Just this morning, an individual reached out to me on social media and inquired, in a rather disgusting manner, about my female anatomy. I’m sure you are creative enough to understand the content value of the message and will spare you details. I’ll just say it was not health or science related.
Initially when I read what he wrote (yes, this person is male- shocker), I thought, “is this a joke? Rhetoric perhaps? R. Complex stupidity?” I’m going with the latter.
This person has harassed me on a few occasions with similar unsavory and unimaginative lines that would impress no one except, perhaps, Donald Trump.
Now, I’m not a victim to circumstance, I swear. I take full responsibility for the outcome as I allowed the behavior to continue because it is my goal to work with difficult people and to keep my heart open to suffering. Call me a masochist, call me selfless. There is certainly a fine line between the two. A line divided by one three letter word, ego, and mine is driven by insatiable curiosity, and an aim to help others.
But, I decided it was time to permanently cast out this bit of invaluable content from my life. Did I use the word, invaluable? Yes, I did.
This situation helped me to recognize where I am stuck within myself. Where I am hooked by content in the external world. It's a tall order to not let sexist behavior bother me, and I don’t know about you, but its incredibly challenging keeping ones heart open to those individuals hellbent on causing suffering to others.
Speaking again of this individual, I realize their pain comes from always getting their way, having what they want, when they want it and from whom. Their life to me is like a closet full of too many shoes that are never worn, but sit there in salutary rows, empty and obsolete. It’s sad in a way, how people waste opportunity by wearing worn out shoes that cover the world in their misery. I see that its never going to be enough for this person, because they keep trying to fill a cup with cracks in it. This person is clearly beholden to desires and he is most likely ignorant to them. These desires dominate his choices, actions, and behaviors, and he is probably clueless to this. We all become driven by desires and they create all sorts of karma for other people and especially ourselves. Why do we do this? Is it evolutionary? Primary? Programming?
I discovered this great buddhist wisdom that goes like this, “what we reject in the world, we reject within ourselves, and what we reject in ourselves, we reject in the world.” When we are triggered, we tend to blame the external world for our suffering when in fact, the suffering only exists within. This person was triggered by not having a desire met and feeling entitled to having it be so. He proceeded to attempt to demean me -for whatever reason, to feel more at home with himself, maybe.
Based on the knowledge of where triggers stem from, I realize this has nothing to do with me. This is much more suffering than I will ever know, and believe it or not, compassion for this person floods me and I see them as they are. No more judgement, just the truth and it is always very simple and rather boring. Particularly in this case.
After I reached this conclusion, I let it go and moved on. Like blowing a pesky fly from my shoulder, I do not judge the fly for being a fly. This is the level I have reached when it comes to not letting other people’s suffering create karma for me and for them. We do this by not reacting but instead responding appropriately in the moment. In this case, the response was, as a famous punk band so aptly put it, so long and thanks for all the shoes.
We all have a choice to be the match that refuses to burn.
So, how do you respond to sexism?