Give Women Some Room to Breathe

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US Open, Serena Williams, everyone is talking.  I didn’t watch the game so I had to research it and see it from a different angle to see if things add up.  Surely, she is being seen by many now as an entitled brat.  In her mind however, she is a victim of sexism and unfair ruling.  Where do you stand?

I will say right away that I don’t care to be right.  I will share my view so that it’s there and so that it can validate all the women out there that may feel the same. Here is the thing:  Serena broke rules.  She said she didn’t cheat though her coach admits to giving her coaching during the game, but she did slam the racket (which is a violation to the integrity and professionalism of the game) and then insulted the umpire by calling him a thief.  The first time I watched it, I cringed, thinking: Oh my goodness she is losing it and it doesn’t look pretty.  But then I watched it again, and again, the longer version, the in betweens and here is what happened:  my stomach started to hurt, I began to curl up and cry feeling anger and defeat.

My point is not that she is right, but my point is that it’s hard for a woman to be a woman in the world we live in.  Yes, there are rules and we must follow them but here is the deal: these rules are not made with us in mind.  Serena is 37, she had a baby a year ago and she is probably completely hormonal.  She must be dealing with what it takes to bring up a child in this world, what it is to be black, what it is to be a champion and how to do the rest of her career given all the difficulty that we experience after birth (and from following her IG story, I know she almost died).

Why is it that “emotions” run so much in our lives and yet we have to “keep them in check.” I know some men can read this and say, “well, we do, because that is what being an adult is like,” but I beg to differ.  It is not easy to keep your emotions in when your hormones are running the show and when the world you live in, fundamentally, doesn’t give you space to express what you feel.  I have experienced this time and time again and unfortunately, more from other women than from men.  Somehow, when we “lose it” we seem like we are not in control and that is bad…and yet, the whole world wants us to be vulnerable, to give up control, to be flexible, to be good moms, to be good at what we do etc.  I get it, Serena broke the rule, but in my world, she broke the silence of those of us who suck it up and try so hard to live in the world where being who we are is not accepted.  And I admit, when a woman has charge on something, she does seem crazy and disconnected from herself but I also know that the only way out is not trying to tame her crazy but validating how she is.  Those that are smart enough to honor the space we are in will help us see more clearly and we will calm down.

Here is one way to see it:

“The feminine’s moods and opinions are like weather patterns. They are constantly changing, severe and gentle, and they have no single source. No analysis will work. There is no linear chain of cause and effect that can lead to the kernel of the “problem.” There is no problem, only a storm, a breeze, a sudden change in weather. And the bases of these storms are the high and low pressure systems of love. When a woman feels love flowing deeply, her mood can instantly evaporate into joy, regardless of the supposed reason for the mood.” ~ David Deida

 

Again, I am not going for the right and wrong, I am just simply sharing as another woman who can see Serena’s storm just as a storm.  It is sad that people comment that she lost her grace.  This is a woman that won in Australia while already pregnant and wants to continue to create legacy.  It is unfair to blame her that she overshadowed another woman’s win.  She didn’t do that, we did that by looking at what she did with judgement and not empathy.

Her coach is right when he said in an interview: why is it a big deal that people show emotion on the court when that emotion is real.  Emotion is energy in motion, if we let it be, it will pass, but when we judge it, punish people for it, then we add mass to it and then that energy doesn’t flow freely, it gets stuck.  That is what happened in the game.  Serena was accused for cheating and she wanted to set the record straight.  Finding the wall instead of attentive listening, her emotions escalated (this can happen to anyone, let alone a woman who just became a mom), and after that we knew this wouldn’t end well.

Part of me wishes she could “collect” herself, but a big part of me is grateful for the dialogue that will follow as the judgements resurface for us to clear so we can begin to honor people for who they are, giving them space to have an emotional response especially when they were done wrong.

Serena, and all the women out there that struggle to keep it together, I feel you ❤

 

Judgements

adorable-beautiful-blur-573263I consider my culture to be one of the most judgmental in the world.  Coming to America at the age of 16 blew my mind – I realized, people didn’t tell you in your face how your shoes are uncool, you shouldn’t wear white socks or that you look chubby.  For the most part, everyone was minding their own business, in some ways probably hoping that their own inadequacies were not going the be exposed the same way they weren’t exposing other people’s.

Most people, me included, have fallen for an idea of “I am just telling you the truth” as a smoke screen for telling insulting stuff and being downright judgmental.  It is ok, I find, to tell someone who is asking you if the dress fits well on them to let them know that it does not, but I think it’s awful to walk up to someone and comment that their other dress looked a lot better on them than the one they are wearing.

I once criticized a student movie in my film class thinking I am pointing the obvious.  I will never forget my professor telling me:  “Marija, what do you really think?” and everybody laughing.  So many people were uncomfortable when I was releasing my judgements that this question cut through and gave sort of a comic relief.  I wished I could take it back or at least explain: this is how I was criticized all the time.

My body recorded all of these judgements and responded by slouching, looking down and feeling heaviness in my shoulders, shame in my heart.  I spent, oh God, so many hours undoing what has been done to me through transformation, reiki, sound healing, yoga, meditation, body talk, emotional healing, and alike.  Sometimes I wake up in a morning and I feel how high maintenance I am – I wonder why other people don’t take up so much space, self-analyze like I do and work so hard on staying present and in their power.  But then it’s obvious, those that don’t, live the kind of life I am not committed to living and the rest do the same thing I do, if not more.

A couple of decades ago, this generous man in Florida taught me this: “Live and let live!”  I will always remember this.  Coupled with my Landmark training where I officially had to give up gossiping and got crystal clear that everything I am complaining about is only hurting me, there is a strong sense of judgement is no good.

Boggles my mind how prominent this is in all cultures, not just my native one.  How come?  Why do people get so obsessive with their view of the world and how the fuck do they justify that their view is THE view?  Maybe it doesn’t matter.  What if we have to stop believing that someone else’s judgement of us is about us and not about them.  When we stop judging ourselves, all the mental chatter will clear.