We’ve had a lot on our hands… I want to say lately, but it’s nearing on a decade now, maybe even more than a decade! Yes, probably more. A gazillion thoughts run through my brain about a trillion different things. But they return, without working themselves out, they return, like a ghost waiting for its release to the other side, like rays of light being reflected in a room filled with mirrors… blinding me to what’s really happening, to what shape they’re trying to reflect… confusing my every thought into a kaleidoscope of beautiful shapes that make an ever changing mosaic that rarely, if ever, betrays its original inspiration.
I have LOVED few literary works like I have loved The Color Purple, few poetic verses have been edged in my brain like Guillermo Carnero’s verse on the matronas (which I partially cited here). It’s not a coincidence that I cited it while thinking about the very same ideas I’m ruminating on now. It’s not perchance that The Color Purple is now a play in theatres. It’s no accident that I only recently came across feminist readings of it. It is all coalescing in a way that makes the image clearer, more distinguishable than ever. And I want to share my thoughts on this process of revelation with all of you, my female, and female loving readers.
It may seem, sometimes, I admit, that I’m all over the map on this blog, talking to remarkable women, sharing recipes, some keto tips, fashion, and poetry. What is this? Is it a meeting place? A fashion blog? Is it a writer’s dumpsite? Is it a lifestyle and food blog? Truth is, that it’s about women, and all the things that unite us. It’s about the foods that make us comfortable, strong, indispensable, loved. It’s about the feelings we can’t always express freely, so we code into verses. It’s about the connecting dots between successes of diverging paths. And it’s about how beautiful we are, or want to be. I know I occasionally write about my kids as well, because many of us identify as mothers, and are first and foremost that. But we are more than that, like we are more than what we wear, more than what we believe. We are more than what we do. All these things are various expressions of our identities, and they define, as well as free us. Within these bounds we’ve excelled, and many of us have gone on beyond them. It’s a compendium of knowledge about, for, and by women. Knowledge we can use to empower each other, in more ways than one.
I’ve concentrated a lot on fashion lately, not because I suddenly care more about fashion than before, but for three main reasons. The first is because I feel that it coincides with two of my favorite themes: living a more meaningful life (through the virtues of minimalism, and a more wholesome and authentic self), and empowering, or at least inspiring women to be their best selves. The second reason is because it’s very structured and delineated, and it’s easy to work on it in small increments, so I’m able to build upon the subject in my shrinking free time. The third reason, which I’m admittedly not proud of, but points to the heart of the matter at hand in this jumble of thoughts I just introduced to you. This hidden motive is because I am anticipating dipping my feet in uncomfortable waters, where I’ve felt ravaged before. I feel the need to arm myself with transferrable skills that can appeal to a wide audience. Like a magician would hone his craft based on the audience he’s anticipating; I want to have something to hold in front of those who’ll no doubt pounce at me and attack me mercilessly. I need these tools to distract them, to keep them at arm’s length, and maybe appeal to them. I’m gearing up to protect myself, because I fear being vulnerable to their attacks. They are not superficial women, but we all want to look our best at parties, and if I can give them tools to achieve that goal, they may take more kindly to me, or might forget that they wanted to tear me apart before I leave their sight.
Women who don’t care about their looks often work a lot on their character. We talk about literature, ideas, kids, and all sorts of things near and dear to our hearts. But women whose power (acquired or innate) is limited can be truly daunting, sometimes because you don’t know how or if they want assistance, these aren’t the women I’m preparing to face. The rest because they’ll jump on the opportunity to feel stronger by making others weaker. These are who I’m gearing up to face. They’ll feel any advantage you may not even know you have as a threat. If you’re pretty they’ll make you doubt yourself, if you’re ugly they’ll make sure you know it. The list goes on. But if you come prepared, and you acknowledge their stratagem, whilst providing them with tools to improve themselves, they might listen, instead of spewing poison out of their mouths and eyes at you. It takes tremendous presence of mind to be able to grab their attention, as they’re skillful multitaskers and know every sort of manipulation there is out there. Pure willingness to be a bit helpful, alert kindness (I say a bit helpful and alert because they know how to abuse kindness that isn’t alert, and will spit in the face of help if they think you view them as helpless), can go a long way. These are skilled manipulators, who know how to disguise their hatred into the most benevolent looking smiles. They are the oppressed oppressors who know their place and will make the best of it, even at your expense if it comes to it. They have made a science out of looking flawless and being wrought with ills. So I need to equip myself, and I need to be ready. Although I fancy myself a strong person, I’ve been in their clutches before, and barely made it out alive. I don’t want to make the same mistake again.
If it’s this bad, then why even bother? Why not just stay out of the water and call it a day? Well… it’s easier said than done, and because… let’s face it, this is life. You win some and you loose some, and some toxicity may actually boost our immune system. Now that I know what to expect, maybe I have become immune. But if I’m so scared, why am I putting this all out there, where they could read it and know what I’m up to? Well… there’s something else: The Color Purple. I never figured out why I loved that book so much, until a couple of weeks ago, when it hit me like a ton of bricks: the women. The manipulation, the teasing, the violence, the willingness to play the game, and the ability to stop it. It was awesome! It had it all: the entire realm of queens, all in one roll. The victim perpetrator, the facilitator, the cycle breaker, the cycle creator… all united under the same umbrella shading them all: ignorant, racist patriarchy that doesn’t know it is, or at least doesn’t realize just how deeply it is ignorant, racist, and patriarchal. I don’t fancy myself a sage, but I have survived all of these, to some extent, and continue to have hope for all my sisters, even those who’d sooner denounce me.
Because my womanly powers of grace, nurturing, and dignity are every woman’s. We need to hone them not only for our own survival, acceptance, and success, but for the benefit of us all. We need to stick together, and perhaps even more so when we are far apart. We all need to make an extra effort to get along and get the ball rolling toward a more just and caring society.
Fashion allows me a small window of opportunity, through which I may showcase potential skills beyond it. Fashion is superficial, but its ramifications are deep and wide. It can remain superficial, like a virtual armor, thus allowing me (and others) some respite, or it can be used for more good than that. We shall see. Maybe they’ll feel the power of solidarity, and run with it. One can always, still, hope.