Dear Laura Wade,
I don’t know why, but this morning I woke up peeved. Isn’t that such a whitewashed word? So gentle, so polite. And I am not feeling gentle this morning. Really, I am angry, annoyed, and sad all mixed together. So much going on in my head and heart today, so I am going to ramble away…
None of us can avoid the swell of angry voices in the news, on social media, in our every day conversations from the fall out of the Kavannaugh nomination to Supreme Court. I am angry too. I think we all should also be outraged at the thousands of years of patriarchy influencing this time in history. We should all be outraged at being mocked, ridiculed and minimized, esp. in this area of sexual assault/violation/harm/abuse…I don’t know what the heck to call it anymore. None of those word seem to clarify or explain the violation of soul/body/mind that a person lives with and experiences. And I’m angry that change is not happening in this area. Survivors are often still dismissed with a wink and suspicion and we’re still asking the stupid question of “Why didn’t you talk earlier?” or “Were you drinking?” REALLY??? Those questions reveal the world-wide pervasiveness of ignorance about what sexual assault is, what it does to a human being’s soul and what the culture does to it’s victims.
I am proud of Dr. Ford for voicing her harm so eloquently and with such courage. I never expected it to change the course of Kavanaugh’s nomination. It’s not the way our world is wired at this time and I am a cynic. I DID, however, expect the same demeanor and integrity to show up on the man who is sitting in the top seat now. I expected to see humility and some sorrow for the victim and less indignation, defensiveness, and disrespect. I hoped to see some semblence of vulnerability. I hoped for kindness and strength in a man who is going to be interpreting laws for all of us. That we would AGAIN send a person exhibiting this demeanor to the highest office is infuriating to me.
I wish the conversation were different. Maybe this swell of anger will begin to change the course of men and women’s hearts. I don’t know. I hope so. But for me, right now, I have to remember that men are not the bad guys. I have Christian brothers and sons of friends who are fighting to stay upright with this tide turning and who are in the fight to upend patriarchy. And here’s where I may get into trouble against the rage that is out there. Through working on my own story of abuse, I am beginning to learn to love men and have a hard-won compassion toward their fragility…fragility like mine. My anger has to be balanced with my compassion or it will send them (and me) running back to their fear, isolation, and hard-heartedness (more harming of self and others). I am sooo sick of living in a world that still treats women and sexuality with such flippancy and irreverence, but I don’t want to reverse that and begin treating men the same way. And it’s taking everything in me not to throw my anger towards them because of my own harm. I have done that and still struggle to NOT stay there. So, maybe writing this is helping me to remember the call to balance for myself.
I/we need to be angry, yes, but I/we need to have conversations with each other. I have never liked when tides turn and swells get large without the balance of the return. I never cheer when Senate and House are packed with either Democrats or Republicans. It throws the balance off.
I want to be part of a change that begins to look the defensiveness and irreverence in the eye on both sides of the aisle and say, “No more… You shall not pass.” Yes, this is Gandalf’s quote to the evil beast trying to get at his peeps! And, Gandalf dies as a result of standing in the way of darkness. This battle is also against the darkness that seeks to consume light, sex, goodness, purity, and the people conversing with kindness AND anger about harm (past and present). I don’t know how we are going to do this as a society without story work, without self-reflection, without humility and deference. Without being able to hold another’s rage with kindness. Without being in touch with our own sense of vulnerability. Brett Kavanaugh, I have no idea what goes on in your heart, but I wonder, what are you so afraid of? (Because we all live with fear and subsequent self-protection.) What has power done to your heart? (I can ask this because I know my own struggle with power.) Remember we are watching and longing for more from you… And we are pissed!
I’m going for a walk, now!
Love to you,