• Valentina Poletti

Disempowered women

The women in my family represent everything one can possibly do to screw up one's health and happiness. Crappy diet full of animal products and refined/processed foods, no sports, no meditation, lots of TV, very unhealthy relationships and, of course, lot and lots of negative thinking. When I observe the women in my family while they are eating I can sometimes feel their bodies suffering and squicking and screaming. Only they don't. They have learned to numb their bodies with drugs and pills and distractions, to the extent that it has become a separate entity from them, it is their enemy, not their friend. I somehow have always been the opposite. Ever since I was a little girl, I remember telling the women in my life that something was wrong, something needed to change. I can't recall how many times I told my mother she needed to divorce her husband. She did, eventually, after 35 years of unhappy marriage. I remember asking them for help with the abuses my father used to inflict on me, and their answers were always something in the line of "it is your fault", "you are doing something wrong", "such is life", "you just have to endure it", "there is nothing we can do". Those were the answers I got with any problem. I remember specifically one instance when I asked one of them what to do with my fear of sexual relationships as I grew into adolescence (which was quite reasonable I think in part due to the fact that when my mother had the bees talk with me she compared sex with rape). Her answer was: "oh there is nothing to do, your vigina is just another hole, just like your mouth." When I developed endometriosis, a terrible disease that lead me to have birth-like pains every time I had my period, again the answers were "you just have to endure it", "there is nothing you can do". The only solution that was proposed to me were visitations to some doctors that felt to me like robots devoid of empathy who just spit out some facts they learned in textbooks without any real understanding of what was going on (at that point I had developed quite a passion for science so I was stunned by their lack of logic and reasoning abilities). Their solutions felt unempathetic and cruel, and involved pills and unnecessary operations, so I refused them. I went on my own journey, far from my family of origin, and between many difficulties and adventures, I built my own healthy and happy life. Meanwhile the table have turned, the cards have been shuffled, and now these women in my family need my help; only the same mechanisms that stopped them from helping me when I was little now stop them from getting any help from me. Whenever I propose a solutions to them, their answers are always the same "I can't", "I'm too __ for that", "there is nothing that can be done", "such is life", "I just have to endure it". At first I got very frustrated as I saw them suffering and I felt powerless to do anything to help. It didn't matter how much I explained about how their unhealthy diet is dragging them down, how they need healthy relationships with people and themselves. They would not put any effort to change, and they would keep suffering. Now I am starting to let go in trying to change them. I see that in a way things are just as they should be.

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