In this occasional blog series, I imagine fictional/historical characters coming to me for coach-therapy. Today, it’s Nola Darling (played by DeWanda Wise) from the TV reboot of She’s Gotta Have It.
Nola: I thought I was fine but I maced some random guy last night.
Friend: You what?
Nola: All he wanted to do say was to say “Good job” but I sent him crying and screaming down the street
Friend: Better him than you, right? Admit it, Nola, it felt good just busting one off didn’t it?
Nola: Did I enjoy hurting an innocent stranger? No. But if I’m being perfectly honest, it felt-
Nola: -like clapping back at what I thought was another asshole trying to grab up on me.
I’m sorry you maced him but it was dark and he may have been meaning to be supportive of your artwork but he DID grab you while you were focused on something else.
He was a stranger, in the street, in Brooklyn at night. Even if it weren’t so soon after you’d been attacked when you were walking home, it’s an odd thing for any stranger to do to a stranger.
You had to make a split second decision. You apologised. Honour those quick reflexes of yours.
You were able to fight BACK when you were walking home, minding your own business and that possibly saved your life. It certainly saved you from being hurt more badly than you were.
So many of us freeze when under threat. It’s a totally normal response but your fight response helped you take flight and get away safely. Not only that but you were able to release some of the trauma – IN THE MOMENT – by punching the guy who was trying to attack you.
A lot of the somatic approach to trauma is creating a safe space in which survivors can honour the body’s wisdom and complete actions which were impossible in the moment.
You might want to read Peter Levine’s book, Waking the Tiger, for more information about how we’re wired to deal with trauma and how we can use our bodies to recover.
You actually managed to fight back. In the moment. He backed off and you got away.
You cried. You reached out for support. You told your friends. You told your partners.
And not only did you get out of an awful situation you shouldn’t have had to face but you were able to transmute it into your art.
You’ve been able and get out there and inspire other women and hopefully educate men who don’t think rather than consciously meaning to cause harm.