So Now What? Kavanaugh, Trauma, Healing and Moving Forward

I have this fantasy of buying one of those sheds from Home Depot and having a friend sheet rock the thing, add some electricity and then make it the most girly place possible (that’s my taste, romantic, soft, flowery). There’d be a super big comfy chair, a laptop desk and it would smell like spring rain. And nobody will be able to find me. (The cover photo is where Roald Dahl wrote.)

Shortly after DeAngelo was arrested, a woman reached out to me who was sure he was her rapist. During the attack, her took her driver’s license. Her fear of him returning was so great, she left the state and lived quietly nearly 3,000 miles away – always looking over her shoulder, always wary of his return. She described herself as an introvert who rarely shared her experience with anyone.

This week, she sent me an email. The joy in her writing was evident. She was back in Orange County, she’d met with investigators there. She was even going to meet Orange County D.A. Investigator, Erika Hutchcraft (I’m jealous). I haven’t heard from her since, but what she said today made me cry! Because it was so beautiful. She thanked me and said,

“you listened and heard me, you stuck with me…”

I mean nothing, nothing could have gotten my attention more than these beautiful words.

The future of America sits on a precipice. The end goal is to divide us.

My goodness, I’m the last one to get all rose colored glasses and saccharine about things, but overall I’m an optimist. I love what John Legend said that about himself last night. If you watch the clip, he explains, “…I see a lot of opportunity for change [on the state and local level] even though I’m often frustrated by what’s happening nationally.” I have to say, this touched me. It stayed with me last night and today.

I have realized I have no control about what happens with the Supreme Court.

I was triggered, as were so many, by the rage demonstrated last week in the highest levels of our government. I truly had no opinion of Kavanaugh prior to his testimony – other than my political leanings, but I’m a grown-up, I know we are all different. Then he came to testify last Thursday. As he yelled and raged and obfuscated and lied (“it’s like quarters” – we aren’t idiots dude), my reaction to him came from the gut.

Clearly I am not alone.

I understand it’s hard for some guys to get this, but having a man rage at you is terrifying. God forbid it connects with any body memories, because that fight or flight instinct kicks in super fast. Heartbeat goes up, nerve endings start to twitch; I hear a roar in my head that is accompanied by this weird pressure. It’s kind of like having an earache and a headache and kind of not. The reaction is freaking out of our control and anyone with PTSD, male or female, understands. Anyone with trauma, understands.

But that’s not what this blog is about. 

This blog is about that beautiful sentence sent to me today. The gift I gave was unbelievable easy.

No matter what happens, we are still all neighbors*. Sure the guy down the street is an ass. But if his house burns down, I’m going to pitch in. Yes, the woman in the store seems rather racist, but if her kid runs toward the street, I’m going to grab for the kid. I’m convinced we can manage a lot of this crap locally. Individually. With our own actions.

And I want to share one example of what I mean.

When Black Lives Matter started, I took a look at my own behavior. Because I’m a compulsive talker in stores (again, this is why Katie won’t shop with me), I realized I had a pattern of who I would chat with: mostly white people. I didn’t know I was doing this, but once I was self-aware, I realized it was true.

That Christmas, I started talking to people not like me.

For example, someone of a different race, age, ethnic background; basically not a Rubenesque (see what I did there), short, white, mom who thinks she’s still cool. I started this two years ago and I’m still on board. Let me tell you what, it’s been awesome! My M.O. is to try and get people to smile or laugh and I’m proud to say, diversity pays! I am still stunned by how often I can get someone to smile or chat – even when they are incredibly different from me.

The point is don’t let them divide us. Reach out, listen, and hang in there. Observe your own patterns. See if there are adjustments you can make. I’d love to hear your stories. Anything positive. Now’s the time.


*I’m going to add a caveat because I’m not saying go adopt a white supremacist. I trust you understand my intent.

5 thoughts on “So Now What? Kavanaugh, Trauma, Healing and Moving Forward

  1. I was disturbed by Kavanaugh’s rageful fits too. Makes me sick that anger is being channeled into such conniving platforms. It’s a powerful emotion, but it is bs when used like he used it. I read somewhere he was coached to move his nomination going nowhere by amping up his anger on the floor. I hate this disgusting anger and finger-pointing (reactive formations) going on. I’m sure you’ve noticed how every time some outrageous behavior or lie is pointed out, they come back with the past administration. It’s a pattern. It’s a lie.

    Changing topic. You strike a lot of chords when you write. After every sentence I think I’m going to comment about that. Then the next sentence makes me laugh. Then the next gets me to think about something else. Wonderful reading. You have a new fan.

  2. I will also add that reading non-American literature and seeing non-American movies and TV can be extraordinarily eye-opening. I realise there’s been a lot of clamour for diversity, which is good, but that clamour seems limited to reading different perspectives within the United States—at least, that’s what it looks like from my non-American vantage point. Read something from Indonesia, watch something from South Korea, and then read another thing from Angola. At the very least, it can help you understand your own limitations.

    (P.S. I posted another comment on your previous post, but it never showed-up.)

    1. Oh man, you’re singing my tune. I get so frustrated because a lot of folks in the US have not traveled outside the US. There are even more who don’t travel at all – even between red and blue states (that’s not really a thing, our states are colored!). I love that you are reading my blog – I’m flattered. Thank you for your comments (and yeah, I’m behind a little!).

  3. I heard someone say once (and I wish I could remember who so they could get credit) to not just throw money or a helping hand to the homeless/ struggling community members but to actually take the time to really Speak to them as you would anyone. Now I’m an introvert, so I don’t normally go around starting conversations, but since then I have made an effort to take time to say, ” hey I’m Kelli, what’s your name?”, or “how was your day?”. Those small words have made a big difference in my life. I know (really KNOW) my homeless community members. I realised a long time ago I am not equipped to help them in a big way, but, when we see each other, we can say hi by name and I know their stories. I learned their stories are as varied as anyone’s. It’s been one of the best things I have ever decided to do. I highly recommend it to everyone no matter your political leanings. No one is better than you, and you are not better than anyone has always been my personal motto. We are all community members. I have found that our real conversations make them feel valued and also make me learn more and feel valued, too. So many times I have been having a bad day, and stopped to say to Joshua or Stewart and came away comforted by them.
    On a different note, someone in Austin (my city) on Twitter somewhat attacked my politics out of the blue over Kavanaugh. I have been triggered, also. I quickly realized she is my insurance agent. My first reaction was to be hateful back. That fight or flight reaction kicked in and I have been more often than not reacting with fight the last couple of years. This is not something I am proud of. Instead, I was Polite. I didn’t take the bait. She won’t be changing her mind if this liberal attacks back. Man it was hard lol. I had called Cruz embarrassing and sanctimonious which I stand by, but I tried to be rational with her and not take her bait. It seemed to take the wind out of her sails. I have a father much like her, so I will try to save my rage for when listening to him rant about the commie liberals. I’m not promising that I can always be so rational, but it did lead to her agreeing with me that this isn’t a game and we need representation for all people not just our “side”. I guess I learned you can change minds more with polite discourse than calling names on Twitter.
    Also on that thread I had a fellow Texan tell me to leave and move to California. Ha! Such a horrible place. Like is that the worst insult he can think of. Every place has its problems, but California seems to be doing just fine overall plus that Monterey Bay is a treasure. So I guess I’ve been Twitter banished from Texas. Cruz is still sanctimonious.

  4. I, too, was triggered by Kavanaugh’s outright denial, his victims descriptions of his drunk actions, and the whole horrid process. My own trauma is from the exact years as Doctor Ford’s and Ms. Ramirez’s. Even this morning, I had to remind myself to not let the rage win, but to channel it into useful energy that can, perhaps, lead to positive change.
    Thank you again for your words… and so glad that you, just by being there, helped someone who had been victimized by EARONS/GSK.

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