Note from Alex: I rarely ever feature guest bloggers, but I came across the following—it was originally posted as a “Note” on Facebook—and I fell in love with the sentiment. Caseylin Darcy is a Yoga Teacher and Massage Therapist [check out her website here] and an expectant mom. She is someone I largely know via social media and she is beyond bright and strong and she is wonderfully sweet. The questions she raises here are questions my wife and I ask ourselves all of the time with regard to the way we raise our daughter. Enjoy.
Yesterday at work one of our patients was being pretty inappropriate with me from the moment he walked in the door. When he didn’t get the reaction he was seeking (after numerous attempts) and instead got served some boundaries, he then took it to the next level when he went to “playfully” grab my shoulders and shake me.
Immediately I backed up, put my hands between him and I, and very assertively said, “Do not touch me.” I then gave him the choice to either sit down or get in line, but he clearly needed to get away from me. He sheepishly grinned, made a flip comment and ultimately chose to walk away. Good choice.
After this, all of my female co-workers commented on how “impressed and surprised” they were with the fact that I actually stood up for myself. This, of course, led me to think for the past 24 hours about how entirely messed up that whole moment in time actually was — especially the part where they were in awe of the fact that I maintained control over what happened to myself and my body.
Over the years, I have had to LEARN that I have rights as a human and a woman – no questions asked. I’ve also had to learn how to empower myself enough to enact them. This all took a long, long time – and I still have to practice it. Thankfully, I have come to realize that all the hard lessons in my youth were for great reasons: They brought me to yoga, and to healing my own traumas, and to eventually starting the Sacred Yogini Project. What more awesome way to heal than to share what I’ve learned and teach other women and survivors how to RECLAIM their own bodies and minds?
But here’s the question that really got me after yesterday: How do I, from the very beginning, teach this to my own daughter? Teach her these tools? Show her? Especially in her formative years, and definitely before I send her off into the world?
What I’ve come up with so far, is this: I will let her choose who she wants to hug, talk to, play with, be with, sit with – regardless of how they are related to her or know her. I will empower her to speak her mind clearly and firmly, but kindly. She will be given choices, not demands. I will advocate for her to always say exactly what she feels/needs/thinks – regardless of our supposed need to accommodate to other peoples ego’s — including my own. She will know what it is to be heard and really listened to. I will honor her intuition about her experiences or situations she feels uncomfortable about. I will teach her that she is in control of her own body at all times – no questions asked. (P.S. I still would say all these same things if she were a he.)
It’s clear in our society that we consistently blame and shame survivors. We call women “bitchy” or “rude” when they speak their minds — and instead expect them be polite and subservient. We ask men to “be tough” and “get over it” from everything ranging to being sensitive to living with PTSD – and instead expect them to be dominant and forceful, and even violent. We are simply taught, in so many subliminal ways, to be more concerned with having power and control over others than over ourselves.
Through all this thinking, I’ve come to the conclusion that if we offer our children a gigantic boost in becoming radically empowered and incredibly empathic little human beings by showing them through our own actions, words, behaviors and beliefs, as parents, that they have ownership and advocacy over themselves, we can really start to positively shake things up in this world.
I don’t know about you, but I’m about ready to name my daughter Revolution.