A One Woman Riot

1 Corinthians 14:34

34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.

For more than the first half of my life, that passage of scripture cast a shadow over me, seeping into my physiology, accompanied by the style of parenting that sets it into the neural pathways, often choking, inhibiting, paralyzing. I’m past 50. I’m still ousting the darkness of its influence though I have long renounced its claim. The women of this epoch are making it easier and easier to oust. But the work is still mine.

When the song “Quiet” morphed into the anthem of the Women’s March, I was drowning in a silent scream of grief and life events way beyond my capacity to actually weather. I was holding my breath. So, I missed the originator of it, MILCK, though I heard groups of women standing, holding hands and singing “I can’t keep quiet.” It pricked my ears.

My sister shoved the video in my face, finally. And so, I can’t sing this song without sobs. So, I sing it a lot. And then some more. I have yet to get through the song without stopping to let things roll out of me. I’ll get there. MILCK found the words I haven’t. Imagine that. I have so many words and I never could keep quiet for long. It’s my biggest, baddest sin, that and boat-rocking, cage-rattling insistence on truthseek. And while it’s not like I have a big secret to tell, it is definitely that I and many other women are still unlearning the silence. Minute by goddamn minute.

Folks, girls are still raised under the strain of the lie of misogyny. Right now, and in the name of Jesus. I imagine he’s pretty pissed about it. It’s cloaked in all kinds of alleged holy. And it’s even dressed up in versions of pretend liberation, the kind that works as long as you speak up only within the prescribed, allowed lines. Dare not announce you will no longer tolerate certain things. Dare not boldly be. Dare not call people on their shit when you’ve had enough. Dare not be anything but a new version of quiet. Fuck that shit. All of it.

March, Two, Three…

Any doubts as to one core Ruth-truth can be vaporized by this song. It’s the essence of who I am when I’m uninhibited by the crushing program of patriarchal bullshit that ushered me into adulthood. It’s the flag I fly in the face of the moral insanity and misogyny still thriving in that same culture today and spewing out of those who claim love but know nothing of it as they tie their fave scapegoat to the stake.

Yes, I am this, and most definitely NOT a princess:

Serenade Special

There are memories and happenings you know will continue to sing to you long past the actual moments. They are usually down-to-earth, simple happenings and not always typical of the daily grind.

I’m privileged to experience something special-not-typical every now and then. Since my ex and I alternate weeks with our children, I’m picking them up at least twice a month and carting them to the home they’ve always known. (That doesn’t include the perpetual taxi service I am.) And, thankfully, since I work from the home, I see them every afternoon regardless of whose week it is. On the short ride to my house, car fully loaded with everything from xbox games to instruments, my sons sometimes hold their guitars and play as we make the less than 5 minute trip. I don’t know why it makes me grin every inch of the way or why the sound of enclosed guitar jams feeds my soul as richly as it does. It’s one of those things you know you’ll never lose. Sweet serenades…

j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2013
j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2013

Yes. It’s a slow driver at the wheel on these occasions. (With big sis taking pics!)

j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2013
j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2013

And it’s a song particularly perfect for accompanying the falling rain…

j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2013
j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2013

 

Radiohead’s Polyethylene (I like my sons’ acoustic, lyric-less, no frills rendition of it best, of course.)

 

Lifebursts

3 Wise Souls…

I would not have predicted life stripping me of my words, carving the hieroglyphics of a deeper meaning on the walls of my soul, right before blasting them to bits, the ancient language pounded down into dust, filling the soil with a sweet sound brew and growing gardens one can only feel, hum, smile, hug, or even scream wordlessly.

But here it is, this stripping, as moments shape a landscape I call my life. A daughter in love. Heaven help me.

A son finding the drummer within and contending with life’s changes.

And in the middle. The older son with the hugs relentless, wielding a violin and a willfulness singing sweet individuality.

And all three riff on their guitars, uncovering a melody, something I can’t fathom, something their own, not mine. And it shines, gives me hope for a world roiling in transformation.