EMOTION

A good cry, a good scream, a good tantrum all have their place. Just warn those around you.

I never warn anyone. My preferred screams are an ululation for joy, and a throat searing anguished screech in the car with all the windows rolled uptightly.

The latter I do less than I used to. When the kids were small it was a once every other day occurrence. I began to think I might have a career in opera. I could hold the note for a long time sitting in the garage or trill it down the incline of a freeway off-ramp.

I once told a single friend that I had thought of screaming in the car as I drove off the end of the Newport Pier. She was aghast until eight years later, she had a husband and a child of her own. She asked for a ride.

The crying part is a snap for me because I was born with my bladder behind my eyes. I can stand at the card rack in the drug store and read birthday cards, tears streaming down my cheeks. School plays dissolve all of my mascara and when a grandie smiles, “love you,” I choke, “I love you too.” I look away so I don’t worry them with my watery response.

I don’t believe I ever had a tantrum. Gladys, my mother, did not allow that. After all a tantrum is a two person event. Tantrums need an audience and no one ever paid attention to me long enough for me to get going.

I am thinking that now that my husband has lost the hearing in one ear, I could stand on that side and practice. He wouldn’t even look up and I might become quite proficient. Trouble is if I throw myself on the ground and kick my feet it’s risky at my age. I might break a hip or hurt myself badly in other ways. Then there is the problem of getting up off of the floor.

Maybe I could warn someone, after all, so they could call 911.

Today is the birthday of three of my favorite people. My lovely, patient daughter-in-law, Karen. My twin nephews, Dan and Dennis. There must be something special about people born on this day. All three are good, kind and loving. That’s the real success in life. Happy Birthday to each of you. Celebrate Life!

Blessings, Bubbles

STRICKLY GERM-PROOF by Arthur Guiterman (1871-1943)

This is a poem my Dad used to read to me. All I could remember is the Antiseptic Baby and the Prophylactic Pup. A good one for this time

Strickly Germ-Proof

The Antiseptic Baby and the Prophylatic Pup

Were playing in the garden when the Bunny gamboled up;

They looked upon the Creature with a loathing undisguised,-

It wasn’t Disinfected and it wasn’t Sterilized.

They said it was a Microbe and a Hotbed of Disease;

They steamed it in a vapor of a thousand-odd degrees;

They froze it in a freezer that was cold as Banished hope

And washed it in permanganate with carbolated soap.

In sulphurated hydrogen they steeped its wiggly ears;

They trimmed its frisky whiskers with a pair of hard-boiled shears;

They donned their rubber mittens and they took it by the hand

And elected it a member of the Fumigated Band.

There’s not a Micrococcus in the garden where they play;

They bathe in pure idoform a dozen times a day;

And each imbibes his rations from a Hygienic Cup-

The Bunny and the Baby and the Prophylactic Pup.

This may be a good time to read some poetry.

Try Mary Oliver and Billy Collins. One will make you think, the other will make you laugh. Blessings, Bubbles

THE LEARNING CURVE

The Corona Virus epidemic consumes the news. Television, radio, newspapers are almost totally covered with stories and admonitions.

We are told to stay at home, yet the beaches and parks are filled with people here in Corona del Mar, Ca. and all over the country. Young people are told to stay away from elders so they seem to believe this is a problem only for the elderly. Most of them if they get the virus will survive, some will not. How do we get them to understand that their lives will be changed for a long time if they do not follow what they are being told to do.

Doctors and other health care workers are risking their lives daily. People working in the markets and pharmacies are also risking their lives to help the rest of us. Restaurant workers, shop keepers, and other service workers are out of a job. Still, too many people are thinking only of themselves. They hoard, they gather in close groups, they are privileged and no one will tell them what to do or where they can go.

I know young people feel invincible. They think the old people will get sick and some die. Some of their friends will get sick and die also. The economy is suffering and will continue to suffer. Too many thoughtless people just don’t “get it.” They don’t seem to understand or perhaps care that in the long run it is their way of life that will change. No sports, no concerts, no school, etc. Life will be constrained for a long time if some continue to do as they please. Some of us will never recover financially.

My husband and I have been confined for two weeks. Some days are productive, cleaning and arranging files, doing those projects around the house we have put off, working in the garden. I don’t know how the next few weeks will be. We’re trying to make the best of it. Have a leisurely breakfast, talk and enjoy all the small things of life. We miss our friends and relatives. It’s one day at a time. We have much to learn through these times.

This is from Martin Luther writing about the plague.

Let us all do what is expected of us. Let us live with hope that our country will rise and join to do this as a nation. The preamble of our constitution says “We the People.” We are in this together. Like it or not it’s time to live up to our values and show the world we are united, that we care about each other.

Read this again. It’s the best.

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Good health and blessings, Bubbles

WHAT CAN HAPPEN

I’m sure some of you have received this. It is worth repeating and pondering.

“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

“And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

“And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”

~Kitty O’Meara

Wouldn’t this be the best thing that could possibly come out of a terrible situation? I don’t know Kitty, but I’d like to. I will also try to be part of the healing. And you?

10 TIPS TO STRESS LESS

Since we are all on rest time. We need to take advantage of the time. I am cleaning files. A friend says she cleaned her washing machine gaskets. I am in awe of this woman. Things aren’t too bad yet, but if we go into weeks our true natures may come raging out. Or we may get so used to slowing down, we’ll have a hard time starting up again. So here are 10 ideas to take or leave.

  1. Organize your day.
  2. Eat Healthily
  3. Go for a walk
  4. Have an early night
  5. See the funny side of life.
  6. Catch up with friends, your phone still works.
  7. Learn something new.
  8. Ask for help if you need it.
  9. Take time out
  10. Reach out to help others.

I’ll add some more do the things at home you have been putting off. Like clean the garage, work in the garden, clean your closet. The last one I am saving for last. I will have to try on my size 8’s which I call my “hope chest.” I don’t know if I have the physical or mental strength to do this. I will lose all hope on that one. I spent more money on clothes when I wore that size, good suits, lovely dresses that have a waist so they are hard to part with but impossible to zip.

I used to teach tennis and play a lot, never had to diet. That is another danger of sheltering. So as my good Lutheran mother used to say cheer up, make yourself useful, mind your manners, and, above all, don’t feel sorry for yourself. Say a prayer for our country and the world.

Blessings, Bubbles

HEADING THEM OFF AT THE PASS, common sense in parenting

I was raised in a family of 2 sisters and 3 brothers, an almost limitless combination for neurosis and sibling problems. My parents had a finite amount of money. They both worked to provide food, shelter and clothing. They did possess a large amount of what is much discussed but rare, common sense. All of us are at this moment self-reliant, contributing citizens, so I would call them successful parents.

I raised 2 boys and three girls with a large contribution from their father. They are self-reliant contributing citizens also. Relatives and friends asked my parents, and are now asking us how we did it. To my horror, I am beginning to reply as if I know. The major thing we learned to do is, “head the off at the pass.” I watched my parents, and I believe that if small daily problems are dealt with, they will not become big problems.

Having children is a truly humbling experience. I have learned to deal in more or less. I have made many pronouncements and eaten more words than I can swallow. To say “my child would never” is a slippery slope because I have learned that I cannot say with certainty that I would never.

I have good friends who cared enough about me and my children to tell me when they were concerned about the kids’ behavior. I tried to keep an open mind and evaluate the comments in the light of the information I had. The child’s behavior is the issue not the child. I took the criticism as an act of love. I cared about my friends and siblings kids and I know they cared about mine.

I had a teacher tell me she didn’t like my child. I was aghast that a teacher would say such a thing about a child to her mother. I didn’t like the teacher either. I had to step away from my protective feelings as a mother. I had to let go of my feelings and realize that the quality or behavior that the teacher found so irritating would also hurt my child with friends or an employer. I now believe that incident to be the single most gift a teacher has ever given to us. I still don’t like her but I listened.

Now that we are confined to home and spending more time with each other in this stressful world, we need to be kind to each other. I believe the home should be a place of peace and safety. Each member of the family needs to grow in their own individual manner. They need to come home to a place of security.

Name calling and swearing were never allowed in our home or in my parents home. Not to say that it was never done. We tried to instill in our children respect and courtesy for each other. There must be a recognition of each persons rights and love and faith in a family. Words can hurt just like a slap.

As my Dad with his common sense told us, “It doesn’t matter how you treat others, if you are mean to your family.”

Peace in your heart, peace in the family, peace in the country, peace in the world.

Blessings, Bubbles

MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES

This is reputed to be a Chinese curse. Since this Corona virus came out of China those people may know first hand what it means. My generation missed the big wars. Missed the depression. Yet here we are living in interesting times. My husband and I are self sheltering. My gym is closed and I think about all of the staff who work so hard to help us. My yoga class is cancelled. I am concerned about Roberta, the yogi who is never late and sets a lovely scene for us. My doctor called to cancel me. I have a painful hand, but he is asking all patients over 65 to reschedule. My writing class is canceled. So is the poetry reading which was supposed to take place at the end of April. I am blessed to have a housekeeper twice a month. She has become a friend. She brings 3-4 other women so I must cancel her for Monday. I will still pay her because she is so loyal. She is probably at more risk than I. Since I am home, I can clean and keep myself busy. I have gone through old files on the home improvements we have done the last 39 years we have been blessed to live in our home. I added all the work and am amazed at what we have spent.

I am tackling my house inventory. Know how you keep thinking I really should do this. Take photos for insurance. Tell the story of how and when something precious was obtained. Now’s the time. I have more past than future and I want my kids to know why these things that clutter my home are important to me.

I’m calling my darling sibs, and my friends just to check in. I am NOT running out to buy toilet paper. Read today that a woman went to the market and asked where to find nuts. The clerk responded, “in the toilet paper aisle.” If I had a business, say selling scarves, I’d put a message on social media that there is a shortage of scarves. Boom, my business would be overwhelmed.

Think of all the books you can read. Think of how you can clean and organize your home. My very last, scary thing is to clean out my closet. My size 8’s are still hanging there. I call it my “hope chest.” I realize I don’t want to starve to get there and I’m getting comfortable with my weight. Sofia Lauren said that after 50 you have to choose between your hips or your face. I’m choosing an extra slice of cheese and a martini.

This crisis tells us we are more connected than we think, or maybe that we want to be. I heard of a young man who is incensed because he doesn’t want the government to tell him what to do. Hey, fella, there is no one else out there to protect your family at this time. What can you do about this virus? If your child gets sick because someone didn’t follow the guidelines given by the CDC who will you call?

I am staying home. Not because I am sick. Not because I am afraid. It’s because we need to be concerned about each other. The CDC exists to protect us. I will follow their guidelines.

To shelter here is a privilege. Our garden is beautiful with spring renewing the earth. We can all look at the sky, look at the rain or snow, slow our lives down and perhaps think. As advanced as we are a small virus may be here to teach us to savor the day. To appreciate our families, play some games with them and return to the basics that will ultimately make us better than before.

Blessings, Bubbles

ON A WALK-ABOUT FOR AWHILE

That’s the Aussie description of wandering, physically and mentally. I’ve been down with the “croup.” A 2 1/2 week doldrum type cough and fatigue. I became conscious to find Corona Virus is coming and Super Tuesday wasn’t so super. I’m sorry to find Bernie took California. I don’t like his “free for all” story or his shouting and finger-pointing.

I am sorry to see EW go. I’m not fond of her “almost everything free for all” either. She is, however, bright and honest. We can’t have that in a woman. If she’s smart, she’s condescending. She did shut up another arrogant billionaire. I hope she stays around as a conscience for the pols.

How long has this election been droning on? I believe we need legislation to have a time frame on running for office. Start in June for the Nov. Election. Surely that’s enough time to get a message across. Have a limit (a real limit) on spending and have everyone release their taxes. Let’s see who has “skin in the game.”

Not to worry about the Cvirus. Mr. Pence is in charge. If someone wakes him up or clicks the on button under his coat, he may begin to move. Like he didn’t in Indiana. Clever of the Orange Man to put him in charge. When all goes south or down or we all try to find health care and an epidemic hits, it won’t be his fault. Then a new VP can be chosen. someone who is really vulgar and nasty, a match for Mr. Orange.

I’m thinking of going back to bed for a while. Perhaps all this is a nightmare. When I wake up civility will be the norm and all shall be well.

Blessings, Bubbles

WRITE AND REWRITE

I am working on a memoir called, “Woman-Be Quiet.” I thought I was almost finished then I joined the Thursday Critique Group at Sea Country. They are a group of talented, creative and honest writers. Their criticism is valuable. Often it is hard to hear. Hard to hear, but I need to listen. They want to help me. It’s called tough love in parenting.

I thought my story was important. No one disagrees on that. It just needs to be interesting, not a rant. I am not as angry about the plight of women as I was when I started this story. I want people to hear what I say. I want them to really look at that little girl in their life and ask, does she have an equal chance with her brother?

Yes, things have gotten better for some women, but violence is still a danger for every woman no matter what her age. Several years ago, the AMA was having a conference in San Francisco. The majority of the attendees were men. There was great hue and cry because the doctors got a letter before the convention stating security rules. These precautions might ruin their good time.

When I read them, I nearly laughed out loud. Don’t walk down the street alone after dark. Don’t get into an elevator with only one man inside. Don’t open your hotel room door unless you know who the person is. Don’t set your drink down and walk away. The cautions went on. They were what every woman deals with her whole life.

What world did these guys live in? Their baby daughters and grandmothers lived in a reality where the world is dangerous because they are female. The odds that a woman will be raped are high, the odds that a man would be raped are low. The odds that a woman will be believed if she is raped are low.

We are seeing women speak out. Some took the abuse for advancement in their careers. I think some just knew no one would believe them if they reported the abuse.

Read about the two jerks that owned Victoria’s Secret. Women have accepted their jaded view on what women should wear. Bustiers, garter belts, thongs, designs of old misogynist creeps.

When I look at photos of these guys and Weinstein, I don’t want to even see them clothed. Thinking of them naked is not an image I want in my mind. Some women walked away. I salute them. Some stayed and did what they thought would bring them fame and fortune. I feel sorry for them and hope they will be an example for other young women, so they will know they don’t have to conform to men’s skewed desires.

We women, need to rewrite the story. We need to have other women critique what we allow, what our story is. Don’t be quick to criticise her. Listen to each other. A fair loving critique will help improve her story and yours.

REPETITION

I’ve been reading H.J. Desmond’s history of the Nativist Movement, copyright 1905. This group created a political party called the “American Party,” more popularly known as the “Know-Nothing Party.” They became strong in the mid-1800s. This was the time of great immigration to the U.S.

There were rules about joining the secret society known as the Order of the Star-Spangled Banner (OSSB). An initiation rite called “Seeing Sam.” The memorization of passwords and hand signs. A solemn pledge never to betray the order. A pureblooded pedigree of Protestant Anglo-Saxon stock and the rejection of all Catholics. And above all, members of the secret society weren’t allowed to talk about the secret society. If asked anything by outsiders, they would respond with, “I know nothing.”

There were 5 million people (all immigrants because they didn’t count the Native Americans.) in the United States before 1850. By 1900, 20 million had joined the land. The KnowNothing Party intended to prevent Catholics and immigrants, mainly Irish in the east and Germans in the mid-west, from being elected to political offices. Its members also hoped to deny these people jobs in the private sector, arguing that the nation’s business owners needed to employ true Americans. More radical members of the KnowNothing Party believed that the Catholics intended to take over the United States of America. The Catholics would then place the nation under the Pope’s rule. We heard this again when Kennedy ran for President.

By 1852 the Know-Nothing party was achieving phenomenal growth. It did very well that year in state and local elections, and with the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 it won additional adherents from the ranks of conservatives who could support neither the proslavery Democrats nor antislavery Republicans. When Congress assembled on Dec. 3, 1855, 43 representatives were avowed members of the Know-Nothing Party.

It seems to me that our Senate, Democrats and Republicans could be called the “Know-Nothing’s.” They certainly Know Nothing about integrity, the general good of our country or even the Constitution. They do know about re-election, lobbyists, and lining their own pockets.

Do they know what generativity means? What they are leaving their grandchildren and mine? Do they know weakening the EPA will give us black air like the cities of China? Do they know what Civil Rights Means? Do they know that our National Parks are in danger? Do they know what good example means? What the hell do they know?

When you put on your “Make America Great Again” hat. Ask how is this going? Does voting along party lines make this a better country? Does vulgarity enrich us? Does leaving out a portion of our citizens make this country great? What can each of us do to make this happen?

Immigration to the United States has always been a confusing subject if you read history. I believe there is a moderate method to take in people who have nowhere else to turn. My ancestors came here legally (yes I have the papers to prove it) but they came and worked hard. Other people walked across the border, stayed and worked hard too.

Here in California, the Anglos invaded and moved the border, marginalizing the Native Americans and the Spanish Immigrants who had been here 200 years before them.

So what’s the point? History does repeat itself. The people who took the Native American lands despised those who came later for the same reasons they did. Now the descendants of those people are railing against anyone new. The names are new, but the actors are the same.

Round and round we go- where it stops nobody knows.

For more information check out The Smithsonian Magazine’s article on the Know-Nothing Party.

POLITICS

You knew this would come up. Yes, the inmates are running the asylum. My wise sister, says every person that goes to congress should have to watch, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” three times before they take office.

Whether the Chief Executive should be impeached, needs to be decided with impartiality. Neither party is doing the job we elected them to do. Let me put it out there now. I am an Independent voter. I cannot agree with either party. If there were a couple of representatives or senators who had a conscience, some guts, and listened to the evidence. I wouldn’t care how they voted. But the party line is disgusting.

When I see senators reading a book during the proceedings, it’s evident they don’t care about what is true or about our democracy. A jury in a trial is supposed to be impartial and listen to the evidence. This impeachment proceeding seems to be a waste of time. They have made up what is called their minds.

Hey folks, just go home and mail in your vote, because you are not taking our constitution seriously. All you care about is re-election. I wish the American people would suspend judgement and bias, and listen, really listen, and vote you out of office for your arrogance.

I was appaled when Pres. Trump was fined for taking money from a charity he established for veterans. He never put any money into it. He used the money for a large portrait of himself and some other personal things. If you gave money to this charity, you should be enraged. No one seems to have paid much attention to this travesty. It’s stealing. Stealing from the men who have sacrificed their lives for this country. The ones who Mr. Trump pretends he cares about. This is recorded in court proceedings, it is not “fake news,” as he so often says.

I agree with the Pres on some things, I don’t think we can sustain unlimited immigration or women coming here to have their children. They have the honor of citizenship with no responsibility. But I am afraid for our environment. Where will our grandchildren go to experience nature? Trump is cutting the protection for our beautiful parks and national monuments. Climate change isn’t a political football, an opinion. I have been to Patagonia and seen the glacier melt. I have been to China and tried to breathe in the pollution. I lived in Los Angeles when we couldn’t see across the street. I do not want that again.

Read scientific journals, National Geographic, publications that aren’t political. Keep an open mind. Think of what you want to leave your grandchildren.

I am always concerned with a good example. I do not see it in this President or the Senate. The tweets and language Mr Trump uses are inane and vulgar. I taught 5th grade and his kind of behavior and name-calling were not allowed. They are soul-crushing. Indeed they are more on a third-grade level. The whole scene makes me sad. Is this the best example we can offer to our children, to the world?

Where is Mr. Smith when we need him?

Anxiously, Bubbles

RELIGIONS SAY Woman-Be Quiet

I always wondered why women put up with it. They bow their heads and pretend, with finger to cheek, that they don’t quite understand. They let a man win a game so he won’t feel diminished. They take inappropriate comments with a smile and think to be “a lady” is to be invisible, to be sweet. In nearly every culture, women need to be quiet to be accepted, as in keep your opinion to yourself and shut up. That’s what mama told them.

            We are set up for this historically. In the ancient story, The Odyssey, Penelope in her experience and wisdom tries to speak; she is told by her young son, Telemachus, to go back upstairs…speaking is for men.” She does what he says. She should have smacked him and sent him to his room for a long time out. 

            Over the years, women writers took male names to tell their stories. Even today it is a rare woman that is heard in a church or temple or government.

            Be quiet is what I was told the day I came into the world. Be quiet is what I have been told throughout my life. Women’s voices need to be heard. It’s time to talk. It’s time to tell you my story.

            As a small girl in the 1950’s, I found a place of comfort in the liturgy, music and community of our parish church.  My family lived in a small three-bedroom house in Compton, California. My two sisters and I slept in a double bed in the girl’s room. The three boys had bunk beds and another single in their room. The sound of my parents praying together at night lulled us to sleep.

            My life felt safe, but I was a contrary child.

            Even then something didn’t seem right. I began to see that there were opportunities for boys that didn’t exist for girls. I asked questions about this unfairness at home and at school and was given annoyed looks or told to “Be Quiet.”

            My parents encouraged the girls to “get an education,’ which usually meant be a teacher or a nurse. In the late ’50s, early ’60s our horizons were limited.  We were told that we would enroll in the local Community College because it was the cheapest. We also worked to pay for our books and education costs. There were no student loans then. 

            Our salaries, like today, were less than a man earned for the same job. We played sports but the opportunity for scholarships did not exist for us as they did for our brothers. The Sport’s Illustrated Magazine only presented women in its’swimsuit issue, that is women as a sport. It had nothing to do with a woman’s athletic skill, nor did it honor her skill, only her body.

            I knew the world was skewed for males, but it wasn’t until the first years of high school that I began to resent the ease with which men moved in the world. I hated the off-color comments and deliberate touching that women were supposed to ignore. I hated the feeling that no matter what my age I was not safe in the world just because I am female.

            In college, I studied other religions and other cultures and came to my conclusion. No woman is safe in any society. No woman can reach her full potential in any religion. Obey, be quiet, stay a virgin until marriage, do what your father, priest, minister, imam, rabbi husband, brother, or boss says and you will be safe, revered. Otherwise, you will be ostracized and shunned. Your names will be bitch, ball buster, liar, uppity, whore, on and on. There are so many epithets for women who will not be quiet.

            My uneasiness became more focused as I had children and saw how most little girls are trained. From babyhood, they are taught to defer to males, to be good, be quiet. Women also had their place, and I learned that, sweetheart, you’d better stay in that spot or it will be very hard on you.

            In my forty’s I read Sue Monk Kidd’s The Dance of the Dissident Daughter. Her observations on the attitudes toward women and her narration on the full position of the female situation in the world matched mine. 

            I began to ask why. Why do girls and women continue this dance? Why do mothers of daughters and sons keep this tradition of bondage going?  That is what is, control of another person.

            I see it like the Chinese binding feet of women or the female genital mutilation in Africa and the Arab world. The truly frightening fact about those two torturous acts is that the older women in the society perform them on the girls. They want to please the men. Many men won’t accept a woman if she is not controllable if she does not reflect him. A free woman is frightening.

            In my forties, I discovered the teachings of Karl Jung and his wisdom of male, female integration. I had been struggling with keeping my head down, with seeing the injustice of the patriarchal world and staying quiet about it.

            I was like the kid in the story of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Everyone else seemed to think all was good.  What was my problem? This disquieting attitude toward me came from both men and women.

            In my fiftieth year, I discovered the monastery in the desert and told my story out loud. It was necessary for me to listen, to be a witness to my own story. This examination of what I knew to be true gave me the direction I needed. My path to understanding and peace.

            This account of my quotidian life reveals how subtly and slowly a girl gets the message of her society and religion. This story is specific to the time of the ’50s until now, but nearly every woman in any culture can fill in her own narration with its tranquillizing message of “Be-Quiet.” It is shocking how risky it is for a woman to find a different path, to understand and state what she has lost, to speak out.

            Sometimes I felt my religion killed me, spiritually. Then I rallied and tried to ignore the church politics. I remembered Sofia, the feminine aspect of God, the Holy Spirit, is with us. I took responsibility for my own spiritual growth. I learned that my faith is separate from a church. It is not based on a doctrine or a denomination or a priest or a preacher. My relationship with God is not doctrinal, it is functional. I do not need their rules.

            It is because of my awareness of the lack of balance in churches, the injustice toward women and the corruption of the hierarchy that I made my decision. The message of my own parable became clear to me. We need to speak up against wrongs. We need to change the attitudes about what is feminine and what is masculine. We need to begin with religion.

            Religions and societies evolve but true change comes slowly. I cannot alter either institution a great deal. I work within my own sphere. I share with you the story of how the message of being substandard was and is conveyed by churches and society and even families, like a life-long circumcision ceremony. These are institutions that honor their traditions even if they are based on cruelty, ignorance and domination.

            The rites are accomplished with careful practice of traditions, one small wound at a time. It is done with such finesse and unconsciousness that often it isn’t until menopause that some women, numb for so long realize that something is absent. When the void is acknowledged a woman must search to find what element in her psyche has been excised. Her faith in God is still intact, but why does she feel diminished?

            I am content after years of turmoil. Faith is mine. I pray and try to live the message of the Golden Rule. I have a family I love, and a close community of friends I care about and who care about me. The hole in my heart and sorrow in my soul are filling with peace. I live with thanks for the past and hope for the future.