Consequences of moving the boundaries
By Brian Friday Bwesigye:
For the ambitious, boundaries are never static. And haven't we learnt from Bill Bradley, the American retired NBA player and senator that Ambition is the path to success and persistence the vehicle one arrives in? The Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, has also said that Ambition is like love. So, what about boundaries, ambition and love?
The ways in which males and females relate in love have had several shifts of boundaries with time. With cultural changes, the industrial revolution, colonialism, spread of foreign religions to foreign lands and a mirage of other changes including the sexual revolution, the boundaries are no longer static. There are even movements and “struggles” nowadays calling for the return to matriarchy and its related systems like polyandry which would make a full cycle as regards female-male relations and societal organization. But that is to look at things from a more general angle.
There is a narrower angle at which we can look at these boundaries and how they have kept changing. We can just choose to focus on a relationship between two people, a male and a female and the dynamics of their interactions. Of course there is no one single box all relationships can fit in, but we can safely say that the spaces for expression between the partners have been increasing with time. That is how somehow, biological and sexually specific experiences have become relationship experiences.
Let us take menstruation for an example. That period of going to the moon certainly is no longer a one-person experience in relationships as say five decades ago, though we can not blow the change out of proportion, but there is a relatively more open engagement between the partners about it. We are fully aware of the danger of a single story, so we will not assume much. We rather imagine, than assume.
Girlfriend is open about when that time of the month comes. Boyfriend is supportive; he is almost psychologically also on the moon. Boyfriend knows when it is ovulation, so the relationship upheavals that come from the biological changes during the period are avoided mutually. Ambition as we said from the beginning does not respect boundaries. It is not less masculine for a man/boy/male to be involved psychologically in the menstruation experience of their partner. That is a boundary being shifted.
But how easy is it to shift this boundary? What impact does the involvement of the masculine in a menstrual experience have on them and how their partner perceives them? Does the joint and mutual appreciation of their natural biological lives impact on how they relate? Does the obnoxious line between femininity and masculinity get shaken by this?
Reading from a Canadian website of women sharing sweet secrets related to menstruation, I found a compelling story of the first menstruation of a girl where she writes, that “menstruation also connects us to other women”. Menstruation is in other words a feminine experience, if we are to imply more into the woman's statement.
Let us get back to the relationship. There is a way routine develops that eludes those who are participants in the routine. And there is a way routine bores once it develops especially to the ambitious and adventurous. We started shifting the boundary and so, let in the man into the menstruation experience. The man has been in, the voice that gives strength when the waves of the moon are strong, but the ambitious soon get bored. The man's understanding of menstruation has since made the man a brother. There is definitely a difference between a brother and a partner and the feelings for both. Those feelings differ.
So, were we right to shift the boundary? Do we relate because we want a stable shoulder and voice to listen? Or we want to experience something different? Is it the difference in the other sex that attracts us? Is it the un-emotional stereotypical “masculine” thing that attracts a woman to a man? Does a man experiencing menstruation with their partner lose that charm?
But blood is blood! A relationship baptized in blood is stronger, but not more interesting, maybe. The menstrual partner is hard to outgrow, though it is just for the stability during the moon-time. But we have skewed the matter and looked at it from one angle. Maybe sharing menstruation experiences with a partner is intrusion into a matter so private, the shifting of the personal boundary! And maybe, one needs to draw the boundary again for them to re-gain their personal feet! So, it is not after all, the search for adventure or difference, or stereotypical masculinity, but rather a search for personal space. Very healthy it is.
So, having explored all this, is ambition and the changing of boundaries always good? Does it lead to success? We have not found the answers…or have we?