( This piece was published a year and a half ago in May of 2107 and yet I thought of it the other day and when I happened upon it today, I knew it needed to be re-shared. Feel your truth and spread it wide).
She got onto a fancy white SUV parked next to me in the Royal Farm Store parking lot. She carried herself well, had a few tattoos on her arms, but the lyrics of the song she was blasting from her car radio made me wince. A man rapped about getting or not getting something that starts with a P and is another word for a kitty cat or, in this instance, a female anatomy part. I am appalled at that term and the concept of women’s worth reduced to a single anatomic part and that this was acceptable to her.
My strongest feeling was empathy for the idea that, as women, we are not valued for anything more than what we value ourselves for. So that if our sexual power is what we value ourselves for, then so will the world. And if we see our ability to be a mother and take care of our family as our only valuable trait then we find it hard to see ourselves any other way. We may say we resent the stereotypes but until we own our the role we are casting ourselves in, we will continue our subjugation.
I have played both the roles of sexual object and supermom and discovered I have used these roles as an excuse to not risk those leaps that would be only for me and my benefit. The kind of risks that would mean me shining all alone for who I am and not just for how I’m defined in relationship to others. This is a whole weird concept for so many of us.
As a person, I need to be and do things that are separate from other people. Especially after becoming a Mom, I felt a desperate urge to be just me somewhere else. But the truest lesson I know I’m learning is how little ones will only do as I do, not as I say. So, if you say to your children, go forth and explore the world and who it is to be you, but you don’t ever do that for yourself, you are an unreliable source. And you’ll guarantee they will do the opposite of what you tell them and the same as what you do.
Every brave thing I’ve done since having children was heavily influenced by the idea that they would catch my low self-esteem like some contagion. I practice what I preach, lead by example, and try to mirror what I think a woman and a mother can be. Sometimes I get it right too. The largest lesson I can give my daughter is to never accept anyone else’s definition of her if she isn’t comfortable with it. She is not an object. She can not be owned by a person or a word. And I think little sassafras has already got a good head start on this defiance.
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