Marking International Women’s Day today March 8th, is an opportunity to give tribute to women, to womankind, and recognize the other half of the sky.
As a man I am writing this today as a form of honouring. “The other half of the sky” reference is derived from a dictum from the Chinese leader Mao Zedong’s “Women hold up half the sky”, which in turn borrows from ancient Chinese proverb‘s. Mao had his own motivations for the reference of course, but this singular expression evokes a powerful message.
The first time I heard this phrase spoken was by John Lennon at the beginning of his song “Woman” an ode to his wife and muse Yoko Ono released as a single shortly after his murder on December 8, 1980:
I will try to express
My inner feelings and thankfulness
For showing me the meaning of success.”
I have been thinking today that if I were to be writing an ode to my wife and muse Lynda Monk, what would it possibly say? I often try and write a poem for Lynda on Mother’s Day, her birthday, Valentine’s Day. No matter how poorly written, poems are always received as a precious gift.
My ode, like John Lennon‘s would probably have an apologetic tone. It would be a collection of painstakingly chosen words where inevitably, in the spaces between the letters, is embedded a quiet gratitude for being fully accepted in the face of my shortcomings, failures and striving.
Words of thanks on the page for believing in me.
My wife is the ocean and the moon, a powerful Goddess, the mother of mothers. When I think of her, I don’t think she is holding up half of the sky but holding the whole world, my world, in her hands. She is not the half but the whole. When I met her my true life, my real life started. What came before was a half-life. A life that was only remarkable in its searching for her.
My late mother’s wish for me, her only son was that I would find true love one day; I did by brilliant accident meet Lynda shortly after her passing.
We met in the corrugated metal Patterson feed shed attached to the wharf at Fulford Harbour, my kayak shack. I can see it perched on pilings across the harbour as I write these words now in my journal. The pair of swans that have returned to this strip of beach swim by. They famously mate for life and I hope for them that this is true.
Sometimes we see ourselves reflected in these two swans, parents to two sons. It is my devout intention as a man and a father to raise our boys into men who in their cells, their DNA, the fibre of their character and demeanour and in the very beating of their hearts, carry an open and enlightened awe and respect for all women and girls. This is my pledge and promise to the other half of the sky today on International Women’s day.
Journal Writing Prompts
- What does the expression “the other half of the sky” evoke for you?
- How do you honour International Women’s Day?
- What women have been most influential in your own life? How have they influenced you?
- Is there a woman in your life who you would like to give thanks to today? Someone you want to acknowledge?