Wednesday, August 1, 2012

[Weekly Words on Women] Voices in the Knight

Strong inside but you don't know it
Good little girls they never show it
When you open up your mouth to speak
Could you be a little weak-
Madonna, What It Feels Like 
All the people in the world are dreaming (get up stand up)
Some of us cry for the rights of survival (get up stand up)
Saying c’mon c’mon! Stand up for your rights
While others don’t give a damn
They’re all waiting for a perfect day
So you better get up and fight for your rights
Don’t be afraid of the move you make
You better listen to your tribal voice!
Yothu Yindi, Tribal Voice

I'm not generally known for making snap decisions. I have something of a reputation for being pretty accommodating, even when I don't directly agree with the person or idea.  Finding peace and compromise are things I excel in, or at least I used to have those talents. 

Being a peacemaker and a master of compromise doesn't mean I don't know myself or understand my own voice. I've always been able to speak for myself, and I'm one of the few people that can stand up to the incomparable and stubborn man in my life, TheDude. Despite being something of a "mouse" for most of my life, I finally found my voice and pretty much haven't shut up since. 

I've got a big mouth, and I like to use it... but usually I take a moment and phrase things in a way that expresses my opinion while respecting others. Every now and then I lose my cool, and run off at the mouth before I've had a chance to really think about what I want to say and how I want to say it.

Very recently, my personal take on a situation was blurred by stuff I just don't talk about much; because I feel it could weaken me or change how I'm perceived by the folks that read my work. I feel that I need to talk about it at least a little to give this piece some weight and a perspective point.

I mentioned that I sort of "raised myself" a few weeks ago, but what I left out was what that meant in reality. It meant that I was left alone to fend for myself on a great number of things, and I really didn't have very much in the way of parents or adults that protected me in my younger days. It was up to me to figure out my boundaries and to voice them to others. Because I was the only person defending myself, my ability and willingness to trust others has always been seriously compromised. It also has left me with a pretty strong need to feel safe in my personal relationships, but that need for safety is tempered by a lack of ability to trust.

For my personal viewpoint, the act of allowing someone to defend me implies a deep and personal trust. It implies that whomever might be speaking on my behalf knows what my boundaries are, what my weaknesses are and what I find important. It takes a massive leap of faith and trust for me to accept someone else's voice talking for me.

TheDude is pretty much the only person in the world I trust enough to speak for me. He's the only person who has proven again and again that he is willing to protect me from whatever things may come my way; even if they are hard or scary. He takes my need for safety seriously and he understands what it means for me. He works hard to keep me safe, especially from emotional hurt; and at times has stepped into relationships that were harmful to me to put me back on balance.

I try not to rely on TheDude too much- he has his own stuff to deal with and he needs me to balance him out as much as I need him. Usually, when I have a big issue, I deal with it myself until I can't anymore. Only then do I ask TheDude to help me out, and ONLY TheDude.

Something I've been passionate about in real life and on this blog has been allowing balance- allowing different voices to express their opinions and bring them to a discussion so I can learn more about other people and their experiences. In almost every discussion, I've made it clear that all opinions are welcome here (as long as discussion is respectful). Then I went and screwed that up.

The response to my pal SinSynn's Sexy Models post really hit me very hard on an emotional level. I saw a whole bunch of men talking about a topic and responding in a way that I felt was presumptuous, and taking on a protective role. I also noticed that there was a big discussion of things that effect women, but women were being left out of the picture. It sort of reminded me of the recent congressional panel on women's issue that didn't include any women.

My response was pretty rash, pretty aggressive, and pretty exclusionary.

I've had a lot of time to think about this and really sort out what the issues are (and aren't); and I've had to accept that I acted in a way I'm not thrilled with due to my own baggage. I defied the respondents and insulted personal opinions in an attempt to point out that I just don't want or need protection from anyone except TheDude.

It was pointed out to me very gently by one of the best men I know that as much as TheDude is my protector, other men have women in their lives they protect.

This guy didn't say it directly to me, but I heard what he said. For him, his job and his duty is to protect and cherish that which he holds close- and that happens to include quite a few women. He holds himself to a very "old standard" of almost knightly proportions, and takes his role of protector very seriously. His voice in many conversations takes on that tone and influence because that is who he is in almost everything he does. The way he said this made me realize that  the guys involved in the discussion were most likely responding in a way very similar to the way he would act if someone hurt his loved ones; and that their opinions are indelibly influenced by their protective role. Their commentary was unlikely meant to be patronizing, but rather a personal reflection of their values and attitudes of service and affection for the women in their lives.

I wrote this little comment on a different post and realized I needed to look at myself a little:

I have thought about it and thought about it. But I can't be ok with you telling ANYONE that hobby and discussion of it is not for them. After my fiasco where I told people they don't get a voice, I realized that sort of thinking is seriously wrongheaded and NOT OK. Everyone gets to talk here, about the issues of hobby and things that touch on it. 

(Did you get that? I was wrong and I am sorry! Anyone that missed it, I totally apologize - I am still figuring out how to talk about the thing that made me mad, but I know eliminating voices isn't it.) 

Singling a person or group out as not welcome or not allowed in the conversation is bad news and dumb. Don't be [name removed] and ignore people's voices or feelings... it just ends up with bullshit.

In telling anyone that they don't get a voice, I directly contradicted my personal belief that everyone has a right to their feelings and that everyone gets a voice on my blog. That's sincerely wrong, and I know everyone deserves better than that.

I'd like to apologize, and look forward to discussions, with voices- from everyone. 


  1. This adds more to the discussion, when we might have thought there wasn't much left to say. There clearly is, but maybe it's deeper than we usually go. I think we all benefit from you posting it, so thank you very much.

  2. It's very easy to sit down in front of a keyboard and have an emotional outburst or have stupid spew forth. It happens to all of us. It's much harder to think things through and put forth a well thought out argument void of emotion - after all we're not robots, well some of us anyway (those Iron Hands creep me out). I think you run a great blog and your articles here and elsewhere add something of value to the community as a whole. Keep up the good work and don't worry too much about what was said in haste. Most people here can read between the lines and recognize a passionate response when they see it an so won't be offended or feel abused.

    1. Yeah I tend to give people more credit than we're due. One of my MANY( or was that MANLY?) flaws;)