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Friday, June 21, 2013


This week cooking celebrity Nigella Lawson was photographed in a very nice restaurant with her husband’s hands on her neck.  As in strangling her.  He later came out publicly to say it was a “playful tiff“. 
Very distressing, indeed.
The violence was awful.  Knowing that if in public he feels comfortable doing that what goes on behind closed doors?  It bothers me that people took photos instead of helping her, though the event probably happened in just a matter of moments.  Sometimes when you see something like that happening your brain doesn't even register it right away.  And I am sure people sensed complex emotions.  Pain, discomfort, fear and embarrassment. 
But it's time to really talk about domestic violence.  We as a culture have to stop accepting people being treated as property.

It brought back memories of being a young fourth-grade child sitting in a classroom.  Outside the window a young man and young woman walking down from the high school; he is striding ahead and she is trailing behind him; they are arguing loudly.  So loud in fact that the whole class and teacher have turned to look outside. 
And the guy suddenly turns around and punches her in the face; hard.  Hard enough that she crumples to the ground.
My teacher slowly walked over to the windows – still talking, still teaching – and pulls the window blinds down, one by one.  Like it never happened.

Fast forward and I am a young married 22-year old working at a law firm as a legal secretary.   I get a cat – my first one!  And when it gets cornered by the neighbor’s dog I swoop in to pick it up (do NOT ever do that, okay?!) – and she turns and claws me right down the face.  Torn skin on my nose, scratches around my eye, down my face.  Pretty messed up.
The next day at work all the women immediately ask what happened; but not the men.  It isn’t until lunchtime when one of the guys asks me into his office and pulls the door shut and says “honey, what happened to your face?” 

Later that afternoon I asked the attorney I did the most work for:  “Why haven’t you asked me what happened to my face.”  “Well,” he said with a shrug, “I figured your husband did it to you.” 

I have had someone I trusted put their hands around my neck and start to squeeze.  Let me tell you, it’s scary as hell.
In another relationship it was words; because he knew I would leave in a minute if he touched me.  So it was insults and threats and anger.  I remember so many times just wishing he would do the things he threatened to do so I would have a “good” reason to leave.

Eventually I realized that verbal cruelty was a “good “reason, too.
There are things worse than being hit or hurt; Kriyanandaji says cut a person with a knife and the skin heals; cut a person with your tongue and they may never.  Words can terrorize and dehumanize as much or more than many actions.

Nigella, I am not in your shoes and I don't judge your decisions; perhaps you wish no one had seen what happened that day or maybe you are tremendously grateful.  But maybe; just maybe; you opened up the subject for discussion.  Placed our social norms up for scrutiny.  And made people like me more willing to shine a light into the dark places of the soul.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

What are YOU waiting for?

Mother’s Day I planned myself a very nice day; arranged a bike ride at Carvin’s Cove with a dear friend; we talked more than we rode, but that was just what I needed.  The time in nature was healing;  the conversation and connection even more nourishing.

Came home and made myself a lovely brunch of poached egg on toast with salmon and herbed hollandaise; made an orange juice and Prosecco mimosa.  Yum! 
Ate it on the front porch in the sun.  Very nice.

And in the afternoon I had no expectations or desires.  So I again sat on the front porch in the sun.  And as I was sitting there, staring out into the yard for a while – loads of thoughts wandering through my mind -- my son was riding his scooter in small circles on the porch behind me.
I must have been sitting in silence for quite a while because he inquired “What are you thinking about Mommy?”  And at that moment I had been thinking of laying on a blanket and looking up at the clouds, like I used to do with the children when they were small.  And so I told him.

He began to laugh; like, really belly laugh.  I got somewhat defensive at him laughing at my idea. 
But before I could take offense he said “But, why?  Why would you ever sit there and just think about doing something that you could so easily be doing?  Why don’t you just go get a blanket and look at the clouds!”

It was such a wise and funny response; and it was so interesting to watch the thoughts pass through my mind.  How could I explain my adult mind process -- that I thought about what the neighbors would think about me laying in the front yard; about whether the kids would be too grown to look at clouds with me and think it silly; I even wondered which blanket I’d be okay with getting dirty; you know, excuses.

I wonder where else in my life I am thinking instead of doing.  Where do I need to get up and stop worrying about what someone might think or what might go wrong.  Where should I be dancing/laughing/singing/praying/moving/living/breathing and instead I'm sitting.  On the porch.  Just thinking about it. 
And somewhere, someone is laughing; because there is NOTHING keeping me from what I would truly wish to do; and sitting there, just thinking about it -- it is so, SO silly.
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