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Hanging frames around shame, neglect, and more..

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Taking up space

My kindred blogger spirit Intrepid has guided me into a direction I have needed to face. To her credit she does this often with her authentic and brave perspectives on healing. In a recent blog post she wrote:

I hold myself to some unkind standards. 
I would never think such a thing about anyone else. 
I decided I won't allow myself to treat me in this way.

Reflecting on standards for healing and for identity, why is it easier to give other people space to be a human being? I interpret Intrepid's use of 'unkind standards' to mean that we can employ standardized ways of being for a multitude of intentions. In this case, we are employing standards with the implicit aim to be unkind to ourselves. For others, we employ standards that encourage, reveal progress, that preserve a sense of humanity.

Of course this can be flipped. There is a tendency as easy to employ which is to hold others up to standards only we can hope to measure up to. There is a degree of my struggles with abuse that only I will be able to make sense of. Others can relate but I cannot expect that they will ever fully understand. 

But I must bring this back around to the standards I set for myself. Lately I have held a standard for myself that has been debilitating. I had read that any issue suffered by the marginalized begins with the struggles of racial minorities. That to speak of sexual abuse one must be versed in the history of heteropatriachal standards, the disproportionate victimization of women of color, historical colonization, and more. I was overwhelmed and still am overwhelmed by how much I am ignorant of. My abuse has roots in the most heinous crimes against humanity. 

So I began reading as much as I could to "catch up." I made it a point daily to read the blogs of marginalized women who spoke out against oppression. Many of them specifically target white feminism. The more I exposed myself, the less I understood their message and my own purpose. I was coming to all of these perspectives with a standard of perfecting myself and my beliefs. My hope was that I would one day learn enough that would qualify me to speak on behalf of the ways I suffered through neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional manipulation. 

This standard of finally knowing enough was unkind and unreasonable. I can relate to many unfortunate abuses of this word but I will never fully understand. As long as I try to perfect I will continue to miss the point in healing and in making this world a better place to be in. I cannot allow myself to treat me in this way, as Intrepid stated in reference to herself. 

My voice has to be enough. I have to have faith that I am doing the best that I can. I have to become okay with occupying some of the vast space in this world without being overwhelmed by the paranoia that I am somehow being unknowingly toxic. It isn't healthy to live that way. 

1 comment:

  1. I could march in a parade through the center of town to the words of this posting! "My voice has to be enough."

    Indeed your voice is enough. Your voice's job is to speak for you, and you are worthy of being heard. It so happens that through your voice you also tend to speak of truths that resonate for others. But, that is an effect of your story, rather than the purpose of your voice.

    I am deeply moved by this: "In this case, we are employing standards with the implicit aim to be unkind to ourselves. For others, we employ standards that encourage, reveal progress, that preserve a sense of humanity."

    I hadn't thought of it this way, and it rings true to me as well.

    Here's to our humanity and our commitment to be kind toward it and allowing our voices to speak its truth!