Rites of Passage – Right?

Everyone goes through rites of passage during their lifetime. These are events that mark our movement from one stage of our lives to another. Some of these events have amazing ceremonies and some are better kept to ourselves.

My first bike; my first bra; my first make-up; my first serious boy kiss (non-dare or relative); my first job; graduation; credit card and so on. I actually got the bike and bra on the same day, wow! Now kids get bikes instead of trikes when they’re 5 instead of older. My family didn’t celebrate a woman’s 15th or 16th birthday. I got a baptismal party when I was 6 weeks old  but my sister and brother got their names on a ship’s bell for their christening.

Coartney Norris’s Cedar Mortarboard
Made by SILE Helen Jack

Boyfriends, school dances, and graduation ceremonies are so important as rites of passage. And, boy, have they ever changes over the last 40 or so years. I’ve attended two graduation ceremonies in the last week and since I graduated high school exactly 40 years ago, I noticed the differences from then and now and even my own daughters’ grads 10 and 12 years ago. Prom dresses, hairstyles and dates…all so important, still. I work in a First Nations school district and we had a number of adults get their graduation Dogwoods this year and there was much celebration. One wonderful student, Robert, even had two cedar mortarboards(grad hats) made for him by relatives. Last night the group was gifted with shawls (the protection and warmth of all those around them) and a hundred-dollar bill pinned to their right shoulders (us shaking their hands and being with them). We had songs, prayers, speeches, a feast and much love and laughter. Now they have gone through a rite of passage and will start on a new journey.

Marriage; buying a house and having children all come with the rites that celebrate the passage from one phase to the next… so does weight loss. We even talk about Wow, a little convoluted writing today as I see connections to so many things. I was thinking of the first diet I actually remember being on: the grapefruit diet. I think I was 13 and my Mom was on it and I called “fat” by so many kids I was in school with that I did it, too. I see it was a rite of passage in recognition of my entering the “adultness” of counting calories. Somewhere between 75 and 85% of all women have been on diets for some reason or another. It is speculated that 98% of all women have negative thoughts about their body. Hmmm! is that a rite of passage into womanhood? Does it mean we are now “female”? It used to be the beginning of our first period (complete with red rose); our “Sweet 16” party; or even losing our virginity. Now it’s all about our appearance as women. I’m not even going to touch a boys passage into manhood.  I wonder if it has something to do with BBQs?

Oh well! Once again we count our blessings, file our anxiety, listen to advice (listening doesn’t mean taking), and move from phase to phase. Menopause is the next one I’m going to acknowledge but I sure would like to know what the right rite would be.

Thanks for listening. ;D Diane Kirby


~ by 1fatgirlshrinking - Diane Kirby on June 27, 2012.

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