A few weeks ago Martin and I went to visit a friend in her new home. We took her the traditional house-warming gifts of sparkling fruit juice, cake, and ridiculously expensive black salt. I like to think outside traditional boxes, sometimes.
Anyhow, it's always fun to visit with her. Visiting in the older-generation sense of the word: conversation that rumbles through mundane updates about life to broader musings about art, politics, the world, family, and of course city planning.
She was the first to ask (and I was somewhat surprised about this -- both that she was the first, and that she did ask) if I had named my new liver.
Of course I did. The second night home from the hospital, in a semi-lucid state of insomnia.
Because Betty had been taken by a pet bird, and Betsey being my cat, that was too close. But Friedan works...
Based on my rather minimal memory of The Feminine Mystique, the common unfulfilled housewife was "stuck" in a role of menial tasks, cleaning up others' messes, taking the leftovers of others' lives and making something meaningful out of them for both others and finally for herself. Keeping things clean, protecting the rest of the family, providing energy and food, and basically getting little recognition for the work she did.
It occurred to me that this is kind of like the liver's role in the body. (Remember, I said I was semi-lucid.) The heart is sexy and gets all kind of love (seriously) and is the center of our world. We speak from the heart. Things are our heart's desire. Then the stomach gets fed... it's the way to a man's heart, after all. We feel things in our gut. Lungs are obvious and big and we can see them at work by simply looking down. Eyes are the window of our soul... and so on.
Try to think of one with liver. You can't. In most cases "onions" comes to mind. Livers are pretty ugly, and big, and ungainly, and don't do a lot but clean up our messes.
On the other hand, they are also pretty cool. They grow back if they are damaged (see Prometheus -- funny that the liver's element is fire), are a big part of the 3rd Chakra in energy medicine, and if their energy isn't working, no part of the body's energy system is working.
Translation: if mother isn't happy, ain't nobody happy. Coming right back round to Betty.