Women are the one-half of humanity most likely to respond to beauty and to little children and young animals…We are the ones who bear the children and know of the effort it takes to raise a child into adulthood. We are the empathic gender … – Jean Shinoda Bolen, Urgent Message from Mother
When … [I] asked [my grandmother] of what in life/was she most proud,/ the older woman answered/each of my children lived to be/an adult. – Cinda Thompson, from ‘Homemaker’
As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we turned to lesser celebrated women in our lives. Not the ones whose praises or political efforts are widely sung; not the ones whose names are on every tongue; not the ones anyone else may even have heard of. No, this week we turned to under appreciated women we have known, attempting to create a tribute of some kind. Whether responding to one of the epigraphs or the opening poem – the brief, tongue-in-cheek ‘Except for Laura Secord’ by Sylvia Maultash Warsh – or to a magazine image of a woman that resonated with us, each one in the circle had a lot to say. About invisibility. Emotional pain. Hard physical labor, psychic wounds, unfulfilled dreams, even the ordinary daily routine of life … so much unspoken and unsung.
But not in our circle! The writing abounds with depth of observation and feeling, a fitting way to bring Women’s History Month to a close. Except for next week, of course!
I AM HERE
The light does not expose what has
been ripped apart within.
You see this shell and it remains intact,
a fortress if you will …
Every curve has been carved to the liking
of the rain.
Every nook has been chiseled from the lining
of a touch.
In one piece, the power is mine to keep.
No window or door opens on command.
I do not take orders.
I do not crumble
I am here.
I am built to last.
BROKEN SHELL OF WHO SHE USED TO BE
A reminder of her,
the broken shell of who she used to be.
A woman with green hazel eyes.
Look deep inside and you can see
the distance in her eyes.
The deepest pools of pain.
She hates to be alive
putting on a smile for them,
hiding her feelings deep within the curtains of her soul
making her world black as night.
A woman who’s been neglected.
Why should she hide behind smiles and fake laughter?
No one was ever there for her.
She had a right to feel this way
like giving up because no matter what she was
never good enough.
And she grew up,
had a family which she failed miserably,
had a break-down for over two years,
landed herself in prison.
Behind the coldest razor sharp barbed wire
she drowned clasping at the bars to save her.
Finally, she feels better.
A hand reached down to save her –
Turns out all she needed was medication
and somebody to love her!
As a child growing up, I never realized how hard it was to be my mom, raising me and my sister. She never got prop’s or praise for anything she did and all that she had sacrificed for our happiness. It deeply saddens me on how underappreciated my mother was by my sister and I. As a mom of four children I know the struggles of motherhood and raising a child into adulthood as well. I look back at my childhood and realized how we were brats as children. I have so much appreciation now for all that my mom did. I realize just how beautiful of a person my mom is on the inside and out! She stayed in a marriage for over 20 years just so me and my sister could say our parents were together. I never really knew that until I was older and my mom finally left my father. She told me, not to hurt me but for me to know how much she loved us. I definitely give her props on that. I wasn’t able to do the same with my children; but in my defense, life for me was very different. It was in mine and my boys’ best interest for me to leave. The list goes on for miles on all the things my mother sacrificed for us girls to be happy. I can only wish that my boys look up to me as much as I do my mom.