Every day is Woman’s Day


SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAHairline Cracks in the Porcelain

I come from a long line

of born-again porcelain cleaners.

I am a tidy-bowl expert,

know the brush and flush, polish and rub,

I am a woman, well trained by her Mother.

I tried to put girlhood aside,

leverage being eldest

to escape wrinkled finger tips,

upright vacuum white-noise,

dusters made of outgrown undershirts.

When I failed, I glared out bungalow windows

at my brothers cutting lawn and raking in the benefits

of shared manliness with Dad.

I had no choice. I was taught

to bake and sew and clean proficiently

as an outcome of my femininity

and with all this evidence to the contrary,

one day my Father says to me,

“All things are equal.

You can be ANYTHING you want to be.”

So fast forward to University

and what appears to be a level field, free

from reference to my body’s ability

to bleed, grow breasts or hips or, God forbid,

bear children. Sex lives, no, thrives

in residence rooms fuelled by pub crawls,

still what we do does not define our gender.

I earn my degree, my idealism, my zeal,

I am a self fulfilling prophecy

with EVERYTHING I want. Until…

Fast forward in circumstance, when Providence

unleashes a mind-boggling-paradigm-shifting-revelation

of upside-down proportion,

all my notions of equality expanded

yet reduced to this…moment…

this…holy annunciation…

I am pregnant!

What?

Now?

What now?

I have to choose?

I choose.

He and I choose together, and my body

blossoms in maternity, my mind

rises like a phoenix

in blazing pride at this innate ability

to create and birth new beings.

Miracles… of possibility

through pain of labour, first one,

then two boys arrive…my joys.

And then…SHE becomes unexpectedly.

SHE is something else entirely.

SHE unearths renewal in me.

FEMALE…we share more than DNA,

SHE is somehow hope and legacy,

SHE is the epitome of another chance

at THIS…AND…in feminine form.

But who am I to say…

I step back and let her find her way,

that dance, step in only when she asks.

Fast forward with my growing girl

my grateful orbit of her world. She says

“I might get married one day” and with a smile

“maybe I won’t have a child…”

Together we unleash our wild “I AM no man.”

I watch her unveil her spirit, truth,

and the beauty of no shame,

strength and intellect, all hers to claim.

She is powerful in her personhood.

(pardon boasting like I did something good)

Now she is gone from me,

like I knew she would be, eventually,

and we both thank Skype technology

for staying close with video chat.

I ask…I breathe one thing for her constantly…

that SHE finds space enough to BE,

to hold everything, all possibility,

glorious, wide and open…

Lesley-Anne Evans 2016

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Homework notes…


pe-hi-anne-shirley-sullivan

 

Lately I need a little more help. I’m seeing someone who helps me focus on values, aspirations, problems and issues that need be addressed, and new ways of doing things. It’s not the first time I’ve sought counselling, and each time I engage I find it good. I go in feeling nervous, I come out feeling lighter. I desire change.

My homework this week is to identify 5 women I admire and the reasons why. I thought, why not do this here and then open things up to discussion. And an invitation for you to do the same exercise, if you wish. These women can be historical, fictional, family, or friend. And men, identify 5 men. Or, open it up to 5 individuals… men or women, I don’t think it matters that much. Or, does it? Anyway…

5 Women I Admire:

1. Anne Shirley (as in Anne of Green Gables). I am attracted to her spunky, out-of-the-box personality, her way of testing boundaries, her committed devotion to her bosom friend Diana, her outspokenness, her marginalization yet stick-at-it-ness and make-the-best-of-it, her love of flowerly language and books, her way of rising above pain and circumstance and sticking to her guns. I was that girl. I still want to be her.

2. Christina Cook (my maternal grandmother) who spent 25 years of her life as a paraplegic, confined to a wheelchair, her every personal and functional need taken care of by my grandfather, Jimmy. I am attracted to Chrissie’s strength, her resilience, her way of being strong and in charge within herself, not afraid to ask, not afraid to speak, give opinion. She loved the details of life, paid attention to the people around her, and watched All-Star Wrestling every Sunday. Her faith was a solid, and for the most part unspoken, foundation. The love relationship between her and my grandfather was beautiful to see.

3. A woman who shall remain nameless here for privacy reasons. An intelligent, accomplished, energetic, alive, bright spark of a woman who loves with every breath in her body the people in her sphere of influence. Her capacity to remember things, to know the deep things about so many different people, astounds me. I love her heart, her passion, her way of making a contribution equal to that of her husband, who is also a man of great impact. Their marriage is something of curious attraction to me… I want to know how they do it. They seem to do it so very well.

and now it’s getting a little easier, and I only need 2 more…

4. Another woman who will remain nameless for privacy reasons. And it doesn’t matter her name, more who she is. She is a rock. She is grounded in her faith. She has proven this over a number of years where she carves out time to meet with the one who loves her most EVERY day. (well, maybe she misses sometimes, but most days). She takes her pain to God. She gets her strength from God. She is able to talk about the most difficult of topics with a grounded love and empathy and compassion that can only come from God. She takes time to reach out to the hurting ones, even when she barely knows them. She prioritizes people over things, over tasks, over everything. NO, she is not a fictitious person, she is very, very, real. She takes care of her friends, her body, her home, her spirit, what she has been given to care for… very well. She is well balanced.

5. A young woman who will remain nameless for privacy reasons. What I admire most about her is the combination of incredible ability with humility. She has many areas she excels at, yet she shows no indication of her ego getting in the way of her heart, or of attitude seeping in. It is beautiful to see.

Well, that wasn’t as hard as I thought. I think I could keep going and maybe I will.

6. Eowyn of Ithilien, Shieldmaiden of Gondar (LOTR) as a female, heroic, strong, capable woman who finds her role in the bigger story BECAUSE she is a woman, not in spite of being female. She is ‘no man’. And because of this, she overcomes the evil witch king. She is an overcomer. And I guess I could honestly say I am attracted and I admire every strong female role in every movie I watch. Hmmm…

For now, please join in. Who do you admire most. Why?

Lesley-Anne

Eowyn+in+battle