One of the ways that patriarchy silences women is by wasting our time. In 2017, when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was wasting precious time (per House procedural rules) allotted to US Representative Maxine Waters, Waters kept repeating the phrase for everyone to hear: "Reclaiming my time." In other words, I know I only have a small amount of time to get to the bottom of this matter and Mnuchin is wasting it by evading questions and filling the air with seemingly innocuous but deeply meaningless words that are causing the clock to run while we get farther from the bottom of this matter.
I loved that moment.
Some weeks ago, a friend told me that after many years of talk-talk-talking about losing weight and getting healthy, she was finally doing it. When she told me this, I wanted to reply without cliches. I didn't want to say:
- "But you're perfect the way you are." Because I do not feel comfortable saying that any of us are perfect with no need to examine ways to better ourselves.
- "Whoohoo! You got this." Because I didn't want to say anything that would inadvertently make her think it would be easy and quick.
What I ended up saying is (paraphrased): "You are reclaiming your body. I look forward to celebrating your progress in two months."
Last week, I hosted that friend and other friends to support and celebrate the reclamation of her body. She has so far lost 13.5 pounds. She has more to go and I'm excited to see her doing the almost impossible work of sustaining the discipline that had been lost but now is found. I'm here for her.
At this gathering, we each made a collage to declare what each of us want to reclaim.
For me, I decided to reclaim NOW. When I read or listen to thinkers like Eckhart Tolle, I feel that I understand how to be present and quiet my ego. It's so simple that it becomes complex. Because as soon as I enter the next moment, I find worry and regret creeping into my head as NOW drifts away from me.
As I was making the collage, I cut the letter M into a house shape. That made me think about that song by The Beatles that goes like this: "Once there was a way, to get back homeward. Once there was a way to get back home ... "
It is when I can sustain the discipline to fight for NOW that I find my way back home.
Sleep, pretty darling do not cry.
And I will sing a lullaby.