When the idea to write this began, the content in my head was light, friendly, filled with cuss words and dripping with sarcasm. But now, sitting at my keyboard, the reality of opening up about such an important subject is forcing me to rethink my words.
I am a mom. A confused, loud, clumsy mom. Covered with imperfections and fears I try desperately to not pass down to my children. Especially my young, beautiful, intelligent, ready to take on the world daughters. For them, I pray for opportunity to always be in their favor. That they know love and kindness. That they experience joy and beauty so intense their hearts swell and tears flow freely. The same way I experience joy and beauty every time I see their faces.
But the reality is they will experience the ugliness of humanity at some point in their lives. More so as they get older. As a mother, I want to shield my children from reality. Keep them in a bubble, block them from the horrors of life. As an adult, I know this is impossible. So instead, I try to prepare them with stories of my bad choices, acknowledgement of pressures they will soon face and discussions on possible resolutions to situations they may find themselves in. Every conversation ends with the same statement.
“I love you. I need you in my life. A world without you is a world I can’t live in.That will never change. So when you’re out there, facing these things, remember you are never alone. Come to me always”
This parenting technique is not often met with enthusiasm. In fact, on many occasions, when informed of my decision to have these discussions with my kids I’m met with dropped mouths and looks of complete horror. But this is the reality, 1 in 4 girls ( and 1 in 6 boys!) will be sexually assaulted before they turn 18. 1 in 3 women will be raped in their lifetimes. (http://www.rvap.org/_docs/pdf_documents/sexual%20assault%20statistics.pdf)
I am one of them. It’s funny to me that even now, when I think of rape, I picture violence, fear and strangers when none of that is what I experienced. I was young (15) I was naive, and all too eager to go to my first house party. It’s mind boggling how quickly the vultures start swarming when intoxication hits a young, clueless girl. I could relive each soul stomping moment thru words I type out on a keyboard, but to be honest, I don’t think my psyche could handle the trauma. Even 17 years later, that violence free, barely conscious moment when an acquaintance ignored my pleas to stop still leaves me shaken and teary eyed. Desperate for the memory to stop.
I was young. I was naive. I was too trusting.I was drunk.
Am I saying I deserved it? NO
I don’t care how drunk, how slutty they were dressed or what a person was doing with you physically before they said no, once the word “no” is out there, It. Means. No.
While the memory will always remove the air from my lungs and fill me with dread and regret I will never get a “redo”. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn anything.
For me, I learned to never drink something I didn’t make or open myself, always have a “babysitter” (100% sober person watching over the group) and to do everything I can to make sure I am always alert and aware of what is going on around me.
To my children, this means long , honest conversations about what they might face someday. Pleas for them to do what they can to protect themselves and equipping them with self defense techniques to protect them when all else fails.
I was lucky to find an instructor that understands the reality of the world and refuses to sugar coat anything. Through his training-both as a student who studied under the some if the greatest instructors in the world, and as a Sensi- my children are stronger, braver and wiser than I will ever be.
That is the purpose of a mother after all right? To make your children stronger, wiser, better versions of yourself?
Thanks to his teachings, I am raising bad asses.
Thanks to his teachings, I am raising ninjas.
Because when the shit hits the fan, I want to know my daughters can do this; ( yep, that’s a girl from our dojo, Bratchers Karate. Can your kid do this? Wouldn’t you sleep easier knowing they could?)