How exhausting, sometimes, to bear not only the weight of what you are, but also the weight of what you ought to be.
Pain froze you, for years—and fear—leaving scars.
But now, as though miraculously, it seems, here you are
walking easily across the ground, and into town
as though you were floating on air, which in part you are,
or riding a wave of what feels like the world’s good will—
though helped along by something foreign and older than you are
and yet much younger too, inside you, and so palpable
an X-ray, you’re sure, would show it, within the body you are,
not all that far beneath the skin, and even in
some bones. Making you wonder: Are you what you are—
with all that isn’t actually you having flowed
through and settled in you, and made you what you are?
The pain was never replaced, nor was it quite erased.
It’s memory now—so you know just how lucky you are.
You didn’t always. Were you then? And where’s the fear?
Inside your words, like an engine? The car you are?!
Face it, friend, you most exist when you’re driven
away, or on—by forms and forces greater than you are.
Just returned from a yoga class with live sitar and decided to stop at my new corner store for some household items. The owner notices my yoga bag and says in a heavy Indian accent:
“You like to do yoga!”
“I love yoga!”
“I love yoga too! Om shanti!”
We’re now best friends, obvs.
My original plan for September 3rd was to be on a plane for Delhi as we speak. For a variety of reasons outside of my control, that didn’t happen today, and I have been wrestling with that a bit.
I think I got as close as I could while staying home. Little moment of connection, big big big impact.
The point of listening to women and feminists is to listen to women and feminists. Because if you listen to them, you might start to understand certain basic points, such as: Women do not automatically have to accept you as an expert, particularly not when the subject under discussion (sexism!) is something you’ve never experienced first-hand. Women do not have to make you “comfortable” and “welcome” in every single conversation. Women do not automatically have to grant you a space in their discussions, on their blogs, or in their lives. Women do not have to permit you to enter their political movements, their self-created spaces, their personal space, their bodies, or anything else that belongs to them; you, as a man, are not entitled to women’s attention, praise, affection, respect, or company, just because you want it. And when a woman says “no,” you respect that this particular woman said “no,” and you stop. You don’t make excuses, you don’t explain why you should be able to get what you want, you don’t throw a tantrum, you don’t call that woman names: You just stop what you are doing. Because she said “no.”
Here’s where we appeal to that “lived experience” thing. Because: Have you ever had a guy come up to you — on the street, in a bar, whatever — and just straight-up say, “hey, I wanna talk to you?” Happens all the time, right? Happens to women, all the time. But have you ever just straight-up said, “no?” Not “no, I have a boyfriend,” or “no, I’m busy,” or “no, I have to race to save the city from the Joker’s diabolical machinations, for I am the Batman,” or any other excuse: Just the word “no,” by itself?
Yeah. So you know what happens next, after you say “no.” The guy always keeps talking. He tries wheedling, or begging, sometimes. But if you say “no” firmly enough, or often enough that he gets the point, the dude just starts yelling. He tells you that you’re not that hot. He tells you what a bitch you are. (“You bitch, I have a Rolls Royce,” was my favorite of these.) Sometimes he follows you down the street, yelling at you; sometimes, he follows you in his car. These dudes are always so fucking certain that they’re entitled to your time and attention that they will harass you until you give it, or at least until you’re scared and sorry for not giving it. You do not have the right not to interact, as far as these guys are concerned.” —Sady, “Chronicles of Mansplaining: Professor Feminism and the Deleted Comments of Doom” at Tiger Beatdown (via approximation)