I am making 2 ginormous assumptions about the 400 or so of you who read this newsletter every week.
I assume that each and every one of you respects, cares about, and is kind to women. True, yes?
I assume that you feel the same way about guns that I do. I have no idea if this is true or not.
I am bringing this up because two things happened on my vacation last week related to these assumptions.
Assumption #1 happened the first day Glen and I were there.
Glen has a friend who lives in the area of Colorado we were visiting.
We ended up hiking with him, as well as one of his friends, who was visiting too.
I felt it the minute I met him — this friend of a friend who was visiting too.
When friend of a friend dictated the outcome of our breakfast destination, I felt it.
When friend of a friend placed himself at the head of our hiking pack, taking up too much space for anyone to pass by, I felt it.
When friend of a friend launched into an on-going monologue, with no curiosity about anyone else, I felt it.
I brought it up to Glen when we had a moment on the trail to ourselves: “Does it feel a little odd to you that friend of a friend is monopolizing our space and time?”
“He seems like a nice guy to me. I wouldn’t worry about it.”
I tried hard to radically accept the disappointing situation I found myself in with friend of a friend.
On the way home from our hike, friend of a friend said something so old school and disparaging of women, that I cannot repeat it here.
My normal response in those types of situations is to freeze.
To clam up and say nothing.
I didn’t have that response this time around though, and instead I said something along the lines of:
“Not okay to say. We are talking about humanity here. It appears that in your world, half of humanity is not welcome.”
He got defensive and we stumbled our way to an ungraceful conclusion that left the air in the car THICK.
When we dropped the two others off, I looked at Glen without saying a a word.
He looked at me and he said:
“You’re right. He’s a schmuck.”
We discussed how to move forward with the rest of our vacation that would unfortunately be spent with friend of a friend.
We didn’t have to worry though, because friend of a friend had a bit of a “Come to Jesus Moment.”
Though he never directly apologized for his sexist remark and space grabbing ways, he turned into a huge puppy dog who spent the rest of the week being overly considerate toward everyone, and making too many comments about how much he loved and respected women.
My assumption regarding incident #1 is correct I think: You get it, right?
You’ve been through it before in your own way, with your own thick air in the car.
But assumption # 2…the gun thing.
That one might be a bit more prickly, but here goes:
Glen’s friend that we were hanging out with loves guns.
He has a conceal carry permit so he carries a gun with him almost all of the time.
We immediately began discussing guns after learning about this, and the conversation was civil, though bewildering.
Glen’s friend is totally prepared to use a gun to protect himself and his family, if he needs to, and to kill someone if he is threatened.
That blew my mind.
Has my woolly world view and the the bubble I live in become even more woolly than I ever could have imagined?
Like Glen, this friend is a hippie/mountain living/woodworking/off-the-grid kind of guy, and the word GUN just doesn’t fit into that description, at least for me.
We went back and forth about guns, both holding our views close, but doing so kindly.
Finally I said: “Let’s go shoot some guns. Let me get a sense of what this whole thing is about.”
I got a lengthy lecture on gun safety, which was good, and I have no complaints.
I also got an even more lengthy lecture on the mechanics of a gun, and that one — though I appreciated it — put me off in a way I didn’t expect.
This was a machine that was made to kill people.
I pointed the gun at the target and pulled the trigger, 3 times, and that was all I could abide by.
I could not continue to handle a piece of machinery that was made — with incredible care, innovation, and finesse — to kill people.
I sat in the car as everyone else took their turn shooting bullets into the target, and again tried to radically accept a situation that seemed unacceptable to me.
On our last night there, the topic of guns came up again.
Though the conversation ended up going okay, as it did before, and though we all hugged good-bye and said “come visit anytime” something felt a little off because I don’t know how to truly understand and appreciate something that is so foreign to me.
I do want to make my way out of my woolly bubble — I really do — but it sure does make more sense in here than out there.
There are varying views on the subject of guns, of course, and I imagine I will be told about ways of looking at this issue in ways I have never thought of or considered, which I welcome.
Maybe I will hear something similar to this:
Awhile back I took a self-defense class for women. There was a woman in the class with a young child who was being stalked and terrorized by an ex-husband. She was doing everything she could to keep herself and her child safe: Taking the self-defense class, installing new locks on the doors and windows, investing in a state-of-the-art alarm system, and yes, carrying a gun with her everywhere she went. She even kept an extra gun under her pillow.
Would I do the same thing in her situation?
You know what, I bet I would.
So tell me what you think and how you feel about all of this here, and then move on to your dance mission for the week.
Let the dust settle, and allow a different part of your brain take over:
Imagine that you are a fish in the ocean and for the first time in your fish life you realize that you are swimming in WATER and that not everyone swims in water. Base your dance on this idea, and feel the substance that is encasing your body, that you are dwelling in every single moment of every single day and dance, knowing that not everyone swims in the same ocean.
With Warmth, Curiosity, And A Deep Dive Into Dancing,
Joanna and The Agitators
sweetly agitating/persistently upending