I once read a story that went something like, “Love is not two people gazing at each other, but rather two people looking in the same direction together.”
I’m well on my way to 50. It seems very apt, as you reach middle age and are single or unmarried, that you begin to feel a gnawing sense of doom. The sky, which for so long you have looked to and dreamed at, feels likely to come crashing down at any moment and crush you with the weight of the entire atmosphere.
With age you hopefully gain wisdom, a larger sense of respect, a truer sense of what love really is, and what you absolutely don’t want to repeat in terms of life and love errors.
And then you eventually meet someone. Someone who changes your whole paradigm.
This person might just challenge your very core beliefs. She might teach you a trick or two that you never thought of before. She has a sparkle in her eye that you’ve seen hints of before, in other women, but never at the level she brings it. You begin to realize that every mistake you’ve made or heartache you’ve endured was to teach you a specific lesson meant for a future together.
And then you tell her your entire life story. You tell her shit you wouldn’t even tell your mom about. You write songs about her. You talk about Bernie Sanders and what his presidency could mean for America. You share dreams of Val Davidson running for governor and winning.
My dad once told me, “Never touch a woman in anger, only in love.”
Even though my dad was my hero, we had a different view of life. But he was spot-on in this respect. For too many men, in too many sociocultural pods, the idea that we are above the women in our lives – our partners, mothers, sisters, daughters and otherwise – is pervasive. It’s an example of millennia of genetic muscle-memory that lets powerful males control equally powerful women with impunity.
Compassion and empathy, and even sympathy, are not taught as core skills to men by their fathers (or their mothers) for the most part. Boys aren’t allowed to cry, and girls aren’t allowed to hit back. Instead, many girls are told that they need to be good wives and mothers before good doctors, lawyers, teachers or otherwise. Many young boys are told by their dads that women are property and should be subservient to their authority.
The men of this world need to look in the mirror and— hopefully with some sense of equality and loss of entitlement—learn to honor and respect the women in their lives. This could be difficult and almost an exercise in futility given the centuries of male-dominated indoctrination in this hemisphere, but it’s possible with work.
The women of this world need to stand up and refuse to be silent any longer. Don’t take that shit, sister.
If we all looked more to the Celtic and Alaska Native cultures – where goddesses and the moiety are honored and revered – we might be in a better place as a society.