A few days ago, I let loose a rant, on you my unsuspecting blogmates, about stereotypes and prejudice. Today I’m inspired by a comment made on that post by our friend Wazeau. I’m glad to be feeling that way. Our lives here in Bugland changed in a major way two years ago, to this very day. So I’m glad to be going for the high notes.
I feel inspired when I think about how Wazeau has expressed her life as a declaration of independence. Others may stereotype us, judge us, pigeonhole us. For being women (for gosh sakes). For being single. For loving our cats, our birds, our animal companions. Maybe our lives didn’t turn out the way the world expects. Maybe we were full of aspirations that didn’t turn out the way we’d hoped.
We may feel some part of this as regret, disappointment, loss. I do. I feel a lot of that, to be honest.
But when I think back on the lives of my forebears, I feel other things. Women in those days – people, really, but especially women – had so few of the choices we enjoy today. Virginia Woolf —
Margaret Sanger, Betty Friedan – these women imagined our future. They created our future. And we got to step in
to that future, and live it as best we could. And it’s been a bigger life than we’d likely have had without them.
Here are some pictures of my forebears (myself amongst them, taken in a context of loss). As time has moved on, after these pictures were taken, the lives in them changed irrevocably. Many of these lives have passed.
This next one is an archive shot of Bugs with my grandmother Mimi.
Mimi was my savior when I was little. In the end, as time worked its inexorable grind, she left a bitter legacy behind. It’s not just me who suffered.
Viewed from one perspective, these pictures reflect loss.
But when I think that each person depicted in them lived life as fully and passionately and responsibly as was possible for them – given the constraints, the heartache, and, in some cases, downright trauma with which their lives presented them – and when I think how far we’ve come since those days – there is no loss.
There is respect.
I want to feel more than respect, though. Let this picture express that “more.” With the real Bugs ghostly superimposed over my dear father of blessed memory –
Let this picture express so much more than respect. I feel that respect – and I feel the love for which I yearn, too. I feel that: Immense, enormous, invincible love.
Bugs wants to know: How could it be otherwise?
I came across this poem, the other day, in SOME KIND OF RIDE by Brian Andreas. Here’s an excerpt:
all the generations
gathered around her
in that small kitchen
& held her close
& they would have
blocked the light
if they had not come filled with
What if that were true. What if I could make that true, in my imagination. That once our lives end and we pass, and our material selves are buried, dispersed, what’s left behind is only memories of love. So the light isn’t blocked by the other stuff. What’s left behind, in the small kitchens of the heart, is the memory of love.
Of course, though — it wouldn’t be me without adding this other poem, a few pages later in the Brian Andreas book:
I mainly want someone
to tell me I’m right &
then pay me, he said.
Is that too much to