Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Are You Somebody?

I've been reading Nuala O'Faolain again..if you haven't read her she is the voice for the intelligent middle-aged childless (I prefer "childfree" instead but respect other's inclinations about the condition)...and even when she is not writing about her own personal experience (exquisite, rapturous passages about loneliness and longing) as she is not in "Chicago May", her brilliant voice in support of all women, oppressed, empowered, or in between is clear and true. Because even if we are empowered to the point of having rich lives and free of dependency on a man, we carry the oppression of the ghosts of our female ancestors - some as recent as our own mothers. And these ghosts can make us doubt the path we have chosen (or did It chose us?) What a state to be in - I read her two memoirs back to back & reread so many of the passages that rang true in my own life: the ache of knowing there will be no child to nurture (even though one was never desired), the competency one needs when travelling alone, the surprising capacity for immature & inappropriate romantic relationships that are no more evolved than those we had when we were nineteen. The horror of obsession, when all other aspects of life seem manageable. Nuala is Irish, so she has perhaps more hostile layers to confront as an independent woman than say, me, who grew up in the States in the 60's and 70's, but her poetic and searing insights of her personal experience speak to our unique demographic, so I'm left thinking this blog may be left unneeded because of her. She's already written equisitely about our unique set of cirmstances.

But maybe there's more to discover/uncover about us. I am a bit younger, an American girl not weighted with old ideas of religion and a woman's "place." Also, though I am accomplished in several arenas of life, am not the gorgeous artist she is - so have to live with my awkward, patched-together, adventure mixed with idle-self-pity-periods self. The title of this post is the also the title of her first memoir - one that should be required reading for us middle aged chicks who are walking a road less travelled. A road with no signs but also no rules. A road that we are utterly free to build to any sort of life that we wish.

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