For anyone who is, or has experienced a sense of froideurat the school gates, this is for you xx
The first time I got visually eradicated by a fellow mother when dropping my daughter off at school, I did what I normally do: go through everything I had said, or done, to find out what could have potentially hurt or annoyed this person.
When it happened again, I actually said something to one of the women, thinking ohhh, ah ha, maybe it’s my deafness, so I walked over and said you know I wear hearing aids so if you’ve said something and I didn’t respond, I just may not have heard you. The look from her face told me, uh uh honey, ive just stopped saying hello.
I spoke to a wonderful woman about this. She’s Dutch. She said well the problem with you English is that you just let these things happen. If it were me, I would have gone straight up to her and asked: is something wrong? And she may have said, you know, I just don’t like you. And that would have been that. No problem.
You know she said, wanting to give my spirit a bit of oomph, it could also be something else. Like maybe she had an erotic dream about you and the embarrassment of that is so intense for her, she literally has to pretend you don’t exist.
(Of all versions, I think that is my most favourite explanation)!
Generally with close friends, I will go to them if I sense something off and ask: have I done something? So i’m not talking about when we have done something that has hurt someone, I’m talking about this very weird phenomena that I’ve only experienced since becoming a mother and going back into this school scenario where other mothers will one day walk past you as if you don’t exist. And i’m writing this for anyone who may have recently relocated, and/or is feeling adrift and cut off from women who don’t need to say much, but whose warmth is so significant that you can just walk past each other and smile and that’s enough… because it wasn’t until I started voicing this, and discovered I wasn’t the only one that the shame lifted and I started to wonder if maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t all my fault.
In the same way that I say to my daughter if she experiences isolating behaviour from someone – it just means their heart is closed - because when someone’s heart is wide open, they’re kind, inclusive, and they look out for you. And so I started wondering, maybe just maybe, these women too, their hearts are just closed.
Which is a loss really, because us women are such incredibly tender, and warm hearted beings...
What we’re really made of
I once attended a tantra retreat, and for one exercise the men and women were asked to dance.
The men went first.
The women second.
And whereas the men all stood close together, rooted in one place, given the news that we were safe, and were free to move as we pleased, not only did we roam within every inch that we were given, but we did so in the most relational and playful way possible. We danced with each other, holding hands, hugging, laughing, and absolutely forgetting that we were being watched. And to the one woman amongst us who was pregnant, we treated her like a goddess, and circled and stomped around her, smiling at her and boogying with each other in this very playful, free spirited way.
And it made me realise two of the most special things about being a woman: we’re relational, and ever so slightly lawless.
And maybe we need to reclaim that a little bit.
Aby Wambach, a retired American professional footballer, who has scored more international goals then any male, or female player in the game, says that as women, there’re are only two ways to be: we’re either running towards other women, cheering them on and celebrating them, or helping them get back up again when they’ve fallen, reminding them of what they may have forgotten: that they’re brilliant, and can do this.
So for anyone who is experiencing feeling rejected, or annihilated by the cold indifference that can be the way that we can treat other, firstly know this: you’re not alone. And secondly, if we ever bump into each other, can we just hug each other? Because yes there is the risk of rejection, or looking stupid, or worse needy, but really, there’s also the potential of experiencing the quiet warm joy of feeling ourselves part of a human family that actually cares about our existence. And maybe we can be a bit lawless, so that instead of giving into the iciness, we start paving the way for a warm hearted acceptance and enjoyment of each other. Maybe we do this with a wink, a wave, or even, if we’re feeling radical a hug. Because here’s the thing, if a hug is not appropriate – especially in these intense, mad, illusory times - what is? We are deeply relational creatures. Touch is but an expression of that, as is the bloom of golden orange that stretches across the morning sky, is but a call to wake, and rise, and love more deeply from a place called our hearts. Because it’s here that all the BS that we throw at each other melts away. The fears of competition melts away, all the imagined stories we play about each other dissolve and we realise, that each of us has the power to make another feel good or terrible, which one will we choose?
So, on this note I’m going to be doing a podcast with an incredible free spirited, warm woman whose monthly woman’s circle has played a huge part in helping me work through so many things and restoring my appreciation of how amazizng women are.. She holds the most beautiful space and I wanted to speak with her to hear from her her thoughts and experiences of women coming together, to talk a little about how we compete with another and the source of that, and what it means to be honest in a way that is empowering.
I’ll post news of the podcast as soon as it’s live over the new few weeks.
Till then, I will be posting more stories about connection and the power of women.