REFLECTIONS

A month of productivity and joy and then yesterday, Saturday, was a day on the couch watching yet another British Mystery Series. At 7:30pm I drank 2 glasses of Malbec, ‘fell asleep’ and missed the 7.7 earthquake off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Sunday morning is now upon me, and I pause to ask ‘Why?’ and not to the reason for earthquakes, but the reason for my melancholic state. I know I will not evolve into The Other Woman, if I say to myself, “One day of laying around, eating poorly, having a couple drinks, is nothing, you deserve a break, some down time.” I am aware that I have a super charged work ethic when it comes to ‘Personal Growth’ and relaxation and fun are therefore, valuable experiences for me. But what I did yesterday was not fun or relaxing. The feeling I had throughout the day was one of disquiet and self loathing. This is the feeling I have whenever I try to burrow my consciousness into the bowels of the earth. The season of blooming is finished and I am descending into the dark. What lies beneath the surface? What faulty belief have I internalized, that begs to be revealed and subsequently released, allowing me to live closer to my heart?

I was then startled from this reverie by the ‘ping’ of my iPhone, alerting me to a new message…and here is the miracle of the Universe’s guiding hand! Below is the poem delivered via GoodReads….

The day misspent,

the love misplaced,

has inside it

the seed of redemption,

Nothing is exempt

from resurrection.

             -Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan, the American Poet Laurteate, reminds me that there is nothing more exquisite than the feeling of having the burden of oneself borne off by a poem…not the self, just the burden…just for a moment. She writes in her PJs too!

Creating in PJs

What am I to redeem from that misspent day? that misplaced love?

First I will reflect on my week’s virtual chats with men. A mere 7 days ago, I had not spoken to any man other than my husband and male friends, for 20 years. Thanks to Plenty of Fish, that has changed. Boldly, honestly and clearly, I have spoken from my heart. Amazingly, only one man out of the 11, has stopped writing to me. I have promised nothing, use only my pen name Between2Marys, and decline requests for my name, email address, phone number or coffee dates. I am creating a new me vis a vis men. I have liked the positive, ‘low-key’ attention from men. So why then did I collapse into a tiny ball of angst? Heavy sigh, deep breath….preparing to be honest…my life long lament…I’m not attractive enough for a man to love me for who I am, so I must transmogrify, from the Loathly Lady, into the lovely princess. Only then will I be loved. What this means for me, is, that I must subjugate my desires and attend to ‘his’, as a compensation for my physical lack. Sadly, I have believed this behaviour necessary, even when I was young.

Naturally this perception of the price I must pay for love was born out of my relationship with my father. I loved yet felt intimidated by him. He was unpredictable. I believed I had the power to lessen the parental tension in our home, by being desirable in my father’s eye. I believed that my father’s behaviour towards my mother and my brothers might improve, if he felt pride over his creation of me. I tried to be any and everything I thought he might value. My father was a man’s man, a good looking ‘bad boy’. My mother married him against the advice of her more refined family. He was not a philandering husband, except for his Irish lass, during the Second World War. But, he made no effort to stifle his ‘appreciation’ of a women’s exterior. His entire life, he whistled  with reverential glee at women who epitomized the 1940’s ideal; a thin hipped, well endowed, blond haired bombshell…as I remember him saying…again and again…oblivious to me standing before him with dark hair, average cleavage and above average hips.

Bad Boy Stan, My Dad

I could never have achieved his idea of physical perfection. My physical appearance, demoralized me from age 12, when he counselled me with the following bit of unsolicited, soul crushing, fatherly ‘advice’. “My dear, no man likes a woman with hips as big as 2 battleships.” Being a Navy Officer, he liked to use nautical terms, to drive a point home!

Me around 12 with my Brother

I never again looked at my strong, muscled thighs with any feeling but betrayal or derision. So began my efforts to compensate for my looks. I became attentive to the whims and desires of men, at the expense of my own.

This painful, yet liberating insight, is what I have redeemed from my misspent day, my misplaced love.

 I went into a funk, because I faced a dilemma. Can I continue to speak of my desires as boldly and freely as I have written them?  Or will I continue to compensate for my hips, by cloaking my desires in niceties and placations? Or more likely, will I avoid the issue entirely by burying myself in another British Mystery Series?

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 17 OF 52

CHANGING FROM THE LOATHLY LADY 

 In the Fairy Tale, ‘Sir Gawain and The Lady Ragnell, the loathsome Lady Ragnell, bargained with King Arthur. She agreed to tell him the answer to the riddle, “What do women desire above all else?” in order to lift the spell over his life. In exchange, she desired to be married to his nephew, Sir Gawain. He was known as the most handsome, skilled and compassionate knight at the Round Table. Sir Gawain willingly chose to marry the Hag Ragnell, so that his King’s life would be spared. The spell cast over Ragnell, had turned her into a loathsome Hag for half of each day, but left her as a lovely princess for the other half. When Ragnell asked her husband, Sir Gawain, if he would rather she be beautiful by day or by night, when she is alone with him in bed, he wisely gave her the right to choose, having learned that above all else, women desire the right to have sovereignty over their choices. Sir Gawain understood the greatest dilemma of any woman’s life. In giving the Hag Ragnell the right to decide when she would be beautiful, the spell was lifted, and she was beautiful all day long.

So now, in Week 17 of 52, I must have the courage of Lady Ragnell. She was transformed, not by the kiss of a handsome Prince, but by the pursuit of her own needs and desires. Ragnell symbolizes the journey all women must make to achieve a self-determined and therefore, fulfilling life. To this end, I will talk(on the phone) with a man, as myself, hips and all, maintaining the confidence I feel in a virtual conversation.

I want to acknowledge the wisdom of the Analyst, Polly Young-Eisendrath. For a more comprehensive elucidation of this topic, read, ‘Women and Desire, Beyond Wanting to be Wanted.

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