Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘emotions’

RABBIT JPG 2011-07-10 09.57.54 TRIM AUTO c

Ears Still To The Lonely Wind — Mandala For Rabbit – 26/52, BlackBerry 52 – WEEK 26, July 10th, 2011, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Medium: Drawn by hand with a black Staedtler archival pigment ink Fineliner on Canson Mix Media XL Series 98lb drawing paper, collage paper. Colored & collaged with DecoColor Glossy Oil Base Paint Markers, Caran D’Ache NeoColor II Water Soluble Wax Crayons, Sharpie Medium Point Oil-Based Opaque Paint Markers, Lineco Archival PVA Adhesive, archival card stock paper. Gogyohka & haiga by QuoinMonkey. Photograph taken with a Samsung DROID.


It must be a plentiful year for Rabbit. I see her everywhere on my journeys across the Twin Cities. If you look to the spiritual aspects of Rabbit, she represents calling out Fear—looking it right in the eye. It is said that if we focus on people, places, and things we fear, we draw them closer to us. The very act of ruminating on what we are afraid of creates opportunities to learn the lessons conjured by those fears.

It’s a good time for me to pay attention to Rabbit. Lotus wrote the poem Becoming a Rabbit -26/52 for one of the BlackBerry 52 Jump-Offs in our collaboration. I pulled in a line from her poem that spoke to me, wrote a gogyohka, and scripted it around the edge of the circle that would become a haiga:




Sidewinding summer rain
plays hide and seek with the sky.
Rabbit holds her ground ---
blades of mint awash in shadow,
ears still to the lonely wind.




I want to carry my Rabbit fetish from New Mexico in my pocket for the rest of July; there are challenges ahead of me with outcomes out of my control. Is it on the dresser with the other animals? She was a gift from friends, hand carved, and sold at one of the pueblos. I have carried the balsa Rabbit for a long, long time. To help ease my fear.


Rabbit may signal:
  • feeling frozen in place from trying to find resolution to a situation you are unable to resolve
  • being too focused on the future, trying to control what has not yet taken form
  • a need to write down your fears
  • space to stop, rest, reevaluate
  • time to wait for bigger, outside forces to move again
  • opportunities to reframe the way you see your present set of circumstances
  • the need to take a deep breath, burrow into a safe space, & release your fears



Lucky for me, Fear is a universal emotion. There is not a person on Earth that has not experienced Fear. I read it in the Writing Practices of friends. We talk about it over birthday dinners. I see it at the state, local, and federal government levels. I read about it in the news every day.

Naming my fears helps to dissipate anxiety I feel about things I can’t control. Rabbit helps me remember to breathe. And to listen for answers. Ears still to the lonely wind.



-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, July 10th, 2011, with gratitude to Lotus for the inspiration

Lotus and I will continue to respond to each other’s BlackBerry Jump-Off photos with text, photography, poetry (however we are inspired) for the 52 weeks of 2011. You can read more at BlackBerry 52 Collaboration. If you are inspired to join us, send us a link to your images, poetry, or prose and we’ll add them to our posts.

Rabbit Mandala: Ears Still To The Lonely Wind (Detail) -related to posts: Flying Solo — Dragonfly In Yellow Rain, Shadow Of A Dragonfly, Dragonfly Wings — It Is Written In The Wind, Dragon Fight — June Mandalas, EarthHealer — Mandala For The Tortoise, ode to a crab (haiku & mandala), Eye Of The Dragon Tattoo

Read Full Post »


evil eye, a belief held by many cultures that if a person envies you or what you have and stares at that object, the object will be cursed, pen and ink on graph paper, doodle © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.



______________________________________________________________________________________
 

Note to red Ravine Readers: This doodle is related to the Topic of Envy posted for the Out of The Blue Films “ENVY Contest” at red Ravine. For background and inspiration about Envy, read the essay Cracking Envy (Or How I Learned To Stop Romancing A Deadly Sin) and the piece The Case of Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez: Is It Envy Or Earned? 

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, there is a widespread assumption that Envy is an emotion. Other posts that might help jog the memory when writing about tough or secretive emotions are Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings  and WRITING TOPIC – EMOTIONAL VOCABULARY

To enter the ENVY contest and learn how to participate, go to the Contest Submission Guidelines. There is no fee to enter. You will be competing for an Amazon Kindle and a chance to have your creative work featured in a groundbreaking new documentary film. Deadline is August 15th!

Read Full Post »

It’s a distasteful emotion. Who wants to admit they envy the cut arms of so-and-so? But I do. That is one thing I’ll never have but wish I did. Firm, muscular arms. A smaller nose, maybe as long as it is now and with the same bump, but not so bulbous at the end. And a more angular face. Not one that gets jowly as I age.

I remember a game I used to play in my head where I’d give myself one thing I could change about my appearance. Would it be more height? Straight hair? Thicker eyebrows? I did this when I was 20-something and insecure, when the best thing I had going for me (in my opinion) was a beauty mark on my chest.

I still try to get cut arms, still use weights three times a week, still think that maybe, miraculously, they will tighten up before my eyes, like in time-lapse photography.

When I was a girl and we got Sears, Montgomery Wards, and JC Penney catalogs, I would go through the toy section and pick one item on each page that I could have. Just one. I allowed myself to cache my picks–if I skipped a page, didn’t want anything it had to offer, I could pick two items on another page.

I especially liked Easy Bake ovens and tall dolls with blue eyes and brown hair. I skipped bicycles and sometimes rocking horses. In my perfect world, I had a miniature kitchen in my room and a little crib for my make-believe daughter. How did I end up becoming so not-domestic now?

I was my most envious when I was in high school. Leanne S. got a jeep, white with a convertible top, in 11th grade, and I dreamed of driving that thing in summer. The whole notion of a jeep, rugged and carefree, fit completely who I wanted to be. I envied her parents who slipped her money with, at the most, a sort of disgusted look.

Dad always made a big deal out of giving me money. It was a process. First he said nothing, then he complained, then he took out his wallet and looked through it slowly and carefully, and finally he handed me the money, but reluctantly, like he might pull the bill back just as my fingers made contact. His final final step was to pull out the miniature spiral notebook from his breast pocket, open to the current page and note in his teeny-tiny handwriting the amount he’d given me.


______________________________________________________________________________________
 

Note to red Ravine Readers: This Writing Practice is related to the Topic of Envy posted for the Out of The Blue Films “ENVY Contest” at red Ravine. For background and inspiration about Envy, read the essay Cracking Envy (Or How I Learned To Stop Romancing A Deadly Sin) and the piece The Case of Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez: Is It Envy Or Earned? 

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, there is a widespread assumption that Envy is an emotion. Other posts that might help jog the memory when writing about tough or secretive emotions are Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings  and WRITING TOPIC – EMOTIONAL VOCABULARY

To enter the ENVY contest and learn how to participate, go to the Contest Submission Guidelines. There is no fee to enter. You will be competing for an Amazon Kindle and a chance to have your creative work featured in a groundbreaking new documentary film. Deadline is August 15th!

Read Full Post »

Envy leaves me cold. What do I envy? Not material things. More clarity. I envy people who knew what they wanted to do at 12 years old and went on as adults to make it a career. I envy those who have never suffered from depression or anxiety or lack of belief in themselves. I envy the way Nature doesn’t have to worry about its next move; she simply knows where to step. The next step. The next right step.

Envy can be paralyzing. Comparing my insides to someone else’s outside. Maybe that’s a form of envy. What about the competitive edge in sports? Envy? I read that Tiger Woods was throwing his golf clubs in anger right before he left the last tournament; he was way down the list as a finalist. Was that envy? Not healthy competitive nature to throw metal objects in uncontrolled anger. Even if it is directed at the self. I remember those days in high school and college sports. So closely identified with athleticism and winning that I soon forgot how to lose. I’m glad to be away from all that.

Envy. Is it green or red? I’m thinking more red. Is envy a form of self-hate, anger, insecurity, lack of self-esteem. I feel envious when I’m not doing as well as I’d like to be doing. Usually when I’m more down than up. When I’m doing well, I don’t care what others are doing or what they think; I feel like I’m on the right path for me. When I lose my way, those are the times I am more apt to feel envy.

I used to be insanely jealous in relationships. I clung to them to feel safe. My whole identity was wrapped up in friendships, attachments, partnerships with other people. People that sometimes weren’t good for me. I had to do a lot of work to let that go. When I learned more about who I was, I let go of what I thought I had to be in order to be loved. Does that make sense? Jealousy is another emotion that takes us out of ourselves, away from core goodness. I do believe that we all start out as good people. Things happen along the way that change us. Sometimes those changes are irreversible. And we walk around carrying envy.

The things we carry. Envy, greed, jealousy, hate, rage. Love, kindness, gratitude, generosity, warmth. I’d rather focus on the glass half full. What changed me? Hard work. Forgiving myself. Forgiving others. Reconnecting with people. And looking at my own faults, so I could more readily accept the faults of others.

I want to say envy is something I don’t experience. But I do. The last month I have envied those who are not grieving or feeling loss. I have envied those whose lives seem happy and well on track. Something will happen in life — a death, or the end of an important relationship, an illness, or the loss of a job — and an old tape is triggered. It taps at the brain, scrapes at the edges of self-worth.

Luckily, the self is connected to the wide and deep tree roots on the ash in the front yard. Self is connected to last night’s July sunset backlighting fishermen in a canoe; the outdoor orchestra playing in the band shell by a glacial lake; sweating and geocaching through the woods with Liz; the spiderwort, evening primrose, or red pepper growing in pots on the deck.

Self is connected to the purple finch at the feeder, the Lake Harriet Lake Creature, the ice cream at Sebastian Joe’s, the fact that yesterday marked the beginning of another year I may walk this Earth. All good things come to pass if we let them in. Sometimes that’s not easy and goodness is blocked. Envy follows.

 

______________________________________________________________________________________
 

Note to red Ravine Readers: This Writing Practice is related to the Topic of Envy posted for the Out of The Blue Films “ENVY Contest” at red Ravine. For background and inspiration about Envy, read the essay Cracking Envy (Or How I Learned To Stop Romancing A Deadly Sin) and the piece The Case of Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez: Is It Envy Or Earned? 

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, there is a widespread assumption that Envy is an emotion. Other posts that might help jog the memory when writing about tough or secretive emotions are Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings  and WRITING TOPIC – EMOTIONAL VOCABULARY

To enter the ENVY contest and learn how to participate, go to the Contest Submission Guidelines. There is no fee to enter. You will be competing for an Amazon Kindle and a chance to have your creative work featured in a groundbreaking new documentary film. Deadline is August 15th!

Read Full Post »

ootb avatar 90 pxls widered Ravine -- a writing & art community blog

red Ravine -- a writing & art community blogootb avatar 90 pxls wide

 
 
Whom and what do you ENVY? Who has envied you? What’s the difference between jealousy and envy? How has ENVY impacted your life?

Barbara Rick, a Peabody & Emmy award-winning filmmaker/journalist based in New York City, and president and founder of Out of The Blue Films, Inc., explored these questions and more in Tuesday’s essay at red Ravine, Cracking Envy (Or How I Learned To Stop Romancing A Deadly Sin).

Now it’s your turn! The Out of The Blue Films “ENVY Contest” at red Ravine has officially launched. This is a call for entries to share your essays, short stories, poems, haiku, watercolors, oils, photographs, and music about envy. One of you will win a new Amazon Kindle. And any and all entries, or excerpts of them, could end up in the groundbreaking documentary on ENVY from Out of The Blue Films, Inc.

Is ENVY the worst of the Deadly Sins? How does it look and sound to you? Can you touch, smell or taste envy? To get the juices flowing, you might want to read a bit of history at WRITING TOPIC – THE 7 DEADLY SINS. Then do a few Writing Practices that you can turn into a polished piece. 

Below are the details you’ll need to submit your work. Contest ends at midnight, August 15th, 2009. Don’t miss this opportunity to feature your work in film. Or the chance to win an Amazon Kindle from Out of The Blue!

 
Amazon Kindle (from amazon.com website)

 
 
_______________________________________________________

Out of The Blue Films “ENVY Contest”

 
 

Submission Guidelines

ENVY is the latest project from Out of The Blue Films, Inc., in keeping with the company’s longstanding mission to tell inspiring stories that explore, articulate, educate, and celebrate humanity. Below are the guidelines for the Out of The Blue Films “ENVY Contest” at red Ravine.
 
 

♦ What To Submit

All original writing and artwork is accepted for prize consideration. This includes, but is not limited to, essays, short stories, poems, haiku, watercolors, oils, collages, drawings, photographs and music. We will accept entries in most formats, but prefer doc, rtf, txt, pdf, jpg, tiff, wav, mp3. Please limit your writing to 1000 words or less, and keep all attachments under 5MB.

 
 

♦ How To Submit

Send all entries electronically (do not send originals). If submitting more than one work to the contest, please send a separate email for each. Write ENVY CONTEST in the subject line, include the following information in the body of your email, and attach your submission:

 
Full Name: (If you prefer to remain anonymous please put the word ANONYMOUS in caps, after your name.)
Email:
Address:
Type of Submission: (short story, essay, poetry, photography, drawing, oil, collage, haiku, watercolor, audio, other)
Format of Submission: (doc, rtf, txt, pdf, jpg, tiff, wav, mp3)

ALSO INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT: “I have read and agree to the terms and conditions of this contest and I certify that this is my original work.”

 
 

♦ Where To Submit

Send all submissions electronically by August 15th to Out of The Blue Films, Inc. at contest@outofthebluefilms.com.

 
 

_______________________________________________________

Terms & Conditions

The following conditions apply to the ENVY Contest sponsored by Out of The Blue Films, Inc. Before submitting, please read the Terms & Conditions:

 

June 11, 2009

Out of The Blue Films, Inc. and/or Barbara Rick, Inc. (together, “Producer”) welcome you to submit any writings, artwork, photographs, poems or other materials created by you (all of such materials being “Materials”) for possible inclusion in Producer’s documentary (the “Film”) currently titled and whose subject will be “ENVY”. By submitting any Materials, whether via this website or otherwise, you agree as follows:

1. Producer and its assigns and licensees will have the perpetual, non-exclusive, royalty free right and license (without the obligation to pay you any sums or other consideration), throughout the universe to use all or any portion of the Materials in the Film and in the distribution, advertising, sale, licensing, commercial use or other use thereof in any and all media, whether or not now invented (including theatrical or television exhibition, viewing via DVD, the internet, on cell phones or other devices), and in the exploitation of any and all ancillary and subsidiary rights relating to the Film, including merchandise, soundtracks and books based on the Film. Producer need not return any Materials, however as between you and Producer all underlying copyright and intellectual property rights to the Materials will remain your property. Producer’s sole rights to the Materials will be the uses described in these terms.

2. You waive any claims against Producer and its officers, directors, principals, employees and representatives, assigns and licensees for any alleged or actual infringements of any rights or privacy or publicity, moral or other rights resulting from or relating to any use of the Materials contemplated by these terms, and you warrant and represent that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the Materials and that the use of the Materials by Producer, its licensees or assigns will not infringe or violate the rights of any third party.

3. It shall be entirely in Producer’s discretion whether or not to make use of any Materials in connection with the Film. Should Producer wish to use any of the Materials in connection with the Film Producer will notify you that it plans on doing so (but Producer will have no obligation to make such use regardless of a notification). If the Materials do in fact appear in the Film you can receive on-screen credit under your real name or a pseudonym, whichever you prefer. You may also not be credited at all if you wish. If the Materials are to be used you should send an email with your credit preference to: info@outofthebluefilms.com.

4. An Amazon Kindle will be awarded as a prize to the person who submits what Producer deems, in its sole discretion, to be the best Materials. The criteria to be used for making such determination will be up to Producer, the decision will not be subject to any appeal and Producer need not explain the basis for its determination.

These terms shall be governed by the laws of the State of New York, and any suit or action relating to these terms may be brought only in the courts located in New York County.

PLEASE NOTE that (i) by submitting any Materials you agree to all of these terms, and (ii) Producer reserves the rights, at any time, to revise these terms, and the terms as so revised will apply to any Materials submitted after the time of revision.

_______________________________________________________

red Ravine is a vehicle for the promotion of this contest. red Ravine is not liable for any actions by the Producer, nor the Film. Any submissions are made directly and solely to Producer and not to red Ravine. red Ravine has no legal responsibility for submissions nor for any outcomes from the contest.


Read Full Post »

By Barbara Rick
 
 
envy 1
Envy Green, New York Botanical Garden, 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by Barbara Rick. All rights reserved.
 
 
 
It’s a hard, rotten knot of a word. Sinister. Secret. Has a way of gripping me by the throat and squeezing my soul of rational thought, patience, and generosity. Keeps rolling in like a black wave. ENVY.

After a crushing professional disappointment a while back, I found that I was brooding. Dark and long. Gnawing on the ‘injustice’ of it all. Sneering as I licked my wounds.

I became aware that I — as spiritually evolved and as peaceful a meditation warrior as I like to believe I am — was hobbled by something much bigger and darker than myself. Something slithery, lizard-like and primal. I was on to ENVY.

Touching its long thin tail. Up to my shins in it. And if it was giving me this much trouble, wrestling with me backstage in my accomplished, prosperous, abundant life, chances are it’s doing a number on everyone else as well. 

So I began digging, peering back through human history, and what I saw knocked me out.
 
The story of Cain and Abel, for starters. That’s when Cain, a farmer, turns on his shepherd brother because God liked Abel’s gift better. Cain, who by all accounts hadn’t even given much of a gift, was enraged anyway and ‘set upon’ his brother in a field. At the root of this first recorded homicide? ENVY.

Treatment of the Jews in the Holocaust? Not just the scapegoating, but the Germans preferred to actually lose the war than let up for a second on the extermination campaign against the Jews. ENVY, again.

Driving those planes into the Trade Center towers on 9/11? Yes.

Hostile, implacable, illogical, petty, deadly ENVY.
 
What a juicy, throbbing idea for a new documentary! We are intensively at work on this as we speak at my company, Out of The Blue Films, Inc. Seeking and receiving support and insights from some of the best minds in the world on this subject; scholars and artists musing, informing, inviting, seducing others to look at something most dare not. This film will be a bold, insightful, humorous exploration of the causes and consequences of this most corrosive human emotion.

Why and how is ENVY at work? It has a chameleon nature. First you see it, then you justify. It’s the squirming worm under the rock of history, hiding from the light. Exposed occasionally and brilliantly by Shakespeare, Dickens, immortalized in Salieri’s encounters with MozartIago’s loathing of OthelloCassius’ for Caesar … Claggart’s Billy Budd.

Viscous and vicious… elusive… a most urgent threat: between siblings, neighbors, nations. The evil eye. Often confused with jealousy, which, our ENVY scholars tell us, is often easier and softer for many to admit. Jealousy involves three people, and the fear of losing something you already have, while ENVY is typically between two people: that painful, searing feeling you get when someone else has what you long for and fear you might never get.

It’s the most shameful of the deadly sins, the mother of all others, writes Chaucer.

The driving, writhing force beneath most beloved fairy tales from Cinderella to Snow White. Scholars agree it casts a long, long shadow on humanity and its greatest power is that we are afraid, unwilling, or unable to look at it. Its care and feeding in secrecy under our dark collective psyche is the most damaging of all.

So we are calling it out, conjuring it up, exposing it to the best of our ability.
 
 
 
 

Trapped, Tucson, Arizona, near the Santa Catalina Mountains, 2005, photo © 2005-2009 by Barbara Rick, all rights reserved

Trapped, photo © 2005-2009
by B. Rick. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 
We’re asking you, and others: Whom and what do you ENVY? Who has envied you? How has ENVY impacted your life?
 
 
 
 

London, 2005, photo © 2005-2009 by Barbara Rick, all rights reserved

London, photo © 2005-2009
by B. Rick. All rights reserved.

 


We’re using unique storytelling techniques to tell this dark, dangerous and ultimately triumphant story of human good over human evil — embracing the worst of ourselves to coax out and harness the very best.

What long and twisted roads has ENVY chased you down? When did it sneak up and scare the daylights out of you? Chain your heart and mind? How did you escape? Or didn’t you?

Please share with us your essays, short stories, poems, haiku, watercolors, oils, collages, drawings, photographs, and music. One of you will win a prize: a bright and shiny new Amazon Kindle. Any and all entries, or excerpts of them, could end up in our revolutionary and groundbreaking documentary. No promises, of course. Remain anonymous if you wish, that’s fine.

Shine a light on your ENVY. Chisel at it with your pen or paintbrush – splash some sunlight on your darkest corners. Walk together with us, deep into it and out onto the other side. It will be a hell of a ride.




________________________________________________________________



TOPIC – ENVY (A PRE-CALL FOR ENTRIES)




The  Out of the Blue Films, Inc. ENVY Contest at  red Ravine avatar officially starts in two 

days, on Thursday, June 11. That’s when we publish here at  red Ravine avatar    

the  Out of the Blue Films, Inc. ENVY Contest Submission Guidelines. Your writing or

visual entry may be selected as the winner of an Amazon Kindle.



So come back on Thursday, June 11, to read the ENVY Contest Submission Guidelines. We’ll tell you What creative forms are accepted and in what formats, and Where to send your entry and How. We’ll also provide the Terms & Conditions for the ENVY Contest.

Don’t miss your chance to win an Amazon Kindle, the reading wireless device that you hold in your hands like a book and that can carry in its memory thousands of titles that can be downloaded from the Amazon library — so you can read anywhere, anytime.



________________________________________________________________




Barbara Rick is a Peabody & Emmy award-winning filmmaker/journalist based in New York City. She is president and founder of Out of The Blue Films, Inc., creators of exceptional documentaries on important social issues that ignite positive action and promote open dialogue.

Recent films include ROAD TO INGWAVUMA (ing-wah-VOOM-ah), which chronicles the unique delegation of some of America’s most respected artists and their families to post-apartheid South Africa, and IN GOOD CONSCIENCE, one American nun’s battle with the Vatican over the rights of gay and lesbian Catholics.

ENVY is the latest project from Out of The Blue Films, Inc. in keeping with the company’s longstanding mission to tell the most inspiring stories that explore, articulate, educate, and celebrate humanity.





red Ravine is a vehicle for the promotion of this contest. red Ravine is not liable for any actions by the Producer, nor the Film. Any submissions are made directly and solely to Producer and not to red Ravine. red Ravine has no legal responsibility for submissions nor for any outcomes from the contest.

Read Full Post »

There is a lost feeling that comes over me this time of year. In the gap between New Year’s and whatever happens next in my life. That’s not specific enough. Lost is a feeling. And a place.

Specifics. Next gains in employment. Which aspects of moneymaking do I add to the writing agenda? How do I balance making money from writing with my creative writing, the blog, my book, the simple, unbridled pleasure of setting words down on the page.

I’ve got a plan. A Vision. It became clear when I did my gratitude list. It’s the same plan I had a few months ago. Next steps, a flyer for teaching, taking the blog to the next level, or letting go. The lost feeling stirs me to the dregs of decisions – what do I let go of. What do I hold on to. Letting go implies a sense of loss. I don’t like to feel loss.

A snowstorm is moving in from the West. Sweeping cold, after 42 degree drips off the eaves, sliding down the gutter and into dead mahogany grass. Across the screensaver, photographs, ghosts of last summer. The rain that fell like hail, and looked like snow. The tiny side garden that forms a half moon on the hill, lined with river rocks. And each year we add another variety of plant or flower.

Still no details. I’m looking to land.

I’m thinking about gender differences when it comes to emotions. Some of it is the way we are hardwired to operate in the world. From a very young age, girls and boys are corralled and branded according to gender. But some of it is hormonal. No one (man or woman) wants to hear the “H” word when it relates to women. Yet hormone comes from the Greek, “hormon”  — that which sets in motion, impels, or urges on. What’s wrong with that?

And hormones are all the rage when it comes to steroids and sports. Secretly, this country thinks that men have a god-given right to harden and bulk up. Yet women, no right to a moment of tenderness or vulnerability.

Bodies. Men and women have different chasseys; different fluids keep their bodies running. The most recent evidence of this for me was reading about a woman who was undergoing the process of changing to a man. Sometimes the soul of a man gets trapped in a female body. Sometimes the spirit of a woman gets trapped in a male. People have the right to do with their own bodies what they will. I don’t judge.

The woman was in a relationship with another woman. They were partners. When she began taking the testosterone for the curves of her body to transform and harden, something else happened – she stopped crying. This was a woman who had cried freely and easily all her life, felt strong emotion, was connected to her feelings.

After testosterone, no more tears.

I don’t understand all the details in the internal workings of hormones. But I know they make a difference in the way we connect and operate in the world. To expect women to act like men is not reasonable. It’s not even something I would want. I have empathy and respect for the attributes that both sexes bring to the table.

The woman taking the testosterone is struggling in her relationship. And she is distraught at the change in her emotional makeup. Her partner, fully supportive of the bodily changes, is wondering what happened to the soft, empathetic personality of the woman she fell in love with. Is she gone forever? Who better than this couple to glean a better understanding of the hormonal realities and shifts between men and women.

Why do men, if they do, cry secretly. And women cry openly. Several of our readers have commented on breaking down at work at least once in their careers. About going through a rough patch, losing it emotionally, crying or raging in the workplace.

The same thing happened to me about 5 years ago, right before I left the corporate environment I had worked in for 9 years. There was lots of stress in my personal life. Yet I managed 3 teams of over 30 people and had to keep it together at work. One week, I couldn’t contain it anymore. I broke down.

I wasn’t looked at the same after that either. I was seen as a less effective leader. The managers under me (all women) became suspicious of my decisions. I took some time off to regroup. Fortunately, I already had plans to leave that career path for my writing. So I don’t know how it would have worked out if I had stayed.

I might have applied for a job where I no longer had to manage people. Middle management is a thankless job. You’re trapped between everyday complaints from teams of hardworking employees, and the rigid dictation of corporate management whose talons swoop down from above. It’s a big fat game.

The pressure is huge for women to conform to the systems already in place: in work, in politics, in love. But if they truly honored that request, they would no longer be able to contribute the myriad of gifts that make them women. There is no winning.

Hillary has given rise again to the complicated issues around gender gaps. I think the debate is good. But if we’re going to hold her to such high standards, it follows that we should also put the same pressures on fathers, uncles, nephews, sons – to make them break down and cry. The next time their child is in pain. Or they celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. Or a close friend at work is in an accident and won’t be returning. Or what about when they read of a country whose citizens are being slain, through the systematic murder of genocide.

Yeah, maybe we should expect them to force themselves to cry. The way the systems of power in the world force us to try not to. To push our politicians to show some kind of human emotion in situations where any normal person would be grateful for the capacity to feel.

I don’t have any answers. This is a writing practice – feelings and thoughts rambling around in my head this morning. It’s not edited or polished. It’s not anything – but practice. A release from having to control all those pent up emotions. And wonderment at why, after half a century of living as a woman, I only have more questions.


-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, January 10th, 2008

-related to Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – EMOTIONAL VOCABULARY and the post, Do You Do Politics?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »