It’s been more than a year since I’ve posted a personal essay…and that’s about all I’m ready to tell about the kind of year it’s been. Emily En Route will resume regular posts soon, but for now, we land on #metoo.
I am so inspired by this campaign, had been watching from the sidelines and felt moved to chime in on Facebook. I posted because I’m riveted by my sisters’ stories, inspired by the solidarity of women and also thankful for the good men I know. So many good men. Posting here as well for the friends who’ve asked for a link to share…
Comments. Touches. Looks. Chuckles as though we were both in on some private joke about my body. And much, much worse. I was in my early 20s living in Mexico when one conventionally powerful man offered to share the gift of himself as a lover very publicly over a business dinner at which I was the only female, and everyone laughed and I was terrified because a hand was on my thigh but I couldn’t find the words to respond in Spanish—I only knew how to turn bright red, twist out of reach and giggle nervously. In my later-20s, I learned how to volley a sly smile and a cutting comment in two languages that would seem just cold enough for me to feel safe but enough like flirtation to a harasser to keep the ball in play.
“I know how to get what I want,” I thought. “This is what ‘cool girls’ do. We find a workaround. I just won.”
In my 30s I realized what was really going on. The magic of woman, the power of our bodies and our spirits, it is a true, honest-to-God marvel. Since the days of serfdom, men have been battling for control of it. They seek that magical feminine energy to which all these men who have preyed upon us are invariably drawn in manners ranging from inappropriate to horrific. They don’t even know what it is, but they want to hold this superpower that’s just outside of their grasp. They don’t understand it, they can’t name it, they think it’s sexual, they think it’s about their pleasure, they act like it’s a trifle, they think appropriating it will make them strong. They think because they are powerful physically, mentally, politically or economically they can have it. But they miss the point.
The only way to hold feminine power is to receive it. Or to cultivate it from within.
Although I’m still processing the dark battle for control from which I’ve recently emerged, partially shattered in body, mind and spirit and simultaneously vitalized by the miraculous daughter who completed my family, I’m able to locate a huge amount of gratitude for the wonderful, strong, secure, powerfully good men in my life—and there are so many, even on Facebook. My dad, professors, friends, coaches, parents’ friends, friends’ dads, cousins, men I’ve dated, my ex-husband, classmates, bosses, friends’ husbands, clients, colleagues, neighbors and more.
Gentlemen, thanks for ruling. You’re the yang to our yin. You see what is amazing about woman and you honor it, revel in it and fan its power in right, good, appropriate ways.
Also, thanks for showing us what is wondrous about man. Physically strong, morally awake, bright like the sun, uplifting, protective, thoughtful, generous and powerful in your own right. You are as much a gift to us as we are to you in life, work and all manner of relationships.
So this is where I want the #metoo campaign to go from here…
My sisters, let’s all stand together. Let’s own our feminine power and unleash its transformative beauty without fear. Cast our glow across the planet as one. We can use our superpowers to nurture respect in our sons, nephews, brothers and husbands, to blast the dinosaurs of today who still behave like our president into a tarpit forever. Innately, we are alchemists, ladies. We can do this.
Men, stand up. Don’t be like the one kindly man at the dinner table that night in Mexico 15 years ago who apologized to me after dinner but said nothing to his cronies while I sat there terrified. Say something. Do something. Continue to show your sons, brothers and fathers how to be a real, good, true, honorable man. I’m grateful to you, and I’m counting on you. We all are. #metoo #goodmenstandup