Books

Losing my originality

I have progressively felt less and less original, but maybe now it’s at an all-time low because the Calvin Comic strips illustrate my life. I feel like I have original thoughts only to see them displayed for the entire world to see. But then Seinfeld does that too.

Just tonight, actually, I was watching a crappy DVD and Seinfeld made a comment about why we need constant reassurance about things we already know. He said that when he drives by store windows, he checks them to see if he’ll see his reflection, driving his car at the wheel, something he already KNOWS, lest one day, instead of him, he sees a small Korean woman.

I thought that was funny because I do that all the time.

And end up totally disappointed after I do a double take, invariably, regardless of who it is I walk next to, and realize that the “midget” walking next to them is me. So maybe I, unlike Seinfeld, need to be reminded of something I don’t already know, since it seems to be news to me everytime, just how short I really am.

I’m reading “Reviving Ophelia” (at the same time as I’m reading “Mandela, Mobutu and Me” and Bill Bryson’s “Mother Tongue”, and “Memories of Nine Years in Akka”, and this amazing hilarious French book called “Kiffe Kiffe Demain” just to keep myself totally confused. I think I finally gave up on “War and Peace”) and this book is so interesting. I tend to be militaristic and have thoughts that some books should be required reading. Like “Poisonwood Bible” should be required reading for people wanting to pioneer, and this one should be required reading for anyone interested in women’s psychology or for any woman.

But it’s interesting because it explains how some women start out in life such confident, super-hero like tomboys, very positive and outgoing and loose their selves as they start hitting puberty and don’t recover until much later or at all, suffering from very high rates of depression as young girls. It’s interesting, because one thing you really get to think about as a woman is how not easy or obvious it is to be one.

There are some things you can’t do, and some things you have to take into consideration and some things that become complicated and some things that are just “not the same” because you’re a woman. What’s fascinating about this book is that it tracks what the process is like for girls when they start taking this fact into account. The place where girls are so confident and powerful is a place and an age where they haven’t started grappling with their identity as women, or where that isn’t a reality yet. So they just act in the world as if they’re just the same as their brothers.

Then when they hit puberty, something changes and they feel they can’t be the same person they were before. And they withdraw for a period of time, and grapple with that for some time. The author made an interesting point that androgynous people are some of the most socially well-adjusted people.

Sometimes more than others it just feels like the world is a boy’s playground, but I have to keep reminding myself it isn’t. It’s just that most prominent people, presidents, lawmakers, academics, writers, historians, fashion designers, media-controllers and remote-control holders are men.

Sure, it’s changing.

But in the mean-time I am holding on my crones, my wise older women that I can look up to. I collect stories about strong women and surround myself with women I admire, just because, as the world around us changes to accomodate more and more women of capacity, it’s nice to remind myself that they are closer to me than I remember at times. And they are in the flesh.

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