Lots of women are online today lecturing the women who marched in one of the Women’s Marches across the country. Apparently, lots of women feel the need to dictate to other women exactly how they should protest… even telling them not to feel happy about a peaceful march, insisting that the peace and joy the marchers experienced was all bogus because the crowd was “too white.” Lots of women are also lecturing other women about the best way to support minority women. Lots of women are judging and guilting and dismissing other women today… Is this really helpful?!
Sorry ladies, but you don’t get to define me. You don’t get to dictate what my protests look like. You don’t get to guilt me simply because I’m a middle class white woman. You don’t get to tell me what kind of sign to carry or hat to wear when I protest. You don’t get to dismiss me because I marched with a smile and didn’t scream in rage and burn shit. You don’t get to poo poo my commitment because I don’t protest the way you do.
I will choose when and how I take political action. I will choose when and how I speak out and act. It is MY choice, NOT YOURS!
When one group lectures another about how to behave and how to feel, it sounds suspiciously like old patriarchal Bullshit to me – even when women do it to other women.
EVERY woman needs the space to take political action and express herself in the way that’s most appropriate to her WITHOUT being judged and lectured by other women – and that includes white women from the suburbs!
We won’t fix this mess by telling one group of women to shut up and stuff their feelings, their needs, their wisdom in order to serve another group of women who now take precedence.
We want change, right? Real change? That requires creating a space where ALL women can dialogue with each other and be heard with respect and love. That’s true inclusivity.
“The language by which we have been taught to dismiss ourselves and our feelings as suspect is the same language we use to dismiss and suspect each other.”
In her book, Awakening Loving-Kindness, Pema Chodron offers us a wonderful story about the illusions of heaven and hell:
“There’s another story that you may have read that has to do with what we call heaven and hell, life and death, good and bad. It’s a story about how those things don’t really exist except as a creation of our own minds. It goes like this: A big burly samurai comes to the wise man and says, “Tell me the nature of heaven and hell.” And the roshi looks him in the face and says: “Why should I tell a scruffy, disgusting, miserable slob like you?”
The samurai starts to get purple in the face, his hair starts to stand up, but the roshi won’t stop, he keeps saying, “A miserable worm like you, do you think I should tell you anything?” Consumed by rage, the samurai draws his sword, and he’s just about to cut off the head of the roshi. Then the roshi says, “That’s hell.”
The samurai, who is in fact a sensitive person, instantly gets it, that he just created his own hell; he was deep in hell. It was black and hot, filled with hatred, self-protection, anger, and resentment, so much so that he was going to kill this man. Tears fill his eyes and he starts to cry and he puts his palms together and the roshi says, “That’s heaven.” “
An idea to ponder today from one of my favorite authors and spiritual teachers…
“I can’t overestimate the importance of accepting ourselves exactly as we are right now, not as we wish we were, or think we ought to be. By cultivating nonjudgmental openness to ourselves and to whatever arises, to our surprise and delight we will find ourselves genuinely welcoming the never-pin-downable quality of life, experiencing it as a friend, a teacher, and a support, and no longer as an enemy.”