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Posts Tagged ‘independence’

The image of the strong woman, whether standing confidently alone or supported among her sisters, seems to turn men either to simmering beasts or to jelly, and sometimes both. It cannot have helped our situation, but there is no doubt that the more I felt threatened in our relationship, the more I have withdrawn to this Amazon place where I have reserved all right to myself and become increasingly distant, cold and unforgiving: the Ice Maiden, the haughty Queen, an implacable Fate.

How I can resent being abandoned by someone who has been subjected to this emotional winter is not clear, yet I still feel hurt and bewildered by my loss, even as I struggle to unQueen myself.

Having just seen The Hobbit, the image in my mind is of Galadriel, Lady of Lorien, a mystical figure so calm and controlled until – in The Lord of the Rings – she is offered the One Ring by Frodo. As her chill veneer is briefly overcome she appears as a terrible elemental;

‘.. beautiful and powerful as the morn! Treacherous as the sea! Stronger than the foundations of the earth! …

All shall love me and despair!’

Can a woman be so fearsome? Unfortunately, I think so, yes.

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Catching up with some girlfriends on their various social media of choice, I realise how much more real, more valid, we feel when our voice sounds among our friends, a resonant viola harmonising with the string section rather than a poignant, shrill violin on the lonely wind.

Well, there was a lot of wind, actually, but hot air is soothing too and sometimes a well-directed scalding blast can kindle the parts you thought were forever cold.

There has been some heated discussion recently over whether women are gaining the ascendancy over men, and how morally right or wrong that would be. Would I be betraying my gender if I wonder how important that is to most women, compared to their position in their own family group and peer group? The so-called battle of the sexes must largely be fought by women who have little else to fight for.

The gift I get from my sisterhood is laughter. There’s a lot of giggling in the early stages of a romance, but love can be a sadly serious business and life as a grown-up, modern woman even more so; nothing compares for self-validating power to an unrestrained belly laugh with a group of girlfriends.

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Another business opportunity, another trip away from home, another cautious and distant goodbye. As I stand miserably alone on the frosty doorstep and watch him drive away I wonder what I am doing. Where’s my pride, where’s my independence?

Truth is, I am independent enough, and perhaps more than enough; like many of my friends and colleagues, I don’t really need a man and am at times fiercely self-sufficient. In this I suppose the modern woman is a challenge for modern men, who despite their much-avowed love of sex do not seem to like being needed only for their sexual services and a cuddle on the sofa with a movie when there’s time. They want more, and when you don’t give it – because of your career, new baby, self-sufficiency, love of long distance running – they really do resent it.

Has our relationship been unfair or one-sided or have we been equally unkind? Who can judge? But one of us has gone away into the world not knowing his value to the other.

Pre-loveless me would at this point probably shrug and say ‘poor poppet’; new me, awake and alone, says, ‘we all need to feel needed.’

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