I’m Letting Go

This young girl’s deposition in this NYT article broke my heart. I can count on one hand the women I know who DO NOT have a similar memory that has been shared in confidence. I’m not writing to rage against prep school culture. The finest human being I know graduated from Saint Paul’s, so it is not the institution, it is all of us. Most of us females who think we live our lives to earn respect mistake appeasement/approval for respect. Listening to this girl describe how she was trying to be polite, agreeable, and accommodating towards this boy, the school “spirit”, and trying to be a good host to her visiting parents, broke my heart, made my head explode, and reminded me of every woman I know. Even when we practice the yoga, we are trying to show, prove, and believe that we are doing our best. The thing is that we have a hard time believing it is our best if others don’t concur. Why else all those selfies, practice descriptions, and fretting whether we will be stopped  at an asana in public before we usually stop? In my case, I always have to frame aspects of my practice to be dedicated to something other than myself. Not just something greater than myself, that is not what I am addressing here, otherwise I would not feel suffering. I mean always thinking about not letting my teacher down, showing this new student that “anyone can do ashtanga” so they come back, remembering that I use $170 of our monthly budget to pant and huff so I’d better mean it, etc, etc. My friend who graduated from St Paul’s is like a brother to me. He moved away and his wife and I are friends but not close. I always initiate reunions and always remember the birthdays. I think he feels like crap every time I wish him a HBD because he remembers that he forgot mine. So this year, I am letting go. I do not love him any less, I just don’t want to feel that I have to keep on doing it to call myself a good friend or a good person.

15 thoughts on “I’m Letting Go

  1. Wow. Thank you for writing this. Struggling with a particularly strong bout of ‘bad ashtangi’ over here and writing endless lists in my head that justify the self-flagellation and the endless cycle of ‘proving’ something, anything. So tired.

      • Seriously. I thought that’s what the yoga was for! hahahaha. Not continuing to Mysore, haven’t heard and not interested in playing phone tag to get a confirmation. Instead, I’ll be decompressing in BALI! 😀

        See you very very soon. Can’t wait to give you a nice big hug xoxox

  2. All so very true..and I laugh because I’m questioning even in an approval type fashion if I’ve gotten better at letting go of that need so insidiously ingrained❤️

    I was sexually assaulted my freshman year in college, by a friend who was supposed to be helping me after I had too much to drink…I managed to talk some sense into him before I was fully forcibly raped. When I cried about it to my parents, friends, etc, the blame was put on me for getting myself into that situation. The next year when I was drugged and raped by a Ted Bundy type, the police who came to interview me at the hospital shamed me to the point I didn’t tell anyone for a few years. The cuts and bruises on the outside healed much faster than the ones inside. There were no drug tests for ruphies yet. I have PTSD from the second incident…control issues, intense startle reflex..yoga has helped the physical aspects of PTSD healing more than anything else, I used to wake up all night jumping out of my skin, sleep comes more fitfully now, though I mercifully had a decent therapist as well. I share this openly, without shame, as I did nothing to cause these two boy men to choose such a course of action. My heart breaks for this lovely young lady, and yes, for the boy too. His reaction seems similar to that of the first boy who hurt me, bewildered, like this is just how it goes down. I hope he figured it out and didn’t repeat his actions. The only thing that still haunts me, is I feel the second was just in dress rehearsal for stepping up his game. Rape needs more draconian punishment sadly and society needs greater awareness.

  3. First, Maria, this is one of the most amazing things you’ve written here (although most of what you write here is amazing, and helps wake me up.) Thank you for expressing my thoughts on this. Love you.

    Pzip, sister, this hit home for me, too, and my heart breaks for this young lady, and for you, and for all of us, as I too am a victim of sexual assault (a teacher and coach – 33 years ago when I was 16.) He was 42, a “pillar of the community.” I worked for him in his driving school. He was sexually aggressive with me after a couple of months, but I managed to keep him at bay: not wanting to “offend him” I would let him grope and kiss me. My parents were broken up at the time. I was alone and afraid, did not know how to handle it. I knew for a fact that no one would believe me, and that I’d be labeled the town whore, so I told no one. I felt powerless to resist or escape this person. His wife sensed what was going on – but thought I was instigating it – and wanted to kill me. When she confronted me, I confirmed that he was “interested” in me but that “nothing had happened,” and that I was going to quit the job the next day. She begged me not to: “He’ll hate me,” she said. She was his victim, too. Still, I did quit a few days later, once I worked up my courage – but made the mistake of being alone with him when I did. He sexually assaulted me. The last words he spoke to me were, “By the way, that wasn’t rape.” I was not his last victim, btw. He went on to assault two more women, that I know of. None of us came forward. He still runs a driving school. He’s an old white haired grandpa now.

    Like you, I got good therapy, and I have no shame or guilt about this episode, and I have healed, but, it conditioned my behavior with men for almost 25 years. And you never really forget. I read accounts like this young woman’s, or yours, or of, say, Sandusky’s victims at Penn State, and I am brought right back into that feeling of powerlessness, of muteness, of negation. But, there’s a healthy dose of righteous anger, there, too, and I have regained the power he took from me. Thanks for sharing your story. And, thanks, Maria, for being a voice of righteous anger, too!! Hugs to both of you.

      • Michelle, I cannot adequately thank you enough for sharing your healed wound here. Even without knowing about this episode in your life I knew you were no ordinary survivor. You like P are a triumphant winners because you refuse to hate. you refuse to pretend nothing happened, and you are proof that recovery and full spiritual health is possible in spite of a culture that pretends that they are better than the guys in Saudi Arabia or the ISIS psychopaths making headlines. Same disease different symptoms..

      • Thank you, Maria. My only regret is not speaking out and exposing him, and in so doing, perhaps I could have kept those other young women safe. But, the fear of ostracism and public humiliation – and of not being believed – was too great.

        I spoke to his next victim at a High School reunion about 10 years ago. She harbored no ill will toward me when I apologized for not exposing him before he got to her. Said she had the identical experience of helplessness in the face of his power and status in the community, and told me that she kept quiet for the same reasons – and had the same regrets, as she thought he had sexually victimized the secretary who replaced her, too. What a serial SOB.

        Sigh. We did what we had to to “get through it.”

        (God, when I think of how many victims of sexual assault have said that to themselves, it makes my stomach churn.)

        On a lighter note, I am excited to see you in just a month and half, now! What fun we will have. What talks we will have. What a life experience!

        Love 🙂

  4. Just a quick note very late on a Friday night. I want to say that I am so grateful to everyone who reads my posts. I am humbled by your generous and gracious comments. The ones that are public and the ones that are private are equally healing, righteous, and valuable to us all.

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