to support each other.
One thing I’ve learned in my fifty two years on the planet, is that we must pull our power, that we’ve given away or that has been stolen from us, back into our own bodies, our own souls. We also must support our sisters and daughters in doing the same.
The patriarchy has divided us from loving each other and supporting each other in insidious ways.
When we think about “violence towards women” it is easy to think about everyday, extreme examples such as rape, denying a female child an education, forced marriage and other atrocities that happen in this country and all over the world. It is easy to marginalize this as a class issue. Surely, violence against women only happens to women who are poor.
But, on a less visible and yet deeply insidious level, I encounter middle and upper middle class women, every single day, who are living with some kind of violence against them, most commonly from their partners.
It can be a kind of subtle control, but control it is.
Two days ago, I was verbally assaulted by a former partner of mine, for closing out an internet account in both of our names without telling him first. This is a so called and self proclaimed “spiritual and wise man,” yet he had no problem verbally abusing me, repeatedly, after I asked him to stop. Last summer, he threatened, in a rage spiral, to physically assault me. His rage was so frightening that I had to ask for help and intervention from friends of his in his men’s group, to avoid going to the police.
This is not about calling him out personally, but I am saying, that as women, we have normalized this behavior as “men just being men”. I know woman in my Santa Fe community….many, many, many… who have been hit, raped, emotionally manipulated, minimized and threatened in their safety and the safety of their children from some of these “good guys.” These white guys who pay for their kids private schools and play the magnanimous host at dinner parties and gallery openings.
I’ve been married to one of these guys. I’ve dated many.
I have been one of these women, in situations varying from minor to extreme from the time I was a teenager. So have almost all of my friends and clients.
This is patriarchy at play. It disempowers. It drains our energy. It rips off our life force. And to endure it, continues the cycle.
Many women stay in these relationships because they think they have no choice. They do not believe that they can walk away, or make a living. Money is the currency of control for many. Nice houses in pretty neighborhoods belie ugly secrets. Always have.
Women; we are vulnerable to subtle and overt control and oppression until we can take care of ourselves and our children both emotionally and financially. This is what I have taught my daughter. This is what I have come to know in my bones. We must make this happen for ourselves, by any means necessary, or we are at the mercy of energies that are not our own.
I wanted to speak out today to anyone who is suffering subtle or overt (or both) forms of oppression. Violence towards women is not “out there” and it is not just about “other people.”
For years I minimized the way male rage and men’s triggers around me attempting to become my full self subtly silenced me (yes, me) and had me living on eggshells (no way to live) so as not to set off any kind of reaction. This pattern played out over decades, in and out of various relationships.
Being a peacemaker at the expense of our fullness of being is too high a price to pay.
Finally, and fully, I am supported in being all I am by my partner. Finally, I accept nothing less than everything for myself. These two things work in harmony with each other.
Finally and fully, I had to manifest my own spiritual, financial and emotional autonomy first. Now I am free. And I am free to truly love. I am free to stay or go. That is the kind of freedom the patriarchy will never grant us. We claim it for ourselves.
Whatever mountains are left to climb, the view from the other side is worth it. It is not too much to ask to be energetically, creatively and powerfully free AND loved. That is your birthright. Don’t let anyone take it from you.
The journey is worth it. You each have my love and support. It’s our job to believe each other, see each other and stand by each other as we untangle from the insidious layers and webs of our individual and collective conditioning.
I love you