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  • Writer's pictureEmily Royce

Tell It Like It Is

Three days ago this blog was burning inside of me. It was going to be a real rager, scorcher. A dismantling of male bullshit, or at least an attempt to tear it to shreds with my bared teeth. It was also going to be cultural dismissive, divisive and presumptuous. And while those heated parts of me are very real and continue to burn, I’m not about to turn myself into something I am not when that is what I am raging against in the first place.

I know a lot of us are feeling the weight of collective trauma right now. This last week brought a wave of feminine vulnerability and power. We spoke truth and bore witness to one another. Now there are those after shocks, that trauma response of what next, will there be fall out, will anything change with truth-telling, what careless or cruel misogynistic move might send me off the deep end this week?

We find ourselves holding space for everyone’s feelings yet again. And it is this that has me raging. Not only has man designed the world to currently befall womyn with a heavier onslaught of injustice, but in the midst of that degradation, we have to be the ones strong enough to continuously call on ourselves and each other to keep bringing to light what needs to come to light. I want men to just get it. I want to stop having to be the patient one. The generous one. I want you to create the conditions for me to naturally flourish and not thwart my growth at every turn with these stumbling blocks of delay, these pauses to have to remind you that I am a being fully capable, boundlessly powerful. But that is the way it has to be. We HAVE to do this for ourselves and for each other. Because we get it. And we have the most at stake for things to change. I was dating a man last year who said “I’m a feminist but my survival instinct is not all the way behind it. Because if the power is shared, then I have to give up some of mine.” First of all, you are not a feminist. And secondly you are an asshole and why was I dating you.

Which brings me to the meat, we have to do this for ourselves and it has to start with ourselves. That uncomfortable feeling when you are deciding between making a man uncomfortable or yourself, choose the man. When that defence mechanism bubbles up to laugh something off that actually cut you, cut back instead. You may find yourself in the position of explainer, gently guiding the male ego along for a ride to arrive at a point you hope will be clarity, which is enraging in itself, but it is work that has to be trudged through with resiliency and determination by those of us who GET IT.

Midweek a high school buddy got in touch with me. He always appreciated my character. I always appreciated his. Just good people, you know? He and a mutual friend had just bought a nice chunk of land to build an intentional community on and were desiring a reiki master-in-residence. Basically a huge component for what I envision in a grandiose future of mine. We back and forth, I am excited, the conversation meanders into what I am doing in Mali, Burning Man next year and then suddenly wanting to use me to get off. An hour in and this is where we land. Were you always steering us here?

Much patient and direct explanation later of why this was a hurtful conversation trajectory that only reinforces what women have come to brace themselves for and hence all walk around with inherent trust issues, and I am exhausted. I feel good about all I said, for myself and for him to hear it, but I am exhausted. This is why it is WORK and it must be done. We have to be the ones to say it, to call it out, to ask for and DEMAND better. And if the better don’t come, we don’t need to be fucking with these folks.

You're my dance instructor, stop calling me baby. Actually stop calling me period. No I didn’t make you any food because I don’t know you and although that would have been gracious of me, interesting that you presume the comment “why no thank you, I’m not hungry” when none was offered would be received with a smile. Which is was but then resentment. Because women here be cooking all the food for every random male passerby and they be leaving their bones to clean up in return. I have no interest in marrying you or having your children but I am still deserving of your host duties which seem to now have mysteriously vanished. And former lovers, do not contact me saying you “thought of me” on the way to yoga because you remember that was important to me. Meanwhile during the time we spent together, you did not hold anything else important to me, including my body, as sacred.

In these moments I hiccuped, cringed, but allowed a veil of “cultural sensitivity” to call into doubt what I know to be true. Misogyny anywhere is a threat to womyn, and thus humanity, everywhere. So when I was shortchanged on my coconut this week, I spoke up (sometimes it takes messing with the things that bring us the simplest joy that makes us snap, no?) When the cabby said he knew where he was going and didn’t and wanted to charge me more, I was in a position of needing his services and being late but I told him that it was not just and that I was not happy. When I was asked for the tenth time if I was okay at dance class at a new hour decided upon by everyone but me, I responded NO. These moves seem small in print but they feel big in my body, because it takes my courage and conviction to speak on them. I am finding my mojo because I have to, for all of us. I’ve had it with doing anything other than what is required of us at this pivotal time. The world NEEDS strong womyn voices who are being heard and holding shit accountable, nothing less.

This week I was told to take care of myself because “women are fragile.” Perhaps I feel a little puny at times from doing all this work for you. Shit gotta change. And it is coming from us womxn.

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