One year ago today, my boss gave me a punishing letter outlining all the concerns he had about me, all the ways I was not meeting his expectations. That moment, of taking it in, was one of the darkest of my life. It would be another month or so, after he responded to my required response, that I would see clearly how patriarchy works in and through him, understand how devastating such an experience of domination can be to the person receiving its blows.
Now, one year later, and six months after I left that job, I am wiser and more aware of the workings of patriarchal white male privilege in those (primarily white men) who have authority. I am not so much under the thumb of that person or my reactions when I run up against it.
Coincidentally, today I am writing a letter to a business consultant I interviewed recently, letting him know I will not be hiring him to work with my business. Primarily because of how I felt treated by him in that interview. Patronized. Like a five-year-old girl.
I am learning to see this behavior for what it is, and its impact on women and persons of color, even though I still take it in initially without realizing it. This time, I identified it pretty quickly by those familiar reactions within me. This time, I could hear my intuition telling me that something was not right. This time, the words and behaviors themselves rang out loud and clear.
I am getting stronger, speaking up, not letting it take me in (for long), and finding kind ways to speak the truth. Amen. Halleluiah!