I quickly sold the Vintage Hankie Scarves I made yesterday, so today I decided to make more.
I don’t have a lot of hankies left, so I looked in a box where I knew I had some from years ago. Most of them are white and lacy, but I found this 1950’s hankie made by a well-known hankie designer, Dressin Depose.
I had forgotten about this hankie, someone sent it to me so long ago. But I did remember laughing and shaking my head at it when I first saw it.
As I looked at it this morning, at some of those absurd Do’s and Don’ts, I saw in it my mother’s behavior towards my father as I was growing up.
And when I got to the one that says “Don’t ever get mad!” with the wife spewing black and red lightening bolts and looking like she’s doing some kind of dance, I got angry.
I realized that I was taught by both my mother and father some of these Do’s and Don’ts and others I learned inadvertently from them and society.
This is all about women suppressing their emotions, or opinions and subjugating themselves to their husbands needs and wants.
I know it was made over 70 years ago and so much has changed for women since then. But it’s also obvious to me how some of these ideas still live on in women.
A few months ago, Jon gave me Rebecca Traister’s book Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger. I keep trying to read it, but every time I do, I start to get angry and put it down. I stop reading it because I don’t want to feel that anger.
It’s a specific anger that lives inside of me. I know it would be healthy for me to understand it better. To be able to put it to good use. I believe it is a just anger.
But honestly, I don’t want to go there.
Because when I do, I usually turn the anger on myself. I wind up admonishing myself for not doing more to help create change for other women, for not being political enough.
The anger paralyzes me instead of inciting me to action.
Maybe I just need to let myself feel the anger. Let it take me down whatever dark and ugly path it wants to go, like some kind of exorcism.
Maybe then I’ll be able to put it to good use.
12 thoughts on ““Don’t Ever Get Mad””
Wow!!!!!!!! I actually can’t believe that isn’t just on SNL. And it wasn’t that long ago. I was born in 1951. It’s certainly not something we haven’t all heard but it’s still shocking and yes, infuriating. And casually adorning a hankie that someone probably, actually used. Damn!! My precious granddaughter, 10 yrs old and smart as a whip, was proudly telling her other grandmother about going to the women’s march with my daughter, her mother and was roundly chastised for going. And the other grandmother is 10 yrs younger than I am. Oh, it’s alive and well and maybe we should just go ahead and be mad, really mad for at least a moment. I am teaching my granddaughter, especially after that incident to not only be mad but speak up too. LOUD. Thanks Maria for your passion.
Thank You Wendy for teaching your granddaughter and obviously your daughter to, to stand up for themselves and allow themselves to be mad. This is just the thing that will make a difference. I’ve heard of other mothers teaching their daughters similarly. It gives me such hope. And I’m glad you mentioned it not being so long ago. I thought the same till I counted the years and then it seemed like such a long time. But that kind of time is about numbers. How we feel and what we experience is a whole other kind of time.
What an insightful and honest post. I read a book recently called, Healing Rage, by Ruth King. To me, after an experience I went through last year, and an anger I held in from long ago, I’m grateful for going to that place that was so difficult. Though I fought it for a long time and did great inner battle with myself. It’s something I’m writing about in a new book. But it almost swallowed me whole and I almost made the fatal mistake of putting my dog to sleep cause I couldn’t cope. Working with feelings of shame, guilt, anger and resentment set me free in a way I’d have never imagined. I’m so grateful also for the support I had.
Sounds like you did just what I need to Barbara. Thanks for your story.
Maria, mine was a deeply wounded generation. The hurt still lingers. You write sensitively on the time and feel it true. Thank you. Veronica
Thank you Veronica. Your understanding of how I feel and how you, who went though that time feel, means so much to me. I find an ally in you. Many women your age (and all ages really) don’t want to understand or don’t want to think about it.
Oh, Maria! This hankie (unless there is a *twin* of it somewhere) is one I sent you 3 or 4 years ago –part of my Mom’s large hankie collection when we were downsizing her and Dad to go live in Assisted living. I have fond recollections of the afternoon we all sat on the floor and went through each hankie in her large collection…..and we all chuckled at finding this one! I’m happy to see it again, to remember that afternoon, and to know it will bring someone else a smile and a laugh!
It’s your mom’s Susan. And thank you for it. I remember it came with many other hankies. There’s one that has pictures of food and their calories too. I haven’t figure out what to do with that one either!
Maria, it took me 35 years to finally let the anger spew out of me!
It didn’t feel very nice at the time. I felt shaky, weak, sick and scared, but after a couple of months it felt great to take my life back and be in total control of my own destiny.
I think you are stronger than you think and have ALREADY dealt with your inner anger. You probably just get a little frustrated when you see women around you who have not spoken up for themselves yet, or perhaps they are not able to do so. It can certainly be very frightening.
I’ve delt with some of my anger Fran, but I think there’s still more there. And it’s directed more at my inability than others. I do wonder what will become of it.
just bought your vintage hanky with the Wire Fox Hair Terriers. I felt lucky that such a beautiful one was still available! I can’t wait to receive it. they are just beautiful.
Oh Thanks Lisa. And you can see by Jill’s email that she wanted it too. I put it in the mail today. You should have it soon.