Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise. – Surangama Sutra
My friend answered me.
It was sweet. It made me cry. Out of respect for him I wont share his words but trust me, I would love to. He did also comment on the last posting after he found this blog.
(Thank you again, A).
It occurred to me, as it has so many times in my life, that much (too much) of my present day interactions are very jaded by past. I suppose this is true with everyone. We all see the present day through the lens of the past. We are conditioned to a certain set of beliefs, expectations, and interactions with the world around us. Those beliefs could be completely inaccurate. It takes a great deal of work to rewire ourselves to not react to present day situations with reactions from the past. It takes a tremendous amount of fortitude to take the chance on trusting anyone when all the important people in your life have failed you.
My experience, to date, in relation to how men view what happened to me has not been positive. My father forbade me to discuss it. He called me names – bad names. He told me no man would ever want me. I was dirty. Tarnished. Damaged goods. My daughters father was not around and even when he was, we did not discuss what happened to us or to our child. My ex husband preferred not to discuss it. To most of the men in my life my experience was either "no big deal" or something that should not be discussed or shared with strangers.
Both of these approaches were incredibly damaging to me. First it IS a big deal. In fact, it is a mongo huge ginormous mother effin big deal. Do not dismiss me and minimize my experience. More painful than dismissal was the casting of shame. Being told not to discuss something that is a major part of my life is akin to telling me I don’t matter, that I don’t exist, that the person I am in totality is not welcome or acceptable.
Having spent so many years either being dismissed or denied, I easily came to the conclusion that ALL men felt the way my dad did, my daughters father did, and my ex husband did. It wasn’t until I met my friend Joe that I realized, holy crow, some men can have compassion. Some men can be emotionally intelligent. Some men can see that the situation was awful but that does not translate to me being awful.
I wonder if this realization was my own doing or was it the doing of the men I met? Was it a maturation on my own part or did they show up and give me the gift of sight? Said differently, if you believe the Buddhist proverb "when the student is ready the teacher will appear" it might be true that I am finally meeting men that have compassion because I am personally finally ready to believe they exist.