30 April 2009

Fatigue, Lunch and Survival

I can't believe how tired I've been. Yesterday was the first time in weeks I haven't written on this blog.

And now here I am, sleepy again. But I want to write. So here I am.

Yesterday I had lunch with Anne. It's really odd that you can work in the same place as someone else and not see that person for months. I don't think I've seen Anne since the beginning of the semester. In the meantime, she's become noticeably more pregnant with a boy. And I'm closer to beginning a new life with a female body.

Perhaps I will get to know her even better than I do now. I would like that, actually: I enjoy having a conversation with her because she is educated and truly smart. In other words, she values her education but isn't impressed by it; she really understands that it's more important for people to find what makes them happy than it is to fulfill someone else's idea of achieving success. She mentioned her sister, who took up vocational studies, got a job in a financial company, married and had kids. Their father compares her unfavorably to Anne, which is not what Anne wants.

Only in looking back do I find it so remarkable that she could talk about that, the life growing inside her and the life she is building with her husband in such a seemingly casual way, and that, spontaneously, I shared something about myself that I've only allowed to a few other people in my life. It's no wonder, then, that I don't feel defensive about who I am when I talk with her.

When I think of her, when I think of Regina, when I think of Millie, I realize that, as different as they are from each other, I love them all for basically the same reason: We empathise with each other as women, even though our experiences as women may be very different. I will never have a baby, as they all have had (and Anne will soon have again), but they know that I am experiencing the fatigue of bearing a new life that I will soon bring into being.

They also seem to understand that I have only recently learned something they've probably known all of their lives: that if a woman is to survive spiritually--which is to say that if she is to survive--she has to be tough, not through coercion or violence, but through the force of being who she is. The only means we have of survival, much less to thrive and prosper, is through the power of our own essential beings.

Being a woman is being a survivor. And one survives only through fighting for one's self. Certainly Anne and Regina have had to do that in their professional and personal lives; Millie, I'm sure, has had to do the same thing within the family to which she was born. All of them survived, not by trying to beat men at their own game, but in acting in their own plays. After all, one doesn't win a game played against the very person or people who made the rules.

That, by the way, is one of the reasons I've undertaken the journey I'm on now.

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