‘I Want Love To ...’ - A Lesson in Compassion (Reading Time - 3 min)
‘I want love to … stick a knife inside me and twist it all around’
The above lyric is from a #JackWhite song titled, ‘Love Interruption.’ If you have not heard it, do yourself a favour and go check it out; dark, bluesy, moving, and catchy. The following touches on events in the news recently and is taken from various news outlets for the facts. I have done my best to capture them as accurately as possible.
Recently, White played a concert where a woman named #AllysonMacIvor embraced and kissed her girlfriend. As the music played, an employee approached MacIvor and informed her that such behaviour was not permitted.
#MacIvor explained that she felt ‘violated and intruded upon’ and with good reason. She was informed by the employee that if they took exception to the instruction that their affection was ‘not allowed here’ then they could take it up with a manager. A blatant disrespect to the freedom to express love for another human. In no way should this behaviour be construed as inappropriate.
MacIvor and her girlfriend did just that and the young female employee described MacIvor’s actions to the manager as ‘inappropriate sexual behaviour.’ MacIvor went on to state that she was left feeling shocked and hurt and that tears filled her eyes as she filled out the incident report.
One of the most difficult pieces of this story is that MacIvor was not out as part of the #LGBTQ community, but she felt strongly that it was important to spark a conversation about this incident. So she posted her experience to social media
MacIvor was offered tickets to any upcoming concert and she chose #FleetwoodMac. But, who she invited to join her is what is the most moving piece. She requested that the employee be extended an invitation to join them.
MacIvor requested that the usher also be invited to join them at the upcoming concert, ‘I would love to get to know this employee on a more personal and deeper level that the events that just happened.’ The manager agreed to make the offer to the employee.
It is not clear if the employee has accepted at the time of this writing.
Jack White himself, took exception to this and has since spoken out condemning homophobia, ‘It’s 2018 and two people expressing affection shouldn’t have to hide.’ White went on to dedicate the song ‘Love Interruption’ to MacIvor and her girlfriend at his show in Calgary and wrote on instagram, ‘Let’s promote love and acceptance wherever and whenever we can.’
The lyric I chose to capture this speaks to every side of this scenario for me, ‘stick a knife inside me and twist it all around.’
First, to the employee that witnessed the affection, that display of MacIvor’s love did something. On some level, the employee felt discomfort, whether it be personal discomfort, or discomfort in how to address the behaviour, or even discomfort in the identification of what is appropriate vs inappropriate. And then once the decision was made, the discomfort of potentially saying that she may have made a mistake or responded in a way that was phobic or judgemental.
For MacIvor, that desire to express the love she was feeling in the moment then became a catalyst for her to proclaim her orientation on social media and out herself to many in her life. It created a discomfort that she seemingly embraced as a way to create change.
For both of them, the knife then also twists in a different direction, one of compassion, which could be described as love. MacIvor had every opportunity to post an angry rant voicing her distaste and displeasure in how she was treated and vilify that employee. Yet she chose to respond with compassion and invite that individual into her life as a way to show true empathy and love for her fellow human. There would have been tremendous support for such a rant as so many LGBTQ identified individuals face similar issues each and every day.
I can think of no better way for anyone to be more inclusive and invitational in this situation as a way to further the dialogue of respect and acceptance than the actions that MacIvor took. Bravo and thank you.
The next time you feel wronged, hurt, or hard done by from another person, I challenge you to take the opportunity to reflect and look for how you can convey #compassion and change the discourse for yourself and others in a loving way.