Comforting Words: Christmas Reflection #1

Monday, December 12, 2005

Christmas Reflection #1

Reviewing the first few articles I wrote for Comforting Words I was struck by the fact that they all related to ‘womanhood’ – the strength of character and pride some women have even in times of major challenges, the literal struggle women continue to face to claim their place in the world, the resilience of women in light of rape and other forms of abuse and the confusion some of us women experience, resulting in cat-fighting and competition amongst ourselves.

As I look at how I lived out of my womanhood this year, there are moments that I share the same strength of character and resilience but it would be disingenuous of me not to accept that I harbored some of the confusion.

Most of my confusion this year came as I sought to find my place in this world which, unfortunately, is increasingly communicating to women that the North American concept of womanhood is correct. My favorite talk-show host can often be heard saying that women in the United States are the luckiest in the world, because they live in a free society.

To some extent I agree with her but there have been occasions when I have wondered whether my dear Oprah really knows what is going on behind the closed doors of the countless amounts of women being battered and raped in the United States, the women who are shamed into believing they should not breast feed and those who rely on needles and formulas to be forever young.

What I have learnt this year about womanhood – my womanhood – is well summarized in these quotes:
1. "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it."
— Margaret Fuller

2. "Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got." —Janis Joplin

3. "Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent." —Eleanor Roosevelt

4. "I am also very proud to be a liberal. Why is that so terrible these days? The liberals were liberators—they fought slavery, fought for women to have the right to vote, fought against Hitler, Stalin, fought to end segregation, fought to end apartheid. Liberals put an end to child labor and they gave us the five day work week! What's to be ashamed of?"—Barbra Streisand

5. "As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world." —Virginia Woolf

With these words, I await the dawn of 2006. What about you?

Blessings,

Claudette

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