Winter Solstice 2020
Candles Seeking Wind - For The Women
It can be an occupational hazard, or just a hazard, for a writer — for anyone! — TO STATE THE OBVIOUS to a person who is not ready, willing, able or prepared to accept the truth. Stating it to a woman can have perilous, even deadly consequences.
These candles that I burned this morning lava-flowed within an hour of the flame hitting the wick. Not all candles are equal, and neither are women.
Over the course of time, of a lifetime, to be exact, I have had to make clever use of symbolism to state the obvious to some women who would not permit themselves to be all they could have been. Their candles were sometimes burned at both ends, and not always by themselves. Frequently, their candles burned out too fast, or never took to a flame. The woman never took the time, or the courage, to find love that would burn brightly, and steadily, and enduringly.
It was a disheartening adventure for me to know those women. Each one possessed a potential that fought to become realized; each one fought to deny the full expression of her bloom, and, often, her full bloom. Most, if not all, of those women blamed men, or their mothers, or their fathers, or a detested sibling, or having gone to the wrong school, or gotten the wrong degree, or accepted the wrong job.
These women were not candles in the wind. They were candles who sought the wind, as a way to justify and rationalize mistakes they secretly wanted to make, and decisions they could not admit were gross errors in judgement. Those candles in their own winds of pretext came next to what they wanted, but never to it. They never embraced their dreams because they never put their arms around their real selves, their truest gal-pal that got left behind, somewhere in the dust of disappointment that grew to become the expedient stopgap that basically stopped them from living genuine lives.
If, for a certain kind of guy, it’s all about a life devoted to the chase, for this kind of woman, the seeking is sought more than the finding, the wanting more than the possessing, and the missed opportunity more than the goal conquered.
Obviously, my life could only interface with their lives for a brief time. Within the space of that brevity, a duration that, in some cases, endured for more than a decade — I solidified my grasp on my goals to achieve. I became even more focused on the attainment of my dreams. Perhaps because of my having known these women, the would-have-beens, I felt duty-bound to achieve my missions in life, to fulfill my life in the wake of their lamentable lives.
In a silent, sorrowed way, I knew, and they knew, that I would go on to the places they could only dream of; many times, I helped them to envision those dreams for themselves. But Debra — she’s different than me.
Those differences were nearly always difficult for me to accept. I work well in tandem, for someone who must always work alone.
I’d listen to my female confidantes, and accept their paltry excuses as if those cop-outs were credible. It was part of the gift of my friendship to each woman. For someone like me, the vigilant, if not rebellious, and blunt speaker of the truth, to remain silent amidst so much song-and-dance, well, my friend knew that she’d really found a real friend. And I knew that that woman dearly needed the friendship, that type of friendship, that only I could grant to her.
There are times when a friend must swallow the chokingly-bad preposterous excuse that is proffered as if it is a sip of smooth hot cocoa, on a bitter cold day. The bitterness and the coldness of that day compose the makeshift life that this friend believes is still somehow worth living.
Toward the end of my time with that friend, because there would always come a time when I had to depart even the friend-of-the-heart who was threatening the truths of my own heart — I would state the obvious in a symbolic way to this friend who could not bear to face the truth. My enemies I leave alone to wallow in their own misery; they’re so good at it!
There was the very dear girlfriend who married a guy who was gonna be nothing but trouble, because he’d started out as nothing but trouble. I not only attended her wedding; I composed her vows for her. Why? There is a fine line between enabling and helping, and my conscience told me that this woman needed to believe in this second marriage as a way of believing in life. Her personal tragedies had led her to this point, and I was not about to tell her to jump off a cliff from that point on.
In parting, I suggested that she watch Gaslight, the Ingrid Bergman flick. She did, and simply loved it!
The no-account pretty-boy sewer-rat husband outlived this woman, and her bank account, which was what that sponging womanizer was after the whole time. I left it to the Almighty to do His Almighty work of even-ing the evening score on that scoundrel game, and He undoubtedly has done so.
Another cherished gal-pal had been so bamboozled, for decades, by the guy SHE sought to control by rescuing him through marriage, that I knew she’d never see the grim and grungy writing on the wall. I sympathized and empathized, and tried not to tell her lies, all the while fuming in my tug-of-war with her soulless husband over this poor woman’s soul. Finally, I surrendered to my Higher Power, and I was able to leave that unclean scene, just as that dirty dog of a husband was, to quote this very dear gal-pal, waiting to bury her in the back yard.
Before bowing to reality, I shared with this woman one last song among many that we shared: “Queen of Denial” by Pam Tillis, an oldie-but-goodie from the 1990s.
The 1990s were an abominable time for those of us in the USA who preferred tradition to tackiness, morality to immoral relativism, any form of real music to synthetic sound, fashionable clothing to truckstop tragedy costuming, natural fibers to artificial weaves, real leather to pleather, tv entertainment to televised deviations from The Norm, and offices and businesses engaged in capitalism, commerce and free trade, as opposed to financially fraudulent freak shows for the lawyer-class to pillage and plunder.
Occasionally, during those 1990s, I would venture to Downtown, to Sacramento, from my remote home-maker location in Roseville, for the purpose of having lunch with Dear Husband; or paying a social call to former co-workers. I did not state the obvious to those decent, hard-working individuals: They stated the obvious to me.
“You are an inspiration and a role model to us all,” one secretary verbally triumphed over my triumph in domesticity. “There is life after marriage and children.”
It was very uncomfortable for me to observe the steady demoralization of women in the workplace of that era, not because of men, and not because of lack of pay, and not due to lack of promotion (women were getting hoisted up and into supervisory positions lickety-split), and not because of a woman having to stretch her life in too many different directions. Women, at least real women, have always had to stretch their lives, and their loves, in too many different directions at once. That dynamic dynamism is part of being a woman, and part of loving like a woman, the incomparable way that only a woman can and ought and needs to love.
The sad, and obvious, truth to me, as I encountered those talented and vibrant women of the 1990s, was they’d bought a myth that had begun to quickly unravel on them. The myth began to unravel on those Empowered Women just as soon as they’d purchased it. Which is no way for an illusion or a fantasy to behave!
“Independence”, as marketed for the previous decade or two to girls and to women, had brought them only more work, not more true femininity. Those women were, by and large, “doing it” to themselves; and the “it” typically came in the form of unhappiness, unhealthiness, and undecided hours of decision. They were being used like chattel, like beasts of burden, as pawns and worse. They were paying the price for their own “empowerment”. What a lousy deal and a rotten bargain.
A woman is a powerhouse of potential that a 9-5 office job can only stifle. Some of those dis-satisfied women left the career track-race prematurely, via the Early-Out, and then tried to expand their lives, but for many it was too late. Women of younger generations had taken the lead on being women-in-the-home, working for themselves, creating and crafting online businesses. I was, from the 1990s onward, in a very quiet and ignored vanguard of that innovative development in America. I presently feel pleased as punch to do business with women who work from home, and have been doing so for at least a decade.
During the past few years, it has been my personal, professional and womanly pleasure to witness a realtor who works out of a home-office, with her young daughter and her toddler son in the room, right beside her.
She’s quite a character. This past summer, her decor in the front yard outside of her business residence consisted of letters, exhorting everyone to: SPREAD KINDNESS. By early December that philosophy changed to an enormous inflatable Grinch!
For the women I knew, those candles seeking wind, I can still feel wistful, at times, for what might have been; and sad, for what was. For the women I currently know, those candles with the flames of true resistance to poppycock and hot air, I feel pride and promise, for all that a strong woman can achieve, once she fully believes in herself.