Happy Valentine’s Day, Ladies, from true Gentlemen everywhere.*
*don’t ride the turtles, please.
**there used to be turtles as big as cars.
The other day I went out with a new friend.
We’d connected, she asked about watching a debate. We chatted, online, had fun, she’s interesting, widely traveled, a parent, mature.
I asked her out.
She said yes.
Thought it was a date. It kinda was…in that we got dinner and had a good time talking and listening and learning about one another.
But turned out she wasn’t in that romantic space at all.
She told me about being gassed, molested, attacked, raped, treated and seen as an object…and how all her girlfriends have been through the same.
It’s the same for my friends–and I’d include that many boys have been molested, raped, abused, too.
Aggression, greed, desperation, drug and alcohol abuse, abuse as children, a lack of caring…the wheel of abuse and trauma keeps revolving.
It made me sad. And angry. It brought home, yet again, the cruelty in our cultural aggression.
As I biked home, and that night, and the next morning…I felt newly shocked, deeply sad. And angry.
But anger isn’t enough. We, as a society and as communities, need to make a concerted effort to raise and educate this next generation differently, not just take our anger to twitter or Facebook or Instagram. God knows the world has enough anger, and while it may ignite change and start a movement, it can not itself create healing and love.
Within my dear, lifelong, largely wonderful, peaceful, and genuinely-inspired Buddhist community, there’s been roiling anger and mournful sadness as trauma and abuse from several community leaders, teachers and even a lifelong friend have come to light. One of those abused is a dear lifelong friend. Whoever they are to me, or you, or she, or he, it’s painful. It’s heartbreaking, it’s upsetting. As we are learning–every dance studio, church, film studio, restaurant, frat or sorority, grad school, business, the White House…abuse is a part of every strata of society.
We must remember it’s goooood that things are getting exposed.
And we must invest in training ourselves and the next generation, not just savaging one another with accusations, some of them cavalier or worse. We’ve got to change this might-makes-right patriarchal culture, as it’s already been changing, into a kind and tender, loving and honest culture. Enough. Enough. (Bad things will always happen? Yes. But we needn’t be a part of that, and we can protect ourselves and others against that, and we can show that the alternative is much better).
What’s charming ain’t being pushy. What leads to love is never trying to get laid. Getting laid might be a fun idea, but what’s truly fun is finding love, and making it, together, with someone we respect and are open to.
Opening our hearts is more fun than seeking after what we think we want.