Friday, May 9, 2014

I am not alone…

So this is it -the dreaded wrap up post. I have been brewing it in my head for days. 

Thinking of lines from the show that moved me.

Thinking of how I feel and the looks on the faces I was able to read from the stage. 

Thinking of the comments I’ve gotten days and days since. 

Brain completely shutting down as I am swilling in and drowning in emotion. I turn on the radio to LISTEN to Liz Tasio’s reading on KCUR.

It was beautiful and moving and perfect- as it was the day of the show. The words are so perfect.
But it was also what came the entire hour before her piece was read on the program Central Standard, that cause me to become un-hinged. A history lesson on the origins of Mother's day or Mothers' day, as the debate was waged. I had gone through 42 of these holidays and never once did it occur to me to question the birth/origin of the day. I assumed a day generated in some capitalistic fashion to garner money for the floral or chocolate industry. I was WAY wrong. 

An uber feminist from way back in 1870 named Julia Ward Howe wanted a call to action for women. She believed that women are the ones who end wars, women are the ones who unite and not divide. She wanted women to ban together to bring peace to the world. She wanted an end to the bloodshed of our children in the name of a war she did not believe in. She authored the following originally titled, "An Appeal to Womanhood Throughout the World." Later the name changed to, "The Mother's Day Proclamation."

"Arise, then, women of this day ! Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether our baptism be of water or of tears ! Say firmly : We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country, to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: Disarm, disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence vindicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of council.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take council with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, man as the brother of man, each bearing after his own kind the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women, without limit of nationality, may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient, and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace. "

A wave washed over me. 

I realized I am not alone. 

Mine is not a new or unique cause. I am not a trendsetting, headline making, way-paver. I am saying nothing new and profoundly life altering. 

I am actually humbled by that realization. 

I am happy with it.

 In fact a bit ecstatic.

I am one, in a line of MANY MANY MANY women who have come before me begging, demanding, and instigating a consciousness of heart and mind. I am one, in a line of many who wanted change, who advocated for it, who spoke up for it. I am one, in a line of many who realized the power we as women harness to bring about that change- TO UNITE. 

In my closing for the show this year I said. "It is the story that unites." It is OUR story that unites. I may be placing her on a pedestal she is not prepared for but Ann Imig is in league with women like Julia Ward Howe. She gave us this show to share our voices, our stories and in short to unite this world in the name of Motherhood. I am proud to have been a part in it. 

I am proud to have shared a stage and to have facilitated 14 women in telling their truth. I am proud of the things they shared and the people they touched. 

Amy Carlson had one line in her piece called "Together."  She said, "It's the anti-pregnant belly. All negative space." That line haunted me for days after the show and feeling a little empty and alone that it was over, that line was all I could think of. Like in a way I had just given birth and my children had all grown and left the nest in one short weekend. Yes- that is what it feels like. But then I realized in LISTENING to that Mother's day proclamation, that I had helped put something of beauty into the world. Helped UNITE. There is nothing empty about that. 

I am not alone. I stand in good company. This year with 14 women telling stories that unite.  We are part of the bigger picture, a grander plan. I am eternally grateful for that.