Women

The “Other Woman” in My Life…or, A Love Letter to My Best Friend

Ten years ago…I was still a mess. I was 9 days sober…or at least without drugs or cigarettes…and very thoroughly confused. I didn’t know if sobriety was going to take. I was in an environment that was “odd” to say the least. I had gone from atheism back to the faith of my youth, Christianity, in one “Damascus Road” moment and trying to figure out what was going on. I was in a house that invited people like me in to help us. I am still entirely grateful for them and their house…

Five years ago…I was a few months married to the first person outside of a blood relation or a dog that I had ever told I loved and realizing that there was an other person that I could say that about…

Now, I’m sitting next to my wife that I love very dearly and writing a post about the “other woman” in my life…

When you are an addict, emotional growth ceases. We don’t have to grow because high fills that void…until high becomes Hell. I got out of Hell and started, slowly, learning. I had to learn some self-control because I will very eagerly substitute anger for high. That was easy enough most of the time. I have to consciously break the loop that is reaction. I’ve practiced and can back myself down…it took lots of practice, though.

Love is a different story. That one is still more confusing. I try to intellectualize it. I attempt, because I fear emotional reactions, to figure it out. *editorial, I even apply that to faith. I suspect “charismatic” Christianity because of that bias. That type of reaction isn’t a fit for me* You have to kind of follow the path in a confused mind to see where I’m going, sorry.

Five years ago, I realized that I was “in love” with a woman that is not my wife. Not romantic love. Not “I’ll leave my wife and we can run away together” love. Just love. It seemed so very odd to me. I mean, there I was saying “I love you” to a woman that was married while I was, still am, married to the love of my life. How was that supposed to work? That entire thought process scared me *some of it still does* but, more importantly, it taught me. I learned to reach outside of myself, to grow…

This person, Aj, is the “other woman”. We could never be a couple because our lives are vastly different. She has a daughter and I am lacking in the patience that parenting requires. My house has two adults and no pets. It is calm, dark, and quiet. My sanity needs that calm refuge from the “noise” that is the outside world and work. My idea of fun is coming home and staying here with my wife and comfortable surroundings. Her’s, on a good day, is controlled chaos. Between the cat, dog, and a very energetic and bright 5-year-old daughter there is constant demand for attention and noise. She does stuff like going 4-wheeling and stuff. She has errands and outside interests. I do all my errands on the way to or from work and then stay home. To top it off she has a list of medical issues that sap her strength and cause constant visits to the Dr. Yea, I’m in a bit of awe of her. Go figure, what she does and deals with daily would make my knees buckle. Also, she and I do not share the same faith. Just as she has a hard time, read will not again, dating Christians because she’s Pagan, I could not find myself married to a non-Christian. They are not inimical to each other but, do not work in the same home. It is my firm contention that homes may be made of many differing views as long as there is shared faith…

Yet, I do love her. I “worry” *editorial, I don’t have a better word that means “not stressed but, is always on my mind”* for her, even though she tells me not to. *grins* I stay concerned that her health is not getting worse and she has the strength to get through the day. She taught me how to send energy, so I do every chance I get and every time I think about it. I want good things for her and keep that in my prayers. I hope that even though she knows it, that she hears the words “you’re beautiful and I love you” from a voice that deeply and passionately means it. I have a hope that she’s getting some physical companionship, read “getting laid” because sometimes the physical touch of another body is the greatest healer.

So…here we are today. I am entirely faithful to Sweety. I can not imagine my life without her but, I love another woman, too. I am committed to her also, just not as a mate or date. I can be at peace with that because she makes me a better husband. I have a teacher and a confidant. I have someone that is as committed to the success of my marriage because she loves me and wants me and my wife to have that marriage. I have someone that keeps a candle burning for my house just as her’s stay in my prayers, constantly. I realize that non-romantic love is just as important as the passion that I have for my wife.

I have been given a part of someone’s soul as a gift and returned a bit of mine. I know that if our paths may diverge, that my life will never be the same for having known her and if they go together, that my life will be the better for it. She taught me to expand myself. I learned and still am, that the world is bigger than my tiny corner. That, no matter how hard life kicks you in the head, if you are breathing there is still hope. That because someone is “different” they have lessons to teach you that you never imagined you needed…till they taught them to you.

Yeah, there’s another woman in my life and I have these words for her…

Aj, you’re beautiful. Your heart and soul are things I’ll treasure till my dying day. Thank you for the lessons you’ve taught and the unknown lessons to come. You make my world a better place by being in it. We may not speak often but, I hear your voice every time we type. I don’t know why Destiny put our paths together but, I am grateful, with all my heart, to your gods and my God for doing it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reaching out to me. Thank you for the piece of you that you’ve given me. I love you dearly.

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We Created This and We Have to Fix It

*sigh*

This is what we have done. My faith, Christianity, says that women are second class. My “programming” says that they are there to keep the home…and by extension, be mothers first and women second. Western Culture is finally breaking out of the Puritan view that women are sexually depraved and morally weak. We allow ourselves, men, to believe that we are “owed” whatever we want from women because they are incapable of doing anything without a man. We are taught, from an early age, that some things are “women’s work”. We have created a stereotype that makes them only menials.

*****

Kipling wrote this in “The Female of the Species” and this is what WE fear…

“When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
‘Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man’s timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn’t his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husband, each confirms the other’s tale,
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man, a bear in most relations-worm and savage otherwise,,
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise.
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger,- Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue, to the scandal of The Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity, must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions, not in these her honour dwells.
She the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate.
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions, in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies!,
He will meet no suave discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges, even so the she-bear fights,
Speech that drips, corrodes, and poisons, even so the cobra bites,
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw
And the victim writhes in anguish, like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it cames that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of Abstract Justice, which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern, shall enthral but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail,
That the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male.”

*Yes, this is a 19th Century sexist view. It is gender divided along strict biological roles.*

We know this to be true…and it terrifies us. We HAVE to exert power or we have to admit weakness. That is the perception.

*****

That quiet girl in the corner at the party, her boyfriend raped her and no one believes it. He’s a nice guy… The one that’s very loudly drunk, her father abuses her and her mom blames her… The girl that was walking home from work because her car broke just got blamed for wearing shorts and a halter top in 105-degree heat. The cops told her she was asking for it…The college student that passed out at a frat party should have expected it…The one you just ogled, she dressed for herself and NOT you…The girl that has a string of abusive relationships, the first was her father and, now, that’s all she thinks she deserves…The one you just called a b**ch, she doesn’t trust anyone because she can’t. Everyone she did trust told her he loved her and betrayed her. You were staring and the only way she feels safe is to push you away…The older lady with the bad attitude in the grocery store, her husband has been an abusive drunk for 40 years…

The random indignities, the disrespect that men don’t see, the verbal abuse we think is flattery, the casual disregard, the turning to stare, the whistles and comments, we don’t even realize we’re doing them and women have to put up with them. We think it’s normal. We think those are compliments. We think they’re our right…yet, if we had to deal with it, we could not.

Women didn’t invite this. They for damn sure don’t deserve it. No one does.

*****

Guys, men, we created this. We are the cause and the solution. We have made the world so that we are not trusted. We have told women that they are second class, that they are servants, property, sexual objects, stupid, and only good for bearing children. Every right they have, they had to fight for. They had to fight to be able to vote. They had to fight to be able to decide when to and not to have sex. They had to win the right to choose contraception. Now, we have the nerve to blame them for not trusting us to act in their best interests when we have proven time and again that we will not…

The answer it not to “allow” them to have rights.It is to, finally, shut up. They well and truly earned their space and rights. If men had to put up with the s**t that women have had to, this would be long over. It is not “giving up” power, it’s sharing it with the other half of Humanity…Women shouldn’t have to fight to get what is theirs. We, men, have to finally get over ourselves. We, Humanity, can be greater than what we are when half of humanity doesn’t fear the other half…and, yeah, I mean both halves fearing the other…

What the Hell Was He Thinking?

“Hey Sarah, I can make you straight”…so what he really said was “all you need is a good f**k” to her. I wasn’t there but, I’m assuming it was a casual comment. He didn’t see anything wrong with what he said. He could have added, “You’re not really human. You’re just legs to be spread and tits to be played with. Every time I see you, I see you naked in bed”. He could have just as easily added, “I know you’re a dyke but, that won’t matter if I rape you. You’ll like it…” Every bit of that was in that comment that was casually made.

All that in one passing comment to one woman. I’m finding out that those comments are far from uncommon. I know women walk in public being undressed with the eyes of men. I know it happens more often than it doesn’t.

Even when it’s someone we know, we don’t see people, we see objects. How can you really believe she’s human and tell her you think that doing something to her that she will never want to do is good for her? If you had just been with the “right man”…Hey, A$$hole, she’s a Lesbian and has kids. She’s been with a man… more than once… What the hell do you think you could do? She knows the f**king difference and likes women.

Every woman I talked to said the same thing, every day they feel like someone is “undressing” them. You can not go a single day without seeing casual comments about “b**ch slapping”, rape, “men like women who…” and myriad  other things. The simple and casual degradation has become so pervasive that we don’t even think about it…

Even to the point that I’m questioning myself. I catch myself becoming angry…and possessive…and begin to wonder if I’d be so angry if it was someone else, someone unknown? Were it not, “MY best friend” “MY loved ones” but, just some person that I don’t know?…

I started this blog writing about two Ladies I love. I was writing about Religious freedom for one of them and LBGT Rights for the other. The context was that they were citizens and deserved the same rights. That was and still is true. It missed a bigger issue…

We have a culture that sets the status quo as treating women as objects and possessions. We tell women to accept the casual comments and random offers of violence as normal. We tell them they are at fault when they are raped. We don’t even think there’s anything wrong when someone goes to a Lesbian and tells her she needs a good f**king to “make you straight”. We don’t even see humans, all we see are tits and spread legs.

I thought this was just going to be one post, a few days ago, about how women are talked down about when they have other things to do than date or sleep with some random guy. I was writing one for Aj because she was pissed about how casually it happens in the workplace…I was wrong. The more I talk to people and the more I see what happens around me, the more I realize that things are totally effed.  The more angry I become and the more I realize that someone, me, needs to say stop. It isn’t a “teach your kids” issue. That simplifies things far too much. There is a huge double standard…it’s an “open your damn eyes” issue. It’s a “what is wrong with you, don’t you have a mother?” issue.

I wonder if that guy that made the comment to Z would think it’s ok if some guy came up to him and said “I’ll give you a good f**king and you’ll never go back to women”? Would that be good with him? I mean, he didn’t think he was saying anything wrong to Z when he said essentially the same thing.

Until we get past that attitude, the “all she needs is a good f**k” things will stay wrong. Blaming her for what is done to her, meaning rape, assault, or emotional abuse, is wrong. Blaming her for your own inability to get laid because YOU are an a$$hole, is wrong. Saying “If you don’t want to entice a rapist, don’t wear high heels so you can’t run from him … If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk. Who else’s fault can it be?” (Chrissie Hynde) *yeah, a woman said that one* Means things are so pervasive and invasive that we are beyond effed…

Too angry and frustrated to write any more, all I have left is a string of profanities that would end with “Hey, A$$HOLE, SHUT YOUR STUPID F**KING MOUTH” so, I’ll just let this one end…

We Told Them They Were Worth Less…

The Three Hundred Pound Gorilla in the room is an attitude. It is the belief that we are able to treat half the humans on the planet as less than the other half. Specifically, the idea that women are not worth as much as men.

We tell women, over and over, that they are objects, “Sex sells”. We call them “my woman” or “baby mama”. We pretend to be “enlightened”. Yet, we hide from the things that are true. Rape is the most under-reported crime in the country. Physical and emotional abuse is ignored, hidden, or denied. We attack the victim and defend the men by saying “boys will be boys”. We blame her by saying “you shouldn’t have provoked him” or “you shouldn’t have dressed that way”. Every one of these is wrong.

I have been that. Not the violence or emotional abuse but, the rest. I have been around people I knew were in abusive relationships and done nothing, ignored it. I have stood, beer in hand, while the conversation was “she just needs a good f**k” or “that Dyke needs a f**k to show her what she’s missing” and said nothing. I’ve blamed the victim when I watched it on the news “couldn’t she have just enjoyed it?”  “Hell, she had it coming for dressing that way, there.” I was wrong. I was part of the problem.

I was not raised that way. In my parents house, that would not have been tolerated. There was never any abuse, physical or emotional. When I left that home and moved out on my own, it was easier to be “one of the boys” and act like the rest. After a while, those attitudes became my own. Getting along was more important than doing what was right. Luckily for me, I grew up. The more I saw what was happening to me, the more I realized how far from who I was I was becoming, the more I realized I could not go on with those thoughts. Even while I was actively an addict I realized that the casual misogynist that I was becoming was not me…and I stopped him.

Every day, every woman I know faces these. Every  woman that goes out in public is judged by some man. Her clothes, her voice, her body are looked at as if she’s a display in a window. They are NOT given the same room that men are. If she’s having a bad day, she’s a b**ch. If she dresses up, it’s to impress a man. If she happens to wear what’s comfortable, that too is judged. If it’s 105 outside and she dresses for the heat, she’s showing too much…not considering a man can go without a shirt and not be commented on. If she breast feeds her child in public, someone will be offended. If she has an opinion, she’s “bossy”. If a man carries too much weight, it’s “man, you look like you could drop a few pounds” and a joke is made, a woman is “that fat cow”…Even while I’m writing this, an article shows up with the title “Study Proves That Men Really Do Prefer Curves…”…

It surprises me that my closest friends are women. Given what happens every day. Given the prevalence of ignored abuse. Given the “blame the victim and ignore the abuse” mentality. It’s a wonder that ANY woman trusts ANY man. Period.

It keeps rolling around in my mind. I keep trying to see “why?” Why do we tell women that they are not worth as much as men? Why do we tell them to accept abuse? Why do we teach men that women are possessions? Why do we not believe the victims of physical or emotional rape? Why do we treat half of our population, 169 million roughly in the USA, as if their lives had less value? “She’s JUST a girl…”

It’s not about being a “feminist”. It’s  about no longer remaining silent. The only way that things change is for individuals to decide they need to change. It is that we, male humans, need to change our actions. It means we have to look inside ourselves and see the wrongs we’ve inflicted by our own actions or lack. It is letting women know that they are our equals and not a possession, toy, pet, or punching bag. It means that we accept culpability for blaming the victim so that we don’t have to face our own weaknesses. It is being responsible for what we say and do.

We need to grow up. We need to stop being silent.

 

There Is Nothing About This That I Want To Write…

I wrote yesterday’s and then, later I talked to one of the people I love. *sigh* There are things that I wish I could change. There are hurts I would take on myself to take away from people I love…

It is never ok to blame a victim. It is never ok to say “she brought it on herself”. We have this idea that coming forward “ruins the promising life of a young man”. No. His actions hurt a promising young lady and, now, his actions have ruined his own life. It isn’t the victim’s fault if she comes forward. Blame has NEVER been her’s…

Rape victims did not bring it on themselves. Saying “she’s a tease”, “she shouldn’t have been drunk”, “she shouldn’t have dressed like that”, “she could have said no”, “she was asking for it”, or any other excuse a rapist can make does NOT excuse rape. Period. If she doesn’t say “yes”, the answer is no. Her body belongs to her. She is not an object or a possession to be used. Even after the fact, she is not “damaged” or “ruined”. Something was done TO her against her will. To me, that is the ultimate crime, making the inside of someone “not safe”. To have given them a reason to think they deserve what happened or how they feel afterward is the true violation.

What we have, all we will ever be, is inside our skin. Our hearts, minds, and souls occupy that space. It is the only one we have and the only thing we will own. To violate that is to presume that what we want is more important than that person. We are not. There is no value in my life that makes it greater than another’s. When I die, the world ends…for me. It is the same for every other person on the planet. Why, then, is the perception that HER life and body would be any less valuable?

*sigh*

There will be more posts. For now, this is all I am able to process or write. These NEED to be written. Men need to be told, by men, that women are not objects. That they, women, have just as much right to dignity and possession of self as any man. Women need to be told, by men, that they are cherished and treasured. That they are our mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and cousins. That, no matter what is done to them, they are in no way diminished.

Still, for this day, this is a start…