The Glass Slipper Illusion

Blood_and_Glass
The notion of the perfected woman has terrorized society for time out of mind. How many of us have tried to fit the glass slipper of perfection and then been heart sick to find it just won’t wear? Popular Culture thrives on the fragmentation of woman; it takes everyday girls and fractures their identity with the notion that they are not enough because they don’t look like the Barbie they grew up playing with. It tells them that they are either nice girls or naughty girls, girly girls or a tom boys, each label applied with a helping of judgment.

My friend Dianne told me that, “when we stopped binding woman’s feet we began binding their waists,” but I think this need to reconfigure women goes much deeper. I think it’s a fear based reaction to woman’s innate power, her place in the universal hierarchy and her need to survive a male dominated society. Women have spent several millennia trying to survive on their beauty and their wits. In the age when we had no voice our beauty spoke for us, our virtue was our strength, our husbands and fathers where our benefactors through which we were seen and heard.

Though the past is dead and Woman’s rights have pressed us into a new time we still cling to our ingrained notion that if we just look and act correctly we’ll be safe. Deep down I think woman’s perpetual dissimilation of self is a state of learned helplessness? We starve our bodies and hobble our feet with high heels while we dismantle our individuality in order to hide our human failings thus becoming someone else’s notion of acceptable. All of this striving after the intangible only serves to create a half human, a woman unprepared, unwilling and unable to deal with the rigor of a full and adventurous life.

I’ve spent my life watching the interactions between women. I’ve seen them tease and cajole, caution and command one another into fitting a mold established long before any of them were born. It’s dreadful the way we clip each other’s wings, call each other bitches and whores; siding time and again with our oppressors because we want to stay safe. Thousands of women fought against suffrage, thousands more stoned whores, millions have objectified and sold their daughters, millions more have turned away from their true selves in order to embody the ideal of what they were told a woman should be.

What is a woman? Isn’t she a spirit in form moving in a world teeming with experience? Didn’t God make her and doesn’t that simple fact make her just as worthy and brilliant as all his other worthy and brilliant creations? What is there that needs alteration? Why do we seek to conform what is already perfected when we live in a modern world where we can be more than just mother, whore, daughter or crone. We are as divinely crated as men! We came into this life to live, thrive and celebrate all our innate perfections and imperfections, not just as beautiful individuals but also as a dynamic whole. When we label woman, when we objectify our sisters and daughters we make an assault on our very right to exist. Only through loving and supporting one another will we raise a generation that lives in true equality, without fear or a need to dissimulate everything we naturally are.

Please take a moment to read the below treatise, The War on Men Through the Degradation of Woman, by Jada Pinkett-Smith

How is man to recognize his full self, his full power through the eyes of an incomplete woman?

The woman who has been stripped of Goddess recognition and diminished to a big ass and full breast for physical comfort only. The woman who has been silenced so she may forget her spiritual essence because her words stir too much thought outside of the pleasure space. The woman who has been diminished to covering all that rots inside of her with weaves and red bottom shoes.

I am sure the men, who restructured our societies from cultures that honored woman, had no idea of the outcome. They had no idea that eventually, even men would render themselves empty and longing for meaning, depth and connection.

There is a deep sadness when I witness a man that can’t recognize the emptiness he feels when he objectifies himself as a bank and truly believes he can buy love with things and status. It is painful to witness the betrayal when a woman takes him up on that offer.

He doesn’t recognize that the [creation] of a half woman has contributed to his repressed anger and frustration of feeling he is not enough. He then may love no woman or keep many half women as his prize.

He doesn’t recognize that it’s his submersion in the imbalanced warrior culture, where violence is the means of getting respect and power, as the reason he can break the face of the woman who bore him 4 four children.

When woman is lost, so is man. The truth is, woman is the window to a man’s heart and a man’s heart is the gateway to his soul.

Power and control will NEVER outweigh love.

May we all find our way.

~ Jada Pinkett-Smith, Sinuous Magazine (http://www.sinuousmag.com/)

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Choosing Healthy over Hellish Love: Understanding the Trauma Bond

I’ve known several people who believed in this phrase, “We always hurt the one’s we love.” These people weren’t naturally abusive but each had a brutal past, a despair based perspective and an intangible grief. They lived in a state of bitter despair, their days clouded with careless words, biting comebacks and bursts of violence. There were constant stories of war, drunkenness and past wrongs depicted so vividly that, even though I wasn’t there, I experienced them vicariously.

Trauma Bonds make you the secret keeper to other people’s traumatic experiences. These bonds hold you hostage to atrocities, forcing you to turn for support to those who witnessed hell with you. Break a trauma bond by starting a better life and you will never be forgiven for leaving your fellow victims alone with their pain.  Stay and you will be forever stuck at the scene of the crime, a captive victim to a hellish past.

Trauma bonds are fused by a love that goes beyond healthy. It asks that you bare your soul, set aside your values and immerse yourself in a cult like existence. The bond is so overwhelming that you forget who you are and what you ever wanted for yourself. Only the trauma exists; the perpetuated recollection of the darkest moments in life replayed again and again within the trauma bond collective.

Trauma bonds are defensive. Everyone outside the bond is viewed as a potential risk, criminal or predator. Within a trauma bond there is no room for growth, no room for happiness, success or healthy relationships with the outside world.

In my book, The Only Home I’ve Ever Known, my character Gidra is trauma bound to her mother Sophia. They survived a war, hid from enemy troops and forage for food through bombed out villages. With the wars end their trauma bond continues. It grows, warps and twists into a new kind of desperation which makes Gidra’s life impossible to endure. At the beginning of the book Sophia artfully recalls their shared past in order to maintain her control over her daughter. You and I have been through a lifetime together and there is no one in this world who will ever love you or know you the way I do. Please remember that when Parker starts to make you promises. Please remember how hard we’ve fought to stay together when life wanted to separate us.” With these well-chosen words Sophia strives to enforce the trauma bond and destroy any hope Gidra may have of a life outside their bond.

Identifying and breaking away from a trauma bond is an important step to discovering your autonomy.  If you are experiencing a relationship that leaves you feeling depleted or depressed it may be traumatically fused. Separation is usually the first step. Only through separation will you begin to gain a new perspective of the world around you. Secondly, forgive your trauma partners for the life they offered you. When you learn to let go of your past you will be ready to embrace your present. Practice self-protection. Set safety boundaries that free you to live authentically. Open your self to new experiences slowly. Too much too quickly can send you back into old habits.  Practice everyday gratitude (this I really can’t stress enough). Chose to be happy and remember that you do not owe your life to anyone. You were born to live each day on your terms. Go forth and truly live.

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