Archive | Past Matters

Just a Very Virgo Season Blurt

You know what’s not discussed enough? Women who don’t demand fair wages because they live off their partners or inherited wealth. It is a very problematic issue through a feminist lens, yet often not broached because there are so many taboos around talking about money and class, and because self-esteem is so tied to salary.

Women who work for less than they should set a precedent–perpetuate one, really–that makes it a lot harder for the rest of us who demand equal pay. They reinforce the assumption that women’s work need not be taken seriously. And they disrespect all the women who fought long and hard for the Equal Pay Act.

This is not just a political issue. I see this as a spiritual issue, because energy that is not adequately replenished disrupts the order of everything. Work must be honored–and in a capitalist society, adequate financial compensation is an essential expression of that honor.

It’s amazing this issue still surfaces so frequently. It is an example of something else that doesn’t get discussed enough: toxic femininity.*

*Dudes, I am no more interested in you taking up this phrase than I am accepting of how you misapply “Karen” as an all-purpose term to write off women. Redirect that impulse into developing your divine masculinity.

There’s No Pleasing Daddy

This was a fairly bogus day–a lot of mansplaining/scolding in my personal life. But I was very happy to learn that Jamie Spears is finally stepping down as conservator of his daughter, though his announced “choice” reads as very Cuomo–AKA an attempt to control the when-and-how now that the writing is already on the wall.

It may seem silly to focus on anything tabloid-related, but the story of Britney Spears’ conservatorship is a devastating model of how patriarchy infects every aspect of US life, from government to nuclear family. Essentially it underscores that, as a woman, you can be a multimillion-dollar enterprise, and still wield no control over your life.

For anyone with shitty parents, Britney Spears’ story is a worst-case scenario–one in which your abusers benefit from your ability to transcend their abuse while they abuse you some more. No parent should be granted complete control of their adult child’s life, especially if they financially benefit from that control. Family dysfunction is usually a contributor in emotional decompensation, so reenacting childhood trauma by reestablishing parental control is counter-intuitive–“criminal,” to quote Britney herself. Continue Reading →

Share Your Love With Me (Aretha, Forever)

Did you know that Aretha’s version of “Share Your Love With Me”–first recorded by Bobby Band, but no one covered a track like the Queen–has made me cry ever since I was a kid? The loneliness and longing of the lyrics are perfectly matched by Aretha’s musicalit; she always produced her albums when the studios boys didn’t credit her. Just listen to the first chords of her piano; that Atlantic Records horn section; her glorious, churchified sisters thrilling and trilling; and then Lady A swooping us all up–generously, joyfully–in her big beautiful voice, making all of the human condition OK. Yes, even our pain. Especially our pain.

This song. I can’t tell you how many times my heart has been so broken that I’ve barely been able to feed myself, let alone feel myself, but could still listen to this song. Over and over, numbly at first, then with big tears streaming, until I was shored enough to face the world with spine and lipstick straight. This song is my church, and Aretha is forever my minister.

I’d say I miss her and of course that’s true. But it’s also true that she lives on in every one of my scratchy vinyls. The ones I’ve been listening to since I was that kid in dirty braids who saved up to buy them at Skippy White’s in Cambridge’s Central Square. I’m so grateful Aretha Franklin helped raise me even if she didn’t know she was doing it. Raising people up is what she did and she always will. She shares her love with all of us.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy