Artwork credit: AllisonMoore Adams www.groundbreakinggirls.com/
There are moments that define a person. There are moments that define a nation. Thursday, September 27th, 2018 was one of those moments. I had made no previous commitments to watch the day of the scheduled Senate testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, but after I rolled from my husband's arms out of bed later than my normal 5:30 alarm proclaimed, I glided right into the 6:30am start up of the west coast news coverage.
It wasn't normal that I flip on the tv of a weekday morning, but my curiosity of the moment struck. I had watched other anticipated news stories before with concentration. I expected this to be no different. Yet, as the mornings news commentators began to deliver their expected, talking-head commentary drone, I began to fill a lump in my throat.
I had never met Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, even though her former address was just tens of miles down the road from mine. Even though she was a fellow helping professions rock-star, our paths had never crossed. But as the sectional sofa held space for me to sit, my mind wandered back to a previous article I had read about Dr. Ford's life and her current situation. The boundaries of our shared experiences began to blur ever so slightly. The article told of a girl coming of age, in a community and time when women were valued and accepted only to the extent that they fit the role social code demanded be played. By all accounts, even at 15, Dr. Ford HAD done this. And yet, even in, arguably, the highest status and role a woman could have - one of intelligence, one of accomplishment, one of riches, and one of white privilege, as a 15 year old, she was still reported to have endured the hollowing brutality of sexual violence.
As I read over the article, my mind trailed into experiences of past, where my presence, my identity, and my possibility were stripped bare to become the object of another male's power. Yes, while there is a sliding scale of depravity to the consequences of misogyny, it's cultural rain falls on all. I had not lived the details of the article about Dr. Blasey Ford, but I lived my own experiences of sexual harassment and misogyny. And as I sat on the couch, and watched with full attention, as Dr. Blasey Ford fumbled with her papers and her hair as she prepared to stand and tell the truth in front of the highest powers and to the world, I was overwhelmed with the audacity of the moment.
It was in those moments that I not only began to hear Dr. Blasey Ford's voice, but I began to hear more of my own. With her pitch high and soft voice, and her eye's open wide to the potential terror before and behind her, she stood and she spoke, and me and my country were never the same. It is with her steps, she called forth courage rising - courage to look at the entire truth of our individual and collective moments and courage move towards the good of all that can become.
Though this one moment of time was told to be a witness testimony for the judicial nomination before the US Senate - it was an actual microcosm of all that is good of our country and of all of the work that is to be done. For as much as this testimony was reported to be a fact finding task of the Senate Committee for Judicial Nominees, this moment in time became a canvas. Much like the one painted above with paints, by Allison Adams and the images I painted with words in this blog post, September 27th, 2018 US Senate hearing has become a canvas on which all are invited into. With each ensuing source of information we attend to, with each further word we tell, or which cause we take action towards, be it about sexual violence and misogyny, gender inequalities, or the strains and groans of the American democracy experience - the strokes that we take moving forward are creating the canvased picture of the human experience in America.
Melinda is a recovering "normal" seeker, who is often distracted by unexpected moments of nature's beauty or questioning children