this is the recipe of life
said my mother
as she held me in her arms as i wept
think of those flowers you plant
in the garden each year
they will teach you
that people too
in order to bloom
My fall began long before my rape. An illusion of inferiority trickled down my maternal line. Like the women who came before me, my power lay dormant—buried deep within. I inherited a monogrammed box designed for comfort, not change. There was no room for growth in my hand-me-down blueprint. Space was limited.
As a little girl, I didn’t know these things. I only knew my essence—a free flow of expression. I shared my heart, displayed my brilliance, and wielded my magic without question. My curiosity and spontaneity knew no end. My spirit had no restrictions. But as I grew, I fell out of my natural rhythm and fell into line.
School taught my little girl who she should be, so she forgot who she was. She adapted to her environment and learned how to accommodate. She fit in, stayed small, and kept the peace. She denied the things that made her heart sing in exchange for gold stars. The authority of the hard-hearted monsters in charge scared her into submission.
She heard bedtime stories about bad little girls who didn't follow the rules. She learned that there was a price to pay for defiance. She feared standing out, so she tried to blend in. She shapeshifted to avoid being punished, exiled, or shamed. Voices echoed from generations past reminding her to lower her voice, know her place, and tone it down.
Over time, her voice faded. Her life force dissipated. A plastic shell encased her soft underbelly. The color slowly drained from her cheeks until one day she disappeared.
As a young woman, I’d been groped, coerced, abused, and diminished by men. Hadn’t we all? But I didn’t include rape on the list of transgressions until another woman’s story found me a few years ago.
A fellow journalist wrote an essay about a college friend who’d casually mounted her while she slept. The rape wasn’t violent. She wasn’t drugged or drunk. She didn’t scream or resist. She called it “almost rape” because it looked nothing like what she’d seen on Law and Order: SVU.
Her words stirred a distant memory from my own college days. Like her, I woke up to a trusted friend on top of me, pounding away. I froze until it was over, pretending I was still asleep. It took me thirteen years to wake up.
This memory was hidden away with other moments of disempowerment and defeat. It uncovered other parts of me that were suspended in time, feigning sleep. This path into the underworld led me deeper and deeper until I reached the core of my wounded masculine and the heart of my disowned feminine. I descended into the shadowy places where misogyny had taken root inside me.
I saw the moments I’d betrayed, abandoned, and dishonored myself. I unearthed suppressed feelings of rage, injustice, and self-hatred. I heard all the reasons why I was to blame. I discovered vengeful, fearful, and dreadful characters within me. I met comatose parts of myself that needed urgent care. I breathed life back into these forgotten places and began the process of reclamation.
I sensed that there were other stories connected to mine just as mine had been linked to another woman’s. Other memories resting beneath the soil, gaining strength, waiting for the season to turn and more truth to be set free.
Ascension is not linear. It unfolds like a spiral—a winding staircase of revelation. It’s a delicate process that calls upon strength and vulnerability in equal measure. The tender shoot that rises must possess a willingness to be exposed and be seen as it stretches beyond what’s known.
For me, this expansion is like a revolving door that returns me again and again to the power of choice. I decide whether to allow fear to drive me back into my box and keep me stuck in a loop or whether to summon my courage and break the cycle. Breaking free from the constructs that confine me is a daily practice of choosing to perceive myself and the world in a new way.
I am responsible for the reality I create through my perceptions, intentions, and actions. I embrace the dynamic, shifting landscape of my inner world. I choose to focus on what I’m creating, not what needs to be destroyed. I am allowed to change my mind. I value wholeness, not perfection. I define loyalty as following my heart wherever it leads. I know that everything I could ever need exists within me. My only duty is to devote myself to what feels true to me. I decide who I am, how I live, and what I want. And I respect your choice to do the same.
We are all in a different season of our collective rebirth. Some of us are still wilting and falling. Some are deep in the descent, stumbling in the dark. Others are being called to rise and reform the relationship with the masculine and feminine in the world now that they’ve found union within themselves.
The flowers in the garden have taught me that people too must wilt, fall, root, rise, in order to bloom. As the old ways die, new life will rise. When we remember our true nature, our buds will unfurl.