Apologies and Other Thoughts

First things, first. My apologies for not having been here for a while. I got involved in other things, then let the time slip away. In April, I decided to try to do NaPoWriMo, which is a poem a day challenge through National Poetry Month. Then someone asked if I’d give prompts for the same. I, less than enthusiastically, agreed but only if I had some help, which I did receive. But, now we are half way through May, and I still haven’t been back here. I have been reluctant, to say the least.

Writing a poem a day is a difficult task, and although I have done it several times (both on my own, as well as for National Poetry Month), that doesn’t make it any easier. I always remind myself of something Robert Bly told Bill Moyer in an interview, when Moyer commented on the fact that writing a poem every day can’t mean all the poems are ‘good’ poetry. Bly’s response was laughter, then he said, “Some days, you have to lower your standards.” That comforts me on those down days of such a cycle, and I have used that reality to make even more poems:

https://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/2018/04/04/complicated/

But now, we are more than half way through May, and although each morning as I waken, one of my first thoughts has been, “you need to get back to that series on myth,” and yet, have managed to avoid doing just that. Why? Good question, and not an easy one to answer.

I have been watching the news throughout this time period. And must admit, that what is happening in my world, my country, makes for a deep sense of foreboding. Fear and uneasiness do not make a good playing field for creative endeavor of any kind. Creativity is built on an element of hope. Hope that the effort will be both productive and enlightening. But, after watching sanctions and laws repealed, almost on a whim, in order to make money at the cost of those most vulnerable among us, it gets more difficult to find hope in the present day reality.

And yet, that is just what got me started on this project. Myth, mythology, and symbolism had a great deal to do with how I became whoever I am. They have helped me to explore my own truths and the choices I have made in following the path of my own existence. Yet, I have allowed myself to become distracted and have managed to hobble myself in the process. That ends now.

Joseph Campbell tells us that we resonate to myths because they are the story of human development. Somewhere in these stories, we find pieces and parts of our own experience, and through them come to know a bit more about who we are, why we are, and even what we may be about.

For instance, in the myths I will be exploring, I find truths about human history, especially that pertaining to the Patriarchy and its constant need to diminish women. To control her, rather than allow her to flourish. We saw the underbelly of that reality in the recent trial of Larry Nassar. Over 300 young women (girls) sexually abused by one man. Some who spoke up, but were silenced by others in roles of authority, who had to have some inkling of what was actually happening. And I’m not just speaking of men in positions of power, but women as well. How could this become the norm, or acceptable in any manner?

One major answer, among many, must be that of centuries of conditioning. And part of that conditioning is reinforced by the stories and myths we hear repeated time and again. For instance, take the color red. For centuries, women were cautioned about wearing the color because it symbolizes passion, or a passionate nature. What got Red Riding Hood in trouble? That flaming red cape she wore. And the myth about the woman who wore red shoes that eventually danced her to her death. If a woman wanted to be treated with respect, or at least with common decency, she didn’t wear the color because everyone knew that only women of a certain lower level would dare to do so. Yet, we all know that if a strange man chooses to attack an unknown female, it probably has nothing to do with her footwear. It has way more to do with how he thinks and sees his own role as a male member of society. The conquering warrior, and dominant one whose many aspects are also relatable to that of a predator. Elements of which we all come in contact with during the process of growing up.

If a woman was attacked, it wasn’t her attacker who came into question first. It was her own person, and behavior. What was she wearing, was she being flirtatious? Had she been drinking, did she do these things on a routine, or regular basis? In other words, how did she make herself a target for such behavior? As if she would knowingly do such a thing.

That is why it took over 300 girls and young women coming forward to put an end to one man’s sick perversions. He was a doctor, and frequently said that they were just too young to understand that he was performing a medical procedure. And for decades, that was an accepted reason for dismissing whatever accusations were made. Why?

Could it be because most women learn at a young age, that they could, at any moment, become prey, and then be accused of asking for it? So, they remain silent, and even find themselves guilty for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or that they should have known better? Should have been able to discern, at a glance, that this particular man would take his sense of male privilege to a place that can never be acceptable, but somehow, silently is? Because she lives within a society that says she alone is responsible to see that it never happens to her, while he is told that when a woman says “No”, she really means “Yes?”

There is so much wrong in all of this. But, the #MeToo Movement is a rallying point for all women and men. It is long past time that this issue be addressed. Time for the world to take a clear and honest look at what we humans have created and also destroyed in the process of becoming whatever we are to become. Perhaps time to finally balance the books and find a different way, a different definition, a new way of seeing and knowing. But above all of that, maybe it’s time for a new level of respect to be born and nurtured among all of us.

The most common way people give up their power
is by thinking they don’t have any.

__Alice Walker

 

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About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: https://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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10 Responses to Apologies and Other Thoughts

  1. Sherry Marr says:

    Elizabeth, I have been feeling that torpor when it comes to writing, too. Some of us are feeling the weight of all the wrong that is happening politically. It DOES impact our creativity. I am trying to keep some of it at bay because my heart is hurting so much I cant take much more. I like Alice Walker’s quote. I think it is very accurate – we feel overwhelmed and like there is nothing we can do. Yet there are more of us than them, and we can stop buying their products, or their agendas, at least. And we can VOTE. And I hope EVERYONE turns out at this next election. Our survival as a species might just depend on it. I LOVED your poem about still having to write that damned poem. LOL. I keep writing, even when it isnt flowing very well, in hopes the words will regain some ease at some point. But my heart is heavy these days. We have taken a wrong turning, as a species.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1sojournal says:

      Sherry,

      Not so much a wrong turning perhaps, but a chance to make different choices? To think outside the box of tradition and habit too long formed and accepted. I keep telling myself that real change is usually preceded by major disruption. And what is happening now sure seems to be just that. But we must all decide if that change is possible and for the good of all. We are being encouraged to take sides, one against another. That won’t solve anything and will only lead to disaster of unknown proportions.

      As for the writing, it took a lot more effort than usual. This post was built over several days. I’d write a paragraph and reread it several times, then go do something else because I wasn’t sure where it should go from that point. Certainly not my usual 45 minutes to an hour process. But, I knew it had to be continued and finished before it just withered away and was lost forever. I simply refused to give in to the pessimistic clouds gathering around me. And finishing it felt good. It may not be my best writing, but it does hold together and speaks directly to the issue that concerns me the most.

      And of course I would encourage you to do the same. Keep writing. It gives us focus and helps us to find the meaning we so desperately need now, more than ever. Thank you, my friend, for being here…

      Elizabeth

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      • Sherry Marr says:

        I am keeping writing, for sure, because i feel better when i do. Also if i write long enough, perhaps words will start to flow more easily again. I have begun having ideas again, for poems, which is a hopeful sign. I am back now from the farm, and have to sit at my desk in the morning and do some catching up after being away.

        Thanks for checking back in, Sherry. Write those ideas down, that makes them solid, and encourages your thoughts in those directions. When we write something down, we make it noteworthy and send a message to our minds that it is so. And the mind, in its own magical way will alert us to possible connections to the material we have made note of. We are such wondrous creatures,

        Elizabeth

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice to see you back, Elizabeth. What you say here is absolutely spot on. If a woman is raped, people try to find a way to blame her behaviour or dress for the attack which is disgusting. It is even more worrying that this is still the way it is in the 21st century. In Africa, a lot of women have not rights at all; they basically belong to their men. Their mother-in-laws dictate to them and to their children. It is a tragedy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1sojournal says:

      Hi Robbie, and thanks for taking the time to read and comment. And yes, I agree that all of it is a tragedy. Half of the species led by the need to control the other half through violence and abuse. Not that all men are guilty of such behavior, but many of them firmly believe that women need to be subjugated in some fashion, and that they are less than, something other. Instead of being taught to respect one another, these two are trained to fear each other. How can a society that sanctions such thinking ever create a peace-filled world?

      I truly believe that genuine caring and respect must begin at home. I also think that sexism leads to racism, and that ‘us vs them’ mentality. That territorial need to keep one’s space clear and ‘clean’ of anyone in the least bit different. Instead of seeing the need for diversity, people seem to see it as weakness, which is an appalling form ignorance.

      Sorry, I got a bit carried away, but your comments led me to a whole new arena of thought and speculation. It does feel good to be back, and again, thank you for joining in,

      Elizabeth

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  3. A well written piece on such a disturbing subject. Sometimes I feel there is nothing I can pull from mind or heart. So, I know I have been writing political venom, and utterly silly stuff to forget the political venom. Thanks so much for this, Elizabeth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1sojournal says:

      Good to see you here, Sarah. This is a part of a series I started putting together a few months ago. But, as I wrote above, it’s been difficult in the current climate. I really do think that we writers must speak out. As a writer, and a student of History, I wanted to explore some of the reasons why our society is so seemingly hostile toward women, and has been for centuries. The #MeToo movement felt like a healthy push in that direction. I can only hope you come back and continue to be a part of this discussion.

      Elizabeth

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  4. annell4 says:

    Dear Elizabeth, I am been lonely for you. So glad to see you “back.” There are always things that get in our way of creativity. And when we have lost all hope, is when we “get down and dirty”, speak truth. The time is now. The world needs your voice, I am not saying that the world knows this, it is importat that you know your power. Truth spoken anywhere is to be cherished. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1sojournal says:

      Sorry Annell, I was sure I had written a response to your comment. Obviously, it went awry in some manner. Things happen. It meant the world to me to read this when you wrote it. It is always good to know that one is appreciated. And I couldn’t agree with you more, Truth spoken should always be cherished, but especially at this place and time. So many are speaking from behind masks, that it becomes difficult to hear anything. Love you, my friend, and hugs from the hillbilly…

      Elizabeth

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