With International Women’s day this past March 8th there’s been a flood of articles on my Facebook feed in reference to feminism. Most of the articles have been thought provoking. Provoking me in terms of my personal past and relationships. The main topic all of these articles have brought to my mind has been the shaming of women. From body parts, to personal choices, and discussions of bodily functions. All the articles that I have read have been anything but flowery lofty ideas. Each article that I came across on my feed has been filled with the sound of a rumbling that comes right before the crack of thunder. So are we ready for the white hot blinding heat of the lightening that comes next? Well it’s coming.
I’ve been silent through the election. I’ve been silent through the Women’s March and Women’s International day. I’m reading. I’m reading everything that ya’ll post. I’m seeing everything. I know where your beliefs are at. And as I watch from the sidelines silently, I’m waiting. I’m waiting because I think that there is a long game coming in all of this. I also know that we are conditioned by our past, our family, our peers and we strive to adhere to the ‘social norms’ in our formative years. It’s really all about survival.
Survival? Well, I’m glad that you question me. See I’m a lot older than you think. A product of the 70’s & 80’s. This is a time where being severely bullied was seen by all as “character building”. But what everyone failed to realize is that there was a desensitization that was actually occurring. Whether conscious or unconscious, it kept us all in check. We followed the ‘social norms’ to the best of our ability to keep ourselves safe. Safety in numbers. We follow the rules and try not to get hurt.
It’s funny how you get older, you somehow find the language to articulate the experiences of growing up. Hindsight and all that good stuff. Just like thinking of a comeback two days later after the fact. So how can I let go of this baggage that holds me back and rebuild the light within myself.
I do know that it must begin with forgiveness of self, first. How? How do we forgive ourselves for not having the language to defend ourselves, stand up for ourselves when we knew something was off. Knowing that there was not something inherently wrong with us, but with the perceptions of the person on the other end dealing out the shame and judgement.
There is a book by Deborah Adele on the Yamas and the Niyamas. In this book she discusses “tracing it back”. I have been doing a lot of this since my news feed blew up with women’s rights, feminism and equality. My beliefs and conditioning has been brought to the forefront of my mind with shocking revelations and upsetting insights into my past. What I say and how I think is being traced back to my conditioning. And I now notice that things instilled into me as a child, whether it was conscious or unconscious, has undoubtedly conditioned me to have judgments about myself and others.
How can I learn new aspects instead of staying firmly packed into the belief system impressed upon me in my formative years? How can I escape these unconscious thoughts of what was taught to me as wrong and right? As I encounter my personal experiences of how I was wronged and who wronged me, blame and judgement, I am able to trace it all back. I have consciously traced it all back to what happened in the dynamics of family and peer groups that caused me to think the way that I do about my experiences. And it’s clear to me now that these conditioning’s and beliefs were formed earlier in my childhood than I had realized.
Flashes and revelations abound with regressed memories so painful that the anger and rage that I feel now as an adult has been all too consuming. So the light inside of me was diminished, it was taken away. My opportunity to believe in myself and feel supported for who I was had been judged harshly at the root level. My teacher Christina Sell had spoken about this light being diminished, “It is now our responsibility to rebuild this light within ourselves.“ I realize that as I feel this disharmony within me when something I perceive goes wrong or someone or something is to blame and I judge according to what I was brought up to believe.
Deborah Adele goes onto to say, “We learn at an early age to accept our family’s beliefs and way of doing things and to pattern ourselves to the cultural ‘norms’. These early conditioning’s continue to form and move deep inside us creating pieces of our identities. Add to that our reactions to our own life experiences and we become neatly wrapped in layers of packaging. When faced with disharmony, our tendency is to blame what is outside of us and then justify what we are thinking and feeling. If we are courageous enough to trace the disharmony back to ourselves, we can begin to unpack our boxes and open up to vast amounts of freedom that brings us closer to our true essence.”
And I want that. I want to unpack it all. I want to be closer to my truest essence. Free from self-harm and blame. Free from conditioning’s and judgments of myself for myself, and free from judgement and blame for others.
The dark deep pain of knowing now all the ways that we were wronged by the people that should have been supporting us and showing us the way, has been intensely overwhelming these last few days. The caretakers that should have been a beacon of light and love and leading by example, brought an immense amount of shame and judgement, just for being who we are. Making us feel as if there is something wrong with us for just being the person that we couldn’t help but be.
I’m ready to unpack those boxes. I’m ready to unpack them, look through them and throw them on the bright blaze of a bonfire. It is time for a revolution. The revolution must begin within ourselves. A revolution that will free us from our past. A revolution that will rebuild the light within ourselves and then shine that light for all the world to see. The revolution is coming. It’s coming with a brilliant flash that will light the way for ourselves and for others.