Luke shared with me, in person, that he struggles with including men. Women need their/our own space. He mentioned listening carefully to many voices saying this is for women and men need to listen.
Another friend pushed back on why she needs a separate space.
Meanwhile a male friend who is a survivor of sexual abuse told me how much my voice meant to him in a terribly painful day of exclusion and feeling silenced.
I was overcome with so much:
1) Shame that my post possibly contributed to another coopting of space for women. Women who have survived sexual harm. Women like me.
2) Loyalty to my male friend who needed to be included.
3) Loyalty to my female friend who needed her own space.
4) Indignation that, as a woman who survived assault, I get to decide who is included. This is about me too. And I'm inviting everyone.
And then came a wave of fight or flight dancing with shame and a a desire just to hide. These feelings danced and danced and twirled, churning my stomach until I felt pushed to choose one of two things: Stand my ground or abandon my ground.
How often do we live in this space?
Especially these days.
Either I am right and you are wrong or the inverse.
Either we fight and I win or we fight and you win.
Either I am ashamed of my stance or you should be ashamed of your stance.
Either your the ass or I'm the ass.
Shame and anger. Shame and anger. Shame and anger.
And we're stuck and we get more and more divided and we never learn how to move forward into what might happen between your ground and mine.
...But then something different happened.
Luke and I pushed through our disagreement to actually see each other. I let my friend's push back help me dream of something different, something other than men and non-binary folks are included or it's only for women.
Something different and beautiful grew out of that all.
Friends, what would it look like if we consistently refuse the push to stand my ground or abandon it, and instead lean into that demilitarized space between, in hopes that something else might grow?