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

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 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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TRUST

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At the end of the day
and the end of the year

and the end of this life
and all things I know,

I allow trust to replace vision.

The night sky’s deep celestial face emerges
again from behind its sunny blue façade.

What is dream but a midnight
porthole into invisible infinity?

Tonight, the bumblebees that fly

around my vulnerability, stop
and land,

allowing the space to yawn
wide and open.

A cozy tide beckons release

of these weary lids,
dissolving again

into darkness
and the dream.

~ Julia Daye

Movement is Alchemy

Movement is alchemy. Just like dancing when you are afraid to dance can feel extremely strange at first before you find that groove that is vibrantly and deliciously your own, engaging in movement from thing to thing, place to place, throughout life can feel uncomfortable but can bring about great personal power. alchemy

As I pack up my home of two years, I am frightened to move from this familiar spot on earth, but know that it is truly just the familiarity of the place itself that makes me nervous for what lies beyond it. I am familiar with the memories in these walls, I have grown very comfortable with them. The ego adores what it already knows, deeply and dangerously, and moving beyond these attachments is the call of human growth and a part of living.

Change is very good exercise. When we move beyond what we are firmly accustomed to, empowerment begins. Outer movement becomes inner movement, rehearsal becomes internal. Embody the change you want to see and move yourself, even when it feels like the most peculiar thing you can possibly do–do it then, especially then.