Women of Strength – Not for the Faint of Heart

Queen – Bitch – Goddess or QBG for short

Is there ever a point in time when it is acceptable to say, “This is me, it may get better some day because I decide changes need to be made; but this is me and this is as good as it gets.

I believe this statement is particularly important for women. We should own it and teach it to our daughters. We should say it in our heads as if it were a mantra, a healing chant and then sometimes we should get up close and personal and snarl it to whomsoever dares to question our value as humans or as women. For all the self-help books, videos and television ‘doctors’ out there promoting various ways in which we can improve our lives or just ourselves, there are few that simply encourage self-validation and acceptance. Sure, many say acceptance is the place to start your journey but what if I don’t want to take any trip, what if the statement above is the entirety of it all.

“This is me, it may get better some day because I decide changes need to be made; but this is me and this is as good as it gets.”

Taking it one-step further, here is the rest, to be snarled at the deniers, the self-help gurus and those who believe we are incomplete or in need of fixing.

“The journey to get here was long and sometimes harrowing so I think I will just stick with the me I am. Don’t like it? Please do feel free to jump off the ME train and find another as your opinions are of very little interest to ME.”

Does that sound harsh? Does it sound as if I might be touched by anger or even bitterness? I am not really but let me posit the following and perhaps this will help place my statements in better context.

Literature offers up four archetypes of the female personality, which we accept without question. While the conventions for these archetypes have changed with the inclusion of more modern heroines the basis of their personality remain consistent and fit our a universal unconscious mind. The female archetypes are as follows:

  Damsel (in distress) or Virgin
Take them home to mother and marry them.

Wikipedia – 1950’s Pulp Movie

Mother (Healer / Crone)
The Queen, our Mother.

Google – Mother Theresa

  Femme Fatale (Prostitute / Bitch)
Love and Hate her, demean her and scorn her.

Google – Scarlet O’Hara

Warrior (Avenger / Goddess)
Flawed by life she is strong but feared.

Google – Xena

From these archetypes are drawn all of the variations that typify how women are perceived by and interact within society. Usually we don’t fall into a single archetype but combine aspects them all with one being the most dominate. Depending on life experiences and how we process these, by the time we are adults we will have fallen into our primary ‘role’, our ‘This is Me’ personality and we shouldn’t be forced to apologize if we make others uncomfortable with how we turned out.

Queen – Bitch – Goddess or QBG for short

I was eleven the last time I fell under the Damsel designator from that time on I begin walking a path that was entirely my own, often with no particular destination in mind but a clear idea I wasn’t going to

ABCPrague Czech Crown Jewels

be a victim. These days my this is me statement is, “QBG all the way, I am certain any improvements will be entirely accidental in nature.” It used to be I was insulted by Bitch when used in combination with my name, these days I own it. I earned the title the hard way and hold tight for the sake of my history, for everything that came before; it is mine all mine. My title, my crown signifies my strength as a woman, not to be taken lightly not to be set aside or in need of improvement simply because I don’t fit the norm or others expectations.

What is a woman of Strength?

What do you think this means, when someone says you or another woman is strong? Do you think it is in reference to strength of character or ability to endure hardship without folding? Do we look upon this woman of ‘strength’ and her accomplishments because they are greater than what we would expect of her gender, or because she has overcome greater obstacles to achieve them despite her gender?  There are those women who we label strong because of what they have achieved despite great adversity. We see their strength as an outcome of events and applaud their ability to overcome their circumstances rather than inherent to their core personality.

Art.Com – Burning Joan of Arc, the Heretic

When we speak about the strength of women individually or as a gender is there something we are tapping into culturally, something that has the potential to make us uncomfortable? To be a strong woman often means sacrificing a fundamental aspect of ourselves. Historically women who stepped out of traditional roles had to hide their womanhood, such as Joan of Arc who ultimately burned at the stake; or give up parts of themselves, such as Elizabeth I of England who gave up marriage and love to rule.

Society does not allow for strength in women simply as a part of our personality without attaching often demeaning labels to us. It seems the ideal is still the Damsel rather than the Warrior. Am I a strong woman? I like to think that I am. My strength is inherent to my personality, it is core to me. Has my strength allowed me to survive situations in which others might have crumbled? The only answer I can give is yes. I believe that my life has proceeded along certain paths because I have the personality of a Warrior. Has this made my life more difficult at times? Certainly, however, it has also made me capable and given me the tenacity necessary to fight the battles I needed to fight to survive. Though these are stories for another day, one of my siblings once said to me I was chosen to be carjacked, shot and left for dead because I was the only member of my family strong enough to survive the event. At the time our family required ‘saving’, this event helped to bring us together thus saving us. Obviously my ‘strength was necessary for this happen and clearly also for my own survival.

Women are born with the ability to meet every challenge placed before them, just as men are. Many of us fail to live up to our potential or even understand our potential due to social conditioning and expectations. Just as men, we are rarely any single thing, rarely just a Warrior or a Mother. Rather we are a combination of all the archetypes. As we mature and take on experiences one type becomes dominate usually through circumstance. Strong women – are we victims, bitches, warriors; or are we simply multi-dimensional human beings?

For me I will continue to answer this question this way:

Queen – Bitch – Goddess or QBG for short

What Price Beauty

What is the function beauty in our day-to-day life?

This is a very personal question that each of us must answer. What is the function of beauty in our society, how does it facilitate our advancement and success. What does it draw from and to us in life? If we are beautiful, can we skate across the pond without the ice cracking beneath us? If others believe we are beautiful do we get a pass on all that is ugly in life, able to blithely walk through dark forests without the wolf crossing our path, or must we be convinced of our own beauty for this to be true?

What price beauty? What are we willing to pay, to sacrifice to prevent the mirror from shattering?

Are the questions above the right questions at all? There are many definitions of beauty, over the years these definitions have changed in our minds eye, however the ‘correct’ definition is given to us by Merriam-Webster, below; how we then interpret the qualities are an entirely different standard all together.

1 : the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit : loveliness 2 : a beautiful person or thing; especially : a beautiful woman 3 : a particularly graceful, ornamental, or excellent quality 4 : a brilliant, extreme, or egregious example or instance <that mistake was a beauty (Merriam Webster , 2011)

The question of beauty, what it means particularly to us as women is one that someday must be answered. One day we might say to much or to little is the price already paid by our young girls, our daughters even our mothers. Nevertheless each of us must say something so we might move through the world with some confidence, dignity and comfort in our skin. Those sly comments we hear beginning at a young age if we are imperfect in any way, if we are short or chubby; if we are clumsy or we are late to bloom, those terrible asides all serve to shake us to the core. Worse those terrible commentaries of our shortcomings, our flaws compared to cousin Jane or the neighbor next door come from those who should be our greatest cheerleader, our booster the one person in our lives that

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should see no blemish in us, ever. We are brought low, dropped to our knees in fact, by what can only be their clear vision of our lack of beauty. This then is our fate, how the mirror will forever reflect us; unlovely no matter what we do to change our external self the voices in our head will forever yammer on;

‘You have such a pretty face if only you would lose a few pounds’.

‘Cousin Jane has such nice skin, with her peaches and cream complexion maybe you should stay out of the sun so you don’t turn so brown’.

‘I don’t know where you get those thick ankles they must come from your father’s side of the family you look like a peasant woman’.

‘I am sure you will grow out of the baby fat stage eventually, though most of your friends are already much thinner than you. Maybe we should put you on a diet’.

‘We will just have to make the most of what you do have, after all you are smart. Lots of girls find husbands even though they aren’t great beauties like your cousin’.

There are so many other examples, so many mirror-shattering statements our mothers and grandmothers, aunts and even fathers say to their daughters. By the time a she is a teenager her self-image can be destroyed, possibly for life. How a young girl and later the woman she becomes acts on these soul shattering characterizations of who she is will define her for years to come, the consequences could be life altering.

What price beauty?

What do we pay for the soul shattered and ego battered women of the most recent

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generations? Maybe a better question is this, what have they paid for what has been done to them by their families, by well-meaning friends and not so well meaning peers, by society and the media. What debt is owed for Toddlers in Tiara’s and beauty queens unable to form coherent sentences or identify the current President of the United States? How do we repatriate into normal society? How do we begin to convince these women whose mirrors tell them daily their value is less, far less based on the extra five pounds they carry or their lack of perfectly symmetrical features, that in fact they have a value beyond their surface.

What price beauty when taken against the value of a woman’s soul?

What price beauty when compared to a lifetime of diminished opportunity and self-inflicted battery.

What do you see when you look at me? Do you judge me by the circumference of my hips? Do you evaluate my intellect by what you guess is my dress size? Do you speculate I am  lazy and without self-control? Do you presume to know me before we have been

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introduced, before you know my story. What price beauty and the judgment of a society that has failed so far to find value beyond the surface of a woman.

What is the function of beauty? It opens doors for women everywhere. The price we pay in not meeting the standard is diminished opportunity for love, for work, for friendship even. Perhaps we can be the fat friend, the ugly friend; you know the one every clique wants and needs but we will never fit and never be fully part of anything because we don’t believe in our own value, our mirror was shattered long ago.

What price, the price of our soul the only true value we had we paid thousands of time over.

What we Forgot to Tell You

Did we forget to tell you?

The number one reason we married you wasn’t for your sparkling wit or your dimples either, those certainly caught our eye but they weren’t number one. It wasn’t for your six-pack, neither the one you proudly show off at the gym nor the one you pick up from the corner store on Monday nights. It wasn’t for the TGIF dinners you bought us or the occasional Chick Flick movie you suffered through on Saturday night. It wasn’t even that you make nice with our girl friends to make a good impression or that you try hard to get along with our family.

What we must have not told you when we agreed to spend our lives with you is this.

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We married you because we saw something in you we didn’t see in all the other boys that did all those things during their hot pursuit.

We agreed to marry you and spend our life with you because of all the opportunities we had we thought deep down in our hearts that you were the one. The one that would step beside us, not in front of us but beside us.

You made us laugh, you made us feel safe, you made us feel smart, beautiful and mostly you made us believe together we would achieve greatness. Does that make sense? When we walked that aisle after being pronounced husband and wife we didn’t meekly follow you we walked side-by-side and that was how we expected to live our life with you. We married you because we thought we would be your partner.

Did we forget to tell you what we wanted?

This is the only explanation there can be for the strange and utterly inexplicable changes our marriages seem to take after the vows. Being women we tend to look to our own failures first rather than any of yours, we gather into ourselves for deep examination anything we might have done that would cause this baffling change in the dynamic of our relationship.

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Where once you were our White Knight, our romantic hero and our friend, now you are something entirely changed from the man we said yes to what seems to be an eternity ago. This change can only be due to our failure, we think. Our failure to communicate to you our desire to keep the person we married at least somewhere we can find him. More importantly even to keep ourselves from disappearing too.

We ask ourselves countless questions during this time of examination. Questions that hurt us deeply because there are no real answers.

Why aren’t we laughing at the same things anymore? Did we forget the fundamentals that brought us together or is it that we forgot to tell you they were important to us in that forever sort of way. What happened to the man who would laugh when we forgot the punch line, not at us but with us. Where did that man go, the one who was willing to tell us about his foibles and fears, the one who was willing to be vulnerable with us now and then? The guy who would sit for hours and share intimacies as if they were invaluable gifts between us to be handled with great care, where did he disappear to?

Did we forget to tell you before the vows were read, before we said yes that we wanted there to be an “us” not just a you and an I.

How did we suddenly end up on opposite ends of the couch? Did we forget to tell you that part of what made us so happy was touch, just that random snuggle that didn’t lead to anything else.

How did the bed suddenly get so big? Why have you moved to Siberia? Why is there your side and my side now instead of us piling into the middle of the bed like puppies randomly wrapped around each other. Did we fail to tell you that was the way we wanted to wake up with you, wrapped around you and in your arms? The air conditioner isn’t broken so your excuse that it is to hot can’t be right. I am certain you aren’t suffering from hot flashes, what has happened since we said “we do” that we don’t unless it is part of the post-coital moment and even then it truly is only a moment till you roll over to your personal Siberia, your side of the bed.

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What have we forgotten in our march to the alter of forever, what did we fail to say to you?

It wasn’t “I love you”, those words tripped off our tongues thousands of times, perhaps to easily to thoughtlessly. Conceivably we didn’t tell you what that meant to us, when we said “I love you” did you understand it meant all the parts of you, both what we see and what you thought was hidden, that we are in it forever even when it feels like we are on top of Everest and we can’t breathe?

Did we fail to tell you there will be days we don’t like you much, we still love you.

Did we forget to tell you in our breathless joy at becoming your wife what we already knew about marriage and you didn’t; marriage is hard work, never easy. That it takes two strong people willing to go the distance every single day to make it work. Not one person willing to go half way most days but two willing to bust through all the hard stuff every day.

Did we forget to tell you even though we love the White Knight we don’t need him. Even though we love the idea of the Romantic Hero, we don’t really want to be married to him every day just once in a while we would like for him to show up and sweep us off our feet. Did we fail to tell you what we really wanted is for you to be fully in the moment, all of them every single day. Everyone changes, everyone grows we just want you to change and grow with us not apart from us.

When you say to us, we have grown apart our hearts break, all we can think is we forgot to tell you something important.

We forgot to tell you we love all the bits and parts of you. We forgot to tell you to be part of something you have to stay in the moment and stay part rather than apart. We forgot to tell you it was important to us you stay so instead we watched you drift your own way. Once you had us we became less vital to your and we forgot to tell you we were still here.

Dirty little secrets of happy marriages or things your mother never told you

This is for all the men out there, you know who you are; you jumped from mama’s house into marriage thinking it was one and the same thing. Your mother had you convinced the sun rose and set on your smiling face and she happily followed you from the front door to the back room picking up the mass of unwashed, stinking sweaty clothing you dropped on your way to the X-Box.

From the time of your birth, through your angst ridden teens and into your adulthood you were petted and pampered, your butt was cleaned with only the softest towels, your plate was filled twice before being left in the sink for someone else to scrape and place in the dishwasher. Your clothing was washed, folded and put neatly away, when it could be found in the piles you left throughout the house. As if you were paying for five star

Images via Google....Who said Freud was Wrong

accommodations, your sheets and towels were regularly changed. Yes, indeed your mother treated you well and it is likely you didn’t have to do a thing in return other than the occasional “Love you Mom” which made her day.

Now that we have established you are the end all be all, the light at the end of the tunnel, the crème in the coffee, the marshmallows in the hot chocolate; you are all that and a bag of chips truly you are. Now that we have correctly identified moms view let’s disabuse you of this inflated ego of yours.

While it may be hard for you to hear, your mom lied. You are none of those things, not a single one except to your mother who has no choice but to believe them. She was provided with maternal instincts to prevent her from eating her own young, this instinct allows her to see past all of your flaws and continue to love you. Further, as your mother she instinctively wishes you cling to her and will find fault with any mate you choose. Because of this, she has quite naturally raised you without the necessary skills and competencies you need to be a successful mate, thus assuring your return to the nest.

Things your mother didn’t tell you about women.

Our happiness is directly connected to whether we feel heard, specifically by you.

Our happiness is directly connected to whether we believe we are being partnered and cared for.

Our happiness is directly connected to whether you are fully participating in our marriage.

What does this mean? What didn’t your mother tell you? What did you miss while you were being coddled and convinced your farts didn’t stink?

Women’s libidos, big word I know, are directly tied to their emotions. When we are happy, we are far more likely to be horny or at least receptive to your clumsy overtures. If we feel particularly cared for, particularly loved, we might even initiate an evening of hot sweaty sex with you.

Image from Newswire....Happy Women say Yes more Often

Your mother failed to tell you that about women and the link between sex and emotional happiness, didn’t she? The thing your mother lied about was what women really want from their man! She probably didn’t tell you about chocolate either, that is something for a different day though.

This is the big lie, the one thing your mother didn’t ever tell you.

You don’t have to love the things we love. Indeed, we don’t expect you will love everything we love, after all, you are a man and we are women. We are by our very nature designed differently and our mothers raised us differently from the time we were born. All we ask is for you to love us enough to try to meet us half way.

Mother’s lies you need to unlearn:

  •  It isn’t unmanly to do the dishes, push a vacuum or make the bed when you are the last one out.
  •  It doesn’t make you less of a man to put the toilet seat down.
  •  It doesn’t undermine your manhood to listen to how our day went without telling us how to fix our problems. Honestly? It is unlikely you know more than we do about our jobs so try for simple listening just once.
  • You are in no jeopardy of losing your man card if you clean the bathroom now and then without your woman asking. It is surely obvious to you it needs it and if you are the only man in the house, clearly those yellow dribbles down the outside of the bowl aren’t your woman’s misses. Remember your woman doesn’t stand above the bowl playing target practice in the morning.

Your mother didn’t tell you the truth about women.

She didn’t tell you the simplest truth about a happy partnership and that is that it really is a partnership between two grown-ups.

If your biggest complaint about the woman in your life is the sex stopped after marriage, you need to stop and think about what else changed. Ask yourself why. Is your woman getting what she needs? What are you doing or not doing. Do the words “that is women’s work” ever trip over your tongue? Worse yet do you find yourself uttering these mood killers, ‘I never did that when I lived at home’, if the answer is yes then you know why your sex life is like the Sahara and you have only yourself and your mother to blame.

This isn’t mama’s house and the sun no longer rises and sets on your happy ass. Your wife isn’t your house servant, she is your partner not your mother. Want a happy marriage? Get with the program and start listening even to those things she might not be saying to you, this means listen with your heart now and then. Try to determine what your wife needs from you, maybe even what she wants but is tired of telling you and as Nike says ‘just do it’  without being asked.

Your mother lied.

She probably didn’t lie with malice. She lied because she wanted to keep you close; it is the nature of mothers. Now you need to man up and be the husband she didn’t intend you to be so your wife has the husband she deserves and your future sons have an example to follow in the future.

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