Long before I figured out the fitting excuses to get me out of playing cricket and soccer, I knew I would need to.
I remember being in Seventh Grade (Std. 5) and helping two girl-friends through the footwork choreography of their indoor mace duet routine. It was late on a Friday afternoon when the school’s grounds are mostly quiet and the dust glistens along diagonal shards of light toward that middle-point on the hall floor.
That’s where we were.
Our principal was the successor to the benevolent, brilliant Mr. Landau, and that new uninvited blood vessel-burst face had come upon us, as it did too often, forming his bearing-down billboard that fronted his lead-with-fear campaign.
To an army of, at oldest, thirteen year olds?
“What’s going on in here,” he pried, rhetorically.
And while Wendy and Mandy’s attempted reasonings weren’t inaudible, his scoff-back was alcoholic-confident as it gavelled “…you should be playing soccer…” before he dissolved off (to taint some other formative-flickerings, no doubt).
There are three kinds of loves: self love, romantic love, and community love.
What Wendy and Mandy were doing when they put themselves between he and I while explaining, from the formative minds of twelve year olds to the grown, shifting adult that stammered there, is both the first and the third in that list.
That was 1991.
The world has seen some years come and gone between us then, and to my knowledge, holds fewer men that seethe statements like he did.
A lack of awareness, and awareness with indifference are so desperately different.
In the year 2017, with every nuance of noise about the need-to-know — from both the social and/or media experience — means that awareness-lacking is simply because the one lacking it is simple.
So… is it off-base to have something to say about Women’s Day, if you aren’t one?
And then, if so, is it still as off-base if you … ‘throw like a girl’?
And when you do, you’re completely okay with that?
And that’s because of the self love, romantic love and community loves that I have learnt about because of all the women I do — and have been blessed to know.
Men learn different things from women, which has everything to do with the ways in which we participate with them. There’s no rule book, and even if there were, it would be out-of-character to abide by it completely anyway. I know that my perspective is completely unique to myself and, because I couldn’t ever fully communicate that to anyone, ever, I could never expect anyone to understand my or anothers’ … or be able to explain what those feel like to them, looking back at me and mine.
Still, through the Loves3 I’ve come through, I have learnt about the inroads toward respecting my own sensitivity. I’ve learnt about the importance of listening. I’ve learnt to dialogue, the value of trust, of space… and I’ve learnt that courage is both delicate and durable — and to hold that knowledge close. Moreover, I’ve learnt that the most affecting life lessons will come in the form of both those things we like to hear, and the things we don’t, from both people whose audience is afforded them because they stand on the world’s stages — and those who have had just my ears to hear them.
Courtney Ferrel gave a TED Talk called The Secrets to an Extraordinary Life, something that — because of her genuine gusto — was so gripping to me. Granted, I have no doubt that those same traits would be what others might find annoying. But she had the forum and something to say, and she did it! Her way. And I think — even here in 2017 — we aren’t as aware as we could be, of how lucky we are to live in a time when the space to say what we feel about the spaces we feel in, is available to us…
…as quietly or quicker in quantum to the quora of society – as receiving as it is or isn’t. And while we don’t always desire to be loud, we never ever have to be quiet.
So for the quora who come here… Happy Women’s Day!
© Dylan Balkind
Excerpts of the spoken word include: Thuli Madonsela, Charlize Theron, Alanis Morissette, Tony Porter, Madonna, Meryl Streep, Courtney Ferrel and Chimamanda Ngozi.
While this collection could have been endless – and is loud in missing so many – it too is just something with a beginning and an end. This ‘mashup’ collection’s musical, song(s) and/or sound samplings include: Lira, Bette Midler, Beyonce, Betty Who (covering Donna Lewis), Florence and the Machine, Tina Turner, KT Tunstall, Celine Dion, Suzanne Vega, Natalie Imbruglia, Alanis Morissette, Sade, Doris Day (and other cover), Birdy and Mutya Buena (covering Tracy Chapman), Kesha, Nicole Milik (covering Pink), Ariana Grande, Cyndi Lauper and Miley Cyrus.
No copyright infringement intended. This composition is not designed for any remuneration purposes, and is shared as only my own creative-outlet as a version of storytelling for a tapestry woven via the bits from many others.
CONSIDER: One month later, I created and shared the “guy” version of this post, to be seen at Gently Men.