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.

url

 

Julia Daye

YOU ARE THE MEDICINE


Blessed be these bodies  tn1_Black_and_White_efsjq
where movement lives free.
The mind-made brokenness
that forgot its inheritance
forgives you.
Can you forgive it too?
Re
member
these embers
of creation;
we were born
(arrived!)
to be here.

©Julia Daye

Are You My Mother: Tribute to Teacher and Land, Both whom I Met when I thought I had Nothing

That first year, my teacher’s guidance resounding in my ears, I danced until I could no longer walk or see straight. I flailed my body through every open space in New York City in feverish exaltation. I could love again, and most importantly, love myself. I no longer needed to clamor for love in so many places and things, for I could embody all I ever wanted with just this flesh, this momentum, this heart, these hands.

I heard my own voice translate the dreamy tenants of my heart, distilling the macramé of city-sound as I awoke in the breast of a still, dark ocean, in a voice deep and roaring, a longing for mother and home.

In stillness, longing thundered through my being. Longing. A longing that had raged in my blood since I was a child; forever reaching, yearning, wailing insatiably for love and solace. Longing called me away from my familiar cityhive, ripped me to pieces for months as I tried and failed miserably to sleep in my own strange bed in Brooklyn. Eventually, I could no longer refuse its direction and breathed farewell to all I knew and loved, blinking a cocktail of confused affection, and drove off westward alone.

I drove, baffled as the ones I left behind. Only by doing could I translate the meaning of this calling. The miles disappeared beneath my tires. All familiars fell away.

“Change is good exercise,” an angel said.

The landscape transformed against the windows, south and west across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

And when I crossed the boarder into New Mexico and saw the mountains against the yawning blue sky, I suddenly felt the realization of the gorgeous symbolic significance of these twenty-six years in voracious motherlessness and homelessness that charged this hungry heart forward, searching and searching, to at last lay eyes, soul and body now upon the truest, fiercest, fullest meaning of Mother.

Here, she roared around me, holding me with every breath—with every breath, welding the terrestrial and celestial home in these two feet and red earth, home in this earthen body towering alongside the others in one embodied incarnation of Her strength, home as I heard my voice say, “Thank you Mama, Here I am.”

~ Julia Daye

Stop Overthinking Your Longing


Stand up straight,
stop overthinking your longing.

That hunger is a part of this human body,
written into our blood like
red and blue tattoos.

Reach for the door, say the things;
don’t ask anyone to make it easy for you.

In fact, when someone makes it hard, say,
Thank you mama! You give my longing a direction,
a channel of challenges through which to carry

 
this innate bundle of heart-feels.
Feed it with addictions

to things and people and behaviors,
but they won’t take away
the loneliness.

Lonely
is what this life is.

Lonely
is the contract we made
as water agreeing to stand

in a cloak of flesh
for eighty years

to move
and explore
and carry the unseen

into the light.

 

~ Julia Daye

Sensitive One

Interesting to be “the sensitive one”, the peculiarly absorbent one, the one whom from the outside may seem a bit slower to process due to the vastly deeper effects of everyday stimuli on my five senses, heart, and mind. I am the one who often moves through life’s processes in a strange cycle of over-perception, over-absorbtion, over-filling, overload, followed by the necessary
retreat-and-recuperation.

People like this tend to cultivate coping mechanisms, escape routes from our sensitive, constantly startled body; habits, addictions, dependencies. I used to find the constant reception of my body a curse, green with envy at my friends who could bulldoze their way through an afternoon, anytime, anywhere, get 85 things done, without much emotional process, while I wasKonjac Sponge Puff With Mineral Rich French Pink Clay 1 an open bowl of other energies, a sponge heavy with foreign water.

I dated a couple of them–those beautiful bulldozers–hoping, in demented admiration, to somehow take on their rugged fast-response and “whatever-ness”.

Art came naturally in necessary adaptation, a powerful house for this absorbent, reactive nature in a place where it made sense. I moved to a big city because that is where so many creative folks lived, though shortly began to feel like I was dying with the heavy backlog of stimulation–without the speed-of-process to sort through it all everyday.

Now, as I feel this enormous transition in my bones, I wonder how my work would manifest if I lived in a place where the energy was lighter. The fact that my days in the city require regular recuperation and healing is beginning to seem odd to me. What would my days look like if I didn’t need to spend time recuperating from regular combative interactions with this inhospitable environment?

Community and Sanctuary: Pack Animal, Earth Animal

ImageComing up on the end of an abounding visit in the gorgeous, breathy, Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwestern Virginia, I’m reluctant to leave yet grateful for everything.

When not on the wandering road, I live and work in Brooklyn, New York, a shouting distance from the Manhattan metropolis and an extension of the great city’s crowded craze. This week, moving between urban and rural outer landscapes has, for me, brought about a switch in inner landscape along with it, a connected absorption of this sudden change of my surroundings.

And I like the change. A lot. The strained, spazzy, beehive-head I have even just sitting alone in my New York bedroom has slowed into a deep tide-like rhythm. I remember myself today; we are in every way an extension of this earth, birthed and evolved from its organisms, we share its elements, breathe its air. Our bodies never forget this, but our minds seem to make a habit of it. I’m beginning to feel deeply certain that my frantic buzzing mania in the city may be attributed equally to the absorption of my surroundings as it is to my body’s confused alarm in disconnection to its natural source.

Another thing to note and remember is that we are animals. The arrogant human species loves to forget this too. Regardless, I feel ever torn by my needs as a social pack animal and my needs as a creature of the earth—my simultaneous and often clashing yearnings for both community and sanctuary. I need family, love, outward social activity, as well as a space for true privacy, personal retreat, and deep inward connection. Amazing how other pack animal species naturally seem to wed these two needs, yet humans tend to pick one or the other.

The true presence of both community and sanctuary in the same space is shockingly difficult to find. Living in an intentional community in Brooklyn most certainly fulfills the community piece for me, but true sanctuary is sacrificed. When moving into community situations, more often than not, you must sacrifice the concept of “personal” anything; there is no such thing as personal time, space, quietude, or full privacy. On the other side of the coin, I remember in more extended visits away from the rush of cities and community, being in retreat and personal connection for weeks alone leaves me yearning for community and society as much as I yearn for the earth while sitting in daytime traffic.