The struggle to emerge out of the past, clean of memories; the inadequacy of our hearts to cut life into separate and final portions; the pain of this constant ambivalence and interrelation of emotions; the hunger for frontiers against which we might learn as upon closed doors before we proceed forward; the struggle against diffusion, new beginnings, against finality in acts without finality or end, in our cursedly repercussive being..
Indeed, it is that ambiguity and ambivalence which often is so puzzling in women--the quality of shifting from child to woman, theseeming helplessness one moment and the utter self-reliance the next that baffle us, that seem most difficult to understand. These are the qualities that make her a mystery, the qualities that provoked Freud to complain, "What does a woman want?
Ambivalence reaches the level of schizophrenia in our treatment of violence among the young. Parents do not encourage violence, but neither do they take up arms against the industries which encourage it. Parents hide their eyes from the books and comics, slasher films, videos and lyrics which form the texture of an adolescent culture. While all successful societies have inhibited instinct, ours encourages it. Or at least we profess ourselves powerless to interfere with it.
My mother had demonstrated that the best way to defeat the numbing ambivalence of middle age is to surprise yourself - by pulling off some cartwheel of thought or action never even imagined at a younger age.
Often, if there's something that I want to do, but somehow can't get myself to do, it's because I don't have clarity. This lack of clarity often arises from a feeling of ambivalence - I want to do something, but I don't want to do it; or I want one thing, but I also want something else that conflicts with it.
Men are confused. They're conflicted. They want a woman who's their intellectual equal, but they're afraid of women like that. They want a woman they can dominate, but then they hate her for being weak. It's an ambivalence that goes back to a man's relationship with his mother. Source of his life, center of his universe, object of both his fear and his love.
The less obvious hurdle is that of preparing parents emotionally and putting forward realistic images of parenthood and motherhood. There also needs to be some sort of acknowledgement that not everyone should parent - when parenting is a given, it's not fully considered or thought out, and it gives way too easily to parental ambivalence and unhappiness.