Monday, March 15, 2010

Okay ye olde feminists...

Somedays I wake to hear the sounds of the birds outside and I wish I could crawl to the top of  me tree... you know, that tree.  It was in my backyard, taller than many in the neighborhood, and if I climbed high enough in it, you couldn't see me.  Up there, the tree swayed.  You couldn't see me, and in all likelihood, I couldn't hear you.  Not over the sound of the wind.  It looked across the weird scraggly woods behind our yard, all tangled with wild vines and things that don't grow here now.  I could see the waterfall on the other hill on brisk spring days like today.

The strange thing is, of course,  that a ten minute walk in the other direction and you were in real urban neighborhoods.  But from that tree, in the backyard, looking out, it was like the city didn't even exist. I could hide up there for hours and just be.  Feel the wind in my hair.  Smell the strange spring cold air.  Somehow, it was always just barely spring when I was up there.

Maybe my skin would begin to crawl waiting for the warm summer months to arrive.  Maybe, as I dreamt of the smell of mock orange and lilacs, the splash of forsythia's yellow, the touch of violets in the grass, maybe I just needed to see beyond the horizon some. 

Or maybe it was my birthday.  And so I had to think about being from some other mother, some other place, some other time.  Sort of as if I fell in from outer space in my tin foil space ship (just like the one they said to make out of boxes and tin foil in the Purple Cow book from the 70s) and into your lap.

But it was always spring.

It is spring now.  My birthday was just a few days ago.  And I am seething with the desire to get out.  Have purpose.  Move beyond the now.  And yet, I am simultaneously digging my nails in, holding on to yesterday.  Seems I am still a little bit alien in a strange stratosphere.  And my little alienettes won't always be there beside me. 

So I take a tentative step toward building something.  Throw down some basic foundational rocks.  But I am not sure that got me anywhere.

Funny how women when I was born were starting to enjoy the choices feminism brought them.  You could actually leave this life, this house, this mothering thing, they said.  Ya know, do something for yourself.  Have a life.  Be proud of making the decision to be someone besides your titles of wife and mother.

But somehow, it seems that the anger at having to be a mother has stolen the joy of being a mother.  If women can be free, it means men can be, too.  If women can go to work, then really it means that they should.  So I get to feel guilty when I am not working, that hole of impending dread in my stomach when I realize how quickly the kids are growing is to be ignored and tossed aside.  Feel me instead! screams the guilt.  You should be busier!  Contribute more!  Want something else.

After all, here in American, we're not supposed to want what we have, right?  After all, if we want what we have we won't lust after anything.  If we don't lust, we don't rob, beat, buy or steal.  If that happens, life as we know it grinds to halt, the street party stops and we all... well... have to go back to being ourselves.  And why would we do that?  We might find out just how un-alien we all are.

The red winged black birds sang yesterday for the first time this spring.  Chirk-chiiirck-chiiiir-uriick!  Made me want to climb to the top of the nearest tree, sway in the spring breeze, and watch for spaceships. 

But I climbed back down.  Put in that offer to help out at a part time job.  Kissed my kids.  There wasn't any sap today (too warm last night, not warm enough today) so I didn't have much I had to do outside.

Sadly, I turned inside, and began to hoe throw the "stuff" that accumulated over the last few moves and winter and out of my raven-esque need to not forget the past.  It's shiny. 

My birthmother didn't call on my birthday for the first time in oh, 15 years.  It really hurt.  Felt a bit like I really did come from outer space.  But you said you loved me.  And that made all the difference.

Maybe I was never an alien in a tree trying to figure the earth out.  Maybe I was just a little bird in a nest up there.  Waiting for the wind to fill my wings. 

I think  maybe I have fallen out of the nest a few thousand times, and maybe I have even managed to fly back up and flutter out on a branch or two... on purpose, even.  Maybe I should try and catch that breeze this time.  Just jump.... and go.... and really be me.  Guilt, love, and raven-ness included.


Lula said...

Oh, Erica. I know. I so know. It is such a push-pull, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I love you, always have and will forever!

Anonymous said...

By the way, I'm not _that_ "olde" a feminist. Didn't we just get on this train???

EricaLeigh said...

Yeah, we did just get on this feminist train... sometimes I think we all get a little lost on the way! After all, the whole thing must be young if we are so far off track a generation later!

Anonymous said...

Maybe we're more on track than we're able to see. Look at the wonderful life you've fought to build! For that matter, mine's not too shabby!