Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 40 (Round IV) "In the trenches": strong women edition

I've been blessed to be surrounded with some strong positive people in my life--and some right bastards too, and some who've been both. But most of those strong people, even the bastards, gave me a vision of some ways to be, and so for that I owe them all a debt.

I have enough suspician about manipulative, dysfunctional, and co-dependent family situations--having grown up in one--that I've got a very short fuse for certain kinds of destructive behavior. Dharmonia can vouch for the absolute towering rage certain types of parents will evoke in me: it takes huge reserves of (my limited) self-control to refrain from telling certain moms (especially) 'n' dads just what assholes they've been to their children. And I have a sort of stumped/mystified reaction to the experience of those raised in loving, healthy families--that feeling of "jeeze, I wonder what it must be like to grow up un-fucked-up about music, self-image, success, money, trust, sex, or any others of the whole sad legacy to which I'm heir", because I have absolutely clue what that must feel like (it's no coincidence that 3 of the 4 siblings in my generation went far away from the possibility of having kids). But I have to believe that growing up thus un-fucked-up is both possible and real.

Anyway, there've been a lot of fucked-up experiences in my own life, but there've also been a lot of remarkable, brave, creative, strong, compassionate people too. And I am distinctly grateful for that.

Most particularly, there've been a lot of strong, positive women in my life. Although some of my most significant role models have been male (that's kind of the definition of "role model", isn't it?), and although I suspect that most acquaintances and students would think of me as occupying a spot far on the masculine end of the spectrum (I've not got much of a "soft side"), strong women have been some of the most important influences and most valued collaborators in my life. Guitar teachers, musical collaborators, co-writers, academic colleagues, mentors, you know it: my karma seems to require strong women.

That's continued to play out in my life here. Pretty much from the day I started, I've been surrounded by women who enriched my life: students, colleagues, and, especially, assistants. I've never had the luxury of "selecting" graduate assistants--have always had to take the luck of the draw or whomever we could recruit for our small-but-growing graduate program--but for whatever karmic reasons, the assistants I've gotten have been, pretty much without exception, smart, talented, imaginative, responsive, tough, remarkable women. Maybe that's partly because we try, within our division, to balance the male/female energy in the various partnerships of teachers & assistants. Maybe it's because, somewhere up the food chain, some suit thought maybe they could keep Coyote happy if they gave him smart women.

But for whatever reason, I've been blessed: the ones who've worked for me have just been these strong women, who are now out in the world raising children, holding down professorships, assuming directorships, running arts organizations, creating endless positive energy. As I've said before, there's absolutely nothing more charismatic and attractive than guts and brains.

I've blogged before, intermittently, regarding my own limited sense of how tough it can be to be such a woman in a society as fucked-up as ours, but tonight I'm just grateful that these remarkable women have been and continue to be part of my life, and my learning.

So, Caroline, Setareh, Michelle, Shannon, Lauren, Meredith, Abi, Tif, Elissa:

this one's for you.


Anonymous said...

Three cheers, strong women are what make it easier to be who we are.

Dharmonia said...

Beautiful post, Coyote.