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Stereotypes and Prejudice

October 11, 2007

I’ve lived my whole life rejecting stereotypes and prejudices.  I’ve firmly believed that I was the least prejudicial person I know.  I consciously refuse to describe someone by their skin color as those words seem the least descriptive I know.  I’ve worked hard not to be a man-hater even as I learn to love all that women are.  I do daily checks with myself to make sure that as I learn to connect with the Divine that is feminine, I do not forget the Divine that is masculine.  I may not understand as much about Him as I do Her, but I know that it is important to remember that He is there.  When I discovered about myself that big men were all scary to me, I sought out big men to teach me that some were gentle and kind.  And when I teach my daughters about our own spirituality, we talk aobut other Paths and other faiths with respect and kindness….all Paths are headed to the same Place in my opinion, and people need to be free to live who they are with as much strength as they can find.  Even when discussing things like 9/11, we talked about the beliefs of the perpetrators without attaching the label Islamic.   I wanted my girls to have a few of Islam that is shared by most of its practitioners rather than a few radicals.

 But I’ve recently “met” someone new.  I say “met” because I know her as I know all of you.  And I’ve been ashamed of my own responses to her.  Every time she’s been gentle with me or kind, I’ve been surprised.  Why??  Because she isn’t someone who identifies as pagan or a Witch or a Wiccan or a…..any of those things that I’ve come to trust.

Wait….I’ve come to trust…that must mean that if there are some people, some groups that I DO trust, there must be some groups that I do not trust.  When did that happen?  How???  In spite of all the things that I’ve told my girls, I haven’t inside myself, believed them??  That’s called hypocrisy!!  I can’t be a hypocrite….it’s just not possible….GASP!!!  I have been….

Or maybe not.  Maybe instead, I’ve been visionary.  I’ve known (inside) the Truth that I should live from, the Truth that I want my daughters to live from.  I know that the Truth can be lived because I am more free of prejudice than most people and I have been able to overcome the prejudices that I have found within myself…..there is hope after all.

But wait….that’s not all the preconceived ideas that this amazing blessing of a woman has shown me.  See, she’s been so gentle and so kind, so wise and so warm…. I was afraid that I would offend her.  Somewhere in me was the thought that I, with my roughness and sometimes rage, my words that are not always words you would want your mother or your daughter to hear you say, my thoughts that are so pagan, I would bruise her and her chase her away.   I was afraid that she would censor me, not by anything that she would say or think about me, but because I already want her around.  Really, I was afraid that I would censor myself to keep her “with” me.  With all the women that I know and “know”, she still brings something new, a new feel to her, a new energy around her and I did not want to lose that.  But, again, what a lack of trust that shows!!  Others are different from me and yet accepting of my rough edges.  Others see where I fail and see where I rage.  Those who know me know that I really do cycle around to the transition part…I transform my thoughts and failings into things that can work for me…it just takes me awhile.  And yet I thought this new “she” would be incapable of that.  Why????  I realised that most of the women I know have their strength on the outside.  It’s that quality in them that you see first.  Underneath their strength, you can see compassion and kindness and love and gentleness but they lead with the strength.  She is different.  She leads with love, with gentleness, with compassion.  Those are what you see first.  The strength is in there…it’s not even hidden.  It’s just not what she gives us first. WOW!!   What lessons she must have learned along the way to be able to lead with softness.  And what strength she must have to be able to sustain herself when the world does bruise her.  So I learned that somewhere within myself, I have not embraced the Truth that women can be supremely gentle and supremely strong.  If I cannot believe that of women here, how can I believe that of the Divine She??  And if She cannot be both, why do I want Her anyway?! 

And so, this amazing woman has pushed me even deeper into the arms of the Divine.  She has taught me to look for Her everywhere and in everyone.  This lady has helped me understand Her in ways that were impossible before.  I have Her now in my heart even more and deeply deeply within my soul.

I feel smaller than I did, a little less certain of my own ability to see the soul of another, the Truth of another.  I’m not quite so certain that I understand all of Her aspects, His either.   I’ve come face to face with my own fears of rejection and my own tendency to lead with my negatives to see if someone will stick around long enough to get to my “good stuff”.  I’ve learned that She will constantly challenge me, but oh so gently.  I’ve learned (again) that women need each other and have more in common than they have differences, regardless of faiths and Paths.  And I have been so blessed, so very blessed by this woman, this experience.

And I am so sorry.  Sorry that I doubted and assumed.  Sorry that I missed the Truth.  I get it now, really I do.  I promise I won’t miss it again, at least not in this way.  Your patience humbles me and teaches me, again and again.  And so does Yours.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 12, 2007 12:27 pm

    This is an awesome post, signmom! There are great truths and lessons in it for one and all. All human beings need to honestly face and address their prejudices in whatever form they take.

    You are deeply blessed to have a friend such as you describe. People like that are our teachers and healers, helping to heal the prejudices and preconceived notions that result from our wounds.

    I’m so happy you’re blogging, I’m doing the happy dance. 🙂

  2. October 12, 2007 7:14 pm

    This caught my eye:

    Somewhere in me was the thought that I, with my roughness and sometimes rage, my words that are not always words you would want your mother or your daughter to hear you say, my thoughts that are so pagan, I would bruise her and her chase her away.

    It could just be me, but I’m guessing it is pretty universal, that the “roughness and rage”, that these are some of the things that would draw this very person to you. I could be wrong (I often am!) but we all need balance. If this person is as kind and gentle and loving as you say, they might need the passion that fuels you as surely as you need their loving kindness.

    As for the rest, I think we should go in with the assumption that we have prejudices, because I think it is impossible to not end up with some, no matter how careful our upbringing is. Society is filled with it, and we end up assimilating them without being conscious of it sometimes. So bravo for working so hard at breaking these down. We’re all works in progress. 🙂

  3. signmom permalink*
    October 13, 2007 2:56 am

    Thank you both for the replies!

    Mother Wintermoon, I already call this friend one of the Great Teachers of my lifetime, one of those people that you encounter that instigate change within everyday, but from such a place of love and acceptance that it’s no more painful than growing has to be..which is sometimes plenty painful enough.

    Deb, I agree that we do seek tht balance, that we find others to”fill in” for us those places we lack. Even that does not seem to express what I mean. We seek in others that which we do not already have so that we can learn new things and develop more fully. It just so happens that in this case, my friend has simply outgrown that stage..she too was just as rough and rageful. That provides even more opportunities for me because I can see what I might be like after I’ve been smoothed out a little more!

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