It’s Puma! Peter, to some. He was my male counsel in University, and we had some wild and hilarious times. Saturday was his 50th, and his wife (on the right) certainly knows how to throw a party. The moment I met Peter 30 years ago, I knew I wanted him in my life for always. Bullseye, even if we only see one another every few years after marriage and babies have shifted our lives. I was not wrong about his character. For example – when the Freedom Convoy situation parked its dirty a*s outside my home, Puma was the absolute first to reach out, check in, ask if I felt safe or needed him and St-Pierre to come down and take care of other White boys. Rare, are men like Peter.
My girlfriends call it my Witchy Senses – a read and instinct about people that has not yet been wrong. Where things have failed in the past, however, is my willingness to listen to what my body was telling me, a thing which is no longer the case.
A friend recently said that my read on people is scary, and since they said it, it’s been rolling around in my otherwise empty head. 100% I don’t just read people well, but people are an open book to me from the moment I meet them. One answer from them, and I see the tome behind it.
Now. Because I don’t believe that anything about me is unique, it can’t be that I have more of a read on people than you, for example. I think, perhaps, what might differentiate me from someone who doesn’t have the same read on people as I do is that I simply move through this world a little differently. Before getting there, however, a little sidebar.
In Islam, there is a belief that souls are drawn to like. Meaning, there is some sort of metaphysical third eye read which we have re one another if we pay enough attention. Think of how many times you’ve met someone and been ill-at-ease immediately. Or how you’ve met others and were immediately trusting. And then a handful who you just wanted to quietly curl into and stay there for hours and hours, without even having to talk (consent first, friends!).
At the sake of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance-ing this, one of three things has traditionally happened, when I meet someone –
- I have in the past (but no longer) ignored the things I saw, because they didn’t fit with what I wanted to see. (My instinct here is to physically run.)
- I’ve seen, and immediately engaged it. (My instinct is always to stay and have a playdate to see what’s next.)
- I’ve seen it, and have done nothing because the person at whom I’m looking is of no value in my life, so I can’t be as*ed to engage it. (My instinct is a solid flatline.)
The older I get (49 on OCTOBER 16, THANKS FOR ASKING), the more I pay attention to my body’s response to people [especially to (cis straight) men], and how I handle what I’m seeing. I’ve also learned that even if I see a thing, I don’t have the right to point at it and start talking about it without permission. With some, permission is quick; with others, I have to mindfully slow my roll because it is not in my nature to slow anything. But I cannot engage another person’s thing until they let me. And just because they have allowed me to see it, it doesn’t de facto mean I have their permission to talk about it. I have to wait. Sometimes I forget this, in my excitement.
Why am I able to do this? I think because I walk through this world an absolutely open book. That’s not to say I don’t have secrets, but rather it is to say that I have nothing to hide. If you care about me and ask me a thing, I will respond with no holds barred. Be careful what you ask; don’t ask if you don’t want to know. If you don’t care about me, and you ask me a thing, I will respond to the reason you’re asking, not the question you’re posing. A very important distinction, because it’s here where I call a spade a spade and I have never been one to ice a fist that has tried to hit me. I sure as sh*t will not start today.
Carrying such transparent and honest energy opens me up to others. Again, three possibilities from which we can choose, premised on the fact that I am entirely a safe space. You could be doing rails and gangb*nging 12 people on a Tuesday afternoon, and I’ll ask if you want a glass of water after you’re done; no judgement, though neither of those things would ever make their way into my life.
First possibility is that people pick up on this, so they open up to me even if they don’t consciously know they’re doing it. This is the silver possibility, because some people might really walk around the world with absolutely no mindfulness, swinging their metaphysical antenna all over the place and hitting people like me right in the gut.
Second possibility is that people open up to me because they consciously want to be seen in such a safe space. This is the bronze choice, because I could be anyone, and the individual before me is simply looking to be seen, The End. By anyone. Not me specifically.
And third possibility is that people open up to me because they want to be seen by me specifically. This is sort of the elevated position, because it means that there is emotional intimacy between us.
I remember over a decade ago, while broken hearted, Aalya said to me: I think that you were put on this earth to hold a mirror up to the (bad) behaviour of men. My reaction was to start crying, because that is an awfully lonely place to be. So pray for your girl, dear seven readers; pray that the next man to whom I hold a mirror sees only integrity, strength, and kindness. And that when he peeks around that mirror to look at me, he sees that my instinct had read him as such from the day I laid eyes on him. InshAllah.