Has this ever happened to you?

I was reading a book and totally involved with the plot and characters unfolding from the author’s mind into my mind. Suddenly the author’s words stopped me cold. I cannot read on. I go back. I reread and reread until I finally understand what stopped me from continuing to read further. I cannot believe this writer tapped into the darkest recesses of my mind. So deep that in my conscious life I didn’t even know what she wrote was something I believed and never actually lived. Furthermore, I shall take a giant presumptive leap and say that I believe it is something most women believe is a truth… dare I say a fact of life, unconfronted for most of our lives for sure, but always there and always true.

So alright already, what writer, what book, what paragraph? What am I talking about? When are you going to realize, life without a drumroll ain’t no fun!!!

From Alice Elliot Dark’s new novel, Fellowship Point:

“The difference with her was the blind eye she turned to inequity. Her true feeling was not that women were equal, as that in itself was a comparison, but that they were whole. Wasn’t that indisputable?”

Whaaaaaaa??????

I do not know the writer Alice Elliot Dark. This in itself is not amazing as the list of writers I know little or nothing about is so much larger than the writers I do know. Her previous works have always been well received. Twenty years have passed since her last publication. Fellowship Point is her new novel. And I imagine it is getting the play that it is getting because it is about two female protagonists in their 80’s. When was the last time you read a book about women octogenarians? Wait, I’m not finished yet. When was the last time you read a book about female octogenarians where the writer gave them a dimension of relevancy to their friends, family, and most importantly the changing world that surrounds everyone. The two older women have been best friends since grade school. Their lives touch every aspect of life from birth until present day as they approach the end of their own.  

I haven’t read any more because I was stopped by the paragraph I referenced above. I am used to exclaiming to anyone who will listen, my equality with the male. I thought that exclamation would suffice to explain women’s rights as human beings. Right? That is, until I read what Ms. Dark wrote. I realized as I reread it that she was right. Equality means comparing one to another… and even if I forget it, don’t we know that comparisons are odious? I am not equal to a man. I am whole unto myself. My friends, that is very different. I don’t have to be in comparison to anyone else. Like I said, all by myself, I am whole. Doesn’t it sound simple? It is. But… watch out for the buts… it is not easy. 

Older is gooder.
Bette Davis and Lillian Gish in The Whales of August (1987)

First, the difference between equality and being whole is subtle enough to be almost hidden. I am beginning to think that self knowledge of wholeness is an inside job. It’s not something you can guarantee by an amendment to the Constitution. It is a condition you are raised with by a family and society that accepts everyone as whole. I may be different. In my difference I am whole. Not less. Not more. Just whole.

What a concept! How do I apply this basic truth? I surely wasn’t raised on it. Any society I’ve read about the present day or from the past has never espoused such beliefs. Even Utopian worlds don’t turn a blind eye to inequities. Did Ms. Dark create this character just to tease us? Is the human condition even capable of understanding wholeness? The word wholeness is thrown around in so many areas of life. I think of it as a marketing word; Whole Foods, Whole Earth, Holistic Integrated Health

In this book’s context it is this woman’s belief system. Can you even imagine a world without comparisons? I was one of eight and the major point of family control by my parents was based solely on comparisons. “Why can’t you be more like (fill in the blank)?”

To a child this is devastating. It’s taken me a long time, but I realize that my whole/wholeness struggle to be is about being seen for who I am, zits and warts included and if not understood, at least accepted as a person in my own right. 

You know what? I am asking for the impossible. I know that. But try this thought on for size. As I wrote before, when I read the quote I shared with you from the book, it stopped me cold. I believe that believing in wholeness from one human to another is the higher goal. In the animal world fear is the primary survival tool. As humans evolve from the animal fear remains the most important tool for our survival, as well. I believe this quote highlights the possibility that there may come a time when one whole human, without fear, can actually see another whole human, without fear. 

And then, my friends, let the party begin.

LOVE, Sally-Jane ❤️

P.S. And the children shall lead them… ~ Isaiah 11:16

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