Thursday, March 31, 2011
Holding up a Corner of the Sky
This statue intrigued me. I couldn't tell if she was a powerful warrior goddess on the offensive or throwing up her arms and weapons in surrender. The fact that she is exposing her vulnerable belly with the shield to the back of her, but brandishing her rod or spear, makes me think it could go either way. I can relate, I tell you, I can definitely relate!
It isn't often that I can get away with NOT being a grown-up. In fact, as I texted my daughter yesterday, some days I feel like the universe is calling on me to have very broad shoulders indeed. I am sometimes reluctant in my leadership (after all, as women, we are socialized to be very humble about even admitting or accepting roles as "leaders") and on the back side of every day of forging forward is the part of me that would like to be able to sit at the back of the room and let someone else take the lead. I recently read an article that said the five traits of leadership are: honesty, being progressive or forward-looking, and being competent, inspiring and an intelligent. As we all know, all those traits do not necessarily guarantee success. In fact, when embodied in a woman, they have a tendency to invite all sorts of extra challenges, detractors and resistance.
Recently, one of my heroes, Geraldine Ferraro, died at the age of 75. It got me to thinking how inspired I had been by her as a teenager just starting to step into political and activist shoes. She was imperfect and tenacious and had a very non-privileged and American background and I found that relateable. I remembered how watching her story unfold gave me insight into the gender biases, double-speak and unique strength required of women who attempted to step forward with strong-voices and competency in this "land of equality."
I choose to live with a political bent and I choose to step up and step into the ring when summoned. No one is making me do this. I choose to be out as a lesbian and accept roles of responsibility. As I have gotten older, I also work at having a high threshold for an open public service. That doesn't always mean that things go smoothly and easily! I, too, am imperfect and still learning how to maneuver in a changing world. Some days I feel tenacious and thick-skinned, and others I just want to throw down the shields and weapons and spend hours at work in the garden.
In the end, however, I am reminded of a little saying that I used to share with my kids when they were growing up: the more you do do, the more you can do...