Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bringing home the bacon.....

Murky, murky, murky. Life just gets less and less transparent as the years go by. Highly inconvenient, I must admit.

I might have thought....if I had thought about it at all.....that age and the accompanying maturity would lend itself to knowing the answers a litte faster or easier than when we clattered around in our 20s or 30s. Maybe even longer depending on some folks' inability to learn from mistakes.

I'm a very independent woman, a state that is a result of both my personality as well as the circumstances of my life. Raising children on your own will do that, believe me. You learn quickly that there are few people you can truly rely on, maybe even having the axiom, "If you want something done right, do it yourself" stenciled on your living room wall. In bright red.

But the longer you live within that bubble of self-sufficiency the less it appears that you need anyone else or their help for anything at all. Many women build walls that are strong and often tower over those (and I mean men, of course) who get too close, either inadvertantly or with good intentions of being useful.

Soon we begin to believe it ourselves, the fact that we don't need anyone, we can take care of ourselves, thank you very much, so everyone needs to stand back behind that solid concrete wall, that one that we erected over the years for protection.

But the problem is that we DO need each other in lots of ways that have nothing to do with one gender being "weaker" or "stronger."  It has to a lot to do with the undeniable symbiosis inherent in being human in our culture, and less to do with gender inequities that still exist whether we like to think so or not.

I can carry on successfully by myself.....if we're measuring success by dollars and cents. Our culture, though, sometimes traps both men and women into identity roles that we don't even notice after a while. We're so used to clutching either our independence or our deeply ingrained sense of role tightly to our chests that we miss each other completely. The fact that I could support myself was not the same as not needing anything.

I didn't need a man to pay my bills or "bring home the bacon" but I did need someone to support me emotionally. Life is hard, and it is nice to have a shoulder to cry on or a hand to hold as we face the storms together.

Rather than being constrained by the male/female roles of weak vs strong that still slither around the edges of our society, maybe we should just all relax and be human instead. I can ask for help without threatening my independence, and it can be offered without fear of being rebuffed as sexist.

I used to think this was all so clear.

"Limits exist only in the mind."


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