Oh hai, anyone who might read this. It was definitely not my desire to begin this blog posting in such stark contrast to my cheerful introduction (and most of the time I am cheerful). But things being as they are, having elected a monster that no one thought could ever in a hundred years win the presidency, I have no choice but to post about sobering, painful, angry things. I will be using this as an outlet to process my griefs and my hopes; my frustrations and my plans. More than likely I will be talking to myself right now, but that’s just fine too.
This post is addressed to the men of my acquaintance and deep friendships; the ones I know only in passing, and the ones who I love and know powerfully, and the ones who know and love me in return.
In the days and weeks ahead – and I will not try to forecast how long this might take, so buckle up, menfolk, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride – the women in your life will more than likely be grieving (and if they aren’t, I really don’t want to know about it). And grieving is the only accurate term for this global tragedy. They will probably be cycling through all the stages of grieving: the denial, the bargaining, the rage, the despair, the acceptance. This will likely be a very labile time, and depending on how the women in your lives deals with highly emotional and sensitive situations, very difficult and tense.
What I am asking of you all may take an enormous effort of your will and your strength of character; and that test of your character may, sadly, reveal things about you that we didn’t realize before. However, it is my optimistic hope that you will rise to the occasion; that you will dig deep within yourselves and find stores of compassion, strength, grace, and understanding that you never knew you had. It is my hope that you will somehow squash the inevitable and powerful compulsion to be defensive, to minimize, to ‘mansplain’ (look it up if you don’t know what that word means, ain’t nobody got time to explain it to you today).
I am asking, humbly, that you simply… sit with us. That you LISTEN. Listen. Do NOOOOTTTTTT try to fucking fix us. Do NOT try frantically to appease us, to do away with our pain and rage and sadness as quickly as possible. If you force us to swallow it, just to make you happy, to keep YOUR comfy status quo, then brothers? I promise you, it will come back to bite you in the ass so very hard. This cannot be fixed by positive thinking; You cannot throw chocolate, wine, and shopping therapy at it. You must, please, just let us feel any and everything we feel. This is not to say that we are excused to be rampaging hosebeasts and do nothing but make your life miserable indefinitely, by any stretch of the imagination.
My pleas and requests are in fact aimed at benefiting everyone, and are in no way designed to imply that men are not terrified and grieving as well. Because of course you are. And because of course we all need to be heard, comforted, encouraged and validated. In particular LGBTA men, Muslim men, and men of color. This is your terrifying burden as well; you will need all the compassion and support and tremendous understanding as women will. I feel that I am probably expressing myself poorly, and I pray that I am not causing offense. If I am not wording myself accurately, in my exhaustion and numb horror, please forgive me, and correct me with love. Because marginalizing and excluding is precisely the opposite of what I intend.
The position I am approaching this from is from my own fears this day, in all honesty. My desire that the men in my life will be the men I know they are; that they will not wound me or anyone else further by doing what men often do, with the fixing and the defending and the minimizing. And I swear by the old gods and the new, if ANYONE parrots ‘not all men’ at me today, I will not be held responsible for the fury I unleash. If anyone blusters defensively, know that today is not your day or your time. However, and this is very important: any man of any description, cis het or otherwise, reaches out for the same compassion and support that I am asking for, they will get it from me immediately; if your grief and horror overwhelm you for ANY reason whatsoever, reach out your hand and I will pull you close. Because my purpose is not to pit men against women at all, but in fact to inspire a kind of unity that is simply difficult to achieve much of the time. A shared burden is a lighter one; a shared grief is a little easier to tolerate.
Please let us all sit together. And if we cannot – and for POC: If you feel unable to sit with white people in all of our privilege and relative safety, you will never for a moment recieve an iota of judgement from me. Do only what brings you peace, not what brings me or anyone else peace. If you are too angry to even look at me, then don’t; I will not take offense, ever. I will gladly absorb that anger and release it back to the god of my understanding. I am here though. I am right here. If I can take any anger or sorrow in my stand with my fellow LGBTA brothers and sisters; my POC brothers and sisters and loved ones (and I do not use the terms brothers and sisters lightly), let me take it. I’m not noble. I’m not special. I”m keenly and painfully aware of my privilege today, now more than ever. I hope with all my heart that I am saying things in ways that ring true to my purpose. But even if I don’t, I must at least try. If I have said something wrongly or poorly, and someone lashes out, or uses the opportunity to correct or educate me if I am wrong, then I will take it without defensiveness or argument. If my expressions of alliance cannot be accepted by anyone right now, then that is ok too. Not one person owes me anything, nor to take anything I offer. I cannot appease, I cannot fix, I cannot heal. All I can do is be here now. And that is all I am asking: Men, hold space, listen, let us rage and try not to internalize what we let loose. Everyone: please do the same for the POC, the LGBTA, the Muslims that you know and that you do not know personally. Please sit with us (and I say this as both a woman and a queer woman) in our sorrow. Please allow us to process all this however best we can, and do not judge us.
My many thanks to anyone who reads this with an open heart. I welcome any and all feedback, though I do ask that any commentary be kept as civil and respectful as possible, even if angry or full of hurt.