18 September 2013 § 1 Comment
During yoga this morning, between warrior pose and a bout of dizziness (probably should have eaten breakfast), it occurred to me to write a feminist mission statement. Why, I do not know. Thoughts are just thoughts – especially during yoga, when the monkey mind will do anything to avoid the next stretch – but thoughts are also things: tangible, and subject to change.
I remembered that Heather, weeks ago, asked me to encourage her to exercise so that she might be more fit for the wedding. It is a request I have entirely failed to to respect. Why? I’m a sort of hermit, but somehow I got this body of a warrior, and it demands to be worked. I am at times defiant, but not lazy. Her request reached further into my heart than indolence. It spoke to an expectation and pressure that she should be other than what she was.
Okay, Sean, you don’t have to be so vigilant with your ideals – this is her wedding, she wants to look her best; so do most women for their big day. Some turn to yoga, some the gym. Others zigzag to an infantile and pretend anorexia which may or may not lead to other, and much bigger, problems.
Let’s step back for a moment from that story.
Once, in a grocery store, I watched a woman stare at tabloid magazines while unloading her cart. I saw her eyes scan the curveless bodies of bikini-clad celebrities whose thighs do not touch, and could hear from the back of the checkout line her breath fall from the crest she’d ascended that day when her son read aloud, without assistance, his first complete sentence.
Oh, my culture, let me count the self esteems you have destroyed; the minds, bodies and spirits of women you have driven to silicone prisons and disease. You stand outside the restroom demanding that they puke the food you sold them, and apply a good foundation before they walk outside.
You teach that I would not want them otherwise, that I would not be attracted by their light, even if it didn’t apply to their weight. That unless they met your ideal for beauty, they couldn’t possibly embody my utpoia for a lover, or my child’s mother.
In sooth, you’ve aimed for us both. I have not escaped your grasp, and will not apologize for broken fingers. The thing is, you’ve harmed the women whom I love. My request is that you acknowledge this. I’m capable of letting go, and forgiveness.
I hear silence from your invisible fist, so I’ll keep talking. Since childhood, my intention is respect. Not as a formality. Respect to me is that if I see the good in you, I’ll speak to it, in case you haven’t got a mirror handy. Sometimes I rely on the completed karma. My vision is better some days than others – when it’s not so good, I listen to what you say and ask you questions. I want you to understand your own potential. I may not know what it is, nor be the best partner for its cultivation, though often I’ve risked the interview process anyway, reckless and regardless, open to the possibility.. My heart as a result employs a plural state of peace.
I want you to know, my profligate culture, that I will take any risk to advance self-love and -acceptance. Even marriage to a divine creature who inspires me. Love is the least I can defy you.