My Happy Place

For those of you with trauma histories, like me, please know that you can stop reading this at any time. The hip way to say what I just said is that this is your “trigger warning.”

But it’s already too late, isn’t it? All I had to do is say women with trauma and your wound is open, isn’t it? Like mine. My wound is fresh and gaping. Bloody. Your pink pussy hats haven’t changed that.

But your pink pussy hats have awoken something in me that has been sleeping.

Women with trauma are encouraged to find their happy place when they are triggered by something external that opens the floodgates of memory. Lately, I cannot read the news, scroll thru social media, or look at anything going on in the world around me without thinking about the need to go to my happy place. Away from this place and to some expansive beach-scape with foggy waves and purple rocks emanating from the shore, with cobalt skies that melt into the expanse of immeasurable waters. I can smell the salty breeze, feel the soft sand against my warm toes. I close my eyes and I am here. I open them and I am…

Angry. Confused. Immobilized. Scared. Young.

I am a little girl again.

On November 8th, the memories started to flood back again. I was reminded of the times that I am hesitating to recount here; every abuse and assault and disrespect. 30 plus years of being a woman on this planet: every time I see a man or feel their cold stare, a young man, an old man; every time I have to lower my gaze so I do not make personal contact beyond passing through a perceived threat — everything a perceived threat. I could barely get out of bed or articulate why. All I knew on November 8th was that the floodgates had opened, again, and I was utterly powerless against the crash of water that was about to fall.

As a woman, a Christ-following woman, I struggled on November 8th to articulate what I was feeling. I shouldn’t be feeling this way. I shouldn’t be feeling this way. Why am I feeling this way? This is my fault. This is my fault. This is my fault. This is my fault. This is my fault. Why is this my fault?

And now I am even more confused as I’ve watched women all over the world march and hold signs and be angry and be solemn and celebrate and come together; and other women who rebuke these women; and other women who sow discord; and other women who try to keep the peace; and still yet more women who bring their daughters to sit on their shoulders and pray and scream and cry and laugh. It feels as if somehow this is our fault.

I did not march on January 21st, but I walked near the march and toured the building in Wisconsin that upholds laws, and writes policy, and listens to constituents, and bleeds, too. I walked and watched as the cloud of pink hovered over the muddy ground. All over the world that cloud of pink and womanhood stood to protest issues too numerous to count. I saw pictures of women wearing clitoris hats, nipples exposed to the cold air, climate change is real t-shirts, obscenities and Cheetos-referenced insults, all with rainbow peace signs and a look that said this is the beginning of something new.

In the flurry of all of these messages, I wanted someone to offer up a trigger warning. I wanted someone to say that this isn’t my fault. This isn’t our fault. I wanted someone to offer up a solution other than to fight. Tell me: this isn’t about freeing our nipples or climate change or reproductive rights; this isn’t about your daughter or my daughter growing up to live in a world where they are rewarded with monetary equality for their work. This is about…

This is your trigger warning:

The world is groaning and ultimately, who’s responsibility is this and how can we move forward? Is it about wearing pink hats, dancing in the streets, calling our government representatives? Or is there a bigger solution — a bigger solution that’s more simple?

As I walk along the shore and listen to the waves sing, a melodic calm; as I look towards the horizon and smile with the orange and crimson and violet clouds, I am reminded.