“Tell her I said this isn’t a fun game.” Bubba’s face was dead serious as his fingers swiped across the screen of my iPad. It was 10:15 at night and we were supposed to be playing a rousing game of Scrabble (which he usually wins, by the way). Instead, we had our county’s sex offender location website pulled up and there were thirteen little flags planted within a five mile radius of the house we had just put an offer in on.
There is a little girl that lives inside of me and when I least expect it she shows up to remind me that the world is a scary place. She reminds me that I ought to be wary and protective and that it might just be best to crawl in to bed and hide for a while.
Camel terrifies me. The yoga pose, not the cleft-footed, cleft-mouthed desert beast.
Today I had another massage. I’ve had many between the previously volcanic one and this one, even given by men, without the same result. But this one started the same way: “Some women prefer a female masseuse. Do you have a preference?” Again, I said I didn’t. Again, I believed that statement. Barely gave it a thought. Like before, I suddenly found myself with a lump in my throat and tears threatening to spill out. Unlike before, Jose was a young, affable, easygoing guy and I felt the need to apologize for my emotions and ask him to disregard any displays of sadness on my part.
I didn’t. Instead, I lay there and wondered if the tears would fall. Or if I had come far enough that the lump would remain a lump and not morph into tears. In any case, by the time I was done wondering, Jose had begun placing eight black river rocks, flat and hot from their bath in lavender-scented oil, beneath my spine. He helped me lay back, gently exposed my legs to mid-thigh, and began massaging my calves as he palmed two more rocks.
Throughout the hour, although my eyes rested comfortably beneath a puff of lavender cloth, he made sure I knew where he was at all times. As he made his way around the room, he would gently touch one ankle or a shoulder or the top of my head with one finger: a touchstone. His shoes were soundless, as was his attire, but I was never startled at his presence.
There was something intimate and healing about experiencing the touch of a man whose only purpose was to make me feel better. The rocks were grounding, solid, weighty. They carried heat. Contained it. They imbued my muscles with their ancient solidity and Earthyness. As Jose made his way around my body, I imagined the stones as magnets, pulling electric impulses like lightning charges from the nerves and muscles – the memory cells in my body. Drawing out the electrons that shot down the well-worn pathways of remembrance. Those paths that bully me into the certainty that “victim” is a word that is as much prescient as it is historical.
Jose’s touch was gentle, professional, not at all sexual and yet it was clear that my pleasure was the object of this ritual. The restorative power of this touch, given in reverence and compassion (although Jose knew nothing of my past sexual abuse) were beyond anything I expected, and yet they were exactly what I needed. I am filled with gratitude that I have passed another healing milestone, and reminded that I need only hold my own body and mind in reverence as it heals itself in it’s own time.
I am in the center of this wheel. Instead of the spokes radiating out from me, these spokes are coming toward me, feeding me and offering up wisdom and feeling. I have been feeling something coming for a while and, at this point, my challenge is not to assume what it is or prescribe some action, but to sit and wait and honor what comes.
At the recent breakfast fundraiser for the Women’s Funding Alliance, each attendee had two 3×3 slips of paper sitting at his or her table setting. At the top read: My dream for women and girls is…
- That they feel safe,
- That they feel connected,
- That they feel challenged,
- That they feel as though they contribute,
- and that they have choices.
The trio of girls huddled together at the kitchen table giggle nervously.
“It’s not bad,” Lola insists quietly.
This week’s positive intention class was focused on identifying and honoring the little victim within. We all have one (mine is a little green gremlin with warts and pointed ears who is so ugly he is cute) and their job is to continually warn us of all the dangerous things out there that we need to watch out for. He doesn’t forget anything and has this way of linking every negative experience to a few major traumatic events in the past and worrying that if we dare to set one big toe out the door again, we will certainly be run over and squashed flat.