Wednesday, September 19, 2007

dangerous women

when the comments weren't working the other day i panicked and wanted some feedback on what i had written. i sent off two emails, one to dan brennan of faith dance, who is writing on male/female friendships and intimacy and one to one of my new friends here in my community - lydia. she and i are connecting on many different levels. this was her response (that i post here with full permission hoping that it helps others who are connecting too with these thoughts):
Thank you so much for saying you feel safe trusting your inner person with me. Those are words that mean the world to me and I will do all I can to see that trust is not broken. I wish I had some answers for you but I think this goes deeper than either of us and I think it has more to do with the society we were raised in and the whole masculine/feminine thing than it does with you (or me) personally.

I don't think that you are alone in those feelings. I think every one of us as women are battling with those same feelings in ourselves - those of us who are in touch with our feelings and are honest enough to admit them even to ourselves. And if we have been unfaithful to our true self in any way (and there is not a woman alive who has not been untrue to herself in one way or another) we find it next to impossible to ever fully trust ourselves again.

First I think we have to FULLY forgive ourselves for surviving this patriarchal world the only way we knew how, congratulate ourselves for growing enough to choose a healthier path for ourselves and then reassure ourselves that we will never HATE ourselves again - no matter what mistakes we make along the way.

Remember that every second you spend torturing yourself with these fears and concerns is time that robs you of being fully present to the beautiful life you have now and the beautiful people you have in it. LOVE YOURSELF and even love those terrible mistakes that fill you with shame now. It was all a part of finding the right path for you. And the burden of guilt rests with all of us for creating the society we live in. All we can do now is forgive ourselves, love ourselves, and do our best to make a better world for those following in our footsteps.
an email friend sent me this poem she wrote:

My Protector.

A source of external strength.
My source of internal strife.
She keeps me safe.
She threatens my life.

This physical weight.
This emotional baggage. Ties me to this earth.
Ties me to my life.
Keeps me safe.

From what, you say?
From me, I say.

The me, that given to self-discovery and indulgence
may lead me down a path I don’t want to go down.
That leads to a life of exhilaration, passion, love.

A place I long to be.
A place I cannot go.

Are we all two in one?
Does everyone need this protection like I do?
If so. Why don't they wear theirs like I do?
Where do they hide?

Me. I sink down in safety.
Warmth and safety.
Like wrapping up in a down-filled comforter.
Layers of soft, warm feathers (flesh).
Layers that cushion the blows of all their hurtful words...all my possible actions.

How do I let her go?
How do I expose myself?
How do I turn loose of my Protector?

Why do I need a Protector?
Who threatens my life?
I threaten my life.
I created my Protector in childhood.

I had no other constant by my side.
You say I did have a constant by my side?
God was by my side?
Yes. He was and is there.
My brain knows it to be so.

Ever so often my heart catches a
glimpse of his Love.

But still my heart questions.
Answers to questions I need not ask?
Questioning. To know.
To need to know.

What is it I need to know?

I need to know how to retire my Protector.

She's old. She’s heavy. She's tired.
She's holding me down, back.
I want to want her to go.
Lord, please help me let her go.

Lara N.

my friend anj left this in the comments:
This concern/fear/terror feeling of being dangerous is often part of the impact of sexual abuse as children for both women and men. It is as if we internalize that we are dangerous, as we, in our childish naivete and wanting to make the adult be ok, take on the responsibility for the abuse. In our heads, as adults, we know it is the responsibility of the abuser. In the heart and soul of the child inside, we call ourselves dangerous and bear the cost. That is why a man's admiring glance triggers shame.

I think a huge part of this damage done is the negative label it gives to being dangerous. Jesus was dangerous, and, I believe, as women of God we are called to be dangerous too. Of course, that means coming through seeing yourself as sexually dangerous.
dangerous. yes - that is truly it. dangerous. how i long to be dangerous in the way jesus was/is dangerous. now, how to get from "a" to "b" to "d" (as in dangerous, like jesus and these amazing women!)


anj said...

oh fellow L'Engle fan - here is where a tesseract would come in handy!

Dan said...


What a precious gift you have given other women. What a precious gift you are to women men. You've come such a long way. I liked Lydia's comments. Self-contempt and fear are so interconnected aren't they? It's such an act of intimacy to receive the goodness and beauty of who we are as sexual beings in Christ, is it not? It's what we long for and yet may fear the most. That's a such risk we are wrestling with shame and self-contempt. To step out into that "open space" to receive it.

Sarah Louise said...

ooh, it's that quote from Akeelah and the bee...

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. (Marianne Williamson)