on survivorhood fellowship and healing
About last night. Immense gratitude to all the ancestors, friends, teachers who have dreamed and lifted me in support of where I am now. Believed in the messy work I could do. Survivor centered healing spaces are so crucial to our continued existence in and transformation of a society where rape culture is OMNIPRESENT: normalized, internalized, encouraged and also stigmatized.
It's extremely common for someone to have experienced sexual violence, which includes "regular rape" as well as a range of other nonconsensual experiences from child sexual abuse to ritual abuse (escalations on the street, harassment of sex workers). **Most people have experienced sexual violation.** None of this is excusable, is normal, “doesn’t count” as sexual violence. Sexual assault is defined in a lot of different ways by survivors themselves and most simply put: unwanted sexual contact. This is not to boil down different experiences of harm or be prescriptive in any way. I want to say that for folks questioning whether their story fits into the ritual we held last night - there are already too many barriers repressing survivors and keeping us from accessing healing spaces without the questioning the validity of our own experiences. At this point in my life I have participated in fewer healing/wellness spaces for survivors than I have facilitated. It took at least a year of watching these kinds of events pass to feel like I could attend one. On top of the shame of "coming out" and relating to the incidents, I would wonder whether what I went through was sexual abuse? Was it sexual assault? Was it rape? I didn’t want to get it wrong or be defined by it or have to talk about it just to prove I needed support, even when I was triggered for weeks, even when I was contemplating suicide, even when I was angry that I was too scared to ride my bike or go for a walk alone or meet a person's eyes. Whatever. And when I attended one, or went to therapy, or told my partner, it's not like I just healed or the trauma just disappeared or I wasn't triggered right there and then. Though I have deeply wanted that, still ache for it, sometimes really often. Survivors know it's an ongoing struggle, it's not clean and we can support each other and it's worth celebrating our wisdom out loud and in real time and relaxing together and laughing and talking shit or meditating or seeing each other's lovely faces. To anyone who wanted to be there last night but wasn’t for whatever reason, I see you, I believe you and I believe in you. I love you. Thank you for caring for yourself in the ways that most align right now. And to those who shared the space with me: I love you too. Thanks for your trust in me, in us, in survivor wisdom.
Stillness for Survivors- This space is for survivors of sexual violence, and centers survivor wisdom, joy and embodiment!* In this workshop we will flow through a variety of tools for self-soothing, reStory-ation, pleasure and continued healing.
What we'll do:
- guided meditation and breathing techniques
- gentle and contemplative stretching
- collective visual art-making
- written reflection —————————————— Stillness with Sojourner Zenobia is a bi-monthly spiritual practice circle for the spectrum of trans, qpoc, womxn, cis women and gender non-conforming femmes of color. All gender expressions are welcome.
Where: Shambhala Chicago 37 N. Carpenter st
When: 7-9pm Space is accessible. A ramp from both the north and south sides up to the entrance. *$20 suggested donation No one turned away. Love offerings also accepted i.e. tea, tea lights, drawings, crafts, anything from the heart.