Arn't I A Woman?: There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in



Aug 14, 2013

There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in

As the smoldering heat wave of Georgia’s summer subsides, breaking into the first crisp whisper of stark autumn winds, I am changing. While sunshine remains synonymous with happiness, brightness, and well being, as with anything in life too much exposure can lead to burned wings. I have been sent spiraling, crashing down to the harsh shiny surface of reality.

I wake up to a pounding head; ominous clouds abound me. My hands are bloodied with bits of gravel and dirt stuck in tiny pockets of my skin where I braced my fall. Destruction lies around me glittering like forgotten pieces of Mylar, scattered on a sticky dance floor that once held celebration of a solstice. The corpses of my mistakes have taken form and I am forced here to face them as I slowly begin to stand.  

I ask myself: why do I do things that hurt me? What leads to self-destructive behavior? If we break it down to the behavioral level, and suppose the hypothesis “destruction is a form of creation”, then we can deduce that self-destructive behavior is a subconscious way of attempting to purge one’s self of a perceived illness, flaw, or defect, with the intent to regenerate a new, more constructive element in its place.

We hurt ourselves through destructive behavior because there is something we hate about ourselves and we want it to go away. Once it goes away we can fill ourselves up with treats and chocolates and smiles and sunshine and we won’t be sad anymore. But imagine you are forced to confront a truth about yourself that runs very, very deep and affects many areas of your life; examine it; and turn it into something beneficial on first attempt. Probably not, right? It can become an overwhelming, stress-inducing huge gooey mess of guilt and shame.

That leads to more self-destructive behavior to displace the feelings of self-hate that the ORIGINAL self-destructive behavior caused.

At least that’s how the cycle works for me. OK, so maybe I can’t stop the guilty feelings completely when I make a boneheaded mistake…..or a very long series of bonehead mistakes. But I can at least try to really see what I might learn from it. It seems counter-intuitive right? Like you get to absolve yourself of the festering, gangrene guilt growing inside you. You don’t absolve your guilt, you just slightly lesson the load by creating something positive and beautiful where only ugliness once stood.
            (Find meaning in your pain.)

Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes. - Oscar Wilde

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Sojourner Truth

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.

Sojourner Truth

Delivered 1851 at the Women's Convention

Akron, Ohio