24 January 2013

Fluidity of Gender

I attended a lecture by the artist Linda Stein last night. She introduced herself as a female, lesbian, new yorker, feminist, artist, activist, jewish, swimmer...the attributes continue. She encouraged us to think about how we would define ourselves? 

Have you ever defined yourself? 

I did years ago in a college course but I didn't really meditate much on it. I think I'm ready to think about it again - I think I need to think about it again. I was inspired by Linda's personal stories, stories of what her norms looked and felt like being a teen in the early 60's. A memorable moment was going out to dinner with a plumber. She knew to ask a lot of questions and talk little about herself, "When did you decided to be a plumber? What a dream! How exciting to solve problems with faucets and toilets all day" were some of convo you would've overheard during this date. She knew this wasn't her authentic self and went on to decided that she didn't want to date a plumber or a man. She LET GO. She also shared that was a good athlete growing up but realized at around 10 that she wasn't suppose to be good, the boys win. So she just stopped playing or playing good anyway. Not until she was  in her 30's playing tennis with an esteemed artist friend of hers did she (after a lot of self-pep talking) play her best and win 6-Love. She said she was afraid that she would lose a friend if she played well, but instead she LET GO. 

Have you ever denied your authentic self for an expectation? 

I have. I didn't apply myself. I denied my feelings. I lost the game. I waited around for a phone call. I decided that someones else validation (or lack of) was going to determine my day - my value - my choices. But we have to FEEL all of this in order to LET IT GO. And we can find that strength to LET GO by witnessing what beautiful things Linda has birthed from this letting go.

It reminds me of a quote I read this morning in my meditation book, "Try to do everything in the world with a mind that lets go. If you let go a little you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you will know complete peace and freedom. Your struggles with the world will have come to an end." 
Achaan Chah.

Linda's installment was a collection of shields or "knights" as she referred to them. Androgynous body like forms that were comprised of wonder woman comic strips that said "CAUTION: Feminist it's time for you to break through the glass ceiling!" or black leather suits made of sandals, designer purses, jewels, swiss watches, etc. The pieces affected me in different ways: a soft encouragement, a firm motivation, or powerful strength from a distance.

Her lecture and art affected me. Linda's passion and words affected. My Sister and I talked about it the whole way home. I kept thinking about it when I got home. I'm writing about it this morning. It's a fire in my mind.

The power of an idea - a passion - of art - a purpose can set fire.
It makes me wonder what kind of fires am I setting or if i am setting any at all?

is this fluidity? ha ha.

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