Remember the words?
“put on your face…/KNOW YOUR PLACE…/shut up, and smile…/don’t spread your legs…”
We all embraced it, as an anthem for the Women’s Marches that happened all over the world, way back on January 20th as the Trumpocalypse became REAL. So real, one friend represented the entirety of it, with “the scream heard round the world”:
Last weekend, I put my pink pussy hat back on, and stood as a busker and sang the anthem. Not one person passing by met my eyes. No one smiled. Several hurried past. And the saddest part of this story to me, is that I was at “Women’s Week” at Provincetown. Point of clarification: I didn’t “just” sing that anthem, nor did I expect to make money as a busker singing… I simply wanted the connection with other women. A sort of “where ARE we?” check in. As people actually averted their eyes, I knew that I had my answer.
We are nine months into this nightmare, and the troops are sagging.
This averting of eyes thing happened to me once before in the last nine months. I had walked into an ecstatic dance event, in Ashland, Oregon (I was passing through, on my way to Sacremento, from Washington state); and I was flustered by that lack of eye contact. But as the dance went on, I filled in the blanks and had quite an epiphany. This community had just experienced a major jolt. There was an altar at the dance, honoring a mother in that community who had lost her son.
This was the event that led to his death:
And, this is what his mother said, in response:
“Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, My dear baby boy passed on yesterday while protecting two young Muslim girls from a racist man on the train in Portland. He was a hero and will remain a hero on the other side of the veil. Shining bright star I love you forever.”
And I– being the only person in that room in Ashland of any color other than white– was a reminder of the tragedy. That is why no one looked at me. That is why people averted their eyes. Too painful, to make the connection. To risk that I might “look back, with ANGER”. Too scary, to be reminded, and to have to THINK about/ feel into that incident, and to wonder, “what would I have done, if I had been on that bus?”
I thought a lot about what I could have done.
Being Black and female myself, I start with the fact that I might have been the target. But if I wasn’t, and was simply a witness, going to sit next to the women and immediately begin a conversation (what I decided I would do, when the “safety pin pledge” happened) would just be pouring gasoline on that critical moment.
So, I would have screamed.
No, not actually scream… but used my voice in a big, BIG way. My favorite way to scream as a distraction, is to shout “BACK OFF!” and I learned it from watching my daughter as she took a model mugging workshop as a 14 year old: http://modelmugging.org/
Another effective use of my loud voice has been to sing. Except, something is happening to the morale of my sisters that is keeping us quiet.
Out West” (as I will refer to my time in the pacific Northwest, as I “blog” from “Back East” here in New England), I was a part of a Wyld Women’s Choir.
We conspired/inspired/respired (that would be breathing)/and aspired together, weekly. I learned to deepen my listening, to listen for harmonies, to make space for Spirit to “come by” and help me move from striving to thriving.
As I have been “back East” for just over a month, I have had my concerns (reasons that I left, in the first place) confirmed. The culture that I embrace in New England has a few standards that don’t work well for me. One is that it is better to be polite, than to be authentic. True dat. An acquaintance described the difference between The East and The South as “Easterners are open minded and closed hearted/ while Southerners are closed minded and open hearted” (stereotypes yes, but so much truth in there!)
I know my place. As AmeriKKKa removes the veils from our collective eyes and sees not only the white supremacy BUILT INTO our “democracy”:
And “me too” goes viral around social media sites…I recognize that my very presence is making white people uncomfortable. My work therefore becomes being a symbol and a reminder of how bad it actually IS…day to day…as a person with many identities under attack (black/female/integrationist with biracial offspring/bi-sexual/solo polyamorist/former genital mutilator turned intactivist/abortionist/pagan) to try to move as an authentic person and to make connections with others. So okay… I am NOT in the best environment for matching my temperament; but I have found ways to be resilient, to keep on moving forward, and to STAY LOUD.
I’ll continue to hone my skills at “leaning towards the lyrical” even though those around me experience that energetic loudness as migraine inducing.
How are YOU doing, these days?