Monday, March 25, 2013

Comfort zone.

This weekend at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema we showed the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour. There was a brief introduction before each short film, so I found myself sitting in the theatre watching most of them. | laughed, teared up, and gasped at the incredible feats I was witnessing on the screen. More importantly, I was incredibly moved and motivated by the sheer determination of the people I saw accomplishing these near-impossible feats.

People from all walks of life were standing up to their fears and living life to the fullest. They were pushing themselves outside their comfort zone and finding strengths they never knew existed.
They were not taking life for granted.

Since I started the process of writing my one-woman show about life after rape, I'm finding that I'm awakening to the fact that I bitch about a lot of things that are pretty trivial when you look at the big picture. Yes, I get upset and angry about this or that, but sitting here typing this, I see that I really have no reason to bitch at all about 3/4 of the things I do end up bitching about. And that makes me feel like a total bitch.
I've simply been conditioned by the kind of society we live in to vent my frustrations out in this manner.

First World Problems, indeed.

My financial situation is horrific, my lungs are not (and never have been) fully 100% functional, I live in a pretty crappy neighbourhood, and I still suffer periodically from a paralyzing lack of self-confidence. But .... I'm alive. I could have checked out a few times (once at my attacker's hands, the others at my own) but I didn't. I'm still here for a reason, but haven't got a clue as to what that reason might be.

What I *do* know is that it's time for me to step up and push myself outside my comfort zone again. The past 2 years have provided opportunities for me to do so a few times, and though it was terrifying at first, the reward of getting through to the other side and feeling strong and in control afterwards was greater than anything I could have ever imagined.
It's incredible how writing all of this out makes me feel as strong as accomplishing the feat itself. I now promise to do more writing and pushing myself.

And it's a promise I make to not only you, my dear friends and readers, but also to myself.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A different approach.

If you know me, you'll know that I talk pretty openly about being raped when I was 14 years old.
I proudly came forward about being a survivor at the inaugural SlutWalk march in 2011, and was honoured to be a marshall for them the following year. Up til then, only a handful of people knew about my attack.
In being open and honest about what happened to me, it has been my hope that perhaps other survivors might feel confident enough to come forward about their attacks and start another leg of the healing journey.

I post several articles on Facebook about victim-blaming and victim-shaming, and every single time I do, I shake my head in disbelief and wonder how I could live in such a questionable society. I just don't understand why it's always the woman's fault for what she is wearing or how she is acting, and so on.

That is why I haven't made any public comment on the Steubenville case. Thousands of people are expressing their opinions and saying pretty much everything I'm feeling and thinking. And it's not that I don't want to share my point of view on the trial and the outcome - which is just as horrific as the rape itself - it's the fact that I'm not adding anything new. Yes, it's the same outrage, but my gut has been telling me to come at this from another point of view. Listening to my gut has pushed me out of my comfort zone many times to tackle something I'd rather run away from, and I'm a better person because of it every time as a result.

So here's my approach: I'm writing a one-woman show to explain how I've gone on living life as a rape survivor. It's been a roller coaster ride of emotions, and difficult times, but there have been a significant number of happy days filled with laughter and pride.

There are numerous people, websites, organizations, etc that are fighting to change the way society and the media portray rape. I hope that things change for the better and that they change soon, but I know it's a surprisingly uphill battle. I'm going to continue to do anything and everything to fight this fight with them all, but there's something in me that is telling me to tell a bit more of my story.

My rape.
My story.
My recovery.
My life.
My conquering of demons.
My laughter.

I didn't think I would live another minute after my attack, but I did.
I want other survivors to know that their life will continue as well, and that there will be times of depression, anger, and pain, but there will also be times filled with friends, hugs, music and dancing.

It's time for me to share this different perspective of rape, and if it can help make others see a different perspective, then maybe it might not be such an uphill battle after all.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Am I even making sense??

It's 3 o'clock in the morning and I'm starting my first blog post on here since August.

Does this mean that the 17th time is the charm? Is it 27 times by now?
I'm secretly hoping that because I haven't stopped writing completely, it's an excellent sign that I can still produce something witty.

I'm going to (desperately) try to do updates on the blog on the one-woman show I'm finally tackling.
Maybe I should wait til I've had a wee bit of sleep before I delve into the details on here. Even though I'm not overwhelmingly tired, my brain is still letting me know that I should really hit the hay and come back again when the sun is up. Sounds like a good plan.

Now just you watch - my head will hit the pillow and then my eyes will suddenly spring open. Pfft.

Well, I've got a lamp by the side of the bed, so I think I'll bring a pen and paper with me in case something comes to mind. Hopefully I'll write on the paper and not the pillow, though that's a pretty funny idea for a scene .....