Tag Archives: authenticity

#LikeALayWoman

“We’re so excited to have you here!”

“Thank you!”

“Yes, it’s always great to have more lay women here with us.”

I am a lay woman. That is my label. I’ve never really thought about it before, but as of yesterday I’ve been called that twice. Not only that, but I’ve been heartily welcomed into my Eastern Christian Theological classes because of that. Not because of my personality, or my obvious thirst for knowledge and a deepening of my faith, but because of my gender and vocational orientation.*

This would never happen to a man. There is no such thing as “Men’s Studies.” Whether due to historical tradition or patriarchal hierarchies, a man** is always the default setting, the norm, and anything outside that (i.e. a woman) is abnormal and therefore solicited. In this case, I am praised for having chosen to study a subject that, like many, is chalk-full of the male perspective, no doubt so I can chime in with my (supposedly) opposite, female perspective.

This begs the question, “What if my views aren’t any different from a man’s?” Does that all of a sudden make my opinion any less female and relevant? Of course not! Because my opinion comes from me, it is automatically a female perspective (see Always’ “#LikeAGirl” video to see what I mean).

That seems like a lot of pressure, to be welcomed into an area of study because of one’s gender and vocational orientation, almost as if one is a mythical creature. Because the truth is, I am just like any man, lay or otherwise, who comes to study the same subject. We all come because of an itch, of that thirst to know more, to have a deeper understanding of things we can never fully know. Yes, the product of our studies may be different, but our faith and scholastic journeys are the same. We’re all going to the same place, whether we’re female, male, religious, or lay. So why does the distinction need to be made here and now if in the end it doesn’t really matter?

Food for thought. Your turn.

Joyanne 😀

*Not true for all of my classes, but I’m simply making a point.

**If I’m being completely accurate, I should say a white, straight man is the default setting, but since I’m only discussing gender, I thought I’d stick just with men in general.

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Living Paradox

Do you ever listen to a song and feel like it’s talking about your life? I get that all the time, but today I discovered something different.

I’m listening to Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.” Yes, it’s quite popular now, but until today I hadn’t looked at the lyrics, so I didn’t really get the full meaning of the song until about 3 minutes ago, or at least what this song means to me. You know how there’s Gotye’s part and then Kimbra’s part? I am both these people. I am both Gotye and Kimbra.

How can that be? How can you be two people at once? HA! I reread that and then I retort to myself, “What are you talking about? You’re, like, three or four different people ALL THE TIME.” Already I can see myself digressing from what I was initially going to say (I’ll briefly say it: I was going to say that quite literally I am the one who’s “addicted to a certain kind of sadness” and the one who’s “reading into every word” AKA the one holding on and the one trying to let go).

But as to where this new post seems to be taking direction, three or four different people at once? How? It’s actually quite simple, although very complex. Let me illustrate it this way: I have many different people in my life, all from different parts of my life; these include family, church people, drama people, dance people, work people, etc, etc, etc. Every group is different and as a result I act differently with each respective group, therefore, I am various different people all rolled up into one.

What happens? I get exhausted! It’s an endless task trying to be everything to everyone, to show the ‘right’ face to the ‘right’ group at the ‘right’ time. I’m sure I’m not the only person who does this; there have got to be more people pleasers than just me (or is it ‘I’?).

I don’t even know why I’m writing this. It seems that I keep getting reminded that I can’t do everything and not everyone is going to like me, no matter how many faces I put on, and that really depresses me. But why? Why should that depress me? If anything, having this knowledge should help lift a weight off my shoulders, for if I know I can’t be everything to everyone, then the responsibility is gone and so should the pressure. Obviously I still have a lot of work to do with this ‘authenticity’ resolution. Granted, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to live up to myself and caring enough not to care; I just don’t know that I knew in my body just how hard it was going to be, and I have a sneaking suspicion it’s only going to get worse before it gets better…

I better not become an alcoholic (I can just imagine what my mother would say…).

Peace,

Joyanne 😛

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