a tsunami of contempt
taunting voice of POTUS
how dare they call us out?
crocodile tears for victims
rage at their own undoing
fear writ large
caught in headlights
frozen with disbelief
resorting to the game of boys
bullying their way to the top
All this and more
when women refuse to be silenced
The most powerful force that silences me is NOT what others say out loud or even to me about ‘these women.’ It’s my own deeply ingrained people-pleasing habit.
Though it isn’t as strong as it was several years ago, it’s still a powerful force. A forked tongue that keeps whispering I’m a hair’s breadth from being ruled out of order, or losing all my friends.
Some women and men in my life don’t struggle with this. I admire them. Watching them makes me keenly aware I wasn’t born or raised to this level of direct personal honesty. In particular, I didn’t learn to stand up for myself, and I’m still paying for it.
So here I am today dealing with demons of the past, though in a new key.
Thanks to recent events and our national history, I still have opportunities to speak up and act differently than in the past. Not as a child, and not as an outsider. I’ve more than paid my dues. I’m in the last chapter of my life, faced with opportunities to make a difference. Not just for others, but for myself. First, however, I have to negotiate just one piece of business:
“The dying woman has to decide how tactful she wants to be.”
With thanks to Anatole Broyard, Intoxicated by My Illness, p. 62
It isn’t over until it’s over. I’m staying tuned.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 12 October 2018
Image found at luckyottershaven.com