Walking on Fresh Grass
Christian wrote a book called “lies of our society” but no one wanted to publish it. Why? There are lots of lies in our society about men. There are many about women. I’ll tackle men in a couple of weeks, but with mother’s day just around the corner, I thought it best to look at pressure on women.
I’m going to make some controversial, un-PC comments. Some may strike a chord in you; others you may disagree with. So hold onto your bourkas.
Women do not like to initiate sex.
Talking for women is what sex is for men: a necessity and a great pleasure.
The female hierarchy at a party is still decided by who is the most attractive in the room.
Women don’t like paying for their own meal (except when there’s an expectation of sex)
Women like to be provided for.
Women are just as controlling as men, but in a different way.
Women often feel they are a failure if they have only a meagre job.
Women feel a failure if they have only been a mother.
Women feel a failure if they haven’t been a mother.
Women do not like mowing lawns.
Not only have I have felt all of these things at some point in my life, but
Christian hears these deep cries, over and over again, from the mouths of the women he treats. Understanding women is a lot more complex than society makes it out to be.
But Christian tells me that the comments above apply a lot less to younger women.
Do they? Really? That’s not what many of my students tell me.
Before you react the way the media would like you to, let me say that there are, of course, many exceptions to the comments above. But…
Why can’t we say these things out loud? Why do they have to be spoken behind closed doors? Sometimes I want to scream them from the top of a mountain. I have met many women that are so in chains to what society wants them to be that they think something is wrong with them. They often lead unfulfilled lives and supress their needs because “you’re not supposed to think like that.”
When I was studying as a mature aged student, one young woman approached me, clearly distressed:
“I think I have some sort of mental illness”
“I’m being pressured into having sex with lots of different men because that’s what you do, but I don’t want to. I just want someone to take care of me. I don’t want a career, I just want to have children. What’s wrong with me?”
So how do we stop the “that’s what you do” messages that shout at us from billboards, screens and even popular songs?
Be honest with yourself.
Be honest with your partner.
Exploring and authentically living out a true self is a life-long journey. It can be painful and confusing, but enlightening and enjoyable. A good measure of the following is useful: self-reflection, patience, humility, the ability to listen, a sense of humour, and a willingness to learn from mistakes and from successes.
Be real and let the social mask drop down just a little, and watch others do the same. It is not easy negotiating the demands of mutual trust and vulnerability when society bids you keep your mask on thick and tight. If you can, you will enjoy the ride of an authentic self in relationship with others. (unpublished)
A few years ago I attended the wedding of my friend who had been pressured to be someone she wasn’t. As I watched her talking with her husband at the reception dinner I witnessed her deep contentment. She had put on a bit of weight, she laughed more than I had ever remembered and there was a softness in her expression I had never seen before.
I rejoiced for her.
Unlike my friend, I have not yet overcome the pull of this wonderful yet pressure-filled society we live in. In many ways I have been hardened by it, and this saddens me. As a wife, as a mother, as a lecturer I keep, however, striving for authenticity because I know that not only is it the secret to fulfilment for me, but it will help those in my life to also live deeper, fuller lives.
Welcome to our blog. Each blog contains a little story of our journey and an insight drawn from Christian's 18 years of clinical experience as a psychiatrist. The central ideas are in bold. We post every fortnight and would love to hear your comments. Looking forward to travelling with you in this amazing journey called life.