I need a wee.
Why did I not do a wee first? Come to think of it, I really should have grabbed a drink as well.
But I am stuck now. And I am definitely NOT moving, because I am definitely NOT missing this.
See, 90 minutes earlier, I had parked myself at the foot of a pub stage, risking life, limb and bladder to secure front row spots for the amazing Z-STAR
The venue started to fill (as did my bladder)
Good-natured banter about my spread eagle space holding abilities were bantered around as people respectfully took their places behind me.
My husband came and found me (bearing much needed refreshment – thank God) and we got ready as the band began sound check.
I felt a hand on my shoulder and a robust “Hey Lily, great spot”. A friend of mine had shouldered his way through the solid crowd to stand beside me with his very large professional camera.
We chatted about the fact that I had stood there for the last 90 minutes and about how much I had been looking forward to this gig. He spoke about his time at the festival so far and showed me some shots he had scored.
The front woman stepped to the mic and began to play.
And he stepped RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME INTO MY PLACE.
And so began my inner war.
Mother Warrior vs The Good Girl.
MW: nice manners mate – thanks for asking
GG: He will move in a minute – he is just getting shots for work. We can still see the stage, sort of.
MW: Um, did you notice he did not stand in front of your HUSBAND? Just you, cause you are a WOMAN.
GG: No, no, it’s not personal. Lets just enjoy the band
WG: The band we now cannot see, due to his big bald head right in my eye line? THAT BAND? Smack him upside that head and tell him to move. TAKE YOUR PLACE BACK.
GG: That would be very bad manners. WHAT IF I CAUSE A SCENE?? I do not want to be THAT woman
WG: The one who is still sitting down and just taking any crap behaviour that is served up to her? That one?
The one that is still putting good manners before good judgment? That one?
The woman who cannot claim her entitled place in the world? That one?
Cause, sweetheart, that is exactly who you are right now.
And that is exactly who I was trained to be.
Sit down. Be quiet. Be good. Be nice.
Don’t speak up. Don’t make a scene
Just. Settle. Down.
I have been trained to not take my place in this world.
I have been trained to play small, accept what I am given, not make too much noise, and above all, not take up too much room.
When you have a history of abuse, it is no longer safe to play big. It doesn’t feel safe to take up your rightful place. It does not feel right to claim your space. And it can sometimes feel impossible to defend those rights when they are challenged.
Even in simple, every day moments, like telling an arrogant friend to get the hell out of your spot.
What is so simple for most people is a huge obstacle for women who have had their boundaries violated and destroyed.
So my call, to all of you women, is take up some fucking room.
Claim your place.
It is your birth right, and no-one should get in your way.
Photo credit goes to my delightful friend BJ, who I have since had a “robust” discussion with about his inspiring behaviour! Huge love to you for your teaching and your openness to be written about.