Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Thursday, July 4, 2013

5-3-13 RMB To Honor You and More

5-3-13 RMB To Honor You and More
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
I had a talk with the adult sister today. In opening up to her about the blog and your letters, I put together words for some of the whys for this project.
Why honor you, your name, your work? That was answered in the first couple of letters. However, an explanation of the whys would be lacking if this were not addressed here as well. The answer: because someone should. Since those first couple of letters I have read more of your books. Your work continues to impress me and to impress upon me.
I won’t go so far as to say I agree with everything you write, perhaps even you do not agree with everything you’ve written. People change in four decades, evolve, grow. I do like that your words are challenging, daring one to expand their concepts.
Another reason, is that it is a sort of passive activism. I am not one to go out looking for a soapbox. Yet I have opinions, strong ones, many contrary to common notions of who we are, of how we are, whether from a stance of who we love or what we stand for or how we can advance to a better tomorrow.
By writing to one person, one person that I believe is understanding and perceptive, I can expound upon these opinions. I can shed light on where they come from and why I believe them. This project forces me to fit thoughts into words, feelings into statements. It is helping me define who I am, what I stand for.
By making it public in the blog, I am inviting the curious, the interested, the uninformed and those as determined as I am to find a better way to engage in the conversation, in thoughts or written words.
I would like to sit each person in the world down and ask them “What do you think and why?” I would like to overhear them chat with one another, watch their consciousness raise as they converse. Would we find that we are really so different from one another? Could we value our differences? Our window of the universe is restricted to our experience, to the knowledge we absorb, to the types of people we interact with, to the life we live, still we feel justified in telling another how to live, how to pray, who to love.
During one of my walks, I noticed in my peripheral vision a couple of women walking my way. At first I thought they were nuns, in the old type of habits a la Sally Field’s Flying Nun, black robes with white around the face. As they came closer, I realized they were wearing the east Indian traditional robes. Personally feeling that women should not need to cover themselves in such an oppressive way, I felt the esteem I previously had for them drop when they changed from nuns to the oppressed.
As I walked I pondered this. What if these women felt as attached to their attire as a nun would? I have seen articles where both men and women describe the tradition as a sign of respect for women, disputing the inclination of some to see it as disrespectful of women.
Why would anyone want to wear such a garment on a hot California day? Who knows, but it is not my place to determine their preference, as it is not theirs to determine mine. I learned that day to be more respectful. They deserved equal respect from me regardless of their attire, their mission in life. I look at everyone a bit differently now because of that day. Maybe someone reading these letters will look at life a bit differently for having read these words.
There are more answers to the whys, some still unrealized. Stay with me, we will discover them together.

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