I started this Blog over two years ago to share photos and stories about the F Litter, and then the G Litter; I continued it because I was asked to by multiple people.
Last month the Blog had over 4,000 views. I regularly receive private emails from people -- most I do not know -- telling me that they appreciate something I shared. Therefore, I keep writing and sharing because the Blog combines three things I enjoy -- writing, sharing pictures, and being helpful.
Like everyone else, I am an imperfect person and I make mistakes. Sometimes I do or say things that are hurtful, even when my intentions are good. One thing I have learned and try hard to remember is that each one of us needs understanding, compassion, and forgiveness from everyone in our lives -- including ourselves.
This is not my private journal -- I have one of those and it is private (hence the name :). But I have enough confidence to be very open, and to share struggles, thoughts, and challenges because in doing so, I hope that others will find insight and understanding as they also learn to navigate themselves and the world; we are, after all, in this together.
Because this started as a dog/puppy Blog, I tend to keep things focused in some way on that topic but as you probably have discovered, the world of dogs reflects the larger world -- the good, the bad, the ugly. And speaking of bad and ugly, I have learned that not everyone who reads the Blog does so with an open mind and heart -- there are some who are looking for things I say to take offense, make assumptions, and/or reflect badly on me if shared out of context.
When I learned of this recently, I was hurt -- as you can imagine -- and I wanted to stop writing. I felt embarrassed, as if I had done something wrong by being open. I felt betrayed because I trusted others to understand - and they didn't. And I was angry because cowardly, unkind people just generate that reaction in me.
But I thought about it a lot -- I moved beyond my own feelings of hurt and outrage, and tried to reflect on lessons I should learn -- there are always lessons to learn. I thought about my own imperfections and wondered how/if I could/should be different, and so on; I think we miss opportunities if we are dismissive of feedback, even when it comes from unkind, backhanded sources.
But here is what I want to share from all of that -- one of the most effective tactics in oppression is to shame and silence those who dare to step out of line. It makes others uncomfortable when we behave in challenging ways, when we say provocative things, or when we do not behave as they expect us to behave. The history of women is one of oppression through tactics such as these -- telling us to just behave, to be quiet, to not be so forceful...
We must seek to be respectful -- absolutely. But respect does not require us to sit quietly in our designated boxes so that others are not uncomfortable -- their discomfort is THEIR problem, not ours. Respect means trusting that adults can manage their own feelings and experiences, and does not require that we take care of others by being less so they can feel more.
So here is what I advise for all of us -- make joyful noise, step outside the box, speak from your heart, and trust that those who matter will understand and support your authenticity. Yes, we will step on toes even though we do not intend to hurt anyone -- but those who matter know that occasional bruised toes are just part of embracing the wholeness of a person and the fullness of life. I would rather have bruised toes every so often than live in a community that binds feet so they do not grow and do not feel...
I have lived a lifetime being told I should tone it down -- most women will understand what I mean and will have experienced something similar. Let me bring this right back to dog terms for my response to that kind of oppressive, insecure, disrespectful tactic of telling others to be less: Bite me.
And let me end with this -- I posted this today not because I need any reminder about the need to not let others control us through their insecurities, but because others might need help remembering that. And it took many strong and open women along my life path for me to arrive at the place where I consider feedback for lessons but ignore the "be less" messages -- this post is part of my reaching back in honor of those who have done it for me.
Don't be less than who you are... Forgive those who try to make you so...