Tuesday, January 31, 2006

SPT {Personal History - 4}

~four generations~

Gwendolyn Michelle, the daughter of
Gwendolyn Ann, the daughter of
Patsy Ann, the daughter of
Iva Beatrice, the daughter of
Susie Lucretia,
and on and on
into the past
where the names and faces have been long forgotten.
And even further back
are the age old stories I was taught as a child,
women familiar,
yet voiceless and faceless--
Mary, the mother of Jesus,
Mary Magdalene, disciple of the Christ,
Esther, the chosen queen,
Ruth, the daughter adopted by Naomi
Deborah, the judge,
Dinah, the sister betrayed,
Rachel and Leah, the sisters betrothed,
Rebecca, the grandmother of nations,
Sarah, the mother of a promise,
and finally,
back to the beginning of time,
Eve, the mother of all,
whose one defiant act
supposedly cursed an entire lineage of women,
leaving us all to carry the shame
of a curse I don't understand,
a curse I grew up knowing by heart
from all the little, indirect reminders
to stay in my place--
a place of service, a place of duty,
a place without a voice, a place without power,
a place of invisibility, a place limited and confined.
A lot of pain has been invested
in trying to make sense of it.
A lot of hope has teetered
on finding the longed for redemption.
This is what I carry from my past.
Is it an impossible dream to want
to re-myth the old stories
and set us all free?
But, as I face my past in order to move
towards the future, I'm learning
I can't rewrite the stories for the entire world.
I don't have that kind of power.
I just have to redefine them within my own heart,
and that,
I have the courage and power to do.


Blogger Deb R said...

Wonderful post, Michelle and I love the photo collage. There's a strong family resemblence there!

8:29 PM  
Blogger Frankie said...

Yes you do!! I adore this post sister girlfriend! It makes me feel so empowered for all womankind. It is amazing how those roles get passed down from generation to generation, but I love your courage and strength to change them in your own life. Thanks for the inspiration!!

8:41 PM  
Blogger Alexandra S said...

We can honor and love our relatives without feeling like we have to actually BE them in the ways that don't serve us anymore. I loved these last two writings-prose poems?- it made me think about my aunts and uncles and grandparents and all the ways I love them and don't, all the ways I want to define myself differently and not. Another beautiful post! How do you keep doing it?!?

9:01 PM  
Blogger Misty Mawn said...


10:18 PM  
Blogger megg said...

Wow again! I really really loved that post and the photographs! As you know from what you said on my post yesterday (thank you by the way!) I am completely on this page right now. It is so important that we honour the women who came before us but we also need to stop making the same choices and use our energy for taking care of who we are now.

You have a real talent for capturing your reader's heart with your words. Thank you again for such a lovely post.

2:16 AM  
Blogger Trish said...

Awesmome SPT. I felt like you were writing about mine and all of womens history :)

3:24 AM  
Blogger mayseek life said...

sounds like you have defined one facet of true feminism for me...one that begins a self love to go forward. (beautifully said)

4:27 AM  
Blogger mayseek life said...

and the pictures are powerful in stirring the memories that connect a family.they are striking.

4:29 AM  
Blogger acumamakiki said...

Lovely and powerful.

Timely that you mention Esther, that's the next book I'll read as I further my Judaic studies.

4:44 AM  
Blogger gkgirl said...

this is amazing
and interesting and
i loved it!
so well written
and i loved how you started it...

4:45 AM  
Blogger snowsparkle said...

your piece reminded me of what great lengths patriarchies have gone to maintain their presumed power and superiority by assigning negative definitions to the sources of women's power. i say yay for you abandoning old stories while honoring the women who came before us.

6:11 AM  
Anonymous beansprout said...

Ahhh...having the power and the courage to change. Isn't this the true work of evolving. I love your descriptions of your lineage and history as a woman. Beautiful.

6:20 AM  
Blogger kelly said...

wow! once again true enlightenment

7:40 AM  
Blogger dani said...

great images and words again. having not had religion in my life (apart from being christened and the occasional sunday school on friday afternoons)i can't fully understand the oppression you felt. i can only say that the choices you have now made indicate yet again the strength of your character. god and spirituality is so much more than what a particular religious faith can tell you.

1:01 PM  
Blogger tara dawn said...

"A lot of pain has been invested
in trying to make sense of it.
A lot of hope has teetered
on finding the longed for redemption.
This is what I carry from my past."

It's as if you took these words from inside my soul and wrote them, freed them, from their place of hiding.
You inspire me more than I can ever tell you...thank you!

3:56 PM  
Blogger --erica said...

This is beautiful.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

so well written...
i can't even begin to
say how much i like this post.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Michelle Fry said...

Wonderful. I love how you incorporated women from the bible. Ruth is my favorite but these women are mythologies. You are the real thing and you are defining yourself every moment in powerful ways.

9:26 PM  

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