Dangerous Compassions

how old I was when I learned about bodily autonomy


Recently I was asked an important question during a healing circle led by a friend.  My friend asked how old I was when I learned about bodily autonomy.

Hmm, what a question.  I remember when I was a kid, my dad had bodily autonomy.  People were allowed to touch him only in certain ways, at certain times.

But I was a little girl and taught that I had very little power.  I was mostly acted upon.  People used me and my body is various ways, and saying no was almost never an option.  I existed for the ease, pleasure, and support of others.

I was not for me, and my body was to be preyed upon, or an afterthought.


It was when I started riding trike that I really learned about bodily autonomy.  When I was a kid, my bike rides were controlled by other people, mostly pushy neighborhood boys.  Then when I started riding trike about two years ago, for the first time I was in control of where I rode, how fast I went, what risks I took.  Wow, it felt totally different.

That’s partly why I would cry a lot, those first few weeks I rode trike.  I was so happy to finally have freedom, and so sad that it took me 42 years to find it.  Freedom is my favorite.


What about you?  How old were you when you learned about bodily autonomy?  Were you raised from birth with this concept?

Seems much more difficult in a way, to respect children and deal with their actual needs, feelings, desires, and spirits.  Seems way easier to raise kids in an oppressive way, where the adult is bigger and holds the power, and the kid is along for the ride, at best.

Then again, wouldn’t it be cool to have a functional culture of mutual respect?  I can imagine it–I can almost taste it!  Maybe respecting kids would be a way to build a functional culture.

I can do a mini version of functional culture in some relationships and small groups.  I show up telling the truth, wanting to love, and being who I am, curious and attentive.  Very rarely does the other person want to do the same, with mutual respect and consent.  Mostly the other person might pretend that, but it’s actually too much work, or they would have to face more than they want to face.  It’s way easier to use people, deceive, and mess around.

Grateful that Ming wants to do true love and has a generous tolerance for my needs, angers, weepy moments.  Glad he will be put up with the difficult 3% of the time, to get all of me.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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