Yesterday, while visiting a takeout place familiar to me, I saw a woman I had never seen before. And there was this beautiful energy between us, a vibe. She saw me and I saw her. We exchanged brief pleasantries as I paid at the drive-thru window and she handed me my food. I felt the love. A goddess, is what she was. And I can’t get her out of my head today because my spirit is telling me, I’m not supposed to. She was beautiful: mid to late twenties, strong-looking face, one of those, don’t even think about trying to play me face, hair pulled back; she looked tall, regal. She could be from anywhere in the country, but my guess— maybe because I’m one too— is she’s a Brooklyn girl. Even though she was all smiles with me, I could see something in her eyes that said she might operate differently with the next customer.
I drove off and just like that, we were gone from each other’s life.
Ah, yes. Look at me. I can write about this. I can write about the things in this world which are really moving me lately. It never used to be this way.
As I reflected on this beautiful stranger, I wondered how she was seeing me, my look and my vibe, my surprised smile when she proffered kinder words than is typical in such transactions. Did I look as beautiful to her as she did to me? Probably. And then I thought, how interesting it is that appearances can hide the activities of our deeper and past selves.
Who could look at my lovely face and tell that I am an alcoholic? Or that I had been raped in childhood? Or that I am an incest survivor? No one can tell by looking at me that my path was littered with so much trauma. Once ago, I used to think, what a relief that was, a kind of saving grace— the gift of the mask. Nowadays, I see it differently. I wish I could tell every damn body! I wish I could stand in the middle of a busy boulevard with a bullhorn and tell all the drivers and passers-by that I was raped and that I am an alcoholic.
If only to save all the secret-keepers who are choking on their shame. I wish I could take that same bullhorn to the roof of the tallest building and shout about my childhood rape and resulting alcoholism. Not because I’m angry about it, but because I’m free of the shame that grew like awful vines and weeds so thick that every beautiful thing about the little girl I used to be was so strangled I disappeared from my own self for decades. I wish I could shout into that bullhorn for all the stifled little girls trapped in adult women bodies around the world.
Because I know what it is to be lost to self. And because I also know what it is to literally stand on the brink of death after feeling irredeemable in the face of demons conjured by shame.
In this patriarchal world we live in, some of us women who have fallen as prey to predatory men, have been forced to hold the secrets of our abuse as if we were the ones who did something wrong. Not only is this ridiculous, it’s fuckin insane.
But here’s the beauty, here’s what I found. I have descended from a long line of goddesses— women who rightfully stood at the helm of the unfolding and developing Mother Earth— whose daughters were seen as possessing so much potential power that they too were raped throughout the centuries. I am not the first female to see such vicious trauma perpetrated on her by a frightened and insecure population of men and I will not be the last.
That’s right, because the truth is, rape is not an anomaly, some strange phenomenon that just happens by individual nutjobs. Au contraire, mon ami. Rape is a by-product of a patriarchy in which brutes murder, rape and pillage their way to the top of the food chain, rippling their example out to lesser men, meanwhile abettors who fear they could lose their standing choose to look the other way. And we, the tainted, unlucky ones, get to carry society’s secrets.
Well guess what? This game sucks and I don’t want to play it anymore. I’m not quite ready to wear and distribute I Was Raped tee-shirts …. yet. This crazy world isn’t ready— with numbers on their side, I would be made to look like the crazy one. But I want every person who lays eyes on me to know that I am not just a lovely face, I am a lioness whose gorgeous ferocity was nearly strangled out of her. And I am clawing my way back to stand at my own helm. And I know who I am and how amazing and powerful I truly am.
To the beautiful men, outnumbered by the brutes, who have done and continue to do what is in their power to show us solidarity, standing with us and protecting us, I salute and thank you. To the women, I adore you. To the abettors, men and women alike, …. oh my, what to say about you spineless, privileged leeches ….. hmmm? ….. God bless you.
In the meantime, I continue in shoring up, blooming in self-love. I am unplugged from this busy, noisy world and I am focused. All the media— television, social, and news— succeeded in sapping my strength just as they were designed to do to all of us. I am not in the world mix any longer. I am living life the way it was meant to be lived, the way our ancestors used to live it and thrived as a result. They didn’t need television or smartphones or any of the other distracting technology. I have found that I am smarter, more loving, more creative and especially more enlightened without all the distractions.
Do yourself a favor if you haven’t already done so or if you haven’t done so lately, unplug from all media for at least thirty days and watch the magic happen within you. And one more thing, while we’re on the subject of making the world a better place (because if you’re better, we’re all better). Put a pause on conversations that don’t matter— trending topics, weather updates, seasonal activities, etc. Someone in the world needs to hear from you. Someone in the world is suffering with their own secret burdens. Call them up and find out how they’re doing. You know who they are. Stop avoiding them and let them feel your love.
I see you. I love you. Now go see and love someone else.