Recently I realized.. I’ve been making men pay for the mistakes of other men. Making men pay for the mistakes of the patriarchy. Holding against them a grudge and anger they cannot possibly atone for. For the long-standing abuse of a broken male driven system.
It was easy to be “righteous” and “indignant”; asking how could you not know? How could you not see? Using my unhealed trauma and pain to withhold myself and hold onto my anger.
It’s hard not to ask why or how come they couldn’t see? Maybe they did see, but didn’t fully understand. Or know how to comprehend.
We’ve come a long way but there is a long way to go. In the racial divide and in the gender divide.
It has occurred to me that being the angry woman storming the gates of the men’s meeting isn’t necessarily helping to accomplish my mission to close the gap. It might even be making the gap wider.
I recently tried to learn more about how the men are doing in this big shift to equality and found the door slammed in my face. I felt like a girl on the playground asking to be let into to the tree house and seeing a sign outside that said “No Girls Allowed”. Hmmm guys, that’s not helpful either.
On one hand, I got it. Completely. I did have the intention to ask some questions and not all of my questions would have been kind or without impact. Guilt, shame, regret, remorse - those might have been a thing I wished to inflict. My unhealed ego.
And a large part of me wanted to understand their side. Why? What was it like for you? Are you guys asked to uphold the system? Are their covert rules that keep us at odds? I wanted to make them understand what it was like for me or for the feminine us.
And I wanted, in all that, to close the gap. To foster some compassion and understanding on both sides.
My perspective on all this really widened when I found myself unwittingly on the wrong side, as I’ve always been, in regards to the colour of my skin. And I felt for the first time the helplessness in the face of an angry woman’s righteous energy. Humbling. Completely overwhelming.
It’s made me think… a lot. About how I approach issues, the energy I bring to the conversation. The how that impacts how I’m perceived and how difficult I make it to interact with me. And how much I have to choose to rise to be my biggest, bestest and kindest self to really make change.
Without giving up the ground fought for or feeling like I’m shrinking to not make people uncomfortable. And, how beautiful well-set boundaries might make this all a little easier and safer for both sides.
Conversations that take some serious courage to engage in if any kind of change for the next generation is going to happen. It’s clear to me that talking endlessly about what happened isn’t going to change what happened. Holding the endless grudge. This might, in some cases, slow it down. But, if, talking about what happened so that we do not repeat it or as a way to offer solution for what could be or must be different… that just might help to bring it about.
I think if I’m honest I just want the guys to be listening and making change or speaking up for me/women when they can or as they can. Being willing to change the conversations in the locker rooms or calling out their masochistic pals. Raising sons to respect boundaries and to expect/fight for equality with us. Raising daughters who believe in themselves, know their worth and who can communicate it.
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