“Who are the women in your story, the ancestors, who have walked the path of their own true stories?
How do you find your beautiful reflection in the world?
How do you tend and nurture your core story, as you would tend a tree in the forest?” ~Sara Blackthorn
I think a lot about the unsung women. Some of my favorite stories are of the women who history glosses over: Japheth’s wife in both Many Waters and Children of Eden, Eve (not glossed over, but much bedraggled) in Children of Eden, Mary Magdalene, the wives of the famous names in history – the presidents’ wives, the generals’ wives, the arranged marriage royalty and nobles, the mistresses of the Popes and Bishops, the cloistered nuns, the mystics…there are a lot of stories that haven’t been told.
But I never really thought about the women in my story…not in this way. My mother, my sisters, my aunts, my grandmothers…they all have stories too…stories that may or may not ever be told to the world.
My story has had its ups and downs…I’ve told parts of it in allegory, in poetry, in personal sharing with friends and family. But will it ever make its way out into the world in its entirety? Would anyone read it if it did?
I focus a lot on the stories of history’s women…especially those tied into religion and spirituality in some way…but the women of the present, and the recent past…their stories are just as valuable in their own way. If I value their stories, I should also value my own. But that’s harder.
How do you feel about telling your story? Do you think anyone would listen? Do you want them to?
It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.
~ Wendell Berry
I’ve mentioned that I like to know the answers. And I do. I like to know where I’m going, what comes next, and what will get me an A+ on it. But there are a lot of things that I value that don’t work that way.
I am a feminist. Unapologetic, vocal, in your face, feminist. This is not a question. But I think I’m at that place where I don’t know what direction that takes me in anymore. Because being angry alongside other angry people can only go so far. And the people who don’t agree may not change their minds. But somehow, in the midst of that stalemate, change has to happen. And I don’t know what the steps are to make that change.
Today is International Women’s Day. And a lot of people who are feminists feel like a “day” is a silly way to address what needs to happen. And I don’t disagree, because I don’t think a “day” really does anything in itself. Except that it makes the struggle visible to people who might not want to look at it. And the invisibility of privilege is what makes it dangerous. So while I agree that International Women’s Day is not the answer, I don’t feel like it’s without value. Because if even one person thinks a little bit more about suffering and inequality, isn’t that a step in the right direction?
So, on this day that I wish we didn’t need, I’m thinking that for right now, I don’t know what the next step in my feminist journey is. Just like I don’t know what the next step in my spiritual journey is. But I know that if something that I say or post or advocate for today makes someone else see through the fog to the oppression underneath, that’s something. And maybe that’s all I need to know right now. Because my real journey is just getting started.