Last weekend I met someone who can only be described as a professional bullshitter. I'm pretty sure he was harmless, and that he had no idea how obvious it was to me that he was full of it, but I think all of my female comrades out there will know exactly what I'm talking about.
This man whom I had just met, was full of stories -- stories of his life, his money, his large home, his world travels, and his shenanigans. He had one "funny story" to tell me in particular, a story involving some young women exposing themselves to a group of men, that caused me to stop dead in my tracks and say to myself, "This guy has no idea he is speaking to a Goddess."
"Why on earth would he think that I would find this story amusing?", I wondered. "Does he even get that he is being offensive and rude? What's with this guy?"
As I look back on the incident now, I can see why he was completely unaware that his story was not only not funny, but offensive. Because I didn't tell him. I was trying to be polite. I had to spend the better part of a day with this man, and rather than making things awkward by speaking my mind, I chose to remain silent, to say nothing. I did what I was taught to do my entire life -- I went along to get along. And I was wrong to do so.
I'm not saying that all men are rude and offensive. In fact, I believe that most men are respectful of women and know how to act and speak accordingly. But there are some who, for whatever reason, have no idea that they are speaking or acting in ways that are degrading, demeaning, or disrespectful of women. And they won't know unless we, women and men, speak up and tell them so.
Being a woman in a patriarchal society is a huge challenge. Sometimes it can seem less controversial to just keep our thoughts and opinions to ourselves, to laugh off the careless comments, or to ignore the situation all together. As evidenced recently in the news, women are often silent in the face of sexism, unwanted sexual conversations or advances, and just "put up with" men acting badly because that's just the way things are, especially when those men are very wealthy or hold a place of power.
But I believe that in order to keep evolving and growing as a society, all of the voices need to be heard. All of us need to speak our truth and not be afraid to make things awkward or uncomfortable at times. It's hard to be the one who is different, no matter what that difference might be. Speaking out sets you apart, and leaves you vulnerable to criticism, ridicule, and judgment. It's risky, but so very necessary. (I also realize that being able to speak out is a privilege that not all women across the world have, which makes it even more important that those of us who have this privilege actually use it.)
If I could go back in time, I would tell this man that I will probably never see again that his story wasn't funny, and I would kindly explain why. Why I, as a woman, was not amused. I would speak my truth, and I would know that even if it didn't change his mind, or even if it made things awkward, at least I had spoken up.
There's so much talk in the news about sexual misconduct, domestic abuse, fraternity hazings, mass killings, countries threatening to bomb other countries, and on and on. And I just think to myself, "We need a Goddess. We need a strong, feminine presence in the world today." And with that thought comes this realization -- we are the goddess. The feminine power and presence is rising up, and it is inside each one of us. Each of us has masculine and feminine qualities that will make this world a better place to be. We can't afford to diminish our softness, and we also can't be afraid to own our power. We need both.
There are no sides. There is no us against them. Men can possess "feminine" qualities, and women can likewise access more assertive attributes that are traditionally considered more masculine. When these qualities work together, phenomenal things can happen. And I believe that speaking our truth, and honoring others as they do the same, is a great place to start.