Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein
Woman with a brilliant mind

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mostly dead, and lovin' it!

"Gertrude, what am I going to do now that the world I was born in has ended?"

"You just get up the next day in the new one."

"Have you ever had that happen to you?"

"Oh yes. A few times. Those of us born in the 1800's went from a way of life where we thought God was watching our every move, to a world where there was no God in mind. It was devastating to our lives and we just had to learn to embrace it."

"Do you mean you stopped believing in God?"

"Well, at first I blocked it out and insisted I would never stop believing in Him. But then the common assumptions and the expressions we used changed a lot, until I found myself not caring what God might think, and eventually I was alone in my individuality."

"Jeez. That is sad because it seems like such a beautiful thing to feel as if God is watching over you all the time, keeping you safe, telling you what is right. Sounds so secure and sweet."

Gertrude winced and nodded in such a way as to leave room for doubt.

"It was devastating to our old way of life. The new way of life also had its good points. You didn't have to feel embarrassed to show your ankles, and you could cut your hair and didn't have to keep it in long, heavy plaits and buns. After awhile women could dress like men, in pants. Now that's not even considered dressing like a man anymore. Now a woman who considers herself normal and innocent might dress like an old-time prostitute as if that could underscore how normal she is."

"I know, right? It's horrible."

"Oh, we don't have to make it like that. Life is short and times do change. People have to live their time out doing what they will. It's both a gift and a curse at the same time."

"I can't live my life as I did before. I came from a world where I thought I owned everything, and when someone lived up to my standards I would let them in to be a part of it. But that world is dead now. Each person is supposed to be a bundle of their own standards and nobody can assume to understand anything about each other, and it's exhausting and sad. But it's done with and I'm trying to let go."

"Well, do you know who you are?"

"Not really."

"That would be the thing to know now."

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