April 18, 2009 by Judith Liebaert
Recently I was asked to read some of my essays to a group of women from middle age through golden years. About half way into the gig, I noticed that many of them looked like frightened deer frozen in the glare of oncoming headlights.
I realized that they had never heard another woman speak about mid-life frustrations with such candor – well not publicly at least. I admit it – I’m not one to mince my words these days.
One woman asked me if I’ve ever regretted anything I’ve written or said publicly. No. I haven’t. I dare to say out loud:
- Marriage isn’t perfect and is sometimes a hellofalota work. Oh my!
- Kid’s aren’t perfect and they are most times a hellofalotta work. Oh my!
- There are things about my husband I don’t like. Oh my!
- There are things about my kids I will never understand! Oh my.
- There are days I wish I had no husband and no children and I could just go where the wind blows me! Oh my!
- My humor is sometimes (okay, most of the time) sarcastic. Oh my!
“Doesn’t your husband take offense to what you say?” an audience member asked me.
My husband doesn’t read this stuff but all of my children do. Some of my words get spit back out in conversation. I’m sure they all wish I would retire to my rocker with my knitting and crossword puzzles. Instead I get up on my soapbox and poke holes in the pretty bubbles of familial dysfunction.
51 lashes with a wet noodle to me – one for every year I have dared to live and not be always perfect, or always kind, or always understanding. After I’ve taken my lashes and paid my debt to society, might I be able to presume I’ve earned the right to believe that as an adult women, nobody has the god-given or any other kind of right to tell me what I should do, what I should think or what I can say? Might I go one step further and presume that any sane woman would get pissed off when she is told those things.
We all live and love, we all laugh and we all cry. As women we all share our joys and sorrows, our ups and our downs with the people in our lives. We do it over a cup of coffee at a friend’s kitchen table, with the phone in hand late at night, in an email or maybe in a blog. I write what I know, what I live.
I could be mistaken (it seems nobody is talking about this), but I think I have also said . .
- I love life and I love sharing it with my husband, children and grandchildren.
- I have thoroughly enjoyed being a mom and I couldn’t be prouder of my daughters.
- I am proud of all my accomplishments – those I’ve achieved on my own and those I’ve worked at with my husband.
- I won’t give up on my future happiness no matter how far out to sea my ship may be. And if it springs a leak, I only hope my loved ones are willing to keep bailing with me.
I have no interest in telling other people how they should live, but I certainly do hold an interest in telling them how I would like to be treated – or not treated as the case might be.
If any of you are fans of the Red Green Show on PBS, then you know the mans’ prayer (my husband hates whenever I bring this up). “I’m a man, but I can change, if I have to, I guess.”
Then there are the women. We have spent a life time giving to and taking care of everybody we love and for some reason we can’t quite figure out, they haven’t put us up on a pedestal like a queen. In fact, they kind of stomp all over us like a door-step. Can’t say I blame them. We’ve trained them to be well taken care of. The more we give and do, the more they come to expect it.
I would offer this as the woman’s prayer: “I’m a woman and I just know that if I work hard enough and keep right on trying, I can make everybody around me happy and they will treat me wonderfully. I just haven’t done enough yet – or maybe I haven’t done it right yet, but I’ll just keep trying, I guess, until I get it right.”
And then one day, we become MAD Goddess women. We become exhausted. Finally, we are transformed into that fury for which hell hath no comparison.
“I am a MAD Goddess woman and I am not required to contribute to the happiness of any person – husband, child, parent, friend or co-worker, who refuses to participate in manifesting my happiness as well.”
Think of it as a see-saw. It doesn’t work if each one of you isn’t lifting the other one up.
. . . . . . mid
GET A ^ LIFE at MAD Goddess