Feminism and Fall

Feminism came upon me like autumn happens to summer. I couldn’t have predicted this change any more than I could have predicted the colors or the cold or the pumpkin pie spice. And yet, here I am; solidly in autumnal colors, wrapped in a warm scarf and holding a fragrant cup of spiced cider.

It has been many years since my feminist awakening; I have climbed mountains and given birth since then. I have met with other wandering feminists and held their hands as we looked at the sky in wonder. I could not have predicted the sisterhood, nor the moments of trust as we held each other’s pain.

There are people who knew me before that don’t trust me now. Somehow, there is this thing between us – my feminism, my disdain of patriarchy in all it’s forms. My interests are second-guessed, my motivations critiqued, as though I am a viper in white clothing. Sometimes I walk quietly; tiptoeing, suppressing my heartbeat. ‘Harmless, there is no threat here”, I telegraph silently. “It’s just me. I’m a friend”. Maybe I am making up for baby feminist that plod through china shops of carefully held ideals.

I have been surprised to find that sometimes the moments of trust and the moments of distrust happen with the same person, oscillating from moment to moment. Sometimes I am given pain with one hand, and the other is held back. Sometimes I carry both secrets and vanity.

People, all people, are walking contradictions. Life and feminism both have taught me this. No human is entirely consistent with every part of themselves. They have changed, too. I know that we are different people throughout our lives

It’s probably better that I didn’t know this hidden cost of feminism, the skepticism with which my non-feminist loved ones would one day regard me. I might have resisted the journey. I find that I know better now how to interact with new non-feminist friends than I do with old ones; I’ve learned what not to say. But I didn’t know before.

I wouldn’t change anything; I wouldn’t go back and tell my pre-feminist self to run (though I might tell her to be more gentle). I couldn’t have prevented it any more than I can prevent the seasons from shifting. Finding new things is part of the joy. This change, which I have fought and embraced, which has brought joy and pain, has divided me from my past and from my past loves. Walking in the valley of sorrow, I find that loss is part of the game.

So, my fellow feminists, I hope that what you have found here has compensated you for what you’ve lost. Mother Eve ate fruit (an autumnal apple, perhaps?), and her eyes were opened. I wonder if Adam saw her differently.

AdelaHope

AdelaHope used to be a little girl with a microphone, who loved her bicycle. She is now a woman with a family, a laptop, and a ukulele, who has dreams of traveling to beautiful, interesting places. She is currently living the mom-life in New England

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3 Responses

  1. Violadiva says:

    Wow, beautiful. I so relate to this. Seeing and being seen so differently because of feminism….kind of like the whole world tips upside down. (rightside up?) Either way, it’s disorienting.

  2. Jessica says:

    Thank you – I do feel somewhat compensated here for what I have lost! You described very well the circumstance of feeling more myself than I ever have, having more self-love, more self-respect, more ambition, more fullness – now that I identify with feminism – and yet now I am dangerous to those who have been my friends and companions. Before I knew myself they were my champions and confidantes. Now I am coming into myself as my own champion and theirs too, I am a threat. It is such a strange place in which to wake up. Disorienting. The thing about which I rejoice the most I cannot share openly with those with whom I most want to rejoice!

  3. Ziff says:

    Wow, I really love this, AdelaHope. This line in particular struck me:

    “I have been surprised to find that sometimes the moments of trust and the moments of distrust happen with the same person, oscillating from moment to moment.”

    Now that you put it that way, I can see how this happens, and how I’ve seen it happen to people I know (and occasionally, to me). At least when I’ve seen it, it’s like there’s a shifting from moment to moment in which parts of the group identity are salient, and when the patriarchy is the salient piece, then people think of you as an outsider, but maybe when some more general Mormon experience is salient, then you become an insider again. Thanks for articulating this complicated situation so perfectly!

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