I am exhausted.
I love you and respect (most of) you. And I need you to listen.
Your worldview is not the worldview.
I am tired of having to cajole an alternative view into existence by mollycoddling you rather than feeling confident that I can simply name it and will be heard, listened to, seen, and appreciated for my worldview. I do not need you to agree with me. I need you to hear me. I need you to meet me halfway — braving that your fragility isn’t at risk by my strength. I need you to open up and recognize that in doing so you are actively participating in changing the imbalances so deeply rooted in our psyches around gender and power. I need you to not react and defend, but rather soften and open. I need you to help me model what a future actually looks like so the kids will experience men and woman appreciating, exploring, and navigating the gorgeous differences between genders.
I need you to stand up and take baby steps into this complex jungle using our micro moments to learn any and all nuances about each blindspot we have co-created together for millennia. I need you to do this with me hand-in-hand without trying to absorb me. I need you to get quiet so I can get loud. I need you to feel into the discomfort of your quiet and my loud — and interrogate that emotion. I need you to realize that intimacy is about our differences not our merging. To feel safe, held, honored and respected I need you to see me as fully individuated from you. I am myself. I am me. I am who I am and you are who you are. I need you to see and then believe in the beauty of the differences and power between us. I need you to not dominate as a default. I need you to get aware. I need you to live in your questions far more than living in your convictions. I need you to create room for others. I need you to pause.
The dance is exhausting. The losses are enormous — and time is running out.
We have to do this work for the future. We need one another to get it done. I need an agreement from you that you are able and willing to take my hand and go on this walk together — as two people, between two people, as warriors together — trusting we can only fight the battle united.
I am exhausted.
I love you and respect (most of) you. And I need you to hear.
Come with me.
Please stop thinking you have to lead. I’ve got this. And I need you. It’s just that I need you in a new, different way than I’ve needed you in the past. I need you to play second. I need you to be vulnerable. I need you to listen. I need you to be your powerful self while not diminishing my powerful self. I need you to revere the feminine in you. I need you to dance with detaching from your identity to make room for mine. I need you to laugh at yourself without using it to take up so much space in the room. I need you to be patient in understanding this is going to take time, intention, trial and error. I need you to get out of solve and hero mode and get into explore and awake mode. I need your partnership on this. And it’s not about you.
I am exhausted.
I love you and respect (most of) you. And I need you to see.
Published on International Women’s Day 2020.
Kathryn is a Leadership Advisor, Organization Design Consultant, and Systems Coach. She strategizes with organizations large and small to build capacity to design organizations of the future, evolutionary leadership, prosperous teams, and coherent systems.