Process, Uncategorized

The Story of The Broken Goddess

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Maybe it’s the whole point this picture so isn’t me. Black dress red high heels and yet it has on occasion been who I have projected. The Femme Fatale (not really) The toxic masculine idea of the divine feminine, maybe.

It started with the idea of keeping a blog called The Engaged Life, that was supposed to document, chart and consolidate the process of getting married. To use it as a learning tool and create a narrative that teaches. The only challenge was that the narrative quickly sped out of control and I was spinning.

Being a Bride is fucked up, not least because it’s a modern falsehood built on the idea of purity. It caused me problems. As I think on it now it makes me think of the painting of Lady Jane Grey by Paul Delaroche. Lady Jane Gray was a young English noble who was married off in an alliance that would make her the shortest reigning English monarch. S Lady Jane Grey was Queen for 9 days and was removed from the throne was later beheaded for treason along with her young husband. The painting depicts her in a white dress being helped to the executioners block blindfolded and most importantly in a white dress. 1077px-PAUL_DELAROCHE_-_Ejecución_de_Lady_Jane_Grey_(National_Gallery_de_Londres,_1834)

It’s a rough analogy I know; for being a Bride. I’m sad to say it’s how I felt and in moments even worse. For many of us, our wedding is some how meant to encapsulate all we are as women. It’s based on the idea that someone else should adore us enough to offer that validation, which all of us know on a spiritual path know is absolutely fucked. How do we get someone to love us that much if we don’t align with the idea of purity not only that how do we honour this idea when it’s all about somebody else feelings for you?

I’ve struggled with this, all of this, and much much more and i”m still wondering at it all. About what society think and why we are hell-bent on creating such unrealistic expectations of ourselves? To be young, to be beautiful and most of all that these are the qualities on which we as women are supposed to be honoured. When most of the women that I know have radically transformed themselves beyond the ideas of the maiden by the time they get married these days. That we are no longer sacrificial virgins, we’re just supposed to look like one. I’m glad to believe that ideas of the divine feminine are rapidly changing. That there are now hopefully a whole generation of young girls and young women that no longer seek to define themselves by these rules. Yet is it changing rapidly enough?

If Instagram is anything to go by not really and yet at the same time maybe? Ideas of perfection are crippling and self-harm rates among young women are on the rise as Instagram is suspected to be part of the cause. The perfect photo, the perfect body and the strange face smoothing filters that are just creepy. Yet, on the other hand, Instagram gives us a voice and the opportunity to honour ourselves, see our own value and write stories that represent us in all our messyness, rather than the picture perfect lives that we are supposed to be living. That our feeling matter and the idea of the female muse are quickly fading as the community Boyfriends of Insta suggests.  That men too are supposed to glorify women for nothing more than their looks in beautiful locations presenting fantastical ideas of self-love; when in fact the photos are endlessly supported by someone other than ourselves. That somehow we need to be endorsed. I can’t figure out if it’s radical subversion of the concept of the gaze or a perversion of it? That women are still buying into the masculine control of the gaze. absorbing and adopting it as part of a toxic masculine framework. That they too believe that beauty is their only value. The self-harm epidemic certainly seems to suggest so.

Where does that leave us? Much like my idea of a blog called The Engaged Life, very confused, especially as women who straddle the new and old paradigms.

What alarms me personally most is…..that I did not grow up with body image issues. admittedly I’ve largely been quite slim and fairly attractive so why would I? Maybe this is the quandary of the older Bride and all that means. You think being an older Bride would offer you more confidence and control. Where in fact I found the opposite trying to live up to value and beliefs that had outgrown me, that my twenty-something self would have relished. It makes me believe that the worshipping of the maiden has to take on a different form. Develop its own ritual and Brides should be left to focus on the important things, marriage and the transitioning of families. The story has to change. Brides are not sacrificial offerings. They are Queens creating their own Queendoms.

 

 

 

 

Process, Uncategorized

The Balance of Power

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Here in South Africa it’s women’s month and it’s a big month. We love our women. I was listening to radio and I heard an incredible statistics that 68% of adult South African women were single. First of all I have no idea, what the world average on this, the figure just seemed incredibly high. Then I thought about it. Then I thought it a little bit longer and it occurred to me in South Africa as a woman (at least in my social circle) it’s unusual to be married.

So I’ve been having all those girly conversation about relationships and men. How we pair up, what makes a match and how relationships work? What I have just realised is that there is some deep societal programming going on out there, that makes me wonder about things a bit. So often on Womens Day and when we talk about women we talk about being strong. I grew up in a matriarchal society and to be honest I’ve only every really known female leaders. I’ve only ever known women that rule the roost, hold council, pull together in community and support one another. The good men were more like the awesome sidekicks, who made sure that the women in their lives were fully supported in there Earth life mission.

The men hold space for women to retreat to. Maybe they provide for the family. Maybe they simply take care of their wife cause after all “The best thing a man can do for his children is love their mother.” Yes that is true. After all isn’t it women that bare, birth and breast feed and raise children? Do you think that responsibilty was given to women because they are the weaker of the two sexes, seriously? We are all deeply programmed to believe that men are supposed to be strong for women. It’s a pile of shit. They are our hunter gathers and protectors. Women hold the fort.

So it makes me wonder if that this strong man ideology is just another piece of the puzzle of toxic masculinity. That women are out there searching for unicorns, for mythical creatures. When in fact when I look at successful marriages it’s the women  with the sensitive men that are doing the best. The men that care when women are upset. The men that carry you to bed when you are exhausted. The men that pour you a bath when you need to regenerate. The men that sit down and listen when you are overwhelmed. The men that cook dinner, wash the dishes and hoover. That’s the men that we are looking for. The men that know that looking after and protecting their women is at the very heart of creating a stable home and the positive ripple effect that brings.