Tag Archive | Courage

An Ocean of Love; NYC Dyke March

 

2leatherwomeninthecity.jpgWe were two leather women in Bryant Park, NYC, waiting to see who would come walk beside us under the banner of Lesbian Sex Mafia, in the NYC Dyke March. A dear friend was co-chairing this get together with me for our club LSM and we wanted a decent turn out. I believe it’s easy to allow ourselves to fall into the trap of high numbers=success and the same is true in the reverse, low numbers=failure. A few days ago I told my friend, forget about quantity, relax and let’s enjoy the company of those beside us. Let’s go for quality.  It turns out in the end we had the best of both worlds, quality and quantity.

A small group of women turned up from an assortment of places to walk beside us. They were women we met at the Lesbian Sex Mafia Pizza Munch, Uncle Red’s SUBMIT Party, LSM monthly educational classes, LSM members, and a fancy leather woman international title holder with her lovely half. Turns out we didn’t have a banner, so we were a group of women marching in organized chaos, and it damn… was amazing.

The march starts on in front of one of my favorite places in NYC, the main branch of the NYPL in Manhattan. Our small band of women gather in between Patience and Fortitude, the two lions in front of the library entrance. One man rushes forward to take a photo of a person marching in our little 2016-06-25 17.41.20organized chaos and when the person states their displeasure in the manner which the man took the image, the man come within 6’’ of our friends body and face to say some crap about being press and not just a random photographer. I don’t believe he was press, but regardless of his press or non-press status is beyond me his behavior was not acceptable. I stepped forward and let the man know he was too close to this person and in this person’s personal space. There was some back and forth, but eventually he left. There is always that one person who has to be a dick. We got past that moment and we didn’t let it affect our day.

The Dyke March is a non-permitted protest. We depend on and love our march Marshalls. They hold hands and block the cross roads and keep us safe. There are protesters who bring signs with words of 2016-06-25 17.43.57condemnation and shouting their hate speech. These detractors are peacefully blocked with by organizers and supporters own banners or drummers/musicians/noise makers who follow along making sure we receive positive messages of love and support. My favorite is a girl holding a sign saying, ‘’You’re Making Ellen Proud’’ What can I say, I am an Ellen fan. This morning I was wondering where is the, ‘’You’re Making Porshe Proud’’ poster. Maybe next year. Another favorite of mine was The Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Crops. We all stopped to dance, because their energy and love was just that much that it required attention. So much goodness, so much, it was …amazing.

 

We started as a small group of 13 women in Bryant Park united by some association through the Lesbian Sex Mafia, we became several hundred in front the NYPL on 40th Street and 5th Avenue, and I turned around and somehow we had become thousands. Unlike permitted protests, in this march the only barricades are our march Marshalls. People can step in from the sidewalk at any time along the route and join us. And they did.  The march came to a halt and we create a moment of silence for Orlando. I turned around in 360 degrees and I start to feel tears welling up. We were an ocean of love and this ocean extended far beyond what my eyes could see.2016-06-25 19.12.52

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Purple RibbonI knew 16 days ago we began National Domestic Violence Awareness month. I have experienced physical and emotional abuse in my past. I read some things today that compelled me to speak out on the topic. There were some folks using the term gaslighting incorrectly and others were throwing shadow on claims of gaslighting as possibly being a matter of, “…I got confused, and emotional, and now I feel bad.”

I came across this journal entry in FetLife about 1 ½ years ago. I had never heard of the term “gaslighting” before I read that journal entry. The term is best known from a 1944 classic movie starring Ingrid Bergman, titled Gaslight. This past September it was being shown at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) Cinema and I went to go see it.

What is gaslighting? A psychological definition of gaslighting is “an increasing frequency of systematically withholding factual information from, and/or providing false information to, the victim – having the gradual effect of making them anxious, confused, and less able to trust their own memory and perception.”

So yes, we are dealing with perceptions.

I was in a very destructive relationship in my past were I was physically and emotionally abused. The physical was easy for me to forgive, the emotional has been far from easy. Fairly early on, after I left my abuser, I realized I could not get past this problem. I had to work through it and that I needed professional help to do that. Some of the emotional abuse definitely fell under the term gaslighting. It can still be traumatic for me to relive those experiences. I was subjected to behavior that resulted in psychological trauma, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s an invisible scar I wear.

I want people to pause before they speak and automatically disregard someone, who speaks up about emotional abuse, because that is what gaslighting is, emotional abuse. I want to ask you to pause and listen to people who have the courage to ask for help. Please don’t turn your back and write them off as people who want to avoid being responsible for their own actions. Please I beg you to resist the urge to tell yourself, it’s discontent/sour grapes, because their relationship ended. I implore you to consider that it might have taken that person the last bit of strength they had to hold that hand out and ask for help. I beg you to realize that if you don’t error on the side of caution when that person reaches their hand out and grab that hand, you may lose that person forever. Emotional abuse can be that destructive. Grab that hand, pull them up, keep them safe, and find them help. Question later.

It took me a long time to find the courage to speak to one person I thought I could trust to talk to. Even then I made her swear to not say anything to anyone and amazingly she didn’t; she held all my dark secrets. She is a much better friend that I am. Even after I talked to that one person it took me another 6 months before I finally left. I’m a rare statistic, once I left I never went back to my abuser. Don’t think it didn’t cross my mind to try to ask to come back. It did. I want to say I was lucky, but it’s not that at all. It’s that I did the work and continue to do the work to heal with a professional(s).

Do some people misuse this term? Yes. Do you really want to take the risk of turning your back on the many that don’t? No one deserves to be abused. I didn’t deserve what happened to me and I did not want it. Do I have accountability? Yes. I stayed. No one forced me to stay. I have to live with that. The abuse I suffered nearly killed me. I don’t say that lightly. There is a lot of shame in admitting that out loud, but choose to let go of pride and instead say my truth out loud, because… If you are suffering abuse I want you to know I have known the shame & fear you live under. There are women and men all over who understand the shoes you walk in.

And look at me today…

I am not broken.

I am not a victim.

I am not a survivor.

I am a beautiful strong leather woman.

I am here in the today, the now, and embracing life.

Ice Skating

ice skatesWhen I was a little girl, I dreamed of becoming an Olympic Figure Skater. I think I must haven been four years old the first time I skated. I had these little metal skates with double blades that strapped on to my shoes. I’m sure by the time I was in second grade, if not earlier, I was asking for lessons. Figure skating lessons were the one thing my parents couldn’t give me though. The arena where I could get the lessons I needed was too far away and the time parents have to devote to a child that wants to be a serious figure skater is a luxury they did not have to give me. You see, at that time, my father was being treated for cancer. Yet, I was always allowed to stay out at the rink behind my school, even past dark, as often as I wanted to spend my hours skating across the ice. It was my joy, my passion. As I grew older I never stopped skating. I never forgot my dream. Continue reading

Two Wolves

Two Wolves

Two Wolves

I’ve started writing about four other different journal topics, but I can’t find the resolve to finish any of them. As I sit in the playpen, I talk to my little sister and tell her about the struggle going on inside me that says to “Write something happy, pleasant, and joyful, instead of topics that are serious and a bit intense.” And her reply is, “Well, who is telling you that your journal has to be about writing things that are happy?” and I blurt very quickly, “I do!” I sat for a few moments with these thoughts and the idea that came to my mind was that of The Bad Wolf. There are days when The Bad Wolf comes out and wants to feed.

After an hour passes I nearly scare myself at the damn epiphany of what I have just written. It has been a week and a half since I wrote about the paper bound journal I once kept. The one with the final entry titled, “The Book of Anger”. Suddenly the words haunt me that is it not me who tells me that I must write about “good things”, but it is someone else’s voice.

I woke at some ungodly hour this morning and suffered several hours of fighting The Bad Wolf alone, before my leather sister woke up and came to nurture me and give me strength. She is my solace, my calm in the storm. As I talked to her I remind her that it is coming up on the anniversary that I came to visit her and told her the truth about my unhappiness. She reminds me that it is normal around anniversary dates of events that involve trauma to have deep emotions. Sometimes it is very hard to forgive oneself, more so than it is to forgive others.

Today, it was a struggle, but I refuse to give The Bad Wolf even a morsel.

Today, The Good Wolf won.

Two Wolves – A Cherokee Parable

(thanks Jenna for telling me this story)

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.”

“One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.”

“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

“This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
“Which wolf will win?”

The old chief simply replied,
“The one you feed.”

A Hero That Has Let You Down (letter)

[Writing prompt; 30 Days of Truth, Day 14; “A Hero That Has Let You Down” (letter) ]

I struggled with writing my truth. I am sure it has been over a week. I started and started and then started again.  This was so difficult, because one thing that is important to me in my writing is that I tell my story and that I write about me. Too often, some of the most “loved” and “popular” writings are from people saying a whole lot of nothing about people other than themselves. I realize my writings may never be the most loved or popular, but that is not my goal. What I am striving towards is authenticity. Then while doing a little research, I had an epiphany, that made me understand why I kept discarding my writings.  I think this is worth sharing openly, because that is my nature. Open…

This is the hardest letter I have ever written.

To the Hero who let me down,

This is what I have learned today: Continue reading

The Power of Vulnerability

I watched this video a couple of years ago and it had a huge impact on me. I had an awakening. I thought, “Holy crap, that’s me…”  I remember in 2009 I decided to start writing a Credo.  When I look back at my Credo I see a lot of whole heartedness.  I live with an open heart and I believe my vulnerability is beautiful. It is so important to me, that even when I am hurt by those I gave my love to, that I refuse to stop risking. My ability to remain vulnerable is at the core of who I am and where my happiness, joy, and creativity flourishes from. I discovered this TED talk after I had begun to identify within the BDSM culture as a girl. I hope others, and specifically girls and their Daddies, find this video as interesting and valuable as I did.