a poet, a bear, a moon-child-esoteric, a history geek, a writer and a woman of a certain age

Archive for October, 2016

Why Women Don’t

 

The past couple weeks’ news media and social media have been swamped with talk, argument, explanations, revelations and yes, arguments about the sexual treatment including the systemic verbal and physical sexual abuse of women in our enlightened, advanced, ‘first-world’ western culture. I haven’t had much to say about it, for many reasons. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t sure what to say, I didn’t know if what I have to say would communicate my own feelings and experience the way I want it to. I knew that those who know me best would sadly, painfully believe me, because they already know about it. I knew that most people I love and respect would hear and believe and accept what I say because they love and respect me and other women, who, like me are survivors of sexual abuse.

I’m not going to catalogue my experience here. I’m going to talk instead about why I hesitated to talk about this issue, in the light of so much talk about it, and so many women bringing forward their own painful, sorrowful, heart wringing truths. I know they were all as hesitant as I am to talk about this matter, this issue, this ‘problem’ in our modern culture. I know they were all as reluctant as I am to continue the feeding frenzy on this ‘hot topic’, much less add to it.

Why? It is very simple, truly. Every time a survivor like me hears another one of these accounts it opens their wounds all over again. Every time a survivor like me listens to those who have not had these experiences analyze, process, dissect and otherwise vitiate them, it sears like another pouring of antiseptic over those wounds. Every time a survivor like me, no matter how long it has been since she had this experience hears the rest of our society froth and foam and even curse and scream about these matters, it sickens and revolts the survivor, because no one was frothing or foaming, cursing or damning or screaming or shouting when they were wounded, except for those closest to them and no one else gave a flying fig.

My own experience was 28 years ago, give a few months, and none of the above facts seem to have changed that much, sadly.

So we don’t want to relive these experiences. We don’t want to think about them, talk about them or worst of all try to ‘explain’ them. We are walking wounded, struggling with things that everyone else and with this added layer of experience, things we hope NO ONE ELSE ever has to struggle with. Our experiences are immensely painful and on top of that, according to our modern, enlightened, post-sexist society, shameful. Only who bears the pain whenever this subject comes up and who feels the shame? The survivor. THAT is why, as was asked in a recent ‘thread’ on one of the busier social media platforms #whywomendon’treport’ their abuse or their abusers. It is absolutely that SIMPLE.’

About Bi-phobia

 

I feel I can speak to this because after I came out …nearly 40 years ago, my spouse and I moved to Northern California and almost immediately were welcomed by some women there and dissed by others, for what seemed to be the same reasons. We were welcomed as a a newish lesbian couple, only about 3 years together at the time. We were welcomed as neo pagans, even though we weren’t describing our spiritual practice as women’s religion which many, many women were then, instead of calling their practice pagan, heathen, Wiccan, magical, magickal, or using other terms.

 

Then we hit the kind of walls this author seems to be describing. Btw, no one I know or knew at the time used the term cis-gender, people were labeled, oh yes, people were roundly labeled but they were heterosexual/straight, or homosexual/gay/queer, or homosexual/lesbian/or occasionally, queer for girls, a long time ‘favorite of mine-not, or or was bisexual… pansexuality was not much talked about then, either… not in and around Oakland and Berkeley and San Francisco California where we lived and worked then.

 

We hit a wall first because both of us being pretty new to being out as lesbians, we would talk openly about having the capacity to admire male beauty in movies, in shows, in art, and so forth. The wall said, no, no, no! You can’t call yourself a lesbian and find a man, any man, anywhere good looking or in any way admirable! YOU MUST BE BI- AND BI IS SOMETHING NAMBY PAMBY CAN’T MAKE A DECISION… AKA JUST PLAIN WRONG! Yes, I’m shouting because this argument was ALWAYS shouted at us. A ‘real lesbian cannot find any man or any men, or anything men have ever done or said handsome, beautiful or admirable. ALL men are to wicked, ruthless, barbarous, cruel, illegitimate children.

 

Then we hit a wall saying we couldn’t be a couple if one of us was not lesbian under the definition given above. Sigh. It was so much fun to find a community we knew we belonged to telling us we didn’t belong there, either. One of us would surely, the wall said, destroy or at the very least, abandon the other for some man at some time. One of us would certainly ‘wake up’ some day and realize we weren’t treasured, we weren’t loved, we weren’t cherished as a woman, we were just ‘an aberration’ in our lovers’ pattern. One of us would go off some day and be ‘straight as hell’ in order to make it clear our being together was a meaningless interlude.

 

It was painful and it was enraging. I was as disgusted then as I am now when I find people who are already being labeled and lined up for the box cars by those who have no experience in common with a lesbian or bi woman, being labeled and lined up for exclusion by those who SHARE those experiences. I already knew where some people thought I didn’t belong. I didn’t know I would continue to find … to run into those same walls reading ‘you don’t belong here’ in so called communities I believed I do belong to. Now I know and it is still painful and it is heart rending. Can we stop dividing ourselves even further than those who don’t know us and don’t want us are already trying to divide us? Can we? I don’t know.

 

I am a lesbian with a spouse of 1 month and 4 days who is also my partner of 37 years, two months and 21 days. I am a lesbian who is perfectly capable of appreciating both female and male beauty and achievement. I am a woman who is perfectly capable of seeing the flaws and failings in myself and people of all genders. I am a long time seeker who has investigated paths that have included Reform Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Liberal Catholicism, women’s religion and Wicca, all of which make up who I am now, today. I am many things because I am a human being and we are a delightfully and damnably complicated species. I don’t fit in boxes. I don’t fit in closets. I don’t fit in labels. I try not to fit other human beings in them, either. I do try.

 

I do know that if I have ever disrespected a bisexual or pansexual person, I am ashamed and I am repentant and I will be and I will do better. We need each other. We truly do. We don’t need labels, boxes, lines or box cars amongst us, when there are still those who would so gladly do that for us.