Two Cent's in your Mail

Friday, December 31, 2010

Out with the old...

So, it's the end of 2010, and now we enter 2011 with high hopes, and anticipation for a new beginning. It's amazing how everyone looks towards this one day. How the simple setting and rising of the sun within a 24 hour period can give the world so much hope, so much promise. Why only on one day?

For many of my friends, it has been a really rough year. Too many up's and down's to mention. I don't know exactly why karma has decided to give us all a good kick in the gut like she has, but we have all weathered the storm, and held strong. Some of us have had a few more storms than others, but still, we are here. This definitely could be called the "year of lessons". For Carl and I, it has been the year of  "True Colors", or finding out the people who really care, and those who are full of shit. No other way to put it really. So many who were in our life just really didn't deserve the spot they had. Sometimes, you just have to make some changes, and we did. Hard decisions come with the realization that when the shit hits the fan, who really is going to be there for you? It was a rude awakening for my handsome man, and it was horrible watching him go through it all. A small experiment was conducted. He posted a small comment one day...just to see what reaction he would get from family and friends. After a few hours, he posted it again. Then the next day, again. Only 3 people responded. Two, were my long time friends. One, a friend we have mutually. That's it. Was awful. Gut wrenching. Family hadn't even made one small effort to even say one word. Sometimes, silence hurts more than anything.

So, like I have said, we are moving forward into this year with hopeful hearts, and eyes wide open. We know what lies ahead for our future, and we know who really matters most. Those who support and love us for all that we are, will know that we return the love and support they share. Those that don't, probably won't hear from us anymore. Time can be short, and there is no reason to waste it. People go around saying that you are "supposed to love family" or that you "have to do this" or "have to do that". Um, no, we don't. We only have to do what we want. This is our life. Everyone should live their life as they choose. Don't live to make others happy. That is their own responsibility. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. Why take chances? So, this is me standing on the island, with my finger waving proudly in the all of you who have talked behind our back. To those who don't agree with our wedding plans. To those who don't agree with how we live. To those who don't agree with the fact that we don't practice any religion. To those who think you are better than us. To those who thought we wouldn't last because you don't know a damn thing about either of us...but walk around like you know it all....guess what? Finger in your face. :-) 2011 is the year that Mr. and Mrs. Danielson will be married, and moving on. Peace out. <3

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Old Woman, Wise Woman, Powerful Woman: The Beauty of Aging

 One day, surfing across the web in no particularly linear or rational way (I guess that's what surfing is), I came across this quote from Rush Limbaugh: "Will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?"
He said that in 2008, referring to Hillary Clinton. With a masterful stroke of the mouth, he attempted to disempower this woman by using one of the patriarchy's greatest weapons, the deeply held belief that age makes women ugly, worthless and powerless.
I remember hearing it then, and it made my blood boil. When I saw it again, I wondered about it. About Rush. About men. About women. About being a woman and growing old. About why watching a woman grow old scares the hell out of people. His statement is still a powerful window into how women who are growing older are perceived in our culture.
I am reminded of my mother as she grew frail towards her death. She showed such dignity. Even when she could hardly stand up, she wanted her hair combed, her lipstick on. She didn't want anyone, including her children, to see her use the commode. She walked towards her death with grace.
I thought of Robbie Kaye and the amazing work she is doing with women and aging at Beauty of Wisdom. Robbie takes photographs of women getting their hair done -- beautiful, proud women.
I wonder about how Rush felt watching his mother grow old, how he feels watching the women in his life that he loves growing older. How do we feel when we fear the crone out there, and in here, while we are in relationship with our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, great-aunts and wise old women friends? While we are in relationship with ourselves and our own aging bodies?
And (this is a big "and") somewhere a part of me is fully capable of saying something just as hurtful. If I push that away in him, I push it away in myself. I've grown up ingesting this patriarchal pabulum every day of my life. I've adopted the fears and beliefs and admonitions of a culture steeped in ageism, sexism, racism and any other "ism" that has been the foundation of this patriarchal thought-structure. It takes a deepening awareness and an opening consciousness to begin to see what I project onto others, how I push others away, how I say stupid things because of my own conditioning.
The structure of patriarchy is insidious. It causes men to oppress all women, because, as Allan G. Johnson points out in "Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy," it is "linked to a cultural devaluing of femaleness itself." It causes men to oppress even the women in their own lives that they dearly love, for you can't uphold a structure of beliefs, acting within that structure everyday, and somehow not inflict that pain on some women and not others.
Johnson writes:
One of the deepest reasons for denying the reality of women's oppression is that we don't want to admit that a real basis for conflict exists between men and women. We don't want to admit it because, unlike other groups involved in social oppression, such as white and blacks, female and males really need each other, if only as parents and children. [Emphasis mine]
Think about it: men and women are inextricably linked. We can't not engage with each other. If we were no longer engaged, life wouldn't continue. That's what makes it so hard to look at patriarchy and the oppression of the feminine. And yet, we need the reemergence of the feminine to heal ourselves and to heal the earth. We need the nurturing, nourishing, wise and instinctual, wildly creative and fiercely unconditionally loving feminine to heal ourselves from our ways of destruction and domination. We need this reemergence in women, and we need it in men. We need to find balance within ourselves, the balance between the masculine and feminine.
The old woman was once revered, when people revered the Great Mother, when they saw the beauty of birth, death and rebirth, the power of transformation. Now, we sit around and pretend we don't get old and don't die. We feel the shift happening, and we dig our heels in and pretend we can't be touched.
As I've aged, I've felt invisibility creep in. The older I get, the more invisible I become, in a culture where youth and external beauty reign. All the while, I've become more beautiful to myself, because I am embracing and honoring the wisdom that my life experiences have brought, and the kindness, compassion and tenderness that grief and loss have engendered. It takes a certain amount of awareness and effort to keep coming back to what is real, what is true. It isn't easy at all. Yet, there comes a time when no other way is palatable. I can feel the energy of the crone. I feel her power. I feel her fierce love.
It's not that I don't have moments of grief and sadness around aging. Some of those moments come when I get caught up in the never-ending bombardment of the advertising blitz. I notice my body growing a little stiffer, I am aware of the years passing, and I know death is always a breath away. But so is life. Life is always a breath away.

Women's power in the patriarchy is youth, physical beauty, a sexy, toned body, the ability to become more like a man than a woman, so how we act and what we do will move us up the ladder of what this culture deems is successful.
But in an entirely different way, we women are powerful beings, especially as we age. Not powerful in the patriarchal paradigm, but powerful in the sense that we are more authentic, more real, more truthful and more beautiful. And powerful as the crone, the wise woman, the woman who embodies crone energy. The crone is the woman who no longer sees herself only in relation to others, but as a woman unto herself, a woman who stands alone in the center of her own beingness, in the center of her own truth, and from this center relates to the people in her life from what is real for her.
The patriarchy fears the crone. She is truthful, she is powerfully creative, she is intuitive and instinctual, and she loves fiercely. The patriarchy does everything it can to deny this, even to denigrate this and the women who embody it, because old women are wise women are powerful women. They have gifts to share, gifts that this world desperately needs.

What if we could be with ourselves in such a way that we no longer projected our deepest fears onto an entire portion of the earth's population, a group of people that has gifts to share with the world right now, gifts of wisdom, grace and beauty?
What if we could be with ourselves in such a way that we no longer projected our deepest fears onto each other, woman to man, man to woman?
Being with ourselves is the first step.
Being with the misogynistic and misandrist thoughts that ramble around our own minds and consciousness, and questioning whether they are true, whether we know them to be 100-percent fact.
Being with our hardened hearts, with the walls we've built around them that allow us to engage in such a way where we are just as complicit in this fear and rejection of the wise old woman, and wondering if our hearts really feel this way.
Being with ourselves, with the feelings we don't want to feel, the feelings we numb ourselves to, day in and day out.
Being with.
Being with the beginning of something, a beginning of a world where we honor and respect each other as men and women.
As Kate Chopin reminds us, "the beginning of things, of a world especially, is necessarily vague, tangled, chaotic, and exceedingly disturbing."
A world where patriarchy is a distant memory begins with the chaotic, the vague, with the tangled mess of people willing to engage differently, even when we don't yet know how to do it or what it might look like.
It may feel exceedingly disturbing, but then don't the happenings in our world right now disturb you greatly?

Julie Daley

Julie Daley

Posted: December 21, 2010 09:03 AM

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's raining more ways than one.

How peculiar. It has been pouring for days now, outside, and for months now inside my brain. This overwhelming feeling of anxiety and worry has begun to consume me. Not to say that I have not been happy, or excited, because there have been wonderful moments as well. There has just been this lurking, nagging thing back there...waiting. I don't know what it is, but its there, and it is quietly falling now, just like the rain is at this very moment.

Sometimes, I have these thoughts, and these fears, that things are going to change, and that something isn't quite right, and I hate when I get like that. Someone will tell me to knock it off, or say not to be paranoid. I often feel like maybe I have something inside of me, like another sense, or ability to tell when change is coming. I have had dreams that have made me sit up in the middle of the night, and I feel a sense of worry. I will not understand it at that moment, but later, the familiar sense of, "oh, that's what it meant" kicks in. I try to talk myself out of certain worries, because I know I can cause unnecessary panic, or stress, but the cloud just doesn't leave until the rain falls, because the weight of it is just too heavy.

I really think that this year, is a year of drastic change. It seems that the previous months and constant problems are all just leading into this big set up for a good cleansing. Some things, and people for that matter, just really needed to go away. It was all feeling fake, false, pretending to be something that just wasn't. I couldn't do it anymore. Trying to please everyone was just a pain in the ass. No one was going around trying to return the favor. I have always had this feeling that being selfish was such a horrible trait, yet it seems to work remarkably well for so many. Just seems like less work.

Bottom line, I have tried really hard to be a good person, and to do the right thing. People have really, and truly let me down lately, and been so damn hurtful and cruel, and it has resulted in me having almost uncontrollable anger and resentment, and I really don't care to be that kind of person. I am pissed off entirely too much because I am sick of everyone's bullshit. I really just need to learn to not care, just as they do. It can't be that hard, since so many are so good at it. Gonna give it a shot.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In the grand scheme of it all...Betty is calling our name.

It really is a beautiful, beautiful dream. I think of it daily. All the time. It goes over and over in my mind, like a well thought out screen play, that I have written with great care. I listen to the music, I can see every single step. I know exactly how I hope it will all play out. I know exactly how he wishes for the day to be for us both. The most beautiful dress is hanging in our closet, and all I keep thinking I ever going to be able to wear it? Is this really going to happen?

It's not because we don't want to do all comes down to money. Pure and simple. The all mighty dollar is controlling this entire event, and the pressure for me to earn more and more, to acquire the $8500.00 for the venue, flowers, tuxes, pay the photographer, and by the time we are done, we are gonna be over $12,000.00, and that's before we have saved one single dime for a honeymoon. What the fuck.

I am going to be absolutely crushed beyond belief, because what Carl and I want most is to have this ceremony, performed by my Aunt, that is rich in tradition and heritage, that will be emotional, and loving, and absolutely beautiful and heartfelt. it will be original, and unlike any other, and completely US, but we would have to go into almost complete and serious debt to do that, and I am terrified. I really don't know what to do....