The cycle of life --a woman's life--is in my thoughts right now.
Girls at Penny's school are cutting themselves, leaving deep wounds. These girls have not been through the severe trauma that Penny has experienced, but they are lashing out against their own bodies, their own sanity, their own power. We want to shake them, "Live Big and Wild and Free! Be You!" But instead they crouch behind their bedroom doors, tearing at their flesh, crying and doing so little with their young, healthy, juicy lives.
Young women radiate a palpable magnetic energy. You can see it in their eyes, you can smell it on their skin. A young woman is a magical creature, and their magic is overpowering--overwhelming even to themselves. Depression, anxiety and self-loathing soften the glow a little, but you can still see it. I understand why our culture is obsessed with adolescent girls, why men want to possess them and media wants to market them and why so many women--mothers, aunts-- ache to protect them. There is so much to protect them from.
One of Penny's classmates - a smart, giggly, beautiful girl - has been suddenly drowning in suicidal depression. Her mom spent the last few nights sleeping with her in the psych ward. There are men on this ward -- staff, teen age patients -- and her girl is a sad, scared 14 year old. So mom slept next to her in the hospital and this image makes me cry. There is so much love and fear and uncertainty and regret wrapped up in parenting a teenage girl.
And then the same week, but across the ages, across town, another friend of mine spent several nights in the hospital holding the hand of her geriatric, dying neighbor. This neighbor was a remarkable woman in her time, a pediatrician when few women attended med school. A lesbian in a committed relationship for 37 years when many other lesbians just suffered through heterosexual marriage. And at the end of her days, she would have been alone had it not been for the kind, magical woman who lived next door to her.
We women who take care of others--who hold the hands of the dying, and the scared and the broken--are the girls who broke free of the message to squelch our power into nothing but a small, sexy package. We can see beyond the crap into what really matters in life. We have unleashed our powerful love into the world.