Last night I had a long conversation with my daughter, the kind we have in the car, where we just start chatting and an hour or more later we are still in there sharing experiences.
This one had a different theme.
I have always been open with my kids about everything. There are common quotes that float through our conversations that I have shared jokingly with an educational influence. Sex being one of the most open topics.
Having only one daughter, I paid close attention to her as she matured emotionally and physically, taking even greater notice of who I was showing her to be. Was I secretly shaming my body while telling her she was beautiful, was I living miserable while telling her to embrace life with joy, was I submitting to standards, labels and roles while asking her to be herself, strong and independent. I paid close attention to my inner thoughts about myself and worked incredibly hard to BE who I strived to be, to live the words coming from my mouth and to love and honor myself and my body even when that required choosing a path no one else would take.
Many people send their children off to college for an education, a paper to give them definition and purpose, one that would give them a boost in the pyramid that society prides itself on. Many arm their children with tuition, housing and cars so they can focus on their studies without having to concern themselves with the responsibility of daily life.
I didn’t send my daughter off to college for a paper to define her, she defined herself at birth. I sent her off to college to honor her. I didn’t arm her with tuition, housing and a car, I armed her with experiences, honestly and knowledge of being in this reality, being a young woman thrown into a culture that lies hidden while attacking and destroying.
We sat in the car having a conversation I never wanted to have. The one I had too many times with therapists, healers and often alone in my shelter from the outer world. We sat there as she shared experiences of college life, a life I knew too well, a life my mother knew well and her mother before her.
And then I shared a story, one I didn’t fully get till last night. One where I put myself in a dangerous situation believing other people had my back, one where everyone actually turned that back on me and one where that openness I have, shattered the secret world and exposed not only my experience, it allowed other women to open up and share about what happened to them with the same person. I told that story as she shared her experience, the one where everyone blamed her, the one where life went back to normal for everyone else and that story where the behavior continues behind the blind eye.
People comment about our president, believe me, I have a point of view and, there is a gift in this insanity. An exposure of something we’ve continued to hide for far too long, one that so many, for so many years, have risked to speak of and only with this election, only with blatant disregard, are we truly waking up as a greater whole and saying enough.
I woke up this am to the video of Oprah Winfreys speech last night and tears ran down my face. It’s happening people, time is indeed up!
If you’ve read this far you may be wondering if this is a stand against men and it’s not. It’s actually an honoring of men, an asking of men, to stand up, claim your place in this world as a kindness you truly be, beyond the years of being what was shown to you, hiding what was done to you and choosing what’s been demanded of you.
If we all take a moment to honor ourselves, each other and choose something greater, what contribution can we be to each other, the planet, and the future?
Earlier this year, a man I went to school with for most of those years, sent me a message, an apology for a way he had seen himself as a perpetrator toward me in the seventh grade. He didn’t make excuses, he was genuine, humble and sincere. He also added that he was looking at himself and all the places he may have chosen to be something else, something unkind in the face of this reality, in the face of being a man. In that one moment, something changed in my life, and… something changed in his life too.
I wonder what a moment like that might change in all of our lives if we just stop and ask, have I ever been unkind, have I ever crossed a boundary of another and stolen something that wasn’t mine? What would it change to choose something different, to say a word of acknowledgment, even if only to yourself?
I had a conversation in the car last night with my only daughter, and in that one moment in time, I told an old story in a new light and it changed something for the better, it showed me another moment where being me created more, it showed me something I had never seen before.
What if the idea that we cannot change the past, is a lie. What if one time we tell an old story with a new awareness and that old story changes something in the now and in the future? What if it’s a choice to create more and even in an old story the ask is greater than the past?
I didn’t set out to make it better for my daughter, I didn’t set out to change her experiences, and I asked what I could say to create more for the situation, for a greater possibility.
What are you choosing?