I read this piece in one of my textbooks and it really struck me. I go through these periods where everything seems mundane, I don’t know if I am doing the right things, am I on the right path, am I trying hard enough, am I missing something??? The difficult thing for me is that I am on a journey very late in my life. So it seems like all the things I want for the long term are happening all at one time and it can be challenging and overwhelming. But this piece got me thinking. The goal of my life is not about what I can achieve, its about what I can give. I have made recovery my life, it is my passion, and it is my happiness. My purpose in this world is to be a source of information, experience, strength, and hope. This piece is really encouraging and has challenged me to push myself, to make sure that I am doing ALL I can and to continue to challenge myself. It is about personal responsibility, not only as a woman, but as a person.
Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts, hence, grappling with hard work. It means that you do not treat your body as a commodity with which to purchase superficial intimacy or economic security; for our bodies and minds are inseparable in this life, and when we allow our bodies to be treated as objects, our minds are in mortal danger. It means insisting that those to whom you give your friendship and love are able to respect your mind.
Responsibility to yourself means that you don’t fall for shallow and easy solutions- predigested books and ideas, weekend encounters guaranteed to change your life, taking “gut” courses instead of ones you know will challenge you, bluffing at school and life instead of doing solid work, marrying early as an escape from real decisions, getting pregnant as an evasion of already existing problems. It means that you refuse to sell your talents and aspirations short, simply to avoid conflict and confrontation.
Once we begin to feel committed to our lives, responsible to oursevles, we can never again be satisfied with the old, passive way.
WOW!!! This was written by Adrienne Rich in 1977 and is predominantly about women’s roles. But I feel like these words speak to all people and our responsibility to ourselves as well as the responsibility we carry to treat one another with kindness, and to respect one another for our differences.