(Book Excerpt 2) New Love by Trista Hendren and Arna Baartz

Copyright Arna Baartz
Copyright Arna Baartz

So now it’s confession time. When we began this project, I ordered some of Arna’s Colouring Pages. I have wanted to order colouring sheets for several years now but I never have. I was usually short on money as a long-time single mom. I always put my own desires off in favor of taking care of something for the kids. I also worried that I would never find time to colour them. But after debating it with myself for 3-4 weeks, I decided to order them!

I was thrilled to receive Arna’s package in the mail from Australia. I looked at the beautiful folder at least 10 times before I pulled the sheets out to colour. But when I did, I had this anxious, sinking feeling that I ought to be doing something else. Surely the kids needed something, the laundry needed to be done or I ought to work on a “more important” feminist project that benefited many women instead of just sitting around colouring.

In talking to other women, particularly mothers, I know I am not alone in this.

“In analyzing women’s thinking about what constitutes care and what connection means, I noted women’s difficulty in including themselves among the people for whom they considered it moral to care. The inclusion of self is genuinely problematic not only for women but also for society in general. Self-inclusion on the part of women challenges the conventional understanding of feminine goodness by severing the link between care and self-sacrifice; in addition, the inclusion of women challenges the interpretive categories of the Western tradition, calling into question the description of human/nature and holding up to scrutiny the meaning of “relationship,” “love,” “morality,” and “self.” -Carol Gilligan

So, while you may be wondering why we included coloring pages in this toolbox, it is for this very reason. We must learn as females that it is right, moral and good to care for ourselves, too. We only get one life. How many of us use it up in ways that are fulfilling?

“Your life is the one place you have to spend yourself full – wild, generous, drastic – in an unrationed profligacy of self… And in that split second when you understand that you finally are about to die – to uncreate the world – no time to do it over, no more chances – that instant when you realize your conscious existence is truly flaring nova, won’t you want to have used up all the splendor that you are?” – Robin Morgan

Too many women are bogged down by expectations that someone else created for us. It is extraordinarily important that we prioritize our own needs and desires. Audre Lorde wrote: “If our history has taught us anything, it is that action for change directed against the external conditions of our oppressions is not enough.” We must begin to listen to our inner voices as well—and honor them.

There is an abundance of free material available online now. Even those of us who have struggled financially have been able to dig into many of these resources and change our lives. Toward the end of this workbook you will find a detailed list of additional tools as well as a plethora of suggested reading. If there is a point in the workbook that you want to explore more, check out the list of additional tools and suggested reading section – and feel free to use some of the blank pages to journal.

Meet Mago Contributors Trista Hendren and Arna Baartz

To be continued

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“Self-inclusion on the part of women challenges the conventional understanding of feminine goodness by severing the link between care and self-sacrifice;” Oh, you are so right!