Yesterday, on the way home from work, we were behind several cars all of whom had come to a sudden stop. From where we were we couldn't see why we were no longer moving. And then, we did.
A Canadian goose and her goslings had been crossing the road and the cars all stopped to insure the little families safety. We smiled both at the kindness of the gesture and at the cuteness of the young birds. In fact, their struggle to keep up with mom and look around at the same time was so comical that it wasn't till they were nearly across the street that I looked at mom.
She was walking, head up, her stride was purposeful, her attitude was that she deserved respect, expected respect and that she demanded the space she needed to get her children from one spot to another. And indeed she got it. No one honked their horns, no one called out at them to get out of the way, everyone patiently waited for the last gosling to clear the roadway.
In my mind I thought of that mother bird. I thought of her a lot.
I loved that she expected to be greeted with respect. That she carried herself in such a way that a message was clearly given, "We share this space and right now, it's mine." She expected, not only respect, but to be given the space she needed at that time.
Then it struck me.
I don't ever expect respect when I go out. Never. Not once.
I don't ever expect to do anything but apologize for the space I take. Never. Not once.
I know that there are those who rise into mornings with an assured sense of their place in the world, with a complete expectation that others know their worth, that their use of space will never, ever. Not once. Be questioned.
I want that experience one day.
I don't want to 'be' them. I'm fine with the body and the work that requires my hands. I just want to experience a day where I leave my home without fear and with the expectation of respect from others.
I want to know what it feels like to take up space like I deserve it.
I want to know what it feels like to be on the street without the expectation of social violence.
Just for a day.
Or 8 hours.
I'm not greedy.
Because she expected respect, she walked with such dignity.