Here is another part from Dr. Robin Smith's book, "Hungry"
"Last year I gave a keynote speech at a fundraiser for victims of domestic violence. As I stood at the podium and looked out into the crowd of beautifully dressed, well-to-do women, I imagined the tenor of my remarks would surprise them. They expected me to speak about others, not them; about victims, not their peers. But instead I told them, "This is an admirable cause, and I know you care very much about the women you are here to support. But I want to take a few moments to speak about the hidden abuse that is in this room. I know for a fact that in every gathering of women, no matter how successful or well-off they are, there's a form of self-abuse going on that is very prevalent. That self-abuse involves denying that you have needs. Denying that you have longings. Denying that you want something more than what you have right now. The expensive clothing in the customized closet in the super-sized, gated house; the pool and very impressive cars and well-manicured grounds -all of that medicates your hunger, but it doesn't fill it. Our souls aren't for sale, even if we are. You may live the perfect picture, but it may be that you're afraid to acknowledge what you're really feeling beneath the facade. You may have great abundance, but are left feeling empty."
"I told them that I had watched for a while as they came into the room and greeted each other. I observed their greetings: Their shining, flawless smiles, their air kisses. In fairness to them, I acknowledged my own privilege, which allowed me to drive to this event in one of those fancy-type cars, accompanied by my best friend who met me there in hers. I owned that I looked exactly like them in my Prada dress, Blahnik shoes, and crystal diamond drop earrings. "Now, I'm sure not everyone in this room has had a fantastic year, " I said, knowing this was most definitely true, "How many people came into this room today and when through a dialogue similar to this:
How are you?
How are the kids?
Yes. Never better.
"Instead of this standard dialogue, did any of you respond, 'Well, it's been a tough year...the kids are struggling with their new school...Bill's company has been laying people off, and we're scared about what this all means...also, we started couples therapy six months ago, so let's just say the jury is still out."
"As I spoke I could see them shifting around in their seats, sitting up in surprise, thinking, Okay what do I do with this? Do I keep my plastic smile right now as she is saying it? Do I try to relax and breathe into this: What do I do in this moment, where the truth has shown up unexpectedly? And can I sit with these unsettled feelings, or do I need to make sure that my inner Botox stays intact so that no one can see? Oh God, I hope I don't look as nervous as I feel."
Finally, I said, "You know, there's a lot of financial wealth in this room. Your wills are probably intact, and they lay out who's going to get what. But what are you willing to your children regarding the issues of their hunger and their failures? How have you taught them to react when their lives don't turn out the way they'd hoped? Can you bequeath them something now - leave them a legacy - that will release them from the shame, especially the shame of hunger? To not feel ashamed of their humanity? Because that's so much of what we're afraid of. That the more somebody sees our humanity, the more in danger we feel. What would it mean for you to will your children an image of you as a mother who is open to them being full? Open to their holes and wholeness and your own holes and wholeness?"
"As I finished, a great silence came over the room. I saw perfectly put-together women wiping away tears and bowing their heads, obviously moved. When I left the stage, one of the organizers touched my arm. I turned and saw tears spilling dow her cheeks. She apologized for her emotion, saying "I'm sorry. I wasn't expecting that."
"I smiled at her warmly. "Don't apologize. This moment is worthy of our tears." And my own eyes misted, mirroring the truth that we were all sisters in the same struggle - the struggle to be kind to ourselves as we bump up against our fragile and resilient humanity."
"I went to the ladies room and when I was standing at the sink a woman came up to me, hesitantly. She thanked me for my remarks, but I could tell she had more to say. I waited her out. Finally, she said, in a barely audible voice, almost a whisper, "Thank you for acknowledging that there could be someone in this room who is a victim of domestic violence, too, because I am that woman, and I know there are others like me here today. It's a painful and shameful secret we are all dying and trying to keep. And you know, we have lots of money and a house here, one in the Hamptons, and a flat in Europe. Last summer, I was beaten so badly at our European beachfront oasis that I had to take my children to spend the night in a hotel room for our safety."
"I was immediately sympathetic to her, but as I began to speak she waved a hand stopping me. "What I really wanted to comment on was what you said about a will and legacy we would leave our children," she said in a trembling voice. "We have a 26-year marriage with lots of money and lots of assets. But when you talked about what I'm giving my children, what I'm going to be passing on to them other than all this physical abuse and violence and this Kodak moment that was never real, I realized that I desperately want to leave them something healthy and real now before I'm dead or killed. I want to leave them something that will tell them that their hunger isn't bad. That my hunger was not bad. That I tried to keep our family together. That I'm not a horrible person or a weak person because I desired and tried to keep our family together."
"Before I could respond, she slipped out the door and was gone. I would never know the rest of her story, but perhaps I had opened up a small sliver of light that would grow larger and brighter. Like many of the women in the room that night, she was starving but ashamed of her hunger - as if she didn't deserve a meal and a life. As if she could live without sustenance, safety and love. Reflecting on it later, I realized that she might not take that bite for her own sake, but might do it for her children. It was a start. We all have to begin honoring our hunger somewhere." Dr. Robin
There are so many pages in this book earmarked and I am not even half way through. What I love the most, is this book is about just being yourself and how we are all starving to be our truth...and that the world seems to be set up to keep us from being comfortably ourselves...
I wonder if women are especially vulnerable to starving our real self by denying our feelings our desires and our passions, by silencing our voices and making choices to make others happy...while dying to be our self?
What I also like about her questioning what are we WILLING to our children?
I know that we are much more aware of what things, we will leave behind, but not what parts will our children carry forward of our lives.
I feel extremely grateful for having the opportunity to leave behind a much more fuller legacy now, compared to what I would have left them 8 years ago. The years before I began living my truth.
When Dr. Robin acknowledged that the woman in the bathroom, that was a very wealthy victim of domestic violence...how perhaps she would 'do it for her children, if not for herself'.
I know, that I began standing in my truth, not for me...but for my kids. I was extremely uncomfortable looking at my truth, but I made choices based on their needs, not mine...yet in the end, I lived a legacy worth leaving behind.
It wasn't a road that was easily navigated and at times one I wanted to get off of, but what I will now leave them with has much more substenance compared to the life I lived for the first 46, starving to be me...while not even knowing what I was hungry for.
I am full of me...I am a whole me. There is nothing I am hungry for.
I feel that the choices I am making are all in alignment with my soul.
Which is my ultimate dream for all my children; to be completely and openly themselves. To live their lives from the inside out. To speak their wishes and desires and make choices, EVEN if it is not popular.
I want them to have the strength and courage to stand up for themselves...to be authentically and 100% who they were born to be.
Panache Desai called it living your soul's signature.