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A spy in my rich emotional life

Posted in Te Wahi Ora News

 I was in a canoe on the Whanganui River in 1969 when I recognized how really Melancholic I actually was!

A group of us were reading perhaps the only pop-psychological book available in those days – The Four Types : the Sanguine, the Coleric, the Phlegmatic And the Melancholic.

Why it took the Whanganui River, 15 6th form girls, a trailer of luggage, food and tents and a never ending supply of river-rapids, to bring this epiphany about is another story!

I remember the wording in the book clearly “the Melancholic has a rich, inner emotional life.”   Yeah, right!

Through 29 years of living and working with teenagers plus another 31 years living and listening to women’s journey’s I have suffered from, enjoyed the trajectory of, become ill because of….. this damn rich, inner emotional life!

My latest illness’s insomnia has addicted me to audio books. Paul Caleho is the current author with high standing in the historical research world. The book is called The SPY. It’s the life of Mata Hari. She was a spy in the 1st world war” Mum had explained.  She was shot. Executed by a firing squad in France. A lot for a 8 year old to take in. Bad women get shot!

Actress portraying Mata Hari

Now, 77 years later did I really think her life story would put me off to sleep?   

Well …. It started o.k. An exceedingly beautiful girl born into a well-to-do family in Holland.   When the family falls on hard times, her parents put her into a Boarding School for safety and move away to seek the re-establishment of their finances.

When she was 16 her Headmaster summoned this beautiful young women to his office, locked the door and raped her. I’m left gasping with astonished outrage! Nothing ‘rich’ nor ‘inner’ about my emotional life at this point!

From then on Mata Hari ‘sexualized’ her life. Surprise, surprise! Raped at 16 by someone she trusted, without the financial support of the  ACC Sensitive Claims Unit, without acknowledgement from the law or the Courts or police or family or even friends, how else was she to survive in that culture!

And how well she did it. Sexualizing her life I mean. There was no thought that she would need to heal or be counselled or medically treated to counteract the trauma of rape. Those possibilities had not yet surfaced in humanity.

So, Mata Hari used her body in the way that would bring her money, fame and prestige. Paris loved her dancing and her beauty. The men loved and paid for her body. Mata Hari chose the men who had power and wealth. When war began in Europe the war machine only widened her sphere of powerful men and money.

Generals in Germany, Generals in France. Who cared who they were as long as they paid for her to eat, keep warm, well dressed and feel loved!   

But when rumours of her visits to Berlin and then to France lead to her arrest for possibly being a double agent between Germany and France as she was – openly – it became clear that some great names were going to be tarnished if she ever told her story or even if the Generals and Politicians seen with her in public openly, were to be questioned, might it not be damaging to people’s perception of this great and glorious war!

So, without any evidence to prove that she had actually passed on sensitive information – Mata Hari, to protect the image of the military officials, is shot.   

My rich emotional life is being activated again! Astonished outrage and now GRIEF. Why not shoot the Headmaster?

Why make women firstly the victim and then shoot them for having lived all wrong!

A poet in the 1st World War, Studdard Kennedy wrote in a poem about Biblical times, and yet, in my view, he could have been commenting on his very own days!   “For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap”.

But now, suddenly it is the end of April 2023.

A Christchurch court hears 93 charges  of rape by two men who drug the girls and then commit their rape (Other associated men are still being investigated.)

BOOM. I’m swamped with other emotions –  anger and despair.

What happened to Mata Hari over a century ago is still happening today.

For these are cruel days and women’s flesh is cheap.

Damn it. Damn it. Who can survive their rich emotional life?

Perhaps only those who dare to learn the art of riding the overwhelming wave of their rich emotional life towards commitment. 

I am committed to finding a compassionate understanding of why?

Why would men do that to women?  

Why does the World Health Organization in the 21st Century state that 11 women are killed every minute globally by their intimate partner.   Why in NZ are the police called to attend to Domestic violence every 3 minutes.

Before I die I want to know that I’ve done everything I can to empower women first and foremost, to take care of themselves in every way. To respect themselves and their lives. To know what they need and what they want. To be exploring the full spiritual meaning of being female. And first, of course, I need to learn it myself.

So that, by being the change I want to see in the world, I will witness, I will experience, I will celebrate  MY rich inner emotional life but this time with feelings of pleasure, Wheeee; relief, aaahhhh; and  gratitude, mmmmm.

I wonder if I’ll be too old by then to go back with the wheee of pleasure, the aaahhh of relief and the mmmmmmm of gratitude, to enjoy a non-melancholic canoe cruise down the Whanganui River!

Only you will ever, in all of history, experience life through your eyes. That’s why each of us – is a fascinating, fabulous human being, worthy of awe and respect. Especially from ourselves!