Wednesday, July 25, 2012
That's what it says on my wrist in the picture to the left here. "Thank you." I thought today about getting it tattooed there, as I really want to cultivate this prayer, this constant gratitude. I want it there when things are delightful and when they are full of pain. I want to have gratitude for every experience as it teaches me more and more about the ways of the world and the ways of us humans and the inner workings of this precious and wonderful being named Mahfam, she: the visage of the moon, the color of the light of the moon. Moon-face, my soft light casting a pool for you to dance in or run away from into the shadows or simply use as a stage to act out your relationships with your demons or your ghosts or your beloveds, toward me (but always actually toward you.) This moonlight thanks you; for whatever you bring, for whoever you are. I thank you.
I had an outburst on the street today. I was walking my somatics practitioner's dog, and, as happens when I am out for a stroll in just about any neighborhood, I was greeting most of the people I encountered with a simple hello. Three men were working on a car. I greeted one of them, ignored the one under the vehicle, then greeted the third. He said, "Hello there, beautiful." Maybe I am overly sensitive about this word. Maybe you didn't hear his tone, so you don't know how disgusting it sounded.
I said, "Can't we just greet one another without remarking on each others' physical appearance?" or some such thing. He was immediately angry. A slurry of words poured out of his mouth as I walked away. I ignored most of them until I heard, "Snotty bitch."
I became all rage. It was ugly and justified and dignified and reminiscent of what once was still permissible to call, "ghetto." I'm pretty certain that for some people, "hell" is Mahfam turning around and snarling, "WHAT did you say?"
You heard me. No, I didn't hear you, which is why I'm asking you what the hell did you say? Keep walking, bitch. You betta watch that mouth! Get yo n**** to come back and say that. Get my WHAT? Get yo man to come step to me. I don't need no muthafuckin' MAN to come say nothing to you. I speak for myself. You better shut your mouth, rude motherfucker. You keep walking, bitch. You watch your mouth and YOU, YOU tell your boy to watch his mouth. Get on down the street, keep walking. I'm about to do that anyway! Fool!
All because of the word, "beautiful," I suppose. But, boy. Boy oh boy, you little, sad boy. You don't know how beautiful I am. You see some long curly hair and a shoulder poking out of a long, loose sweater, and the assumptions you make and the socialization that they are based on disrespect the both of us. You have no idea just how beautiful I am. I am not a walking piece of ass, nor a walking pretty face, and I refuse to be regarded as such. You are not just some inappropriate and misogynistic language, and you don't deserve to be regarded as such. And yes, sometimes that still means I will shout behind me while walking down the street so that you do not get to have the last damn misogynistic word. As much as it sucks to get more attached to the last word and the being right than to just let the hurtful stuff cycle through and compost, muthafucka I needed you to hear that it is not okay to talk to me that way. Even if you couldn't hear it, I guess I needed to say it.
We all suffer from patriarchy. When we pass each other on the street and what could have been a friendly exchange between neighbors turns into a remark about my appearance turns into a request to please not make such remarks turns into a war of words, we've both lost, my friend. We could have had a true human connection, and instead we are both suffering.
Thank you. Thank you for reminding me that we both/all suffer from this sickness. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to examine a way my reactions have contributed to a furtherance of suffering as opposed to an easing of suffering.
And, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for you and I'm sorry for me. I'm sorry that we spoke to each other in the ways that we did. I'm grateful to have learned from it.