So don’t waste my time and your curses on verses
about what you are against, despise, and abhor.
Tell me what inspires you, what fulfills and fires you.
Put your goddamn pen to paper and tell me what you’re for!
—Taylor Mali, Silver-Lined Heart
A fear years ago Magic Mike came out. It starred Channing Tatum and was a story about male strippers. It was barely on my radar. Until my friend asked me to go see it with her. At the time (and to this day) this was a friend that if she invited me to things, I said yes. I learned a long time ago that no’s are detrimental to relationships and I wanted her to know that I am for her and for her family. So I went to a midnight showing, opening night to a movie I never thought I would see. I had fun with my friend. And I am so thankful she invited me, and let me share something with her that excited her. I entered her world. I loved her.
After my experience with the movie, I had a conversation with a long time friend and she confessed that she wouldn’t have been able to see that movie. It would have done something to her heart, her emotions, and her mind. I empathized—thankful for her honesty and encouraged her in her conviction. Mine was different. We both exercised our freedom and we were both loving ourselves and others. Neither one of us felt the need to condemn the other or publicly shame someone for enjoying a movie.
My Facebook is blowing up. I have friends excited about Fifty Shades of Grey. I have friends banding together in protest—grieved by a world where this book could have been written, let alone published. I haven’t read the book. I may or may not see the movie depending on who invites me. Do I love the idea that this book is a phenomenon? Not really—mainly because there are some amazing stories out there, rich and full of depth, and this book strikes me as more of a candy bar (but I’ve read my fair share of candy-bar-books, so I’m not really going to take a stand on that principle either.)
Love to me looks like making room for people’s stories. Not everyone in the world is like me, and if Fifty Shades taught them something, or entertained them—I think it’s a conversation worth having. It’s out there. I can’t put my fingers in my ears and pretend it isn’t. And I don’t have to be hateful towards the people who find some merit in it…And if I’m lovingly part of the conversation, then maybe I get to be a voice for change, pointing out healthy ways for men and women to interact, fighting against injustices and abuse women face around the world, or conversing about the darkest parts some of us can descend when we’ve been hurt. That we all have our shameful secrets and fetishes.
Instead of standing against something, I want to stand for something.
So watch or don’t watch Fifty Shades as your conviction leads you. I think love and wisdom may look like private conversations with face-to-face friends, rather than a newsfeed where people will have a different experience and may be hurt by your cause.
Instead, let’s have a conversation about what we’re for. I want to hear what inspires, moves, and brings you to life.
For me right now I’m for:
- 6:30am workouts
- a glass of red wine before bed
- Wild by Cheryl Strayed
- Noonday Collection
- house concerts by Sue Fluger (www.suefluger.com)
- birthday celebrations
- poetry by Taylor Mali and Rumi
- clothing swaps
- movies with friends
What are you for?