"... by discounting my own choices, I failed to fully realize a crucial tenet of feminism and my years of Women’s Studies: our own experiences are women’s experiences. All of our stories are compelling examples of life as we know it.
When women fear the choices they’ve made—no matter if they were good or bad choices—we lose. The self has built in mechanisms to joke, to ignore, to minimize those things which we are not yet ready to examine. But it is the eventual examination of ourselves that free us—from fear, from regret, from punch lines."
I lifted this fave quote from an article called "Busting Out" that I found over at Skirt! Magazine online. The author writes about her choice to work at Hooters while she was in college - as a Women's Studies major. Her story is kind of an extreme example that is totally not like my life but the power of choice, owning our choices, and swapping stories with other women about the experience of those choices is exactly my life right now. I am soaking up the "third trimester" stories, "birth" stories, "when I was a new mom" stories, and then the "back to work" and "my own interests" stories. (These last couple don't quite flow out of people and so take a little more listening and time to hear.) I am seeing again and newly what comes of my choice to have this child.
I suppose choosing is an opposite to yielding because it's going for something in particular. But there's also something in choosing that means yielding to a given set of possible outcomes. That knot of reaching for what I want and letting go to what will be is the same knot where I find my hopes and fears all wound up in each other. For me, recognizing the tight relationship of these opposites within my choices is how I give myself credit for the choices I make. It's also how I start to place my story within a collection of women's stories, like the ones I'm hearing these days from women in my life.