An Old Womxn’s Rant

At 73 I am pissed off. 

As a womxn, I have spent 73 years being told I am worthless by white men who hold power, any kind of power. I used to believe them, I don’t anymore.

Ever since I was a child, I was told there were simply places I could not go, things I couldn’t do because of who I was, female. And, I believed them. Why wouldn’t I? They were people I was told to look up to, teachers, ministers, policeman, fireman, politicians, even my father. My mother tried to convince me it was in my interest to stay within the boundaries old, white, pathetic, men tried to put around me. And I let them, to a point.

I was 22 when my father died of cancer, and on his death bed he told me I needed to find a husband very soon who would take care of me or I would come to a bad end.  I didn’t listen. I still don’t know what that ‘bad end’ was.

Something in me said they were all wrong, my mother, my father, ministers, politicians, bosses, teachers, friends.  When a ‘friend’ came to me saying one of the reasons I couldn’t get a date was that men were afraid of me because I spoke my mind, I was too strong and needed to me more ‘soft.’  I told him, yes a him, if that was the case then I didn’t want a date. And, I didn’t get one.

When an employer told me, I couldn’t get a raise because I was at the top of my pay scale, only to discover that a man who did the same job had received a raise.  I asked how his this was possible; I was told he had a family and when I ‘finally’ got married I would leave so I didn’t need one. That was when I learned of workplace inequality. I threw a fit and got fired.

I have spent my entire life struggling to be seen, to be believed, to be accepted. I made friends with people of color, immigrants, the different gendered because they, like me, were kept out of positions of power, out of well-paying jobs, locked out of society. I disliked, but understood, women who choose the tactics of men in order to succeed. They did it because it was the only way they could.  I disliked, but understood, women who used their gender to succeed because it was the only way they could. I choose neither of those routes and ended up with jobs I hated and people I distrusted because I had to in order to survive.

In the last 20 years I gained hope that womxn were finally making gains politically, economically, and socially.  Yes, there are more womxn in science, business, and politics than ever before but not enough. Womxn, people of color, indigenous people, and the different gendered make up the majority of our population but make up only a fraction of the leaders in business, science, and politics. That not only disappoints me it angers me.

I do not understand womxn who continue to support old, white, European males over womxn of any color, people of color, or people who are different gendered. It totally boggles the mind. We are better than that. We deserve better.

My hope lies in the young womxn from across this globe who are making their voices heard. My hope lies in the womxn of ‘Me Too’ who are saying enough with being abused and demeaned just to further a man’s position. But I am discouraged, frustrated, and angry that these womxn, young and old, are being berated and demeaned by politicians and media because they are refusing to be silenced. I am confused by womxn who do not support them. I am angry that the choice of politician we are being handed is an old, white, European male, who though he appears enlightened grew up in the same time period I did and I have no doubt indulged in white, male privilege by demeaning or berating womxn, people of color, and the different gendered just to get ahead. It is what was done in my day, his day. I don’t blame him, it was how he was raised, but I don’t want those same attitudes leading my country anymore.

I am tired, frustrated, angry, old, and yes just a little crazy.  If that is what it takes to get heard then I encourage more womxn to be crazy, tired, frustrated, angry, and if it fits old.

Ruth Jewell, ©May 3, 2020

A Prayer for the Journey

As we continue to struggle with isolation, fears surrounding Covid-19, too much information, the lack of information, and misinformation I offer this prayer as we all journey the road together.

Ruth Jewell, ©April 28, 2020

Photo: Bryce Thompson Arboretum, Arizona, 2005, by Ruth Jewell.

A Walk in the Woods

Today, I went into the woods
cool shadows covered me
soft breezes kissed me
my footsteps muffled by last year’s leaves
I breathe deeply
scents of leaf, violet, and damp earth surround me
robin, finch, and woodpecker serenade me
rabbit, doe, and fox walk beside me.
I walked in the woods today
creation sang her glory
life in all her splendor surrounded me
The Creator held me in her arms

Ruth Jewell, ©April 14, 2020
Photo: The Guardian of the Woods

Parody on the 23 Psalm

Today is a Palm Sunday unlike those we’ve ever had before. However, sometime the Creator tells us to take a moment to remember that in the universe, and world we create together, things often go awry. Nature has her own way of being and we have ours and it is in the balance between the two that we find life. Yet in all of the chaos of life we are not alone. They/Them will not let us travel this road alone, the creator is always walking along beside us, just like the shepherd is always with his flock.

This poem was written by my Grandfather during the height of the depression, another time of crises and chaos.  May it bring you peace during this Holy Week.

In pastures green? Not always:
Sometimes thou who knoweth best,
In kindness leadeth me
In weary ways,
Where heavy shadows be.

And by still waters? No, not always so:
Oft times the heavy tempests
Round me blow
And o’er my soul
The waves and billows go.

But where the storm beats loudest,
And I cry aloud for help,
Thou standeth by,
And whispers to my soul
“Lo, it is I.”

So where He leads me I can safely go,
And in the blest here after
I shall know,
Why, in His wisdom,
He hath led me so

Rufus G. Miller, written 1936, ©Ruth Jewell, April 16, 2013
(My grandfather loved roses, and the rose picture is one I took at Buchart Gardens Vancouver Island BC, in 2016)

(Rufus Miller was my grandfather and a poet.  My mother found this written on the back of a 1936 bulletin from the Christian Temple, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Lorain, Ohio in about 1962, among the belongings of my grandmother, Edith Miller, following her death.)

I Thought I saw You

I thought I saw you
down there at the end of the lane.
Was it you I saw
holding a violet to you breast?
Was it you I saw
gazing into the distant hills
with such a far away look?
Were you waiting
for someone you love
to come and hold you?

I thought I saw you
down there at the end of the lane.
Was it you with tears
filling your eyes?
Did I see you reach
into emptiness hoping
someone would reach back?

I thought I saw you
down there at the end the lane
waiting for someone.
I saw you kneel in the grass
with violets all around and
I watched you pray.
As you stand and walk away
I prayed for you.

My spirit reaches out to you,
surrounding you, supporting you,
loving you, sending your heart strength.
It is all I have to offer
I cannot promise
all will be well.
I can only watch and guard.
I can only send courage and walk with you,
wait with you.
I cannot give you all you want.
All I can give, from my end of the lane,
is love and hope.

Ruth Jewel, ©March 16, 2020
Photo: The Guardian of the Woods

House of Worship

. . . Long ago, Long ago

Long ago this was a great house of worship
Men came from far and wide
To hear powerful leaders speak of God

. . . Today, Today

Today I am old and only my bones remain
The grass, the flowers, the trees worship here now
Fox, and mice, and birds all congregate

. . . Now, Now

Now sermons are the gentle whispers of wind and rain
Mice lead with tiny voiced prayers
Wrens lead a choir of sparrows and finches

. . . Prayer, Prayer’s

No more the loud prayers for men’s pride
Now there is a gentle offering of gratitude and
The Creator’s voice, the world’s hope, and the prayer for another day

Ruth Jewell, ©March 9, 2020
Photo: The Guardian of the Woods, March 3, 2020