False Self/True Self

Image result for warrior woman in art

Image courtesy of: http://studiomuku.com/works/red-warrior-woman-painting

 

Don’t try too hard to prove yourself

Your posturing will become a self-fulfilling prophecy

Others will notice your overt preening,

that missed aim at pleasing.

The past is just that

Remove the emotion

Remain steel-eyed and unbroken

The moment is small

 It will not be your downfall

  The Warrior Woman is

Herself

Most of all

Day 12: There will always be forces out there that stray into your path, obstacles that attempt to block your growth, ideas, and momentum. The challenge is to keep your head and not let your emotions rule or past experiences serve as the means of responding to them.

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My Body, My Self

-FASHION STYLIST & CREATIVE DIRECTOR-

Image courtesy of: http://elizabethajomale.tumblr.com/post/106274743769

“Embedded in the American Constitution was the right to privacy. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well- meaning but without understanding.”  ~ Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis

What is women’s fundamental freedom?

PRIVACY

Our stories are personal and parallel

Reproductive and Sexual

It is my mother’s in 1962: Age 24

Whose kidney disease left her unable to bear more children

BECAUSE IT WOULD KILL HER

When abortion was illegal

No option for a tubal ligation

Instead she was placed on medication

THE PILL

It is my mother’s in 1981: Age 43

A missed period and a pregnancy scare

When abortion was legal

An inevitable decision she would have had to make if the results had been positive

BECAUSE IT WOULD KILL HER IF SHE DIDN’T

It is mine in 1998: Age 37

  Mother of two beautiful boys

Abortion is legal

BUT

Loud, violent, deadly protests

Fierce and frightening gauntlets

form to block entrances to care

I fear a failure of birth control

An accidental pregnancy

I want a permanent procedure

The experience felt like a Prohibition speakeasy:

sordid and secretive,

a place of secret codes and knocks.

Why is it that we vainly celebrate,

freely flaunt,

and strongly sanctify,

men’s sexual freedom and prowess

without risk of consequences?

They have unconstrained access to

inexpensive condoms,

erectile dysfunction medications,

and vasectomies.

 While women’s vaginas and uteruses

are held under lock and key

by legislative laymen

intent on keeping women either virtuous or vilified.

WE WANT A SENSE OF OUR OWN AGENCY!

A woman’s right to privacy begins and ends with her body.

A woman’s body is her house.

She has a right to stand her ground

against all unwanted intruders

whose sole aim is to take away

her freedom, safety and privacy.

 

Day 9: Much of this poem has been lifted from a speech I gave before the state Constitutional Review Commission last spring. There had been an attempt by the Religious Right to amend the right to privacy.  All State Supreme Court cases involving abortion had hinged on this fundamental right. Thankfully,  the  Commission decided not to take up their attempt at an amendment. However, this legislative session and new governor are bent on restricting access to care for all women. As I write this, bus loads of advocates have driven to the state capital to lobby against proposed legislation related to further restrictions. Interestingly, the quote from Justice Brandeis was from a case about Prohibition!

Patriarchy’s Playbook

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Image courtesy of: Saatchi Art Artist Priyesh Soni; Painting, “Feminist” #art

 

When you’re born female, the sublimation begins

They dress you in pink and hand you a doll

You’re taught to measure yourself through the lens of Barbie’s Body

But you want to run with the boys,

race them on the track and on the trails,

 play in the dirt

wear their pants and ride their bikes.

You fight for your rights in courts and on the streets.

Battles are won.

Laws are passed.

Equality is at hand!

But it’s been a myth all along.

Repressive regimes have been growing underfoot and under your nose.

(If you want the truth).

They want to hold your brain and body hostage.

They want to quell your true nature.

Your intellectual and sexual expression are to remain shrouded,

never to be shown.

They tell you that you are the stumbling block,

the provocateur of your brothers’ lustful sins.

Your leggings* and sport bras** are distractions to praying and playing boys.

  The patriarchy plays the long game.

Your freedoms will not expire quickly.

They will slowly become nonexistent.

They will transition from solids to gasses.

A  purification of the female:

Death by a thousand little cuts

 

Day 8:Having come of age in the 1970’s, I remember being on the track and cross-country teams with the boys because we had yet to develop a girls’ program. The boys were great mates. Later, when we had a girls’ team and when I joined an AAU one, I remember strongly the feeling of empowerment and freedom as a young woman. What is happening now is absolutely appalling. We will not go down without fighting!

*https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/01/fashion/leggings-notre-dame-controversy.html?emc=edit_nn_20190407&nl=morning-briefing&nlid=8029016320190407&te=1

** https://www.teenvogue.com/story/college-student-ended-sexist-sports-bra-ban-odyssey-essay

Fool’s Day Declaration

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Sometimes I fantasize

Float to and Fro

Fall into a Fanciful Fabrication

Far from Fanatical Fearsome Feckless Furies

Far right Fumings

  Ferocious Fibbers

Fervid Fervors of the Future Fuhrers

My Visions Veer to Vivacious Vamps

Vibrant and  Viable

Vested to Vanquish and Vex the Vicious Vampires

  Validaters never Vacillaters

Who Endeavor to Venture with Veracity

WOMEN WON’T WAVER

WHEN WEIGHTY WEBS ARE WOVEN

WE BEAR WITNESS TO THE WITLESS

WE WORK AND NEVER WITHER

WE ARE OUR OWN SELF’S SAVIORS

 

Day 1 of  April 2019 Challenge.  Very much stream of consciousness.

Why Write?

Image result for woman writing as resistance art
            Courtesy of: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/553802085399155400/

        Since moving to a new state 3 and 1/2 years ago, I have found it difficult to tap into my creative outlet on a regular basis.  Lately, I have wondered why- given that my life is filled with less responsibilities and a bit more time in which to write. I have moved away from the near daily reminders of my past into a space where I can build a whole new life for myself. Perhaps my expectations were too great. Reality has a way of biting into those beliefs, forcing a change to my mindset. So, what’s changed? A close examination bears the following: my job as a teacher pulls and drains at the energy required for such a task beyond the work day.  Each year my school community has challenged me with a new class to teach. The trust placed in me to create (yes!) another new course with its accompanying curriculum is both an honor and a burden, given the high expectations (there’s that word again!) that I place upon myself. I wouldn’t have it any other way, either.  When I moved here, it was important for me to cultivate a community-not necessarily replicate the one I left but it needed to come close. My work environment fits the bill.  It is a place of love and support and laughter as well as being intellectually stimulating.  And herein lies another obstacle to my creativity-a draining commute! I find the endless traffic lights and the strip mall landscape and multi-lane roads unbearable. The lack of investment in modern and efficient public transportation here borders on the ridiculous (no, it is ridiculous!).  There is no time of day when traffic is not heavy.  Local and state leaders truly have not had (and I would argue still do not have) the gumption and vision to move forward in this area. The only exception may be the desire to build highways in rural areas, which is nothing but a blatant attempt to further develop an already over developed fragile ecosystem whose drinking water problems may very well be the death of us. And given the fact that one has to travel over large bodies of water in order to get from point A to point B-not only to get to work or other destinations, but to also evacuate-you would think that this would be taken into account. But I live in a heads- in- sand-state; so again, I have lowered my expectations of things changing anytime soon. For now I have found a route home that is tolerable and calming for the most part.

 After a day spent teaching and a drive spent being grateful for not getting into an accident, all I can muster is a yoga workout and then meditation on my mat! Dinner, a bit of wine and a good British murder mystery is how I usually end my day.

Still, there are two things I truly fear most about hitting the keyboards these days. First, that it will be an endless lament about how much I miss my four season home state and the nearby mountains. If I couldn’t get to a higher altitude, I had the woods and hills. THE QUIET. Florence Williams reveals her own writing challenges in her book, The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier and More Creative.  In her introduction, she writes of her family’s move from the majestic mountains of Colorado to the “Anti-Arcadia that is our nation’s capital.” She states: “I yearned for the mountains. I felt disoriented, overwhelmed, depressed.” (p.8)  After reading that bit, I realized that I was not alone; my emotions were validated.  And while I cannot escape the din more regularly, I find myself seeking out the trails in a nearby park. If I turn up my headphones just enough, I can almost not hear the sounds of the sirens that seem to drone on several times within a half-day’s span. Moreover, I head north as much as possible ( five times in 2018!). My soul is fed by time spent with the boys and my closest friends-not to mention mountain hikes and walks in the woods!

     My other fear is that I will devote most of this blog’s posts to the current political climate in our country. When I first started the site nearly 7 years ago, I wanted a space where I could explore and grow my writing as well as offer a forum of hope for anyone who was experiencing an abusive relationship. I wanted to write about my new life in order to convey a message of  triumph and joy and profound appreciation for resisting and overcoming personal tyranny. Well, that is done! But what about the oppression of these past two years? What about the culmination of the hard right turn this country began taking in 1980?  I cannot not write about it.  Writing is an act of resistance that is just as affective as the activist work that I have participated in since November of 2016. Writing clears my mind. Writing raises my voice. Writing sends a message of resistance to the abusive and repressive power structures that seek to quiet us. Writing raises the vibration and gives us energy and hope. So write I will.

Image result for poets as unacknowledged legislators

 

Tenacious*

huda

    Image from Wild Woman Sisterhood Facebook page.

I tell myself  I’ve been here before

Then, the battle was mine alone

An initiation

A test of  my integrity, my character, my strength

I remember the manipulation of facts

And the twisting of my words

Days spent in the grip of  fear

Would I would lose it all?

Because he made me nearly lose myself and my mind

A decade hence

A million women strong

  But Now as Then

 I am a  force to be reckoned with

But Now as Then

I refuse to relinquish my rights

But Now as Then

I need to dig deep

Remain steadfast and resolute

Our opponents pound us with their corrupt power

But Now as Then

We are stiff necked and rock- ribbed and pure of heart

But Now as Then

Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned…..

 

                      Image from Wild Woman Sisterhood Facebook page.

 

*Day 9. Thanks again to WordPress for the prompt: “Tenacious“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Energy speaks louder than words… WILD WOMAN SISTERHOOD™ #WildWomanSisterhood

A Quest for Compassion

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When the powerful gather and circle their wagons to reshape the narrative in pursuit of their own desires,

How do you respond?

Are you rendered powerless?

Do you become passive and accepting?

Do you fall into deep despair?

Or do you rise up in anger?

Are you fueled by fury?

Flushed with frustration?

Or do you seek a third way?

Where is your compelling counter-narrative?

The heavy dose of compassion?

  The goal of sustained transformation? 

The answers are elusive

But not impossible

They lie not in the hatred

or disdain

or deliberate hurt

 of the other

But in our ability to meet at the crossroads

And arrive at an understanding

A cognizant contemplation of the far-reaching consequences

Born of our self-righteous and selfish actions

 

Day 7. This poem would not be possible if not for the inspiration of a morning walk. I listened to two podcasts by Rob Bell. He surely gave me some of the words today, most especially “the coherent counter-narrative”.  I am grateful always for his calming, wise and humorous perspective! Thank you also to Emily with whom I spoke at length yesterday in a small moment of despair. Among other things, she mentioned Sally Kohn and her TedTalk on emotional correctness. I watched it and am sharing it with you as well.