Right now there’s a lot of women around us experiencing immense hurt and anger. The Kavanaugh hearing and Dr. Blasey Ford’s brave testimony has conjured up old wounds, unresolved issues and heavy emotions for many. You see and hear it all over the place - women everywhere have been unexpectedly blindsided and shaken to the core.
I am a sexual assault survivor who has been unexpectedly blindsided and shaken to the core.
Silent for far too long, I have found myself with a desire to share my story with those I am close to since Dr. Ford shared hers. Not to jump on a bandwagon, but because it is time. I realize that I have carried this heavy weight for too long.
I have spent the past two weeks vacillating between anger, sadness and being okay - sometimes on a minute-by-minute basis. This is new for me - to feel so vividly - and brilliantly - and violently. At times I want to stuff it back down. I want to throw myself headfirst into a new project to distract myself. I don’t really want to feel all these feelings. I want to go back to pretending it doesn’t really matter anymore, but I won’t let myself. I know that finally processing the anger and sadness is a healthy step. I’m scared, but oddly excited to see where this new-found bravery will take me.
But I’m also confused. This is new territory - allowing myself to truly feel.
I feel shaky, raw and unnerved. So I share with those I trust because I have an immense yearning to be heard and seen and validated right now. I need my people to reassure me that it is okay to not be okay for this moment in time.
What I find too often, however, are edicts from friends and loved ones to look for silver linings, to “women up” or to channel my anger into a vote. I logically know that these directives are meant to comfort, but they don’t. It feels like a dismissal and I find myself questioning whether I am selfishly taking up too much space with my story. I feel shame for wallowing in sadness and pity. I feel the opposite of validated.
We have a rule at the SheHive, “Don’t fix unless invited.” It means, don’t give advice unless you have been asked to provide a solution.
I violate this rule about 10 times a day - because I’m human and because I have a lots of really awesome advice I’m not actually using.
But, more than anything, I violate this rule because I am a woman - like so many other women - with hyper-developed empathy. Which means, if I’m not vigilant and aware - when you are in pain, I am in pain. And I don’t want to be in pain, so I’ll pull out all my best tips and tricks to get you “fixed” and to get us both back to a place of comfort.
But when we try to “fix” each other - we rob each other. We rob each other of opportunities to process, to reflect, to learn and to grow. Worse yet, when we try to fix each other, we send messages to each other that it is not okay to not be okay. Not even for a minute.
It’s okay to be not okay, lovely. Let’s all stop pretending otherwise.
And let's try loving our people by approaching them with curiosity instead of solutions.
How do you hold space for those you love? Inspire and lift up your Hive by sharing your story in the comments below.
With much love and gratitude,