Friday, November 23, 2007

Our Modern Matriarch--Friday Feature

Today’s Friday Feature is someone who I’ve been meaning to feature for some time now…Well, now is NOW. So…Here is Tricia Ares: our Modern Matriarch.

Her smile is wonderfully open, almost mischievous; her eyes sparkle with a compelling mixture of youthful zest, challenge, and wisdom. Her stance is forward…in motion, like the woman, and her hair flames out like a tempest. She’s “a complicated chic” (her words).

Tricia Ares of Modern Matriarch currently carries a BA in English Literature and is currently working on her Master’s thesis in English Literature. This scholar brings over ten years experience writing and publishing in newspapers, literary journals and online. And it shows. Her words are carefully chosen, eloquent and sharpened to a fine point by a lucid mind beyond her years. Amid competent advice in matters of writing (e.g., the Ideal Length for Your Book; Are you an Active or Passive Reader?) reviews, and interviews, our Matriarch provides an insightful distaff dialogue on matters of the heart and soul.

Modern Matriarch started blogging last May, around the same time I started my blog. But, while this Alien stumbled through Blogspot, cobbling posts and images together, our Modern lady had her act together from the beginning; Tricia’s site was elegant, professionally laid out and extremely well written. It still is, although she’s currently revamped her site (I wouldn’t even know how to start vamping, never mind revamping!). The Matriarch's tag line reads “Reading, Writing, Reflecting”, which tells us the area that her blog lies in. But there is so much more to her and her blog. The quote she chose to place on her sidebar gives us a little more information: "And where the words of women are crying out to be heard, we must each of us recognize our responsibility to seek those words out, to read them and share them and examine them in their pertinence to our lives." Audre Lorde--Transformation of Silence.

The name of her blog, Modern Matriarch, tells us even more. Tricia describes a matriarchy as “a nonhierarchical society in which decisions are made by consensus. The term originates from the Greek “meter” for mother and “archê” for beginning or origin.” She goes on to describe traits of Matriarchal Societies as being: non-violent; having sexual freedom; venerating ancestors; with a close integration/interaction with nature.

And if you still don’t get it, she posts some “critical bits” under her picture. There are three of them so far, and they include:

Matriarchal VS Patriarchal: Two Forms of Society: “Many define patriarchal thought as “Active Doing” while matriarchal is defined as “Being”. In his book Alphabet Versus the Goddess, author Leonard Shlain proposes that the essential characteristics of this matriarchal outlook are holistic, simultaneous, synthetic and concrete while the patriarchal outlook is linear, sequential, reductionist and abstract. His fascinating thesis is based on right brain/left brain dominance and the influence of literacy on the human mind and the development of social structures. His theory diffuses the idea that pre-historic matriarchal cultures where exterminated by more aggressive patriarchal societies but rather evolved into patriarchal societies as communication shifted from image based to word based.”

Replacing the Terms “Masculine” and “Feminine”: “I propose the use of the terms intuitive ways of being and rational ways of being. Although on the surface these may appear to be gender specific behaviors, they are not. Admittedly they are ways of being more readily identified with one gender over another based on our long standing social biases. However, these terms allow us to separate the ways of being (which are not necessarily related to biology) from gender (used within the context of this post to convey biologically specific differences).”

Man vs Woman: the Epic Journey: “Maureen Murdock, family therapist and educational consultant has developed an epic cycle for women. I have not only utilized this model to analyze modern feminine literature, but to better understand my own spiritual journey”

Being a follower of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Tricia’s summary of the “Heroine’s Journey”. Here it is:

The Heroine’s Journey
Separation from the Feminine
Identification with the Masculine and Gathering Allies
Road of Trials: Meeting Ogres and Dragons
Finding the Illusionary Boon of Success
Awakening to Feelings of Spiritual Aridity: Death
Initiation and Descent to the Goddess
Urgent Yearning to Reconnect with the Feminine
Healing the Mother/Daughter Split
Healing the Wounded Masculine
Integration of the Masculine and Feminine

Here’s Tricia’s Mission Statement, which she wrote back in May (back when I was still foundering in my blog-identity—you may have noticed that I still haven’t quite figured it out).
Says Tricia:
· As I manifest my destiny, I weigh each decision against these guiding principles:
· As an artist, it is my duty to be fearless in my self-expression and to discover the ancient path of the feminine narrative.
· As a spiritual being, I take comfort in connecting with the universal whole.
· As an individual, it is my obligation to seek new opportunities to challenge my intellect and honor my body as a sanctified temple.
· As a mother, it is my sacred duty to cherish my daughter while facilitating her own self-discovery.
· As a wife, it is my honor to appreciate the gift of my husband’s companionship while serving as a source of strength, joy, and inspiration.
· As a member of society, it is my task to model the benefits of cooperative coexistence.

Quite a mission our Modern Matriarch has set for herself. But then again, that’s who Tricia is. She is our Modern Matriarch, a quintessential Don Quixote in search of truth, justice and honor. A woman, whose gypsy blood (I KNEW there was a reason why I liked her!) compelled her to travel the world in search of “place” only to find it in her heart and soul. And in her gift to us as our Modern Matriarch. A woman who barely veils her idealism and incredibly generous spirit beneath crisp wit and vigorous repartee (check out her picture again).

In a post responding to my bestowing upon her a “Nice Matters Award”, Tricia had this to say: “Now I confess, being nice is well . . . nice, but not necessarily my natural inclination. As you may have noticed, my sentimental piece Born Again was quickly followed by my snarky little post Stilleto. That was intentional. After all, one does strive for balanced reporting, and I’m a complicated chic. The title of the blog says it all. Though I embrace the ideals of matriarchal culture, I am also very modern. I learn and adapt quickly. As a result, I tend to mirror the behavior of others—well to some extent. I am who I am, but how I treat someone depends primarily on how they treat me. Those who have been kind and generous, receive kindness and generosity in return. Those who have been judgmental have found themselves judged. Those who have been cruel or callous have found themselves cast aside. It’s not that I hold a grudge; I’m just not interested in perpetuating their negativity, or cowering down to it…I’m not Mother Theresa, and I’m not Hannibal Lector. I’m somewhere in between, bonding with others who also inhabit the murky waters of humanity.” After which our Modern Matriarch, being the writer, editor and reviewer she is, revisited her post and reposted this: “The original post found below should be taken with a grain of salt. Rather than delete the post, I will let it stand. Perhaps someone else will learn something from my stumble along the path to living cooperatively. The attitude found in the original post does not represent the values I have embraced in my personal mission statement, and must therefore be relinquished. As I strive to live cooperatively instead of competitively I have decided to focus on paying it forward, not paying it back. Special thanks to Nina (and others) who saw through my prickly defenses, and believed I was a better person than I was allowing myself to be. You’re unconditional love and support is greatly appreciated. Nice Does Matter. Thank you.”

Yes, Tricia, it does. And now the secret’s out!


Modern Matriarch said...

*blushing* Believes Ms. Munteanu definately knows how to vamp . . . lol . . . literarily speaking.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

A fine writeup of MM, Nina!

sfgirl said...

Thanks, Jean-Luc! And Tricia...LOL! You found me out... :)