Women have many things that they must be. So much is expected of us, and we add so much to it just to prove we’re super women. The lines we walk are so so fine and most of those fine lines were drawn by ourselves. What I want to talk about has to do with all of that and wholeness.
I had a teacher throughout college named Kelly Brown Douglas. She is the religion department chair at Goucher College, where I attended. Throughout my time there, she was my favorite professor. She never told us things; she helped us find them. Each one of her main points was given her through our guided discussions and our personal experiences. Her final paper for the class was usually a paper on our journey through the class, and mine always included a step toward wholeness. We are mind, body and soul. We are thoughts, emotions, and revelations. And the giving away of any one piece leaves us incomplete. Kelly pushed us to make sure that our theologies were whole. In my effort to become whole, I had a lot of work to do on my separation of mind and body. I had been a compartmentalizer. We women all learn that eventually don’t we? You know there’s been a time in your life that you have shut off your emotions to deal with what’s at hand, whether it be to answer the phone or to go to work or something else that needed done. We’ve all cried in secret. Why do we do that? I did it so that people wouldn’t discredit me for being weak. After realizing this, I promised myself that I would quit it. I remember I was in a theater class and I was watching one girl standing there resolute and crying. I thought she was the most brave, most beautiful thing I’d ever seen and it was because she was whole.
After that day, I made an effort to re-connect my thought and actions and to be true to who I was like I used to be. I was re-conditioning myself to be shocked, outraged, sad, and happy inwardly and outwardly.
- I’ve been called oversensitive. Now when I hear those absent minded racist comments, I don’t laugh. I shame them. My in-laws are especially guilty. They call cheap people Jews all the time. I always asks them what do you mean: you’re such a Jew, I don’t understand?
- I’ve been called overemotional. While watching the news I would often cry for what I’ve seen, or when talking about war I would become enraged by each atrocity against the innocent.
- And my favorite, I’ve been called naive. When discussing politics, I insist that we vote for whose the right person. I insist that the government do what’s right, not what’s good for them.
I like to think that I am determinedly vulnerable. To me the greatest tragedy would be to lose the ability to feel profoundly simply because you’d like to shield yourself. It’s a pure denial. You can deny that things like Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Aurora are tragedies by not feeling them profoundly. Or you can hear about the bombings on schools that were supposed to be weapons factories and not get angry because it’s just war. You can belittle the feelings that the loss of a true love causes. But beware, you may be belittling the stuff that life’s really made of. To feel those things profoundly each time is to live life fully. Get angry, cry, scream, protest, laugh, love, lose, get hurt! That’s what life is. Live it abundantly.