I was startled and inspired to my core when I saw Eve Ensler’s TED Talk, http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/eve_ensler_embrace_your_inner_girl.html, and her discussion of the “girl cell.” She thinks there is a cell in every human that is our link to our emotions, our intuition, our “knowing.” And, she makes a very strong case for why ignoring the girl cell in all of us is what is responsible for the damage we do to one another, on a daily basis and all around the world.
It’s true that she paints some very graphic and violent images, which hopefully none of us are currently living. But, even when you zoom the lens out and take a more distant look, it’s possible to see how what happens to every stepmother is the ignoring of the girl cell. If nurturing your girl cell is taking care of your “knowing” and living from that knowing, then certainly we women would not be pitted against one another. The children would not be set up “against” the stepmother, because everyone’s feelings would matter. Everyone would be nurtured, if everyone could feel that their girl cell was whole and functioning.
Our girl cell is responsible for compassion, empathy, openness, association, relationship, intuition. According to Ensler, compassion informs wisdom and emotions have inherent logic. And, she goes on to say that “we’ve been taught the exact opposite, that passion clouds thinking, emotions are not to be trusted, and (her favorite) not to take things personally.” Her new book, I am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World is out this month and outlines the interviews she’s done for the last 5 years with girls all around the country. I’d argue those girls are us . . . women who have had their girl cells tromped on and we’re no longer listening because we’ve been taught it’s not safe.
Girls are trained “to please” . . . Ensler wants to change the verb. “Change the verb to educate, activate, engage, confront, defy, or create. . . . If we change the verb, we actually enforce the girl inside us and the girl inside them.”
It occurred to me that when we put a stepmother (or a mother) down, we are basically telling her to “not be a girl.” Ensler says that “being a girl is so powerful, that we’ve had to train everyone to not be that.” Refusing feeling has led us here . . . the “here” being our distrust, our hatred, and abuse of one another. And, she’s pretty passionate about her plea for everyone, men and women, to grow their girl cells. How else will we change our future?, she asks.
And, maybe you think, I don’t distrust, I don’t hate, I don’t abuse. But, when you discount someone else, when you make them seem “crazy,” or, when you make yourself be those things, you are not nurturing your girl cell.
A healthy stepmother . . . nurtures her girl cell, and is not silenced.