Inside women’s souls lies a volcano of hot lava, smoldering for too long.
We’re sick of being mistreated and tired of our own negative self-talk. It shows up in our anger, depressed moods and artistic blocks, our struggle to love our bodies, or in our impulse to stop nourishing ourselves.
We’re done. Women are saying goodbye to the inner and outer bully. I know, because I have struggled with my own critic all my life. And now I finally understand my mother, and her mother before her. Centuries of women are rising up through us.
Our mothers learned to suppress their needs so they wouldn’t be labeled hysterical or “histrionic. Now we carry their torch. We learned from them to undercut ourselves or squelch our needs. And now we understand the repression they endured in order to be accepted, to survive, to earn a living or belong.
It’s less than 100 years since women got the right to vote! It’s women’s time to stand up. We need to use our anger well and not let it destroy our inner or outer world. We can use our fuel to build alliances and a new vision.
Yes, women are angry. But, we can redirect our fire like a lightning rod for peace. Unlike the red hot and horrible flames that raged through our homes and our hills at this time last year, we can use our force to make a better world. We can ask for what we need and model a new power that intends to create peace.
Men and women both need to line up behind new value. Boys who grew up with toy trucks, guns and Playboy magazine learned crude language and confused sexual impulses. Many thought that hurting others, and the land, and competing for money, or constant fighting did the earth some good.
Men were taught to dominate, kill – to “win over” – and now that vengeance permeates media and is in our collective bones. But some males are finally lonelier and growing tired of the bullying in their jobs and our world. Some are still kicking and screaming, but so are we. We’re all frustrated.
No matter what your perspective – we have history in our bones. My mother would yell at my dad and he would do mean things behind her back because they hadn’t learned to fully communicate. They died with unsaid misunderstandings. They just didn’t know how to unearth old fears and behaviors that ran them. We, the people – need a new way.
But, the end of the patriarchy will not go down easily. Women and men will need to teach young people authentic power, speaking and listening respectfully. Richard Harwood wrote: “Even more troubling to me is the rotting of human dignity we are witnessing. And the problem, of course, is that this hollowing out is not just happening in our nation’s capital… Increasingly, we fail to see and hear one another… We are too quick to demonize other people’s concerns…We must re-dedicate ourselves to human dignity. We must not wait for our political leaders. That’s almost always how large-scale change begins.”
We boomers grew up watching “The Waltons” and “Archie Bunker.” Now it’s time for caring ethics. We can share our grief and longings with each other. We can exchange our emotional hairballs instead of using wrecking balls. It’s time for a new ballgame.
At this dark turning of the year, with daylight savings coming, contentious elections, the anniversary of the destructive fires, the bitter taste of women’s assaults in the news and more – it is time to demand a government for all life.
We can make this world a safe place – by learning to collaborate, to speak up for safety, a living wage, adequate housing, healthy food and water and not just empty rhetoric. Both genders can become strong but kind. We can replace greed and egotism with fairness. Yes, we can.
Katy Byrne, MFT, Sonoma psychotherapist. [email protected]. 707.548.8982.