Me Too

To some, it’s just a trending hashtag. To others, it is the opportunity to end a silence complot that has allowed perpetrators to continue being on the prowl among unsuspecting potential victims.

All of the me too posts showing up on my timeline have brought back memories I’d long shoved to the very back of my mind, like old things I’m undecided to let go of because of the inconvenience of having to sort through them, and the pain they will, inevitably, evoke.

This movement is a collective sigh of relief, that no one single person who’s experienced sexual harassment, or sexual abuse, is alone in it. That we can finally breathe without fearing that the words we have been holding in for so long will spill out and taint the world when we speak them.

Still, some folks would rather not be inconvenience with such stories-not right now. Right now there is too much to deal with already. Someone on my Facebook timeline said “Why do they (the women) think that this is the best time to let the world know these things? What is it going to solve? Our country has enough with the political issues and natural disasters that we are facing. Now this? It’s ridiculous!” with obvious contempt.

As these Hollywood stories started trickling into the spotlight one by one, I began to feel a twinge of unease. I, unknowingly, resented those women, at first. Until, I realized why.

I felt like them revealing their truth, was intentionally triggering me into reliving my own and how dare they do that? I am not ready, yet! How dare they do this to ME?!

So, I understand the person’s view on my timeline. I would even go as far as to say that there’s a chance this is someone who’s experienced sexual assault, or sexual harassment, but isn’t ready to say “me too”. So, instead, she feels annoyed by other people’s revolutionary acts of speaking out.

It isn’t only because the thought of sharing one’s story and being doubted, or accused of doing it for attention, is scary as hell! It is also because once we tell it, it is out there for others to interpret and manipulate to their level of comprehension, or liking.

What people tend to do with stories like these (especially, the perpetrators) is undermine them. Accuse their victims of misinterpreting situations and that what they are saying is not what happened at all, further victimizing them by making people doubt their stories. So, some of us are not ready to put ourselves through that. Not yet.

However, even though, I am not ready to tell my story, I am-at least-ready to admit that it happened to me too.

I was molested, not once, or twice, but repeatedly over the course of my childhood. As a teenager I was sexually harassed by someone I had to see on a daily basis. Then, as an adult, I was groped when I drank too much and passed out at a trusted friend’s house.

And you know what? Guilt is pervasive in those situations. EVERY single time, I took the blame for it, even as a child, I felt a deep sense of shame and guilt each time it happened-Just typing about it, I am overcome with an incredibly deep sense of sadness.

This is how I imagine the person on my timeline must be feeling and she isn’t the only one. There is a countless number of women walking around carrying this dark secret, like a brand on their back showing who their stories are owned by because for as long as we keep our secrets, those who trespassed on our bodies own our story about it.

They live knowing that we feel ashamed enough of their actions that we will not dare let anyone else in on them. For as long as we keep silent, they hold the rights to that part of our story but once it is shared, it becomes our truth. And our truth is that we didn’t ask to be a part of something so violating and so pervasive that its consequences seep into every area of our life, every decision that we make, every little way in which we choose to do things in hopes of guarding ourselves from it happening again-or it happening to someone we love.

Just yesterday my fourteen year old daughter looked at me with frustration and, in a reproachful tone, said “Why are you so paranoid? Why do you have to be such an over-protective parent?” because I wouldn’t allow her to spend the night at a friend’s house.

Instantly, I felt shame for the secrets I keep that influence me to be this way but I am not ready to share them. Not yet.

Countless women are, at last, taking their “me too” stories off the shelf, dusting them off, and revealing them to the world for all to see! For some, that is an empowering thing.

For others, their wounds are still raw, too tender to touch and be put on display. So, they will remain silent until they feel strong enough to do so.

And that’s ok, too.

IMG_8477

There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming.-Shauna Niequist

❤ ,

Mari

Advertisements

This Is Your Life

IMG_9009

It’s the oldest story in the world. One day, you’re seventeen and planning for someday. And then, quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today, and that someday is yesterday, and this is your life.-Nathan Scott

❤ ,

Mari

Beautiful Life

I’ll lead with the bad news: it’s going to get worse. I’ve even begun collecting rain drops to prove that it isn’t sunny all the time. I’ve spent entire days in bed and I’ve lost entire hours to luke-warm baths. Its ok. Some days are bad. I have to get up even when I don’t want to. It happens. It is still a beautiful life.-Unknown

IMG_8027.jpg

❤ ,

Mari

Stillness

My sleeping has been awful, which makes for really bad days for me. I’ve been experiencing intrusive thoughts to the point that panic overwhelms me and I can’t sleep much. When I don’t get enough sleep, I start feeling on edge and every little thing gets to me; it’s physically exhausting!

I have a thousand and one thoughts going on at once, each more imposing than the next one. Usually, when I’m struggling this much, organizing and purging helps me and I’ve already organized my entire house. I’m also in the middle of purging my closet and the kitchen cabinets. This time, though, that’s created more anxiety than it’s helped. So I’m stalled with things everywhere and no desire to put them back in their place, or to get rid of them.

I can’t concentrate on doing anything because my mind is already on overdrive.

The next best thing I have to take the edge off is photography. I’ve taught myself photography for the past five, or six, years and it’s a continuous learning process.

I enjoy photographing things and, occasionally, people. The difference between the two is that photographing people imposes a lot more pressure on me because of the vast amount of photographers that are out there. It terrifies me that my work will not measure up with theirs, or that I may be ridiculed for thinking I can be one.

So, although people around me have been encouraging me to do it for business, I’ve yet to do so. It’s difficult for me to explain how intimidating it feels to put myself out there. I’ve done a few paid sessions here and there but I haven’t taken the plunge into making it a full time business.

I’m designing a photography blog at the moment to showcase my sessions on the rare occasion that I do them but this will always be where I share my nature photography.

Photographing nature relaxes me and although my shots may be average, I enjoy sharing them here because there are no expectations to meet. Coming here and scrolling through them also helps remind me that I am capable of finding stillness even when my mind is racing, if only I take the time to search for it…

IMG_8562

Go where you feel most at peace.

❤ ,

Mari

Preserved Moments

We are photographers. We are not here to show people what they can already see, we are here to give them experiences they would otherwise never have experienced. We are here to preserve the moments that otherwise would have been forgotten.-Dorothea Lange

IMG_8760

Happy Sunday,

Mari

Never Ending

“Comparison is the thief of joy”. I’ve heard it so many times, I know it’s true, and I still can’t help but compare myself and my life to other people and their lives.

I was an oppressed child, so I don’t handle conflict well at all. Actually, let me rephrase that, I don’t deal with conflict at all. Any time that I find myself in a conflicting situation, I freeze, or I walk away.

Five years ago, I was fired for the first time in my life from a job where I’d worked for five years. Five years that nearly consumed me to the ground. It didn’t start out that way. At first, I loved what I did and the atmosphere in which I got to do it but the last year, or so, my relationship with my then supervisor took a turn for the worse and I ended up working in a very toxic atmosphere. Until, thankfully, one day she showed up to my office and fired me.

Shortly after, without even looking, I found an even better job. It wasn’t as close to home, or as convenient, but it was stable and I was still doing what I love to do. I thought, “This is it! This is my big break! THIS is what I went through my last experience for; God was preparing me for this!” and then, the property was sold and I was laid off last year.

At first, it was a welcome respite from having worked all my life without a break. I was laid off at the start of summer. I’ve held a real job since I was fourteen, so an opportunity to take off from work for an entire summer was perfect. Except, I didn’t go back to work when summer ended. I didn’t feel ready.

It wasn’t until the beginning of this year that I finally went back to work. It was a amazing opportunity and a great atmosphere. Until, it wasn’t. Long story short, I walked out of that job (another first for me).

If I learned anything from getting fired five years ago, it’s that when I no longer feel safe in any situation, I owe it to myself to walk away. So, I do that now. OFTEN.

That was over three months ago and I’m starting to feel as though my big break is never coming. Other people who have worked in the same field as me for a lot less longer are thriving while I feel like I keep starting over and, honestly, it’s wearing me out.

The past two years, life in general has felt overwhelmingly conflicting. So, I’ve been hiding out. Other than social media, I’ve isolated myself from other people completely. I’m lucky enough to be able to do that. I have all the support I need to stay home and work on myself until I feel ready to take on the world again. The thing is that I’m not sure when that will be.

My anxiety has been through the roof lately and it triggers my depression, or vice versa, I’m not sure. I don’t have health insurance so I can’t get medication for either. However, I’ve been reading a lot about psychology and the way the brain works because I really want to understand why I just can’t seem to get past all the crap I’ve been through in the past. Why do I keep relapsing? It makes me feel powerless.

I’ve medicated, I’ve been to therapy, and I written about my struggles (my entire previous blog was about that). I’ve even reached a point where I believed I’d gotten past them but I haven’t and it makes me feel like a fraud (as though all the positive things I wrote here were lies I told myself because I wanted so badly to be “better”).

Last month marked twenty seven years since my father died. That realization brought back so much of the trauma I went through growing up that I’ve felt guilty since because I’ve lived all my life not getting past it.

Where does it end? How much longer will the past have a grip on the present? I know I’m smart, capable, worthy of anything that I want to pursue but why doesn’t my brain understand that? What am I missing?

Why does the thought of going out into the world and looking for a new job terrify me? Why is mental illness so paralyzing and why do I keep regressing?

It’s taken a lot just to write this and even now, I’m not sure I want to publish it because I don’t write for pity, I write to understand the things that are going on in my head and so that if someone out there feels the same way, then they can see that they are not alone in it. Also, because writing makes me feel less alone, too.

IMG_8142

I just have this happy personality and a sad soul in one body. It just feels weird sometimes.-Unkown

❤ ,

Mari