What crawls beneath the rock

The soil of life is fertile for conflict, growth, and expansion. When we stop to feel the vibration of the earth beneath our feet, or the warmth of the sun up above, we can hear those whispers that remind us that we are ever moving and adapting to each moment and element of our lives.

Staying grounded has been a weary challenge for me these last few weeks, stretching out muscles for organizing I forgot that I had, and exercising the voice I often quiet in order to listen better.

I love being the rock. In the midst of storm, I like to seem still. On the sunniest days, I love to absorb and reflect the heat. Whether its night or day, I love to remain singular, constant, reliable. I’m comfortable with the weight of my being, which is sometimes quite heavy: a giver and nurturer by choice.

But I am more than my surface, because what effects me extends beyond my physical barriers. What crawls beneath and around these surfaces has the ability to distill my grounding, and my focus at times. It has the power to isolate me in these sensations, and pull me inwards towards thoughts I’ve tried to leave in the crevices beneath.

All of this metaphorical talk feels lovely to my nervous mind, which wants desperately to express itself, and yet balks from a public forum in which to share. There is a reverent recognition inside me for stories shared, and how the power of shared experiences can affect life around oneself. Indeed, I fancy myself as brave, but in moments where I might be able to depict a feeling with exact phrases or an exact story, the words feel too limiting.

This woman, she hears your struggle. She feels it in her bones. There is a reason she brings such fierce passion to her organizing, because her life is about creating space for those to share in struggle, as much as it needs to be about understanding where her struggle has left her. A victim, not quite, perhaps a survivor, but also, vulnerable. As we all are.

One Billion Rising is coming; the day, the events. It is her voice, my voice, shouting from the rooftops to those who know not my recent struggles, that this woman still struggles. She struggles with cycles of emotions, the pains of grief and shame, and the fire of empowerment and connection. She is not missing, she is whole; and she is feeling, and she is loving, and she is asking you to look deeper. Her shouts move beyond her, because that is the only way that she knows how to be okay..sometimes.

3rd person makes it easier for her to say this. Emotional and psychological abuse is abuse. And it is not okay, by any means. Critical discussion and accountability are the only ways to really counter this, but with good intention many want to fall to the side of the wrongdoer, as she once did, to help him change. In this, he continues his cycle, where many will want to ask her point of view, but not be ready to hear it.

And that, is real.

She wasn’t ready to hear it herself.

But she read it to herself as a bedtime story for many nights; she found herself listening to it like a podcast on the car ride home; she found community in a sort of book club which discussed the plot holes, the character development, and the climax.

No, she wasn’t ready.

But she was ready to begin writing the epilogue.

Yes, dear readers, this woman recognizes that compassion has its limits in human nature. We often tend to stick ourselves to the wrong doer, either hoping we feel repentance for our own shame by helping them change, or channeling all our fears into hatred towards them. It is not easy to tend to those who have been hurt, reflections of ourselves. This exists in micro and macro situations, where we fall into a spectrum of diversity. Ranges of this ripple outward from curiosity, but sometimes we hesitate to get answers that would make life harder or less simple. This woman has compassion, if not understanding, for those stuck in this place.  We can only hold so much at a time.

But you see, this woman knows she is the one holding the pen to her story. She rises above this novel with grace, a grace she knows only by her own strength combined with those that have been there to place a warm palm comfortingly on her back, to mail her letters of love and encouragement, to sip tea and discuss the possibilities in life, or share their own struggles in reminder that we all have each other. She has risen before, but never with the support of such a beautiful, empowering community around her.

She is a rock, but her roots help hold her in place. Alone, but connected.

Beautiful and raw.