Fools Rule

Assuming women can be altered cheaply, painlessly, & with no risk,  

is that to be what we must want?

Naomi Wolf

Aside from being an occasion to pull someone’s leg, April Fool’s is a good day as any to wonder what leg our beliefs stand (or sit) on.

The sculpture Contro Natura by Salvatore Crita (1828-1912) at the Pitti Palace in Florence makes my Inner Fool grin.  What IS against nature:  A pregnant nun or a woman who swears off her natural biological function?

In the Boboli Gardens, a giant reclining figure covered in blue bandages stares into the distance.  Why do we call it cosmetic or plastic surgery when it involves pain beyond mere cosmetics and human flesh isn’t plastic?

Closer to home in our land of anti-fat, Botero’s sculptures stand proudly curvaceous and unapologetic.  Who determines the “correct” size and shape of all women?   Who wields the power to define beauty and who profits from feeding our insecurities?

A skinny ballerina “sculpture” blows me a kiss, a wink and a smile.  She’s not telling who’s fooling whom.

What does your fool wonder about?  Find the comment link beside the title of this feature.

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


A Beautiful Bird in Spring

I rather you have a good mind than a cute behind.

Maya Angelou in “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”

In her book about art, independence and spirit, “If You Want to Write,” Brenda Ueland tells this story:

A caged bird in spring knows quite well that he might serve some end; he feels quite well that there is something for him to do, but he cannot do it. What is it? He does not remember… Then he has some vague ideas and says to himself: ‘The others make their nests and lay their eggs and bring up their little ones,” and then he knocks his head against the bars of the cage. But the cage stands there and the bird is maddened by anguish.

“‘Look at the lazy animal,’ says another bird that passes by, “he seems to be living at his ease.” Yes, the prisoner lives, his health is good, he is more or less gay when the sun shines. But then comes the season of migration. Attacks of melancholia.

“But he has got everything he wants,” say the children that tend him in his cage.

He looks at the overcast sky and he inwardly rebels against his fate. ’‘I am caged, I am caged, and you tell me I do not want anything, fools! You think I have everything I need. Oh, I beseech you, liberty, to be a bird like others birds! But I should be very glad if it were possible for you to see in me something else than an idle man of the worst type.”

Whatever cage you’re in and no matter how others judge you, how are you gentle with yourself?
Jungle Goddess by Sharon Birke
Jungle Goddess by Sharon Birke
Black and White Boudoir by Sharon Birke
© Sharon Birke
201 697 1947
Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Madame Butterflies Are Free

You cannot say to the sun, “More sun.”

Or to the rain, “More rain.”

Arthur Golden in Memoirs of a Geisha

Madame Butterfly’s latest run at the Metropolitan Opera ended last week fluttering on to other world stages, for who isn’t fascinated by the exotic?  Who isn’t intrigued by the mystery of the geisha?  Who doesn’t want a faithful lover who pines for our return–when and if we feel like it?

My young daughter tells her brother “I love you” and waits for him to reciprocate.  He–brothers being the way they are–rolls his eyes and she cries indignantly, “But he’s supposed to love me back!”

I assured her that loving someone doesn’t make him obligated to love you back.  And to remind them that childhood sibling squabbles are practice for dealing with their future spouses, I added, “Even when you’re married.”

“Ha!” My son laughed incredulous, “Even with my wife?!”

Yes, we are free to love as we choose.  And there’s no greater freedom than in loving simply because.

Special thanks to Mountain for the quote he shared in response to the “Love After Love” poem on this blog’s “Be Divine” page:

True love begins when nothing is looked for in return.  -Antoine De Saint-Exupery

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


A Day Without Buts

You and I are not what we eat.  

We are what we think.

Walter Anderson

Today’s featured articles on Huffington Post for International Women’s Day run the gamut of “How to Unleash the Power of Women,” “Give Women the Right Not to Choose,” to “Let’s Make Today the Last International Women’s Day.”   Strong voices rant over blatant injustices and impossible arbitrary demands that continue to be imposed by culture, religion, work and family.   What about our self-admnistered doses of unkindness that seem so innocuous we actually consider them normal?  “I look pretty good for my age, but I’m 10 lbs overweight.”  “Thank you for the gift, but you didn’t have to!”  “I’m sorry  if I hurt you, but what I’m saying is right, you know.”

How different might our life be if we make the choice each day to put a period (instead of a but) when we say:

I’m sorry.

Thank you.

I love you.

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother



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