A Woman’s Hands
Some days in this world there are women who find themselves in need of a mother, a sister, a friend. Desiring a safe place to turn to A gentle hand to hold As the liquid courage coursing under skin Falls from their eyes No amount of soap can erase the dirt No amount of ice can ease the burn But a hand cradling their cheek, soft as silk, may be all they need to alleviate Some of the pain Some days in this world I find my own hands Offering comfort and hope As daggers simultaneously grow from my fingertips. The rage that you deposited inside of her As she screamed Stop Don’t Please no transfers through her skin, straight to my core Some days in this world I can see your face looking out the car window, Watching me, as I stumbled my way down the road at thirteen years old. Hoping to fight my way home through the shame I felt in my belly and the fuzz of the screen over my eyes that the liquor had left behind Every day in this world I fight for the women The women who found themselves broken at the hands of another The women who found guilt between their own two legs The women who woke speckled with lavender bruises Deposited by the hands of men like you One day in this world I hope to find my own daughters With no need to sprout daggers Or hide lavender bruises behind powders One day I hope there will be an end to men like you.
In today’s society, there is a vast amount of socially accepted violence practiced against women. The amount of women who have been raped, sexually assaulted, abused, or all of the above, is absurd. It shouldn’t happen once, let alone as much as it has happened in our history.
This principle also speaks to me on a personal level. I am a survivor of rape and abuse. I chose to do a walking meditation in order to reflect on this principle, simply because I knew that having a flashback was a very real possibility. I am able to process my thoughts and feelings in a much more productive way while moving around versus being stationary. I walked along the train tracks located right next to my apartment complex. They’re isolated from the view of the developments on either side by tall walls of trees.
It was an overcast day with a little wind. I was barefoot and stuck to the area where the rocks met the grass. I walked for about thirty-five minutes, turning around once I felt it necessary and making my way back home.
The wind helped to narrow my mind down to near nothingness. I imagined the wind pulling out the monkey chatter as it ran by my ears. After a while I found my thoughts turning to my own personal experiences, although I tried not to linger for too long on the specifics. I felt my emotions and my energy settling in my stomach so I chose to follow their direction.
I found that there is still a rather large pit inside of me, space where few have touched. At first, I found the walls of the hole unfamiliar. But, eventually, I recognized it as the place where I went to escape. The place my consciousness would hide way back when. I hadn’t ever fully processed what I went through and I felt the familiar knot of grief in my throat as I took the time to think. I had to stop walking for a little, I couldn’t move. I had closed my eyes and saw the walls I used to hide in, red and tattered and torn and unfamiliar with dark corners and the stench of remorse. I wanted to fix the walls. I wanted to patch the holes and paint the darkness away and cut a window in the ceiling and let the light in. But I couldn’t, and I still can’t. Not yet.
That amount of damage cannot be fixed in one day, in one sitting of meditative practice. But I realized that coming back to that hole was the first step I could take in the right direction to fixing it. And while realizing that I could fix it, I simultaneously became aware of the fact that many other women probably have the same exact hole inside of them; the same exact strangely unfamiliar walls, torn and broken and yet feeling oddly like home.
And I got mad. I got fucking pissed, to be quite honest. I wiped my tears and I turned around and I kept walking. And I thought of the number of friends I have whom I’ve held close while they cried their eyes out. And I thought of all of the headlines I’ve seen about women being attacked or murdered. I realized that if anything is to be done about this if there is to be any protection for women in this world, we as a human collective need to change. Our ideas of gender equality and our ideas of sex education need to change, drastically. We can’t continue to sexualize every single inch of a woman’s skin and expect respect. We can’t continue to teach our girls to “cover up more” and that “boys will be boys” and expect them to understand when a man is in the wrong. I plan on having children one day and if I am blessed to have daughters then I can guarantee you that my daughters will be the first to throw a punch in self-defense and that they will have no fear of saying no. And if I am blessed to have sons then I can guarantee you that my sons will know the difference between yes and no, and that they will understand asking for permission. One day our children will understand how to view each other as equals and I can only hope that I am alive to see it.
When I eventually got back to my starting point, I had such a wide range of emotions
crossing through my brain and an abundance of energy rustling under my skin. For a long time now, I’ve been rather frank about what had happened to me, and I always kind of brushed it off. But I realize now that I can use what I’ve been through and what I’ve seen to educate others. I can extend my reach beyond my small group of friends. I’m ready to fix the hole inside of me. I’m ready for some light to reach the deepest, darkest corners of myself that I once thought nobody could love. But, now I know that what I need the most is to learn to love those corners, and it doesn’t matter if anybody else does.