Shame is something you'll find a lot of - particularly Catholic - girls feel about their bodies, about their sexuality, about their diet, about anything you like. Shame is the way you keep them down. That's the way to crush a girl.
The woman who thinks she can choose femininity, can toy with it like the social drinker toys with wine - well, she's asking for it, asking to be undone, devoured, asking to spend her life perpetrating a new fraud, manufacturing a new fake identity, only this time it's her equality that's fake.
As it stands, motherhood is a sort of wilderness through which each woman hacks her way, part martyr, part pioneer: a turn of events from which some women derive feelings of heroism, while others experience a sense of exile from the world they knew.
I think men and women are the same. Even as parents, I think we're the same. We're just conditioned to think that we're different. Having said that, it's true that motherhood is a particularly vulnerable area. It's an open wound, really. A woman is exposed to being turned into a different kind of person by the experience of motherhood.
There is always shame in the creation of an expressive work, whether it's a book or a clay pot. Every artist worries about how they will be seen by others through their work. When you create, you aspire to do justice to yourself, to remake yourself, and there is always the fear that you will expose the very thing that you hoped to transform.
The woman who has her being in marriage and motherhood has become part of antithetical reality, revoking property from the woman who remains in a condition of intangible femininity.
What I increasingly felt, in marriage and in motherhood, was that to live as a woman and to live as a feminist were two different and possibly irreconcilable things.
I was aware, in those early days of motherhood, that my behaviour was strange to the people who knew me well. It was as though I had been brainwashed, taken over by a cult religion. And yet this cult, motherhood, was not a place where I could actually live. Like any cult, it demanded a complete surrender of identity to belong to it.
I have a romantic conception of the writer's life, and the sort of writer's life that I admire is probably a childless life, possibly a marriageless life, certainly a travelling life - I'm in awe of how much D.H. Lawrence managed to get around. But that's never been something I'm capable of doing.
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