Trauma, Womanhood, and Forgiveness From a Wider Lens

While studying at university in 2008, I was assaulted on two occasions by male friends of mine. I did not have a full grasp of the depth of what had happened until several years later when a tough-love friend who had been at my side throughout university and after pushed me into facing the subsequent pattern of emotional disaster and deterioration of trust in of all my romantic relationships that followed those two encounters.

I have completely forgiven these men who hurt me. Like, completely. I truly feel no charge towards them whatsoever. I will never justify the ignorance from which these men who were once allies of mine acted, nor their disrespect for my person and experience at the time. However, I feel no anger towards them. The terrible PTSD I’ve been diagnosed with and have acted from for years now persists, and though there is a part of me that wanted years ago to blame these men exclusively for it, I know too much to do that.

I know the largeness of an overall abusive system that primes females to hate themselves and their bodies, of which physical abuse and attack is only part. A normal girl in this society who has an average amount of socially-instilled low self-esteem is highly likely to process any kind of abuse as justification for her worst beliefs about herself.

Many of us are working hard to overcome the habit of acting from the internalized belief that we are nothing. I know a few women like me, a few powerfully productive, creative women who admit to working obsessively in order to create as big as they can, very often in attempt to hide the nothingness they quietly believe they are. This is not all the time for these women, nor does it apply to all women for that matter. But regardless, it is good to check in with ourselves everyday and ask, “Where am I working from?” “From what mode of thinking are these impulses, motivations, or inspirations coming?”

My greatest act of revolution has been rehearsing self-love, an annoyingly fluffy term I used to hate, a thing that still feels so awkward to me so much of the time; a practice so terribly dissonant to so much of what I’ve been shown and told throughout the whole of my life. But I know I must practice it, what other choice is there after all? I don’t have a full dose self-love just yet, but I do my best to maintain some form of practice of it.

For this gal, self-love takes the form of not micromanaging every little choice I make; not driving myself like a horse, or berating myself for wanting to rest. It means not having sex when I don’t want to and doing my best to stop (or at least revise) those terrible words that shoot like missiles across my mind when I look in the mirror. Self-love to me means allowing myself to drink coffee, wear clothes that make me feel happy and comfy, putting work aside to watch TV, spending long languid beautiful lazy hours with my boyfriend, talking to myself while driving, letting myself be the perfectly content alone weirdo in the corner at a social event, not micromanaging my diet, and not getting stuck on literature that tells me to live my life differently than that which makes my heart warm. Allowing and allowing very slowly trust to replace all else.

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Julia Daye

Please Ail Quietly

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Checking my reality for gravity,
I am certain the devil is memory.

Loneliness inside a humanity
so inhospitable to uncertainty.

I am earth and I am woman—
you watch me get sicker

day by day;
eight generations of

slow estrangement
from a cherished cellular clay.

 

Julia Daye

PRACTICING WINTER

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This life is a place of great death;
everyday I die a little more,
relieved to have let another piece go.

What are these things anyways?
A dishrag, a lover, my ring finger;
what are these things?

Everyday I practice losing—
a dishrag, a lover, my vision, my temper—
everyday I practice
in terror and relief—

asking others to hold the whole of me
in their 4×4 inch hearts—

driven to chase the illusion of satisfaction
again; in the end,
emptying even more into the great, dark ocean.

©Julia Daye

“WHY” LESSONS: ON ATTRACTING THE BULL MASCULINE

Amazing to realize years later what you learned from the most harrowing of relationships; to look at your life and see yourself now embodying all you sought in him—that bull masculine thing—that unapologetic creator, container, destroyer. His gorgeous and simultaneously dangerous ferocity as he created and manifested with just his hands powerfully and continuously everything that lay before him.

It’s the thing that both attracted and drove you away. To now experience as you look at your hands and, at last, the moment of WHY in that demented story of abuse, rage, and devastation. To overcompensate through a lover all that you wish to, but choose not to, embody in yourself is a dangerous and often unconscious game.

Blessings to the one who shattered me into expansion, who bulldozed my spirit into the slow realization that who I was looking for in him was, in fact, the rest of myself….and found it, exaggeratedly and absurdly—as I took notes for two years in the wordless dark ink of complete undoing, then said goodbye to build from a quietly fertile ground zero.

©Julia Daye  2014

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I Am Learning Love


I am learning to listen. I am learning to apologize. I am learning that the speed of wounded panic is faster than the speed of rationale and that the vast warmth of a loved one’s understanding makes space for that. I am learning the wisdom of wounds. I am learning the resonant field of shared joy. I am learning timeless presence. I am learning there’s no time. I am learning to ask only for that which I myself can take responsibility. I am learning armistice. I am awake. I am unbridled heart. I thank God for bringing me. I am learning the truth of love of the whole. I am learning love.
 

©Julia Daye

The Funny Thing About Early Spring


Every year, at the precipice of spring,
I get a little cerebral,

grieving the loss of those summer-grown ego feathers
under the snowy lay of winter.

Having shed so much,
I become uncertain what to wear
and where to stand

so I teeter at life’s threshold,
underdressed and chilly,

asking for guidance but taking none of it,
choosing instead to laugh my grief loose,

making funny word-things,
a slow-cooked porridge of sense;
my heart grows slowly back again.

©Julia Daye

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The Next Generation


Somewhere
along the way  il_570xN.411083164_lvnb
in this human evolution
the animal kingdom-wide instinct
of self-preservation became conditional.

As I stand on the roadway with a heavy heart,
I feel this existential threshold beckon.

Yes, we can choose this life
in both directions.

The day the reverent gesture transmuted,
the ravenous species at the top
of the food chain reached
instead for devotion.

We re-defined starvation,
we re-defined God.

We will die for one another,
we began to say,
We will die
for God.

©Julia Daye

THE HOLLOW REED


Dearest strangest city,
In love with you
I’ve lost myself; 

On the train, my being
retreats from a face full
of street lights, falling

backward into an empty heart
where homesickness
more cavernous

than the canyons of the West
field messages

from two feet longing
for the red mother’s clay.

There we breathe, alone.
There we cry.

There my heart fills again
with the vast
oceanic question I call
loneliness.

I consider death.
I allow the earth to heal me slowly.

©Julia Daye

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News of a Particular One’s Wedding Sheds Light on Some Things


How to be happy for the unfolding
that has been, that has,
until this moment, seemed meaningful
and inevitable?

Nine years ago, you chose experience
over love, and boy did you get it.

A swashbuckling education in emotional travel;
around the world in eighty greys–

vulnerability, discovery, loss,
mortality, shame, error.

Yet it’s a decision you continue
to make like a contract, annually
renewing over and over this strange,
lonely sort of freedom.

~ Julia Daye