I don’t want to take care of you. I don’t want to explain feminism and sexism to you. I don’t want to listen to you have diarrhea of the mouth trying to defend yourself every time you are confronted for your questionable behavior. As for your “forgetfulness”, “good intentions”, “busyness” or whatever other excuses you’ve created in your whimsical, illusion-filled mind—no one cares. Like really NO ONE cares and those things have nothing to do with the conversation (I don’t even need to know what the conversation is to know they have NOTHING to do with it).
Here’s the thing. You have been raised and taught your whole life to believe you are “good”, that you are “better than”, that you not only have all the answers but that it is your duty to broadcast them (in a high volume, might I add) and lead all the ensuing discussions. What you weren’t raised to do is listen. In fact, you are so terrible at it there are many things–things that are the most important part of my lived experience in this world, things that are the deepest and rawest and realest pieces of me—which I will never ever share with you. Do you hear what I am saying? You do not get to actually have all of me and fully know me because of your stiltedness. (Which really sucks for you because I am awesome and deep and wise and just an overall really great human being to have in your life.)
Because I know that, in your current state, you cannot hear them–these specific pieces of me. You live in a world in which most everyone defers to you—your physical abilities, your thinking, your words, your ideas, your opinions—and that has set you up to be a shell of a person. You have not learned the fine art of self-reflecting, of acknowledging your capacity to hurt others, of making mistakes, of then saying you are sorry for said hurt and mistakes. Do you hear what I am saying? Most of your relationships with women are fake because they are playing a role that you need them to play. How does that feel? –that your privilege drives people to be fake around you.
What you are good at is protecting yourself at all costs. And that comes in so very many forms.
There’s the you continuously trying to steer the conversation back to your intentions, which says to me “your perspective and your feelings on this situation must be mistaken. Let me explain to you what’s actually going on.” Oh, and it also says, “ I don’t actually give a shit how you feel or what you’re saying because my number one priority is to make sure you still know I’m a good person. Because this is actually all about me.”
Then there’s the “but my feelings are hurt too” and “what about this thing that happened to me?” which is just confusing because we weren’t talking about you. We were talking about me. So, I’m not sure why that’s relevant unless, of course, you were once again reminding me that this is actually all about you (how silly of me to forget).
But you know what the irony is behind all these egregious, frustrating, self-serving behaviors? For all the deference and accolades and unearned privilege you hold and wield, you actually feel really bad about yourself. Which is why it’s impossible for you to look at your ‘stuff.’ Why it’s impossible to just say, “you’re right”, “I’m sorry”, “I hear you” or “I don’t understand.”
It would break you.
It would crush everything that you were taught to be as a man in this world and you would have a real crisis on your hands.
And do you know who your biggest inspiration will be in getting through said crisis? Do you know who has felt crushed and stupid and worthless and at fault and broken? Do you know who has spent most of their days feeling unnecessarily bad so that you could feel unnecessarily good? Do you know who’s had to say, “you’re right” and “I’m sorry” to avoid being yelled at and embarrassed (at best) and raped and killed (at worst)?
While you were being groomed for an abundance of self-esteem and world domination, we were being raised to feel bad about ourselves our whole lives. There’s always something to feel bad about—our bodies, our clothes, our face, our weight, our voice, our intelligence, our height, our wrinkles, our feelings, our opinions, our….well, everything really. We have been made to feel bad by men and women alike. We’ve felt bad at every stage and every age (this is starting to feel like a Dr. Seuss book) and just when we’ve crossed a threshold there’s a new hammer of judgment waiting on the other side.
It. is. Exhausting.
But it has made us strong. Some might even say super human. The kind of strength you (men) have never known and never had to cultivate. The kind of strength that has to dig in deep places to survive and remember who you really are.
Because you are broken, I am broken.
And I’d hoped we could be broken together.
But I am running on fumes.