I was 40 before I finally had a room of my own.
I realize now how important that is for women, especially today.
The demands we face doing our part to continue challenging injustice in difficult times can seem overwhelming at times. Who wouldn’t want to shut down, to hide away?
Growing up, my options of escape were limited. My mother struggled financially and even when she managed to rent a two-bedroom apartment we relied on the income from our renters, so she and I always shared a bed.
Then came college where I had a dorm roommate, followed by marriage and motherhood. I became resigned to a life of only stolen moments of privacy.
As women, we are expected to be open doors.
A parade of assignments and responsibilities cross our threshold on a daily basis, side-by-side with the demands of people we love. And then along comes society behind them, delivering the problems of the world to the doorstep of women – collectively – saying we are the ones to can fix them.
No wonder many women feel retreat-deprived.
Literally or figuratively, they want to close the door on the world.
I remember how good it felt in that first room of mine – much like the aftermath of a flurry of work for causes that seem doomed despite their worth. It became my armor, protection from the assaults of the world I experienced trying to find my way professionally and socially in my newly single life.
Withdrawal offered safety, for a while, a time for gathering strength – again.
Over time my room evolved into a haven of contemplation, for a while. It was a writing space that led to the genesis of projects, including the Race and Change presentations and travel that take me away from home a lot these days.
Going within can be creative – a renewal of intentions as we find our way – again.
Even in the darkest of times, as women we must learn how to keep the door cracked, if just a little.
You never know what possibilities you might glimpse. A new idea, a different direction, an inspiration. For me it was a new companion on this Race and Change journey, and here I am, sharing a bed – again.