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Judy Atchinson's A Stubborn Woman
by Judy Atchinson

A Stubborn Woman

A Daily Gazette community blog
QUEST leader's wanderings and musings

People are individual and different

I love this quote:
“If we were all the same, how would anyone be special?”
-- Gourmet Magazine, Feb. 2013

In this time of supposed equality, note “some pigs are more equal than others” from George Orwell’s "Animal Farm."

There are indeed many forms of equality and also diversity. These are just words with different meanings depending on how they are expressed. Because equality is simply not true. People are individual and different and that’s a good thing. Otherwise we would be robots and very odd. Some of us like coffee and some of us like milk, and others of us like both, and many like none of the above.

Too simplistic? How about some can hit a baseball and make it fly, and others are good with hitting a hockey puck while others, myself included, cannot hit the broad side of a barn door, and still others hit their wives and children. Both females and males strike their offspring but it is usually the male, who is bigger and stronger, that hits his wife. While others on both sides of the equation roam the streets in groups (often called gangs) and true to form and definition bully and beat on whoever they feel like.

Some of us have blue eyes and some brown, a very lucky few have violet or green, and some are blind and can not see any color at all.

There was an old hippie saying, “We all put on our pants one leg at a time.” But this only refers to certain parts of the world and certain eras of history. I keep seeing ads for these ridiculously high heels, platform soles and stiletto heels, 5 or 6 inches tall. Where is that taking us? You certainly don’t run in those shoes, let alone walk. Maybe these silly shoes are to make us look taller. More ferocious, the height equal to a man. From what I can see, except for poking out the eye of an attacker, the only thing to come out of this fashion faux-pas is misalignment of the spine, and total loss of equilibrium. They are walking torture chambers. And yes that pun is intended.

Equal under the law. Well that’s pretty much a giggle too. The quality of justice often depends on the quantity of the payment. And in China some women face execution for being beaten by their husbands. There is such a case now on “Change,” a petition website for many types of injustice.

And let’s talk about the abuse of women. You know that tired old saying (yup another one) -- “she deserved what she got” -- those famous words used as an excuse for rape or physical harm. So then maybe the abuser deserves some retribution too. And why is it usually the male who feels it is the prerogative to tread on someone whom he sees as property. Or better an open season target for satisfying a sexual urge which leads to child pornography. Is that okay also?

And the next arrow I’m shooting is aimed right at our police department: strippers, female flesh objectified, depersonalized, dehumanized. “All this excitement over a few cops going to a bar, hoisting a few and cheering on some woman making love to a pole while being scantily clothed.”

Now let’s change the perspective a wee bit. What if this party were hosted and run by our public school male teachers? Oh, I can hear the outrage already. “That is different,” and I want to know how and why! Our police earn more money than our teachers and they are supposed to represent honesty and decency and, oh yes, respect for women. I would be eager to know if there were any female cops at the Schenectady PD's holiday party. There is still a great divide between the male and female. In this country, in those countries, and in most religions.

If all the really good things in life seem to be reserved for the male folk, then they should have a little more class. Change their socks more often for example. How do I explain to my boys that no, the cops should not be diminishing women but working with them as equals.

The biggest insult that you can make to a street kid is to demean his mother. Madonna/ whore complex has it’s roots firmly in reality. And how many other male-oriented and male-dominated countries terrorize and enslave their women? And does anyone really care? The prostitution issue is a very strong legal study in equality. It’s only in the past few years that the male (John, if you will) has also been arrested for soliciting sex. Even now if you read arrest statements, women are 3 times the number arrested in prostitution stings.

“Perfect does not mean perfect actions in a perfect world, but appropriate actions in an imperfect one.”
-- R.H. Blyth

So now I am going to lay off the men and talk about women for a while.

Last Friday many of the schools in our area had dances for the kids. This was a very big deal to everyone. Those hosting and those coming to the party. And bless the schools and teachers for doing this. This is a truly civilizing and maturing experience for our youth.

Kwan came to QUEST for Real Talk, which he is really hooked on, and I had told him that I would drive him to the dance. He did not get to go home and change and shower, he went strictly as is. And as is, is still pretty special for Kwan. The dance was starting at 6:30 or thereabouts and all night he was stewing over his mom. “She said she might send a friend to pick me up.” So he kept trying to call his aunt; he does not have his mom’s phone number. He called his aunt from my phone to make sure she would answer. His aunt assured him that she had tried to call his mom but she wasn’t picking up. Why she didn’t give Kwan his mom’s phone number is a mystery to me.

After a while Kwan was fidgety and desperate, “Don’t take me to the dance yet,” he said, “take me home.” So I drove him home and of course he does not have a key to get in. And the lights were on in the upstairs flat so Kwan got out of the car and pounded on the door and called out over and over “Mom, mom.” No one came to a door or a window so I asked Kwan if he wanted to go to his aunt’s a few blocks away; “she with Tonia” he said, “she’s going to a dance tonight too.”

“So what shall we do” I replied. “Go to the dance I guess,” he said tentatively. I pulled out a ten and waved it. “Cab fare home,” I said, “just in case.” He took it and tucked in a coat pocket. “You are not to walk,” I said. It was at Central Park School and he lives quite a distance away. All the way over to the dance he was chewing on this problem, and was very deeply concerned. “Look,” I said, “you did everything right, you can’t possibly get in trouble, your mom can call me if there are issues. You have my number.” With that I said a little prayer and dropped him off and drove away.

So, here’s to the Wright Foundation, and kudos to Heather Ward – Thanks for the money, the money will make memories. Good memories for Schenectady and its folk. A fire alarm system is imminent and we can (as Schenectady Planning so carefully states) increase our capacity. There are people in this city who are so caring, and wish us well in so many ways. I send my thanks and simply state “Watch us Grow!”

"Zombie Prom" is rehearsing evenings at QUEST. Love to see a full house. Auditions were last week. And now they’re moving forward on the play. A play for teens. Acted by teens, interns of teens, techies also filled out by teens. And theater dance classes. What more could we ask for? Oh, yes, I forgot. No charge. A free teen theatre program. Isn’t that sweet? All this and Helen’s Ghost. Bravo everyone.

“The natural order of things includes us and it’s laws are our laws. We are an endless moving stream in an endless moving stream.”
-- Jisho Warner

I hope everyone out there knows we will share our money and success with all our community. More cookouts -- more programs -- more involvement.

We are looking to start or rather continue and enlarge our work with families. We want to come roaring back with intergeneration programs with moms and children. Our new Real Talk Program is male so this one is both moms and male and female offspring. Maybe male parents also if we have any luck. At a once-a-week gathering of Mom’s and Pop’s and Kids and Grandparents too. A time to work toward becoming better at what is most important to us. Our family. And yet many of our families have a toxic element. I like what our outreach director said, “Them’s just relatives, real families can be anyone, don’t have to be just blood, can be anyone you love and who loves you.”

One prayer that might actually “Make the World A Better Place”:

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray these men their promises to keep
I am a man
May I be a man
Whose confidence comes from the ‘depth’ of my giving
Who understands that vulnerability is my ‘greatest strength’
Who ‘creates’ space rather than dominates it
Who appreciates ‘listening’ more than knowing
Who seeks ‘kindness’ over control
Who ‘cries’ when the grief is too much
Who ‘refuses’ the slap, the gun, the choke, the insult, the punch
May I ‘not be afraid’ to get lost
May I ‘cherish’ touch more than performance
And, the ‘experience’ more than getting there
May I move ‘slowly’ not abruptly
May I be ‘brave’ enough to share my fears and shames
And, ‘gather’ the other men to do the same
May I stop pretending and ‘open’ the part of me that has long been numb
May I ‘cherish’ and ‘respect’ and ‘Love’ my Mother
May the resonance of the ‘Love’ translates into ‘Loving’ all women and all living things.

-- Eve Ensler

This is domestic violence month.
P.S. I hope you remember Helen from last week’s blog.

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