What do you imagine when you think of the 21st century woman? Before you read any further, indulge me and reflect a moment on your conception of her.
Let me say that I was brainwashed to be her. Ironically, I have come to believe that nobody but the woman herself has any right to impose on herself who we should be. I believe I am one of the lucky ones, part of which I attribute to having my sun shine in Aquarius. Going against the grain is my raison d’etre and while that may have presented a challenge for parenting me, it is also what saved my creative spirit.
My brainwashed belief system is a simple one. As a woman, and woman of color no less, to earn any modicum of respect, I was instructed that society imposes a few, easy to understand rules. These include the following (and may not be limited to but I stopped listening):
(1) I must be educated; (2) That education must be in some respectable discipline (my sentiments towards it are inconsequential); (3) I must command a respectable salary; (4) I must renounce any and all activities that are traditionally/historically attributable to being a woman; (5) I must be independent; and, (6) In the event I am forced to affiliate with any of those female attributed activities, then I must be clear it is the result of necessity and has nothing whatsoever to do with a desire to engage in it/ to derive pleasure from it / or to indulge in the sheer joy of the activity.
This last point works like a charm when it comes to cleaning the house. I despise that activity and would much prefer to hire someone else to clean it but for the fact, given the horrible job the cleaning ladies do, I don’t think they actually care for the task either. However, there may be others out there who feel as passionately about cleaning house as I do about the activities I discuss here.
The point of my post is that if I believed the things I was taught, I would never know the pure joy of losing myself to the mesmerizing sound of a sewing machine, the magical feel of fabric on my finger tips, the luxurious scent of a hide of leather and the sheer possibility of what I can do with my hands and imagination! And then there is cooking. I can’t imagine the outpouring of shame that would have accompanied an admission of the passion with which I create in the kitchen. The delicious combinations of herbs and spices that should or should not be combined, the sensational aromas and the proud joy of bringing taste buds to life because of something I whipped up by throwing all caution (and rules) to the wind! Don’t get me wrong- I am not about presentation, nor would I profess to be the world’s greatest chef (though who knows 🙂 )- I am just referring to the liberating feel of the experience of doing, itself. And most importantly of all, I would never have known the ultimate, supreme joy of sharing my life in marriage with my soul mate.
I began thinking about this because recently, amidst my mother’s medical situation and our strained relationship, I was finding it difficult to sew. I just couldn’t concentrate and those things that I had mastered and felt I could do so naturally – like inserting zippers – were going all wrong. I can’t begin to count the number of seams I had to redo over and over again. Luckily, this is the one and only area in life I am ok with do-overs. I quickly understood what I’ve always known intuitively, which is that sewing to me, is much like meditation. I am so present in this one thing that I am doing, I lose track of everything else. I am blissfully engaged and filled with joy – it’s all really very peaceful. Cooking is a little different- I prefer fun, loud music while I create in the kitchen. But, in spite of that, I am also taken to a beautiful place in that process as well. And then there is the matter of marriage. I have always been hopelessly addicted to love and thankfully, found the sweetest man alive who believed in me. I believe it is a greater gift to learn to live interdependently with another human being than to foster the false sense that being alone has anything at all to do with independence. I have been alone and as much as I enjoy my own company and have plenty of friends, I was lonely. As for independence – like I said, I’m an Aquarius with a host of other planets in Sagittarius so there is no way around that.
Science has established that women who knit have a greater likelihood of recovering their fine motor skills following a stroke. Go figure. So my question is this? Why would we ever discourage women – or even men for that matter- from following the calling of our hearts – whatever that may be? How could anyone justify limiting the gifts that Spirit bestowed upon us by preventing us from ever experiencing them? We have to get beyond our own fears. I think we start by understanding that the physical manifestation of us is only a very small part of the equation and that the mind has no limits. None at all. It deserves the freedom to know how great it truly is.