Dear the 3 year-old-yous, and the 14-year-old yous, and the 19-year-old-yous, and the right now yous who have been assaulted or harassed and who in some way did not have access to your full personal power and vibrancy due to unforgiveable abuse, assault, and behaviors: of all the things to be heart-broken about, I am perhaps most heart-broken by the collective life force and creative energy that you may have lost.
Every time I see one of your "me, too"s (or imagine the "me, toos" that might not be able to join the chorus right now) I wonder what your "me" would have had the bandwidth for had you not been carrying these horrific experiences around with you like dead, stunting, paralyzing weight you may or may not know was clinging to your body, mind, and spirit.
I mourn for the creations, fully present relationships, risks, pleasure, bright days, paintings, manuscripts, moments, full-bodied orgasms, business deals, elections, promotions, talks, victories, stories that never got to fully manifest because you did not get to fully access your life force.
I mourn the kind of healthy, non-threatening, solid eye-contact - the kind that leads to healthy relationships, next-level opportunities, and trust - that you did not get to have.
I see you.
I see what happened to you.
And I also see what you never got to do.
Not that we haven't been doing and making and taking action IN SPITE of these most profound and debilitating weights on our backs and hearts and chests and various other body parts, but when a piece of our power is taken away along with a piece of our life and piece of our body as a result of carrying the dead weight of another's inexcusable behavior and lack of self-control, we lose our all access pass to our brightest light, power, and magnificence.
Healing is paramount - collectively and individually - we know this, yes, but it is probably a good idea to keep saying it. We must heal even if we have "taken care of it," and, too, if we have not yet begun.
We must be more inventive and proactive about how to offer healing spaces and resources to each other.
We must also keep shedding light on, speaking up (if we can), banding together, exposing, and taking legal action.
We must deepen the difficult conversations across genders. We must stay in the sticky places when we don't agree about what the rules and boundaries are. We may have to interrupt a conversation to say that we do not feel heard, seen, and acknowledged, and ask directly for it, uncomfortable as that may be. We are not in the practice of doing this, and it will take big energy if we truly want to install this new habit on a collective level. We must also remember to hear and see, and recommit to listening, moment-to-moment. I know we know this, but I am saying it out loud here, to provide some accountability for my own self in doing so.
But...when we are ready, we must begin to do what those "mes" inside of us would have been doing had we not been cut off from our power.
We will never know what could have happened during those years/lifetimes had we had our all access passes, but we must NOW make the things and manifest the dreams and obtain the positions of leadership we wanted all along so we can build a world where the 3-year-olds and 14 year-olds and 19-year-olds living within us and who are yet to come can safely and freely love, create, connect, lead, and make simple, safe, life-giving eye contact.
(And we must take tender and perfect care not to blame ourselves for the lost time, saying we were somehow not enough or not skilled or not good at intimacy or not talented or not brave. When you were trying for those things: trying to do what you were born to do, you most likely did not know about that weight, or at least, how heavy it was. You did not know you were trying to drive your car with an emergency break on. Instead of the self-flagellation and beating up, let's be amazed that you were even able to get in the car at all.)
As we share our stories, let's share our dreams, too.
To all of you who have lost parts of yourself, I lift you up:
I believe you and in you and in what is possible when you reclaim your all access pass.
Because hear me, dear sister, this reclamation is an act of resistance.
on fire woman beyond ready to rise up next to you
ps: Me, too. At 3: smelly, hairy, nursery school teacher. At 14: unqualified high school history teacher. At 19: the most popular member of a fraternity + too many plethoras of other moments on the street and in between and in rehearsal rooms.
A little book of inspiration, frameworks, and guidance for your next creative project.