On my walk yesterday I walked right up to a stick, that was actually this!
"How stupid of me", I immediately thought then realized I didn't even know why I felt stupid; for thinking it was a stick, for being alarmed it was a snake, for feeling jumpy walking past it when it clearly didn't want to harm me?
"Either way, I'll keep an eye out when I walk back. Oh look, there it is!"
Nope, just a stick. I felt stupid again for all the same reasons in reverse; for overthinking it, for being too cautious, for not enjoying my walk correctly, for not keeping it breezy, cool, and strong.
This all-knowing, I am consumed with getting right, that runs like a soundtrack to my life, changing tempo to cue hilarity, peril, passion or the mundane is wildly distracting and I'm trying to understand it better to tamp it down. I'm sure you've surmised by now this got me thinking beyond snakes and sticks.
As the "me too's" roll in and men understand more about how women navigate the world, I'm not sure they realize how consistently women assess situations and turn the responsibility on themselves. Many times, I didn't even understand the situation I was in until it was over and I vowed not to be fooled again. Brave women sharing their stories have liberated me from some of the guilt of not getting it right but not from the reality I live in. If I get hurt or put in danger, I understand someone will eventually say it is partially my fault. That "someone" could even be me accusing myself. Getting it wrong is embarrassing at best and fatal at worst.
Here's what I found in the parking lot.
So I guess this is a plea for compassion from the "good guys" out there. Please understand, sometimes you look like a snake. I know it isn't your fault but sometimes we get it wrong about you when we are always trying really hard to get it right. It is so hard to know and many of us have been lied to by people who swore we could trust them. If we do read it wrong, taking your "stick-ness" and beating us over the head to prove how much you are not a snake is more painful than avoiding an actual snake. I get that it is frustrating. It is frustrating for us too! It is a skittish time for a lot of women talking about this for the first time, so anything you can do to help out is truly appreciated.
I'm ready to let some defenses down and I've felt encouraged by meaningful conversations I've had with men about new understandings they are coming to. I want new understanding too. I think we've been so conditioned not to tell the truth we don't even know how to speak about it properly.
However, I remain hopeful.