I'm 54. I'll turn 55 this summer. Growing up in a house with 4 other sisters, and a banner-carrying feminist mother, the fight for a woman's voice to be heard was no small thing. So today, when I make comments and post photographs on my FB page about Rush Limbaugh's insults, I do it because my voice is important. Period. So I am compelled to blog about this experience I am having of "Sshhhhhhhhh!... Don't give him attention." Blah, blah, blah. Yes, Yes. I know all about "What you focus on grows." I blog, post, and preach that too.
AND, there comes a time when I must speak up. If we always were quiet, turned the other cheek, gave "them" no attention, etc., there would be no revolutionaries. There would be no Elizabeth Cady Stanton, no Susan B. Anthony, no Alice Paul, or Lucy Burns. We women wouldn't even have the right to vote. Where would we be today if those women had listened to and heeded the "shhhhhh!" of their society? There is a time to speak up and speak up with passion and gusto. There is a time to step up and step forward, step out of my comfort zone and stretch into my voice, my LOUD, CLEAR, PASSIONATE VOICE.
When I was a girl, my dad (every now and then when I expressed myself in a way that wasn't in line with his thinking), would pop me on the rear end and say, "Julia! Act like a lady." Playful or not, the message was clear. Women have been told, in one way or another, to "shhhhhhh" for hundreds of years. So I suppose it's natural for even women in our society to "shhhhhh" me when I speak up. In fact, I don't think they realize what they are doing. I believe we (women) are still reacting out of deep, long-term programming. It seems the only time we women allow ourselves full voice, loud and passionate, is when it is in defense of the children. Then just try and "shhhh" me! See what happens!!!
But what about the metaphorical children? What about the new ideas and ways of being that we are giving birth to? They are our "children". Do we not have the right to give full voice, with gusto and passion to those as well? The challenge is to learn the balance between knowing when to push against and when to go with the flow. There was a time when I would have said the goal is to go with the flow, to be in a sort of Zen state where all is well all the time.
Ahhhhh.... but "The secret of Zen is just two words: Not always so."
Elizabeth, Susan B., Alice, and Lucy didn't go with the flow. They had been "going with the flow" far too long. It was time for them to push against it. And I am grateful to them for being willing to do that. Today, I have the right to vote because of them, because of their loud, passionate, true voice.
So no, I will NOT "Shhhhhhhh"!! I am not a "lady". I am not ashamed. And I will not be quiet. I am LOUD, and BAWDY, and PASSIONATE, and furthermore I LIKE the way I am. So I say "UNLADY-LIKE" WOMEN UNITE! SPEAK YOUR TRUTH WITH GUSTO AND PASSION! LIVE IT! LOVE WHO YOU ARE!