The density and complexity of the gender conversation is so thick and full of chaos, I had to get lost in it to see the importance of it. We are so immersed in it, we cannot see the grip that it has on us. We don’t recognize the choices we are making and think we are trapped in a life that we don’t want, or don’t have a choice in. When in fact it is me keeping my Self there.
In last night’s InConversation with women experience of ‘how we define ourselves through gender and associated roles,’ we discussed how we either turn our rage outward towards our spouses/partners or in our ourselves, and all the accompanying emotions and sensations that go with it; despair, rage, frustration and shame. And I also discovered the collusion that takes place within me in the company of women. That is how deep the conditioning is, it is so subtle. Gender is not about us and them; it has been that for so long it’s hard to see it’s in every choice and interaction we make with every breath.
In my desire to get to the heart of the discussion I realized for myself that I also contribute to the ongoing madness. The not calling ourselves out in the rant, just to notice we are in the rant to discover what sits beneath it; the denial of the differences between men and women; the not knowing how I choose to be was decided so long ago because I had already formed an opinion on what it means to be a woman. The rage and shame of being born woman, and the accompanying belief of being powerless.
And the great discovery is that although the cultural conditioning is different the results are the same for the men, the rage of not having the choice to be something other than what society deems, and the fight and having to defend a different choice, the jokes and shame around being able to choose to live a life that is meaningful, even though it does not fit in the box that our society has created.
Did I want to go running screaming from the room? No. Did I want to throw my hands up and say I don’t want to play in this sandbox with the women? Yes. Yes, I realize now it was easier, for me, with the men because I was and am able to step outside, really meaning stay inside my self to see the landscape. Not so easy in the company of women, not because it’s a story, because I’m part of it, and only I can choose to open my wings and fly to see how dense the forest is and there are no roads or paths carved out in choosing this topic.
This is what I know, it is these conversations that will create the world that I want to live in. It is the only way we will be able to carve out a different way of being for each of us individually resulting in a different landscape. Gender is not going away, we will always be men or women how we define that inside of ourselves is what has to change.