“Wait! What? I was never trained for this!”
What are you talking about, telling me to get out there and do something new?
We old ladies don’t know how to do anything other than what we’ve always done. We aren’t supposed to be doing anything other than what we were trained for, created for, meant for. Right?
No, no, no. Doing something new is way too scary.
And isn’t it kind of “forbidden” or something?
Aren’t we supposed to carry on like always? Even though that “always” has changed so very much for us? Even though we’ve emptied our home of everything we don’t need and have no family around to do things for, we old ladies don’t know how to do anything other than what we’ve always done.
No, no, no.
Besides, if we do anything “different,” all the old ladies in our community will tsk tsk us so much, their dentures will come flying out. Haven’t we always “obeyed” our elders?
Wait! What? We’re the elders now. What are we doing being terrified of all those old tongues (and dentures)?
Hmm. Maybe… Doing something we’ve never done might be worth a thought. It might even be… fun?
How about we take it one step at a time? Ease into it?
How about we take our training and experiences and knowledge into the world outside our cave and massage it into something the real world needs?
In future posts, I’ll go into more detail about Things We Old Ladies Can Do outside the Home, but for now, here are some thoughts that might help transition us from the concept of always doing what’s expected of us, to doing what’s unexpected.
Things have gotten better and better and better. Of course, they have. Men today do housework and do it well. They sometimes work from home while their wives go out to work, and this includes cooking, cleaning and “babysitting.” Nobody (generally, right?) seems to care anymore who does what in the home.
I’m talking about us old gals in this blog. We—and our men—were programmed much differently. And a lot more strongly, it seems.
I really hesitate to say anything about this as I don’t want readers to think I’m anti-having-a-husband/boyfriend. I’m not. I’m speaking of (generally) North America because that’s where I live and where my parents were born and grew up, and where three of my grandparents were born and grew up.
But… Here’s the advice.
Don’t jump into a new relationship just yet.
Wait a while.
Wait as though you’re involved in a drug or alcohol rehab program where they recommend not being in a relationship with anyone for at least a year of sobriety.
If we do get involved, we’ll never learn anything new. We’ll never “escape” from the notion that we are of no value being other than a 3C*.
Men of “our generation” have been very strongly programmed toward the 3C woman just as much as we have, and it seems that nothing can alter their programmed view.
Our fathers were involved in WWII whether they served or not. When the war was over, women went back home. The only way to do this, to get women to go back home and let the men take the jobs again, was through propaganda. Propaganda aimed at both men and women. Movies were a huge part of this propaganda. (Yes they were!)
But it goes back much, much further than that and the trouble started when “man” became “civilized.”
What Am I Talking About?
I’m talking about the switch from caveman—er, sorry, I mean caveperson—to royalty. And apparently, we didn’t really live in caves, we were nomads, we lived where we could: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caveman
In the days of the caveperson, the females would have had children hanging off them or inside them or both, so would not always be nimble enough to dodge the hooves, horns, tusks, teeth or beaks of potential food. So generally—generally—the males were the hunters. The task of gathering would fall—generally—to the females. (Is this when we developed our shopping skills? Or lack thereof?)
These roles reversed when required. If not, Homo sapiens would have gone extinct. All members of the group shared their experiences, their knowledge, their abilities. And this is where storytelling began, too:
“You should have seen the look on your husband’s face when that mammoth turned around and started running in his direction.” General laughter all around the campfire.
And because the women did most of the gathering, they did most of the tasting and testing of berries and plants. The women, then, became the scientists, the doctors, but they shared this information with daughters and sons alike; and with the older men who no longer hunted for whatever reason.
The men, the hunters, would have developed an amazing ability to get back home no matter what. That’s right, they didn’t need to read directions. That skill has been retained. And it’s an innate skill, not something to be made fun of.
Everyone in the entire group was equal. Even the children were listened to with respect.
Then “civilization” came along and equality was gone with the wind.
Civilization: The Ruination of “Humanity” in Humans
Civilization meant staying in one place to tend to the crops.
Crops meant owning land.
Owning land meant protecting land.
Protecting land meant killing anybody trying to take it from you.
Once again the men were away, but this time, they were away trying to get their land back. Or, in some cases, take over someone else’s land because they didn’t have any or they needed more because their families were growing.
They were impregnating other women and men were impregnating our women.
Women no longer “gathered” so were no longer the healers, the scientists.
And while the men were away killing people and taking back (taking over?) as much land as they could, they needed someone to take care of the crops for them so they either hired people or captured people (the beginnings of slavery?) to do that.
The person (man) who “owned” the most land was now the most powerful in the region. He’d killed so many people on the way “up,” everyone was afraid of him. And wisely so.
He would allow people to use parts of his land in exchange for either goods or “money.” People paid him. (Um. Would this have been referred to as “rent?” Or as “tax?”) These people were grateful to be safe and protected on his land and to be able to eke out a living there. He had become wealthy from the spoils of war, the “rent” from his property, and the sale of his wheat. He had complete control. He became ruler. King.
His son would take over from him. Had to be his son so “the wife” was watched carefully so as not to be impregnated by anyone else. (Women were regarded as incubators of the man’s seed.) Rules came about regarding what a woman could and could not do. What a woman should and should not do.
Men took over and any man who disagreed with the king’s rules (= laws of the land now) was executed. Good motivation to go along with the current views of society, eh?
The new land became a country ruled by its king.
Then along came the king’s advisor who could go by many names: soothsayer, wizard, diviner, prophet, religious figure… And this man—yes, a man—made all the rules for men and women alike. And this, as you know, has stuck like Gorilla Glue for millennia. (When I was in Chichen Itza several years ago, our tour guide told us that it was not the Spanish who ruined the Maya civilization, it was the soothsayer. This soothsayer had “mis-soothed” and an entire civilization went down the tubes.)
So let’s not blame “our men” for turning us into 3Cs. It’s been going on for a long, long time. When I think of the men of my generation, I picture the kids I hung out with in the double-dead-end-streets section of my small home town.
The young boys were the sons of fathers who’d served in WWII. (See above re fighting to maintain one’s land from those trying to take it from us.) Some of the fathers had been killed. Some of the fathers were “shell shocked,” today’s equivalent of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The father of my own best friend in the neighborhood had been shot down in the Netherlands when she was in utero.
These boys had learned from their fathers, fathers who were dead or alive or suffering from a mental disorder, to always be protective, even unto death. It was their duty to protect, especially to protect their women—called “girls” in those days. (The word “woman” back then bore the connotation of non-virgin. Tsk, tsk.)
The boys in my ’hood grew up with this idea firmly entrenched in their psyches. And so did the “girls.”
We’ve been trained—programmed!—to be and think and act a certain way.
Is it not time for a change? To take a leap of faith that we won’t crash and burn if we do something for ourselves for a change?
This week’s tip: Ready, set, go do it anyway. Evolve!
Until next time.
*The definition of a “3C” may be revealed in a future post. It’s rude and possibly shocking. But sadly apt.
Reference: The Murderer Next Door: Why the Mind is Designed to Kill https://www.amazon.ca/Murderer-Next-Door-Mind-Designed-ebook/dp/B002IEUVBY/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+murderer+next+door&qid=1619783861&sr=8-1
Illustrations from https://www.needpix.com/
Photos by Sherrill Wark