Beautiful run this morning. I began the run feeling decidedly heavy. My feet were a bit sore and I acknowledged that I need to get a pedicure and pamper the little darlings, after all I am putting them through their paces. The pun is most definitely intended. I ran the 6k route and will continue this for the next few weeks then tack on another kilometer perhaps at the end of February. I have been tweaking my workouts and adjusting when I eat certain things. Let’s just say, I need to work out a few kinks to this whole thing.
As I ran through a misty morning thoughts meandered through the grey matter. It occurred to me that I haven’t written anything humourous for a while. But that will come. Lately I have put myself under the proverbial microscope determined to unearth and correct those loose connections. At the beginning of my Friday runs, I always greet the Earth, Sky, Air, Sun, Moon, Stars, Trees, Horse and all living beings. I can’t see the majority of those I greet but I know they’re around me.
I got thinking again about the difficulty we have at times of communicating with one another. Some may find the little mantra that I speak out loud as I begin my run unusual. For me it is simply an acknowledgement and show of appreciation for all that surrounds me, all that I am a part of. As I gazed through the microscope a memory surfaced of THE TALK that I had with my mother regarding the mystery of babies.
Keep in mind this was the early 1970’s. A confusing time let me assure you. I was twelve years of age and had recently begun my menses. My sister had congratulated me and told me that I had just become a young woman. Tomboy that I was, I sat for quite some time in the bathroom that day pondering this statement. What was later disclosed to me was that I would now be able to bear children.
This too was confusing considering I myself was a child. And so I asked my mother quite casually in the kitchen a few weeks later as she made dinner ‘Where do babies come from and how are they made?’ The question was something like that anyway. My mother looked at me rather startled at first then she looked away.
‘The man puts his thingy in the woman’s thingy and that’s how a woman gets with child.’
I looked at my mother somewhat confused, ‘His thingy?’ I queried.
She blushed a bit now. ‘You know…his pee pee, his dink…’ Then she let it trail off. No, she could not bring herself to call it a penis or name the female organ known as the vagina either.
I think I looked rather horrified as the visual settled into place. This had a real ‘ick’ factor to it.
And that, my friends, was THE TALK.
No mention was made of hormones, of erections, of arousal. No mention was made of the things I would soon begin to experience, the urges, the sensitivity. No mention of the emotions that would come into play. Nothing.
High School sex education would support my mother’s claim as to the making of babies. An image of the inner workings of the vagina and the inner workings of the penis were shown in a diagram and then in the next slide they joined the two…copulation equals pregnancy. Again, no discussion about the rest of it. Film reels were shown that had been developed back in the 1950’s to show the proper way a young girl and boy should behave on a date. He was dressed in a suit and she was wearing a poodle skirt, bobby sox and sweater with her hair in a ponytail. Very squeaky clean I assure you. Holding hands was acceptable. If he was to kiss her, just kiss the cheek. Never the lips…that could lead to….well, they never told you exactly where it would lead to. We would discover this for ourselves later on.
I was raised at a time when we were receiving a lot of mixed messages. Free love was all the rage. The term for having sex was ‘balling’ at that time. Birth control meant women would not get pregnant the moment a man touched them so they could have sex on a casual basis. Women’s liberation was taking hold and women were burning their bras. War was being rejected by the youth of the day and civil unrest and protests abounded. Issues that had been suppressed for an eternity seemed to just rise to the surface simultaneously.
And while the world around that young girl shifted and changed she did as well. There was a lesson in shame that was being infused into her young mind at being a woman. All the contradictory information that was being fed and the abuses that would follow, well it has taken a lifetime to change the line of thought that was originally programmed.
As I ran down the hill to my home this morning it felt good to no longer feel shame. It felt good to acknowledge that I can discuss these things openly now. Yet still today it seems to be a sticking point does it not? Why do we find it so difficult to discuss the natural state of the body’s development with our children? Why do we find it so hard to say ‘I love you’ to those that mean the most to us. And I say this to friends all the time. I want them to know how much them mean to me, that they matter, that they are loved.
And so the work day is set to begin and I am changing yet again. Defining self, removing the mantel of self-doubt and stepping out into this world as just me…Nancy. A woman with a heart that seems to grow and expand daily. And I like this. I like it a lot.