I cringe when I look back on any writing I’ve done where I talk about being fairly content in life, “Mostly happy, more centred than ever.” I don’t cringe because it’s a lie. I cringe because it paints only a partial truth – I am MOSTLY happy. You must not forget the MOSTLY. It was a fucking long road to get to MOSTLY from RARELY. Why am I yelling?
I’m still not completely ‘there’, wherever that is. I’m not Eckhart-Fucking-Tolle.
Every time I think I am ‘there’, something happens to show me I’m not. It shows me to look again: deal with this, destroy this old belief system, forgive this person, forgive myself, forgive the world. I keep doing it. It gets easier not harder, and every time I tell myself it’s ‘hard’ I remind myself that I’m full of fucking shit – hard is living the old way, trying to constantly create myself to be accepted by others.
Because you can never create yourself to be good enough. There is always another thing… one more failure… one more way you suck, just a little bit. Especially for women. Gasp – here we go. She’s one of THOSE. (Hold that thought.)
And it’s so fucking unconscious, the ways we try to create ourselves. I see it everywhere – especially religion. I was religious, once. I’m not sure how, exactly… indoctrinated, I guess. I let go of religion and found God, or Source, or Oneness… call it Shazza, if you want.
I now know that blindly following external rules and hoping I can wear then like a suit of clothes to save me from ‘Hell’, is just denial of myself. I’m a piece of God, a creator, and heaven and hell is as I create it, right here. I also know that I am not inadequate and I don’t need anyone to prove that to me, it just ‘is’.
But sometimes I forget. This is when I shift from the MOSTLYs into the RARELYs.
And the smallest things can set me off, like unconscious sexism from men. And women. But are they really the small things? Or are they the massive, stinkin’ fat elephant in the room no-one wants to acknowledge?
I have male friends who, like most of us, are very much a product of their culture. Left unobserved and unquestioned, why would you be any other way? If I say the word ‘sexism’, it’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull – they become angry and defensive. It’s as though they believe that by acknowledging ‘women’s problems’ it will take away from ‘men’s problems’. It won’t, of course. They are just different.
I ignore it, but it shits me. Just like I ignore little jokes that sneak into everyday conversation. “Women! God, next lifetime I’m coming back a gay man!” or “Women! You’re all crazy!” Oh yes, it’s funny that we are such a massive inconvenience, so unfuckable and all so inherently stupid…
This of course, I do not say either. I go for a walk, because I am a ‘nice’ person. Oh how I despise being this watered down, voiceless, shell of a person just to keep the angry men less angry, to keep the peace. I am my mother’s daughter.
I know this reaction is not real. And I know these man are not ‘bad’. They’re just in their own bubble, feeling as though I’m trying to take away from their suffering. Everyone just wants to be seen, and men suffer too. Not any less than women do, just not in the same way.
Men have different shit going on. They are struggling with their role as a man, but normally are not trying to deny themselves or shrink themselves in a way so that the opposite gender will accept them, and see some sort of value in them. Many are trying to artificially expand, rather than shrink. To build another layer. And I don’t think they do it for the opposite gender, but for themselves. They think, “What is it to be a man? How am I supposed to create myself? What do I need to achieve, or how do I act, in order to have value?”
I could be wrong, I don’t have a penis. But this is what I’ve observed.
Yet, the way society is constructed, women’s role within relationships is far more soul-destroying than men’s role within traditional relationships, for most people. Women have often been indoctrinated to obtain their value through what men think of them.
It’s all suffering, just different. One doesn’t deny the other.
Also, when men have been giggled at for being sexist to women their whole lives, how would they even be aware of what they’re doing? I don’t giggle. I used to, because I didn’t want to be THAT woman. But I still don’t call it out. And I still find myself making excuses for my every day choices, trying to be accepted in small ways.
“You’re reading Clementine Ford? Urgh. You’re not one of THOSE women, are you?”
“Oh, I just thought it would be interesting…” I say, apologetically.
No-one enjoys being disliked. No-one likes being the most undesirable woman in the world: THAT woman, one of THOSE women. When I revert to this, to apologising for myself in order to be accepted, I have to remember there will always be something else. I will always read the wrong thing, have the wrong opinion, or act the wrong way.
Do not apologise.
A year or two ago, I had a relationship with a guy who was beautiful (well, I saw his soul and it was beautiful). He was one of the most self-absorbed, oblivious, arrogant men I’ve met, and I was madly in love. Truly, madly, deeply, this guy was my world. Not because he was a twat (I don’t dig bad guys), but in spite of that. He had so many layers and I could see the ‘twatishness’ was just damage. I could see the beautiful, playful, clever, affectionate, humorous Truth behind it all. Truth with a capital T.
But what good is it to hang onto that if it means losing myself?
I tried so hard to create a version of me he would find acceptable. He would withdraw his love for days and not speak to me whenever I did not meet his expectations. He would return once I apologised. I always did, because the void was so large. I often knew I shouldn’t, but I missed my him as my friend even more than I missed him as my partner. Neither one of us had a clue what the fuck we were doing, both getting it wrong in our own ways.
I tried to do better…. I tried politely talking and I’d get eye rolls and condescension. I tried not talking at all, and I’d just feel unloved and unseen and I’d consider breaking up with him. I tried writing a letter which I stayed up till 2am perfecting, ‘nicely’ explaining one of the issues in our relationship which was consistently shoved under the rug, and why it really mattered to me. I got the response, “Thanks for that, I won’t read it though.”
I was never going to be ‘enough’. And of course, I was responsible for my choices – I chose that man, I chose that relationship. Why? We choose what we believe we are worthy of, on some subconscious level. When we know this we surely start to do better and take the time to question why we see so little value in ourselves.
I was choosing suppression over freedom, and no matter how ‘in love’ I thought I was, that was not love. It was self-denial, it was the opposite to love. While this particular guy never told sexist jokes, he was still oblivious to his subconscious behaviours, his soft manipulation. Because, who questions it when it’s so every day, so normal? Why would he question it when women like me keep telling him he’s right?
Sexist jokes bring me back to all that. They get to me for what they represent. I lose my cool, and nice girl goes for a walk to calm down.
My whole life I worked hard to be what was expected of me, to be loved, to be worthy of love. To not be the naggy woman. To not be the shrieky or emotional woman. To not talk too much, ‘cos guys don’t like it when you talk too much (apparently). To laugh at shitty, dumb-arse jokes. To laugh when a guy points out my mistake (Oh! Looksie here, I’m just a fucking idiot! Tee hee!), but to pretend I don’t notice the numerous mistakes that same guy makes. I’m a smart woman, I notice them, but why would I point them out? I’m not here to make people feel stupid.
These little jokes about the inherent stupidity of women are normalising sexism. Furthermore, it stings briefly because it’s once again shoved back in my face that no matter what I do, I have failed at being a woman. I am not enough. I can never beat this, I can never be truly ‘seen’.
And that is me on autopilot, reverting to old thought processes. I have to remind myself that I haven’t failed at all by being who I am, and I need to go further into ‘being’ rather than ‘creating’, or trying to be ‘nicer’ or more loveable and accepted. Because as I said, I will never ever get there. If I did, I’d have to lose myself in the process, and that’s the opposite to happiness, isn’t it? Happiness is personal freedom.
Eckhart-Fucking-Tolle would tell me that when I’m in these RARELY moments, I just need to be in “the now” more. That I’m not accepting the present moment as it is and I’m trying to escape from it, and am denying myself in the process. I just need to acknowledge how I feel and make space for it, rather than let the emotion control me. We are the ultimate creators. We are God.
I’d tell Eckhart I agree.
What a war we face, and it’s with ourselves, not men. Of course, men are perpetuating it, and a fucktonne of women are, too. I am often one of them. It’s become so normal that we don’t even notice the socially constructed gender roles we try to fit within, and it’s hard to break the mould. But there I go again, with that word. It’s probably not hard at all, if we just take care of our own shit.
Here’s the bad thing I shouldn’t admit: I don’t want to fight the war against sexism. I’m out, I’m not interesting in fighting anything. I just want to be myself. To not fear the words that come out of my own mouth, to not fear men’s response to them. To not feel beaten down by subconscious behaviours that take me back to old thought processes.
Men are fucked, women are fucked. We’re all fucked. Deep down none of us are fucked, but we don’t usually exist on that level. We are all a product of our environment until we notice that, and change it. But I don’t think we can change other people by hating them. Didn’t Martin Luther King Jr. say something about this? “Only love can do that.”
I just have to stop trying to be ‘nice’ and love… MOSTLY myself.