I was supposed to be at a training this past weekend. Saturday, Day 3, would have found me exhausted and dreading the final day, ending 4 days of work, late Sunday afternoon. Then I would go into a heavy work week, to make up for clients displaced by the weekday training commitment.
Instead, it’s a regular week, after a strange hazy weekend full of reading, thinking, writing, wrestling, strange dreams, strange new feelings of resistance, betrayal, isolation.
I’m here, restless, lost, in a partially dazed state. Reading Dance of the Dissident Daughter a second time. Choking on it, taking breaks, holding on to my seat like I’m on a roller coaster. My heart aches so badly I feel like I could pass out. I am dizzy with amazement. My stomach has been sick all day. I hadn’t realized how much I’d all this time been putting all of it somewhere. I’ve known so much of this intellectually, but this is different.
I’ve been dancing toward this opening for over a year, and now, the impact. I feel it. I’m glad I’ve done all the work I have, because I feel as though I can barely hold it all by myself.
I’m having flashes of all the experiences conditioning me to second class status as female, like a slide show, moving through. I’m now unwilling to dismiss it, just because there is also other injustice in the world, so many other -isms, starving children, gun violence, and all the rest. It’s all connected.
And more flashes, of all the ways I turned away from the discomfort, truly not knowing what to do with it. Memories of repeatedly feeling overcome by anger, hopelessness, defiance, and then occupying myself until they faded away. The gaslit feeling of no apparent barriers to freedom, but knowing they were there.
There are the blinding hot experiences of all the times I’ve felt crazy, been ridiculed, quieted when speaking up.
There’s the fear of public speaking that I’ve worked on in therapy, tried to source to childhood, to past lives, chasing the unknown cause.
There’s the wondering why I can’t seem to stop apologizing for being in the way, every speck of dirt in the house, every mistake, every instance of not being exactly what others need, every inconvenience to another. Feeling like apology is woven into every cell. No wonder it was always easier to just be alone.
Knowing it’s not really safe to say these things aloud. Every bit of me wanting to hide it, and not share any of this. I know I’m supposed to claim my fitness, boldness, power, strength, and just do it. But I don’t think I can pretend anymore.
And there’s the fear of writing anything unless it passes some test of eternal truth, no room for error, lest some fierce nebulous source of recrimination or condemnation follow.
There’s not knowing what to do when I name it and others deny it exists, ridicule it, or even defend it with vigor, and the subsequent shaking in my boots that I hope I’m able to hide.This feels like a new level of realization and I don’t know what to do. My mouth opens and I name, and then I don’t know what comes next. It’s all new.
This is where I am right now. All these things I already knew, now touching me in a new way, beckoning, toward I know not what, yet. Suddenly feeling deeply in league “with those who resist unjust power relations”(Carter Heywood, according to Sue Monk Kidd in Dance of the Dissident Daughter).
Telling the truth, so you might know you’re not alone.