I have been in a different head space as of late, it is not entirely new space for me but it is fresh and constantly at the surface as I dive into critical feminist theory. I also just finished reading “The History of Wonder Women” and am seeing things in very different light. If you have not read this book yet, I highly suggest you do. It has opened my eyes to so much feminist theory, provided insight into life before my time, and the challenges females have faced and conquered throughout the years. Top that off with a really intense conversation with a fellow friend, classmate, and critical feminist and you have my mind running, rolling, scrambling, really anything but still.
Over the years I have phased in and out of many friendships, some re-ignited by various events and others that dwindle away and forever remain a factor in my life journey. This year, 2017, so far has been one of those years where I have consciously and unconsciously let many friendships dwindle, let them rest in there position, and have allowed myself to believe that if they are meant to stay connected that these friendships will revive themselves in due time. Yet, as I sit and think about the friends I have consciously and subconsciously shifted dynamics with, it is hard to hide that I think it is because people do not make sense to me anymore.
I grew up in a household that taught me that my gender was only a minor factor in the things I can achieve. I also witnessed my gender (being female) playing a role in the things I was expected to do, the tasks I was encouraged to participate in and those I was to avoid, as well as quickly becoming aware of the differences between my brother and I. I fought hard for my independence, resisted expectations and labels, and regularly defied the rules for girls. I liked to play with fire, melt crayons in my families basement, play video games and sports, wear pants and shirts instead of dresses, and was never fearful of voicing my opinion. This did not mean I was not a female though. I stilled enjoyed curling up in my fathers lap, being spoiled by my family members, spending time with my cousins baking and chatting, and was and will always be my brothers little sister.
Through the years I have gained a sense of independence I am proud of, that I honour each day, and that I cannot envision allowing another to take away from me. I am, in this way and many others biased, and I believe that females can achieve and do anything and everything they desire, regardless of their gender, pronoun, or sex. This is not my critical feminist side, it is simply believing in the power of human beings, both male and female. So, when I see others who have also fought, resisted, and gained their independence let it go in a matter of moments because of new friendships, I am baffled. I worry about the fight they have fought and the value of living in a resistant free manner (for me, tension is the key to a valuable, effective, and critical life). I think abut the person I think I would have to let go of to be this new person and it confuses me that we so readily do this (both males and females). Then I begin to think about how growing up in an independent environment might play a factor in such that when another is willing to live in a collective with us we sway completely to the other end of the spectrum without finding our balance.
None of this makes sense to me but I see it more and more these days. I see my friends happiness being reliant on their significant others happiness, their travel plans based on the travel plans of others, their connection to friends shift because of the new connections that make via their new relationship, and so on. Please do not get me wrong, I do not think this is necessarily a bad thing. It may be more positive than negative in fact. It is just that I do not understand it. I am confused by the fact that a single night with another person can alter a lifetime of fight and resistance. I get lost in thoughts when I begin to think about how much one is willing to let go of in pursuit of another acceptance. I also find myself irked by the willingness to let others go in the (unconscious or conscious) belief that friends will be there later on if something was to happen. There are many more thoughts that associate this internal debate of mine.
However, the ending of this cognitive debate that has occupied my brain for months now is not over and perhaps will never be over. Yet, for today I find myself finding some comfort in the idea that each of us is on our own journey and that I have no right to judge another or place value on any connection for another. I simply use what I witness to create guidelines and boundaries for my own journey. So, if anything, I owe each one of my friends and connections a huge THANK YOU for showing me what I want and do not want, for reminding me about the fight I have taken on since childhood and do not wish to give up, and for highlighting the complexities of life, development, and growth.