Ten to the Power of Beasts Bridging Mountains


July 3rd, 2016
 
I awoke from a dream that made my heart ache in angst of powerful choices and inner strength. I was among a group traveling up a rock mountain, mythical looking in its impenetrable face and impossibility to scale. Our group had come to a standstill, unable to go up, back down or laterally without bridging an un-bridged chasm to the other side where life was brimming inside a sheltered cave, large enough for a bustling crowd inside of it, all looking over at us with a shake in their heads and minds at the fruitlessness of our efforts. They saw us as goners.

But one in our group, a man, I believe, took a running sprint at the opening to maybe jump it, a really, really long shot, but in mid-air morphed into a wolf-bear kind of creature that propelled itself across and on to the other side into the facing mountain cave city. The next member of the group did the same, but the third, an older man, or maybe he seemed older for his lack of confidence, did not look as powerful. His movements were marked by insecurity in taking his leap, and so, he did not change into the beast with powerful haunches to enable him to propel himself like the other two, and he fell…screaming all the way.
 
I was horrified hearing the screaming the whole way down, miles, it seemed. And the scream never underwent the Doppler effect, the fading as he fell away. The intensity and volume did not decrease, and I could not believe that he would scream like that the whole way. I was horrified and wondered morbidly why he did not pass out from fright, knowing his inevitable doom. Why cry out the whole way and not fold into the terror so as to allow it to knock him out? My stomach turned, and I waited for the next one to jump, a woman, and I was so hoping she would change into her spirit animal powerful enough to get her across, her bravery certain and life-saving. 
When I awoke on the edge of the bridge of this dream, half in and half out, I felt the nausea and screams. At the tip of consciousness, I hoped for the powerful woman arising. An arising to these feelings does not inspirit the day, already hacked from too little sleep and a glass of wine the night before.
 
Credit: dreamstime.com

Bottoms Up

  

It’s true. 
Sometimes you must
start anew
from the bottom up.
And not just once.
But often
on a hunch
you climb the ladder
reach for that highest rung
fingers outstretched
palms wide flung
curled tips in anticipation
of a firm grasp
no trepidation
but slip
fall flat to the floor
bypassing rung after rung
the places you reached before
gripping with all your might
flashing before eyes wide
whirring in a smudge of time
shocked and numb
til bottom hits 
and you think it’s done
and it hurts too much
but the spinning ceases
the dust clears
and your body works
not barely broken
and your heart strength opens
once your mind obeys
so you rise again
like a burning wingless wren
clawing and clutching
fighting air and doubt–again
dizzying your stance 
hands out
feet unsteadily chance
the ground
for the grab
and reach it.
You clasp
the bottom rung.

  
credit:  http://blogs.ft.com

http://www.builderbill-diy-help.com

Courage

  
Oxford English Online Dictionary defines courage as follows:

noun

The ability to do something that frightens one, or Strength in the face of pain or grief.

Some people in social media today are bitching about the public’s lauding Caitlyn Jenner (when they are not commenting on her age or her dress or her makeup) for her “bravery.” 

Even people I have deemed intelligent and sensitive have posted Facebook critiques with photos of their candidates for the definition of bravery such as this:

  
Classic.

And yet another post-er believes this is more befitting of the adjective:

  

Both social media post-ers are men, one conservative and one progressive, one older (mid-fifties) and one younger (mid-thirties).  See a trend here?

To be brave, one must risk life and limb or recover from loss of life (the one before loss of limbs) and limb(s). And be men. 

Now, admittedly, I have seen no female contributors to the courage definition, none with a picture to share, but if there were any, I would imagine it would be of cancer survivors or mothers crossing minefields to save their babies. 

But the first reason for Caitlyn’s doubtful courage is her womanhood. The second reason is her health. It is apparently not bravery to kill off her fortunate birthright–the white male privilege–to become a woman whose worth is measured by her appearance and her ability to graciously absorb the arrows of disdain and second class citizenry based on frippery and gossip, like the target she has now become. And for what? It’s not like she needed the money or the publicity like her former step family.

What’s so brave about that? I agree. She must be a masochist to become a woman in this society–to be treated like meat. 

But Jon Stewart in his latest The Daily Show always says it best:

  

As a woman, Jenner can now look forward to her physical appearance, not her talents or mind, being the object of daily scrutiny. Should she ever need to work, she can look forward to earning roughly 77% of what a man makes. Should she ever face physical or sexual violence, she, not her attacker, will be treated with suspicion. As a woman, Jenner will also have to get used to hearing not just new pronouns but other fun words like “shrill,” “nagging,” “bossy” and “emotional.” And then, of course, there’s the catcalling, which a “beautiful” woman like Jenner can now expect daily. 

A person transitioning to live as her true self is a wonderful thing and America has come a long way toward accepting transgender people. As Stewart so aptly pointed out, though, the real struggle now is to bring up the lives of all women. On that front, there are still miles to go.

Perhaps the clichés we are fed about hero imagery and the hardship stories that go viral to tug at our heart strings in quiet, reverential sentimentality get in the way of our seeing the bravery of transformation, being faithful to the universal need to be our authentic selves even in the face of total annihilation through either vilification or idolotry. 

Caitlyn Jenner may be just a woman now, but her twice-baked celebrity-dom has transformed her into a paper doll image, something to wag about as a projection of an idea, sans flesh and blood, no matter how much skin gets bared where.

And I am not disputing the other photos depict bravery, though they are subject to the same fate as Caitlyn–the loss of humanity to an idea of something like heroism or bravery or Facebook likes.

The take home idea: Why would anyone want to be a woman in a misogynist society?