Quote of the day
Mother to Son
Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So, boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps.
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now—
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
Waking up this morning earlier than usual. I do not know what I had been dreaming, but as I lay in bed, for some reason I found myself thinking about the poem by Langston Hughes (above). Many years ago, a dear friend of mine read it aloud at a staff meeting, dedicating it to me, and I have kept it close by ever since.
So many life experiences confirmed or solidified misconceptions or perceptions that I had developed as a child, translating or interpreting other people's views and experiences for my own. Now, as I enter my sixtieth year, and think about writing a chapter in the new book I am editing: Perspectives in Gender for Early Childhood, I am trying to summarize what I know, or, rather, what is my reality, about how I became a woman.
For me, becoming a woman has been hard work. And, believe me, it is not over yet! For, aging seems to change and challenge my understanding, expectations, and ideas about what it means to be a woman day by day, sometimes moment by moment. Developing my gender identity has been complex, including relationships with the significant men in my childhood, as well as watching and learning from my mother and sisters as I was growing up – later, being influenced by teachers and peers, the media, and, finally, from reading feminist literature.
At this stage, I am just not sure what I feel about what being a woman means for me. Beauty and sexuality are so defined by the myths and stereotypes of society and the media, that I am never sure where I fit in, if I fit in, how to fit in. A few years ago, a young friend taught me, in the most direct and honest way possible, how to accept my age. "You've had your chance!" she exclaimed. And so, I have been trying to work towards beauty in wisdom, or the maturity of inner beauty – aging like a fine wine – whatever all of that means!
Of course, none of this will matter when I am dead! But, in the mean time I feel very much alive and kicking, and I think that being a woman means being sexy and wise, vibrant and compassionate, intelligent and strong, emotional and insightful, observant and accepting, assertive and direct, spunky and vocal, inclusive and considerate, fearful and wistful, reflective and withdrawn, weepy and courageous, feisty and fearless, in-confidence and out of confidence, humorous and morose, elegant and gracious, mussed up and wild, raucous and loud, young and old, lively and tired … all things and everything … but, mostly … true to oneself.
A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Apple addiction