My mother won a high school art contest and was given a scholarship to go to art school. Her father, a used car salesman, gambler and a drunk, a typical southern gentleman, refused to let her go.
" You are a girl," Grand Daddy said," why does a girl go to college?"
My mother, being a good southern belle, and a dutiful daughter, declined the scholarship, married a very unsuitable man, my father, and tormented her four unhappy sons, with her grandiose dreams.
When I showed artistic promise Mama became the archetypal stage mother, expecting me and my younger brother, a musician, to make up for her bitter sense of injustice. I remember when she found my journal in my senior year, with my descriptions of my conflicts about being gay that she ordered me to destroy it. I complied, destroying my own material, an act that has always haunted me.
I got out of her house and out of the South and escaped to the East Village and got engaged in many radical social experiments. That was in 1976, Manhattan. Saturday Night Live. Punk rock. Inter-racial. Gender fuck. Pre-AIDS. It was a wild ride!
Half of a man's ancestors are women and half of a woman's ancestors are men. It seems most of our categories of what masculine and feminine are all about are skewed. The distortions, the blame and the shame, have been passed down unequally, from generation to generation.
As an aside, it is a great sign, I believe, that a film like Moonlight, could be made and become incredibly popular. It delves into taboo regions and depicts a mother/ son relationship from hell! And the troubled boy becomes a troubled youth and then a troubled man, performing a hyper-masculine role, even though he is deeply, secretly queer ( ?), in love with another man. The film shows how he has used his body to become an armed vehicle.
I believe most men and women have in common bodies that have been socialized to move in certain prescribed ways and both sexes suffer from chronic neuro-muscular locks and shallow breathing. The pelvis in men and women hold lots of tension. Spiritual awakening in men and women often has a lot to do with releasing the holding in the belly and the sex center. There is a lot of taboo around this topic.
Beatrice, my dear friend, who passed away a few months ago, at the age of 94, had severe dementia, but she remember that her father had refused to let her go to college. He said the same thing to her that my grandfather had said to my mother. Towards the end Beatrice kept saying she wanted to go home. She was a woman who broke through the glass ceiling, she made it in a man's world but at the end she held my hand and looked in my eyes and I saw the little girl in her, the light in the old woman, still shined bright. I was so blessed to have her friendship, she became, by far, the greatest spiritual teacher, I have ever had. I fell in love with her.
Are we making any progress, good people? What are the roots that clutch? Many of us are poly-amorous and none of the labels mean much. I share your frustration, Vanessa, with the baggage of our vocabulary. I have watched, with great pleasure, your nuanced and subtle research, mature and ripen. I really like that you refuse to make the relationships between men and women or women and women or men and men more simple than they actually are. We are immensely complex and your research grapples with that complexity.