Forget the Quest for the Holy Grail; never mind the discovery of the Americas, of penicillin, the invention of TV, the telephone or even the Internet. What women really want is a dilemma that has pestered mankind ever since Adam did partake of the fruit and got in huge trouble–not even women (yesterday or today) know the answer. I know there’s not only one correct answer to that question because the answer depends greatly on what period of history you’re looking at, and most importantly, the situation of a specific individual. Say for example that you look at a 5 year-old and ask her what she wants, chances are she’ll answer, “I want a puppy, or a new bike, or to be friends with so and so.” Now, if you ask a teenager she’ll probably say, “I wan to know who I am.” And when you ask a woman in her 20’s, or 30’s she’ll probably say, “I want to be appreciated for me and not for my body,” or “I want to have a husband who’ll be faithful and love me,” or “I want to show the world how excellent I am at doing what I do.” Others will still answer, “I want to be friends with so and so, or I want to know who I am.”
You see, it’s not easy being a woman (nor a man, but I’ll just talk about women), especially in Utah, even if you’re a member of the LDS church. The thing is, we believe we can do it all, or at least we should be able to. So if my neighbor is 38, has an awesome body, is super popular, keeps a spotless home, and her children, all 6 of them, are beautiful and brilliant (I actually know several people who fit every aspect of this description), then I should be able to do what she does. If you come to my house, and it’s clean, and my children are well-behaved, I can’t feel totally complete because she has 6 of them. No matter what I do, I’ll never measure up to that standard. Fortunately, I feel happy being who I am, and having what I have, but still, sometimes I have this little thing called guilt, whispering incessantly to my ear. Many women feel they have to compare against the perfection of what they see in their neighbourhoods and church, that they just give up trying, and deprive their families of the wife and mother they could be, by falling into depression. I always see on KSL that Utah is the state with the highest depression rates. No wonder. I don’t think the problem is being a stay-at-home mom, or a working mother, or a mother of 1, or mother of 10, or mother of none. I think we just try to prove how wonderful we are, and we fear that if we ask for help, with anything, people will think that we can’t handle everything. So we try to do everything on our own, and we keep failing.
We’re tired, stressed, unhappy, and we take it on in the people who (in our opinion) have what we yearn for. The other day, a blogger, who’s LDS kept going on and on about how much she hates Twilight. I’ll try to be honest, it’s not the bashing against Twilight that got to me, but when she, and others, starting on Stephenie Meyer. I mean, after all, she’s a mother in her 30’s whose life changed overnight! She’s a celebrity! She created a phenomenon that knows not culture nor language! And all because she wrote about this clumsy, ordinary looking girl who falls in love and, most importantly, is loved by a vampire who happens to be absolutely gorgeous, and loving. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be Bella, or Stephenie Meyer, or, now that we’re talking about wonderful women, J.K. Rowling! Why is it that we fight so much for women’s rights and all that, and we get so jealous when one of us finally makes it big!
Last weekend the Miss Universe Pageant was on, and there were 80 of the most beautiful and accomplished women in the world. KSL had an article, and here’s a paragraph that I thought was brilliant:
“Miss Albania was a professional basketball player. Miss Argentina says she has paranormal experiences. Miss Antigua & Barbuda is fascinated by snakes. Miss Venezuela has been kidnapped and Miss Angola was in a plane crash while trying to escape a conflict during her country’s civil war.”
Those few words summarize how different and similar we all are. How fascinating, how perfect in our own way. If we could just see it, we wouldn’t act like we hate each other so much. But don’t go to the other extreme, and think we are the greatest gift of the gods to humankind. The other day, I turned on the radio in English, and heard a really catchy sound, but when I heard the lyrics I froze, “I kissed a girl and I liked it …”
Gorgeous looked at me and asked, “Who’s singing? A boy or a girl?” I lied shamelessly, but he saw right through my lies because next time the song was on, I changed the station and he said, “I know why you changed it …”
All of this to say, women, we’re wonderful, and each one of us has at least a beauty that no one else has. But, men are wonderful too, don’t forget that. Ah! And let’s be happy about each other, and not be too harsh in judging. I think the world would be a happier, more peaceful place if we all (myself included) were a little more grateful for what we are, instead of whining for what we aren’t or what we don’t have.
I’ll end with this post that I found on Candice’s blog:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
OK, I’m all done with my rant. Good night.