Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fierce with Reality (Self Portrait Wednesday)

and he said: you pretty full
yourself ain't chu
so she replied: show me someone

not full of herself and i'll
you a hungry person.

- Nikki Giovanni

Growing up, I absorbed the message
from our culture that girls are less-than,
that women are the visible invisible.

I was expected to excel, to use my gifts,
while somehow hiding my light
under a bushel basket.

That made it scary to speak my truth.
That made it difficult to know the fullness of myself.
That made it nigh-impossible to claim my life and live my power.

To nullify the voices
that made little me feel small,
I learned the wisdom of Amazon women,
feminist writers (even if they eschewed the term)
who flaunted their strength,
who wrote with passion and conviction,
who crafted words like arrows
that flew straight into my heart
and stuck there.


of power

In other words
I saw the light

(Sisterhood is Powerful)

in all my blazing glory
 I am fierce with reality

When you truly possess all you have been and done,
which may take some time,
you are fierce with reality.

- Florida Scott-Maxwell

What have you done to become full of yourself,
to possess all of yourself (light and shadow),
to become fierce with reality?

p.s. If you want to experience the power of sisterhood,
go here or here to find out how to speak out about the
continuing string of murders of women in Juarez, Mexico
that has been going on since the 1990s.

Don't let violence against women anywhere
be hidden from awareness.


Izzy said...

Amen, sister!!! =)

Judy Wise said...

yes and wonderful! xo

Delwyn said...

I, for one, am glad that you are fierce with reality... those that criticize a woman fierce with reality have lost touch with their own.

I think that age and maturity have allowed me to be all of myself, also pain and longing. When I was in my early 30's a friend gave me the words to Yentl - do you remember that Barbara Streisand movie? (Stop me if I've already told you this!)
and they really made me want to take responsibility and that I think has been the catalyst for me - the times when I took responsibility for my own future and happiness instead of relying on conventions, traditions and others to tell me who I was or should be.

Delwyn said...

P.S. the new hair cut is just lovely and suits you well. Also the image you created outside the barricade is very a good depiction of
a) living within outdated mores
b) living outside of outdated mores

Happy Days

Meri said...

Delwyn - I really put myself out there with the camera shot. I had showered and towel-dried my hair, but it was still wet and au naturel. I have this odd notion that I can protect my hair and the environment all at once if I let it air-dry. Then I probably undermine both by using a skinny flat iron or curling iron to make it look finished. If not for contradictions, what would I have to laugh about?

Bagman and Butler said...

Another of the Andy Warhol type...I like it alot.

Lynne said...

such an amazing phrase... fierce with reality. I wonder if younger women now still go through that need to force a place for ourselves? or is a woman's role much easier now?

deb did it said...

This post is so revealing, so powerful. ROAR ON SISTA!!

Meri said...

With violence against women still occurring with terrifying regularity, I have to conclude that the ideology that posits that women have their place, a subordinate one, is still active. While the young women I know are less tentative about their intelligence and competence than I was at their age, I suspect that even in the most equality conscious societies and social groups, there will be vestiges of discrimination, habitual ways of thinking and feeling, that women for generations to come have to deal with in their lives and in their ways of relating to the world. Would that it were not so.

Jennifer said...

Meri, I loved the quote that begins your post. Your posts are very tought provoking - thank you. I was raised to believe that my feelings did not count. It has taken me a very, very long time to realize that's not true. I'll be 50 at the end of the year - it's power time.

beth said...

thanks for sharing so much with us on this post !!!

sam brightwell said...

Fierce with reality . . . . wow, what an amazing phrase. I feel more like I'm skulking in shadows a lot of the time. What bravery it takes to be Fierce Woman ~ red in tooth and claw.

I count myself as a young woman (33) and have come up against discrimination, particularly in the workplace. Women who take maternity breaks are penalized in their working life and careers. What really irked me about it was that the discrimination I experienced came from a FEMALE manager, who had grown children of her own.

I know other women my age who have experienced the same thing. Women with small children who want to go back to work part time and their company won't allow it ~ not outright, because of the LAW, but sneakily, they make it difficult for them, or put pressure on them, make it uncomfortable for them in the workplace.

Or they take them back part time but give them a full time workload and then 'monitor' their ability to do the job, undermining their confidence and any standing they have gained from past efforts and achievement.

And then, when your child is sick, making you take time off out of your annual leave allowance. And you only get 20 days a year anyway ......

I could go on and on and on. Sorry. I'm not bitter, just think that equality is a myth.

So we make our own way in the world. We become creative and unite with other women, to find new and better paths, for raising our children and finding fulfilment, and paying the bills. Am I just a dreamer? I hope not.

Blessings, Meri, for your wonderful writing here. I know I will come back to it a few times before I really feel I've absorbed the essence of what you are saying.

Much love.

MJ said...

I found your post very moving. It reminds me of a post that I've had perculating on the back burner. I agree that women have increased status in developed countries but not accorded full status as men.

I wonder whether I have courage to publish my post? It is hard to publish info that is personal. You have courage.

Meri said...

At some point, we become secure enough in our fierceness that we are willing to speak our truth. Yes, there may be consequences -- some people may be offended, inconvenienced, outraged, surprised, or intimidated. Those kinds of people may subject you to judgment, often harsh. That's their stuff. One of the responsibilities of knowing our truth and putting it out in the world (compassionately, responsibly) is to learn to put up energy shields so we won't be undone by thoughts intended to wound us. At the same time, we need to stay open to new information. Tough balance!

Whatever you decide about whether or not to reveal yourself through the post you've been mulling over, you have to make the choice that empowers you. In coming to that decision, perhaps these quotes will light your path.

"We receive the light, then we impart it.Thus we repair the world." - Kabbalah

"A time comes when silence is betrayal." - Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam (from the 60s).

Does this help?