What’s really going on

I’m Queen of My Day, I made  this potholder for the Collective Arts Winter Gallery

I remember saying to my sister, “If you can be angry with the men you’re really mad at, you won’t have to hate all men.”   I was talking to myself as much as her.  I think what I wrote about the James Bond movie is true, but the anger I was feeling was much more personal.  It’s easy to lash out and condemn a whole gender.   It’s not always as easy to face the anger we feel towards our fathers, brothers and husbands.

For me that anger was already surfacing with the Holidays (family gatherings bring me back to my childhood)   The Bond movie gave it the nudge that forced me to feel  it once again.

My father was an angry and controlling man, in my family women were not taken seriously.  I married young, to another controlling man, I unconsciously welcomed it, it was what I knew.  In my mid forties, after 22 years of marriage, I realized it was possible to have a life where I could choose each day what I would do, how I would spend my time.  I remember standing outside my studio, the feeling of freedom flooding my body and mind.  It had the smell and rush of the last day of school, the three months of summer, an exciting and frightening eternity.  How had I  never even imagined it before?  Why  didn’t  I know it was possible to make my own choices and be responsible for them and myself?  And where had the knowledge of the possibility suddenly come from?

Like the woman in the Bond movie, I took a chance and, unlike her, I got out.  I did not become the secretary and mother I was supposed to be.  In my freedom I became the artist and person I was all along.  And thankfully I gave men another chance and found a  really good one to spend the rest of my life with.  So I see things more clearly now, not just through the eyes of the child I was.  And I’m grateful everyday for my new found life.

But every once in a while, the anger comes up.  It’s still inside of me waiting for the opportunity to surface.  When I realize what’s happening I can release it, tap it away, use it creatively in my work, send a letter to my Senator.  But when it sneaks up on me, I lash out.  Out of control, I do things like reveal the end of a movie to an unsuspecting reader, or take it out on Jon (who is usually understanding and ready to point it out to me)  Maybe someday, if I keep working on it, the anger will go away completely.  I think forgiving is part of the equation, I’m just not sure which comes first.




20 thoughts on “What’s really going on

  1. Forgive yourself first.
    Only then can you forgive others.
    It’s a gift to get this anger on your side where it will do the work for you. But, of course, you realize this already…
    When I took a class called ‘Women In History’ at my local community college, it was jaw-dropping to realize this has been the way of the world for as long as it has. Now my daughter is asking the same questions so I think there is an under current of change on the horizon.
    We all get there in our own time.
    The holidays bring it all back for me, too.

  2. Dear Maria,

    Thank you for sharing an insight that is as crisp and illuminating as a lightning flash with crackling thunder. I’m certain that there are many women who identify with what you describe, just as I have. Your image of the freedom found through finding courage to choose one’s own life is sunshine coming through the clouds.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, friends and animals,

  3. Maria,

    Yes, the holidays bring out a lot. I had been having severe knee pain for two days then in a flash realized it was psychsomatic. It went away almost instantly. My dad died two years ago and I told myself I wasn’t going to mourn him this Thanksgiving. but had a pain in my knee instead. Tamping my feelings was stupid so instead of judging them I let myself cry. My father was like a mother to me. My mother, the controlling one in the family. I don’t miss her much, am just relieved that I don’t need to interact with her since her death.

    I am so glad that you found your freedom, Maria. And yes, all men are not bad. It hurts me to read man-bashing, I am guessing because I was so close to my wonderful father. He was the first man in my life and will always be the first man in my heart.

    Happy Thanksgiving!


  4. Maria,

    I see you don’t need a sewing machine to create and express, the words are in you, you could consider writing from a woman’s perspective, there are so many women reading this can relate to everything you say. It’s comforting to know there are others who have experienced similar circumstances. Thank you for being so open and real.

  5. What an achingly honest entry.

    We are all products of our past experiences, are we not? But it is what we choose to learn from those past experiences that makes us who we are – as long as we keep learning about ourselves, honestly, than forgiveness and a good life always seem to be an option. Not necessarily an easy life, but always an honest and true one.

    Thanks for your sharing, Maria. It is a gift that you offer to us.

  6. Maybe someday, if I keep working on it, the anger will go away completely.
    Maybe it will, I’d like to believe that for myself. But for now it still lurks in the back.

    Thank you for sharing. Be kind to yourself, okay?

  7. This Thanksgiving was for me one of wonder. Anger has always been an emotion not only used by my family but myself as well. This year I decided (thanks to the reinforcements of my favorite blogs) to not give this emotion a home in my persona.

    It worked – laughter, sharing knowledge and great food was enjoyed by all that gathered around the thanksgiving table. Thanks so much for your contribution that helped make this day possible.

  8. Oh Maria, I get it all. Being minimized,controlled, and de-valued. We share the 22 years also. Look at how far we’ve come. 🙂

  9. Forgiveness is an individual thing and to each their own, in their own time.

    Although it was liberating and a relief when I finally was able to forgive my mother, it was a very long time coming and only made possible by unusual circumstances. Family members for many years had urged me to forgive her and I could not. But when I finally was genuinely able to, it was a very powerful and instructive moment in my life. I do not regret all of the years I was unable to forgive her. I arrived there in my own time. It was entirely personal and as complex as evolution itself.

    One thing I’ve learned about forgiveness is that we cannot forgive on behalf of other people and we have no right to tell anyone how to forgive or who to forgive or what to forgive. For example, if someone harms a person, no one can forgive the perpetrator on behalf of the victim. I say this because all too often third parties weigh in with this kind of ‘well-intentioned’ forgiveness and it makes my blood boil. 🙂

    People forgive when they are ready to and it’s not up to anybody else. I respect what people are able to do, what they need to do. If they want to forgive I respect that. If they don’t I respect that. Because their life is their life. Only they know.

  10. Maria, not all anger is bad, I’ve learned this. But it’s also important to know when it’s being carried around in us to our own detriment. When my late husband died at 39 and me, 34 with two young children to raise, I was angry. His death, a questionable accident, I knew he suffered from bi-polar disorder. I was angry that he left two children whom he would never see raised. My anger carried me forward to do what I had to do and it gave me the strength to move forward. And then, ten years later, following the death and funeral of a good friend, who died too young as well, someone said something to me and it cracked ten years apart. I sat outside in the rain and cried for an hour. I’ve since learned that it’s okay to keep a part of someone in my heart, that some pain never leaves and maybe it shouldn’t. It’s part of the person I lost. Now, if I can do something about my anger towards lawyers, for the mess he left behind left me with an abiding antipathy towards lawyers and the law, which is not black and white, not right or wrong, just how adjustable a lawyer and the law can make it. I think that’s one that will stay with me till the end. Or, I may come back in my next life as a litigation lawyer…who knows.
    Anger moves us forward and allows us not to accept what we accepted before so it’s not all bad. Just need to put it in the right places and also to have someone we live with understand that sometimes we slip back into our old stuff.
    SandyP in Canada

  11. You and Jon are so very fortunate to have each other. In reading both of your blogs, you just seem to be perfectly suited to one another. I loved the image of the two of you dancing together to Roy Orbison in that very lovely living room. What fun to have someone with a playful spirit to spend the rest of your life with!

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