Which hand to hold?

Stepping out from "Bottom Power"

These days happiness is the talk of the town. How are you happy? How have you reached happiness? Why do you consider yourself happy in comparison to those around you?

Far be it from me to lecture humanity on the meaning and worth of finding and keeping happiness, but I do have a few things to say on the subject. It’s an ephemeral concept, a fleeting experience, something most people experience momentarily, you lose it and then find it back again. I don’t believe I’ve met someone perpetually happy. And if you can prove me wrong, that would be lovely, but I’d say you were deluding yourself.

In my opinion, an individual’s happiness directly correlates with their own idea of purpose and satisfaction. There are some things to you happy, but would never make me happy. Regardless the overall connecting aspect would be that if you’re experiencing purpose and satisfaction your life is also full. Holes are there but sometimes they’re meant to stick. Therein lies my point.

I recently had a conversation with two completely different men about my worth and my happiness. One has quite a few invested cares in my life and the other was a man with whom I’d gone on one date with and ended it there.

The latter of these two men stated that women should find happiness in being treated as equals with men. While I appreciate the fact that he wanted to impress me with this bold statement, as I had just stated I found it extremely attractive if a man is a feminist, I had to slightly disagree. If I were a man, yes I’d want to be treated as a man’s equal, but I am not. But in a world where the man has depicted and written out the rules for behaviour, business, family and life, few people grasp what I’m saying here. I don’t want to be judged as equal to man’s standard, simply because I consider it to be the “standard”. I’d rather be setting the standard, I’d rather be a the woman’s standard in the human race.

And when someone asks me about the rate of pay a man gets versus what a man gets than I’d say, are women smart/capable when you compare them to an unbiased rule? The answer is yes, so they should be paid what the rate of pay is acceptable for the position. It becomes a battle of the sexes if a man comes along, who parallels a woman in every way (minus a few ways, you know what I mean) and is hired above and before the woman and is immediately given more income. That is society’s doing.

Now when someone says, “Tricia, you cannot walk around with your top off, but a man can. Tricia you have to wear a bra because it is what society says you must do…” Then yes in this respect I would have liked to grow up in a world where the rules for even the way I dress weren’t written by men. Yes in this aspect I would like some equality.

Moving on the former of the two men, one who has known me since I was born, my father, who said I would find happiness in certain areas, but it might be in finding a partner to share together the trials and tribulations…of life. I definitely appreciate his sentiment. But we’re different. Currently I can’t let myself attach myself to another being. It’s not plausible. “Tricia, it opens up the colours, you’ll see things differently, when you’re in love. Don’t close your mind to it.” Of course not, I am a hopeless romantic at heart but it’s not realistic in my stage of “life”. Get me?

Why do you consider yourself happy in comparison to those around you? 

I call myself a feminist (and so should you), it is tied to my purpose and my happiness. And this doesn’t mean that I search for equality. And t’isn’t that I’m searching for my better half but haven’t found them yet. No, simply put, I am a woman and I’d like to be appreciated for that fact and I’d like to live a life, not according to a man’s standard but according to my own, according to my own abilities and interests.

Yes pretty please and thank you, I’d love it if when I speak for myself, I were heard. It’s something all humans reach for, it’s something patients reach for in a hospital bed. Yes even that comes into play here, the right to be heard and not only that, but to be listened to.

Look how far we’ve come. We’ve still got so much further to go.

Realistically speaking though, I am well aware of the world. Well aware of the fact that women are still considered chattel in some countries, and some women can’t step outside of their house without imminent danger. There are cases of father’s selling daughters to repay debts, women wearing clothing to cover up their bodies, because it would be their fault if a man lost control. That’s a whole other kettle of…political/religious muck some call a cultural norm, and they wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole.

Well I was raised proper and taught that to keep friends you shouldn’t talk about a few things. Religion, politics…in my opinion the two go in hand.

So I’ll stick to feminism. I brought the above situation up to remind myself that while I’m fighting to walk around without a shirt on, there are some stwe-should-all-be-feminists-adichieill fighting for their first win. I’m thankful in other words. I recently listened to a TED talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie titled We Should All Be Feminists. It has recently been written into an essay format and I encourage you to read/listen to it.  In it Adichie refers to the violence men hurl out to women and in the conclusion doesn’t bode well for them. But she also talks about the weight of expectation. These are words, both heavy and encouraging to both sexes.

After reading the essay and listening to her TedTalk at least twice, I was floundering for something to say. Which hand should I grasp going forward? I am not the same Tricia I was before reading/listening to her lecture. So what did I learn?

First, that my respect for my father has become insurmountable. He and my mother are breadwinners, they were partners/still are partners in some respect. My father stayed home, ran a farm and a business and cooked the meals. He has set a high standard for the men in my life, I find it difficult to meet someone these days who’d even come close.

Secondly, that my mother did give up a certain dream to make my father’s dream of farming a continuing possibility, but they did still work in partnership in many respects.

Thirdly, society’s expectation has left a hefty fingerprint on our ever so fragile minds. Opportunities happen to those who have opportune moments. Gender expectations have been placed on a perceived golden pedestal because it has “worked” for so long. 

Fourth, I set a standard for my happiness. I forge the difference for myself and that is a perfect place to start. YES it is perfectly fine for me to expect more from others, I should have high standards, but not a man’s standards.

My own.

Thank you and Good Afternoon.

Preview of the Next Article Title:

Patients and Patience (Regarding treatment)

2 thoughts on “Which hand to hold?

  1. My dearest Tricia,
    I love your though provoking articles, thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts out there for others to consider.
    I find it interesting that both of the men you polled shared what I would consider old world values. We choose the people that we retain in our world, so I wonder if they challenge your perspectives, which continues to fuel your direction.
    I have always been different than society says I should be. I never saw the world the same way as others, and for quite some time struggled as to how to say that. Here it goes: I’m not a feminist. I’m a non-conformist. I value the struggles for equality as you do, from both sides of the coin. For men to let go, and for women to continue to move forward.
    I think it’s dangerous to continue to strive to “be equal”, simply because I believe the same as you do, bar setting should be defined on your terms.
    I also believe placing your happiness directly in the hands of another (read; relationship) that is more dangerous than striving to be equal. Trusting someone else with the responsibility of “happy” is not something I ever want to do.
    Happiness should be yours.
    On your terms, by your definitions.
    Today I am happy because I woke up on the right side of the dirt.
    I would challenge you to do this, change the word “happy” to “grateful” and see if they have the same answers.
    Just curious.

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