RAPED, THEN BETRAYED

How many times can a woman feel betrayed after her rape?

Every time someone questions how it happened “so easily.”

There’s nothing easy about being physically pinned down by someone stronger than you, having your body entered by someone you did not invite while your arms are held above you and your legs and body are positioned by his power.

How many times can a woman feel betrayed after her rape?

Every time someone suggests she should’ve reacted differently.

We respect grief and people’s right to do it their own way. But, with rape or sexual violation, we only give validity if a woman immediately goes to the police and says, “I’ve been raped.”

Is there no understanding of the internal schism in a woman’s psychology when she’s been violated physically, sexually, and emotionally? Over 70 percent of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows: schism.

How many times can a woman feel betrayed after her rape?

Every time a woman is doubted for how she got into the situation and how she handled the aftermath betrays the fact that she was raped—a violent physical act whereby the aggressor completely controls the victim.

Yes, she’s a victim—even if she wasn’t threatened with a knife or gun.

When I was young, I used to joke, “If I ever get raped, they’ll find him because he’ll be the guy with his dick cut off.”

And there it is. I thought what many still think: 1) I’d never let it happen to me. 2) If it did, I’d destroy him. I’d react to violence with violence.

But, I’m not a violent person. I’m strong. I’m smart and I can be damn persuasive. Still, at age 23, I was raped by my boss. My boss raped me.

He didn’t have a knife or a gun and I didn’t say no; He didn’t ask.

He threw me down physically. He physically overpowered me. He didn’t persuade me to have sex with him or scare me into it. He took my body with his body. It’s an act of power and violence. Yet, he didn’t punch me, slap me or cut me. He attacked me with physical force.

How many times can a woman feel betrayed after her rape?

A woman is betrayed again every time a so-called evolved man who believes in a woman’s right to choose chooses to believe that somehow she chose this. Or let it happen. Or reacted poorly after the fact.

We’re so bent on not having a victim mentality in our country maybe we’ve forgotten women who are raped are victims—not forever, but in the moment.

Shame on you for shaming her, not believing her, and betraying her belief that you trust her and she can trust you with her truth.

How many times can a woman feel betrayed after her rape?

Maybe that’s why rape is the most underreported crime, why victims of incest and even sexual harassment don’t tell. It’s easier not to.

Who wants to be betrayed all over again? And again. And again.

 

 

 

Playing Brave

hiding-1209131__340

If I only find pain, I’ll sit with her as if she’s a lost child. I’ll let her tell me stories of her ill treatment and bad lot. I’ll listen to her fears and ask her about all she’s already conquered.

I’ll watch as she remembers the battles before, the brokenness and how brave she became even though it started as pretend.

I’ll see the light in her eyes—that quick glimmer she can’t help but feel, too. I’ll ask her to play brave and imagine light where there’s only darkness.

I’ll take her hand in mine and we’ll begin again.

Finding Comfort Outside the Comfort Zone

I started this Lose 10 Pounds in 7 Days Diet along with several girlfriends. By the way, it’s nothing crazy. It’s all fruits and vegetables and I’m just looking at it for a health restart. Plus, I’ve gained weight since moving in with my sister.

It’s interesting to see how our resistance to change and our fears arise in the face of something hard. Day One: I gave into coffee, because yes, I’m addicted. My sister asked did she have to eat all four oranges and all four apples? Our friend Steph had hardly eaten, but had finished her ten glasses of water. Crap, at 8 p.m. I still had seven waters to go! Yep, it was actually hard to eat fruits and vegetables and drink water even though I love fruits and vegetables and water. Just because we love something or it’s a great idea doesn’t make it easy. Just because something’s hard doesn’t make it unworthy. Anything outside of our comfort zone is hard.

If we’re going to make a big change (like losing 10 pounds in one week) it’s going to take moving outside of our comfort zone. Because what’s inside the comfort zone? Chocolate. Law & Order. Beer. Scandal. Facebook. Moving outside of our comfort zone is sometimes as simple as just getting outside. Simple, obvious steps to a better life aren’t always easy.

A lot of things sound good in the moment of decision. Fruits and vegetables for a week, no problem! I’ll do it! This is going to be great! Let’s all do it together! Then, we realize since we’ve been living on pizza and French fries and nachos and drinking beer and coffee, the change feels uncomfortable.

It’s in the uncomfortable where we find out what’s truly important to us. My friend in the group who probably had the most weight to lose questioned the whole thing on day one. I care so much about her health and happiness and want her to remember feeling good in her body. I encouraged her and reminder her, of course we knew this was going to be hard, right? But, that’s the thing. Sometimes we don’t.

We focus on the end results and forget the difficult process. We do this in several areas of life, but each of us tends to embrace or resist the uncomfortable differently. For example, my sister is a phenomenal manager. She’s into having courageous conversations and managerial integrity. She easily confronts situations that her boss avoids.

For me, I’ve had the habit of exercising, at least sporadically, throughout my life. So, even if I go months without working out, I bust through the uncomfortable more easily than my sister who’s never felt the runner’s high. We’ve each got to prioritize which areas we’re willing to push through the uncomfortable. What’s the price of this change, really? How much discomfort? Am I willing? Do I believe? Am I ready? What would be the reward? Is it worth it to me?

For years, I wanted out of sales, but I was so comfortable in a world where I’d mastered the necessary skills. For years, I wanted to complete my bachelor’s degree. I went to five different colleges before finally, at age 37 I completed something I’d started at age 17 and had found too uncomfortable each time in between. I had to finally get to the spot where I was committed to going through the discomfort: of feeling stupid, long nights of studying, asking questions and working in groups that intimidated me. Earning that degree did something for my identity, as challenge and change can do.

Sometimes, it’s the fact that something is hard that makes it worthwhile, whether it’s weight loss or education or writing. We forget that something we love and want more than anything in the world can be the most uncomfortable thing in the world, while things we care so little about can lure us into years of comfort but leave us feeling unfulfilled.

At age 49, I’m now pursuing my writing passion. It’s been my dream since the third grade. Some days, I have to remind myself, of course it’s hard! If writing a book was easy, people would be saying, “Yeah, I wrote a book, too” instead of “I always wanted to write a book.” If getting published was easy, the question wouldn’t be so irritating. If getting an agent was easy, people would be saying, “I’d like you to meet my agent.”

This going for goals and dreams and the things that are really important is hard. It’s uncomfortable. But for those things that really matter, the uncomfortable is worthwhile. And I find comfort in that.

I Envy Her

happiness-824419__180

It’s not the secrets of beautiful women I long to know. For what women’s magazine doesn’t try to seduce and sell me those? There’s the beauty you’re born with and that which we enhance with products and procedures.

What I long to know is how the mediocre, or—God, shall I say it?—the ugly dance from their souls as if unfazed by the mirror and society’s sneers. How do those women get over the fence with a presence beyond any pretense?

You know her. You’ve seen her. She catches our eyes without being what we consider eye-catching. She’s deep and alive, making the surface irrelevant. Her beauty bubbles from her soul and we find her unavoidable, undeniable, even enchanting. She’s beyond what ordinary women give chase to. She’s not trying to erase the wrinkles earned in the sun determined to become a bronze beauty.

She doesn’t wear lipstick, but could be a model for an artist. If only she’d stand still. No time for painting her face or dying her hair. It’s not rebellion against or denial of society’s beauty standards.

What I envy is her not trying so damn hard to enhance.

She’s no slacker. Groomed and dressed, often. Yet, she glows of authenticity that can’t be bought, paid for, or put on. Her focus is elsewhere and it becomes her.

I want to know her secret for walking tall, laughing loud, grinning goofy, and dancing anything but graceful.

We all know Victoria’s Secrets. And there’s no maybe about it. Ladies, it’s Maybelline. But, that doesn’t do it for me.

What I want to know, hell, what I yearn to own is not what to put on my eyes or one more cosmetic or cream to buy!

I want to know how to set aside my pride and caress my soul into not worrying about the way I look, but be bold in how I live. I want to live into my beauty. Like her, the one I envy.

 

 

The Widow Cries Alone

The widow cries alone

After company leaves

And doors close.

Even those who

Share her home

Cannot carry her grief

As she does like added pounds

Piled on by yesterdays

That can never be folded

Into tomorrows.

Dreams that died the day

The disease was born and

Buoyed itself into their lives

Like the blackest sheep

A family could bear.

Husband had to own it,

But wife pays the price

In tears.

In smiles that feel false,

A life that doesn’t ring true, and

A direction that always heads wrong.

Though she tries. Hard. Every day.

Without him.

Wants to shout to him.

About him.

Beg him.

Hold him.

But, he’s gone. So,

The widow cries alone.

Even on days when the sun shines

And music plays

And friends surround.

Even then.

Sometimes, especially then.

Strings on Gifts

tag-string__180

When your sister’s husband dies

You drop everything

As if you could do anything

About the thing that’s kicking her ass.

Damn, if it don’t make you ache to

Watch her brave it, and badly.

Because there’s no good way to do this;

Grief doesn’t look good on anyone.

Oh, it might make you wise.

Sure, someday, some way

The thing that takes you to the brink

Will bring you back with compassion.

Yeah, soon my sister’s life will

Feel like a call to action.

But, today, this moment,

It’s like a girl—if she had any—

Getting kicked in the balls.

A girl I grew up with.

A girl who stood up to life

When it told her to play it small.

She shouted, “Give me something big!”

It did. And took it away.

A high price to pay,

What she was asking.

Unprepared, as we all are

For gifts and their strings.

Dear Girl Back There

Dear Girl Back There,

Thank you for trying. And failing. And falling on your ass when you were so sure you had it right. Again. In business. Relationships. Friendships. Decision making. Thank you for anything that resembles wisdom. It was hard-earned. You, Girl Back There, took harsh punishments.

You didn’t speak the words you wanted. At times, you spoke words that hurt and shamed. All in an effort to get love. Or at least a little attention.

Hey you, Girl Back There, thanks for helping me develop style, through trial and error and dollars spent on desires and designs that were never meant to be mine.

You endured people who rubbed you the wrong way and those who wished you’d go away. You took on heartbreak like a sport. You always won, even when you lost.

Sure, Girl Back There, your expectations evaporated like water on a summer sidewalk, but you obtained an education and you always caught the next train. Girl Back There, thank you.

You delivered me here, but I’m no longer you. And you, Girl Back There, scared of all the bad that’s been before, you don’t have to carry my bags any more. Let’s just set them down and play.

See, Girl Back There, I saw it all. I know how hard it’s been. Your struggle was my birth. I’m a new woman now. I travel light with less baggage. And my ticket to ride is stamped GRATITUDE. Here, I’ll hand it to you. It can take you anywhere. Even HERE, NOW.