Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lament of a Strong Woman

During my recuperation from breaking my pelvis I've been blessed with lots of visitors. But one thing they all say is, "You're looking so good."
I know they are trying to be kind and maybe I do look good, but I feel like saying,"You can't actually see where I have two lots of broken bones. It's just my outside that looks good. Inside I'm hurting."
But I don't say it. I just smile and say thanks.
Because I'm a strong woman and my friends are used to my being a strong woman.

I've been a strong woman all my life. A strong kid first. At ballet school I was the only girl who never cried. Since our ballet mistress used to walk up and down with a stick and any arm or leg that wasn't perfect got the stick on it, this was no small feat.
I went across Europe on my own at twelve. Had to find the right boat across the Channel, the right train in Ostend and then spend a night and day on the train to Vienna. I wasn't worried, neither were my parents.

All through my married life I've been strong and efficient. I don't call my husband to kill spiders, change lightbulbs or even clean gutters. I do it... and I've finally decided that I am a fool.
Those helpless women have got it right. They look up with  big appealing eyes and say, "I couldn't possibly get up on a step ladder to change that lightbulb. I couldn't possibly go up into the attic because there might be spiders." And big strong man takes pity and says, "Don't worry, I'll do it for you."

My husband waited on me while I couldn't move but as soon as I could hobble around with a cane he started saying how good it was for me to get back to being busy. Maybe it is, but Ms helpless female would have squeezed another couple of weeks of being waited on out of the event. So now it looks as if I'm back to being the strong woman again... and it's not always a good thing.
What do you think?


  1. As a fellow strong woman who is also single, I agree totally. In my next life, I'm coming back weaker and a whole lot dumber,too.

  2. So funny, Rhys! Much like you I started travelling alone as a child and had great examples of independence and ability in the women who raised and cared for me.

    My mum tiled the kitchen floor, constructed a built-in corner hutch for china and made a center-aisle, cutting-board style kitchen table with storage that seated 12, with room for the dogs underneath on the fireplace end.

    In the end though, she resented my father's complete lack of interest in doing anything about the house, save his vegetable garden and solar projects. She once said, after the divorce, "He would rather admire me for doing a 'man's' work than to do any himself."

  3. Being strong & independent is great, but allowing someone else to help makes them feel good (besides taking the load off your shoulders). I think you should gradually bring your husband around to continue doing nice things for you. Just sigh, ask him to get something for you, thank him sweetly & compliment him - he'll get the idea.

  4. I hope he reads your blog and starts waiting on you again. If he doesn't, maybe you could ask him to proofread today's entry for you. :-)

  5. I've been a raving, drooling feminist for most of my adult life. After my first husband and I parted ways I used to change the tires on my car just for the thrill of having my own car to change the tires on, junk heap though it was. But that was then, this is now. Although I've never broken a bone, at least not so far, my back isn't what it used to be, and I have finally acknowledged that there is such a thing as "man's work." Take it easy. Give yourself, you should excuse the expression, a break.

  6. I can relate. In my case I am a tall woman with a bit of heft to my figure, so men have always assumed that I could help carry boxes or move the couch. I'm looked at as being emotionally strong, as well. We've had a lot of trying things go on in this past year, but it was my job to soothe the grieving family members. We still have more to come. I joked with a friend that since I don't have time to get upset about it now, I've scheduled my breakdown for July :-).

  7. Being a single mother has made me very strong and after 40 years of raising 2 children by myself, having a career, making all of my own decisions I have never found the right man to spend my life with. I guess one can never be too old to have a Darcy in one's life. Too bad I never found the real thing.