I had the great good fortune of sitting as one of 10 women around my dining table this Sunday. It was a collaboration which lit up the room and our hearts. It signalled what is possible when we gather and combine forces, minds, hearts and vulnerability. The plate of food contributed by each person at the table seemed to physically represent the sustaining principle of the each one’s wish for the other, and for themselves: generous, joyful nurturance.
I believe it was a small community representation of how we can all be, no matter the gender, in a world where feminine/yin principles become embraced, are invited to lead and are followed. I wish this for all of us, globally, and borrow this US holiday to give thanks for the security, unmistakeable privilege, comfort and provision that made this possible for those of us around my table here on Turtle Island.
Two days later, I woke with an unbidden rage rampaging through my mind and I was compelled to put pen to paper. I am not sure it is complete, nor is the editing finished, but I want to release this poem into my sphere, unmuted, on this Thanksgiving Day in the US – a country very much modelled on masculine principles, and a holiday based on (to quote “Aunty” aka The BBC);
“…a harvest feast held in 1621 between the Wampanoag, a Native tribe who occupied the land long before, and the newly settled English colonists in America. The gathering is widely seen as a celebration of the alliance between the two groups, but leaves out the ways in which those ties were broken.”
This reminds me of a tale I have been told which suggests that the colonists actively eschewed the matriarchal aspects of a culture on which their new constitution was based. “The confederation of the original 13 colonies into one republic was inﬂuenced by the political system developed by the Iroquois Confederacy, as were many of the democratic principles which were incorporated into the constitution itself.” I am told that the final step in the Iroquois process of decision-making was to bring an idea to the female elders for their questions, recommendations or their blessing.
How might things change if this step were now to be reinstated?
I thank everyone and everything that has got us to this place. And we can now do better.
To All You Men
To all you men who have given me your advice, unasked.
To all you men who have told me how it’s done, to show me your should.
To all you men who never asked, “How do you do that? What is your process?”
To all of you insensitive to what this telling is doing to my light, my connection, my sense of self.
To all of you who HAVE had a sense yet are hell bent on fulfilling feeling safe.
To all you men who need me to be less, so you seem more.
To all you grown boys who could not say no to that father,
who were not allowed Mommy.
Don’t you see? You are beating me.
I hide because of your good hiding.
To all you men who despise the feminine when she arises inside.
That sweetness that, if wise, your mother still spies:
the cute boy, the kind kid, the tender heart who needs her physical softness.
To all you men who have been taught that’s not ok, not manly, Good Boys Don’t Cry,
That must be hidden lest ridiculed, scorned, whipped UP to size.
To all you men who suffer but cannot say, because it is so far hidden you barely feel.
To you who fear this demon whispering to you at night in the snug warmth of your curled-up, bedded body.
To all you men who see cracks in the lonely masculine demand to provide, protect, be strong, outspoken,
give answers that end it, not questions that open.
I tell you
to take your need to overlay me with your ignorance and pain,
I ask you to sit with yourself, take a breath before you speak again.
I demand you respect the feminine/yin in me,
in women, in your mother in whose belly
Dare to go inward to find her there too.
beneath your fear she is in you as she is here,
you seek her in me, to soothe your pain,
to fill the hole in your acceptable game.
needing to own me,
control my body,
silence my sounds
put me on a pedestal where I can’t get to ground.
needing to adore me, paint me in Midas’ gold, until oxygen-robbed,
I am robbed of my life.
Welcome her to you. She will come.
In a form uncommon, but she is there,
With outrageous ways to show you her care.
To all you men. Thank you.
Now, the victory is inward,
Not conquered elsewhere.
No more whipping girl,
She is cutting her hair.