As a club member of way too many minorities and victim of too many hashtags, I’d like to share with you something I’ve learned. You don’t have to agree with me to be my ally. You don’t have to reach a comfort level with my story either. It can make you squirm and you can still be my ally. You also don’t have to understand me or where I’m coming from. All you have to do is listen, take me in. Trust what you know of me. Who I am. Believe me. Take me seriously. And ACT accordingly.
This is an extremely uncomfortable time. For everyone. Why is it easier to assume the accused is ‘innocent until proven guilty’ but not the accuser. We have hit a wall in our justice system and how we are running it. It sucks for everyone. So feel it. The suckage. Go ahead, let yourself feel it.
I grew up in Colombia, where the word ‘no’ was not considered ladylike. This combined with the common knowledge that if a man showed you his desire, it was yours to deal with regardless. This landed me into heaping amounts of trouble as an awkward, unsuspecting young person. We were left so unprotected we weren’t even given our rights in the shape of words to fend off their swords. My first boyfriend raped me because even though I said it, no, and he heard it, no, it wasn’t loud enough or firm enough for him to decide it was worth his time. When he didn’t stop, I went completely numb into a passive state of shock. The friend I told at the time, a girl, dismissed it as ‘the way things go’. That betrays enough about her life experience right there. So I learned. The hard way. (Yeah, I see the pun but don’t care to change it). I never told anyone else, I only ever alluded to it until a year ago with the whole Weinstein explosion, it too erupted out of me. I told two people. My therapist at the time, a man, who said, ‘yeah, but these things happen. Not all men are bad.’ And my partner who then, wanted to murder my therapist.
At the age of fourteen a sixty year old doctor kissed me while lying on his table as my mom waited outside. I told her about it. Her solution – never going back. We’ve never talked about it since. I was thankful to be out of there, regardless. No point in making things uncomfortable for him. Was there?
My taekwondo teacher, who was fifty five asked me out when I was fifteen. I don’t know what happened, whether or not I told my mom. I just remember him touching my leg in a suggestive way in front of my team at the dojo, my face going bright red as shame and embarrassment found a comfortable seat in my teenage self-esteem. I don’t know how much longer we went back. I just remember setting myself up as far away from him as possible and quickly acquiring a bad-ass red belt boyfriendfor protection. A tactic I would learn to use well into my mid twenties to protect myself from unwanted advances. Someone my age, hungry to kick someone like him in his big round gut, who was actually still sweet.
These are just a scattering of examples. There are many more. We know I am no exception. I am the rule. I don’t know a single woman who has not been sexually harassed or assaulted. Which means you probably don’t either. And now, it turns out too many of my guys and yours are also victims of this predatory behavior.
So, I understand that it is uncomfortable and confusing, possibly scary to be a guy right now and really, just to be a person. I get that shutting down is the quickest solution. Our silence, my silence and yours erodes the space between us. Now my story messes with your comfort zone but you know it’s true. Deep down. You feel it. And you will eventually have to turn around and look. This is hard, it is uncomfortable for me, for you, for we- it is also necessary. Without you there is no movement. Become an ally. Participate in the conversation. Move to the right or left of your privilege just slightly.
Yoga is uncomfortable. It is. It is the practice of adding discomfort in small doses to train the mind, to test the mind against the rough, jagged edges of frailty. No one said putting their foot behind their head is easy, or even pleasurable. A yogi accepts responsibility. We self-study –svadyaya. We have a code. Like the samurai. The Yoga Sutra. The Eight Limbs. The toxic mainstream misperception that yogis don’t judge and are passive is not what yoga is about. Wake up. It is much to the contrary. We practice discernment, viveka, to sharpen our judgement. We study to become the most empowered and educated of critical thinkers. We practice discomfort so that we can stay, so that we can look just a tiny bit longer, and really see… Then act accordingly. Make an informed decision instead of a knee jerk reaction. It’s a samsara, a cycle: Meditation-> Yoga-> Meditation-> Yoga, so on and so forth. We practice meditation not to remove ourselves from this world. How could we? We are of this world. We practice to see what is there so we can take correct action. So we can Activate. Yoga: The space between two opposites is action.
We’re in this mess together. So be a true ally. ACTIVATE. Even if it’s time for you to listen more than speak. Engage. Participate. Show up. Don’t fall asleep. Stay and help us deal with this mess we’re in. Vote!!! Or don’t cast a ballot if you don’t want to, but don’t kid yourself by thinking it’s the same as not voting. Inaction is action. Not voting is a vote in itself. And if you don’t cast a ballot, stop complaining, you’ve given up that right.
THIS FRIDAY is the deadline to register for New York, Tuesday the 16th is the deadline for New Jersey. Here is a list. Go get ‘em tiger! It’s time to rise. Come out of your slumber. You want enlightenment? It’s right here. In front of you. Now.
Alright ya’ll! It’s that time of the year. The early bird for Nuqui expires in about a month! Already, I cannot wait to have an excuse to put my cellphone down for a week to steep in the ocean. Especially now, when life feels so hot consistently, it is even more important to lean a bit heavier into our self care. Come with us!
Touch, of course can also be the most healing thing, respectful and wanted. If you would like to come in for a session email me and let me know. Let’s make it happen.