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December 30, 2016

Since the election, I’ve been trying to find time to share some thoughts & feelings, but I keep putting it off because sometimes it is just so overwhelming. I think one thing is realizing how my own words & actions have added to the reeking heap of hatred that is so often silently hurting those I love. Today, a friend shared this article and another offered a “Complicity Cleanse” to start the New Year humbler and more woke in order to look inward so that we may heal ourselves, so that we may work to heal the greater and more systemic wounds around us.

In her article, Davies’ words resonate most when she writes, “But I also have to remember that everyone in their secret histories has made some transgression against women, just as I—in my whiteness, my relative economic comfort, my blind spots, and areas of ignorance—have surely offended and impeded someone else. ” I think one of the most challenging parts of the work of healing is opening up about how we have hurt others. but it is in the acceptance of both responsibility and subsequent forgiveness that the festering sores of our own moral blindness begin to heal and we can begin to be a source of light within the darkness of our world.

I think this film, The Mask You Live In, is the most helpful and easily digestible analysis of how hatred is instilled in us, rather than love. In looking at this, we can begin to understand what it is that keeps racism alive, why millions elected Trump, how we are seduced by consumerism, why we stigmatize those who are neuro-atypical (or think/behave differently than most) and ultimately why cis men (meaning men who were assigned male at birth and feel that the words “man” and “male” accurately describe who they are) have such a hard time admitting that we use violence to maintain control and then defend ourselves by saying that coercion and insults and manipulation and shame are not violence because the laws of society, made by cis men, are limited by design. However, my belief, which comes from my Catholic faith, is that if a word or an action is not coming from a place of genuine love for the person in front of you, it is violence. In other words, if it is not intended to be received as love, it is intended to hurt.

This film is on Netflix & other streaming sites & helps to break down so much about the masculinity that is so destructive to everyone, regardless of gender identity. Its strength is that it is not accusatory to the viewer, but helps us realize how we’ve all been personally let down by what we are taught it means to “Be a man.”

Here’s the trailer:

To my brothers, my uncles, my father, but also my sisters & cousins & mother & all of my friends & comrades & teachers: Please just take fifteen minutes to start the film, then decide if you want to continue.

And if you would like to challenge yourself to look inward, the Complicity Cleanse (January 1-21st 2017) is a challenge to disempower the systems of oppression which we, as a nation, have been complicit in creating. You can sign up to receive reflections at https://www.complicitycleanse.com/

Peace & Happy New Year-