Tag Archives: shame

A Safe Place

I’m stepping forward to shine a little light on the problems of our culture and society today in regards to boys, men and perpetrators. I will be the first to apologize for saying all of that in one sentence, since I know women can be perpetrators, too. I am too well acquainted with growing up in the city where the atmosphere was highly sexualized. This is not going to be a story of my victimhood, I’m quite over that!

In elementary school, I recall being chased in the girl’s bathroom (should have been a safe place) by some boys who ran in after me and each held me and humped me! I recall the whistles and cat calls from boys, teenagers and men. I was molested and raped while growing up. I don’t want to bring it all to mind, but I will tell you it wasn’t just one guy! It doesn’t help to demonize them all, but at the same time, society needs to look at how many have been complicit in this behavior by looking the other way, sweeping it under the rug, pretending it didn’t happen or making up excuses why a male would treat a female in such a disgusting and disrespectful manner.

Everyone knows they have been somewhere they shouldn’t have been and have seen things they wish they hadn’t seen. We all know the worst of humanity and seen men do despicable things to women and vice versa. What do we do? Do we lock them all up? Castrate them? Put them on an island away from the rest of the world? Do we forever punish someone for some stupid misspent youthful lusts? Hmmmmm. My proposal is quite simple, we create a safe space, a sacred place for men, women, and children to come forward with their confessions and speaking their truths.

I imagine a place where the men will come forward and say, #Idid, “I did rape a woman.” “I did have my way with her.” “I did molest a girl.” “I did treat her like an object. “ “I chased girls in the bathroom and humped them.” “I participated in gang rape.” “I was out of control.” “I threatened her.” “I held my hand over her mouth.” “I got her drunk or drugged her so she wouldn’t fight me.” What if every guy who ever did it, came forward and not only that but humbled themselves and actually apologized? What if every girl or woman who experienced this, said, “Yes, and I knew it happened to my friend, but I didn’t say anything.” What if we all stopped pretending like we don’t know about this???

What if we created a society where it’s safe to be a woman and not live in fear of this happening to us? What would happen to our collective consciousness? What if everyone talked about how someone they know and love was molested or raped and said how it made them feel to know there are people in the world who do this with no regard for human life or dignity?

I’m quite over the world being silent about this. I’m over the victim blaming and shaming. I’m over the pretending these things aren’t happening. I’m over the demonizing a person who admits they did a terrible thing in a moment of weakness or foolishness or selfishness. Should they be held accountable? Absolutely!! However, there needs to be a measure of compassion and forgiveness when someone willingly confesses to defiling another person. We as a society need to rethink how we treat our girls, boys, women and men especially in regards to sexual behavior. We need to consider the world we have created and how we can make it a better and safer place to live for all, and future generations.

My heart goes out to all the girls, boys, women and men who have ever been violated and humiliated by sexual violence.  My heart also goes out to those men and women who want to step forward and confess, who want to shine a light on this behavior, who want to heal it, who want to heal themselves, who want to heal society and set themselves free.

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Peaceful meditation

When I first began to meditate, I was just curious about all the hoopla about it. So many people talked about the wonders of it, I felt like I was missing out! I had to find out! I wondered if it could really help me be more at peace with myself. I certainly wanted a lot more peace. I wanted to know if it would help me to sleep at night. I wanted to know if I could really shut down all the anxiety producing thoughts that were constantly running through my mind. The very first time, I concentrated on an LED light and I ended up falling asleep. I did it again and again. At the time, I had extreme anxiety and PTSD. I had inside and outer voices going on. I was coming out of a major depressive disorder. It worked wonders.

At some point, I was able to stay awake during the meditation time. When I’m awake while meditating, I am able to just observe my thoughts without judgment. I can see what is capable of changing. I see my knee jerk reactions, my sorrow, my happiness, and joy. I accept them all. Being in a meditative state brings about clarity. It’s calmness in the storm. It’s looking at life from a bird’s eye view and knowing it’s going to be okay. It’s letting go of all the “I have to”, “I need to”, and “I should”. It’s allowing life to happen at a natural flow. It’s going with the flow. It’s knowing what I can control, which is me, and what I can’t. Meditation has helped me to face my feelings. It has helped me to look at them and understand where they come from.

In the early days of learning to meditate, I was able to forgive lots of people, including myself. I let go of all the anger and unforgiveness by forgiving those who hurt me. I also forgave myself for those I hurt. I let others off the hook and I let myself off the hook. It’s a win-win situation. I let go of feeling guilt and shame for my past transgressions. I allowed forgiveness into my heart. It’s as easy as that! It doesn’t have to be hard or difficult.

I let go of the fear of what’s going to happen in the future. I accept that there are many unknowns and deal with what’s right in front of me. I can plan and take steps towards the future I desire, but I don’t have to have all the details worked out. I work with what’s available to me at this time while knowing and believing it’s all going to work out. If it doesn’t work out the way I planned, it’s okay. I’ll do something different! It’s okay to not have all the answers or have everything figured out. I’m at peace with myself and the world. I choose peace. I choose to be a peacemaker. I choose to live with the people in my life to the best of my ability with peace and love in my heart. I do what I can each day, then I go to bed in peace, knowing I did my best, and will carry on the next day.

I’ve made meditation a regular part of my life now. It is my number one stress reliever. It doesn’t take a lot of time. Sometimes, it’s just taking a deep breath in, and exhaling. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. I can do it anywhere and anytime. I used to hear people say, “peace is just a breath away”, now I know what it means!  I breathe in peace, exhale stress!  Meditation is healing for the mind and body!

Free To Be Me

Today our nation collectively and privately remembers and grieves the devastation of the 9/11 terrorist attacks fifteen years ago.  The theme for today’s blog challenge is freedom, what it means to me and why I do what I do.  I wrote my blog post early this morning and I took a break.  While I was taking a break, I thought some more about my blog post.  I thought of the words I used and the parts I had intentionally left out.   I realized since I censored some things, I hadn’t fully communicated what freedom means to me!  I had an “aha” moment.

This blog is one of the many outcomes of healing from mental illness.  However, I know that if I was still depressed, taking psychotropic medication, suffering with flashbacks from post traumatic stress disorder, and all the other problems I had at the time, I would not be writing any of this!  Because somewhere in our world and society we’ve decided not to talk about shameful or painful things.  We’ve decided it was not okay to hear about our wounds.  We’ve decided we should only talk about positive things.

There is a stigma especially for people who suffer with mental illness.   I understand there is a time and a place for these things, yet many times I cried in the darkness of my soul, all alone, because many people just didn’t want to hear about it.  For instance, at a ladies meeting at church, we broke into small circles for more intimacy.  When everyone was invited to share what’s new in our world, I said I was struggling with side effects of my medication for depression.  The facilitator replied, “let’s talk about something more positive.”  This was not an isolated incident.  It happened over and over again in various situations.  Or, sometimes people would say since the hurt happened a long time ago, I should just get over it.

When I think about freedom, it is to live without fear of tyranny, terrorism and oppression.  It’s also not living in fear of rejection and having to censor yourself, filter your words to make others more comfortable.  I do believe in the adage, “speak the truth in love”; to write and talk with compassion and consideration for others.   I eventually came to accept my truth and not hide in shame or embarrassment of it. This is how we grow and learn to accept, love, and honor ourselves which leads to healing.    It is listening with an open heart, and giving space to someone who might not have all their stuff together.  It is being authentic and honest.  I realize some people can’t handle the truth, and they live in fear of others finding out.  Fear is a cage we lock ourselves in real tight with the illusion of keeping our secrets safe.

It is perfectly normal and okay to grieve as long as it takes.  It’s okay be a work in progress.  There’s no rule of how long it takes.  It’s okay to be in therapy, have a psychiatrist and take medication.  Do what it takes for you, precious ones!!  Don’t let anyone make you feel less than or inferior because you have different problems or deal with life in your own way.   Life is beautiful and we are meant to be free to express ourselves in our own fashion.

Freedom is sharing from the heart what is most important to me.  It is having compassion for myself and others because I’ve been there.  It is living free without fear of what others are going to say or do.  It is living comfortably in my own skin, with my own personality quirks, and accepting all of it.  It is being my own unique self and not in competition with anyone else.  I can only do me, and choose to be my best self each day.  It is being free to shine my light, a la Sophia style!

“This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 2 [insert URL for this blog post, which ishttp://suitcaseentrepreneur.com/10DBC-Day-2]”