All I ask

It began years ago if we allow ourselves to go back that far. And in truth we have never really known how to deal with 'it'.  It was a secret we women knew, it was whispers that we kept to ourselves, knowing, that if we ever spoke about any of the mis-use we endured to our bodies, or our minds, we would be shut down for daring to be so brave to ever speak against a man, his needs, his rights and so we spent time placing it into the shoe box under the bed. 

When the #metoo campaign came out I sat back to watch. I was mixed with the emotion of how I felt about this.  In fact I sat with it for what has possibly been a couple of months since it came out? Actually, it was the refresh button that was hit then. This campaign of me too began years before the moment Ashley Judd came out about Weinstein, it came from the cry of a tremendously strong woman called Tarana Burke.  Years ago, and whilst we may have hit a high ball game with its use now, the time in between that, still speaks loads to us abut the distance between our equality and our ability to listen and be heard.

I sat back to watch because as a Counsellor I wasnt sure where this would go, where this would take us, what people wanted to achieve out of it and what the consequences would be. Yet # after # came with thousands upon thousands of women showing up - stepping up to cry out ME TOO.  Having heard many of these stories, some I truly wish I could forget due to the horrific nature of them, whilst I wanted to feel solidarity it wasnt coming yet.  There was something missing.  

It wasnt until this morning, when during yoga I burst into a flood of unpredictable and uncontrollable tears that I all of a sudden had to dive deeper into it. I knew what I was feeling, I knew why I was feeling, I just had to allow it to gather to its fullness to truly understand - to connect all the pieces.  So of course into silence and meditation I threw myself.

Yes, I can recall so many times for #metoo in my own life. I allowed the visions and recollections of them to flow through. That time with the famous person, that time with the store owner to whom the newspaper I worked for 'knew' would buy advertising space if they sent me. I shudder at his hand on my leg to lean in to check the designs. Yes man after man, they could touch. I was curious were we so accustomed to thinking we would only ever get some where if we allowed this behaviour? That if we screwed our way to the top we could win. Or that if we allowed ourselves to be the 'fun' of the party we would be able to gain access to higher places. Whilst I was at that point never a crusader I was certainly brave and I always left an indelible mark and statement of not for me thank you, as I walked away.  You don't get to touch me, you don't get to dictate my abilities, you don't get to determine my life and its outcomes.

Yet, there was still a silence.  And it wasnt until today that when I peered into that silence I discovered this space of protection.  That throughout time, men were allowed to protect men through keeping other mens secrets. Despite knowing truth, despite locker room talk, despite all that often was plain to see, they protected each other.  For fear of retribution, for maybe they had wronged too? But also we women protected men. In our silence we were allowing a protective barrier around our men, and I say our men, as many women know their men to be a source of the issue towards them and other women.  Our protection was never towards those who suffered. Our protection wasnt about those who endured.

Today I picked up the phone to call my mother to speak with her about it, and about 2 minutes in I knew I couldnt do it, for she wouldnt understand.  I knew she was a part of the generation that held those secrets.  I know my grandmother did so to until her end.  I knew she would say better left alone, or we did what we had to do.

I was in that space in the begining when I questioned our ability to now accuse men on new terms. I say new terms as 20-30 years ago, what was creepy, sleazy or slimy, and brushed off without a second thought is now sexual harassment, abuse. A new term, a bigger accusation, a deeper crime against the heart of women.  

All of this got thrown into the melting pot of attempting to reconicle the tears, the feelings, and thats when I looked further and came out with two very important pieces to the puzzle.

The first being the beginning of the movement. The me too campaign began as a movement of empowerment through empathy 10 years ago,.  A catch phrase to use between survivors, that gave recognition to what one had endured, it was a connector piece, something we would recognise within each other and we would be able to embrace and hold.  It was a conversation without words. Simply we knew what the depth of me too meant.  Perhaps 10 years ago we were strong enough to hear it from each other but today we are strong enough to reveal it to a world. To say in support that we are standing together in this. That we are one as a collective of creation as beautiful women.  It is vocal, it is loud in numbers and it is a landmark statement against abuse of us being women. But it wasnt the full solidarity that I wanted.

Until yesterday when I watched a TED talk delivered by a man in claiming he was done trying to be man enough. And thats when many pieces started to finally fall into place. Thats when I began to feel the solidarity.  That whilst we women can stand and say me too, nothing will change until men rise to say - I stand with you.   For every #metoo shouted there is a man behind that shout. There is a man who acted on his urges to touch, or to belittle or betray or over bear, over power, over come or manipulate.  And until we have recognition from those men - bravely standing to say - yes - I see you - yes I hear you and support you - perhaps even the bravest of brave saying YES I DID THIS and I am sorry.  Until that moment I feel we are standing alone.

So all I ask, is that we continue now with Tarana's brilliant inspiration as a conversation between survivors, and extend that to Ashleys' brave shout out to allow us to now make that conversation be heard.  I am not needing to reveal any perpetrators, but I say hear me now, I see you and ask that you see you and all you have done and make way for truth and change.

All I ask is that men stand at our side. That they see their wrong doing in allowing this, maybe even doing this and even continuing it to be allowed today.  That the shame and guilt they feel we help them heal, because you cant do it alone. Nor can we.  That this is done through conversation and the ability to find a gateway to being able to find equal consideration between us and our very individuals needs. That you actually allow the door to be open men, that you find ways to admit to yourself your part, that you find ways to make changes to who you are to become better at standing at our side.  And better as role models for those to come.

All I ask, is that we connect through this. That we use this as a means to unite.  That this becomes a part of the platform that we can stand on together in order to really move forward with truth. 

All I ask is that now silence be only used within meditation to find a space of peace.  And that protection is used to embrace those who are wounded - not for those who attack. 

Its not too much to ask.

(here are the two stories I speak about.   Tarana Burke  and  Why I am done trying to be man enough.)

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