Saturday, November 2, 2013

In a different voice

An excerpted reflection from “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street
The year is 1972. My best friend, Sarabess and I have ventured to a Consciousness Raising group (CR), sponsored by the National Organization of Women (NOW). I have a toddler. Sarabess is pregnant.

Up until the time of this attending, my life centers around my businesses; the U.S. ”Male” Service and Special Delivery Messenger Service (Also see *note below), my husband and two young children; one a little over a year old, the other going on nine. 

Summertime adds another layer of importance to this emerging adulthood life of mine. Three times weekly my friend and I make trips to the beach; Sarabess and I are devout worshippers of Amaterasu, Japanese  goddess of the sun. As often as we can, on the road by 7:30 a.m. to return by dusk, we devotedly travel the road to Ocean City, Maryland to bask in her light.

We, too, are goddesses, though still only initiates at this point. This we do not yet know of ourselves, though by instinct it is both to the beach and the goddess we are led. With reverence we, ritualistically, guide ourselves onto the prayer path of sand, ocean water, suntan oil and the rays of this goddess; a pilgrimage, taking us close to five hours per day, round trip. Obviously, we are not worrying about gas prices.

Five hours each day, times three days a week, we travel. Fifteen hours total drive time, plus the five hours on the beach each of our days, times three days; almost a full time job. Our reverence for Amaterasu, paid in the cherished sun time veneration we savor.

Without doubt, we are sun worshippers, Sarabess and I. We are, also, under the thumbs of our husbands. This factor ensures we return home each day of our pilgrimage to have dinner ready and on the table for the men.  No other alternative occurs to us, such as simply staying overnight sometimes to minimize our drive time.

Then comes the Consciousness Raising group.


Women’s voices, women’s perspectives, women’s emotions, the boundary-less support of other women; women like us, discovering a possible world out from under the thumbs of our men.

Not long after this a new goddess potion releases me from an alcoholic, rage-aholic husband. I leave fast track Washington, D.C. behind, return to college and enroll in a post graduate clinical training program with the International Transactional Analysis Association (ITAA). I am privileged to be excepted and accepted into it as a “mature” student. I am on my way to becoming a feminist psychotherapist, a Certified Transactional Analyst and Gestalt therapist. (However, my reoccurring threats of blindness and treatment, beginning with my junior year, take me on a maverick route through all of this.)

Sarabess becomes a yoga teacher. She will, someday, obtain multiple Masters Degrees, go on to do a television show, teaching yoga, and coach countless others to develop finely tuned disciplines of body, mind and spirit. She battles her way through the struggles of her marriage and motherhood, surmounting them to achieve many of her life’s dreams.  She stays in her mariage. I do not.

In 1980, I become, also, a researcher of socio-psychological dynamics and cultural evolution. This turns out to be my great passion. Thus, a time of transition, brought into being in 1972, turns out to be, with Watergate underscoring the era, the beginning of my identity in wholeness, still without end.

Though I had not yet gained the observers’ wisdom of distance at the time, I can always trace back to this summer of Amaterasu and Conscious Raising groups as the start of my finding a different voice for myself;  the voice of a woman who views herself as a goddess; “I am woman, hear me roar.”

That’s what “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street” sets out to tell; the tale of how one woman, Me, left behind the near-tears of identity confusion, thinking of myself as “better than other woman, less than a man,” to find her own, personal way through the the dark side of society and politics with a woman’s dignity.

*Note: If you care to do the research prior to our clearing copyright permissions, you can find the source for this, now, in the archives at the Smithsonian. The book in progress,“Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street,” most directly ties to “Burgeoning Business Brims Over: Twenty-seven year old starts runaway personal shopping service” – Washington Sunday Star newspaper, September 24, 1967. Check it out, if you like.

1 comment:

  1. Your story of sun worshipper to authentic self inspires me to look at my own life's choices from an observer's view, free of expectations of others and with compassion for the choices and paths I have taken in my life.

    So many of my choices were made out of truths of inconvenience and/or limited consciousness and then denial of wanting to face that truth. Your story inspires me to recommit to living more genuinely, more connected to my life's meaning, and to getting to know and to love my true self.

    Terry, Anastasia's Honorary Daughter