Don’t Lick the Knife
“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke
I never look in the mirror, so I have no idea what is going on with my face…
Shortly after saying this to my partner,
who had just asked me what was going on with my face,
I decided to look in a mirror.
There was a splotch of smeared blood on my cheek…
and although it is that time of the month, where I might use crimson lady juice as war paint, or be so rude as to not wash my hands after a visit to the powder room because I’m not in the mood to be polite,
this was just a case of leaning on a bleeding finger.
‘Tis but a scratch… no need to call the emergency services. I’d licked and sucked the cut on the finger what more did it want to stop its bleeding nonsense!
While leaning on that bleeding finger I read a merry tale about a kerfuffle, fans were opened and fluttered, which broke out between famous princesses in the kingdom of the internet on Women’s Day.
One princess flashed her lady bits and called attention to it.
Other princesses were offended… this is not how a princess worthy of her title should behave!
Pray tell, how should a princess behave to please other princesses?
“Once we give up searching for approval we often find it easier to earn respect.”
― Gloria Steinem
not sure if I classify as a woman, especially now that I’m reminded that this entails living up to rules which keep changing, seem random, are often made by females who think they’re better than other females because… I have no idea why…
well, I’ve never been any good at following instructions, and rules make me nervous because they’re so fragile and I’m rather clumsy, sometimes deliberately.
I thought I became a woman on the day that I bled for it, but apparently that’s a default setting which only means you’re probably a witch but not necessarily a woman.
I saw the film Carrie just before I got my very first period
(I said that in my head as though I was talking about my very first Barbie. I got my very first Barbie long before little girls were being targeted by marketing ‘geniuses’ to buy a barbie called My Very First Barbie. I got that Barbie too and my other Barbies gave her hell, they hazed her by making her go through what I’d put them all through – she had to forgo wearing princess dresses and wear Ken’s clothes while pretending to be male as the plot of her story required that she pretend to be a man… mainly a male pirate… princess dresses were for wussies with a pussy who had been unmasked while pretending to be a man and the men (the Kens) had forced them to wear girlie clothes because those Ken men were… very fashion conscious and couldn’t fit into the dresses themselves and really wanted to see someone wear them rather than let them gather dust – before she was integrated into the Barbie Sisterhood) .
The film came out long before then, and long before then I’d seen far more disturbing films…
Like Countess Dracula, where a woman maintained her youthful glow by killing other women (who had to be virgins) and bathing in their blood…
“Security is the denial of life”
― Germaine Greer
Sometimes when I witness the way some women behave towards other women… such as in the Women’s Day online kerfuffle… I’m reminded of good old young Countess Dracula.
I almost chose her as a role model when I was a child, but… she was a bit too much like my mother and, I didn’t want to be a mysogynist and a mysandrist. I didn’t want to be either of those because they relied too much on others to have a sense of self,
and my secret passion was to rely on myself for all things related to myself. If I needed to hate others to feel good about myself… I’d end up with the same expression on my face which my mother had (which made my childish eyes want to look away) and bathing in the blood of freshly killed virgins wasn’t going to wipe out those bitter lines.
My mother hated being female, hated being a woman and therefore hated both men and women for what she hated about herself.
It’s a snake that eats its own tail and eventually swallows all of its body, digesting it as it progresses, but gets a bit perplexed when it reaches the head. Now what?
“To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.”
― Simone de Beauvoir
Why did my mother hate being female?
When I asked her (not directly because you never ask a woman, or a man, or any human, a direct question about something that personal), her reply was a bit vague and yet also rather searingly focused. Basically it had something to do with growing up with a brother who could lick his knife after finishing a meal and he’d get praised for such a dangerous and rude feat. Whereas if my mother did the same thing she’d get punished for it. Don’t lick the knife!
Over and over her brother got praised and she got punished for doing the same thing.
She hated him for the privileged life he lead, and grew to hate his gender for it too.
She also hated herself for not being able to be the one living that privileged life, and when she saw those of her gender finding privilege in being that gender, she hated them for that because she couldn’t find the privilege in it.
She was entrenched in a sense of self-hate which was too much for one to bear by herself and so it spilled out, flowed, and that flow kept flowing until everyone around her drowned in her own drowning self.
“I discovered that I am tired of being a person. Not just tired of being the person I was, but any person at all”
― Susan Sontag
A detail in her stories of this social injustice which she was certain was gender-based that she never quite explained was why it seemed to be women who praised the male and punished the female more often than it was men who did that. In fact the men in her stories were almost non-existent, they were cardboard cut-outs used by women to remind them that they had men in their lives who were not here but elsewhere doing man things, leaving the shaping of young minds of all genders to the womenfolk. Thus this bias which burned so deeply for my mother that it made her hate her own gender was caused by her own gender more than by the other gender.
I think her hate for women came from her sense that her own gender biased her against herself, yet her gender blamed the other gender for this bias… it was confusing and that confusion grew like a billowing fog which made the shapes of both men and women seem ominous in the diffused light of a lamp which could not penetrate it without being diffused.
She tried to pass that onto to me, but it never quite took seed… or the seeds grew into weird plants that weren’t quite what she’d intended to grow there.
I’m not oblivious to the struggles which comes with being female. I am female (I’m repeating that to remind myself).
I’m not blinkered to the struggles which come with being male either. I am not male, so I’ll never perceive it through the eyes of personal physical experience, but I have imagination and those eyes can be helpful with perception as long as I keep them open and able to see beyond my own point of view.
I’m beginning to understand both those genders better thanks to awareness raised by those who are transgender. They challenge all of us… and it’s a challenge worth accepting.
Perhaps we all need to pause and just pause some more… sink into who we are and let that sink into us.
Get a sense of self which makes sense beyond what we normally think is sense.
We think a lot of things… our thinking ability is limited, it needs to be informed by the other parts of us, the ones who live beyond what we think we know of living and life.
Stop worrying so much about who we aren’t,
and stop picking on those who are being who we don’t think they should be because
we can’t be who we want to be.
“You can only lie about who you are for so long without going crazy.”
― Ellen Wittlinger
We’re human, we’ll always find a reason to struggle…
with ourselves, with others, with others because we’re struggling with ourselves, and vice versa…
because being human includes struggling as a default setting.
I’m human, I struggle, but every now and then that struggle is a pleasure rather ran a source of pain for me and others.
I bled today,
and that blood for awhile was blush for my cheeks.
I licked it off (yes, my tongue did the job instead of the tap) so as to not disturb those whose eyes might see my face, and wonder what war I’d been fighting
and if they were a part of it, willingly or unwillingly,
if maybe I was a Countess Dracula seeking virgins (regardless of gender) to sacrifice so that I could be eternally beautiful for awhile.
I can’t see my face unless I look in a mirror,
or someone else plays that part for me reacting to what is there,
what they see there… is what they see there.
I live inside and behind the face.
This is me… whatever the expression, whatever is going on outside, I’m here being me inside.
If there is something delicious on the knife, I will lick it… sometimes I regret doing that, but that’s for me to find out and learn from it through the doing of it.
If someone sees me licking the knife and tells me not to do it (as my mother often did… yep, she did to me what was done to her even though she didn’t like having it done to her)… maybe I’ll stop for their sake, they can’t handle it (I really don’t want them handling my knife) or maybe I won’t (not if there’s salty butter on it).
Lick and let lick (try not to cut any tongues off with that knife, hope others are aware of their tongues, but mostly be aware of what yours is doing… it sometimes does what theirs is doing and may be doing it when you tell them not to do it).
“Whatever comes,” she said, “cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett