Surprising Perspective

Steinem and DavisSo, I’m going to embark on something a little different, or, that’s my hope. A friend constructively suggested I talk about what triggers the ideas that find their way into my blog posts. I think it’s a great idea and trying will be a good exercise for me because I’ve attempted this in the past and not hit the mark.

In fairness, the original intention of the blog was to take stock of my life – face the demons – and candidly record the results. I worked faithfully to develop a flow. In stream-of-consciousness fashion, I chatted about my day, discussed revelations that occurred in the moment, and then posted, unedited, my thoughts. And gradually, changes occurred. I can honestly say I’m better for the effort. In just under three years, I have successfully shifted quite a few barriers, broken through several blocks, subtly restructured how I speak, and learned to unearth possibilities where once I saw only problems. Though not without copious tears, buckets of doubt, and plenty of do-overs, the demons have transformed into friends and I am at the same time softer and harder, lighter, smarter, and more grounded. Best of all, I am happy, gentler with myself and more radically compassionate than ever. This means, however, that the way I was reporting on my day is now stale and ineffective so I need to change my style. By the way, this was on that list I’ve not shown you. Hehe.

As previously mentioned, rethinking how I position my thoughts into print is going to take some work. I want my posts to be as interesting as some of the first ones were and I’d also like to find fresh momentum. Here’s hoping you’ll hang with me. I suppose you will as long as I can keep things interesting. Damn. It always comes back to me, which is a perfect segue.

I love the people I meet when I’m out and about. Because I don’t believe in “random” or “unpleasant” encounters, it’s always fun. The woman I met today, for example, energized and inspired me.

I noticed her when she sat down. An attractive, fit-looking woman likely in her 70s, she seemed familiar with the coffee shop I was in. It was my first visit. She was quite thin and stylishly dressed. (Vancouver has a certain outdoorsy fashion thing going on.)

At one point, she walked away from her table, leaving her coat and mug but taking her purse. She came back almost immediately only to walk away again. When she returned the third time, I kind of laughed and asked where she kept going. She explained that the toilets were around the corner. She said, “You’re new here I take it.” And a conversation ensued.

She spoke to me of her youth and how radical she was. “I’m still out there,” she said, “I just don’t yell as much now. I do take every opportunity to point out an injustice, though. I even mention littering to folks. Sometimes they need a gentle reminder, someone to tell them that ‘surely they didn’t mean to leave that bottle there’ or some such thing.”

I asked her if she ever tired of it. She’d been on the front lines of the feminist movement when the second-wave began and while progress has been made, we are still way behind where we should be. I figured she must be frustrated, weary with the lack of progress. What she said surprised and gladdened me.

“Women couldn’t vote in Quebec until 1940. Native women, 1969. Britain, the most powerful nation on earth at the time, didn’t grant women that right until 1928. Saudi Arabian women didn’t vote until 2015. Consider global equality from that perspective and you see that dysfunction and bigotry against the fairer sex (she winked) are very recent. And, there are still men and even women among us who question the legislation. Imagine! But, have no doubt, eventually, it will be unthinkable to exclude women from the process because the groundswell, begun in the 1850s, will have woven itself inextricably into society’s psyche. The recent rush of women exposing powerful men for inappropriate sexual behaviour is also encouraging. There we see even more prolific and positive indictments that imbalance and gender bias will not be tolerated. Tired? No, I’m thrilled.”

My wish tonight is for education and a renewed perspective. Patience isn’t a strength in the modern era. We’ve come to believe if it’s not done right this instant, it’s no good, but I was reminded today that we are making moral headway; that awareness is shifting. Don’t worry if everyone isn’t on board, just hold your ground, continue to speak your truth, and believe that your voice, no matter loud or soft, matters.

Until tomorrow…

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3 thoughts on “Surprising Perspective

    1. Frances Sullivan

      Thanks, Susan. There are lots of voices chiming in now, though, sharing similar views. It’s energizing, yes? Brava to you, too. 🙂

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  1. Frances Sullivan

    Some days are better than others in my case. The air was alive yesterday and I took advantage of its offerings and breathed deeply. Her enthusiasm and commitment were contagious. I, personally, struggle to keep my balance with it all – the rhetoric of equality can often be divisive – the antithesis of the actual desire – and it grates on me. But maybe that’s the message for me to keep trying to slightly adjust our language. Oh, I don’t know. Guess I need to let it sit a while longer. Thanks, Susan. You’re so right.

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