Two of my favorite F words are feminism and forgiveness. Recent events have made them extremely topical.
I love the word “feminism” because I believe it is the future. I genuinely believe that patriarchal societies are actively harmful to the people in them. I don’t think the toxic, traditional definitions of masculinity are doing any favors for anybody. There are lots of boys and young men who suffer because they cannot bear the pressure of living up to what they’re told a Real Man should be. There is no Real Man. There are advertisements that will tell you what a Real Man looks like, but it’s all so you’ll buy whatever product they’re selling to relieve whatever flaw they’re looking to exploit.
A society that identifies archetypal standards of behavior based on gender hurts everybody. I’ve found that living an authentic life, consistent with one’s values and goals, provides more opportunities for joy and connection than a life spent constrained by the definitions of a society that wants to sell me diet pills and light beer. Patriarchal society inhibits authenticity. Feminism does not.
I love the word “forgiveness” because I think it’s a path forward. One of my favorite poets, Buddy Wakefield, has a fantastic poem titled “Hurling Crowbirds At Mockingbars,” which contains the line “forgiveness is the release of all hope for a better past.” (I believe he credits this quote to the Rev. Kathianne Lewis.) It’s a tremendous poem overall, one with which I personally identify:
I … suck at forgiveness, toward myself or toward others. I’m working on it. But I love the word forgiveness because, for me, it represents personal growth in a way that really appeals with and resonates with me. (There’s another line in “Hurling Crowbirds …” that talks about “telling the truth in order to get honest responses.” I also like that line quite a bit.)
“Friday” is also a word I like quite a bit. I hope this Friday presents you with many opportunities to relax, connect with the people you love, and take care of yourself. I’ll be back on Monday. See you then.