It’s not like the world’s gonna end…oh wait…

Own your world of dreams....png

It’s hard to write about this. It’s so painfully personal. And frighteningly real. I would have a difficult time being a memoir writer.

I’ve started watching this series Quicksand. And I finished reading a book called “House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery“.

The book takes a look at the life of the writer of Anne of Green Gables. Or, in actuality, the struggles and obstacles she faced as a woman, and as a woman writer. And it’s terrible, according to my read of the book, terrible that such a talented, imaginative, intelligent girl/woman was constantly shafted, exploited, her dreams denied, her talents sidelined, and faced such heartbreaking limitations imposed on her by the world. Terrible that I can’t look at this book, and say “I’m so glad things have changed–for myself; for every girl going through girlhood right now.,” when it didn’t happen for me. And girls, now, are still not getting their big break, their chance to be an actual, valid, respected person. We are all still being told in a thousand and one ways how we aren’t good enough. And that’s on a good day. We also face actual physical horrors, or the fear of them, every minute of every day. We can get attacked, murdered even, and the perpetrator generally gets off with just a slap on the wrist, if even that. Because women still don’t matter in the eyes of the world. And I have never been more glad that I haven’t brought a daughter into this world; that at least I had the choice not to reproduce (even though I STILL constantly get asked, and then judged, because I’m not married or have children) a world and society that will not respect her individuality, encourage her strengths, and give her space and support to develop as a person.

It’s a whole system that is designed to create insanity in women, of the bipolar kind. A system that creates a schism of the spirit and mind, no matter how strong you are.

And we are still doing it to young women.

In a Quicksand episode last night, they called the girl out for having an unseemingly, criminal, and threatening personality shift–a witness had stated she had become (according to the subtitles) “cocky…arrogant” and that was part of the tactic used to establish her guilt in the crime by the detective.

Wow. I haven’t seen the end, but, goodness, she’s definitely guilty on that alone. How dare a young woman be cocky, assertive, and sure of herself? Much less arrogant?

And, yes, I’m being sarcastic.

And it really got me thinking. Well, expanded a train of thought.

What would society be like if girls, young women, and mature women weren’t constantly demeaned and sidelined?

Where would the world be if girls and young women weren’t taught that they were inferior just on the basis of their gender?  Would we even still have distinct genders, in full, tolerant actuality?

If they weren’t constantly told–by their families, by their teachers and mentors, by their peers, by advertising, by their bosses and co-workers, by their friends and romantic partners, et al–how they should be and how they shouldn’t be? How they should talk, walk, look, act, behave, dress. and then when they attempt to be all of the things they should be, they are criticized for still not being good enough for the world. Subject to a barrage of put downs, insults,  and stereotype- and limitation-based language, sold a false image of happiness they can earn only through marriage and having children, and yet disparaged if they aren’t happy because they are taking for granted or downplayed in the eyes of the world.

What would happen if girls and women were not only allowed to be themselves, judgment-free, but were also fully and completely supported to dream dreams; to be creative, expressive, sensitive, assertive, confident, powerful, determined, demanding, arrogant, and anything else they can think of to be successful and happy and fulfilled, on their own terms?

(P.S. I watched the movie Unicorn Store.)

What do you think the world would look like if women were treated like actual humans?

What would society look like if girls and women came first (among humans)?

If more girls were encouraged to be artists, scientists, engineers, writers, or anything else they wanted to be, at an early, formative age?

Why are schools still propagating standardized education that only serves to suck every ounce of creativity, intellectual curiosity, and exploration of self out of children?

And why is this discrimination and sidelining still going on against girls and women in the 21st century?

Would there be climate change?

Overpopulation?

The huge increase of animal (and plant) extinctions and animal exploitations like trophy hunting?

(I’m not upset that they world might be ending, but I am so gutted by the thought that animals and other nature is stuck with humanity on this human-created sinking ship.)

What do you think the world would look like?

Would it end up the same?

Think.

Write.

Create.

Draw.

Paint.

Change the world.

Change your world.

Because, it seems, fantasy is still only world open to women. Our inner, magical world. Despite all the attempts to ban women from thinking fancifully (among all the other thinking ways that society attempts to curtail women and girls), it’s one of the few avenues of independent thought and feeling available to women. I’m going to live in mine, to preserve it, and to keep it my own. And society be damned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature’s Army

(Inspired by my own writing prompt I posted on Twitter, et al, today)

This past decade has been quite the journey for me as an unemployed worker  graduate student historian admin assistant temp gas station attendant substitute teacher and eternal job seeker.

It was only in the past year that I really set aside time to dedicate to writing.

What surprised me was how quiet the process was. I’m used to living in a state of chaos. Neither one thing or another. Always fiercely banging against things, trying to prove I could fit in. “Notice me!” my efforts would scream. “I’m a hard worker.” Trying to conform to hold down jobs I hated.

I was a real-life Don Quixote, tilting at society’s windmills.

I wouldn’t say I was clueless about who I was–I just had to ignore it. Hide it away. Because it wasn’t relevant, hireable, marketable, socially acceptable, important, and, therefore, had zero worth to the world. Or so I had been taught to believe, from a very young age.

Like I said, the process of writing is quiet. The development of a writer, or any artist/creative soul, cannot be forced. It has to grow on its own. It was hard to let go. To relax. But then I had expended years of energy and had nothing to show for it.

I had to push my way up from the morass to figure out what kind of writer I wanted to be. I shed growth when it no longer fit. Dropping leaves that had been grafted onto me. (The drive for money being one of them–proof positive I wasn’t a failure.) It was scary to let go. It still is.

I suddenly realized, though, that if I was going to do it, I couldn’t do it inauthentically. Writing is demanding; it won’t let you be what you’re not. You can’t grow against the grain. At the same time, you have to write to write. Write where the topic (and submission guidelines!) takes you.

I stopped trying to be all things. One of the lessons passed down in workshops, articles, blogs was “find your niche.”

This was probably the hardest. I’d never been allowed; subsequently, never allowed myself, to have a niche based on my actual self.

“Who am I,” I asked myself.

The winds started howling from deep within. I shivered a deep bone chill when I realized I had no idea. I had had my existence wiped. I had been reprogrammed.

So, I had to dig deep. Dig through a frightening past, risk getting lost in nebulous dimensions, all to excavate a handful of fractured remembrances.

It’s still going on. Slowly. Quietly. And my self is still fractured. But I’m rebuilding. Even if people still want to classify me by their negative terms.

But here’s some discoveries.

Writer.

Artist.

A sensitive soul.

A creative mind.

Someone who played the violin.

Who likes classical music. Atmospheric music, without words.

Drawn to what’s now classified as speculative: horror, fantasy, science fiction.

I write these things.

The spooky.

The unreal.

The mystic.

A world of make-believe.

The impossibly possible.

So, if you made it this far, what does that have to do with the title of the blog, “Nature’s Army”?

Because I also love nature. Trees. Plants. Insects.

And that’s the stuff of nightmares dreams.

Working its tangled way into my stories.

Building a fictive world where nature has agency.

Where nature wins.

[See my 66-word story (and others!) in Speculative 66’s Issue 20, on April 6th. https://speculative66.weebly.com/ ]

 

Now it’s your turn to “tilt at windmills”. How has writing/creative ventures helped you develop your sense of self?