When I was in my teens I always thought “tragic” was such a glamorous word. There was something about pain that was so beautiful, so comfortable to me. But, reflecting on those years, I see now that it is only because it was the only world I knew. Tragic HAD to be beautiful, because otherwise my foundation would crumble. As a former drug addict, if my addiction couldn’t be seen as “cool,” or my pain as “pretty,” then I’d have to clean up and rebuild.
So, this week’s ThursdayThinks, featuring yet another Oracle Card from my Modern Goddess Oracle Deck (illustrated by @tamalgoth) I’ve decided to list some words that SHOULD be glamorized for those that need it. Feel free to post yours in the comments <3
Some of these words might even be your core values, or may inspire you to live fully. Use this list when you feel down and begin to do things that aren’t aligned with your soul, but with tragedy. I implore you, if “tragic” is something you feel akin to, take this list and start looking up, because when the Tower crumbles, new beginnings emerge. Stay witchy, beautiful ones ( *)
When shitty things happen to you, and they will through the course of your life, you have two clear routes to take. As discussed in the previous post, you can turn to whiney victimhood, or to raw vulnerability that helps you move on in an organic way.
But before you get to this fork in the road, there is a long stretch of grieving. Some of us know how to grieve, in fact, we’re seasoned professionals. Some of us others, however, would rather push the grief down or aside until it takes the wheel as an act of rebellion, and we’re forced down the road of panicky, inconsistent victimhood.
So for all of the events, people, pets, homes, jobs, or traumas you never got to grieve, I have an exercise in purging some of the anger that leads us down the back alley of victimhood.
We’re going to write down everything we wish we could have said “no” to.
I suggest Post-it notes or index cards. You want to write each specific event on a card of it’s own. We aren’t making a list, we’re giving individual space to each shitty life event.
There is no need to journal on this either. Give your event a title, and as you write it down, imagine what it would look like if you could have said “no” to this particular event.
Then, for each card, I want you to burn it (safely!) over an open flame. As you do, say the following:
“I cannot change the past, but I can re-route my future. I accept the reality of the present, and release my anger towards ___________”
This should help to begin a revolutionary healing process. Acceptance is the final stage of grief in the Kübler- Ross Grief Cycle. But we must move through the other six stages in order to get there.
What I find people hang on to the most in grief is guilt and anger. This ritual should alleviate some of those feelings so you can continue your journey inward, and then onward. Stay strong, and, as always, stay witchy ( *)
It is a very important distinction to make between an act that serves us versus an act that alienates us. One that I’d like to point out today is the difference between being vulnerable and being a victim.
If you’re feeling beaten down, as with the Ten of Swords, there is a clear cut choice to make here. You can sit with outward blame and project the betrayal on others, a lá victimhood, or you can choose to be vulnerable, take responsibility, and heal.
Well what does all of that mean?
Vulnerability takes Strength. No only does it takes courage to feel your emotions authentically, but to let someone in that you trust can be outright scary! But this is the exact reason why talk therapy, 12 step programs, and life coaching alike work; they all require a degree of vulnerability and sharing to release some of the inside pressure in order to move on. Being vulnerable means taking responsibility for your emotions and dealing with them in a constructive manner. Being vulnerable means loving yourself enough to let your feelings out before they bubble up to the surface.
On the flip-side, being a victim requires no bravery whatsoever. In fact, victimhood kind of embodies this melting figure into a bubbling pool of liquid for me. When you’re a “victim,” you’re accepting no personal responsibility for your feelings.
This is not to say that all victims have control over the reason for their grief or trauma. Not by a long shot. But EVERYONE has the power to heal. When something terrible happens to you, like an attack or a death or a fire, that is not your fault, and I am not insinuating that it is. However, your response to those occurrences are all under your control. You can grieve, pick yourself up from your boot straps, and move on through your life, or you can sit there and say woe is me and never get anything done.
And to be extremely frank, being around a victim is SO BORING. Sitting next to someone who can’t stop complaining about how awful their life is and how things keep happening TO them is such a yawn. It is a huge turnoff.
But I’ll let you in on a little secret…
You have complete control over your life. Facing a stream of setbacks with grace and vulnerability will only serve you in the long run. And projecting blame will only make your life seem terrible to you and everyone around you.
RuPaul said it best, “Life is hard if you do, and life is hard if you don’t.” Any which way you slice it, life is gunna throw things your way. But building character and creating a world in which you are the supreme ruler takes guts, moxie, and is all well worth it.
Get vulnerable, feel all your feelings, and stay witchy ( *)
If you can’t open the link (or just don’t want to) here is the short synopsis:
A woman was groped on a high traffic block in New York City’s East Village, and when she turned to confront her attacker, she was mercilessly beat before the attacker fled.
I hope I don’t need to express WHY this is so horribly disgusting.
A similar situation happened to me not too long ago, and, as a writer, I penned a short statement in my notes as I was shaking on the train on the way to work. Here is what I wrote:
This morning I was sexually assaulted in broad daylight.
A man came swiftly behind me and stuck his hand up my skirt. Without hesitation, I took my phone that was in my hand, encased in the largest case in America, and smacked him across the face.
He said “sorry” and ran away before I could grab him by the collar and take him to any policeman I could find. And while he got a nano-second thrill, I was left shaking and afraid.
I am still so shaken up by this event that I can’t think straight. I’m angry, I’m scared, I’m scarred, I’m hurt. But most of all I’m disappointed.
This shit HAS TO STOP. Every day I see men demoralizing women and it is not ok. WE ARE HUMANS. WE ARE EQUALS.
WE ARE NOT OBJECTS.
Now, my reaction to swing was a gut instinct. I feel that I need to protect myself by any means necessary, and I swing when I feel threatened. It was not thought of, nor do I condone violence, but it was merely a fight or flight mechanism. I fought. However, afterwards I couldn’t move because I was shaking so badly.
When this woman turned in a righteous action to defend her womanhood, she was beat down by a sick bastard who defended his right to treat her like a piece of meat. This is the type of shit that makes women feel helpless and afraid.
Now unfortunately I am no stranger to sexual abuse. This is an all too familiar occurrence for me and many women I know. I have worked through a lot of my emotional issues regarding these problems, but when things like this keep happening to women, it’s hard not to feel afraid and harvest some aggression towards men.
When I was sexually assaulted on the street, it took me down to my lowest level. Every piece of confidence was stripped from me and I felt naked and exposed. Anyone that sees me on a daily basis knows that that is NOT my personality. I am big, bold, and brassy on any given day. But when someone is treated as an object, its almost impossible not to feel objectified.
I hate that my attacker had that power over me. And this is why I immediately talked it through and wrote about it. Because I needed to take myself back.
People. We just made history. For the first time, a woman has been nominated the presidential candidate for a major party. It took far too long, in my opinion, but at least its damn progress. And we still have such a long way to go in the way we treat women. Men are congratulated for their sexual escapades, while women are treated like sluts. Men are forgiven for their taking advantage of women, and women are blamed for enticing men. Men are allowed to wear whatever they want, and women are either scrutinized for not being sexy enough, or for dressing to provocatively.
Men and women alike need to work together to end this abuse. Women, we need to band together to fight back, stop something when we see it, raise our boys right, and fight for respect whenever we can. Men, you need to remember that your mothers, your sisters, and your daughters are women. Would you ever treat them as an object, or subhuman?
As an avid feminist, I could go on forever on this topic. Instead, I’m going to invite you to do something to start making a difference in sexual abuse towards women.
Well, if you feel compelled to do something, ANYTHING, in the hopes of gaining justice for this woman, and every woman out there, you can sign this petition from Change.org to remove Judge Aaron Persky from the bench for his clear leniency towards white male privilege and against women’s rights.
EVERY SINGLE DAY women are sexually abused and assaulted. We are treated less than. We are snubbed by our male counterparts when we don’t use our sexuality to get ahead. We are judged when we do. We are called bitches when we are strong. We are called bitches when we get stuff done (thank you Tina Fey). We are called bitches when we turn down sexual advances. This is a battle that we seemingly cannot win. But, in fact, we absolutely can. It starts with us, and again EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Lets make a promise to ourselves and to others right now that we will do everything in our power, no matter how small or how big, to end discrimination towards women. Stay strong. Stay feminists. Stay bitchy. And stay witchy. ( *)