I stopped writing. Actually I stopped posting my writing. I’ve always felt like writing was my way of exploring and understanding my experiences through each period of my life and finding the commonalities that weaved through seemingly disconnected issues. The India years, the Cary days, the DC period, the New York City phase, the depressed days, the abusive period, the insecure era, the destructive period…but I hadn’t really had the happy and grateful portion of my life yet.
When that finally came, I found myself with less I wanted to actually post from my writings. Would I jinx it? Would my friends or family judge it or worse roll their eyes and simply not even bother to read it? Can you be content and grateful while still wanting more out of life?? How is that fair? Was I being greedy? Should I share this joy with others who are genuinely trying to carve their own unpleasant truth into this world?
This week has been hard. The foundations of my reality have been shaken and I was lost in my own mind with no way out. L and I came to Italy to attend his brother’s wedding and begin planning our own. It should have been some of the happiest days, but there is a cloud of sadness and deep rooted emotional pain that follows me. The stories of countless women and their lifetime of allowing fear and trauma to control or limit their decisions haunts me each time I open my phone. As each woman I have ever known in every friend group began to share a story or incident I felt sick knowing its likely not an isolated instance and if it was it has impacted her in a way that the wound still remains fresh today.
I look for those women who have a different experience. I need to know it’s not like this for everyone. Having traveled the world I reached out to friends in other countries, but sadly the experiences and stories are eerily the same. The fear is the same in Australia as it is in India. The precautions taken are the same in Italy as they are in Indonesia. The stigma and shame is the same in the US as it is in the isolated islands of the Maldives. How can that be?
I started going down this path, and I quickly found myself in a familiar dark place. I felt sad. I felt lost. I felt hopeless. I saw the fighting on social media between loved ones. I felt betrayed by people I loved who failed to say anything at all. I felt enraged by those who said too much…on both sides! Private matters aired as public spectacle for strangers to ridicule and console seems to be a sick new perversion debilitating our society as a whole. The darkness was taking control. I’ve been here before. It wasn’t pretty. I can’t allow myself to go back, but I feel paralyzed to stop it. It’s growing legs. I wake up to check Facebook. Why did I care to follow this dialogue when it’s clearly affecting my happiness? My fiancé is bored of the topic; he has his dad to worry about. His mom to spend time with. He needs to recharge for the months spent away from Italy and his loved ones here and to soak up all that family goodness and love that lives only here with just a week to do it. What can I grasp on to in order to pull myself out of this spiral??
It is all that will save any of us. So here are a few things I’m grateful for today:
1. For all the women who have experienced fear in their day to day existence but still we persist! I’m glad you’re here. Even if you don’t share your story, I am grateful for the presence of your female energy in our world. You matter. We matter. It matters!
2. My family. We are not perfect. We have our demons. We fail each other daily, but God knew what he was doing putting us together. You make me better and we push the right buttons needed for self-discovery.
3. Men! Those of you unable to see why we should simply believe victims without question, I thank you for inspiring a generation of men who see how ridiculous that is. Men who otherwise wouldn’t have heard the absurdity of this line of questioning now are experiencing it and questioning their own believes. I see men asking the question “would it be so bad for men to be guided by knowing there is a zero tolerance policy for sexual assault towards women?” And THAT makes me breath a sigh of relief in an otherwise suffocating time.
4. Men! To the thousands and millions of men who hear us, stand with us, and support us…thank you. You play a vital role in this process. I have always had more male friends than female friends. In my life the most pain has always been incurred by the woman I surrounded myself with. I have been drunker than I should ever have been, acted foolish more times than I can count, taken unnecessary risks in new places more times than I’d like to admit. (Sorry, Mom!!) But I’ve never been betrayed by or felt threatened by a familiar man or someone I considered a friend and for THAT I thank each of my males friends, colleagues and acquaintances for letting me know that good guys do exist and I know a hell of a lot of them!!
Lastly, for this post at least, I am grateful for finding a partner who is part of the “good-guy gang!” He allows me to vent (sometimes nonstop), he questions my thinking and expects me to question his. He listens. Like really listens to my truth and while he doesn’t always agree or understand it he always validates it as mine and gives it a place in our shared life together. He respects the women in his life and truly believes in raising our family with values of equality, respect, love and kindness.
As I sit here looking at the mountains of Sora, writing this with limited internet and an amazing espresso in hand…the darkness lessens. There’s a chill in the air and it’s Monday morning here. The streets are alive, kids in their uniforms heading to school and adults rushing to work and I am reminded once again that all I can do is live in gratitude for as long as I am allowed to be on this earth.
Have an amazing week!! Your pain does not define you…you were born through the greatness of our creator (whom ever you want that to be is irrelevant), out of the awesomeness of Mother Nature and the beautiful expression of love! We are all here because we are meant to be here…there are no mistakes walking amongst us just truths waiting to be understood! 💞