There are very few boundaries in my life that I feel are unwavering. There are very few hills that I am willing to die on; very few places in my life where I put my foot down and say this is what I believe and this is what I will and/or will not do.
Thanks to therapy and medication, I am free to be flexible in my life. The rigidity of anxious, fearful living doesn’t define how I interact with other people and ideas. I’m not a steel-spined monolith, I am able to flex with the moment, with relationships, with the setting I am in. I think that’s healthy, and I’ve worked hard to be able to do that. I don’t want to be rigid, I want to be open to the waves and the wind of life, to how we are supposed to change, and honestly, do somersaults and backflips sometimes. It can be uncomfortable.
I guess I have found one of those places where I cannot waver; where it is not in me to be flexible. And if I am flexible in this place that I am about to tell you about, I will deeply regret it. I will be angry, and there will be deep pain and resentment.
The place where that is is with women. With being a marginalized person, with having an identity–a very clear identity–as a female in a world that has waged war against women since the beginning of time. In a world where women and men equally espouse ideas against people who are like me. I cannot stand for that because when I do I am standing against myself and that makes no sense. That causes inner distress at the deepest level of my being. I’ve learned about myself that I cannot be simultaneously working to be alive and to be happy and to be free and speaking against the very nature of who I am.
The difficult thing is that many women as well as men defend these ideas. They believe that women are inferior and men are superior. The stories the teenagers that I know tell me about the things girls say about and to one another , saying that they want to be with the guys instead of other girls, is because we are taught from birth that men are superior. That is the story in our DNA. It is here and it is always this lie that we are waking up and facing daily. We are constantly facing microaggressions, we are constantly being paid less, demeaned, undervalued, disregarded because we are different than men.
I can’t stand for it. I cannot stand next to someone who speaks against my kind. That is the same as eating a nutritious meal while taking drinks from a glass full of poison.
I find myself nearly foaming at the mouth when I speak of these things. Although there are academics and there are women and men who study, teach, and write books about the ways that we treat each other so poorly, but still our little girls are tuaght that their value from proximity to a man. There are grown women who cannot fathom that they are valuable without having a man in their life, without having the stamp of approval from a man.
And our men are just boys, they are just humans like we are. They are not licensed or able or wise enough to tell women if they have value or not. So why do we keep teaching our girls to ask them? Why are wives taught to ask their husbands if they are good enough when she was born perfect? Why are these lies still shaping the way our boys and girls interact with one another? Simply typing these words onto the page puts me in a state of complete outrage.
That’s it. That’s the boundary I can’t betray, the guard I cannot let down. A person who stands against women stands against me, and has no share in my life.
We are complicit in the damage of patriarchy every day, but we must wage the war for equality, for equal respect, for the truth of every being’s worthiness to permeate each corner of our society.
There is no other way for us to all be okay.