I can’t stress enough the importance of finding your tribe. Wild women make up mine. You see them here – young, middle-aged, old – maiden, mother, crone. Sisters, companions and beloved friends, peers, these are the commadras. Isn’t it strange we have no feminine words for buddy, pal, compadre? I think we women need more words to signify and define the nuances of our rich femininity.
The Ugly Duckling is about finding the companionship of peers; of those who share an orientation to the Earth and life, which coincides with your own. Of course first you have to know what that is. Hence the quest in the first part of life. That’s the part where we waddle and quack about the world, making mistakes getting hurt, enjoying and suffering huge tidal waves of emotion as we come to terms with our own humanity and the condition of being human.
Not everyone makes it. Some crack, some break, some turn away and refuse further exploration, some never engage with solitude or introspection, some become addicted to the rush of novelty. For me, there came a time when I began to know who I am. When that happened, I I began longing for peers – those ones who also know themselves.
Mostly, I find them among women.
Femininity encompasses another layer of belongingness.
For the first three decades of my life I didn’t like other women much. I thought men were smarter, more interesting, and led more exciting lives because, in my family, my Dad was the good guy. He was calm in the midst of my mother’s erratic emotion and fair in the face of her injustice. He “got” me, in a way I believed my mother never would. Happily, in my thirties I discovered, the Goddess, the women’s movement and consciousness raising. It changed my life and opened interior and exterior worlds to me, expanding heart, psyche, mind, soul and body. It also opened the door to understanding and reconciling with my mother.
They also brought me to the profound realization that the Earth is one integrated whole soulful organism of which I am an integral part. There is nowhere I go on this planet where I do not belong because the culture of nature is deeper and more encompassing than any human culture can ever be.
This collage celebrates my journey and all the different kinds of women who travel with me – my tribe, my commadras, my peers. They bring me happiness, vitality, joy – each one of them holds home in her arms.