Monday, February 21, 2011

Something Unresolved

There is a voice in me lately that seems to continually beg the question, "Who are you to speak? What makes you important? What do you have to give the world? Why does the world need it?" It's been separating me from those around me here (at Goddard College) - those who who are apt to find the strength in themselves to pursue their study topics. And normally, I'd only post a blog entry if I had a resolution to it - something others could gain from my own struggle. But maybe something will be gained from the mere fact that I am expressing that I am, in fact, struggling - who knows? I am not perfect, and maybe that is the first of many candid confessions I need to make. I am struggling with the fact that I need to let a large part of myself go in order to let an even larger part of myself in, a part which I have yet to explore or understand. I'm grappling with the idea of self-progress, of determining "right"ness. I'm continually turning around to visit the perfectionist part of me with the new lens of mine that knows it's time to put the perfectionism away, to let the compassion in. I'm feeling splintered - torn in this rift of unknowing. I struggle with the dichotomies within myself, some of which are a result of personal trauma - while other are results of social trauma (oppression against women, for example). And I know I must recognize that whatever I'm feeling at any moment is okay to be feeling, to settle simply into that moment. It is surprisingly challenging, this idea of finding "home" in self.

[excerpt from a study plan preface, with my study plan still pending...]

If I were to summarize, I write,
I think I've struck all the poetry from my body,
a dull axe swaying
in the forests of being -

I jot down in my notebook: Where is home? I write on twitter, where is home for the sexual assault survivor, for the typical woman - where do we ground ourselves? what is our center? If everything were to come together to a right place, what would that place be? What would that place look like? Who would I be, as an illustration of my home? In relation to body, what does home feel like?

The questions linger, and I know they are the right ones. And I think that I must think like Rilke:

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."

And I must ask myself what are the arguments that go on inside my house? What is the story, the dialogue it continually returns to? I must lay myself down before my house, open to the exposure and shame of “thawing out” and redeeming myself to myself, a moment in pride and a recital in self. Do I study the movement of my intentions? Or the intentions of my movement? How do I give voice to the body, and my voice a body in its own right? How do I make love a fence lining all the words in my speech? How do I grow unstuck from the patriarchal patterns I have inherited in my family? What dynamics come unspun by my one movement? My mind repeatedly confronts the question: “who am I and how am I to break this chain? If those before me were not strong enough to confront it, how will I be able to grapple with it? How long will it take?” One body with many voices, all screaming to be one fluid resource for healing.

Breathe in, breathe out, let go deeply. If you were to think of one word of what you’d need right now, what would it be –

COMPASSION: a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

What are the voices we internalize as women? What are the voices we internalize as sexual assault survivors? What are the voices we internalize as incest survivors? What are the roles we adopt as family members? What are the voices of the traumatized? How do voices of this dysfunctional family manifest? What about the voices of mental illness? The voices of the progressive education? The voice that keeps struggling for its own definition, the voice that’s afraid, the voice that asks for more? The voice that wants redemption sung out loud?

PERFECTIONISM: a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.

There is a need to address the idea of wholeness versus brokenness, society’s notions of right and wrong –

How do we love ourselves in a society that demands perfection?
How do we love ourselves in a society that demands perfection for women?

: division into two parts, kinds, etc.; subdivision into halves or pairs.
division into two mutually exclusive, opposed, or contradictory groups: a dichotomy between thought and action.

How do we love ourselves as sexual assault survivors in a society that demands perfection for women – that deems we are already broken? How do we recover from the trauma of dealing with societal perceptions? What is freedom?

any code or set of principles containing different provisions for one group of people than for another, especially an unwritten code of sexual behavior permitting men more freedom than women. Compare single standard.

I have yet to find the answer(s).

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