Calacirian is one of my favourite blogs, which I link to much too infrequently. In this great post (that continues the Myers Briggs profile conversation), she talks about being an introverted woman. This is powerful stuff:
There are many times I find myself in that awkward position. Shaken. Unable to speak. Something of grave import has just occurred and I ought to speak, share something. Instead I find that I must process and think. Speaking into the moment means I will say something dangerous, or foolish or heartless. But not speaking leaves others with the mistaken impression that I am in agreement or have assented with them. Or at the very least do not disagree with them. I have attempted processing and thinking into emotionally intense situations … it ends very badly.
I think this might be especially true because I am a woman. Women do not do well being introverts. We do not do well being introverts who process for long periods of time and who need time to think things through in emotionally intense situations. Culturally, we are expected to be able to navigate emotional situations with ease. We are expected to not become angry. An angry woman is seen as a domineering bitch, but an angry man is seen as taking control of a situation. In any given situation the woman loses, the man wins. So as a woman who struggles with navigating those waters; navigating emotionally intense situations without a safety net is particularly uncomfortable for me. It brought me up short to read this in ch. 2 Patterns: spatial observations of Organic Community:
This “encouragement” may also be quietly reinforced within church leadership structures. Perhaps we’ve successfully forced everyone into some form of a small group. This in itself might be okay if we recognize that many kinds of groupings can serve the same role as “small groups.” Instead, the pressure continues when small group leaders are told that if intimate connections are not taking place within their groups, their groups are failures. We need to bear in mind that the most accurate word to describe the process of forcing intimate connection is rape. (p. 46 – italics the author’s)
“The most accurate word to describe the process of forcing intimate connection is rape.” I’ve been considering that sentence for the month or so since I read it. I’ve been reading it and rereading it in it’s context. Thinking about the times I’ve been forced to be in more intimate connections with people than I was comfortable with and praying for forgiveness for the times that I’ve asked it of others. Pondering, as I am wont, how to strike a healthy balance so that intimacy may be won and adversity lost. (Links in the original.)