Relativity of Heroism
When our newly born Dorian was two weeks old, Noa developed some blood poisoning and had to go to a hospital and stay there for three days. There was a possibility for Dorian to stay with her, but we both had a very clear sense that being in a hospital atmosphere and energy would likely not be as nourishing for him in this tender time as what our wooden little house in the nature provides, so we decided he would stay at home with me.
I was deeply touched by all the support I was receiving during these days from friends in our alternative village – they were bringing me food, they were checking with me every morning about how the night had been, every day somebody from the neighborhood would come over and stay for an hour or two in the morning and another friend in the afternoon, so I could stretch, take a shower, feed myself in peace… And there were people driving back and forth between the hospital and our home, bringing milk that Noa kept pumping from her breasts for me to feed Dorian. All this support was so profoundly loving and touching for me.
And, somehow and in a quite surprising way, I noticed again and again that I was being seen and admired as a hero. Because I spent three days “alone” with a two-week-old baby. Now, there are hundreds of millions of women, I guess, that are alone with their newborns. Many without much support at all. Many actually in very, very difficult circumstances. Not for three days, but for weeks, months, years. After their bodies and whole inner systems had gone through incredible transformations and challenges that we, men, can hardly even understand.
Yet, this seems to be so normal, does it not? They don’t tend to be seen as heroines all that much. While a man, being three days with his two-week old child, supported by the whole village, is a hero.
Speaking of privilege.
Not many, but there are still a few things I remember from my Psychology study. One of them is a research that I read about (of course I don’t remember who did it, how, when…) and that showed that it was more difficult for women to quit smoking, than it was for men. The study showed that the reason for this difference was that for a man a cigarette was just a cigarette, while for a woman it was an alibi for a break. As it is just much more difficult for women, generally speaking, to take a break, because the social pressure is much harder on them to be “on duty” all the time and make sure that everybody is being served. And for women a cigarette tends to be a way to get out to the balcony, with less guilt, and get these 10 minutes every now and then: “I have to have a cigarette.”
I don’t know to what extent the above research is still relevant, as societies do change with generations. Yet I do believe that none of us sees this world as it is. We see it as our minds have been conditioned to see it, through a long process of socialization. We live in pre-conditioned bubbles of our own interpretations of reality.
Therefore, I want to keep my mind and my heart open to what I have been unaware of and to keep learning about the invisible, in order to be able to, in the best way I can, contribute to the flow of life within me and around me, from one moment to another.