Move your mind, Move your body, Move your soul.
What do you see in these eyeballs?
This was me, last Wednesday. And I was so effing afraid in the moment I took the photo. I wanted to capture it "just in case" something happened to me. Sounds morbid? Maybe a little melodramatic?
When I was newly nine-years-old, my mom left me alone for the first time when she went to the store. I was pumped. An introvert, artist, writer - I LOVED being alone. With older siblings, however, I never actually FOUND myself alone. So this was a gift. My older sister was nearby, at a neighbors, and my mom would be home in a short time.
The long story short of it is that a man came to the door. He was selling - or maybe fixing?? - vacuum cleaners. Electrolux. I answered the door (ugh) and let him know that my mom would be home soon (double ugh). He pushed his way inside and went to the living room couch. "I'll wait."
I am not going to go into the whole story. I was not raped. It's sad that I feel as though I have to say that. For years, people would tell me how lucky I was (to have not been raped). But I never felt lucky. I felt robbed of my innocence. The whole experience left me terrified of people in general and of men, specifically. I feared being alone, answering the door, walking on the street.
I have experienced a lot of healing. I am so thankful for all the work I've done, all the exercises and tools at my disposal. But there are still times...
Our oven is broken and I have been putting off calling the repair man for months. I was embarrassed to be scared of having a repair man in the house. But I am scared. Logically, of course, I know that it's all ok and I'm not going to die-- but in the moment? It really does feel like life or death. Once the time window (10a-12p) was set, I found myself disaster planning. I asked my husband to keep his phone on - LOUD. I checked windows, unlocking them in case I needed to jump out for a quick get-away. I put my car keys in my pocket, phone in my hand.
And then I took this picture.
For years, I tried to make the fear go away. Now, I notice that it's there. I do what my brain needs for a little bit (plan, prepare, talk to myself), and then ultimately, I tie my brain to a mantra and focus on my breath.
My mantra on Wednesday was "I am safe." I remembered to breathe.
- breathe in 4 count,
- suspend the breath 4
- breathe out 4.
The man came. His name was Dan and he was kind and jovial. We laughed and I felt ok. But I kept my phone close and I patted the keys in my pocket. I kept breathing and counting my breath. And I was ok. I am safe. I am ok.
There is no climax to this story. Dan the repair man came into my home to fix an appliance. He was a regular person with no mal-intent. We interacted without incident. I was in fear, I breathed through it. He left. I am safe. I am ok.
I almost didn't write about this experience. The small moments in life that we don't share with the world. In the past, I have minimized my experience(s). I remember reading a post during the #MeToo movement when people asked "did it count"? The same thoughts of "you are lucky" that you weren't raped. I told myself I was ridiculous, silly, not worth expressing.
But seriously, fuck that.
Then I read a post by my lovely friend, Joanne. Telling her story of survival. And I realized that the world I want to live in is one where we express how we feel. Where we support each other.
You are not alone. You are safe. You are ok. And if you're not? If you need help, reach out.
You gotta feel it to heal it.