Dear Women of a certain age (like me):
Every little thing matters. Really.
Our minds have long been hardened to trump our bodies in order that we would not only survive, but thrive. And we did!!
We CHOSE not to be victims–no matter the circumstance (and there were plenty.)
We refused the freedom our mothers inherited–from inside a cage–and yet we find ourselves inside another one.
At the age of 21, in the absence of cultural constraints (ie. school & familial & romantic ties), I set out to claim my sexuality, but the guys couldn’t handle it; except for those promising few who found my full humanity relevant instead of disempowering.
(One of those guys shares my bed to this day.)
To women like me who claimed our sovereignty in the bedroom or the boardroom (or both), now is the time to surrender our bravado. To loosen the soil we hardened so that something new might grow up through our resolve.
Because C’mon, we know the degradation hasn’t gone away. We’ve just become impervious to it, and is that really enough?
Are we prepared to pass on another cage?
“Rather than rushing to denounce the excesses of #MeToo and the imaginary band of millennial feminists eager to lock Aziz Ansari in prison, perhaps this is a moment for listening,” writes Emma Gray, of The Huffington Post. “That is how culture works ― it shifts and changes and is pushed forward, often by the youngest and most imaginative among us.”
These younger women have our backs like we had theirs. It’s safe to surrender. Or at least, it’s necessary.
“Enduring some guy’s copped feel or a gander at his plumbing is so very much not a Valentine. It is a letter bomb,” writes Barbara Kingsolver in The Guardian. “It can blow up a day, an interview, a job, a home, the very notion of safety inside our bodies.”
Despite being so powerful at 20, I found myself groped at 50. A small thing really. Just a brush of hands over my buttocks after I accommodated a friend of a friend’s request, “Can I have a hug too?”
It was a sobering, humiliating and humbling experience, and I’m grateful for it.
I’m grateful because of what it revealed to me–how impactful such a little thing was–especially to report.
Leading up to and out of the interview last week, I stopped moving, ie. I avoided all those things that helped me feel better in my body: yoga, dance, walking.
I thought I was just tired, but the truth is that I was afraid of my body.
Not afraid like I had to be at 20 (afraid of who and what it would attract), but afraid of feeling into it–into all I had long insisted was no big deal.