Just returned from a 2-night 'date' with my new sweetheart. Starry-eyed mutual admiration. Long walks in the neighbourhood and kissing on the beach in the late-October rain. I come out of the public washroom to see his neat, lean form waiting for me and I think is this for real? This is passion and chemistry and lust, yes, but it's also cuddling on the couch, watching movies late into the night and then talking so much we suddenly realize it's 4am. We fit together, he and I. He's talking about how much he'd like to go motorbiking in Europe and he shoots me his mischievous grin and says "wanna come with me?" I know it's all hypothetical right now anyway but I bump his hip with mine and match his grin and say "I'll go anywhere with you, baby." And I mean it.
We can never predict the future. This time last month I was saying goodbye to one of the best summers I've ever had and feeling blue as I watched the seasons changing, saw my friends (and I) leaving the little town I love so much, wondered when I'd find someone who'd love me. Now I have just finished up another job I adore, I see my two best girlfriends from up north right here in Vancouver on the regular, and there is a lovely new man in my life who seems as thrilled to be with me as I am to be with him.
"And I don't know a single woman who has not had to deal with violence. Not one."
I see that on someone's Facebook wall and I feel cold inside. We are all debating the Jian Ghomeshi scandal on our FB pages, our blogs, our newspapers... What started off as disbelief that someone would be persecuted for their sexual kinks has flipped, for so many of us, into another kind of disbelief altogether. Again, I utter a silent prayer of thanks for my life. My lovers have been, without exception: kind, sweet, gentle, loving men who knew that they held the balance of physical power and strength and never, ever used it against me in any way. I have never been attacked, raped, or harmed by a stranger. I have experienced my share of harassment, like all women, but it's been pretty mild, all told. Unless this changes (and I pray that it never does), I will continue to be a member of an extremely fortunate minority. And the fact that I'm an anomaly is so terribly wrong.
I know a woman who suffered such horrific sexual abuse as a child (a child!) that she has permanent injuries. I know a woman who is verbally abused by her partner in front of other people, the same partner who loves her and looks after her in his way, and who probably has no idea that the way he talks to his girlfriend is wrong.
I open up my Facebook app on the way home this morning and see that a lovely woman, a member of the Wells and Barkerville community, has died very suddenly in the night. Another Facebook friend wrote: "I really can't believe that everyone of us is going to have to face death, there is no escape. It's so hard to be conscious of these things, it's hard to live and know this so clearly."
Amen to that. All I can do in the face of so much bad news, so many sad and violent and heartbreaking stories, is gather my loved ones around me, be compassionate to others who are not so lucky, and try to appreciate my happy little life as much as I can.