Friday, February 19, 2016

This Shall Not Pass

I'd like to say "this too shall pass".  But, no.  It probably won't just "pass".  

More likely, it will tear past, ripping chunks of soul away, scrape past, flaying hope from the bone, grate past, each metal chink in it's sides scraping shreds of self away.  It will grind continuously, unerringly, constantly until all of the pointy bits are ground away leaving only exhaustion.  As it makes it's way past, gruelingly slowly, it will not go quietly... instead it will wail and hiss, spit and scream, leaving no respite or peace.

You will think "I don't think I can do it", "I can't bear it".  Behind you are the silent ranks of women, 50 billion strong, who say otherwise.  You can.  They did.  Every one before you has and you will too.  

You will not survive because this too shall pass.  No... This shall not simply "pass".   You will survive because you have no choice.  There is no choice because living in abuse is not living and the only way out is a fight.  

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cultivating Voice

On the way home, I stopped by the hardware store and bought mulch.  I spent some hours sweating in the dirt with my plants and then finally melted into a chair at the kitchen table, with my laptop, to make reservations for my vacation.  I reached into my bag for my check card... it wasn't there.  After retracing my steps a few times without any luck, I sank back down in the chair to call my bank to cancel it and send me a new one.

I'm on the call with a gentleman who is asking me identity questions and then says "We'll have you set in no time, young lady.  Let me just - "

"Excuse me," I interrupted.  "I am a grown woman.  Please don't call me young lady."  I heard the words coming out of my mouth as if I were listening third person.  The voice that said the things was strong, unwavering, confident.  There it was.  It happened.  He made some brief excuses about being an old man but otherwise was very apologetic and the call ended with a new check card on it's way.

The ease of that moment was brought to me by the letter I and much practice.  My voice on the matter was not spontaneous.  It was cultivated.

Several months ago, an adult male counterpart referred to another grown female identified peer as "young lady", and although it made me shift uncomfortably, I struggled with why it felt uncomfortable.  It was a relatively 'normal' term to hear but, even though it wasn't aimed at me,  I suddenly felt like a little girl being scolded, in the shadow of this man. He continued to use the term with regularity while it took me six months to puzzle through the following  :

Monday, February 1, 2016

The "But Test" for a Relationship

Without a history of sound, trusting, solid relationships in one's formative years, figuring out how to do healthy relationships really just comes down to trial and error.  I think "trial and error" is a fair characterization of my relationship history.

Through this trial and error, I had to learn how to pick out unhealthy stuff even while subject to "new thing excitement", starry eyed dreams of success and wealth and the hormones of puppy love.  To forecast the odds of a relationship being good for me before I've spent years in a bad marriage.  I jest ... but no really... two divorces later, this is a thing I need.

One such indicator I learned (made up) is the But Test.  If a relationship has any buts within the first six months, walk away.

Here's what I mean.  If while describing the relationship to the person to anyone in conversation, you say the word 'but', it means you're rationalizing something.  It means your're contrasting the thing you've said with some other opposing thing.  Example : "He does smoke but he exercises a bunch." or "She is really ornery in the morning but she's a really great girl."

Those are pretty benign buts - I've heard some really drastic things from closer friends who share more candidly like "I love him but I just have to lock myself in the bedroom when he drinks!" (said with a giggle because that's not serious at all)