Mother, Wife, Teacher, Leader, Lover, Friend

Happy (soon to be) International Women’s Day. I don’t blog during the weekdays, so I thought it was best to get ahead of the event. Now, I love the ladies. And not in a Hugh Hefner, motor-boating way. In fact, being gay, I can look at a woman, objectively, and see her physical and spiritual beauty without the confusing haze of desire. I’ve been surrounded and influenced by so many powerful, earth-shaking female personalities—my mom, my friends, my editors and teachers—that it’s impossible for me to not feel respect, adoration and wonder for the other half of the human race (slightly more than half, statistically). Women are not only life-givers and caretakers, nurturers and storytellers, they’ve moved beyond the traditional role-assumptions and brought new dynamics and depth to art, humanities, law, science, engineering and business than we’ve had before such intervention. We are creatures of growth and change, and yet, until recently, we’ve based our societal behaviors upon doctrines from the Paleolithic era. (Or is that conceptualization of the past entirely wrong in the first place?)

Being a feminist in this age does have to bear with it the cross of being a vociferous anti-bigot or paragon of change—leave that necessary grandstanding to the advocates pushing to reform the most resistant areas of the developing world. Being a feminist can, and often should, be something as simple as having a dialog like this one, of showing respect toward your fellow humans regardless of where they fall on our ever developing spectrum of gender. I’ve written a ton of such dialog, and I’d like to do what I do best and once more express myself in prose.

Yesterday, the first lines of a piece came to me when I was in the gym, after I’d shared a smile with a charming young woman who I see nearly every morning towing a mop and bucket. But she’s more than just a cleaning lady in training, and she knows it. I’ve also seen her on her breaks; huddled on a bench, reading a dense textbook or two. Clearly, she has aspirations beyond mopping sweat off the floors. (Side note: it’s okay if she didn’t have those aspirations, too, since being a cleaner, wife or career woman of a more traditional role shouldn’t be scorned in the eye of progressive feminism—it’s about choice, and if that’s her choice, accept it, respect it.)

The old roles are still present, but they’re changing: growing new branches of meaning and purpose. As for the young woman in the gym, one day, she’ll put down the mop and pick up something else: scalpel, paintbrush, quill, welding iron, the supple wonder of her new baby boy or girl. She’s the new guard of our world, and her future is bright. My mom was one such woman—innovator, trailblazer, mother and leader—and as with so much of what I do, this poem is for Cynthia. Although, it’s also for the girl in the gym, and for every other woman in the world who wants to become more than what she’s told she can be.

Remake Me

I am the hammer and anvil

Quicksilver soul

A ballad of fire

I am the wind of change

The farmer’s daughter

The blacksmith herself

I can be, where I am

I can be, where you are

A storm is not defined

By it’s thunder

But roar shall I

Or whisper a sigh

Into the blue

Unstoppable, unbreakable

This chain of you, I, he and she

We are one

We are free

We need

We bleed

The only difference

Is how hard we try

To forget

—Christian A. Brown, 2016

P.S. I’ll be resharing all of my favorite #HeForShe posts closer to International Women’s Day—keep your attention on FB for those.