ah “WO” men

The ability to do something or act in a particular way, esp. as a faculty or quality.
Supply (a device) with mechanical or electrical energy.
noun. might – force – strength – potency – authority – energy
verb. actuate – operate

i was maybe ten years old.
maybe eleven.
i thought my mother was god. i thought she was the most powerful woman that walked the earth.
i was ten, maybe eleven.
it was around midnight.
my folks were screaming & yelling at each other. some big loud bad fight about nothing, but boy oh boy were they loud.
my mother was amazingly loud.
oh she could carry a scream like the best of them.
fuck you, no fuck you. go to hell no you… you go to hell.
doors slammed.
she came into my room, woke me up, got me out of bed, and i followed her down the stairs.
my father was sitting in his favorite chair – in the living room – tucked into the corner, his favorite blue corduroy chair. wearing pajamas, and smoking a cigarette.
he looked so defeated.
my mother grabbed my hand, and pushed me out of the door.
another door slammed closed.
we went to the empress diner, our local diner, where my mother ordered coffee with some cream. she chain smoked and drank coffee. women didn’t text back then, they didn’t email or have cell phones or blackberries, or smart phones. they drank coffee, and stared out big bay windows – choosing songs on the juke box, dreaming and thinking of leaving their lives and starting over somewhere else.
she drank coffee, and smoked cigarettes, and maybe read or skimmed the daily newspaper. i laid down in the booth, and tried to sleep. from under the table, which was my point of view, i watched my mother’s legs criss-cross, back and forth, and watched as cigarette ashes sprayed the floor when they missed the ashtray.
under the table everything seemed ordinary.
we stayed in the diner for a good two hours. two and a half hours. i could just imagine my father pacing back and forth as many times as mother criss crossed her legs. i could imagine him calling an aunt or two, worried sick. i could imagine him chain smoking and running his fingers through his thick gorgeous shock of premature gray hair. i could imagine him opening the front door and closing the front door and shaking his head and closing his eyes and hoping and praying for my mother to pull into the driveway.
i could barely walk up the front stoop.
“i am so sorry,” my father said with a lump in his throat.
“i’m going to bed. i’m exhausted.”
my mother disappeared into the bedroom.
i kissed my dad and he squeezed me. i could feel his heart breaking.

i believed my mother was all powerful.
a force of nature.
she scared the shit out of me. she did.
it wasn’t until years and years later that i realized and knew that i had mistaken her loud screaming voice, her rage, her dire need to be the center of attention… for powerful.

man, oh man, was i wrong.
she wasn’t powerful.
god no.
she was angry.

little did i know she was at war with herself.

and now… now, i truly deeply believe when women find peace within their own heart, their own soul, there will be peace in the world. make no mistake the fierce power of a woman who steps into her greatness knowing, with every fiber in her being, that yes, this is exactly where she is meant to be.

we don’t need to be like those nasty brutal cruel vile men; loud, mean, crusty, bitter, jealous.

we just need to own what’s already there.
right here.
in us.

we are nurturers, lovers, friends, mothers, daughters, sisters, partners, unifiers, creators.
and yes, yes… we are often life at it’s best.

so, lets step into our power, our truth, our greatness – with grace and dignity, with all the goodness and beauty we possess – knowing that this is exactly where we belong.

and i bet you, that simple action WILL BE HEARD LOUD AND CLEAR by everyone.

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4 Responses to “ah “WO” men”

  1. Clare Borries

    Yes! Yes, Amy! You got it so right. Power is very different from anger and the sooner we find this truth in ourselves the better off we’ll be! Thank you for taking my hand and guiding me to this revelation at 51!

  2. Barbara@TheMiddleAges

    Man, oh, woman, did you speak loud and clear!! So so so true. Amazing little vignette of a time gone past. And of how that time of not hearing your own true self was so confusing. And depleting. Heartbreaking on the one hand, a true reminder on the other.

  3. kristine

    my heart aches on a daily basis for the loss of the mother I had, the one I wished for and now the one I barely know….trying to learn as much as possible.

  4. Debbie

    Amy, my dear, dear friend, every time I read something you’ve written about your mother I swear to God it connects to my very soul. These poor women, our mothers who were unfulfilled, unappreciated, misguided, lost, confused, scared, angry, tired … we love them now, so differently from when they unknowingly terrorized us. And we understand them now because we’ve lived 50 or more years and we too, are women. Those poor women, from the 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s never had a chance. Life was a small little box and that was where you stayed, forever, until you died. I’m so sorry you went through that fear and terror. When you grow up feeling like “it’s you”, you’re wrong. You’re a mistake. At least that’s how I felt. But I am so grateful for your gift of writing and the beautiful ability to make others feel and understand without self-pity. It is your story. One that so many women can relate to and I thank you, always, for your honesty and your courage.

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