As I entered October, I began to think about how I would observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Much of my focus over the last few years, has been centered around my performance workshop “Why Won’t She Leave”, giving me the opportunity to speak intimately with women about our relationship violence. I assumed that I might spend the month in dialogue, but rather than filling my schedule with workshops, I spent time with important women in my life teasing out the ways violence creeps into our hopes, defines us, and limits our imagination.
It’s daunting to consider the realities of one’s own life. Where were passion and curiosity curtailed by invasive action? When did intentional invisibility cross from external survival strategy to unconscious internal reality? Will I ever be able to distinguish the performance from authentic expression? In the face of violence threatened and enacted, How relevant is my quest for wholeness?
To avoid being paralyzed by the threat of violence, it gets compartmentalized into an experience of the other. Attempting to avoid the dangers of being in a female body, we rationalize the potential violence against us by making it an experience unique to “those women” who deal with “those men” live in “those places” or do “those things”. While we find more nuanced ways to go unnoticed, to exist without need, to be worthy of safety, violence siphons away our individuality and robs us of our divine gifts.
During October, while I continued the process of re-membering myself, I continued to wonder how and where intact vocal women exist. I wonder what they talk about, how they dress, what they eat. I find myself deeply and primarily concerned about who loves them. Do whole, vibrant, alive women ever get to be truly happy or is it a constant struggle to justify your humanity to the world around you, to mark even the smallest amount of space?
I find that the best way to expand the boundaries of my human experience is to make myself the center of all important questions. Standing in the power of the present moment, I decide that I am a whole, intact, fully expressed woman. As such, I revel in my fiercely inventive style of dress. I am delighted about the loving quality of my relationships, nourishing interactions that leave me feeling fully replenished. I celebrate my sensuous approach toward cooking, noticing that being present allows me to experience food with my full palette. Humanity is a state of being, a reality that requires no justification, and by one’s existence can’t be denied.
If the normative experience for women is one of safety and wholeness, then there is no need for boundaries, no need for survival strategies, invisibility and silence. When we are free to fully embody our goodness, to approach every experience with a resounding YES, we can all define for ourselves what wholeness looks like on us.