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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Flying unsteady

Last weekend I found myself in a position relatively unknown to me- in a public bathroom crying so hard that my body shook. Yes, that happened. I consider myself a strong woman. I stand up for others, but for that moment in time I could not stand up for myself. Even as I play the narrative over and over in my head it comes out the same. I was vulnerable and I was weak. I was vulnerable and I weak in a space where those things are allowed. I was vulnerable and weak in a place where I was not expected to be strong. We all need those places and spaces. We should not have to battle the world 24/7. And yet, in those moments when we relax our force fields sometimes stuff happens. And not the good stuff.

Of course I told myself that I could have, should have, and would have done x, y, and z or all of them. But honestly, I could not. And more importantly I should not have been made to feel less than myself. I should not have been called 'damaged' or any part of my body labeled as such. I was mortified, humiliated, and just hurt. My body is what my body is: imperfectly beautifully mine. Not yours, not his, not hers, and not theirs.

Up until this point in my life and I am 56, I had never been called 'damaged'. We were not in a medical setting and even my doctor never calls me that. I have osteoarthritis in my right knee. I am not damaged. Less than perfect, of course, but not now and not ever 'damaged'.

I did not jump to my own defense during the altercation because I just could not. I did not approach the offender away from the group because I could not. When asked if I would consider a conversation with that person, my reply was "not at this time." And honestly, there may not be a time. I was also told that if I spoke to the offender there would probably be a sincere apology because the message was surely not received the way it was intended. That may be true. I do not feel that I was singled out. I honestly think this is normal behavior.

I am not willing to knowingly put myself in a position where I do not feel safe. I am not willing to ask for forgiveness for feeling the way I feel. (No one has directly asked me to do that, but telling me that it was not taken the right way, or that I there will always be people who do not say the right things, be the bigger person, and so on equate to the same thing to me.)

It is all about me. My feelings. My body. My everything. And right now do not ask me to think about the other person. It is not going to happen. I am not going to.

There is a lesson is all of this. Choose your words carefully. And in a place of non-judgment, don't judge. And do not expect strong people to rise up with clenched fists each and every time something happens. It is not that we consent. It may be that we are just tired. Remember, no matter how freaking awesome we are we are still human.

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