We grow in fits and starts.
When I was a little girl I made note that most of the heroes were male. From Peter Pan to the Ghost Busters. From King Author to Captain Planet. If there were female heroes, they always numbered at least one less on the team than their male counterparts. I went through a stage of wishing I could have been born a boy--if only be be stronger, braver, the hero of my tale.
Last night I questioned Jason. Are some people just born more rebellions and less content to follow?
We didn't know.
I have been trying again and again to fit myself into the jar. The jar of society that says what is and should be. I have to admit that I long for the jar. I sometimes, painfully long to be included in a blind following of faith. To be part of the fold and content and sure and approved of. To have walls around me to make my boundaries.
I have even been told that I don't need to swallow a religion whole. I can disagree with parts and still be a part of the church.
But that isn't so. Not for me. I rolled those words around in my palms again and again and again. I wanted for them to be true. But I can't believe in a part of something when so many parts of it suck. It is or it isn't. Religion is a shoe that just doesn't fit my foot. It pinches. But worse--
I know my truths in my gut. I can put my fist there--to my center--and know with a sure rightness where I belong, what I believe, what I feel is good, right, the truth.
I often second guess. I study. I read and read and read. I try to understand. I question.
Where are the women in this story?
Where are the women in this group?
Who has the power here?
I hold a high heel in my hand and then I try it on my foot. No matter how I think I should feel about the high heel ( harmless little shoe)--it feels like a chain. It feels like foot binding, a corset, menstruation being filthy, breastfeeding being obscene. Geeze, it's just a shoe. I'm sure lots of women enjoy wearing heels. The other voice says, they bind, they cripple, and if the zombies came, bitch would loose those heels and fast. Where are men's heels? Why is 3/4 of the shoe store women's shoes? Why are 3/4 of the clothing stores, women's clothes? Why are we taught to give such a shit about our appearance?
I'm angry and despairing by turns. I remember my awakening when I first learned to see the ways patriarcy have seeped into all our perceptions. I was so insanely angry. I'm not that angry now. I'm just, tired. I'm tired of seeing women around me bound by traditions that supress their sextuality and self. I'm tired of women being servants to men and children at the detriment of their own needs, and I'm tired of doing it myself. Of feeling guilty when I go against the established grain, of second guessing, of needing validation and reassurance that it is okay to be angry, think differently, go out on my own, want and need...
The last week I've been in a stupor and I feel like I am slowly pulling myself out of it one grip after another.
I feel like I should burn a bra (if I actually wore any). Or maybe punch a dude in the face, but tradition isn't only men's fault.
I think of the many depressed women I've known. I spread my hands to flat palms facing skyward as if to cup them there in miniature. The many, numerous women chafing against the walls of life itself. And what have they typically been, these restless ones? Hurt? Angry? Intelligent, yes--that's for sure. It's the rebellious ones I've always been drawn to. The women like me. We find fault in ourselves and in others. But mostly, the bulk of our discontent--I really think--has been the traditions that hold men in higher value and male thought, and male function, and a male God. It pisses us off: the way we bind ourselves. The ignorance of not seeing until being yanked by the hand our of the status quo. We know something isn't quite right, but what is it? What is it?
It's subtle, but it's there.
How do I teach my children otherwise?
How do I raise my daughter better than myself?
How do I pull the broken record from my head?
How did the female divine become erased from our history? How, when we, women, are the ones who grow human life in our bodies and nurture it at our breasts.
" When the priest held out the host and said, "This is my body, given for you." not once did I recognize that it is woman in the act of breastfeeding who most truly embody these words and who are also most excluded from ritually saying them."
-author, Sue Monk Kidd.