[Bella’s intro: In an email exchange, C. Riven Wood shared some of her personal experiences with me. I think she has some important insights and writes beautifully, so I asked her if I could post her essay here. Happily, she agreed.]
From the Bottom of the Heap to the Garden of Eden
By C. Riven Wood
His paintings were lauded; mine were dismissed. His opinions were sought; mine were hushed. His future was discussed and explored, every one of us wanting to support his success. My future was commanded: I was to marry and be taken care of.
All this changed in 10th grade. My history teacher introduced me to the idea that everyone deserved respect. I didn’t think about whether this included me (too hard!), but I realized it included my little sister. So, one night when I was babysitting her, I bit the bullet and treated her with respect. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. It was daring, unprecedented, and revolutionary in the hierarchy of my home (we hid the full power of it from our parents).