In Her Name

“I can’t stand her!

So full of drama. She can’t see past the man she loves. All she cares about is

Work.

(She can’t see past the man she loves but all she cares about is work?)

She pouts. Why can’t she smile?”

The accusations fly.

 

“She is us!” I scream into the wake of their wind.

Damaged.

Broken.

A reminder of our pasts, pasts we want to forget and yet

We do not root for her to succeed.

We do not hope for her to smile.

 

Instead we roll our eyes.

And turn the channel and forget that

art is an uncomfortable reflection of life, lit

by aging, yellow, florescent lights.

 

We walk away

the journey

is too difficult, at the end of the day, to share it with another.

We want to escape. Not. Think.

Another simple commentary on what is wrong with America.

 

When did thinking become something we frowned upon?

When did we scorn self betterment?

Or –

– has it always been this way and we choose to live revisionist history –

– honoring the beautiful gods not the sacrificial peasants.

 

A world that exists always in sound bytes

and live, streaming images of jeweled dresses and alabaster skin.

We cry together when the lamb dies but flip the channel again.

Quickly.

It is better to fade away.

God forbid our heroes not serve as our anti-depressant.

God forbid we have heroes.

 

We tell our daughters to find the light

and focus on the positive

while they hide in corners, mocked for

loving sports

and science

and dance

and coffee

and the color pink

and the color blue

and dresses

and jeans

and high heels and loafers.

 

We tell them they can be anything they want. Anything

but smart

or sexy

or honest about the teacher who ignores them

or the boyfriend who forced them

or the girl they love.

 

We are worse now than perhaps when it was demanded of our mothers and our grandmothers that they be perfectly coiffed housewives devoted to

Husband, God, Country, and Child.

In that order.

Never once have we demanded they be devoted to themselves.

“Don’t be full of drama!” We lecture.

Don’t be dark.

Don’t fall in love.

Find joy in everything yet love nothing.

Be a mother.

And a CEO.

And a housewife.

All in that order and at once.

But, do not journey there. Be there.

 

Do not trip.

Do not fall.

Do not fail and do not try. Only, only, only

Do.

Be born to it.

Know it.

School does not matter

Dress the part.

Erase the memories.

Ignore your shadows.

And when all else fails,

sex in the arms of your closest friend.

 

“I can’t stand her,” I hear over and over.

So full of drama, yet somehow, without passion.

We love her, this other one.

Her, who is so much like us.

A single mother.

A painful past.

Passionate and singleminded.

The drama of her annoying ex forgiven.

Don’t we all have such bad, obsessive taste in men?

Brilliant.

Powerful.

Pulled herself up by her bootstraps.

Already there.

 

Denying themselves her journey.

 

~Shauna Brock; March 2011

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