Tag Archives: women

A Word.

There is nothing else like an unhappy woman.

A man who is unhappy turns to escape. He drinks heavily. He watches porn. He spends a lot of time in crowds.

A woman who is unhappy gets out of bed at the start of her day and tears into it like a Sherman tank. She spends alternately little or significant time on her appearance, depending on which people are likely to see her during the working hours. When she comes in contact with others, the first thing she notices are the flaws – in everything around her. And, then, she attacks.

These attacks may be verbal, even confrontational, but not necessarily. Sometimes, they come in the form of the casual reference, done quietly as an aside; at others, full on, in your face accusation. Either way, equally deadly.

This is her pattern. Perhaps this pattern is the result of the role power has played in her life. The function of woman couched since time began in social expectation, even the emerging females of this fledgling generation can bear the imprint of those who came before. She finds herself in a convention – be it a job, or a marriage, or a locale – recognizes that she is neither satisfied nor content, yet sees no clear path toward change. Leaving would upset too many other people – children, employees, friends and their families – to whom she would then be beholden. And, perhaps the woman might just be programmed to keep the village running smoothly. Or, maybe she is paralyzed by fear – fear of the unknown, of forces stronger than she might be. Forces like those which might present in the form of superior competence. Though she has been granted power of position, she finds nothing in herself from which to draw strength. So, she spends all her energy trying to endure.

And, as for meeting personal need, well, a woman is far likely to defer self-care in favor of self-promotion. So, passing moral judgment is a form of succour to the unhappy woman, such an act temporarily shifting the spotlight away from self-examination and, ultimately, self-nourishment. She is caught in the convention which she either chose, or which was chosen for her. And, she sees no recourse but to live it out to its final breath.

Beware the exerting force of an unhappy woman. She will see to it that those around and under her walk in trepidation, with extreme caution. Spend a brief encounter with such a woman, and her overall effect is likely to be minimal. Spend any significant length of time, however, and feel the burn. The response is actually physiological; the thymus gland, located in the sternum, begins to shrink. The chest feels tight. The heart rate changes. The muscles of the face contract.

Most importantly, be not misled or fooled by ebullient laughter, enthusiasm, charisma; the unhappy woman has polished these traits to perfection. For her, these are merely tools, intended to disarm the uninitiated.

An unhappy woman can wield a major weapon. She can run a whole operation. She can get the job done. And, when it is done, anything living remaining in the room is likely stripped to the bone, entirely and comprehensively exhausted, and at a loss to know why.

Nine times out of ten, the last to know is the woman, herself. She does not recognize who she is or what she has become. She only sees the image she is hell-bent on projecting to the world. If you find yourself in her trajectory, stop; consider your options. Then, move.

In fact, keep moving. You might move toward her, with your arms outstretched. You might gather her to yourself. If you have anything in your heart that is driven to comfort, to compassion, to healing, proceed in her direction. But, prepare to be pricked.

If you need to turn away, do so with courage; in the end, the best course of action is always the one which hurts the fewest among us. Because, unlike any angry man who has ever raged across the terrain of civilization, an unhappy woman has the capacity to destroy the human spirit in a single instant. And, she can do so with just one word.

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo

2/27/15  all rights. Thanks.

littlebarefeetblog.com

The Mothers of All Living.

OCTOBER, 2003

The role of woman in this life is not one I’ve come by willingly. In fact, even now in groups of people, I end up at the man’s table. Not by nature, but by default; women, sooner or later, prefer to discuss their children. I am the distinguished breed: I am childless.

Not politically-active, this childless female is nevertheless devoutly pro-life. Children, distinct from the vessels out of which they come are, in my estimation, deliberate acts of God; many a glowing star has been borne of the most bewildered and completely unprepared. Lord knows, I almost became one of them.

A few weeks ago, I faced a terror. It was not an unfamiliar terror. Once before, over a decade earlier, I’d confronted the possibility of having conceived. This time, however, the man was a known factor in the equation. Moreover, his mother was, and is still, very much alive.

Every mother of every son I have known has, sooner or later, become a contender. The closer I have gotten to a man, the greater his mother loomed on the horizon. It is as if I was to pass the ultimate test, without either warning, training, or time to study. Needless to say, this is my ultimate failure; I cannot mother another’s son.

How many mothers do we need? Should a man’s mother be a woman’s friend? To what terms do they come? If the building is burning, who gets carried out first?

Sooner or later, unless I behave like mother, I am cast aside to fend for myself. Surprise; this is what I do anyway. If the world doesn’t like the way I fend, well, tough; I mother myself.

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo

10/2003

all rights. Thank you, mum.

A Woman of a Certain Age.

“A woman of a certain age.”
When we were kids, that moniker was meant to carry its own mystique. To many, the indication was “too old for the market, but trying to appear otherwise”. More discreetly, it might have meant too old for just about anything.
. . . .
Used to be, when women passed the mid-fifty mark, social options, let alone professional, were pretty much set in stone; if you hadn’t established progeny, you would die alone.
But, first, you’d live out your final couple decades in a crumbling household that generated the strange scent of old mustard and stale onion soup, the place where your remote family members brought their reluctant children for that bi-yearly meal on their way someplace far more colorful and inviting. You were the old, faded aunt, who kept embroidered handkerchiefs to give as gifts, you and only you realizing their value, your whole body quietly collapsing as you watched your spoiled niece’s facial muscles cave with disappointment at the sight of them in that especially sacrificed gift box.
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You enjoyed your habits, for the most part, until they met the glare of the actual outside world, where they appeared to have no value to anybody. You read the New Yorker, but nobody knew you read it, least of all the people whose lives were featured therein; while you may have developed an opinion or two, there were never long enough intervals in any conversation at the bi-yearly dinner table for you to express them and, by the next summer, they were already outdated.
. . . .
The length of your days were measured by the weather and the seasons. You might have had a youth, but yours was a story nobody wanted to hear because of the awkward moments of absent connection to anything externally relevant. You thought about the value of life pretty much every day, but could never put your finger on any part of it, so you spent most of your energy watering the African violets and keeping things in their proper place in case a stranger were to drop by unannounced.
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There were mice in your house, but you had long since given up trying to conquer them. After all, they had established many generations of ownership within the walls, a sort of dynasty, and the less said about them the better lest they make their presence known in the more proper places during dinner.
. . . . .
You made your appearance monthly, at the bank teller’s window and in the grocery store line, and perhaps on most Sundays at church, for whatever reason had been that of your family background. Clear dry cleaner bags covered most of the clothing in your closets, yet the singular ease with which you drip-dried your stockings along the main towel bar was the private joy of your Saturday night. Your rain bonnet had its own hook, and your hairnets their own drawer. The plastic loop that closed the button on your transparent overshoes had turned to bone, and the only item in the whole house that ever disrupted the picture was your father’s old, wood-handled umbrella after a long thunderstorm.
. . . . .

The day you died, the cat two doors down gave birth to its kittens on the neighbor’s front porch and a car accident around the corner’d made the evening news when one of the vehicles swerved, knocking down the Yield sign. It took several long-distance phone conversations for your brother’s family to decide whether to come early and wrap everything up in two days, or freeze the body so the relatives could get in an afternoon of special-purchase sale shopping at the mall. And, heralding your departure by spontaneously giving out, your refrigerator presented the problem of who would get the jellies and jams to take home in the car. But, in the end, it wasn’t a bad day to leave, quietly, as you had hoped; your life, after all, was never supposed to mean anything to anybody, really, and you had managed that just as a woman should.

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© Ruth A. Scanzillo 10/23/14

all rights reserved. Thanks.