Wednesday, June 14, 2006

the power of words

I'm reflecting, what do I really know about any of this, I want to know but I don't really *know*. The older I get, the less i know. But as I've gotten older and hopefully wiser,I have taken on some beliefs, and one of them is I no longer underestimate the dynamic power of words, thinking them, saying them, believing or disbelieving them. If I don't believe something, I best not put it into words and say it. The power begins to sprout in thoughts, putting down roots that grow deeper with repeated attention and tending, waiting for the thought or belief to be spoken aloud, taken out into the sunlight, where it can crystalize, manifest, and grow. I find that tending my mind, and all the thoughts that take shape there, is a rigorous and never ending job, I try as best I can to remain vigilant and faithful; removing the lies, what would do me damage, or hold me back, and acknowledging and nurturing those thoughts which move me in the direction of discovering my authentic self, what I long to know and be, what I am. At almost 50 years old, I'm still such a beginner at all this. On good days,I begin my day with this goal in mind; to be aware and curious. It sounds easy, it's not; I try to do my best, I'm human, that's all I can do, and I try to be kind to myself when I don't do so well.

Which brings me to the conversation that prompted all this inner investigation and clarification. My lovely daughter, my youngest, is making the final preperations for her July 8th wedding. She had her first fitting a couple weeks ago, here's a picture of her in the fitting room, she's a beautiful woman, inside and out - I'm so proud of her.

She and her sister were raised in a liberal and free-thinking environment, we've always encouraged them to think for themselves, listen to their intuition, and follow their heart and dreams. She wants to get married, she wants to have a family. She's a junior in college, going part time now, and also loves being a student. She is marrying into a family that is almost exactly opposite from the one she grew up in - conservative, traditional, definately not free thinkers...I don't believe she yet sees what she's getting into, but she will learn. We've had several talks about marriage, about it being the coming together of two unique and individual people as equal partners. That is what she wants and expects.

They were going to meet with the officiant yesterday, a woman. That was a problem initially as the groom wanted a man conducting the service ( i start hearing alarm bells). A man was unavailable on that date so they *settled* for the woman. My daughter told me on the phone yesterday than O** wants the officiant to make the announcement at the end of the service: "and now I introduce Mr. and Mrs. O**** HisLast Name". He felt adamant about it, it's traditionalal. And he wanted the phrase "man and wife" not "husband and wife". OMG!!!!! I am horrified! When my husband learned this he said "your're going to have to have a good talk to her about this". Which I did, that day, before their appointment with the officiant. I learned she didn't want these things, she'd expressed it, and they'd gone back and forth on it - the compromise was "husband and wife" but the "Mrs O** LastName" would stay, he was fixed on that. She told me she went along with it because she didn't want yet another fight. He said it was traditional, and it was no big deal. We talked about how not all traditions are inherently good, it's a very good thing when the bad ones are extinguished - like slavery, women not having the right to vote, etc.
I reminded her how women had spent years fighting for this very change in wording because of the power in the words - the handing over of ones identity in that one sentence. She was no longer a Kendrick, she gives up her birth name, and with his version, she gives up her first name as well - she is now a MRS O....sounds a bit like property I'd say. I'm quite impassioned about this issue and when we were done talking she understood why, and had a sick feeling inside when she thought about going throught it, and was actually mad that he'd pushed for it. YAY!!! If she listened to me and decided she wanted to go through with it anyway, I wouldn't have said another word, I will respect her decision. But I don't want to see her compromise on something so important, something that diminishes her, all for the sake of keeping the peace - if it were me, it would be a deal breaker. He's probably not going to like me, he probably already doesn't. I can't help that, I will always support my daughter on her journey towards becoming her authentic self, as I will support him if he wants it, it's up to him.


JamieV said...

Katie, sorry this is long, it just struck a chord with me today - I am going to have my daughter read your post. OMG - thank you for sharing your feelings on this! My daughter is nearly 23, has been dating a "very nice guy" for over 2 years - and living with him for about a year. The subject of marriage has come up often, but they haven't reached any formal decisions yet - and he's getting cold feet already... But I can see the writing on the wall. I thought we came from a more 'conservative' family, but wow, is that changing fast! Some of the same types of issues have come up and they both are finding out that they are each pretty firm in their beliefs! I told my daughter there is no rush -and all of these issues really need to be discussed over and over - and if something is that important to her she should not have to compromise her feelings or beliefs. It should be a partnership, but if differences like this occur now, what happens when the children come along??? Her boyfriend thinks I have raised my children too "liberally" (I have been a single parent of four for quite a long time, mind you) and he doesn't want "his" children raised like that. I can already tell his parenting style by observing him interacting with their dog! Hmmm.... doesn't bode well for the future. Hang in there! Just had to put in my 2 cents.... Jamie

JamieV said...

ps. I LOVE your dolls....

Maija said...

Dear Katie, I can't imagine what it must feel like watching your child make a decision you know they are sure to regret. You are being a wonderful, supportive Mom as I know this is a heavy burden. You amaze me!

CreativeLiving said...

Hi Katie,
I love what you said about being on a journey....I'm all about becoming my best self, my true self.....very cool. Some great wisdom I came accross lately was:
be open to everything and attached to nothing. Thanks for sharing.

katie said...

Hi Jamie,
I'm happy to hear from you but sorry it struck a chord :-(
It's so very hard to be a parent sometimes, even when our children are grown, we still sometimes have to watch them stumble and fall. The older I get the more I can relate to the adage that parents try to keep their children from repeating the same mistakes they did. But, they have their lessons to learn too, just like we did (and do!), and although I think I know what the best lessons are, my higher power seems to do a lot better job of it. My daughter and I have discussed the same issues you mentioned you and yours have - especially in relation to bringing children into the mix. My thoughts are with you and your daughter - I know how hard it is for you to watch, I wish her the very best life has to offer!

Thank you for the compliment on my dolls - they are a lot of fun to make; who knew I was a "doll person"? !!

Just curious, how did you find my blog? Do you have one I can visit?
Hope to visit with you again.

katie said...

Hi Majia,
Thank you for your kind words :-)
Luckily, I can't predict the future, so I'm hoping things turn out well for them. My hubbie and I had a very rocky start and after lots of hard work and patience, we've both learn and grown so much from one another and have a deep love for each other - I can't imagine my life without him. I can only hope the best for my girl too...

katie said...

Hi Lisa,
That's one choice bit of wisdom you shared, I believe it wholeheartedly! To exercise it is the challenge of a lifetime. You sound like such a kindred spirit - I hope one day we'll meet! Do you ever go to any of the art retreats? If I go, it's usually artfest, as I live close to Port Townsed. This year I'm vending at Portland Art and Soul too, my first time there, I'm looking forward to it.
Wishing you a beautiful day!!

kathywas said...

Wow, Katie...I know what you are going through and what you are feeling. There is nothing harder than "letting go" of your children and having them move on with their own life and decisions. I really wouldn't worry too much about the announcement at the end of "Mr and Mrs. O LastName". To me, it is just a traditional phrase that emphasizes the union of 2 people and the sanctity of marriage. No big deal. It will not affect her thinking and her outlook on life.

My youngest son got married last September, and talk about differences....yikes! I had to contend with religious differences. We could not have a wedding because her parents were Jehovah Witnesses and did not approve of the union. However, it didn't stop them from attending the celebration party the following month! Grrr... Then, there was the 1st Christmas together (last year). The newlyweds came down to visit and celebrate the day with us, only I learn that SHE was going home that morning because her mother was flying in to visit. Her parents don't celebrate Christmas, so she thought nothing about ruining everyone else's day. I could not believe that she would do this on their 1st Christmas together!!! I could go on and on! I don't even hear from him as much as I used to. I bite my tongue and don't say anything, as he is happy and it's his life now.

So Good Luck...hang in there...and let nature take it's course. If it's to be, it will all work out!

EveryRosetta said...

I want to congratulate you for your bravery. Weddings are still an area of modern life where feminist sentiment is just not welcome. I know how much pressure is put on everyone involved in planning the merger of two families to keep the peace, but keeping the peace sometimes is just a euphemism for maintaining the status quo. I have squirmed through the weddings I have been to where the women's identity has disappeared into the man's as part of the ceremony. "Tradition" is a lame excuse - this wedding, this bringing together of two lives and two families - is a really, really big deal. Why wouldn't you want to have the words you use accurately reflect your own hopes, plans and identities?

Can you tell this is a issue that is close to my heart?