This is the age of speaking up. I’ve started speaking up. People don’t like it. It’s like everyone turned into Tommy – blindfold on, earplugs in, tune out.
In a place I considered a safe space online, I recently spoke up about some abuse I had experienced in/through that environment. I was ASTONISHED at the responses. A few people responded that they had experienced abuse but nothing like my story -and the rest made fun of me, called my story shit, and then went on to brag how successful they were. When I tried to point this out to them, my words were twisted and changed and I was admonished for attacking a person I was complimenting (who wasn’t one of the people I had issue with).
People in online forums (a good number of narcissists but we’ll talk about that in a later post), use “word salad” as a bullying technique. Instead of responding directly to your point, they become overly verbose and condescending (but thickly veiled and dry) and talk all the way around the subject with the goal to make someone else look like a fool to remove all attention from them. The problem is, men are taught to treat women that way – and they have crafted it to a T. No man wants to believe they’ve been raised to victimize and abuse women – so instead, they just spend their days with blindfolds on, earplugs in, yankin’ and grinnin.
Finally, I realize the depths of my issues and confusion with my gender and sexuality and the world and where I fit in it. My set of rules I learned is heavily influenced by both. I was taught my body was my first and only currency, and I was to be generous with it. My mother and grandmother would tell me, “It won’t ever get you power – you’ll never have that – but it will feed you and keep a roof over your head – that’s all that it is for.” I can remember hearing that as far back as I can remember. My body (currency) had nothing to do with feelings – it was simply a transaction to insure continued basic survival.
You’re shaking your head in disbelief as you read that. There are so many things wrong with that on so many levels – but it’s the truth. Now imagine how liberating it is to realize I never have to spend another DIME of that currency anywhere.
So I choose to log out of the online places and turn off the computer. I have so many better places to devote my energy. I hear the big kid practicing an aria – probably in their sleep – and the boy has Little Bear (his morning coffee) on the iPad still snuggled in his room. I take a deep breath and roll my shoulders a bit. Faces of dear friends glide across my mind and I smile.
I remember my mantra for 2018 and I whisper it to myself a few times.
“Show up or shut up”
Then I remember I have new fancy coffee to drink this morning. It’s gonna be okay.