Several years ago while my partner was away at a workshop in Mexico and unavailable for communication, I was working on making a particular necklace out of tanned leather (deer and elk). I thought I had all the hide I needed, but what I had was too thick and wasn’t going to work out. I didn’t have anywhere to get what I needed as it was Christmas time and I realized that my partner had some hides in her bins. So I took what I needed and used that to complete the necklace.

When she got back I told her what happened and that I “stole” her hide and that I’ll get her a new one of her choosing. That eventually happened and I repaired the immediate situation.

A couple of days ago she needed some bark-tanned hide that I had and so I willingly gave it to her. When I gave her the elk-hide, she said something interesting to me in a kind of joking way — “this is to make up for the hide you stole from me.”

I thought for a moment — hadn’t I repaired that and why is she bringing that up? It didn’t feel like a joke — and something felt off. The situation I was in with her didn’t allow me to dive deeper so I swirled in a bunch of confusion over this for a while unable to penetrate through to what was really happening — although it felt familiar.

A couple of days later we were talking and she explained what happened and why she said what she said. Even though I repaired the immediate situation, when I took the hide it felt violating for her and the past trauma and violation that she’s experienced by other men was brought up but never repaired even though I got her a new hide.

Many men would just say — that wasn’t me — I didn’t do it to her so its not my responsibility to clean that up. She needs to take care of it.

Bullshit.

That’s the 7-year old response to the 2nd grade teacher punishing you for something you didn’t do and you attempting to prove the situation was really caused by that crazy kid that always causes the trouble — you know the kid that claps the erasers in the classroom behind the teacher’s back and causes clouds of dust that everyone chokes on….

If you want to stay the 7-year old boy then this post isn’t for you and you won’t like it.

The realization that women carry violation and trauma that we as men are going to end up bringing up whether we intend to or not, that has been caused by unconscious men before us, is a fact that we need to be conscious of and face and not look away from.

You looking away is doing the same thing that the men before you did to her.

Stop looking away and stay present with what’s happening for her so that she can move through and clean out the ugliness that has penetrated her without her permission. It is painful, it sucks and it won’t go away unless it is faced.

Offering this as a man is honorable, being in service, willing to clean up the situation and not causing more damage than what’s already been done.

Receive her accusations, blame, projections, judgement and rage and burn it up. Don’t take it on, let it move through you down into the ground. As it moves through you, feel it all on fire being burned up and becoming great charcoal delivered back to the Earth as food.

Underneath this superficial layer is pain and violation and tears– stay with it all until everything moves out and there’s nothing left.

Do this as many times as needed.

Your capacity of staying present with her through all of this will reveal how much you can stay present with yourself and where you might not be able to show up for yourself.

Learn to show up for yourself so you can show up for her.

That’s the kind of devotion a man can offer and maybe will heal a little place in everyone’s heart — especially hers.

Love and Firmness,

Neil