When late afternoon light lit upon a piece of crystal in my office window, I mused, “I should write my mother’s memoirs.” Later I expanded the thought of her memoirs and started writing and presenting, Quiet Wisdom in Loud Times: Women of Heart Who Need to be Heard. Well, this book is neither my mother’s memoirs nor is it solely about women of heart. It is about healing the woundedness of the feminine principle which is buried in us all. It is well nigh time for her resurrection.
Nevertheless, I would like to dedicate this book to my mother (while, at the same time, not forgetting my grandmothers before her, and my children who are heirs of her heart and soul—quintessential grandmother that she was.)
Now that I have some distance on the family of origin dynamics, and my mother and her sisters have all died, I am beginning to view her story—“herstory”—as one more saga of women having to defer to a patriarchal culture. She quit high school in order to work so her brothers could continue their education. Stymied by the patriarchal system, she nevertheless accepted its norms, deferring to the men in her midst, doting on my older brother (big brother disagrees), seeking affirmation from her highly successful younger brother (she never got it). Even though my father, for a 1950’s husband was pretty mild as patriarchs go, he still controlled her life. She seemed in the dark as to their financial problems and didn’t learn to drive a car until she was in her late forties (and she never did get to learn to ride a bicycle!).
I think of Maxine Hong Kingston’s book, Woman Warrior, as converging with my mother’s story. King notes, in her memoir, an aunt who was excised from her family in China after she suicided. My mother also had a sister pushed off the family tree, perhaps for similar reasons. The ghosts in both cases remain. Might this book honor these shadows as well? The forgotten and dismissed wounded feminine!
Of course, it is not women and girls alone who are dismissed and denigrated by the lack of feminine principle. When a boy is raped by teammates and a community coalesces to support the perpetrators (who also need help!) with the refrain, “boys will be boys,” we see violence institutionalized and condoned once again—a burial of the feminine principle.
So it is that our society still must evolve in order not to devolve. We cannot point a finger at other cultures when we sometimes do so poorly in our own.
There is hope if we honor the feminine principle of relationship and connection in us all. So it is that I look forward to the day when a feminine principled woman is in the White House as a matter of course, not considered a crisis, and I look forward to the night when women can freely walk alone and unafraid.