How does pain show up in your body?
Do you stop when you feel it, and express it, in the moment?
Or do you do a pain bypass and suck it up and move on, and ‘get over it,’ as if nothing actually happened to you?
Or maybe you are more like me, and you do not even notice when you are in pain.
Until you find yourself numb all over.
A recent survey (The Facts Behind the #MeToo Movement, A National Study on Sexual Harassment and Assault) said that 81% of women have experienced some form of harassment or assault in their lives. And we all know those statistics don’t count the true number of women impacted by sexual violence. According to the survey, the most common outcome of this experience was depression and/or anxiety.
Like many women, my experience of abuse happened early in my life, when I was a baby, and continued throughout my childhood. Unraveling this web is nearly impossible, as we are seeing right now. Many women wait decades to come forward. The majority of Bill Cosby’s 60 known victims, spent 10, 20, or 30 years in hiding before finally disclosing what happened to them and confronting their abuser. Why? Because all of us thought that the abuse was somehow our fault. Why? Because the culture teaches us that every aspect of the feminine body, mind, and soul is wrong. Why? Because who would believe us if we told them? Why? Because so few perpetrators of sexual violence are held accountable.
It is nearly impossible to see, feel or experience this inner silencing. Because it is so deeply woven into the culture.
The only way to grasp this fragile thread is by feeling the feelings that have never been felt, both personally and collectively.
Which is nearly impossible.
Nearly being the operative word.
It was over 20 years ago, when Tarana Burke was a youth camp director sitting with a little girl who was describing her sexual assault at the hands of her stepdaddy. The pain of this story triggered something so deep in Tarana that she was emotionally overwhelmed and unable to utter the words ‘me too’ in response. Unable to provide solace to this little girl. The sleeping giant of Tarana’s own pain from her assault was awakened by this child’s pain. Tarana went on to create the #metoo campaign as a way of helping young women of color survive abuse, assault, and trauma. On October 15, 2017, the actor Alyssa Milano tweeted a #metoo call-out to survivors, so all of us could see the magnitude of this problem. The hashtag was used more than 200,000 times by the end of that day, and tweeted more than 500,000 times by October 16. On Facebook, the hashtag was used by more than 4.7 million people in 12 million posts during the first 24 hours.
The sleeping giantess was beginning to rouse.
Here we are, a year later, witnessing how the feminine continues to arise and awaken, and how difficult it is for the masculine to know how to respond when this takes place.
And we are seeing how lost we all are.
And that the way out of this unconscious hell is not stuffing the pain down, anymore. But for all of us, regardless of our gender, to feel and experience the collective grief and the collective outrage that has been so long pushed down and away.
Over 20 years ago, when I started the School of Womanly Arts, I was deeply motivated, but not by my own storyline. I was motivated because I saw a world of women whose inner lights were off. Women who were going through the motions of being a woman, but with no heart, no soul, no passion behind the actions they were taking. I had just given birth to my daughter, and I felt a huge responsibility to do what I could to change that, so she could live her unbridled fullness in a world that did not understand or honor the feminine.
What I have learned from this incredible journey, is that while the great awakener of the feminine is pussy, the first stop on that train is pain, agony, outrage, violation, grief, heartbreak, loneliness, shame, and disconnection. For each trauma that every woman has experienced, not only inside of her own body, but inside her ancestral lineage. Our collective pain does not go away. It is here. Right now. And we are the generation that has awakened enough to process it, live it, experience it.
And because of the innate design of the feminine, it is through other women’s stories that our own story awakens. And through our innate desire to extend a hand of support to another woman, our own stories have the opportunity for reclamation.
So, if it feels to you that your soul is on fire when you watch Dr. Blasey Ford testify, it is okay, it is alright. Because it is.
If your story of abuse has gotten triggered, even if you cannot remember the details or have never spoken about it to anyone, but your body knows that a truth so much bigger than your brain has awakened, it is okay, it is alright. Because it has.
If you are dazed by a deep pain that seems so much greater than your own, it is okay, it is alright. Because it is.
As we saw, on Friday, at the senate hearings with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, when a woman speaks for herself, she speaks for all of us. When she is willing to put aside all of the culture’s expectations that she will keep a lid on her truth and co-operate with the patriarchal expectations, she ignites that fire in every woman around her who insists on doing the same. What happened in the wake of Dr. Ford’s testimony was miraculous. We saw Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher become inflamed and inspired to tell their stories of abuse to Senator Jeff Flake, in an elevator, moments before he returned to the hearings. They told the raw truth about their abuse, their concerns about Kavanaugh, and the future of our country, with the perfect combination of both rage and heartbreak, that led to an about-face in Flake’s decision to vote in favor of Kavanaugh.
We all got to witness the glorious, radiant power of reconnection between a woman and her truth that took place in these two women, as a result of Dr. Ford owning and speaking her truth. Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher stopped a f—ing senator in a f—ing elevator and changed the course of history by righteously flashing their unvarnished truth on behalf of their sister, Dr. Ford. And on behalf of Anita Hill, who bravely spoke up 27 years before her.
Women take action, on behalf of one another, action that requires even greater willpower than they could and would find on their own. We are built for this. Built to do this together. Built to dismantle the patriarchy in sisterhood and love and connection to source.
There are so many ways each of us wants to be unleashed.
We want to live our beauty, power, sensual brilliance, and emotional freedom.
We want to take the world higher with our light, our love, our laughter.
We cannot do this on our own.
We all want to access the power that is locked in our storylines, whatever those storylines are, even as they may look so different from the ones playing out on the news, today.
Your story matters.
Now is the time.
Sisterhood is the way.
And if you want a place to begin to process all that is, and all that is to come, as each of us begins this awakening that is our gift for being born, right now, at this time of such collective growth and change, join us in this important conversation. Sisters, tell me, what has this last week brought up for you? How have you been able to access your feelings and share your truth? Go to Facebook and tell me everything. I’ll read your posts and I’ll be there with you in a Facebook Live on Thursday, 6:30-7:30 p.m. ET to talk about it!
Regena Thomashauer, aka “Mama Gena”
The School of Womanly Arts
Regena is a feminist icon, a teacher, a speaker, a mother, a best-selling author, and creatrix and CEO of The School of Womanly Arts.