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Generational guilt

I was 17 years old when one evening, as so many times before, I walked down our street from our house to my uncle and aunt’s house. Those who know me also know that I come from a small town, a small country. Everyone in our neighborhood knew everyone, even in our town at the time there weren’t a lot of people we or our parents didn’t know. At the time, then in my small town, a small town, a small street where I grew up, there was nothing to worry about in terms of my own safety. That evening the car was passing, as so many times before, but that evening the car decided to stop next to me and the driver I did not know lowered the window glass. At first I thought he must have strayed, out of the corner of my eye I noticed foreign license plates. To my surprise, he didn't ask me for directions, he asked if I was from here, to which I answered "yes". I think the rest of the conversation went in the style of his kind but persistent persuasion to come with him to Germany where I would work. He insisted without giving up as the reason for his persuasion became more and more clear to me. I don't know how he gave up, or how I walked the last hundred meters to my uncle's house. I remember the panic that slowly but surely began to flow into my body, I remember the rapid heartbeat and I remember, surprisingly of all: GUILT.

Without knowing why, I was overwhelmed with guilt: I must have somehow provoked that encounter, his call, his insistence. I am responsible for what happened to me. Who else but me?

I don’t know what I was doing the rest of that night. I remember for days after that thinking about whether he would to come back, whether he would put me in the car without anyone knowing what had happened to me. I was tormented by the question of why he didn't actually put me in the car that night because in those ten minutes or an eternity (as it seemed to me) no one walked down the street. Would anyone have even seen him decide to take me?

The shame and guilt that altered me was a factor enough not to tell anyone about it.

I didn’t understand where my emotions were coming from, but they were strong and real enough to silence something in them that shook me deeply at its core. I am sure that I was afraid and that I doubted the intentions of those I did not know. Long after that, I jokingly recounted the event to my then-boyfriend and some friends.

It passed, it didn't matter what caused it.

It will take me years to realize what is woven into the core of my emotions. It will take almost a lifetime for me to understand the full extent of what has been conditioned for generations, which is woven into that magical DNA that determines that we are born as women.

We-whose rights have been fought for by so many, we whose strength is hidden in wombs ready to welcome generations of new ones, we whose true strength has so many nuances and layers deeply woven into the epithelium of all cells ever woven into the cosmos, we who are more than our breasts, hips , the secrets of those deep, dark parts of our birth channels and vaginas - we, women have for generations been reduced to the sexual objects of those who potents and powers are increased with the level of their testosterone, the size of their biceps, baritones whipping arrows to mark their rights - us.

I grew up "almost" in the West, I lived in civilized societies and countries where women are not seen as belonging to the "stronger" sex, but how misleading it is - the apparent truth will be shown throughout all my years.

There have always been and still are men who felt that I owed them something, that by being a woman I had a certain role, that by having a vagina, they had the right to claim ownership of my body.

We may be emancipated and free in European countries, but the way they look at us has many nuances.

Just ask yourself how fathers look at their sons and how they look at their daughters. What messages they send them in their upbringing depending on their gender, what roles they give them, what they fear when it becomes clear to them that they are approaching sexual maturity, how jokes are still being made about sons who need to "conquer" women and possibly more them, and how daughters should be imprisoned in monasteries.

I went to live in the West as a married and somewhat accomplished woman, with my rights, views, visions, feelings. And then I thought we were all the same: equal in those rights to be women: free and powerful to be and do whatever we want. And in the West, there are men who think that women, by being women, are their property. And in the West, there are those who will try to diminish your strength with their strength, just because they are of the opposite sex.

I have worked with girls, women, men, who still look at women as an object of possession and those who are born into it accept it as part of their destiny.

There are so many cultures and in each so much legacy passed on to those who come after that it is no longer even thought of as something created to be controlled, to establish an unequal distribution of power for the purpose of control.

And then that guilt remains.

The guilt of women kept in their pelvis that keeps all the secrets of the Mother Earth and what she created to pass onto us. Guilt that is so deep that we can't see the end of it. It sinks into us, fills us, overwhelms us.

I'm guilty.

It's her fault.

They are to blame.


Because they reveal a part of bare skin, because they look at you in an inappropriate way in the passage, because their smile attracts attention, because they provoke by the fact that their breasts are outlined under airy shirts, because their hips have a rhythm that challenges, because they are where they are - so they are guilty .

I wonder how many years back we have to go to get to the first woman that felt the guilt of being a woman. The one who must have asked for it was raped. The one that imposed itself was used.

Both her shame and guilt were justified, they were passed on to others and to others behind her and to so many others who came.

And we tried to free ourselves, emancipate ourselves, impose our power and demand respect, but did we really succeed in that?

A few months ago, we lived in a villa in the Dominican Republic. There we met people who, like us, were guests, but also those who worked in the villa: cleaners, cooks, security guards, gardeners… People who were kind and who wanted to interact with us: socialise, exchange a few words , do you a favor because you were dear or they needed some more money.

Our children still talk with sadness and love about Carmen, a single mother who washed the dishes, brought them mangoes and bananas and called them by the most beautiful names.

There were, as everywhere in the world, people worth getting to know, be with and socialise. Honest and warm people who provoke the most wonderful feelings with their appearance. I would say that for every hundred, maybe a thousand or more, there comes one that will deprive you of something, deceive you, and otherwise hurt you.

I would never be without those wonderful people who touch our heart and soul just because there is a risk that there will be one from that other group among them.

What I want to say is that there is aways that risk everywhere and that regardless of it, I still want to live in interaction with the world and those I meet in that world.

But unfortunately, in a few months, those who provoked this writing have appeared. And I do not do this as a glorification of their appearances and what they have brought into my life, but as a reminder that we still live where there are those who diminish our women’s rights just because we are women.

Everyone knows about the reputation of Latino men. The same is true in these areas, but where there is a very fine line between Latino charm and inappropriate behavior is my reminder that women are still at that level as the first one we condemned just because she was a woman.

In the villa where we lived, there was a gardener who seemed to be kind to everyone. He brought fruit from the garden, chatted about the weather, the maintenance of the villa, his family. He offered me his coffee in the morning and with a cup of coffee we would chat about previous guests, children, our cultures. Many times he helped me and others in repairing things, in advice about edible herbs from the garden, he organised a dinner by the campfire on the beach, he brought things that were normally sold to us tourists at high prices.

When one morning in the shared kitchen, in a language I understood very little at the time and could speak even less, he offered me to go to the next beach, to a place where we could have sex, and when he explained that he could not stop thinking and dreaming about me and thinking about killing my husband, things got a completely different look at one point. From a friendly relationship on my part, I suddenly became the object of someone’s imagination. In shock and apparent delusion, in bad Spanish, I responded to him, turning everything into a joke, insisting he stop. But his intentions were clear, his desire to get what he wanted did not stop him even at the cost of losing the job he had.

I don't know how I turned him down, I wish I had been more determined and that for God's sake I didn't have that eternal need to stay kind. Sometimes I wonder why I am so polite, why I always try to please others.

And then in shock I tried to deny myself everything, to justify myself.

And guilt again. My fault. I certainly encouraged him to do so, I was too kind, I smiled the wrong way, I walked in yoga clothes in the morning that was not appropriate, I may have said something when I did not fully understand his Spanish. Well yes, I am for God's sake, responsible.

And for three days I walked in the shame and guilt of my own consciousness.

For the same reasons, I did not tell anyone, until at one point the absurdity of the situation that others saw me and him as friends, led me to confess everything to my partner and our friends who convinced me of my innocence and his inappropriate behaviour. eventually provoked the involvement of the villa's manager and owners, him being fired as a sanction.

But what was left was the realization of endangering me as a person and what I gave. Doubt in my own treatment of others, doubt in what I am and what messages I send, doubt in my actions, my appearance, all that I ultimately am. And then that guilt that overwhelmed me, so the feeling of betrayal, sadness and anger and all mixed into one. I was even sorry he lost his job because of me.

Because of me - that's how I explained it, deeply aware that it was because of him. But I still felt responsible.

Because I'm a woman. Because someone implanted it in my genes, in my cells, in everything a woman carries.

And then it passed.

I cried. I was angry, meditating, processing, and allowing myself to return to the confidence I have in myself and the world I live in.

Everything that I am and that I have been working on for the last two years in my own personal development and the therapy that I have been going through, I had to become aware of and integrate it all again.

A few weeks ago, as part of the cocoa training I was in, I also had womb healing - a wonderful and so powerful experience that I want to give to other women.

And then a week ago, coming back from yoga, I experienced a new situation in the middle of the day.

It was Sunday, sunny and hot, the yoga I have been practicing this month is intense and strenuous and I sweat a lot, I put a silk scarf over my shoulder to protect me from the sun, I put an audio book in my ears and I walked the path I always walk, full of cars and people. In one part, just before the house we are staying in now, there is a shortcut, 30 meters long. I went thought, concentrating on the book in my ears, and I didn't even hear him approach me from behind. He was on a bicycle, young, strong-armed. He scared me, I jumped to the side. He apologized for that. I thought he was just passing by and unaware that he would scare me from behind. But then he began to ask if I was alone and with one hand started to pull me aside. I said “no”, he kept crossing my path and pulling me aside knowing what he wanted. And for God's sake, I was kind at first, but something gave me the strength to say "no" firmly, push him aside and run to the exit of that shortcut. And then I kept running without turning around anymore. My heart was pounding, panic overwhelmed me.

And then, as expected, came the guilt: you were inappropriately dressed, you walked alone, you were flashing your shoulder, you smiled and greeted them in passing by (we always do that), you believed you were safe.

This time I didn’t need time to tell my husband what happened. But it struck me equally: the fact that just because I am a woman provokes someone, it is enough for someone to feel called to approach me, to impose himself on me, to violate my rights and boundaries.

And then I was struck by the sadness of that realization: the sadness that one day my daughters will feel the same defeat just because they were born as women.

Someone asked me, after my Instagram post, if I feel fear for the girls here.

I feel, I sincerely feel fear these last days. Justified, of course.

And I don't want that fear to define me, limit me, or stray me. I want to beat it, break it down, process it. I do not want to remain trapped in it and deprived of all possibilities.

I once said that I believe and want to live free from the fears of what the future holds.

Life is full of risks. Travel is full of risks. Even in the small place I came from, there are risks of living.

But I do not want and refuse to deny myself all the opportunities and wonderful possibilities that risks can jeopardize.

I am not afraid to walk the world, to travel, to live. I'm not afraid to be me.

I am 38 years old, the last two I worked so hard on myself that I finally accept and love everything I am: to be a woman, to be attractive, to be joyful at heart and to cope with everything that life occasionally challenges me with, I love my body (which I am finally stopped torturing and punishing just because it doesn’t follow some norm imposed from the culture we are living in), I love what I am and I don’t want to give it up. I refuse to be a victim and at the same time knowing painfully that I am - that I became that without asking or provoking to become that.

I want to talk about this on my own behalf, on behalf of my daughters and all the women who once felt threatened, violated, hurt, guilty without really being that.

We are women. We are strong, but also vulnerable because we are women.

I am a romantic, a dreamer and an idealist.

I am the mother of two daughters who we raise to be open, kind, sensible and empathic. They are smart, sweet and loving. I hope, on their behalf and on behalf of all other girls and women, that they will get rid of the imposed legacies of our mothers and grandmothers, a legacy in which male power is used as a tool to control them. I hope that their values ​​will not be exploited or taken as invitations to be exploited.

I am a dreamer and an idealist, but it is clear to me that I need grains of realism for life and sometimes life gives me more than that. At the same time, I hope my wishes for their future will fly high to the stars and and scatter like grains of magical dust that will become realities.

And I hope that our sons will grow up in a love that teaches them compassion and that their power lies not in imposing their strength and controlling women, but in glorifying women’s strength and values. I hope that one day we will stop looking at men as macho and allow them to be aware of their feminine energy and tenderness that has more power than all the muscles that can capture and crush someone’s size and strength.

I am writing this to get rid of shame, sadness, anger, disappointment. And guilt - and eternal guilt that does not serve us and that is not truly ours.

Just because we are women, we are not guilty.

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