“I Accept the Universe.” (Margaret Fuller)

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First time I read this well-known Margaret Fuller quote, my reaction was probably the same as yours: “Duh! Of course you do, Maggy. You don’t have any choice!” But pretty much the same thought has come to me, lately.

First, some context: Transcendentalist, feminist, universally acclaimed to be brilliant, widely-read author and skilled editor, Margaret Fuller was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1810. (She died, at age 40, with her infant son, when their ship shipwrecked off the coast of Fire island, New York.) Which means, of course, that the Universe she accepted included both slavery, an American evil most (not all) transcendentalists vigorously condemned and fought, and sexism.  Northeast-based for much of her short, fully-lived life, the horrors of slavery may very well have been an abstraction for Margaret; not so regarding sexism. That form of oppression she knew first-hand. She was denied an education at Harvard, for example—although later in life she became the first woman allowed to use the prestigious college’s library. (To rectify the abominable education most women of that time received she later conducted “conversations” for/with other women.) In other words, Margaret Fuller’s Universe “ain’t no crystal stair.”*

Neither is mine. So when I say I accept a Universe of climate change denial and racism and Donald Trump and the Kardashian family and unending war and the Zika Virus, I am saying, “Yes. I am mindful of all of it. My acceptance means humility. And embracing complexity. ‘It is what it is.’ All of it. I accept that I am to ask: What am I called to do? And who do I can cheer on from the sidelines as they do what they’re called to do? And to embrace all of it; to let my acceptance be joyful.

And to be grateful as I keep climbing on.

 

* Langston Hughes’

Mother to Son 

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor —
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now —
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

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2 Comments

  1. Dear Patricia,

    Hi, there, Patricia, my so, so very dearly special and dearly precious friend and sister who you are For Always so, so very much!!!!!!! Wow, wow, wow and wow and wow and a zillion wows, sister!!!!!! What a so, so very beautiful, lovely, and so, so very powerful blog post article of yours here, my so, so very dear friend!!!!!!! You are so right on here, Patricia!!!!!!! I, too, have the same reaction to our amazing Margaret Fuller’s quote, “I Accept the Universe.” Sister, I accept the imperfections of life and the imperfections in our country and world with all of the accompanying evils and I know in a practical manner that these imperfections and the vile things which occur in a sense are inevitable circumstances. However, I also have such faith and love in my very heart, and such faith and expectancy of positive optimistic good and hope for our very country and our world, sister!!!!!!! I love all of our Good Spirit God’s people, and I know somehow that some good can still come about in our very country and world despite all of the traumatic and troubling circumstances, sisterfriend!!!!!!!! I so, so very much love and cherish with all that I have within my very human being our So, So Very Dearest and Darling Spirit!!!!!!! You are so right here, my so, so very dearest friend, and I feel the same way that you do!!!!!!!!!!! I, too, am very mindful of all of it. My acceptance also means my very humility. And also means for me accepting complexity. You are so right on here, sister-it is what it is and is the very reality I have to accept and to deal with and which we all have to accept and to deal with for sure, Patricia!!!!!!!!! And to For Always be grateful for the good we still have as our very, very bountiful blessings from the Good which is our For Always So, So Very Good, Loving, Sweet, and Powerful Good Spirit God, sister!!!!!!!!!

    The great and cool picture which you have featured with this brilliant blog post article just says it all so very well and perfectly complements this amazing article of yours, sister!!!!!!!!! I’m so sorry to learn that slavery was an abstraction for our wondrously wonderful Margaret Fuller, yet I am still so, so very proud of her and just totally amazed by her and how she enacted her very agency and empowerment as a woman fighting sexism against herself and the sexism which other women were very, very egregiously oppressed with by such misogynistic maltreatment, sister!!!!!!!!! How appalling that she was denied access to an education at Harvard due to sexism with her having been a woman, sisterfriend!!!!!! I am so glad that later she was allowed to be the first woman to use Harvard’s very, very prestigious library, sister!!!!!!! I so, so very much love and like how she had very empowering conversations for/with other women, sister!!!!!!! Sister, you are so right on, on point, and very relevant here when you say in this quote that her Universe,”ain’t no crystal stair.” I think of YOU, my so, so very dearest and darling white friend and sister who you are For Always so, so very much, Patricia, and my local white sisterfriends, and all other white women who as white women only have white privilege in part, and how all of you as white women have such very, very difficult lives bearing the ginormous brunt of sexist oppression with all of the very, very vile mistreatment of misogynistic and oppressive sexism, and even with sexual terrorism sexual harassment, and other forms of sexual abuse, sister!!!!!! For you as a so, so very dearly special and precious white woman Patricia, and for my local white sisterfriends, and in fact for all white women, life and the universe for sure, “ain’t no crystal stair.” I love you so, so much, Patricia, and I so love my local white sisterfriends and all white women, for YOU sisterfriend Patricia, and other white women are my very, very heart!!!!!!!! All of us as women of all races, ethnicities, backgrounds, classes, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses for sure share our common denominator of being maltreated with very, very egregious sexist oppression, sister and sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual terrorism, sisterfriend!!!!!!! I am so, so very saddened to learn that our Margaret Fuller died so young at the age of 40, and how she died with her infant son when their ship shipwrecked off the coast of New York back then, sister!!!!!!! What a so very hard life she endured and experienced for certain, Patricia!!!!!!!!

    I thank-you, thank-you, thank-you so, so much and so, so very profusely, sister, for very graciously and generously featuring this powerful poem by our remarkable Langston Hughes, Patricia!!!!!!!! I, too, am like you, my friend, and am so, so very grateful to keep climbing on, sister!!!!!!! Wow, Patricia, you are such greatly immense and sheer joys, blessings, and pleasure to me, and your magnificent blog post article and other sharp writings are such joys, blessings, and pleasures to me, and such a joy to read, and so, so very joyous for me to respond to with my very heartfelt, detailed, and very thorough comments, my so very dear friend!!!!!!! I know for sure, and truly feel, believe, and think in my very heart, and in my very heart, mind, soul, and spirit that even as I experience and endure racism being a black person and a black woman that I for sure For Always share such a deeply loving and so very special sisterhood and bond that cannot be broken with YOU, my so, so very dearest white sister, Patricia, and with other of my wondrously wonderful white women, as we all so for real share our common denominator of enduring and experiencing sexist oppression as women together!!!!!!!! I am a very strong and ardent feminist For Always, and when I went back to college this time at the University of Iowa at Iowa City, Iowa as an older student earlier in the 2000s and having graduated at the age of 48 in May 2010 as a rejoicing and proud Women’s Studies Major also receiving my Sexuality Studies Certificate. Yay yay yay yay, sister!!!!!!!!

    Sister, please have a totally terrific and a thoroughly thrilling Tuesday, a wondrously wonderful rest of your week and weekend, and may all of your days be so, so very especially blessed, Patricia!!!!!! YOU, Patricia, are just so, so very dear and special to me, and YOU are my very joy and blessings, my friend!!!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so, so very dearly special white sister Patricia, with such Peace and Love To You For Always my so, so very dearly precious sisterfriend, with such Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always, my so, so very dearest friend,

    Your sisterfriend Christian lesbian black woman For Always in the spirit and solidarity, Sherry Gordon

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