Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Going Home to Tell the Truth!

Promoting GROWING UP WITHOUT THE GODDESS: A Journey through Sexual Abuse to the Sacred Embrace of Mary Magdalene

I didn't know where to begin promoting my book, but when a friend, Rev. Mary Catherine (Kitty) Bass, suggested I contact the Women's Studies departments of colleges and universities, I knew she was right. She doesn't take credit for the suggestion; she says she never had the idea before she spoke it and that it came from the Divine Mother of us all.

I started with UNC-Greensboro because I was born and abused in Greensboro. Not only does UNC-G have a women's studies department, but it turns out it is one of the oldest departments in the country, and it has over 100 faculty affiliates involved in a multi-disciplinary approach to women's studies.

I spoke with a young woman who referred me to the Greensboro Hive, which has a childhood abuse survivor's group that is planning a spring film series on abuse.

When I went to the Hive website map, I was amazed to see that the center is located right next to the park, Morris Farrow Park, where I used to play. The house where I lived and was abused (1302 Portland Street) was about two blocks from the center! The large, old two-story house of my youth is no longer there, but it is in my memory and in my book.

I visited that neighborhood three years ago when I began to write my book. I visited Morris Farrow Park where I used to run wild with my brother and the neighborhood boys and where I was certain that there were trolls in the culvert that connected the two parts of the park. My life was dark and troubled because of early hidden sexual abuse and because of the constant beatings from my step-father. No wonder I thought I saw trolls!

I have stones on my altar that I picked up while I was there and that helped me anchor my Self as I wrote my story. While I was picking up the stones, a young girl about 11 or 12 years old mooned me as she was swinging. That act of inappropriate exposure pierced my nostalgia and made me remember more about the wounding I received at 1302 Portland Street when I was just a baby, wounding that left me unable to establish appropriate boundaries -- like the young girl on the swing.

Looking at the map, I was awed by the coincidence, and I knew that my neighborhood of 60 years ago was the exact right place to promote my book about sexual wounding, about cultural complicity in the sexual abuse of women, and about the inevitability of sexual abuse when women are not imaged as divine while men are.

I took the plunge, wrote an e-mail to the woman in charge and told her this story. I was immediately welcomed by her. She invited me to be a part of the spring film series, which will include Angela Shelton's film about abuse, Finding Angela Shelton.

Just like that!

I said, YES!

The Divine Feminine, the Great Mother of us all, guided me home, so I could be a part of healing that place, and so my healing could continue. I am in awe and in gratitude.


Hear an excerpt from GROWING UP WITHOUT THE GODDESS.Link


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Why Don't You Just Get Over It?

Chapter 69

Why Don’t You Just Get Over It?

Often I am asked, even by close friends or family members why I don't just get over having been sexually abused. To them I say: I do. I have. I will. I may. Every single day.

For mine is a story about sexual abuse that is so ordinary that one in four young women will be abused before they are eighteen years old. Mine is a story about an ordinary wounding so profound that the fourth one who is abused, who is me, who is my sister, who is my mother, will feel the repercussions all her life. And for some of us, who were abused before consciousness had dawned fully enough to allow memory to record the act, the consequences will exist without a known cause and without proof, like the world demands, that the abuse ever occurred.

The repercussions of abuse vary from one woman to another in their particulars, but a destructive pattern emerges and ensnares and drives each abused one as it did me. For decades, I let the following pattern govern me:

  • I fell into my wounded consciousness.
  • Though I thought myself a feminist, I acted as though I were fit only for service to a man.
  • I projected all of my goodness onto another.
  • I fell in love with the other.
  • I mistook him for the god/goddess energies.
  • Sex bound me to him for a season.
  • I did not recognize the abusing or using energies of the other.
  • I blamed myself for the problems I encountered in the relationship.
  • To compensate and because I felt the pain so deeply, I went into a helping profession, thinking it was the pain of others I felt.
  • The projection of my goodness onto the other started to slip.
  • He was certainly no god.
  • I began to feel his abuse or misuse of me – sometimes it was physical abuse, sometimes sexual, sometimes intellectual or emotional.
  • I felt my own wound again, but I mistook its source.
  • I always thought it was the particular partner I had chosen who had caused me the pain.
  • I left. Him. Home. Jobs. Friends. Family.
  • I repeated the cycle, leaving this man for that man and that one for still another. And none of them was the Goddess I was looking for, and surely, that is what I was doing even when I didn’t know it. This was an imprint I picked up from my father’s search for Her that ended in his abuse of me, and that caused me to seek Her in relationships, which abused me as he had.
  • I would start a new life. I would discover it was the old life, maybe a little better in some ways, maybe a little worse. But it was the same pattern, and I would have to make life work all over again. New home. Sometimes an apartment. Sometimes a house. Sometimes a pauper. Sometimes a millionaire.
After many repetitions of this pattern, finally, I brought it into the light. Then I let the wound itself preoccupy me, and I sought to find out and prove that I had been wounded. Those were stages I could not by-pass. I wonder if anyone can.

Still, the woman that I have become turns away from being consumed and goes inward, goes inward daily, because she knows that is where the Source is, where growth and safety lie, and where all that has been lost will be regained.

My healing has been life-long and my pattern of my healing is this:

Through dream guidance and psychotherapy, through visions, meditation, prayer, reflective reading, channeled guidance from Tamara and Mary Magdalene, Chi Gong, and through healing others, I attend to my holiness and remake my wholeness each day. When I abandon my daily rituals of healing, I become sick. I become ensnared in the dis-eased pattern again, and even my old second chakra bladder pain returns.

Though I long for it and may yet create it through my longing, so far for me, there has been no one moment of complete healing. Perhaps while I remain in the outer world that created my woundedness and more importantly, continues to wound me energetically through thought and deed with it patriarchal men’s-locker-room consciousness, my healing must remain a continuous process, a continual “getting over it,” full of falls and full of recoveries and full of openings to the Goddess within me, who it turns out, has traveled through the goddess-less years with me and endured the accumulated misogyny of the last four thousand years because I have, and you have, held her in our collective memories.

Now as she rises in me, as she comes because I call her name, and as she rises in others, she will come back to the world and heal it the way she heals me daily. Eventually, the pattern of energy, the matrix, will shift so that the wounding of the Goddess within each of us is no longer possible. And each day I “get over it,” without denying or repressing the original wound, I am helping to call her healing forth.

-Excerpted from Growing Up Without the Goddess: A Journey through Sexual Abuse to the Sacred Embrace of Mary Magdalene by Sandra Pope