…and some lives look just like what you thought you wanted. Open carefully and give back when necessary.
Recently, on a domestic trip, I grabbed the wrong suitcase from the luggage carousel and went to my hotel room.
The suitcase looked exactly like mine until I gave a closer look.
When I tried to open it, I saw that a zip tie had been used to secure the zippers.
Odd, I thought, but I just called down to Guest Services and they sent someone with a pair of scissors.
When the hotel staff member arrived he offered to also cut off the luggage tag and I told him, “Sure, go ahead.” How nice of him.
So now, I did not have the tag to check the name on the suitcase.
I laid the suitcase on the floor and then saw the “heavy” tag which, again, I thought was odd….I did not think it was that heavy. Perhaps I am just really strong!
Then I saw that the outer lining that protected the zipper was torn but I knew that my lining was perfect when I left home.
I opened the suitcase, MY suitcase, and WHOA……
A man’s belt and men’s shoes.
I slammed the suitcase SHUT and immediately called the airline.
I admitted my error, jumped into a taxi and WHEW, my suitcase was patiently waiting and I made the exchange.
The only question I asked was this, “Was the owner of this bag coming home? Did he at least get to go to a home stocked with lots of extra clothes?” She said, “Yes, this is home for him.” The airline person DID NOT even ask for my ID! It was clear to her from the whole story that the suitcase was indeed mine!
How can I turn this into a life lesson?
It took a night’s sleep for the lesson to form. Here goes!
Suppose that the suitcase represented a LIFE that I knowingly signed up for.
So let’s suppose marriage and being a married woman was the lot that was chosen.
How would I know IF the type of marriage (suitcase) was the kind that I signed up for?
I would have to live with the marriage for a while and see how it suited my values and desires.
I would do my best and be my best and respect my husband as I would hope he would respect me.
Suppose that I began to see signs of “Umm, this seems ODD.”
Much like the few times I thought ODD when I further inspected the luggage that was not mine.
I might begin to see that the “fabric” of my soul was being torn and ripped; much like the lining of the bag that I noticed was torn.
I might say, “Whoa, I came into this union whole and complete with good values and morals but now I see things that I did not see before.”
Perhaps, my spouse begins to cheat and get drunk and come home being belligerent. Perhaps, I keep making excuses and deny what I am seeing….a sign that things need to be addressed.
Next, I might be told that “women in this family do not __________.” This could be anything from talking to people outside the family or having to wear certain clothing, to not even showing your face when visitors arrive at your home.
I may continue to think… ODD, this is not the kind of restricted life for which I entered into legal contract!
Like the zip tie that I saw on the zippers that I did not put there, I may have again, not paid in depth attention to the first signs of a shrinking and bound life.
How about the “Heavy” sticker that I saw on the suitcase that was not mine? I may not realize that my feelings of self worth seem to be gone and my heart is heavy with grief. I may again, decide to ignore the signs that things are not what I want for my life.
Until, I take the time to actually OPEN the marriage and LOOK inside, I may NOT realize that what I am seeing is NOT what I want to have in my life.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes in “Women Who Run with Wolves” tells us that women who must break from a life that is not what they envisioned must “be able to see and STAND what they see.”
Able to See and Stand what you see!
What a powerful thought.
As far as the suitcase goes, I saw and I clearly understood that IT was not mine and I returned it.
In an abusive marriage, the woman MUST be able to open up her eyes and SEE very clearly that THIS ABUSE is NOT what she had agreed to and that she has been fooled.
Can she STAND to see the truth to save herself?
Please do not think that I am equating an abusive marriage with as simple a thing as a suitcase, I am not. I am only trying to tell you a story that would open up a few new windows in your soul, should you have to make a hard decision about your marriage or any relationship.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes also tells us that a woman MUST be able to answer a few questions and be ok with the responses.
One of these questions is, “What do I know deep in my ovarios that I wished I did not know?”
She refers to ovarios as the mythological part of the women that carries deep wisdom, where the seeds of knowledge are stored.
Life is not as easy as returning a suitcase that belongs to someone else.
It does not have to be as horrific as living with an abuser or predator either.
The choice is that of the one being abused.
The abused MUST be able to stand what she is seeing and make plans to save her life.
The abuser is NOT the one with the internal power.
The ABUSED has the internal power and she has to be willing to look into the darkness and see what only SHE can see.
Be brave and be strong and ASK for help.
Love and light,
Just the other day on a flight home from Trinidad I watched a movie with Vince Vaughn. It was the movie about Google and his character said, “If you fight for your limitations, you get to keep them.”
I immediately began to birth this blog. I have been struggling with some of the language around Gender Violence and I have been struggling with the impatience I feel when people say things like:
It will always be like this.
That’s just the way it is.
How are we going to fix what has always been broken?
In the vernacular of Trinidad, it’s “Whah yuh go do?”
It’s pronounced as one word, “Whahyuhgodo?”
It is usually followed by a shrug and a laugh that means it’s too hard to tackle or a sucking of the teeth. (Which means the speaker is quite done with the conversation.)
I have a HUGE problem with the “whahyuhgodo” attitude!
The line in the movie, “If you fight for your limitations, you get to keep them” made me realize why.
When we give up the fight to make things better, we fight for the limits and we put limits on our dreams for humanity.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that we can fix all the ills of humanity but when is it a good time to give up?
Should we give up when we are…
What’s the best time to give up the fight for a better way to treat our fellow humans?
Gender violence does not just hurt the women and girls.
Sons see their mothers being pummeled and broken.
Sons hear their sisters and mothers cowering and crying and feel helpless.
Sons are also attacked and made to feel broken.
Often children who are witnessing the violence are told NOT to help or the mother will be worse off.
Often the mother implores the children to “go back to sleep” even as she is fighting for her life.
Children are not stupid.
They know that their house is a war zone.
They know that neighbors know their house is a war zone and they see NO one trying to help them.
Can we STOP fighting for our limitations?
Can we begin to live each day a little brighter than the last?
Can we begin to HOLD dear the possibility that limitations are a coward’s way through tough times?
I do not want to live the life of a coward.
I want to live brave and strong and hopeful and for that I need to identify my limitations. I need to keep trying to find a better way into a world that is free from Gender Violence.
We owe it to every single child, boys as well as girls.
Let them grow up in houses full of love and hope.
Let them have limitations like which new planet to inhabit, not the limitation of wondering if Mom will be “sick” today and who will help with dinner and homework.
Love and light,
Donate to Indrani’s Light Foundation
Your donation will be used towards eradicating gender violence, training community leaders and sharing behaviour-change tools with people who are ready to leave violence behind and create a brighter, more peaceful world.