Last weekend something happened that stirred up some pretty dark memories and feelings. I have spent the last couple of days trying to figure out what it means and how to deal with it. Now that I have a little more perspective, I think I’m ready to share.

Last Saturday I went dancing with a friend. We went to a club that offered a salsa lesson before opening for the night. For the most part, it was loads of fun. Great music and lots of dancing.

Towards the end of the night and older gentleman asked me to dance. I was having a great time and hadn’t refuse a single dance request yet, so why stop now. As soon as we got on the dance floor, I realized I had made a mistake.

This man was much larger than me, taller and heavier-set. He immediately pulled me in very tightly. Squeezing and rubbing my chest up against his big round belly as his eyes stared down my shirt. I was frozen. I knew I didn’t want to be there. I knew I wanted to turn around and run as fast as I could. But I didn’t.

I continued to follow along mindlessly as he tried to kiss my neck. His leg rubbing between mine. All of a sudden, I was once again a naïve and defenseless young woman. This went on for the entire song which felt like an eternity. I was arguing with myself in my head the whole time. Why aren’t you doing anything? Why are you just standing here? Why don’t you say something? But I didn’t do anything. I didn’t say anything.

Once that song was over, I was ready to leave. Luckily my friend Rhoda could tell it was time to go. I honestly just felt like I wanted to go home and take a shower.I felt like if I removed myself from the situation and washed it away I could forget about it. I was wrong.

The next morning was worse. I was feeling so much self doubt. In my mind I had vowed to myself I would never let anyone treat me like that again. And here was proof that it wasn’t true. That I was still “weak”. Feeling this rush of mixed emotions I decided I needed some time in the woods. One of my many forms of meditation.

strong-and-wise

One of the first things I realized was I wasn’t showing myself enough compassion. I took some time to really understand what would have made me more comfortable in that situation. I did decide there were a few steps I can take to make me more confident in this space. Taking some self-defense classes or something similar.

At the end of the day, I needed to learn from this experience and not beat myself up for it. I can have compassion for myself without reliving the pain of past experiences. I AM a stronger woman than I was then. I should be proud of that.