To #metoo or not to #metoo?
It’s been a question that’s been running through my mind all week.It’s been amazing to watch the conversation come to light and be told, by millions of women across the world, each in their own unique way, with their own unique experiences.
It’s been amazing to watch the conversation come to light and be told, by millions of women across the world, each in their own unique way, with their own unique experiences.
I don’t think it’s wise to judge whose story is more worse or better than others. And I don’t think its wise to them demand these women share any more details than what they have already shared. The story actually isn’t important. It’s of no importance to compare each experience. To rank or rate the severity of each experience because the fact is ANY level of harassment or abuse is too much.
What is important is that these women have had the courage to speak up. And that collectively we have seen the extent of the problem. Across cultures, across race and across economic boundaries.
Which leads me to wonder if I am part of this club?
One-in-three women have been sexually abused.
Thankfully, I can very comfortably say that I have not. That’s a privilege that I don’t take for granted. But I have two sisters, which means the odds are stacked against one of them. That’s terrifying because it’s never even occurred to me before now to talk about this with either of them.
Harassment on the other hand… Well, I’d be surprised if you could find a women or girl who doesn’t know what it feels like to be stared at, called out to, patted, pinched, brushed up against or groped.
Have I experienced harassment? For that, I can say #metoo.
I’ve never understood why men call out at women as they are minding their own business simply walking down the street. I’ve never really understood what they expect to get out of it? These days, it doesn’t happen so often. Maybe I’m not as cute as I used to be. Maybe tradies have tied up their act a bit. Certainly, having worked amongst a fair few tradies and contractors this year while working on the roads doing traffic management, I’m happy to report I’ve been treated with nothing but respect.
Although perhaps, cat calling is too old-fashioned these days. Because instead now I get the pleasure of having explicitly inappropriate things messaged to me on Tinder. And I wonder the same thing – do guys really expect that to work? This week I even had a pornographic GIF sent to my business page on Facebook. It was utterly delightful.
Next comes harassment within the workplace, which is what started this entire #metoo movement, from the actions of a powerful Hollywood director with what sounds like practically every woman he’s ever encountered at work.
This was a hazy area for me. Have I experienced harassment while at work? I’ve worked a lot of jobs in a lot of places around the world. One event keeps coming to mind though. It wasn’t a big thing. In fact before this week of #metoo’s I probably would have disregarded it altogether. It made me question whether it was bad enough to qualify. But here’s what I remember, it was bad enough that it left me feeling angry. It was bad enough that I told my girlfriends about it. It was bad enough that it left an icky feeling in my gut.
That’s as bad as it needs to be. It’s the icky uncomfortable feeling in your gut that tells you ALL that you need to know. No one else gets to pass judgement on it if YOU are experiencing that. That is your personal barometer of what you know to be true and right.
Words and actions can do damage, especially to young minds. But especially when the same message is sent to us over and over again. Our experience of the world around us through the words and actions of others shape how we view ourselves and who we believe we are.
When I teach meditation, we refer to these as groves. Imagining the truest version of you as the very centre of a vinyl record. When we are born the record is empty/blank, it’s like it hasn’t been printed with music yet. All we know is our truest self. We are completely connected to the source of all things, we don’t think, and we don’t worry about the past or the future. We are simply our natural essence. Going back to episode 15, we are that part of ourselves that is left if we were to wipe out our past and our story.
But as we grow into the world, each experience/event become the groves that go around and around that record which has the effect that as more grooves are added we become separated from the centre and move further away from knowing and remembering our truest selves. We forget how to express ourselves, we hide parts of ourselves away on the belief that others won’t like them, that’s it’s not appropriate to express ourselves in certain ways and for fear of what others might think or say about us.
In the context of #METOO, it influences how we dress or how we want to dress, how we feel when we dress a certain way, what we think of others who dress a certain way that’s maybe different to us. And how we behave in certain situations whether at work or at play and how we express ourselves, IN ORDER TO STAY SAFE.
Here’s are the words from a post I read on Instagram just now:
In response to this #MeToo campaign that has spread across the interwebs. I dressed this morning in a way that makes me feel cute yet comfortable. I often joke about having a “mom” style, as these large sweaters are a key staple to my fall/winter style. Today, however, I realized that I dress like this not only because it’s warm and comfy, but also makes me feel safe. The sweater long enough to cover my back, my neckline high enough to cover any cleavage I don’t have. After years of being harassed on my walk to work, of having strangers think they can grab me without my permission, of coworkers telling me I am a “danger to the workplace” because my body is a distraction, it’s just easier for me to cover my body, to cover myself. When i do choose to dress up and show off my body in any way, the first sign of harassment immediately puts me back into discomfort, wishing again for a sweater to cover me. How much of who I am is shaped by my, our, experience as women in this society?
And because of all these experiences of abuse and harassment, it stifles our natural sexuality as women. It stifles our ability to express ourselves fully and to be seen, it diminishes our power, it makes us small, it makes us hide. It makes us afraid to speak up. We lose our voice.
I didn’t think this was something I would share, I didn’t think I had enough experience about the subject to be worthy of commenting about it publicly. But I am just immensely proud of all the women AND men who have the courage this week to take back their power, and voice their truth, to share their stories and support and love each other unconditionally.
We talk a lot within the context of meditation and mindfulness about letting things go. I remember hearing that over and over again and getting pissed off because everyone seemed to talk about it but no-one could give me concrete practical step by step instructions on HOW!!!!
I kinda feel like I’ve figured it out now. I’ve experienced the physical and mental/emotional release of letting stuff go. Now I’m one of those annoying people who can’t really tell you how… Except for this – it’s the meditation. The meditation made me do it.
Why am I mentioning this? Because as empowering and freeing as letting go is, it doesn’t mean that you have to stay silent either. Sometimes, you need to speak your truth. Like so many people have done this week. Just make sure you have no attachment to how your truth will be received. Don’t have any expectation of how others will respond.
So speak your truth, it’s yours to speak, not anybody else, just LET GO of what happens next.
My truth today is this:
Whether you are a man or a woman, whether you have experienced sexual abuse or harassment or not, the world should be a SAFE place for each of us to be able to express ourselves fully and in truth, without the risk of our physical bodies being threatened in any way.
Don’t be afraid of getting it wrong. The truth is, if you’re speaking your truth, if it’s coming right from the centre of your heart, you can’t get it wrong.
Maybe I’ve missed something in all this, maybe I’ve offended someone by something I’ve said here today. Maybe I’ll hate mail, maybe I’ll get love notes, maybe I’ll get another disgusting GIF sent my way.
I don’t say any of this to please or displease anyone else. I say it because in this moment it was there for me to say. Like I said earlier I didn’t plan on talking about this today. I don’t care what anyone else thinks, I don’t care if nobody listens to this episode.
Maybe this #metoo movement will make a huge difference, maybe it won’t.
Maybe it’s opening up the collective consciousness to a new way of being and behaving.
Maybe I’ll get whistled at tomorrow if I walk down a Bali street in my bikini top.
Maybe as a result of this conversation, I’ll feel empowered enough that I’ll want to walk down the street in a bikini top.
Maybe I’ll meditate on it first though.
My love to all of you who are listening to this episode. My even bigger and more infinite love to all the women and men who have been sexually harassed or assaulted, whether you have had the courage to write #metoo or not.
We hear you and we are here for you. I dedicate this episode to you and send you my courage so that you may show up, play big, speak your truth, find peace and live happy.