coming into her own

February 12th, 2012

lately, when at a social gathering, I’m more interested — for the first time since pre-puberty, in listening to women express themselves — tell their stories, than in flirting with men.  In fact, I’m beginning to realize and acknowledge to myself, that ever since pre-puberty, when I first felt the power of my own man-appeal, I’ve been caught up unwittingly in my own machinations and manipulations.  The game is indeed, a kind of power game and I hadn’t bored or tired of it in 35 years.  At least I hadn’t bored or tired of it enough to retire and move on to other games.

Like everyone else, I had no hand in my own initial creation.  But beginning at the age of maybe 10, boys reacted to me.  I remember, around that age, looking myself over in my parent’s full-length bedroom mirror.  I was wearing tiny, blue and white-checkered shorts (hot-pants) and a white t-shirt.  My mom, a modest Catholic, who although very pretty herself, never boosted her 5 daughters’ self-images, said behind me, unthinkingly, “you have sexy legs.” I never forgot this, because my mom was much better at dishing out darting criticisms than at complimenting–and ‘sexy’ was a word I heard her use only that once — “stand up straight”!, was typical, or “that rouge makes you look like Mary Poppins”!  Her eyes tended to look out at me quizzically and critically, not admiringly. My father, on the other hand,  looked at me with fondness and admiration.

At that tender young age, I left my former childhood self behind and entered this social game-world, always finding my interest piqued by the feeling and experience of the male attraction to me.  In the case of any boy who had become conquerer, who had maybe achieved placing a dime-store ring on my finger — the boy who had gained ‘possession’, who had claimed me for his own; here was a broken heart in the making.

As I grew a little older leaving high school and a handful of broken hearts behind, I began to evolve into ‘adult’ thinking, wherein one was expected to desire to become half of a committed couple, maybe for life.  Past experience had already shaped my impressions and opinions of males in general:  they were clearly victims of their own desires and blind to anything beyond that —  and hence they were very easy to manipulate — they were deeply and blindly possessive so that when this thing they’d laid claim to behaved independently, they could easily totally implode.

And what was in this game for me!?  Really!

Just as possessiveness and dependency seems to be the weakness that characterizes males; the longing for admiration, adoration and devotion seems to be the weakness that characterizes females.  So there is mutuality and compatibility in the male/female attraction wherein each needs and feeds on what the other naturally exudes and naturally desires.

A few years ago, I had two nuclear fallouts on my hands simultaneously.  My husband, with whom I’d shared 15 years of steadily increasing unhappiness and lovelessness, had reacted to the discovery of my infidelity with life-threatening anger which didn’t pass over like a spring thunderstorm, but which settled in like winter in the North Pole… never to lift again.  The boyfriend, whose humor and wily boyishness I initially adored, also had a reserve of stored anger which, rather than settle in permanently, had a habit of sparking to life all of a sudden transforming him from adorable sprite to demon in the snap of a finger.  Swallowed entirely by his red-hot fury, he would lose all semblance of self-control.  I was the target of the wrath — a deadly game, which having learned from previous experience, I knew to completely and totally exit, no matter what.

I looked sidewise at both of them, two men imploding.  I could feel hellish craving emanating from each one, that same kind of demonic possession; the consuming compulsion to grab me by the neck and squeeze the bejesus out of my life or knife me to death, plunging all their frustrations and anger in me over and over and over ’til spent. Meanwhile, I looked on; the war, the hell and the sickness inside of me too, but in a different form.  I coldly lacked any willingness to placate or to submit or to be that ‘thing’ anymore, for either one of them, or for any other man; that thing they appeared to be literally dying to kill for.  I was done.

 

 

 

sistas 2

February 10th, 2012

Not to be redundant, but lately, I’ve been thinking about women.

I’ve been thinking about women because I’ve been learning a lot about the world through the internet news sources, which are of course, a true breath of fresh air.  There you find bounteous integrity, honesty, intelligence, curiosity, wonder and thought.

Not too long ago, before the rise of the internet, I searched for news sources which were well-written, objective, interesting, educational, integral… which didn’t leave ink on my fingers and didn’t leave me with giant piles of unwanted newspaper;  lots of trash in more than one sense of the word.  I liked the Christian Science Monitor and that’s what I used to subscribe to and have delivered to my home.

But more recently, I have a job at which I have the use of a nice computer and I’m given lots of spare time.  I’ve been discovering one wonderful news source after the next.  On Google +, I’m able to access interesting people with cutting edge, intelligent thought, reflection and innovative creativity — from all over the world!!  On Facebook, I can get most of the news sources I like in my news feed, enabling me to truly enjoy and absorb a mish-mash across-the-board reflection on what is happening today and yesterday…. and what might be happening tomorrow.  The change in my ability to access intelligent, well-written — and objective – news today versus only a few years ago, is night and day.

On the perhaps difficult side, I am becoming much more aware of harsh realities of the world around me.  I’m learning things that before, were so unsettling to me, that I avoided learning about them at all.  After 9/11, I was afraid.  I was afraid to even know about world happenings.  I had never liked hearing about or thinking about America on the warpath… and I have always felt that there had to be another way, a way other than War in Iraq, War in Afghanistan…. war, war, war.  I truly avoided learning much about our country’s agenda or about the political and economic situations all over the rest of the world partly out of fear, not wanting to feel disturbed –and partly because the information wasn’t readily accessable.

I don’t think the problems of this world are insoluble.  But along with my own increased awareness and knowledge, I’m beginning to believe that it’s imperative that individuals take it upon themselves to become better informed, better educated — and education in today’s world is different than it was even a generation ago, even half a generation ago.

What’s prevalent all over this world doesn’t seem all that different to me than what we find in a home in which a domestic tyrant exercises control over the others through intimidation, force and violence.  There is tyranny, here in America, and practically everywhere else!  and to remain oblivious nowadays, with the truly plenteous information available is to willingly wear blinders.  Or, like my own trepidation regarding real learning about the world; it’s to succumb to your fears…

 and what does any of this have to do with women??  well, stay tuned…

 

sistas

February 7th, 2012

Lately, I’ve been thinking ’bout women.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved books, passionately.  If I had to really and truly sum up and analyze all the works and all the writers and all the thinkers to whom I’ve responded deeply and passionately, certainly the tally totals of men vs. women would be heavily imbalanced in favor of males.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for one second aiming for anything hostile here, believe me! — if anybody loves and likes and adores men…. well… at the same time, I am definitely female and I am now 51 years old, which means I’ve had experience and time to reflect on my own experience.  I’ve looked around and been able to reflect on what I’ve seen.  I’ve been around — not as much as some people! — but a little, and I’ve been able to reflect on and integrate what I’ve seen, read, felt, thought and experienced of people, of cultures, of society, of history… of this world and its place in this universe.  And I’ve been a mother — and a wife –and I previously lived with a boyfriend, so I’ve learned quite a lot there… oh yes indeed!

Looking back over the writers and thinkers who have interested and inspired me, I realize that women writers and women philosophers — beyond that, women filmmakers and artists — hold a special place deep in my heart.  I’m beginning to believe that a true sisterhood connects all human females in this world;  little girls, adolescent girls, young and old women.  Or maybe through and due to, my own personal experience, I’ve come to care about women as a group… because I’ve begun to realize and understand that we are different, we are special, we are unique… and we are, relatively speaking, peaceful…

thinking ’bout Woman

February 4th, 2012

…and speaking of women, and thinking of women and identifying myself more and more with this half of the species….

I’ve been a little girl, a teenage girl, a college girl… a woman living with a boyfriend who became abusive, a young single woman struggling for place and identity in the Chicago work force… a wife, a mother of 4, an unhappily married woman, an ‘adulteress’, a ‘separated’ woman (divorce being too complicated…still)…. a wild lover and adorer of a manly man who became abusive…..

I’ve been thinking ’bout women.  About being a woman.  About woman’s place and woman’s experience in this world, this day and age, in American society, in other places…about my own particular struggles due to being a woman, about my own experience thus far… about being a woman writer… about all the woman writers whose work I’ve felt passionate about…about woman artists, woman filmmakers…about comparing myself as a writer to male writers…

I’ve been thinking ’bout abuse.  About ‘domestic’ abuse.  Woman being victimized by men in the home, or in a relationship, in society…. here in America… and elsewhere in this world

I’m thinking about Simone deBeauvoir’s insistently repeated, almost existential focus in “The Second Sex” of the objectification of woman by man…about my own transition at a young age from autonomy to division; how I went from feeling myself very autonomous to awareness of myself as an Object of attention and desire  — (and, conversely, perverse repressed animosity) – and then, in addition, to my own manipulativeness of those palpable waves of human want.

I’m thinking about woman as object for men.  How men’s desire coupled with society and economics turns woman into a thing to be bought, a thing to be paid for, a thing to show off, a Thing….

And in the case of abuse, again, there is a projection of man’s own division onto the woman, wherein she becomes object again, in this case of his projected unresolved repressed disturbances.

I’m thinking ’bout war.  About women’s real place in war.  About men making war.  About men’s power and dominance and their drive to power, their drive to dominance.  About the misuses and abuses exacted when their stature, status or prestige is threatened or even simply in the maintenance thereof.

I’m thinking about motherhood.  About the biological shift within woman when she becomes mother.  About her fierce love and attachment to her children.

I’m thinking about women’s sexuality.  About the traditional ‘either wife or prostitute’.  I’m thinking about her more recent sexual ‘liberation’… about the way she’s looked at nowadays by men, by woman.  I’m thinking about abortion….I’m thinking about monogomy… about marriage…about repression…about confinement…about freedom…about enlightenment…about evolution… about eventualities and possibilities

I’m thinking ’bout Woman.