They say as an artist, you really are telling the same story over and over again. In celtic folklore, they say when just before you are born, you pick all the challenges you will face, and overcome during your lifetime. This makes me feel in some way powerful, insightful, that these challenges are more filled with wisdom then they feel at the time. It seems the challenge I face is mirrored in the women around me. We are awake, alive. Yearning, pulsing, breathing fighting for a future where we feel hungry for the world and not afraid of it, aware that with each challenge comes huge amounts of fear, and that around us, the battleground is filled with broken hearts and broken bodies that need to rest, lay their broken skin on the ground to heal for a while before it begins again.
Our lives are already full of tales of trauma, abuse, confusion, exploitation, manipulation. For every woman I see in a happy heterosexual relationship, I see 10 battling court cases, in therapy, single parenting, battling eating disorders or replaying past traumas over and over again. We come together to heal, we talk, we digest the past events, but still this has not wavered. In our healing I ask myself where are our men. For every 'I Love You' I've heard, I've had thousands of pounds taken from me, I've been lied to, betrayed, humiliated, insulted, assaulted, had sex so violently that my vagina turned purple, neglected, and all of the past moments i've had that have burned itself in my skin are ignored. I want to heal, and mostly I am but there are deep violences that do not dissapear over night- and this is not done by ignoring my history that has brought me here. If men had been violated to the extent that we had even in a lifetime by the time we hit 30 they would be considered to have a troubled and terrible time, and yet for us, it seems that our trauma is getting in the way of a fantasy. I ask myself where are the men. In our healing. They are in my bed, they are in my body but they are not in my healing. I have been fortunate enough to have one relationship where I felt fully and completely seen by my partner, and accepted. And heard, and if i'd have needed to talk about it for hours, days a week, I know he would have made me comfortable, held my hand, held my heart, and let me pour myself all over him and he would have loved me all the same. This was a rare and wonderful thing, and not something I have encountered since.
'WHERE ARE THE MEN IN OUR HEALING"
The men in my life since then have tasted my body but not tasted my mind. They have made me feel as if my past experiences are too ugly for them to cope with. They have closed their ears to trauma, without me at the time realising it is probably (in most recent cases, definitely) because they have inflicted it upon others, and the reality of their harm is too much to bear. I learnt what consent meant when I was 18, when I felt like I didn't give it. I have subsequently learnt I don't know what consent meant, or at least 1 of us didn't multiple times, over and over again, when I have woken up bruised, all over my breasts and my vagina and in one case bleeding. These were in relationships. These were when I had already said yes, but subsequently that meant my body was their property to do with as they please. I don't know if any men have tried this, but its actually quite challenging to say stop and pull somebody out of the inside of you when their full weight is resting on your body. I don't know if they've tried, but your pain reflexes kick in at the moment it hurts, not the moment before. Then, when the physical memory of that kicks in at a later time (which it does) the explanation as to why I feel uncomfortable or unusual, is met with 'I don't need to hear this...' or 'I can't talk about this right now....'. Where are the men asking permission, or if we're comfortable. I am not grateful to be taken on a ride revisiting my past traumas, eveloping them, processing them and still trying to be desirable. If you will be taken on a guided tour of my body, you will treat it well. And you will hear what needs to be said to make sure that I feel safe, loved, and trust how you will treat me.
In light of a recent break up, where the same thing happened again. I was treated as a subserviant character to a lead novel playing itself out for the enjoyment of the only person in the book, I came out of the other side and thought the same thing. Where are the men in my healing, In my experience. In a shared experience. In a team. I have felt sometimes it has become my story to call out injustices one relationship at a time. I came out the other side thinking this person knew nothing about me. This person didn't know me at all. This person wasn't interested in what would make me confortable or happy, and had no want to learn how to interact with me. He sat and listening to my poetry, reems and reems of words and songs, of the hurt and pain and did not ask me a single question about it. Because he does not need to know. Well men you do need to know. You need to accept the suitcase of trauma's and assault and exploitation your average woman is carrying round with her, unless you want your daughter to become that woman. Men you need to learn to talk to us so we feel seen and comfortable and most importantly safe. And men you need to integrate yourself as part of the healing process for us. We are doing it, for ourselves, and for eachother, but imagine you had been set on fire and everyone pretending you were fine, whilst your flesh slowly burnt from the inside out. And when you needed to talk about how the flames hurt we turned our back on you. Or when the fire finally goes out, and you are so so afraid of being touched again in case your skin turns to dust, I ask you gently 'Can I touch you here?' and put my hand on your heart instead. Things are not fine. Women are not fine. Some of us the flames are burning, and some of us the flames are out. Some of us the flames are out and then we spend our time helping others put their flames out, sometimes feeling the sting on our flesh all over again. Women are healing women. Through the broken patterns of abusive and explotative relationships, even though they were not the perpetrators. Women are healing women.
"WE NEED MORE MEN WITH PETALS FALLING FROM THEIR EYES, HUMILITY AND SOFTNESS IN THEIR HEARTS"
I don't really know why I started writing this blog post. Apart from a melancholic feeling of fatigue and love at the same time. I have had the support of so many women this year that has made my mouth fall at my feet in surrender. I have felt so loved and so cherished and supported, and in closed quarters of a relationship, felt so ignored, so isolated and so hated. I have seen women make miracles happen, and in rooms of charities and other women stand arm in arm in tears of love and worship at a revolution we are singing for. I have not seen men at these spaces. I have seen them in my bed, in my house, in my body, at my dinner table, but I have not seen them there. I have not seen men listening and advocating other men to listen, I have not seen them there. I know they exist, I have met some of them, so where are the men. Do not fear women, we are half the population, half of what is here belongs to us, we are not greedy, if you trust us then where are you? Participate in the healing. Show up for us, where are you? I see you on the street, in the supermarket, on the dating app, where are you in the government? Where are you in our healing. I see you on the TV, at the business meeting, over coffee, but where are you? I know you're there! We need more men with petals falling from their eyes, humility and softness in their hearts, and with an unyielding lack of ego or agenda step forward and say I see your pain and it must end. I am sorry for my brothers, they know not what they do. I love you. We need men that stand with us at the front of the battlground with buckets to douse the fire, let the water cleanse their hearts and say this is over now. This will stop.
I cannot let my body and my heart be exposed to the drive of a man who treats women as though they are apparitions. I am earth. And salt. And fire. And Clay.
If you are not part of our healing. You are not part of our future.
He looked up at me after grazing the inside of my body and scratching it, when I told him it hurt he didn't even flinch. Didn't apologise and ask if I was ok. Lay on his back and ignored me. When I writhed away to protect myself, he didn't cradle me in his arms and tell me he loved me he stared blankly at the ceiling. When I wept at the horror that came back to me, he told me to get a grip. When I came back from hospital, wounded and empty he met me with silence and distance. I will not hold hands with another empty man and walk my way into a desert again. I will not throw my heart and my body into cruelty. Our politics are in our bedroom. The revolution is in our skin. If you can't embrace kindness, love and empathy, then where can we go from here. I see you men. I know you're there. Step in. Raise us. Bring women into the light, celebrate and uplift us. Cheer us on, move out of the way, become part of our healing, there is freedom.
In healing there is freedom for all of us.