13 February 2018
Getting real ~ our roadmap home
This winter, like many of you, I’ve been moved to tears at the growing movement of women speaking out in outrage around sexual abuse, no longer willing to tolerate in silence.
As a survivor myself of childhood sexual abuse by a grown man, my young girl inside cheers every time I hear these stories of women rising up collectively to speak our truth in these courageous ways. Me too!
I am ever aware of the countless girls today who continue to face all-too-common sexual traumas and abuses. My heart longs that they may glimpse a glimmer of hope and shared sense of reality when they hear these women’s voices of truth and sanity.
Hearing about the intense emotions that seem to be coursing through our nation of women, I am relieved that we are getting real. Some say that we are “too emotional.” Seriously?
On the contrary, our authentic feelings point us to underlying needs that are met and unmet. Our most basic human needs include safety and respect. Nothing is more important. And as we know in the women’s herbal conference community, suppressing our feelings and denying our needs impacts our health: emotionally, mentally, and physically.
I know from my own story, that my needs for safety and respect were so unmet for so long that it was not until many years later as an adult, that it dawned on me what a healthy relationship looks like. Based in mutuality, meeting needs of both people for safety, respect, valuing, and clarity. Sadly this confusion about relationships is true for all too many women and girls today, one of the common and lasting psychological impacts of trauma.
Often taught to put the needs of others before our own, women have been taught to push emotions down and are often criticized for being so emotional. We are told that our feelings are “too much”.
The patriarchy depends on squelching women's voices. If we are empowered to express our feelings, which unmet needs may surface to our attention? What aspects of internalized oppression might we choose to unlearn in ourselves?
In truth, all of our feelings, from discomfort and aggravation, to grief, anger, and yes even outrage, are absolutely valid.
In fact, paying attention to our own feelings and our underlying needs, is actually the roadmap home to ourselves. To a place where we make choices that meet our needs, for respect and safety, as well as love, connection, integrity, authenticity, community, meaning, purpose, and contribution.
Is that what patriarchy wants? No. Is that what we want? Yes. Is that what the world needs, for the benefit for all beings? Yes, indeed!