To Value Men Is To Listen.

What I found was that to say I love men is precious, yet to let myself be vulnerable enough to sit in the dirt with my brothers is such a cracking open of my identity and the words I held onto. Even after years of looking, I still have to face the residuals in me of the worldview that has become so commonplace it has become a global blindspot on men and boys.

For instance, going to share a bit raw, #bringbackourgirls never once mentioned nor lamented the boys had been immediately brutally murdered. Why were they killed right away? This is the time old story of how the lives of males have been disposable since the beginning of humanity and the lives of women more valued. These criminals were also known to not go near the female dorms at all or tell the girls to go home and get married when they grew up while the boys were slaughtered like animals shot as they ran in terror.

The life of a boy was shown unable to be a strong bargaining chip which also shows our conversation as a whole as a society. It wasn’t just the criminals who killed those boys, I was made aware it was our lack of listening to the global reality of the violence enacted onto men. It was our lack of listening to the value of the life of males.

To ask men as a whole to say yes they are responsible for my personal abuse because they are male does not work as it is not true and also asks men to erase their pain and the pain of boys and men globally. It makes the distinction between man and criminal- which is not a gendered reality- imperative. Men are not criminals for being born male and so are not responsible for the actions of criminals because they happen to share their gender.

Just as I as a woman am not responsible for the actions of criminals because they happen to be women. We do not blame women for female criminals- actually as a society we are so sick in this conversation we even blame men for female criminals-we are clear in the distinction between woman and criminal. The detriment is we lack the clear distinction between man and criminal and this is literally killing men. I didn’t realize I didn’t have that distinction until I recognized it. It was a massive blindspot alleviated that forever changed my worldview and life.

I would assert there is a lacking of loving women until we see women as powerful and capable of action and a loving of men lacking until we see men the vulnerability and suffering of men. I’m not saying that from a make wrong but rather my personal experience.

To value men is to listen. To value myself and my voice is to listen as speaking is not complete without listening.

What I found was my ‘I love men’ statement and feeling was a beginning, yet for me personally- speaking for myself- I had only just began to peek through the looking glass.

And I found that nothing is as it seems.

Advertisements

Speaking Is Not Complete Without Listening.

Something interesting happened as I let myself take my voice for a spin, as I started to share my pain that I had experienced, something wild happened. I started to gently, tenderly, release myself from the fears I carried in regards to masculinity and men. Voice is vital.

I noticed as I spoke as I let myself explore my voice even though it didn’t meet what I thought was perfect, when I was met with the voice of men which had once intimidated me, which I had associated with deep pain and wounds and violations on my body, I heard something I did not expect, pain.

I saw in the eyes of men the same fear I had. I saw the scars on their bodies from women who had cut them, in a society where that was seen as funny. I saw the trauma reactions as their tears fell on my shoulders from pain of the abuse they endured that was not legally considered worthy of respite or safety. I saw men sitting right in the soil with me, right in the mud crying out in agony. I saw him eye to eye. A pain I had thought I had seen before but had no idea how deep it ran until I started to explore my voice and hear the voice of men right by my side.

I had placed men on a broken pedestal from my pain. They were bigger than life, gods that had all of the power in my perception. Because when I was victimized that was what I felt. I felt powerless. As I gave myself permission for my voice I gave myself permission to recognize the voice of men. To listen and ask questions to men. I saw my fellow human being not on the broken pedestal but feet to feet with me. Nose to nose. Our tears filling the same stream. I was so shocked.

All I thought I knew, had been ripped from under me. I hadn’t realized just how much men suffered by my side. Facing rape, abuse, silently like I had for so long. I didn’t realize just how scared they were to try their voice out just like me. Afraid to be met with hell just like my fears. I didn’t realize I had dehumanized men-speaking for myself- and in this saw them as not having pain in ways I’ve known. I had to be gentle, super super super gentle with myself as I faced my fears. As I faced myself.

What I found was this massive weight lifted, major fear moved in a way that felt like actually physically lifting off of me when as I spoke, I listened. In ways I didn’t know was possible. My fear of masculine and association of masculine with harm started to fade. My body no longer reacted the same fear way around men. My body started to relax as I was opening to really feel that I was not alone that men, my brothers, were right there with me in reaching for their voices to be heard in asking for their hearts to be seen. I cannot tell you the relief I felt. The freedom.

It started with me taking my very unperfect human voice and trying. No human is perfect I had to finally concede to this fact and not wait to be perfect to speak.

It is a mighty, powerful and confronting journey- The journey of voice. I know the journey of my voice I thought was just the journey of my voice. I found it was the journey of finding my voice and I was introduced to the vulnerable voice of men. I found my fellow human beings who I had hidden in plane sight without even knowing it. Pain, fear, anger, joy, all there being experienced with my brothers. Men right here in life with me. Our voices resounding together.

It sounds counterintuitive and in the journey of finding voice and being heard, which I did and I was, I found a new listening of myself, of men and of life. I had no idea how deeply connected finding my voice was to healing my relationship with masculinity, maleness and men. Whereas before I used to feel anxious around men, I found myself looking at the men on the train and my whole body relaxing and feeling safe because men were there.

I had been saying I loved men, and I did, yet I had no idea that to live it takes such a deep listening that confronted everything I thought I knew.

The Body.

To me what I often experience is this. Those who practice a modality, such as Tantra, often begin to work like a body. However, as a body it is always open to getting sick. And as a body each individual makes up the body’s immune system. Now, when the immune system is in integrity it can recognize between pathogens -what actually creates disease, in this instance abuse and abusers, spiritual bypassing, righteous denial and arrogance. which hides abuse- and its own body. When the immune system is out of integrity it cannot distinguish between a pathogen and it’s own body and begins to attack itself.
 
Those standing up to abuse in the Tantric community are very clearly a healthy and vital part of the Tantric body and yet are often met in ‘Tantric’ spaces like they are not. Being a stand for victims, for integrity is a great stand that is for supporting the health of the Tantric body in action which begins in being. When the body senses pathogens it sends out an army of fighter cells to attack in order to keep the body healthy. Those standing for health, safety, the voice of victims and integrity in the Tantric community are only attacking the pathogens NOT the body. Yet is often confused as the other way around.
 
This is my experience as to what is often transpiring in Tantra and in any part of the human community. We are a body. If I am out of integrity with myself, I contribute to the body not being able to distinguish between pathogen and self. It absolutely all comes back to self as in doing my own work.
 
My integrity is a vital part of a healthy body. This is core.
0-1.84
 
Words mine, Anatomy art by Juan Gatti.

Dear Men, I Kneel At The Feet Of Your Pain.

Men are finally having the courage to come forward. To the men who have come forward sharing your pain, I hear you. Thank you for bringing your voice. I hear your pain, I hear what happened to you and how you are being treated by female predatory behavior. I am so sorry you were hurt this way. When I read your sharings I find it so painful that this has happened to you. I hear you! Your voices matter that you have been victimized matters, that you are shamed for being victimized that your ‘NO’ is met with violence! My god that is horrific. I hear you that you feel trapped. That if you say ‘NO’ to women you are met with violence and shame. I hear you. This is devastating violence enacted onto you and we must all listen. We must hear this. My god I am sorry you were hurt and I am sorry as a society we continue to be so painful in this discussion and resist listening.
 
I am sorry that there is so much pain being projected onto you, so much anger projected onto you when you come forward in a vulnerable space with your heart bared asking to be heard. To just, be heard. Thank you for being by my side and championing my voice when I’m in pain. Thank you for championing the voices of women as they come forward and holding them with such tenderness and humility. Thank you for your MASSIVE heart space that I see everywhere! Your being is beautiful. Thank you for kneeling at the feet of the pain of women for so long. And though you would never ask me to because it is not your way, I kneel at the feet of your pain. I hear you my brothers and I am so sorry that you have been hurt.
dear men

What if we as women were kind to each other?

What would it look like if we as women were kind to each other? I know this is a humanity conversation and here I want to address how we as women are with each other. What would it look like if we looked at another woman and could appreciate her whatever she looked like? Give her a compliment, cheer her on as she’s jogging past? What does it really look like to be supportive of each other?

I used to be jealous of the fit woman jogging past and that was only because I didn’t feel good about myself. To me this is why it all always comes back to self love. I wasn’t happy with my body so I used to get bitter when I saw a fit woman or I used to sneer at a heavy woman working out. As I started to be gentle with myself, I started to see the beauty and inspiration in women all around me! Now when I see woman jogging past this feeling of pride and love comes up. Good for her! And I let her inspire me.

I’ve noticed jealousy doesn’t seem to come up for me like it used to the more I’m in loving and celebrating myself and doing what I love, living authentically and following my passions. If jealousy does come up, I don’t make it wrong, I use it as a path to self care. What I do not do with jealousy if it is present, is spread it around. I don’t feed my jealousy by making ‘jokes’ with someone or sneering at a woman or giving her dirty looks, I instead take my time to feel it, and ask myself, what about her do I feel unworthy of in myself? Then I let jealousy be the path to inspiration. I let the woman who I am jealous of inspire me to love myself and see my own worth and create what I want in my life without fixing myself, rather simply loving myself. Most of the times no action is needed beyond surrendering to self love.

As I share my love with my self, I get to share that love with the women in this world and cheer them on. Let’s be kind to each other as women. Just like men need time with men, we need time with other women. It’s very healthy. Let’s not use that time to talk down about other women, rather lets lift women up starting with celebrating ourselves!

Follow me on my Facebook page ‘The Art Of Femininity’ to explore more this conversation of loving ourselves as women and loving and embracing each other:

https://www.facebook.com/ArtofFemininity

I’m Pro Choice And This Is Why I Support The Pro Life Conversation

OK so I’m going to get real raw and vulnerable here, and I speak about all of this in my book too. When I was 18 years old I had an abortion. It was the most horrifying experience. It messed me up mentally for years. Every year I would break down around the birth month. This conversation has been such an intense tumultuous internal struggle for me when talking about pro-choice/pro-life. Because I have had an abortion myself I don’t feel like I can say I’m pro-life though I learned that is a fallacy. Women who have an abortion have insight only they can bring to the Pro Life conversation. I do feel women need access to the option of abortion through the 1st trimester for safety reasons so it is not pushed underground.

What I do feel is missing from the pro choice conversation is the distinction of pro choice vs pro abortion. Pro choice MUST be about actual choice. Which means listening to the conversations of Pro Life as well. Otherwise it’s not pro choice it’s pushing abortion. I am now a mom of an amazing 9 year old girl. When I was pregnant with her I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I’m a single mom, I still struggle, however, I am so lucky and happy to be her mom. Had I had an abortion again, I would not be alive here today to talk about this.

I do believe that we need to have serious discussions about the reality of what an abortion is and the effects of that on the psychology of the woman. The pro-abortion conversations I feel minimize how harmful an abortion is to the woman. Pro Choice must uphold being pro choice and give women the option to hear all of their options that Pro Lifer’s talk about. If we’re really standing for women, they need to know.

Women don’t have the psychological support they need after such a procedure. We really do not know how many women have committed suicide because of abortions. I was very close to it myself and that’s what I mean by I would not have made it had I chosen it again. I believe if we are going to talk about sex education that must also include the reality of the severity of what an abortion is. I couldn’t afford to pay for going under, I was awake while it happened. Abortions aren’t ‘nothing’ they are horrific.

I’ve healed from the experience of having an abortion but the thought of it will never go away of wondering what that child would have been like. For me it all starts with educating young women as to what abortion means. To me the conversation of abortion should be finding ways to minimize the abortion numbers, this has actually been put into practice successfully in Africa. It starts with supporting girls knowing their menses cycles. It starts with a conversation of self care.

What was put in place that has made a big difference in Africa in the conversation of sexual education is abstaining from sex for as long as possible, not from shame but rather from self care and preparedness. I believe we also need to talk about the abortion process. The way we go about talking about abortion today is either from a space of hating women who have done it, or bypassing reality of what an abortion is. Neither works. I believe sharing facts from a space of awareness and compassion can minimize abortion rates.

Perhaps one day abortion will only be necessary for medical life at risk reasons and the only way to get there is to educate. Women need to know what an abortion looks like and that there are psychological affects they need to be aware of and take care with. Along with sharing the procedure of what an abortion is and looks like, we need to be having conversations of self love, self worth and self care with our girls. That there is nothing shameful about abstaining until you are really ready. That you deserve kindness.

I think this is where Pro Life and Pro Choice can work together. Pro Choice must be about women actually choosing what’s right for them, otherwise it’s just pushing abortions as the ‘norm’ mentality, and not caring to find or give space for a woman’s to take her time and feel what her authentic truth is. I think of all of the those who are Pro Life could really put together some amazing programs that support women in their self love and self care and I believe Pro Choice could be a part of this too. Both can really support women. It is possible to make a difference together.

If you are a woman who has had an abortion perhaps you have felt how I had felt about it and had a hard time letting go of shame and self flagellation. While I will never forget the experience, what I can do is be gentle with myself. I did what I felt was right to do at the time, I did what I felt I needed to do to survive. I learned to stop treating myself like a ‘wicked’ woman for having an abortion and start holding myself with love and compassion. Becoming a mom I held onto guilt and feeling unworthy and I let that go too. If you are suffering with depression, please seek help. I wish I had and I hope more women find a way to be gentle with themselves over this. I had to free myself from my self loathing over having an abortion and I did the work to choose self care and self love. This is not an easy conversation, I was shaking as I started writing this. Abject terror of how I would be met for sharing this. However, I love myself, I am kind to myself and anyone’s judgment about me for having an abortion has nothing to do with me. It’s not personal, people just need to process things how they need to process and I also do not need to take on abuse for it either.

Just being kind to myself, I can find compassion for other people’s process about my process. It’s not easy and I’m worth it as at the end I leave myself in peace. The only forgiveness I need is my own and I have forgiven myself. I hope by my speaking about this and coming forward women no longer feel alone. If you had an abortion and whether you suffered it or not, you matter and your voice is valid. If you had an abortion and choose to be Pro Life, don’t be afraid, your voice is valid and it matters. No you’re not a fraud for choosing to come forward in your authentic voice and share why you don’t support abortion, you matter and your voice is valid. If you’ve never had an abortion, try and listen from a new space if you can. I try to challenge myself as much as I can to listen to someone who even if I may not understand their choice, yet I can remind myself to understand they are a human being worthy of love and are not separate from me.

I care about women knowing they are worth taking their time to self care, self love and value their worth. I want women to know they are worth taking their time to find a good partner who is committed to them, they deserve that. The conversation I am is about supporting people knowing they are worthy. That means I support women knowing they are worthy to slow down, self care, not rush into things. I believe the self love conversation can make a big difference in minimizing abortion rates over time, starting now. It will not be instant, and I hope that over time less women will be in this terrifying position. I can’t stress enough that women who are Pro Life who have had an abortion must be listened to as they bring valuable insight that only they can to the Pro Life conversation.

I support the conversation of women feeling safe to choose and that is why I also support the as women have a right to choose and should hear the whole conversations before they do.

Mindfulness in the Human Rights Conversation

Today’s video on my YouTube:

Mindfulness in the Human Rights Conversation Video

Subscribe to my YouTube channel to be notified of new videos every Monday! I will be continuing to share insight into my book ‘100 Days of Loving Men: A Woman’s Journey Into Recovery’ and my voice.