I have been too quiet of late. Such weighty issues playing out in my nation’s capital—women’s rights, human rights, the balance of power. And I have been uncharacteristically silent, here, in the place I best use my voice. I have not been true to my bitchy stock.
I think many of us are weary of the fight already. I know I am, with good reason. It hits too close to home.
My personal life, over the past seven years or so, has been a testament to what happens when a woman owns her story and her strength. And I say that with no ego, no hubris. It’s damn hard. The rewards are intrinsic. They certainly don’t come from our society. We love women in a good supporting role. But when they become the producer, the director, the breadwinner—we do not collectively respond with applause.
As I watched the Supreme Court nominee’s unbridled anger, how he smoothly lied about the nature of his drinking, I thought—ah, yes. With this I am familiar. As I watched his accuser prodded and poked on a story that she cannot tell second by second, blow by blow, I said—I get it, sister. Keep on keepin’ on.
My story about the demise of my marriage is true to a fault. It’s not pretty. It’s not one I can dismiss with folksy wisdom: “This too shall pass.” “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
It’s a story where I feel besmirched by association. And for the girl who grew up learning how to keep things perfect on the outside, that is beyond hard. It’s vulnerability. In my house, as a young girl, that was a dangerous thing to be avoided.
If you heard my story, you’d probably believe it. But then you’d hear his. And he would sound just as believable. You know why? Because he believes his own story.
The rub? Only one of us was clean and sober when our story played out. And the one that wasn’t doesn’t remember much of it. Even the pieces he could remember, he denies. It would be too hard for him to have to define himself by those years, those actions.
In any he said/she said situation, it’s hard to determine absolute truth. I believe Christine Blasey Ford. You may or may not. That’s actually not even what’s at issue here.
What is at issue is how we have the discussion. The fact that we must fight to have the discussion. And then, the mutual respect or lack thereof.
We have some hard questions to answer. Why can a man express “righteous indignation” but a woman doing the same thing is labeled “hysterical”? I could list 50 more conundrums but I’ll spare you.
The face of power needs to change. In marriages, in governments, on Supreme Court benches. It is not one male, white face. Our world should no longer be a fraternity in which a man gets to roll out of bed and be judged on his merits while a woman must apply her “game face” makeup and be judged on how she ages.
This post is indicative of what the smartest, most capable women among us are doing and saying. We are telling our own stories. Owning our own power. We are not hysterical, shouting or calling names.
We will continue to own our truth. We will raise our boys to be better men. And we will change the face of the world—literally and figuratively—by voting for different voices. Some of them, shockingly, our own.
I know you’re out there, ladies (and gentlemen). I feel your good souls. And I am comforted. Our current situation is a blip in a larger picture that’s about to change for the better. I’ll leave you with words wiser than mine, from the former president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women:
We need women who are so strong they can be gentle,
so educated they can be humble, so fierce they can be compassionate,
so passionate they can be rational, and so disciplined they can be free.
We need uncommon women for these uncommon problems.
And how deeply reassuring to me it is to know that wherever we go, there you will be.
43 Comments Add yours
Got here via mydangblog and I will stay because damn, this post resonates. And now I must read the archives…
Welcome! So glad you found us. I hope you read the archives and laugh, cry, think a little differently . . . that seems to be what I promise:).
Powerful and so true. I am with you. #solidarity.
Every one counts👍🏻
I pray that I live long enough to see the shift that is coming. Women are indeed rising, and for the first time, I have hope. Young women everywhere saw what happened in the Senate and I hope their rage fuels them to change the world. I believe that it will. And I hope they begin by using their collective voice on Nov. 6th and vote these dinosaurs out – the world is watching and counting on it. It is time. Great post, Kay! You are an example of strength, perseverance, and courage and always serve as an inspiration!
Thank you:). Those are kind words! I do believe that the next generation sees things differently than the older one. As is usually the case. But in this situation, I really do think the younger generation has the right idea. If we had only counted their votes in our last election, we’d have a very different president. I do also believe that we will get there. But it does take each and everyone of us staying true to what we know to be right.
Well said. I have also had a struggle writing over the last month. So many swirling frustrations and the knowledge that they won’t be received well. Great piece!
Yes. It’s hard to put your thoughts out there when so many opinions are flying—and when emotions are running so high. Thanks for the virtual visit:). Hope to see you again soon!
My wife and I watched part of the hearings together. We believed Ford’s testimony. What struck me most was the hysterical anger of Kavanaugh and Lindsey Graham. They reminded me of outraged toddlers demanding to have their accustomed way.
Right? It was a “How dare you?” display. Ugh.
And I honestly believe the world was moving – albeit slowly – in the right direction until your elected leader, with the platform he has, gave the Neanderthals and various right wing groups new heart. I’m with Brad ^^.
I thought the same, Roy. And I’m horrified that we elected such a hateful, unbalanced man.
Thanks for adding your voice to a much needed chorus. Here’s to justice and truth. And to believing in ourselves as we pursue our deserved ambitions and live by our values. Your enduring wisdom is a treasure.
Thank you for reading and commenting 🙏🏻. The older I get, thee more I realize the riches of believing in myself and living by my values :-).
“And still I rise! “Maya Angelou taught us, that regardless of the chaos within or around us, we each have the strength and the courage to rise up again and again to speak the truth. 🙏🏻🌈
Yes she did. I would think, though, We should finally be reaching the point where women should not have to continue to speak their truth without being respected.
I believe we all need to continue to speak the truth on every subject no matter what our gender. Does it sometimes take a lifetime, yes, and why is this? Because we all continue not to listen in many ways . 💚
I agree. But given my country’s current situation, I am going to say that right now it is old white men who in particular are not listening :-). Not all of them. But some of them.
Yes for sure. 😬
Oh, my friend. You write so well and share such keen insights.
I fought the feminist fights decades ago and I can’t believe what I am witnessing today. It’s bizarre and yes, it’s wearying. I hope women (and their males allies, because there are many of those too) find the energy to fight back and attack the ramparts, to break them down once and for all. Watching that bloody hearing was like being thrown back in time to the 50’s and knowing these men are nuts but occasionally pinching yourself and wondering if you’re the one who’s caught in a time warp.
It did seem like the 1950s, no? I hope you saw the SNL spoof on the Republican celebration. It was really well done:).
I never talked about my divorce (at 26). My kids never knew I had been married before. Until one of my daughters began dating a man who reminded me of my abusive ex – I mean, the guy was the spitting image both physically and behaviorally! It prompted me to write this post: https://cordeliasmomstill.com/2016/04/01/oh-lord-please-dont-let-me-be-misunderstood/
Fortunately, my daughter saw the light and broke up with the A-H. She’s now in a stable relationship with a wonderful, gentle (Mom-approved) man.
No woman should have to tolerate abuse. No woman should have to hide it. And no man should be allowed to lie about it.
I’m glad she got out of a bad situation. I’m sure it was scary for you to have to relive pieces of your own tough time. She’s lucky to have you . . .
“If you heard my story, you’d probably believe it. But then you’d hear his. And he would sound just as believable. You know why? Because he believes his own story.” And this happens far too often. I’ve been there, done that.
Oh, so many of us have been there, done that. I am hoping for the day that story is not so common . . . Thank you for the kind words!
Beautifully put. It’s a difficult time right now (when hasn’t it been), but your voice is strong and powerful. Keep speaking.
Thank you:). I appreciate the kind words . . .
Well said, sister!
There’s so much power and wisdom here, and I want to add my voice. But it’s hoarse and weak right now, so i’ll stick to Thanks. And Kia Kaha — stand strong.
I hope not hoarse and weak because of all that has been happening in our world. But I appreciate the kind words right back at you :-).
Thank you. I’m railing against the usual combination of personal and political frustrations — as we all are. I’m fantasising about a couple of days in a silent retreat.
Ooh. I’ll join you!
Brilliant, Kristine (and you’ll see I ended up reading your link which brought me to the other link…)
I, too, am trying to raise my boys to be better men (funny how we both come from all girl sibs to have just boys)…
Excellent quote. I have to write that one down and post it!
That quote keeps me going!
I just shared it with my friend Marc… he loves it. He’s that kind of guy
Beautifully said. Thank you.
Thanks, Masha:). We’ll get there . . .
Beautifully said! Thank you for this.
Thank you for reading and chiming in!
What a beautiful quote to wrap up your post Kay. Thanks for sharing your wisdom so gracefully. I’m glad that there are many strong, loving women coming into their power. The world needs you to create more compassionate ways of living and leading. Thank you, Brad
And we need more men like you, Brad! I love that so many of you are adding your voices to the discussion now. I’m trying to raise boys that will do the same . . .
I’m honored to join. I truly believe need more women to step up. Men in power are clearly making a mess of things.