Volume 25, Number 2 â¢ March & April 2010 â¢ A ... - Women's Press
2 Women’s PressWomen’s Press March & April 2010Courtney’s QuillIt’s hard to believe that Spring is here and2010 is already a fourth of the way over. Inmy immediate family, this season is what weaffectionately call the birthday sweep. FromMarch-June we have 9 birthdays, rangingfrom celebrating those turning two tothose in their fifties. I myself have a birthdayin March, and while I love to celebratewith cake, this year I have decided to make aresolution (I find resolutions are better madeon birthdays, not the 1st of the year) and callthis year “My Year of Thanks,” in which Iwill attempt to be fully thankful and appreciativefor all I have now and to all thosewho have helped me get here. I’ve committedto journaling every day (every day!) aboutwhat I am thankful for and how I wentabout showing my thankfulness.One of the things I am most thankfulis my time at Women’s Press. I’m not goingto lie, though, it can be difficult to managea voluntary newspaper while taking care oftwo children and working full time. Thereare times I have just thrown my arms inthe air convinced I’ll never finish editing bydeadline. But then—always—everythinggets finished, the paper comes out, and Ihear from women who have been touched byan article. I feel rewarded and refreshed. ButI still need help.If you have any free time and are wonderingabout the perks of volunteering, comemy way! We desperately need some folks todistribute our paper in North County aswell as someone to coordinate and run ourmonthly workshops. Neither of these jobsrequire more than 1 hour a week of help.Please email me at email@example.com more information.And enjoy this issue of Women’s Press. Wehad another amazing outpouring of articlesfrom women in the community: Jen Kaplanwrites a great article on Attached ParentingSleep Principles (pg. 10); Jeanne “Bean”Murdock writes about how she went aboutpublishing a book (pg. 15); Kate UpdikeO’Connor writes about the relationshipwith her mother and her piano (pg. 14); AshleyHoward writes about how her life haschanged from 2009 to 2010 (pg. 13); andfinally, our “Voices Around the Table” questionreceived quite a response (pg. 16)!All in all, another successful Women’sPress for you to read, enjoy, and learn from.Best wishes this spring season, and I do hopeto hear from you.Courtney BrognoCover Artist Patti RobbinsA native New Yorker, Patti has a BA fromAmerican University and an MA from JohnsHopkins University. She pursued her artisticstudies at the Atlanta College of Art.Patti’s work has been shown in prestigiousexhibits around the country including:Noho Gallery LA, The Salmagundi ArtClub, NYC, Monterey Museum of Art, TheHaggin Museum, The Alexandria Museumof Art, Belskie Museum of Art, The KarpelesLibrary Museum, and Red Dot FineArt Gallery, Santa Fe.She exhibits locally at Seaside Gallery inPismo Beach, Gallery Los Olivos in Los Olivosand exclusive artist at Equilibrium Fitnessfor Women in San Luis Obispo. Herartwork appears on all the of their productbottles of her family’s business, “RobbinsFamily Farm.”She has been juried into the NationalAssociation of Women Artists and WomenPainters West. She is a signature member ofthe International Society of Acrylic Painters.She is listed in Who’s Who in AmericanArt, 26th-30th editions. See more of her workat passionforcolor.comWomen’s PressStaffContributorsVolunteersSubmissions WelcomeWCC• Voices, views and visions of the women of San Luis Obispo County, California • 6000 free copies distributed in SLO County • Subscriptions are available• Managing Editor / Courtney Brogno / firstname.lastname@example.org • Layout & Design / Benjamin Lawless & Ashley Kircher / email@example.com •Advertising Team / Rene Sante & Benjamin Lawless / firstname.lastname@example.org• Sonia Paz Baron-Vine • MaryAine Curtis • Inglis Carre-Dellard • Ruth Cherry • Jeanie Greensfelder • Laura Grace • Judythe Guarnera • Hilda Heifetz • LisaPimental Johnson • Lisa Jouet • Angie King • Heather Mendel • Jen Mowad • Berta Parrish • Robin Rinzler • Adele Sommers • Jill Turnbow • Andrea Zeller• Berta Parrish • Jane Hill • Judith Bernstein • June Beck • Kathleen Deragon • MaryAine Curtis • Monica Rosecrans • Shairee Collins • Shantel Beckers •Suzanne Delinger • Renee SanteArticles, essays, opinion pieces, letters, artwork, poetry wanted & appreciated. The Women’s Press reserves the right to edit all submissions for content, clarity &length. Contact email@example.com or call 805-544-9313. Submissions will also be posted online at www.womenspress-slo.org. The opinions expressed inthe Women’s Press are those of the authors & do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Women’s Community Center. The Women’s Community Center doesnot necessarily endorse products or services advertised in the Women’s Press.The Women’s Community Center of San Luis Obispo County, founded in 1974, under the name Women’s Resource Center, exists • to educate,enlighten, and empower women and their families in San Luis Obispo County by helping them seek new ways to express and develop themselves• to be a center for the repository and exchange of information of interest and concern to women through workshops, seminars, classesand other outlets; • to facilitate communication with other women’s resources both locally and nationally. WCC produces the Women’s Press infurtherance of these goals.Women’s Community Center of San Luis Obispo County • A 501(c)3 not-for-profit public corporation • PO Box 15639, San Luis Obispo CA 93406 •Office located at 4251 S. 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Women’s Press March & April 2010Our Invisible ScreenBody & Soul3By Ruth Cherry, PhDWe all have an invisible screen throughwhich we see the world. These screens growfrom our unconscious beliefs which evolvedfrom our experience. For instance, if yourchildhood experience consisted of beingtreated insensitively or abusively by neglectfulparents, you have two choices—feel yourhurt and disappointment, find strength toforgive, and proceed whole with your life.Alternatively, you could avoid feeling yourfeelings, try to stay “in control,” and lookstrong even though you harbor resentmentand maintain a distrust of the world.Feeling our feelings is a purely emotionalexercise. If we choose to avoid our emotionalside, we will rationalize—thinking poorlyinstead of feeling honestly. When we formbeliefs based on a need to avoid feeling, wecreate a distorted screen through which we(inevitably) misperceive life. We hold ontoour powerless Child well past the time wecould have grown into our powerful Adult.Although no one would argue that she prefersto identify with her powerless Child, we,in fact, make that choice when we refuse toallow our feelings of hurt and rage to passbecause we won’t feel them. (Saying werelease them is not the same as actually experiencingthem and allowing them to pass.)Then we erect a screen which supportsour notion of the world as big and scary. Ourscreen tells us the world is unfair, uncaring,untrustworthy, and dangerous. We movethrough life afraid, ungrounded, and defensive.We don’t see or accept responsibility forhow we create our experience today by refusingto heal our experience of yesterday. Weare perpetual victims: we whine, we blame,we pity ourselves, and we hate others. Weremain needy while we refuse to receiveContinued in SCREEN, page 22Photo by Harrison KeelyWhat happened to my daughter?By Tom SteinA young girl of 10 gallops into the kitchen togreet her mother: “It was awesome! I scoredthree goals today. It felt great! What’s fordinner? I can’t wait to tell you about my day.Can Ashley and Sienna come over for dinner?I want them to see my new hamster.Maybe you can help us with our homeworklater...”Four years later the front door slams asthe same girl runs up the stairs to avoid hermother. Her mother yells up: “Kathi, what’sgoing on? You said we would spend sometime together this afternoon. At least comedown and say hello.” No response. Momwonders what happened to the energetic,curious, considerate daughter she used tohave.Does this scenario sound familiar? Whathappens to girls as they enter adolescencethat they somehow transform from giggling,happy, talkative, cooperative, and joyfulyoung people into sullen, secretive, image,and peer obsessed teens?Today’s culture presents a differentworld to our children than that of 20 yearsago. Our world has become smaller as theinternet and phones universalize the teenexperience. Teens turn to their peers forinformation: after all, someone else’s opinionis there at the touch of a few keys. MySpace, IM’ing, texting, and tweeting allhave allowed instant public opinion andthe accompanying (unsolicited) advice toreplace what used to be given by family andclose friends. This produces a culture of conflictingexpectations. And what are thoseexpectations? A teenage girl should be afashion-conscious model: beautiful, skinny,made up, with piercings, tattoos, and theappropriately chic grungy clothing. Sheshould be the same as others, but not toomuch the same; after all she needs to be anindependent individual who keeps up withwhat’s cool. She gets her information frompeers about sex, substance use, and what isimportant and what is not, yet she should beher own person and make her own decisions.Her reality is not what is in front of her, butwhat she hears on her MP3 player, or sees onthe screen of her phone. Her sense of self andpower no longer seems to come from inside,but from the constant bombardment of rapidlychanging and chaotic outside influence.Add all this to our culture’s expectationthat women be super people, nurturers,homemakers, mothers, breadwinners, and itis not surprising how confused and lost theybecome.Mary Pipher states in her book RevivingOphelia, Saving the Selves of AdolescentGirls, “Adolescent girls experience a conflictbetween their autonomous selves andtheir need to be feminine, between their statusas human beings and their vocation asfemales.” She continues “They struggle withadolescent questions still unresolved: Howimportant are looks and popularity? Howdo I care for myself and not be selfish? Howcan I be honest and still be loved? How canI achieve and not threaten others? How canI be sexual and not a sex object? How can Ibe responsive but not responsible for everyone.”Alice Miller, author of the Drama ofthe Gifted Child, believes that adolescentgirls give up their authentic, natural self, anddevelop a false self whose validation comesfrom outside.Many of the women I see as a therapistcontinue to struggle with these questions asthey deal with the existential questions ofauthenticity and meaning. Who am I withinthe context of individual, couple, family,and community? How do I meet my needsfor connection and validation while retainingmy sense of self?How do women resolve this struggle?Margaret Meade defines strength as valuingall those parts of the self whether theyare valued by the culture or not. This is adaunting task as evidenced by the number ofwomen I see every day whose experience vacillatesbetween their pre-adolescent competentand connected self, and their adolescentself-conscious, self-critical, and other-pleas-ing self. The technological innovations of thepast 20 years seem to universalize behaviorsand engender a stronger false sense of selfthan what is authentic. The key is to rediscoverand encourage that 10 year old girlwhose curiosity, personality, and relationshipto the world come from inside.What can be done to facilitate a healthytransition into womanhood?1. Be aware of the internal struggle andthe cultural influences that are in play.2. Don’t forget there is still a little girlinside who needs and craves care andnurturing despite the tough exterior.3. Watch for signs of extreme or destructivebehavior but refrain from criticizingor judging when things aren’t goingwell.4. Be supportive, allow age-appropriateindependence and assertiveness, and5. encourage open communication and trust.Tom Stein is a Marriage and Family TherapistIntern who lives in Los Osos. He works atthe North County Women’s Resource Centerand in private practice in SLO and Los Osos.He specializes working with women who haveexperienced trauma using EMDR, and withteens. He is also a certified Life Coach focusingon second careers.