What is it about a free-running woman that so scares the pants off our men anyway?
When a relationship fails, why is it almost always our fault? How is it that we have failed our men and not that society has failed its women?
It’s just after four am in Denver. As is typical of this part of the world, it’s cool enough for a sweatshirt even on a day when it will be close to a hundred degrees. I’m sitting in the dark dining room of my friend Melissa’s house, a guest after being gone a year. She’ll be up shortly and will be administering a badly-needed Thai massage.
The other day when I arrived, I slipped in her back door to find her crashed out on the sun porch after a long day of massage work. She opened her sleepy eyes and managed to get up and give me a huge hug.
I flinched. Hard. Not because it was Melissa, whom I love dearly, but from the sudden touch after a year, and after a lifetime of having touch precede pain from men.
Lately I’ve been watching the English remake of Dragon Tattoo starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. When the characters first start working together, Craig comes too close to her and brushes her shoulder as they are both looking at the computer screen. She flinches.
I fucking goddamned well know precisely how that feels.
A few minutes ago I read a comment on a piece I did recently. One of my favorite Medium writers, Yael Wolfe, is about twenty years my junior, speaks for so much of what I have experienced of men in my long life. We have exchanged comments recently and noted how much what we write, which is torn from the bleeding hearts of our once-innocent bodies, is simply on fire. That kind of raw honesty is what makes us powerful, threatening, and by god, women to be controlled, punished and put to death like witches.
How dare we.
It is precisely that wilder light, that yellow-eyed madness, that creative force that draws men to us like hungry feeding flies. And it is precisely that light that so many of them seek to dampen or put out permanently. It is terrifying to men that not only can we create life inside our bodies, with little more than a swimming serpent donated by them, but that we rise and rise and rise and rise and rise and RISE after abuse heaped upon abuse, in spite of them.
I went on to read this piece by Yael wherein she speaks about writing about sex:
You read it, and see if she doesn’t touch on some things that force you to face harder truths. Perhaps what I love best out of this piece is her ability to embrace those things which make her bleed, as they do me as well. I suspect all of us would love to be loved but without the ragged open wounds of verbal and/or physical and psychological abuse that seem to go hand-in-paw with being vulnerable.
When you and I are vulnerable, and here I speak to all the beloved, good men who walk this difficult journey with us and are not committed to bringing us down by any means, we are strengthened. Growing strong costs. It means we bleed our truth onto the forest floor. It means that we learn to trust ourselves and ONLY ourselves in that terrifyingly lonely journey that is our humanity.
Good men, good partners, good people of any gender do NOT require or demand control, that we give up what makes us wild. They revel in it, in fact. The bad ones are drawn to that mild insanity, the swift-footed rocketing through the brush at night, the four-footed stance at the edge of a cliff and the long, slow, mad howl at the moon.
They want to cage that, as if to cage it is to be it. To dominate is to own it.
To cage the wild is to destroy the wild.
Just look around at Nature and tell me I’m wrong.
To dominate, to try to tame it, is to do irreparable damage to it. For the very existence of the wilder woman argues that men aren’t all that, and it is proof-positive that women can and do exist in their fullness without men. That’s threatening to the patriarchy, which is why it simply has to be controlled, destroyed, caged. Hence, religion.
Which is of course the whole problem.
Those of you kind enough to tolerate my writing know that I’m going to add another nugget here. You know my feelings about organized religion. I read and tagged this the other day because I thought for crying out loud, FINALLY:
I love Johnathan Poletti for this line alone:
So attached to their tradition, they wouldn’t be able to see that the long line of traditional Christian clerics were neurotic men with sex problems.
I didn’t just snort my coffee. I did a fist bump. Writers like Poletti give me hope, but it’s too late for this wilder.
Religion is no friend to women, despite the fact that we are likely closer to God, whoever She is, than our male friends, if for no other reason, kindly, that we’re the ones who create and give birth. If you please. I suspect, and I am hardly alone in this, that the fact of that immense power scares the holy shit out of guys, and the fact that so many of them simply cannot control their urges also scares the shit out of them. Religion is a handy way to place the blame for such urges on us...but this isn’t that article. Smarter folks than I am like Poletti and plenty of others have written quite eloquently about this. I’ve simply lived it. I am just hugely encouraged to see guys, effing White guys, penning smart pieces that call bullshit on their brothers.
Here is the line out of Yael’s comment on a piece of mine that really underscored it for me:
Every relationship I’ve had seemed to come down to how I failed the guy, how I screwed up our relationship.
As if every single thing that goes wrong with a couple is our fault. Well, of course it is, for every time you and I own the responsibility for a fuckup or miscommunication is another nail in the coffin of our wildness. Proof that we need taming, controlling, disciplining.
Why on earth should men take responsibility for what goes wrong? Because that’s work. Adult work. Real work.
At 68, I’ve been grappling with these issues a bit longer than some, and not as long as billions more women who are long gone, but didn’t have the forum of social media to speak out. Today, they are speaking out. I see lots of articles about how ugly it gets when we, operative word “we,” choose to not have kids, because, kindly, WE DON’T WANT THEM.
To that, this piece by another Medium writer Lisa Martens, who like me travels, lives her life on HER terms and in HER style and is not beholden to the whims and demands of the men in her life (which apparently is what makes society so angry at the wilder woman):
From her article:
And when are women called selfish? When have I been called selfish? I’ve been called selfish for traveling and blogging instead of having an office job, even though I currently make about the same. I’ve been called selfish for not liking certain men who were “nice.” Give him a chance! I’ve been called selfish for tons of reasons that amount to…doing what I want. (author bolded)
I agree with her assessment. Entirely. How dare we live without the entanglements, the demands, the role requirements laid upon us by a sick society that really does hate women? How dare we hurtle across the dawn-dim landscape with the stars reflected in our eyes?
How dare we indeed?
Those women who hate us for these very things are, my guess, are the women who yearn deep inside themselves to be free. They hate us for having the courage to do it. For being willing to bear societal censure, and saying fuck you to the patriarchal, life-snuffing demands that men require that we give up all that makes us who we are for what? the occasional lousy, sloppy, unsatisfying fuck? Really?
I am not sorry for those women enablers, for our sisters who side with the patriarchy are even worse destroyers than the men. And our sisters who side with the patriarchy to uphold racism, White Supremacy? A society which punishes women for aging, for their bodies, for simply being female, which in my mind, means Divine? Worse, if they are of color, to be hated even more?
Ladies, ain’t enough words in the world to express how I feel about that kind of bullshit. You attack one of us, you attack all of us.
The blood of the Yaels of the world run through my veins as much as my crazy mad blood runs through theirs.
I am happier massaging an elephant or a tiger than I am a man. The males drop their penises when I do the physical work on them, a fact that sends their infantile, puerile male handlers into paroxysms of kindergarten laughter. What monumental assholes. Baby men. When a tiger is comfortable enough with my hands to unsheath, honey, that’s power. You sure as shit can’t do it.
So kindly, fuck you.
My fellow Goddesses on Medium know whereof I speak. Those of us who prefer to work with animals, who have turned to the wild to avoid what is wicked in men, we get it.
There is an ex here in town living on Capitol Hill who knows I’m in town right now. He begged his way back in, all sincerity, eight months ago. All we did was talk. It didn’t take long before who he is rose again to the surface like an angry cobra. He struck, and struck out.
He’s lonely. Too. Fucking. Bad. Years ago when he traveled I knew full well the number of times he returned to town and chose not to call or stop by. I could feel him. I knew. As I wrote elsewhere, large portions of my heart continue to lie rotting in the floorboards of the house I lived in for fourteen years, where he did untold damage.
That is the house where I became a wilder. That rot is the fertilizer that grew my courage to sell my house, move to the woods of Oregon, and reclaim the rest of my life. If it needs to be solo, so be it. I’d rather work on a horse, donkey, elephant, tiger, dog than put up with men’s patriarchal bullshit any day.
There is no fucking way I am ever giving that up now.
Lest my sisters and brothers call me bitter, kindly. You get raped and assaulted as many times as I have, you build walls. When you let the occasional dickwad scale those walls and he does more damage, after a while,well. You learn that the dense darkness of the woods, with its unpredictable snows, sporadic food sources and equally terrifying predators is far preferable than a cage with a warm fire, and promises of nothing more than having to give up all you are and could have been for the occasional company of a mean-spirited zookeeper.
I’ll take the woods.