“Ladies who play with fire must remember that smoke gets in their eyes.”
~ Mae West
For international women’s day I am going to tell you all a story that causes me some disquiet about celebrating this particular day.
When I was back in Ecuador as an adult I visited with a friend of my fathers and his family on a trip to their cattle ranch high up in the Andes mountains. The scenery was spectacular and glorious, there is nothing like being on those mountains for me, there was wind so loud I could hear it, it swooshed by so hard my cheeks were quickly windburned. Then I sat in the grass and there were these tiny pink berries buried in the grass, a slightly sweet taste that I hadn’t forgotten after a 20 year absence. I had loved these kinds experiences on my own family ranch when I was little, and I was so grateful to be able to experience them again.
I saw the wife, a woman – a woman of means, take off her shoe and hit the male ranch hand, a man with far less means than the family, a man they had hired to care for the ranch while they lived in the city. She hit him because he had not been able to do something by the time we arrived. She did this in front of his wife and kids, in front of her own family, in front of me, a guest. His family and their stoic faces as she beat him about the head and shoulders are still with me today. I was horrified. The husband, my fathers friend, was mortified that she did this in front of me, but did not speak up. I did not speak up.
Considering the caste system that is in place in that part of the world, I am not sure what my speaking up would have accomplished. However, I still feel shame; shame that I did not speak up and shame that it was a woman that was behaving so atrociously.
Here is why I am sharing this story though, because women, like men, can be awful. I want to illustrate how much work there is to do in creating a world I am not led to shame because of my gender through my own behaviour and the behaviour of my fellow women.
So, I ask you today, all of you, be beholden to how you treat others, regardless of gender, regardless of caste. We all carry kindness and gentleness within us, and let us all move together in that.
The end is nigh. The end of my doing a post for every day of the year, that is!
Wow, and what a year has passed since I decided to take this project on. I will state, for the record, that it was hard… but had some open and well hidden rewards.
I leaned that…
- I have things I want to say that should not be constrained by prompt questions.
- I am sometimes bound by a failure to know how to best put into words that which is mulling in my mind.
- I can finish something, though it is on my terms.
- I got some great ideas about how to go about writing the novel I want to write.
- Some people worried about the honesty of the darker moments I wrote about.
- I know what things I should try next.
- Many other things that have slipped my mind
Thank you to all my new friends. I will continue to write here, but at a more comfortable pace that is more dictated by my wants and thoughts and less by the daily prompts.
The very first post is here.
“In literature and in life we ultimately pursue, not conclusions, but beginnings.”
~ Sam Tanenhaus, Literature Unbound
What possession could I not live without?
There is plenty of things I don’t want to live without, but I can’t think of anything I am lucky enough to own that is so supremely important that I can’t live without it.
“Even the most beautiful scenery is no longer assured of our love after we have lived in it for three months, and some distant coast attracts our avarice: possessions are generally diminished by possession.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
What was the last major accomplishment that I had?
I would say it was to be appointed to a commission in my city for a subject I am interested in!
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Am I content?
I think I am, I am feeling much more comfortable in my own skin (again),
“Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.”
~ Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
What am I most grateful for?
That my transition from 2016 to 2017 was gentle and meaningful. I welcomed the new year with people I had only met once before and spent the first day of 2017 with friends from high school… then I stopped at the cemetery to visit my grandfather and I found a Ben’s Bells in the tree right next to his plot. So, I declared kindness to be my theme for the new year.
“I pray God it is the answer I want, but if not I will accept any answer at all and try to be grateful for what I had.”
~ Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon