— e.e. cummings
Be My Valentine …
You romantic devil.
A heart in the seafoam on Sanna beach, on the wild west coast - you’ve captured my heart! Happy Valentines Day Algy! ♥♡♥
“I hope that two people can grow together, side by side, and bring joy to each other, without one having to be crushed so that the other may stay strong. Perhaps maturing is also to let others be. To allow myself to what I am.”
‘Changing,’ by Liv Ullmann
(For photo source, click here.)
Indian buffet today, three different vegetable curries, chai and carrot pudding to follow…..heaven. Throw away the oysters, it’s curry you need to woo her with.
Shooting Star, Sweden
photo via besttravelphotos
I like what this poem has to say about love, a love that seeks to influence, begs not to be forgotten, promising to live on even if it’s not returned. Not for the happy ending idealists but such simple beautiful language.
When You Are Old
When you are old and grey and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false of true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
~William Butler Yeats
Womanliness: Behavioural traits may include gentleness, nurturance, empathy, sensitivity and tolerance. This is the accepted stereotype. It’s not a stretch to imagine that these qualities should enable women to be good mothers, wives and friends. Let me undress part of the last statement, ‘women make good friends.’ I think this bears some scrutiny.
Not only am I a woman, but I am also the mother of a daughter. She’s an attractive, vivacious, confident, zany teenager and has had a closet full of conflict involving her friends over the years. When she’s come home with her stories of sadness and hurt, being ostracised by her female friends or subject to Machiavellian divisiveness, we have talked. I always urge her to look for her part in any situation and to take responsibility, but also to seek the truth beneath the surface. Too many times, the truth that dwells under the hurtful behaviour is insecurity.
I have seen the same elements in each clash; my daughter wearing a beautiful outfit, making a new friend or on the receiving end of some male attention. Invariably, one of her friends will either be wearing something similar the next day, or will make devastatingly subtle remarks to undermine her. If she makes a new friend, ‘old’ friends have been known to resort to various battle tactics such as divide and conquer, beginning a behind the lines propaganda exercise to tarnish her image, or if all else fails, sulking to make her pay for her actions. When she’s shown an interest in a particular male or he bestows some attention upon her – the gauntlet is thrown down. It’s not unusual for her friends, who may have previously shown no interest, to suddenly discover his attributes. I suspect he will have no idea what has hit him.
For the confused male, now the recipient of not one but a whole group of young women’s attention, it must be mystifying. There’s nothing mysterious about it though, nor anything unusual. My daughter is fortunate to have made a few friends that have gone beyond this. Somehow, they’ve circumvented insecurity and found loyalty, trust and sisterhood. As she gains experience, she has also acquired the wisdom and skills to deal with her own sex. I long to tell her that as she leaves childhood behind, she can say goodbye to girlish warfare. That wouldn’t be true though.
Becoming a woman only escalates the conflict, with considerable sophisticated manipulation and subtler and more devastating jockeying for position. As I’ve discovered, the women not prone to this behaviour are the chronically insecure, that feel they have nothing to bring to the battle or the deeply secure, and they are a relative rarity. Personally, I have been fortunate to meet like minded souls who engage in passive resistance to the norm. They are my friends. A damning indictment of women maybe, but the truth is exposed. Our sensitivity, empathy, gentleness and other fine qualities when mixed with insecurity become a poison for friendship. The best friend of the insecure woman is someone she believes is no threat whatsoever. If not, the friend would do well to watch her metaphorical back.
Are you wondering as I did why the female image is in such sharp contrast to reality? I believe the image is true, true and expressed within our families and with those we deem unthreatening. Our conduct is revealed, but the motivation lies beneath this and is as old as our species. As women are fond of observing, men have no biological imperative for loyalty. Like dandelion fluff on the wind, the more seed that’s spread, the greater the propagation. Women have different root biological drives, such as the need for a mate who can hunt and will protect her and their offspring. She requires loyalty.
Naturally, another woman could pose a considerable threat to the security of her family. Quicker than you can say evolution, women adapted their skills to create a formidable arsenal for one purpose - to disarm and ward off other women. The prize in this ancient contest? Certainly not the grinning male looking so pleased with himself, while the women fought over him. It wasn’t him but rather what he offered. The prize on offer is safety and security for her children, something she is willing to fight for.
How does this translate into our world, the life of my daughter, myself and every woman on the planet? Mainly, it doesn’t, at least not in the way it once did. In most nations, our lives have evolved to the point where, if a woman loses her man it won’t threaten the physical security of her children. She can work to provide, and is capable of doing her own hunting in the supermarket or elsewhere. This isn’t to suggest that men can’t or don’t play an important part in children’s lives because I believe they can and do. Their hunting has been adapted to wage earning and protection to support. They’ve also discovered that while spreading their seed is good fun for a while, loyalty has its benefits too. Men in stable relationships enjoy greater health and modern mating is a far cry from cave-side coupling – it’s complicated and less certain than the one waiting at home.
I’m not sure where all of this is going to be honest. As long as we’re driven to be part of pair bonds, we’ll want no threat to our interests. Should we be teaching our daughters to put down their weapons and nurture their sisters, all of them? This could be the beginning of change, or would we be ensuring they have many good friends while living the life of a singleton. Perhaps we need to educate our sons to not respond to these female tactics. Consequently, the men of the future may be less susceptible to feminine manipulation as the playing field is leveled. I don’t know what the future holds. I only know that it’s infinitely better with my friends to share it with.
© S. Marian, Sept.11, 2012
I layawake for a while last night thinking about the day, the piece I posted and as I often do, considering my position from different angles. I feel I may have been a little too polarised in my viewpoint, or if not polarised than omitting some important considerations. I said, “As I’ve discovered, the women not prone to this behaviour (catty and back stabbing) are the chronically insecure, that feel they have nothing to bring to the battle or the deeply secure, and they are a relative rarity.”
I would like to add that I believe the insecurity that drives this negative female behaviour is very common, and the behaviour itself is familiar enough that if you ask a woman, she will be able to say she’s seen it, probably often. I think there are women who are insecure, or even those that have nothing ‘to bring to battle,’ that overcome. They simply choose not to behave this way. It is possible to have good female friends, I have and many I know have also.
Now my comment about men, “This isn’t to suggest that men can’t or don’t play an important part in children’s lives because they can and do. Their hunting has been adapted to wage earning and protection to support.” Men also can and do more than just earning a wage and supporting their wives/partners and children. I know many men who are excellent fathers and husbands, involved in their children’s lives and interests and taking an active role in running the home.
I hope this brings balance to my piece.
S. Marian, Sept. 12, 2012
Do you wish you could make a difference but feel as if doing so isn’t possible or easy? Sometimes the problem is too huge and every effort seems puny by comparison. You can do something and you don’t have to get up, or even pick up a phone. Just re blog this post and you’re helping. Click on the link provided and you can order a kindle or e-book and that will help a lot. Help one woman who is desperately trying to help herself.
That woman is Sonya and she has lupus. ”She’s witty, stylish, Barbie doll beautiful, articulate, kind and so much more than the wolf that stalks her days and long nights. The wolf I speak of is lupus but really, it could be any chronic disease. Between 60-70% of mortalities occur due to this type of disease in the U.S. Sonya Dickerson is very much alive and fighting.” Help her fight the fight, re-blog this or order her book. It’s called “Diary of a Sick Chick, ” $3.99, the same as the cost of a cup of coffee.
© S. Marian, Aug 28, 2012
Part of a piece titled “Crying Wolf,” to be found on “A View From Outside the Box,” url: adialgue
For photo credits or more information about Sonya, follow the link to her blog: http://supermodelrevealed.tumblr.com/