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Dear Local Editor: Please place the following full page ad in your newspaper for the next 7 days.
Money order enclosed, reward payment ready and waiting.

Lost: Superwoman Strength. Last seen somewhere in the vicinity of age 44. Identifying traits include ability to function extremely well under stress. Ability to juggle several priorities at once. Willingness to try to meet everyone’s needs without concern for self. Abundance of patience. Sunny disposition on the worst days. Tireless energy. Looks fabulous even without sleep. Uncertain how I have lost this valuable item. Apparently woke up to discover it missing one day. If seen please call. Anxious for return. REWARD OFFERED!

It should be this easy, right? Here’s the short of it. I think I’m experiencing depression. I’m a bit confused by this condition. I’ve experienced anger, fatigue, sadness or grief, hardships, longing, and prolonged stress throughout my life at various times. Yet I’ve always been optimistic, forward thinking, and generally happy and high spirited. I don’t know what to do with this strange condition. I’m not even convinced it IS my condition. Meaning I don’t necessarily think it is clinical depression requiring treatment. Maybe I’m in denial but I just can’t comprehend having it. I don’t have time to have it and even more specifically, it simply does not fit me!! After all, I’m a woman of passion, energy, spirit, and strength. I think instead, that it’s an accumulation of a lot of years of difficulty and stress and pushing myself to function as a superwoman. Women out there know what I’m talking about. The NEED. The EXPECTATION. The ILLUSION, that we are SUPPOSE to be able to function like superwoman IF we are any kind of woman at all. It’s that sense that you need to achieve enough, deal with enough, please enough people, all while you measure up to the glamorous standards of the ideal woman we are fed every day. Or else, you are somehow failing as a woman. Flawed in some way. Unworthy of something, but you’re not sure what.

We rise in the morning and go all day, we carry everyone’s problems, wants and needs on our shoulders. We maintain task lists on our smart phones, our computer, our desk and our refrigerator. We’ll stay up until 1AM on a Monday just to get that last window cleaned because we failed to fit it in over the weekend. And THEN stay up 30 minutes longer because we don’t want to go to bed with the stubble that has mysteriously and annoyingly appeared on our legs. Sexy women should not nick or scrape their mates who may likely roll over 4 hours later hopeful of a morning romp. Occasionally we give in to exhaustion and forget shaving our legs but in our minds it is serious demerit points. A failure to be glamorous in our mates eyes who we know will partake in dozens if not hundreds of visual images of sexualized women in the day to come from the waitress at the diner, to the college student crossing the road, to commercials for Victoria secret, to porn on the internet. They are taking it all in. Sharing it amongst themselves. Filing it away. Fantasy material. Definition of a woman. How do you compete with stubble on your legs for god’s sake!?
I mentioned depression to a friend in an email and realized afterward that even while mentioning it I was glossing it over, dismissing it. It is difficult to comprehend this sorrow and even more difficult to admit to it. During this time of affair recovery it is even harder to face. I have never felt so shattered and yet never felt such a need to pretend I am whole. My partner makes me feel completely worthless and weak for hurting and needing his efforts in healing. Which only fills me with anger that some days borders on hatred that he could be so clueless and so selfish not to want to be the one who leads the healing and rebuilds something better. Every day I ask myself, am I really worth this little? And every day his responses and actions toward me say yes, you are really worth that little, so either go away or suck it up and meet my needs before I do. Because you’re too damn much effort and just NOT WORTH IT.
I’ve given my partner a book about women to read. I read the book before giving it to him and there were some parts I was uncomfortable with. Not because at some level they are not true for women but because it is written so simplistically that it doesn’t really explain the nuance and it makes us seem very weak and needy.
For example, there is an entire chapter written on a woman’s need for love and romance. To be pursued. To feel as though she is chosen every day. To have affirmation and be told she is beautiful and valuable and appreciated by her partner. Now you show me a woman, anywhere, no matter how strong, successful, beautiful, superwoman worthy she is and tell me that she does not feel happier and more confident and more loved under those conditions? It is a reality that we want those things. Guilty as charged. So Freeking shoot us!
When I asked him what he had read he began listing out some things he could recall. He said to me he had read about, and I quote “how women are very insecure and always need reinforced, even in the most perfect relationship they need to be made to feel more secure.”

WTF?

Now, in his full defense, the book is as I said, written simplistically. It doesn’t go into real psychological depth and it’s written as a man having a conversation with other men based on studies and research. It’s very basic. Women need to feel pretty. Don’t assume you’re wife knows you love her. A woman needs to feel secure. Be sure you are giving her reassurance daily.

Obviously anyone reading this and taking it at face value draws the conclusion that women are frail and weak and require a lot of reinforcements for our low self esteem. Excluding of course celebrities, hot models and real woman which are of course above all that silly needy crap and are the stuff that fantasies are made of. But, lets go back to normal women. Us regular women our mates get stuck with. While it is true we need those things, it is not out of weakness and insecurity. It’s because receiving those actions from your partner let’s you know that you are appreciated and not taken for granted, it says…”you are important to me and I hold our bond together as a sacred thing to protect and nourish, the SAME WAY YOU PROTECT AND NOURISH ME! It says I desire you and will not forsake you, I am trustworthy, I am dedicated to you, the woman I have chosen to be with”. I don’t see wanting that in our lives as weakness. I see it as women requiring that we be loved equal to the ways we love our men. That we be respected. That we be honored. That our mates be trustworthy and as committed to creating happiness and security in our life as we have shown ourselves to be to them. It’s about being good to one another. But apparently it is a lot of trouble and effort and we are whiney pain in the asses who are overly emotional for wanting it.

And so…..as he said those words my heart sank into my stomach. I felt a little sick that women should be perceived as so fragile and needy. I at once mentally rejected the entire reality of those needs. Hell no I don’t need those things! I am strong! I am WOMAN! I’m not one of those flowery little meek beings who has to have constant reinforcement. It was strange how I all at once knew the reality of those needs inside of myself and yet instantly dismissed them because my mate had expressed them as some kind of a weakness that was far below the superwoman I’m supposed to be. And heaven knows what happens when we fall below superwoman status for a minute. We get cheated on. Discarded for something more thrilling and worthy of attention. And yet I felt deep sadness because I want those things so very much and will not allow myself to ask for them or some days even accept them because I am afraid to be reduced in the eyes of a man who has already reduced me to so f*cking little.

Which brings me back to the loss of my superwoman strength. I am not really sure when it occurred but looking back I sense it has been missing for at least a year. Probably taking long leaves of absence for most of the past decade. Not that I don’t go through the motions of superwoman everyday, or maintain the mentality of the superwoman requirement. But the strength is gone and it has been replaced with deep senses of despair and feeling hopeless. As though things will never change. I am tired and drained and many days I’m ashamed to admit that I wish with all my heart I could pull the covers over my head and never talk to another soul for a month. I just want to go away, to run, to hide, to scream, to cry. My normal passion is simply dead on the vine. It is difficult to be excited about anything. And though I push it all deep inside and carry on through the days, I’m filled with deep sorrow that what I thought was the very simplest vision of living a life of happiness with another has eluded me, and an equal sense of rage that this sorrow has replaced the very essence of me. It’s pushed out all of the things I love about myself which makes me not love myself all that much right now. Which takes me back to sorrow……which circles me back to RAGE.

Now where in the hell is that superwoman strength at………if ever I needed it, now is the time!!!!

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