I hope you enjoy this beautifully written and very moving post by Eva Day, Wise Woman Extrodinaire!!!!
Kicking Up The Dust.
Dear Jenny and female friends.
Jenny is in a phase just now of giving extra focus to political issues in the world around her and the effects of the decisions and oblivion of the "big players" on the lives of ordinary folk and women in the every day world. I see the care and the commitment in that, from Jenny, and recognise of course that the personal is political and the political is personal..... we are all part of the world being shaped every day
When I first came across Jenny's blog and a place for "women with a past"," the concept resonated with me immediately. I imagined wearing my past with pride, like a cloak, perhaps a battered, frayed or somewhat stained one, but well woven and sturdy and richly coloured...... a cloak that trails out behind me, sweeping the dust of the ground as I walk forward, into the future and - the wisdom of a more mature woman. Hah!! But, yes, I do feel after much journeying I know a little, just a little about life, even when paradoxically, it becomes ever more mysterious and perplexing. And yes, let's have confidence that we will walk forward boldly into some way of living and being which is forged from wisdom - as well as the good humour and the grace to realise we will also occasionally stumble into wisdom and foolishness too, or be met by it!
Women with a past certainly will stir up an amount of dust as they walk - they do not tread lightly or quietly ,as our foremothers were too often exorted or trained to do, though they may well know how to do so when the circumstances require. Warrior women can move through the darkness or through difficult terrain with stealth if instinct guides them.... But can also walk like queens, proud and certain when they have heart for their journey. And the dust? Well amongst those foremothers told to tread modestly, there have always been those who could not and would not, and they are companions to me. The dust feels like a pleasing image to me, as what better reminds us of the truth that from the earth we come and to the earth our bodies will return, in one form or another.. ashes to ashes, dust to dust - I can't think of a patriarchal reference that is more female in its symbolism. Perhaps a little of the dust we raise on our journeys will settle on the cloaks of other travellers along the way, will blow gently into towns and villages we pass through, will be the form and substance from which daughters, and sons, too, make solid forms: our homes, our pots, our messes, our works of art, the shapes of our lives. We have touched others, and been touched by them, some of our substance and essence is expressed in their lives of others, just as their lives nourish - or deplete - ours.
When I sense my own past, tune into it with the feeling and instinctive nature, rather than remember specific events and incidents or analyse from a rational sequential viewpoint - then I am in the land of myth and metaphor. I remember in my bones, and in soul mood... there were hopes and impulses and sudden passionate drives and urges. There was an absolute will to live, to thrive, to explore, to taste life and to break the rules. Sometimes because the rules forbade me to do something that called to me more powerful than any social constraints, and sometimes just because the rules needed breaking. Often I was a damned perverse - girl, young woman, slightly older woman who "ought to know better." And I think I still am all those things and more......... I have been a daughter - of two mothers, in my life - and like many reading this am a mother, too. Like all of us, my past is personal. The particular place I was born, the events that unfolded beyond that, what was done to me and what I did - to life, to myself and others. Active, passive, many different rhythms. Never passive for long though, in the rhythm of the passing seasons and years... .. often difficult, hopefully also tender and kind enough to have made somebody's day gentler and more whole from time to time, creative in a playful spirit, destructive at times when wounded, cornered, angry.... Though destruction, too, can be a death and a rebirth, a space for a renewal or new directions.
Footprints. That's another picture that comes to my mind's eye. My footprints, your footprints, and those of the women who walked before us and will come after... And yes, again, I mention sons too, still believing in a world where boys too, as well as girls, can be allowed to truly respect their mothers and grandmothers and learn from them - and teach them to. (If I were a grandma, I'd be quite willing to learn to suck eggs!) Footprints, also seem somehow a particularly masculine image in our culture. We tread in the footprints of strong, bold males, in stories and films, don't we? I would like to feel that our footprints can be trusted .....
From one perspective, you may think that I've told you really - nothing - about my own challenges and triumphs - the details - as a woman with a past. In another sense, I hope you feel I have. And that you might be like another beautiful piece of fabric or wonderful embroidery on my patchwork cloak..... and I on yours.
Good travelling to all, and my wishes to you for good health, good living and good humour. xx eva