Reinvention

To make over, as if to invent for the first time.

Since I can’t claim the prize for inventing myself originally, that falls to a random egg and sperm, the term reinvent might be a misnomer, but it is the one people commonly use to describe a process whereby they do something different either with their bodies, their careers, their marriage/relationship, their business…you get the idea. Because I just turned fifty-five, I can’t be sure just how many times that I’ve reinvented myself. Really…I can’t remember, but I don’t think that there’s been too many occurrences of re-making rather that be body or direction.

I believe we all physically reinvent ourselves, probably more often than we realize. Although…I bet that there’s a few of you out there that have the same hairstyle from your teen years…come on, you know who you are. You might want to consider a change. It’s time don’t you think? Hair, rather it be length, style, color, or lack-there-of, is one of those outward, usually easily discernible changes that evokes 1) the sincere reaction of “Amazing change, you look great,” or 2) “Wow, you changed your hair…” with no more said.

Body size is another visible change. Let me be the first to admit that mine has changed, both in length and width, over the years. It has fluctuated by expanding, contracting, sagging here, and drooping there. Just now, I’m on the okay side of body reinvention. After losing 30 lbs in the last ten months I feel better. I believe that I’m finally coming to understand just how the reinvention of myself from fertile and functional to slightly worn and worn out, took its toll on my body. Woman hormones really want us to survive, but they do it in such a way that they convince us we are in starvation mode, and turn up the volume on storing fat cells for some sort of hibernation. My hormones were going at full speed for some time. I’ve learned to turn that dial back, and listen to other sounds and voices. By the way, my hair is also on a reinvention trip right now. I’m trying to ignore the process mostly, and just see where it goes for a while jumping from straight to curly to shortish to longer.

It’s also easy for others to visually be in tune with a reinvention of career, or new undertaking, or relationship. Sometimes it’s easy to be sneaky for a bit. Maybe we check out new jobs without telling anyone that, after 20 years with the company, it’s time to say adios. Isn’t that what they call testing the waters, or just seeing what’s out there. Maybe, we agonize over a reinvention that we believe will prove to better our condition, say something like going back to college. Yes, I’m speaking specifically on this one, but those big, and expensive, decisions are difficult and reinvention should not come with a cost of using up your savings account simply because you feel out of the feminist loop. Eventually though, if the decision is enacted, and we go forth, the world knows about it. They also know, because we tell them, usually frequently, just how good or bad that decision was. But, I really thought I wanted to be an astrophysicist… Of course, getting remarried for the 13th time seemed like a great idea… My kids don’t need that money when I die… 

Do we reinvent ourselves though, in other ways?

How about when we change our opinions? Perhaps you’ve felt strongly about an issue or cause or scientific theory, perhaps for years. Maybe you even grew up believing that you were supposed to believe in, advocate for, or take for granted that something because your parents or family told you. Sometimes, we simply stop being afraid to speak up, or out. I was never afraid to say that I was a feminist, I just had no reason to. I was a mom, raising my kids, and that seemed to take precedence over everything else. Besides, the feminism I learned had this nasty controversy among its membership that created conflict for those of us who wanted to do away with oppression, gain greater equality and independence, but be mother’s by choice. My identity as an atheist was harder. I honestly didn’t use that word, to the public, until I was well into my sociology degree and finally had the courage to admit that my belief system is non-belief. There is no maybe. To me it’s an either/or. Scientifically and rationally my deepest and most sincere view informs me that an all-powerful deity does not exist. Religion, in all its varied forms, was and is a social tool that often is used to control at its worst, or bring hope at its best, but it is a socially driven force, nothing more.

Might I suggest that you take some time, today-tomorrow-over the next few days or weeks, and think about all the ways you have reinvented yourself during your lifetime. Maybe you are in the midst of a major reinvention right now. Perhaps, some of your attempts at reinvention have been successful, others-not so much.

How many have been of the visible, public sort?

How many, and I think this is most important; how many have been the unseen, private, internal reworkings.

Change, and growth both externally and internally, are supposed to make us stronger, maybe even a little wiser. Do you agree?

 

Almost forgot to mention: I am toying with the idea that this blog theme doesn’t impress me as much as I originally thought. I plan to explore some options, so please do not feel disarmed if things look different here before long.

Update: Theme changed. What do you think?

 

 

 

Feminist Friday: What does it all mean?

In lieu of a truly original FF post, which has typically meant a foray into feminist history, I’m going to share an August article from Beulah Devaney posted on Buzzfeed.

Devaney chose to enlighten the world on the meaning behind some of the most common feminist terminology by explaining ten contemporary feminist terms. They include: feminism, intersectionality, privilege, transmisogyny, cis/cisgender, radical feminism, TERF, SWERF, #NotAllMen, and Mansplaining. As applicable, Devaney makes sure to share true and verifiable resources for the words chosen, although some are not found in the dictionary at this point.

The full article is linked here: A Beginners Guide to Contemporary Feminist Language

If you’re feeling adventurous, you may want to scroll through some of the feedback comments. As usual there are a few “haters” present, as well as some rational responses.

Whether you identify as a feminist or not, how familiar are you with this list of terms?

I knew all but TERF and SWERF in this particular group, and I would venture to guess that there are others out there that I’m not cognizant of as well.

I do realize that radical feminism is an umbrella term housing varied factions or sub-groups. I found this clearly to be a thing during capstone research on rape myth attitude amelioration. In-fighting among feminists, in my opinion, was (is) a key component to the languishing work toward change. The term TERF, or trans exclusionary radical feminist, is disturbing. Who are these feminists that profess the non-existence of transgender individuals, or believe that they have the ability to disallow a trans individual to voice their affiliation with feminism?

Then there is the SWERF, or sex-worker exclusionary radical feminist. While I am not generalizing SWERF opinions to all radical feminists, I am again pissed off that a self-appointed group passing judgment under the guise of a movement I feel strongly about is adding fodder to those who seek to criticize feminists.  Aren’t we supposed to be about stopping that crap. Unfortunately, I think that there will always be the extreme sub-groups lurking in the shadows of any recognized, and organized activist organization, being about the purpose to promote their own skewed agendas.

If you’d like, why not share some of your most liked, most misunderstood, or most unfamiliar feminist terminology in the comment section. I have no doubt that I’ll learn something new, and I hope you will as well.

Deluge

I like that word, deluge, quite a lot. I also like the word inundate, which is used to help define deluge, as in to inundate with a large quantity of something. Something is a critical choice word as well because it opens up much more than the assumed inundation by water alone.

It is 6:30 AM, I am sitting in my office after reading through last nights new posts, and the rain is falling so quick and so hard outside my window, in the early morning darkness, that I can only hear the fact of a deluge. When light finally breaks through the cloud cover, and it will be filtered light at best, standing water will be my visual evidence of that inundating downpour.

Turn back a moment to my reference to the word something. Remember that old saying about “raining cats and dogs.” That phrase was going through my head as I read posts, listened to the storm and imagined what other somethings might be a part of a deluge. Then, unfortunately, my brain decided to shoot my memories right on back to a sad little cat that I still expect to see outside my window. Damn thing wasn’t my cat, but his presence still lingers and I still continue to believe that his life goes on, infection free and well-fed.

On a brighter note, I received the first of two Mary Daly books mentioned in last weeks Feminist Friday post, and as to  the book, written originally in 1968, I have merely glanced through the additions Daly made in 1985. They include an afterward, an autobiographical preface, and a “feminist postchristian introduction” (15-51). Note the length of the intro alone.

I found, on page two of the afterword, this footnote that sets the tone for what I expect to be a very vociferous denunciation of male religions and their place in the lives of women, both historically and into the future.

Daly, in defining her use of the word “church” in this text, wastes no time in blasting patriarchy.

 

“All of the so-called religions legitimating patriarchy are mere sects subsumed under its vast umbrella/canopy. They are essentially similar, despite the variations,…[and] are infrastructures of the edifice of patriarchy. All are erected as parts of the male’s shelter against anomie. And the symbolic message of all the sects of the religion which is patriarchy is this: Women are the dreaded anomie. Consequently, women are the objects of male terror, the projected personification of ‘The Enemy,’ the real objects of attack in all the wars of patriarchy” (xii-xiii).

That is simply the beginning of the deluge of words that follow. I’m more than just a little excited to read the rest of  Daly’s words.

I may, or may not spend time with a Feminist Friday post for tomorrow. I have to leave my warm, comfy chair and get some food into my cupboards. I just found three new vegetarian recipes (probably part of an upcoming post) that sound tasty and so my goal this morning is to venture out into the wild weather. Umbrellas will not suffice/stand up to what is happening outside my window, and what I am being told is going to continue throughout the day. After the journey I may have no more energy left, other than to curl up with Daly, or catch up on some DVR viewing.

I intend anyway, beginning in November, to alternate my Media Monday and Feminist Friday weekly posts. Two each per month is enough I think, and I can always toss crap that I want to rant about into general posts as well. Those will be the undefined, but associated MM and FF rants if you care to keep track.

What are you being deluged with today? Something positive I hope…

Daly, M. (1985). The church and the second sex. Boston, MA: Beacon.