“Yea, there was a time I didn’t like the love, I liked the climbers. I was no sister then, I was running out of time and one liners.”
Growing up is a humbling process, spurring countless occasions for pondering. My thirties have been a time of rich introspection. I have gutted my proverbial house and torn away so much proverbial insulation. For me, making amends, whether outrightly towards the person whom I have offended, or merely to myself (as in prayer), has been an essential operation. It takes a tremendous amount of energy and integrity to honestly examine your dark and dirties. I spent my late teens and early twenties stacking them up like morbid firewood. Broken noses, burned bridges, and hearts torn asunder are a few in a very long list of my crimes from this period of my life.
Looking back, I am most ashamed at the lack of love I had for my own kind. I was steeped in such insecurity and easily flammable anger that I made other women my enemy. They were not to be trusted under any circumstances. I know that there is a primal aspect to fearing your own sex at this time in your life. We are, after all, competing for mates. There is something within us that whispers that the simplest course of elevating our own status is to knock down anyone around us. It’s a coming of age form of survival of the fittest. I took many a woman down with my harpoon of malice. I took refuge in the company of men and enjoyed taking center stage. When a woman I knew achieved something commendable, I was not happy for her. I felt envious that it hadn’t happened to me. If a woman I met was attractive, I immediately distrusted her. At parties, when I saw a woman throw back her head in laughter, clearly succumbing to earnest joy, I felt a wrenching pain in my breast. I wanted to be her. Why wasn’t I happy like that? Why wasn’t I beautiful in some way that would make it all easier to bear?
All of a sudden, something wonderful began its course. I started to truly like who I was. I understood the necessity of cutting myself a break and worked towards that end. I was kinder with myself and reminded myself that I was not alone in anything; that I would never be; that there were others out there going through such agonies and despair. I began to give of myself honestly. I started to accept women into my life and into my heart and to be gladdened by it. It has been one of the most meaningful ways in which I have been able to open my heart and allow it to heal.
I have cheered women on. I have been proud of them. I have cried alongside them. I have talked with them well into the night. I can count many of them to be my true sisters. But none of this compares to what they have done for me. They have held me when my heart was breaking. They have rushed through the dark streets to care for me in a time of great sickness. They have sheltered me when I most needed safe keeping. They have shared stories of great intimacy; entrusted me with secrets and hopes. They have taken me into their lives and been gladdened by it. The kinship that I now feel with my own sex has been one of the greatest gifts that this life has given me. I did not come into the world with it. I came into it a tom boy who eschewed anything remotely girly and briefly became a bully who broke, not one, but two female noses.
Women are especially talented at tearing one another down. We seem to have a preternatural instinct for it. It is a most unfortunate aspect of who we are, and yet, it is not insurmountable. It is something that can be dismantled with education, perspective and a whole lot of self love. Insecurity is such a dangerous weapon. If allowed to continue unbridled, it can put a stranglehold on our quality of human experience. Try to love yourself a little more today. That’s step one. Then see if you don’t find yourself giving others the opportunity to build on that love. Imagine a chain reaction of positivity such as this. Imagine it! Then go out and be a part of it.
Dar Williams – ‘As Cool As I Am’
written by Tara Noble. not Aric. Tara Noble. she wrote this. thus… tuesdays with tara. cause it’s… oh, never mind.
(for Emily, and Kelly, and Cindy, and Laura, and Jelly, and Claire, and April, and Monique, and on and on and on)