I'll be honest with you guys. I've been torn since I published my post last night. I felt so exhilarated when I first clicked "post." It feels amazing when you're able to capture your thoughts and feelings so well in a moment. But as I saw in the following hours that the most recent thread and even the very profile of the person I referenced was taken down, I felt shame. I don't know who read my post so I don't know if this is a direct result of my writing, but it is possible indeed. I knew when I started promoting myself as a writer, when I stepped into the ring of online honesty, I was going to take some personal hits. And I knew that was going to be incredibly challenging for me. I really do like almost every single person I know. I can't help but write this way. I don't know how to dull my expression and I've learned that in doing so, I harm myself. So I speak my truth. But if, in the process of being my authentic self I end up hurting others, I will hurt as well. I just will. And right now, I do.
Is there a way to feel remorse but not regret? Part of me wants to double down because I hold to everything I said. And I desperately want people to listen. That takes boldness. It takes calling out sexism, racism, able-ism, etc. It does and I will. I can't not. I really can't. But I don't like feeling that in wielding my sword, someone is bleeding out. It's very difficult. This is painful for me. And I am fighting shame. I know there is shame in staying silent. And I felt like I could have taken my statements further and chose not to, so I was at least slightly tempered. But, when you step out, it's just so easy to second guess your words, your choices, your lack of subtlety. I have learned that I will not be so specific in my writing again. I don't need to call out specific people. Sadly, my experiences are relevant enough to not need to give full detail to make my point. So I will take that lesson with me.
Tim and I were talking about this last night and it helped me understand why I was so upset in the first place.
I really want evangelical men to be the heroes I was taught they were.
I want them to be like Jesus. I want them to love God and to love me as a child of God. And that taps into my need for male approval, especially approval from spiritual leaders. I was not given a space to become a spiritual leader in my church. And so I ached to be counted as one. You can only be counted as one by one who is already in leadership - a man. I wanted to be seen, to be acknowledged, to be accepted into the fold.
I really want these guys to be a savior. Not The Savior, but a savior of my beloved childhood faith. I don't want to leave them behind. I don't want to paint them with a broad brush and have those negative assumptions met. I want them to surprise me. I want them to change. So much so that I will call them out publicly on my own platform. But I want them to be who they told me they were for myself too. Yes, for them, for their followers but especially for me. I need them to be good and their behavior is not giving me the reassurance that I need right now. And that hurts and it's scary and unfortunately, it's really damn healthy.
Growth hurts. Truth hurts. Keeping your humanity enough to speak while also finding the humanity of others while you hold them accountable is a really teeny line to walk. I'm not fully walking on it. And that's making me feel sad and ashamed. I still hold to defending those who are disenfranchised, in this case women, over wanting to please those on top. I will always lean that way. But as I develop myself and my audience, that is going to get grittier. And I may lose people along the way.
Oddly, one of the reasons this is so painful is because I am a woman.
As I stated in my previous post, little girls are groomed from a young age to orient ourselves around gaining male approval. And so losing it by speaking into this exact dynamic is a funny bit of irony.
Sometimes your heroes really aren't your heroes after all. And unfortunately, even if they are, all heroes are human. And that's a difficult pill to swallow for a woman who touched back to her little girl self last night and found herself very disappointed.