I do hold in my mind and heart the dignity of what women, as Gloria Steinem, brought to the table.
I was trying hard to bite my tongue on this one. Yet, I cannot. Because he was a big part of my growing up. A culture that is dying out and being replaced by another. A few years ago, my oldest son was 14. He got some slippers and a bath robe for a Christmas present. Being the lazy conflicting son as he was, he decided to go to both his grandparents’ Christmas celebrations dressed comfortably. He sat around mostly. He put up with the adults and ate lots of food and relaxed. Grandmother CC laughed when she first viewed him and said,
“You look like Hugh Hefner!”
“Who is that?”
The adults laughed and we soon enough described Hugh’s character and personality. A hip he man from another generation or two or three.
I grew up with an adjoining BOYS room next to mine. They got a pool table, stereo and had a stack of Playboys under the pool table. My friends and I would often look at the naked ladies. At 12 I had no idea of what it was all about. I did think it strange. As I got older and my brothers moved out the Playboy magazines ended up in a box under the pool table. My first boyfriend found them while we played pool listening to the Beatle’s White Album. I felt jealous but he said he liked reading the editorials and enjoyed cartoonist Gahan Wilson. I read the editorials, and interviews, and enjoyed the comics as well.
Then as I grew up and became a self-conscious woman, I realized the hypocrisy of Hugh and his magazine. The desire for women as objects for masturbation. It sickened me. I could not figure out why women did this either. It all came down to money, fame, and fortune.
When I became aware of Gloria Steinem’s exposé Undercover as A Playboy Bunny, I was sickened with what some women did for money.
Years went by and then came the film Fight Club. I did not read the book. The film helped me to understand men better. I know that men and women have a different idea of what love and sex is. I don’t confront the issue anymore. I look the other way.
I don’t know if others working with their shadow experience this or not. Recently I engaged with a lot of creative forgiveness work with others and myself. I call it taming the wild woman within. The symbol that comes to mind is the wild purple thistle that grows on the hills and fields in my town. Interesting to view, sticky, needles all over, and that purple color…wow. Yet often we tend to cut down and do not give time for this wild purple thistle to come to full fruition.
Occasionally we see them in forgotten fields or in an uncut neighbor’s lawn. I love them. I tend to cut them down too. I know that when we do too much healing, or forgiveness and bring that impressive light into our bliss felt little existence, we ignore the shadow in us. Then like the wild thing that it is, it pops up in the most unexpected ways.
Maybe it is a projection of our shadow on to a situation that is not to our liking. Be it stress, too much whiskey or pushing our comfort zone. It was a simple thing for me, where a few so-called friends ignored me at a bar.
This hurt my feelings so then the shadow monster came forth. I tend to ride the creative expression of the shadow, not suppress it. This, for me, can be an uncontrollable expression. I might use my “fuck you finger,” or kick a bar door with my foot. Maybe bring up those elements of the film Fight Club in my life, as in the relationship between the narrator and Tyler Durden. Yet that was how it was directly for me as a punk fanzine journalist.
The “l being” is to fight with oneself and in the above mentioned film the shadow does motivate an underground revolution. My revolution being the one within myself in relation to the world, but one needs to find balance.
The key is becoming conscious of all of this. Achieving this balance then between our civilized self and wild self. If I find wild purple thistle growing in my garden, I will let it come to full bloom. I will not let it take over completely. Likewise, if my lawn becomes conservative and meticulous in greenness, I will let some part of it go wild. So here I sit in my bed with possible torn ligaments in my right leg. This is extreme shadow pain. I am hopeful of the lesson learned!?