If you’ve ever longed for more clout in your world, wished you had the face that everyone else coveted and used makeup to have. If you’ve ever longed for the confidence of Royalty, wanted to see yourself and your loved ones as the dominant image around you, I think you’ll relate to my story about me and Lady M.
Growing up on a farm on the Central California Coast, my imagination conjured a world of elegance, color, and refinement. I imagined long trailing gowns which I created out of weeping willow branches tucked into the belt of my jeans. I delighted in the weight and sound as they dragged after me in the dirt pathways of the family vegetable garden.
When I discovered the Heian Period (900-1100 AD) of Japanese history, I found that world made real. Not only did the aesthetic I imagined spring to life, there was a heroine who called to my heart: Lady Murasaki Shikibu (my Lady M), who wrote the world’s first novel, Tale of Genji. Who was a habitue of the Empress Suiko’s court, a poet, literate in both vernacular Japanese and Chinese which women were not supposed to know, and a keen observer of her surroundings and the people in it.
The world’s first novel, “Tale of Genji”
In her, I came face to face with Female Empowerment embodied in the classical Japanese face. Not only that, her face was the face of my family, our family friends and a way to bring those faces I love into our Western European based culture. Her face, her world, her aesthetic gave form to a sense of Royalty, of dominion. A sense sadly lacking to us Japanese Americans in a dominant culture that saw us as gardeners, dormitory cleaning women, prostitutes and evil, scheming men.
So my World of Lady M came to be.
What kind of world are you conjuring? Please share in the comment section.