Solitude

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sometime ago I caught the last few moments of the Ken Burns documentary honoring the social activists, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her beloved friend, Susan B. Anthony. Mesmerized, I watched. Awed by poignant moments throughout the film, but the most salient pieces were reflected in Stanton's writing. They stood out, like celebratory beacons, expressing the heart of a woman who has altogether too often been lost to the annals of history.

Although I've no doubt to Stanton's feisty spirits
— indicated most brazenly by her demand that the word obey be removed from her marriage ceremony— there is a certain longing expressed in her writing; a desire for greater intellectual and social equality; a hope for a society that moves beyond relegating the definition of woman to the roles they sometimes assume. There is, too, an evident zeal, born from her own life experience and a sense of warm empathy that extends to all mankind. Together, these forces illustrates the imperative for self-dependence and the necessity of solitude.

Yesterday, in celebration of her birth, I obtained a copy of the brief booklet Solitude of Self; delivered
in January 1892 to the House Committee on the Judiciary, to the Senate Committee on Woman Suffrage, and to the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

I read it, then reread it.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite passages.

"But when all artificial trammels are removed, and women are recognized as individuals, responsible for their own environments, thoroughly educated for all positions in life they may be called to fill; with all the resources in themselves that liberal thought and broad culture can give; guided by their own conscience and judgment [then]... when women are trained in this way they will, in a measure, be fitted for those hours of solitude that come alike to all, whether prepared or otherwise."

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