Unexpected post right here. I don’t tend to share super personal things here. Not for any specific reason, I just don’t.
But I just had one of those life changing moments and am having trouble processing it. And so I have come here to blurt out and maybe not even publish.
On the bus, there was a man, heavily tattooed and his girlfriend who got on with their grocery shopping. And as they sat down I thought I heard him swear at her. I looked up, and thought I must have been wrong and looked away again, only to then hear him start ranting at the general uselessness of women, and especially her. At how we don’t show our menfolk respect unless they pay us or punch us. And he generally berated her, everything about her.
There were others on the bus, but everyone else seemed to be looking out the window. And so I stared at him so that he would know I heard everything. As his girlfriend sat there nodding her head, looking at the ground, fidgeting, at all her described failings, and saying to him he was right to hit her. She deserved it.
And I was going to say something then and he looked at me and raised his fist to me and I lost all power to speak.
One moment I will regret forever, that I went back to when I was that nodding girl, and I lost all ability to even think. And I acted as cowardly as the other people on the bus staring out their windows. Leaving her to deal with his wrath or fists alone. I got off at the next stop, my stop and I did just stop literally. Fumbling through my bag for my phone.
Phoning my beloved in the tears that had now started, standing on the side of the road, watching the bus leave. He consoled me that I made the right choice, but I know I didn’t. Not one that I can live with anyway. And not one I will make again. That could have been my daughter and I left her alone. Fists or not, next time I will find my voice again and speak.
It reaffirms for me my decision to donate 10% of everything I sell to the Women’s Refuge at my first show in December. For her. For that girl on the bus, not able to look at any of us, not that she would have seen many people looking at her, but she would have seen me. I saw her. And I still am barely away from tears. I saw her.
And I did nothing.
And that will not happen again. To the gutless coward who raises his fists at me and her and other women, I can assure you that next time I will stand up anyway.
Because once I was that girl. Who was fed those same lies that everything was my fault. And I believed it. And I stayed. And no matter what he did. I stayed. And then I was alone with a son and I began to heal eventually. Still am. But once I was her.
And I am thinking about the sexual abuse I suffered as a child, from 5 to 9. And how I have always blamed myself a little. Because when I was 7, and I pretended to be asleep, he went to wake my little sister and I sat up and offered to go. I have always thought that that probably indicated to him that I enjoyed it. Despite my tears and begging.
And now as my daughter approaches 5. I think actually no. Actually nothing I could have done would make that right. I see myself not through the guilt I have always carried, but through the eyes of a mother and I look at her and think I was not the one to blame. Not at all. Not for any of it. Not for the sexual abuse. Not for the abuse. Not for the abuse in my relationship.
I have my own responsibilities in there, but I own them. I don’t own everyone else’s guilt.
And I see how important it is for my role as a mother to tell my daughter how loved and adored she is. How wonderfully precious and valuable she is. So that she knows. So she knows she is worth more than that. So she has the strength to say no and walk away when it matters.
So she always knows her worth.
More than I did.
More than the girl on the bus did.
Lest I forget.