I am raw, swirling inside, ungrounded. As I watched my 10-year-old daughter holding back tears as she walks out of the car and heading into school this morning, my insides are crumbling. She feels trapped, unable to find an exit from the overwhelming fear that has taken over her normally bright and fierce self these past few weeks. She can’t find her way through this heaviness, she feels not in control of herself, and it splits my heart open.
Is it pre-puberty, a new teacher and new classmates, the car accident she was in last winter, a sudden and new awareness of mortality, her older brother going through his own changes, me travelling, the recent encounter with a verbally violent neighbour, or is it a combination of all these things coming together in a perfect storm… whatever it is, it is bringing her to the edge of her own awareness of safety in her body, and of her sense of power in this world.
In this intensity, I feel my own shakiness, which dissimulates an anger I haven’t felt in a long time. I can trace back my own feeling of powerlessness, as a child in school, with a neighbour, the babysitter, my gymnastics coach, with an older boy when I was 13, with an older man when I was 17, in my car accident… this feeling of having no control and of losing my freedom and my ability to act on my own behalf, be the advocate for me and my life. Fire rises in me when I think about someone or something else having ownership of my person, even for a moment, whether it be because of physical force, emotional manipulation, or verbal violence… Yep, it’s in times like these, when I am witness to my daughter’s struggle, that I know it all still lives in me. I am angry and sad, and I struggle to find my footing.
I am vulnerable. Although at an essential level I know my soul is unalterable and eternally wise and safe, a long time ago my human self-realized, with great disappointment, that I was not as invincible as I originally thought I was. I figured that there were places and times when I would be helpless, small, scared, unprotected. It’s disorienting to feel this. But I know that my calling is to go deeper into my own sense safety inside. When the ground wobbles underneath me, I have an invitation to return even closer to the power and wisdom of my essential self, one breath at a time, one layer of emotions at a time. For me. For my daughter. For us.
In that raw space, today, I feel small. I don’t fully know yet what the best thing to do is but I am incredibly inspired by the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford yesterday. The feminine energy in all of us is screaming and begging to show up, we can't keep it in anymore. I saw in Dr. Ford a fire propelled by a deep sense of love and courage. She had nothing to gain in showing up fully with her truth, everything to lose. I hope she knows that we all gained from her bravery. The collective feminine witnessed her, breathed with her, held her while she spoke, and rooted itself even deep into the earth, giving us more strength and power, restoring a deeper humanity in all of our bodies.
One breath at a time.
I want my daughter to know she is strong in her softness. I want her to know she has the force of a volcano and the kindness of the most tender mother. I want her to know that she has a tribe of loving men and women around her who cheer her on, who see her for who she really is, even when she falls apart, messes up, and feels lost.
I can't protect her from her life, from trauma, from experiencing the ebb and the flow of this human existence. But I can be the mama bear and keep safe boundaries around her. I can be present to her and witness to her pain. I can remind her she is surrounded by so much love. I can continue to be close to what moves through me, by deepening my own sense of safety within. That I can do.
To quote @Jessica Dolan Clarendon "Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. May all of our daughters grow up without her trauma but with all of her strength."