I want it to be okay to tell a gentleman I’m not interested in him, without having to say I have a (fake, made up) boyfriend.
I want to be able to hug new male acquaintances when I meet them, without worrying it’s going to go on a second too long, or a hand is going to wander.
I want to be able to lean on a friend’s shoulder and cry, to hold him close and know I am safe and protected, not providing an invitation for anything else.
I want to walk down the street without needing to look both ways, where I can smile at the guys smoking on the corner without it being interpreted as a come on, because I like to say hi to people, because we’re all divine and that will heal our society.
I want to be able to go upstairs to my apartment, say goodnight to my neighbors without having to say “we” and talk about a fake partner that lives up there with me.
I want to be able to speak in a meeting or at a prayer without people staring down my shirt, because dressing modestly is not a protection and everyone needs to be held accountable.
I want to pray in Jewish or other spiritual environments without it always being about a powerful, charismatic man.
I want little girls to know the value of their bodies, and protect them and cherish them, without feeling the need to undergo pain to look a certain way—dieting, purging, waxing, plucking, squeezing into the tightest pants, doing anything they don’t actually want to do but feel they have to do.
I want to say goodbye to the older, creepy-ish men in my life to whom I have compassion without needing to do the awkward head-twist to avoid having one planted on me.
I want to be invited to participate. To join that team, to organize that event, to run that business, to have a seat on the table. I don’t want to be dismissed because I’m not wearing a dress and heels, or looked up and down because I don’t fit the category of that girl you’ll hook up with when the project is over. I want to sit at the table with you because of what I bring to it.
I want to meet someone, and find them attractive, and spend time getting to know each other without any transactional expectations.
I don’t want to feel guilty if I don’t give a man what he wants or expects.
I want young women to approach the bed of a lover with anticipation and cooperation. With full communication and safety. To know it’s okay to just cuddle for a night.
But right now, I’m scared to do most of these things.
It doesn’t matter why I said me too. It’s not up to us to judge others. What’s real assault, what’s harassment, what’s the extent of a woman’s rape trauma. It’s not up to us to judge.
We all carry the trauma, because the Divine feminine, in her diminishment, lives inside all of us.
She lives inside male bodies and female bodies and cis bodies and trans bodies and gender non-conforming bodies and everything in between.
And she’s been torn apart, hurt, diminished all this time.
The Shechinah lies crying and bloodied, and battered.
And today, finally, we’re listening to her voice.
So, stop talking over me.
Please, listen to my voice.
Rishe Groner is a writer and strategist living in Brooklyn. She is the founder of TheGene-Sis.com, a post-Hasidic embodied approach to self-transformation.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Lilith Magazine.