“Though her soul requires seeing, the culture around her requires sightlessness. Though her soul wishes to speak its truth, she is pressured to be silent.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
There are so many things you want to do. So many stories that break your heart. You feel like you are on the verge of a revolution some minutes and other minutes it feels revolutionary to take a shower and get enough sleep. The conflict of being a modern-day mama feels overwhelming.
You want to do big things in the world but you are exhausted by your current reality–whatever that may be. You feel like all scenarios are a lose-lose. If you focus on home, work is missing out, and if you focus on work, home is missing out. And if you are a stay-at-home-mom you’re always wondering if you could be doing more for humanity. No matter what you do, you wonder if what you are doing is making a difference at all.
Looking at the bigger picture
That type of thinking is a product of being a woman living in a patriarchal society. There is a sense of oppression and injustice for women and mamas living in this patriarchy. We feel the rage as our feelings are trivialized to terms like “mom rage” or “postpartum depression” or hysteria as it used to be called. And while there is certainly truth to these conditions, there is a lack of looking at the actual causes. If a majority of women are experiencing the same dilemmas in motherhood we have to look at the system, not just the person. As Desmond Tutu says, ‘There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in. ‘”
In her Ted Talk Reshma Sajauni, author of Brave Not Perfect talks about how boys are conditioned to play rough and aim high– while girls are taught to smile pretty and play it safe. In modern society, women are habituated and rewarded to not take risks. Men will apply for a job if they meet 60% of the qualifications and women will only apply if they meet 100%. Her talk speaks to the conditioning of women in present society. The notion of perfectionism keeps us playing small.
And of course, with the emergence of the field of epigenetics (generational trauma), we know that women collectively feel the effects of the persecution that past generations felt for using their voices. Women were literally killed for speaking their truth in past generations and even in some countries and cultures today.
Diet culture & its impact
Additionally, there is rape culture and body image/diet culture to add more fuel to the rage and injustice fire. There is no regard for the feminine cycle which fluctuates on a daily basis over a 28 day period but instead, we are made to feel wrong. We live in a masculine cycle which resets every 24 hours and then we beat ourselves up when we don’t show up in the same energy every day. As Clarissa Estes Pinkerton says “The psyches and souls of women also have their own cycles and seasons of doing and solitude, running and staying, being involved and being removed, questing and resting, creating and incubating, being of the world and returning to the soul-place.”
We were never meant to be the same every day and in fact, there is a richness in the ebb and flow of our cycles.
In Do Less by Kate Northrup, she talks about reframing and redesigning our lives as busy mamas with our cycles in mind. “Women don’t need to lean in to fix the system. We need to lean out so that the systems that don’t support our well-being can collapse and new ones can be formed. And that’s what we’re doing . . . in droves.”
As women, we are naturally nurturers and that desire to nurture extends beyond just our own children. Where the patriarchy is founded on a hierarchical system, a matriarchy is a web of interconnection, compassion, and empathy. It is time that we start feeling the rage and befriending it as a transformative tool for change. This will be a topic of a future post, but for now, let’s lean into the rage and let it guide us to break the system that no longer serves us. We owe it to our grandmothers and oppressed women everywhere. The world needs a change and our rage, the one that helps us see our oppression, can be the catalyst for our collective liberation.