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.


I started to question: ‘What was insecurity really?…

I had started to question what was ‘insecurity’ really? Was ‘insecure’ a shadow aspect I was not embracing? A personal hidden make wrong on self?

I started to question my own definition and experience of ‘insecure’. This morning listening to a Pema Chodron audio book-who is incredible to listen to-she happened to share she heard someone define:
‘Insecurity is ego’s take on wide opened, unfettered space and we find that [wide opened, unfettered space] uncomfortable.’

Which to me, this definition brings in such a cool new aspect in the convo. I define this wide opened unfettered space as absolute pure possibility. Perhaps in that it is the very essence of life itself! Being with possibility to me is presence or rather, simply being. So, to me ‘insecurity’ is not what I thought. Insecurity is not a story about myself that I needed to debunk. So much bigger beyond the story of having to have a story to fix. But rather, recognizing my discomfort with wide opened, unfettered pace. Now I’m seeing ‘insecurity’ as resistance to impermanence, unfettered space, which to me is- My resistance to possibility. Now it seems ‘insecurity’ may also be any resistance to aliveness!!

So, being in-security is being in the distressing illusion of permanence which is resistance to unlimited possibility! Rather than when, what I had called ‘insecurity’ came up, I had interpreted that as there was some part of me lacking. God this feels refreshing!

For me permanence and security in the sense of having reliability in primary aspects of life such as a place to live, safety for me and mine, and things of this nature are absolutely necessary and vital. And, in my experience, this is not the opposite of ‘insecurity’.

So, let’s say I do address my original definition/story of ‘insecurity’ as me ‘lacking’, as I am so sure that story will come up again at some point lol I am realizing the basis of that experience of ‘insecurity’ is comparison. However, comparison is also not an issue. I now see that different does not mean ‘lacking’ in me, as I shared, I had defined insecurity as ‘lacking’ something. Which with this new experience of ‘insecurity’ I am finally getting that story of ‘lacking’ is just that- a story! Which my god if I bring that to my activism conversations and my judgments that creates a cool new possibility in how I see people!

And, to even not resist lacking lol, where I may be ‘lacking’ it is only to give fuel to my strengths. And should I decide there was something of ‘lack’ that required integrity then I will practice it as integrity while practicing self compassion rather than reprimand. Slowly, gently discovering the self tenderness of growth.

Returning to the conversation of ‘in-security’, resisting that powerful birth place of possibility-which is impermanence- is the very thing that rips me out of the present!

As a human, I have every habit established to not be present lol Rather than resist this and make myself wrong, because I will actually mostly not be present in life, I wonder, what would it look like to practice expanding just a tiny bit of presence? No push to ‘perfect’ -which to me was part of my previous understanding of ‘insecurity’- just an embracement and acknowledgement of what is, where I am now, in a playfulness with possibility.

Hell is personalized
With every discomfort
Fashioned with all the accoutrements necessary
For a ritual that devours time
It is a baring permanence
Naked in a wide open field
Grounds of tar
Air of fire
Blades of Kali
Deeply slicing seemingly impenetrable
Every pore screaming
Every movement a death crawl

And if you can’t reach out to grab my hand
Just know my spirit is here holding onto the soul of your palm
With a grip that will not recede
A firm hold that says
I know where you are
I only just peeked through this portal myself
I’m here at the door of Hell looking in
I see you
And though you may not need me to,
I’ve got you.
Even when the flames leave you feeling like you’re drowning
As they deliver what is dared

I found it not necessary in Hell to see the refreshment it is bringing
Having tried to, I could not
Worthless endeavor
Surrendering to Hell was the only glimpse of Heaven
Nor does surrender bring relief
Not this time
Relief is not Hell’s purpose
From the door as you burn
I see the kisses of flames
Leaving aura of clarity
By this threshold as I empathize with your pain
I celebrate your Hell
The Divinity of it’s purpose
The sanctity of it’s ritual
Solemn throat vibration
I honor your transformation
In solidarity, not resistance to,
I hold your hand in Hell

Poem by RO

Yes I am a warrior
I need to be loved
Allowed to whisper
What hurts
Why can you not see me
Why must I fight
I want to caress your cheek
Move that wisp of hair
Why do you want me to fall
Why do you want me to hurt
Yes I am a warrior
I need to be loved
Allow me to be
Just a

Poem- RO
Artist- John Browning