My generation of boomers was born to mothers who, for the first time in recorded history, found themselves in decision making positions independent of their men. Suddenly lives no longer revolved around how children dressed for school that morning, who picked Timmy up from baseball practice or what to put on the table later that evening. Collectively our mothers began to wonder about fulfillment in their own lives. They began questioning subjectively in ways that were not even conceptualized by objectified generations of women before them, except in the most avant-garde conditions.
It is to these courageous women I owe a debt of gratitude, for they laid the bedrock of a foundation my generation needed in order to rivet the rouged faces of females everywhere – get them focused back on their own inner lives – the wisdom, intelligence, energy and heart required for their own healing and, ultimately, in order to change the status quo. In light of this renewed awareness, renewed because it can be quickly forgotten in the crush of corporate globalization, we are, then, perhaps the first generation of truly independent women since the advent of patriarchy itself over 2,000 years ago.
As women we have always been suited to the task of supervision, both as mothers and functionally intelligent human beings, yet due to a collective dearth of early imprinting, we often lacked the skills necessary for discernment and prioritizing. These Saturnian qualities were notably attributed to the male of the species, or certainly men had extensive experience in practicing them for thousands of years. Yet just as men in modern times have been learning to cultivate the qualities better developed in women – those of connection, emotional expression and communication – women likewise have found ourselves facing these underdeveloped characteristics of reduction and delegation.
Of course there are women who have found themselves, either in the field of academia or in the corporate world, in positions of leadership and management. How long it takes us to build the skills necessary to fill those professional shoes likely depends on the temperament and constitution of the woman, herself. Whether or not she finds herself in balance is another thing. For if we gain the world and yet lose our soul, one wonders if the tradeoff is entirely satisfactory. Some of us unknowingly forfeit our sense of connection and relatedness in the mix, which, when it happens, can engulf our tender heart. It may then be awhile before we reclaim the familiarity of trusting our own flesh, once again.
If practice makes perfect, practice serves to help us learn – especially if we have no role models before us – to face the fires of our doubts, fears and anxieties and accustom ourselves to sitting and sifting before we act. Often it seems easier to pick up the phone and get relational with someone, anyone, who might help relieve our feelings of insecurity and uncertainty. This search for answers or positive feedback outside the self might likewise be interpreted as a throwback plea for those broad shoulders of patriarchy to provide the structure we feel is lacking in our own inner lives. And we can fake it ‘til we make it, but if we are to learn, grow and finally develop a true sense of healthy autonomy, we must painstakingly walk before we can run.
There is no regressing in time, one can only forge ahead. Similar to the advent of new technology, we are developing fresh templates every day. We are imprinting new awarenesses onto subsequent generations. And it is splendid, it is lovely, it is unique and scary and necessary. Our world needs balance and we are tipping the scales. And so we proceed – now as elders in society – with love, patience and understanding. And we grant these first to ourselves.
It might as well be my shroud.
Confusion of tapestry woven daily
in knobbly hues – threads pulled
straight when ease marks the course –
twisted and frayed
How many acres of worries
it covers! Like prayer beads worn
shiny with use –
stitched string upon
string until, alarmed,
I buckle under its bulk.
I want to conceal every footpath,
leaving no trace –
a sandstorm scouring
undulating desert dunes.
Instead, tracks are buried –
into grey matter
waiting in my wings
on the thermals
of my liberation.
~ Bela Johnson