Interdependent Web: Our bodies know trauma, mothers of sons, finding our way

Interdependent Web: Our bodies know trauma, mothers of sons, finding our way

A weekly roundup of blogs and other user-generated web content about Unitarian Universalism


Our bodies know trauma

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein writes that she is “almost unbearably disgusted to live in a nation where someone who aspires to the highest moral position in the land . . . has physically overpowered anyone and attempted to smother their cries of protest and distress.”

All women in this culture know every day that we live among predators disguised as “nice guys,” and every single woman I know has a story of terror—of knowing in a moment when the veneer falls away and the violent entitlement takes possession of the man and the situation, that we are not a person but an object. . . . If women you know are bitchy and cranky and dismissive right now, know that for many of us it is because we are enraged and traumatized. . . . If we have had the patience and courage to endure patriarchy, you can find the patience and courage to hear what it is like for us. (Facebook, September 18)

The Rev. Erika Hewitt paints a vivid picture of a women’s exercise class disrupted by a man’s gaze.

Hips were flung, shoulders were shimmied, and booties were bounced. . . .It was uninhibited female space. It was a safe vessel for play & laughter, and for taking collective unselfconscious pleasure in our bodies.

Then we noticed him: the hulking, pervy guy in his 70s who always stands at the glass wall, pretending not to leer. . . .

We women know in our bodies what it feels like to register safe, uninhibited female space. Our bodies know trauma even more intimately. Every woman knows what it’s like to feel encroached upon by a man who’s “not doing anything;” who’s been taught from birth to exonerate himself by turning women’s discomfort back on us as damning evidence of our own hypersensitivity. (Facebook, September 19)

The Rev. Heather Christensen [writes Heather’s editor] speaks to the way women are silenced.

What will it sound like when we rip away the hand covering our mouth and let loose our screams of pent-up fear, pain, and rage?

Sisters, we have suffered in silence for too many years. Let us lift up our voices, and scream. (Rev. Heather Lou, September 21)

Called to speak out about the allegations made about Brett Kavanaugh, the Rev. James Ford lays out how he has thought through the situation.

As best we can, we need to set aside the immediate political consequences and focus in on whether Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape Christine Blasey Ford. And who to believe? Just that. Knowing people do lie, women and men. And knowing that women suffer unwanted advances and assault all too often. So often I find I must begin with the assumption that when a woman makes such a claim, it is more likely true than not.

Based on everything that is available to us at this time, I believe Christine Blasey Ford. (Monkey Mind, September 18)

Mothers of sons

The Kavanaugh allegations remind the Rev. Cynthia Cain how important it is that mothers demand that their sons respect them.

Those of us who are mothers of sons can take an unflinching look at how we influenced our sons' attitudes. For me, there were things I did well, and things I could have done better. Rather than pointing fingers at the men on my Facebook timeline (the vast majority of whom are decent, respectful, and beyond laudable in how they treat women), it feels more productive to do some self-examination. Even now, with sons in their thirties and a boy in his teens, I can look at ways I allow people to treat me. I can demand respect and decency. I can believe that I deserve to be treated well. Those are things I can influence, and they matter. (A Jersey Girl in Kentucky, September 19)

Suzy Danger Spangenberg celebrates her relationship with her adult son.

My son left today after visiting for nearly a week. It was so wonderful having him home where we were both breathing the same air. . . .

I feel so lucky and know adulting isn’t easy for millennials. I appreciate the challenges he has faced and the young man he has become. I also appreciate the pride we both felt when the shed was built. His over having built it. Mine over having a hand in creating this amazing young man. (Facebook, September 18)

Finding our way

The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford writes that well-meaning attempts to lesson others’ anxiety robs them of a chance to learn to manage their own anxiety.

So, what do you do when someone is vibrating with anxiety?

Stay connected, but still clear about where they end and you begin. They may offer you their anxiety. Decline politely. If you can sit with them in their anxiety while they navigate how they're going to manage it, it is a gift. (Boots and Blessings, September 18)

The Rev. Karen Hering struggles to find the words to describe the expansive landscape she sees out her windows on a cross-country road trip.

This search for the right words reminds me of how challenging it can be to find adequate language for faith – so expansive it stretches from horizon to horizon, and beyond; and still it rushes in so close we know it best, though often namelessly, from the inside out. Also, like the desert hawk and tumbleweed, faith is not meant to stand still. To be boxed, shelved, stacked, stored – contained in any single vocabulary or grammar. It is made of time, relationship and movement. More than a static noun laid down in the dictionary, I experience faith as a current, connecting, charging, enlivening, transforming. It is known to make leaps. It has the power to span otherwise unbridgeable gaps. It will travel the distance when needed. (Karen Hering, September 13)

Marchaé Grair writes that “Sunday mornings can be so lonely or triggering for so many of us who have had bad experiences in the church.”

Those of us who hurt on Sunday mornings aren’t as alone as we think. We are the future of faith and spirituality. We are often the outcasts because we believe in something better and won’t settle for less. We will keep pushing for spaces that affirm identity and prioritize accountability.

May those of us who hurt on Sunday morning continue to heal. And may it be glorious. Amen. (Facebook, September 16)