30 Years of Silence.
Today is the day, today is the day, today is the day, today is the day are words that keep ricocheting in my head. I’ve been staving-off this moment with an intention of having all my ducks in a row, all frayed ends in my being neatly tended to.
I thought that perhaps I could untether my soul by having this newly surfaced conversation intimately harmonized with beloved Dear Ones who hold me close. Yet no part of me will rest in relief, and my Beloveds, too, are calling for me to speak. Never have I ever shared these moments, never had I ever thought I’d need to. And today, finally, I simply can no longer stretch my bandwidth wide enough to contain the uncontainable…
Fresh off three and a half weeks on a United Artists film, my first one, I’m called in for a meeting. A meeting with a producer, a man who was casting a lead in his next movie. Gratefully, I, with only one film credit to my name, was being considered.
I remember the temperature of the room like it was just the other day. I remember the way his glasses fogged-up on his doughy, sweaty face and the liquid sound of his breath. I remember his hand reaching while I froze and left my body, numbing the confusion and how it unraveled something sacred in me. I remember growing up a thousand years in the span of eighteen mind-numbing minutes. I remember what I was wearing, and I remember exactly what he looked like.
Like Harvey Weinstein, only heavier and greasier. I remember thinking, how could this be happening – what had I done, how did I create this? And then scrambling to assemble all manner of navigational skills, for my future was on the line. My agent was thrilled. This was an opportunity for me.
Over the years, hearing this story and that, of sexual predators, abusers, harassers, and violators, I’d quietly cheer any victory on, though I never felt compelled to say anything myself. There was one time a client used my name as an expert witness in a sexual harassment case without my permission. I was upset when I found out. Because I didn’t want to rock the proverbial boat. I didn’t want to create bad waves. Or douse the situation with negativity. Have it come back to me. Know what I mean?
Since the turn of the century, having supported a few thousand women in their intimate experiences of excruciating diminishment, extra-ordinary abuse, ritualistic disempowerment, never once did I think #meetoo. I was too busy with the triage of beloved ones who’d entrusted me with their secrets and pain; I was too busy to participate in the truth of my own vulnerability. I was too busy being strong and didn’t even know that, at least in part, I was committed to a big cover-up, though there were parts of me that suspected something along these lines from time to time.
I’d never felt moved until that morning I woke a day after the Weinstein story broke and read that Angelina and Gwyneth stood up. A silent rush of tears broke down my face and I had to look in the mirror.
A volcano erupted in my internal world and no manner of tending to it has silenced it. I have, unexpectedly, been shaken to my core. I keep thinking, there must be some way to resolve this within myself, and the closer I am to this moment, now, I can only admit that my voice, my sound current, must be factored-in to this allegro of the symphony.
Since October 10th, so much of my life began to explain itself to me in ways I had never been privy to, so many of my choices, so many of my non-choices. So much of my anger that had always seemed baseless to my thinking-mind described particular moments for me in addition to the ferocity of my independence.
Throughout my 20s and half-way through my 30s, I longed for an intimacy that I continuously pushed away. Years of examining, restructuring, liberating, and rewiring have allowed me to feel safe enough to choose non-violence in those closest to me, for now I know that any engagement that is not consensual is actually violent. It is. Violent to the soul. To the purest place in you. To the purest place in me.
Having had the great honor of holding so many women over the years with stories of their own, I never really ever considered my own story. So fiercely passionate I’ve been in the alchemy of their liberations, my own woundedness, deeply filed away, was a faint recollection that barely whispered from time to time. Indeed, my personal experiences paled in comparison I would tell myself… I was an expert at minimizing my self-perceived weakness alongside my inherent knowing of my own strength. If I was indeed strong, then use that strength to just brush it aside – this is life. Paradoxically bewildering… Tuck it away. Don’t say a word. It must’ve been my fault somehow that that producer, those producers, that mentor, that director, that actor, those friends of mine, that guy on the Japanese subway, that best friend (and her husband), that father of my friend, that wife of a colleague, that reverend, that man in the alley behind my house…
I suppose I’m sharing that indeed there is a list because this conversation isn’t really about one incident. Though it is about one incident, coupled with Gwyneth and Angelina stepping up that somehow broke the dam for me; a dam that I didn’t know I had erected, to safeguard. To safeguard an outdated silent agreement that a vast majority of us have tended to, wittingly or otherwise. To join with voices who somehow now feel liberated to speak. That there just might be ears that will actually hear.
In this era of chaos, the contract to remain silent and cope is crumbling. Maybe.
We’ll see if we actually create and establish something more palatable, more honoring, and more authentic. The days of the Patriarchy are numbered. The Divine Feminine is rising within and for us all. This is a movement in consciousness, a maturation of the collective. Humanity just may be growing-up a bit. We have tremendous invitation, in so many facets of our maturing.
It’s strange to know that by my silence I’ve strengthened what will not stand, and that by my life’s work I’ve empowered this current Rising. In this moment I can say that I’m committed to this turning tide, yet I don’t know what I don’t know, and I’m not able to see what I’m not able to see. Sometimes the blinders of my humanity make me want to scream! and along side this, I know all of this is precisely perfect on the frontlines of my passion for a world that works for everyone.
What I do know is: the emerging paradigm is unstoppable. It is in this knowing that I can exhale, and inhale.
I was with a dearly beloved two days after the story broke; she was the first I unsilenced with. So lovingly she spoke with hopes for a future that maybe now we’d raise our girls to be stronger women.., and I interrupted her: I’m one of those girls you’re speaking of, this has already been so. My parents intentionally raised me to be a Stronger Woman. Clearly and resolutely; my parents made damn sure I’d know my strength with every fiber of my being. And I have, for the most part.
So what happened??
Quantum impact. Those tiny nicks to the psyche, to the self-worth, in the bureaucracy of life. Meeting so-called reality and doing my best to quickly learn its rules: allow me to violate you so that you can share your heart, your gifts, with the world. How f*ck’d up is that? That’s actually the bargain these moments provide. And it’s been so insidiously woven in the collective psyche as acceptable that it’s no wonder so many of us have said nothing. And because we say nothing, it’s somehow validating and becomes verifiably acceptable… even when everything inside is nauseous with disbelief that this is happening. AGAIN.
This isn’t about stronger women. This is about a revolution in the operating system of humanity.
No matter how empowered we are raised to be, a moment such as this can never be anticipated. It is simply too non sequitur. How could I have never said anything about that 30-year-old moment until now? About all of these moments? How could I have been so complicit?
There’s no way I can explain the twisted artifice of my self-talk, of my self-diminishment, of my confused under-my-breath justifications: this comes with the territory, this is just the way it is until you’re powerful enough to be heard, this, sweet girl, is just what you must deal with. And by the time you’re “powerful enough”, why bother?
And then there’s the whole piece of the perpetrator blaming the victim for their behavior. Now that I’m writing those words, I shake my head in disbelief.
One example: ten years ago I was attending a convention for the Amazon work I was up to. I invited the friend who had driven me to stay over at the resort before getting on the road home the next day. This friend went out, got drunk, and came back to the room after I had long been asleep; in the dark she took off her clothes, got in bed with me, and expected me to have sex with her. I gently reminded her I was in a relationship, that I just didn’t operate that way, and asked her to sleep it off in the other bed, which she did. The next day she avoided me, crying and then blamed me for her behavior. At no moment had I indicated I wanted sexual intimacy with her. I was in a relationship. I had to get up early for meetings. To this day she weaves untruths about that moment, simply because she’s embarrassed. And because of how she is wired; she has a poignant history of abuse in her time-line. To this day, she has never acknowledged her behavior, though I processed forgiveness years ago. This is a woman who is as charming as a rainbow. She has a following the world-over. Of course she’d be entitled to my body, my energy – just because I loved her. And I deeply still do. Yes there is love here and yes she has extreme stories of her own abuse, and so the cycle continues…
This phenomenon is so much bigger than meets the eye.
There’s something that goes on in the psyche of an innocent who’s been raised to embrace life in all of its promise and potential. There is something that goes on in the psyche of a collective that is constantly being whipped with trauma and fear.
It feels, though, that a good number aren’t buying it anymore. That possibly, we could grow with and beyond this. There are so many facets. So very many.
And, in this instant, in this tiny corner of reality, it begins with me. Owning the moments and my silence and my confusion and my anger and how actually WRONG those moments were and are. Yes, it’s been easier when standing for the women and men I’ve served over the years. And yes, I am one of these women. I am. I am.
This outdated paradigm is always looking for the one who is to blame. There is no one to blame. Though yes, I do feel that certain ones will serve as Perpetrators, let’s be honest and admit that so many who have perpetrated will go unnamed. What this is actually about is us waking-up, individually and collectively. This facet – the sexual predatory piece – is simply one facet in a multi-faceted invitation we have to deeply authenticate and actually listen-to and honor the pain of our individual and collective stories, to hold closely as those pains vocalize and unravel, to ask for forgiveness (even in proxy), and to forgive. To be fiercely resident in the vulnerability of our hearts.
Transparently, my most recent experience is only a few weeks old, dating to just before the wall came tumbling down. A married colleague of mine extended a request of me, got upset when I didn’t comply, and inferred that I was wrong for not complying (it was a “simple request”), and out of my authentic love for him, I remained silent. And though again, a part of me actually wondered if somehow I’d brought this upon myself. By my silence, I was complicit. Again.
Boots on the ground.
This modus operandi will not dissolve itself into thin air, no matter how much I squeeze my eyes and click my slippers. It’s one thing to publically speak about this, which I must and am giving due to. The pain I and so many have experienced is soul-searingly alive… and, if directed, can be used in the trenches.
“They” will not suddenly grow-up and exhibit new behaviors; like it or not, I’ve gotta participate. We’re all in this together. For my part, it’s upon me to formulate new behaviors and a new conversation in the immediacy of the moment. In the brave vulnerability of my heart.
Vigilance. With a tender heart.
This is not an invitation for the faint of heart, and it is an invitation for the faint of heart. It is time that the little girls who become women, like my Mama, who are stopped by men on their walks home from school, lifting their skirts to touch the most sacred site of the human temple simply because they are drawn to the Holy Grail, to de-normalize this. It is time for young men who are cornered in the sacristy, as precious altar boys, to be free of these shadow, unspoken rituals. Entire lives are shaped by these events. Choices are tremendously narrowed when the unconscious coping mechanisms go on autopilot. These moments actually break some of the ones who are the Faint of Heart, spiraling them into purgatorial lives of not being able to cope. My heart feels faint when I think of these moments and these beloveds; rightfully so, they tear the very fiber of my being. In this Era of Unceasing Chaos, this is an invitation that requires commitment and un-distract-ability. The kaleidoscopic Chaos can become what I call Sacred Chaos and we can establish a new way of being and operating. This requires actual devotion. For it is trés easy to disengage and check-out, to pretend that it’s no big deal, pretend like it didn’t happen. It’s easier to remain silent and move on. Create new memories to cover-up the malware. Anesthetize the surface mind. Or is it easy? Latent viruses are still viruses, and we never know when or how a trigger or buried trauma may get activated.
We know very much this is a bigger conversation; it touches every sector of the human experience.
Opportunities will come again, and again I’ll remind myself not to be surprised when or even that a moment visits, and I’ll continue to engage with weaving a new reality. This is a living growth-edge for me. With ever more new articulation. A new voice that remains in sync with my theology and questions it all at once. When I’m on this edge, I know I’m right where I need to be.
From the micro to the macro. As below, so above. All is a holographic re-presentation of the All. Shivers quake the cosmos.
Humanity is growing-up, I suspect, though perhaps I am too ideal yet. What I do know for certain is that the divinations of mankind are in constant flux and are not truth, even with a gazillion followers. It’s all made-up. It all depends on subscribers. Man-made agreements will never last.
These chaotic times just might be fortuitous. It feels to me that the outdated paradigm is freaking out, cracking, fighting for its very life, crumbling before our very eyes.
It is time. And we are here.
Always, always, all ways I choose Love. It’s all I really can do. I believe in LOVE. I trust Love. In all of Its unwavering permutations. Love is smart and creative and surprisingly real. So many have feared this level of authenticity. Let’s change that. Let’s do it. We start with the tenderness of our very own selves, and with this sight-shift we lift our gazes to beloved each other. And we realize. We see. We listen. We love. We weave. We build. We create. We establish. We can do this. We are here. Simply, we are #One.