Monday, June 20, 2011

The Price Of Womanhood

A few weeks back I set out on a quest to let my overwhelming and often all-consuming guilt go, or at least figure out the root so I could start the process of releasing it. See I was convinced I had ruined my husband's life, imprisoned him in a misery far greater than mine could ever be. I was not given the intimate role model of lifetime marriage by my parents and in the back of my head, back far further than I could ever consciously access, believed when it got tough, people split. Take off. Run, skip, hop or jump their way as far away from the offending party as quickly and blamelessly as possible. Our society is no stranger to divorce. Lifetime marriages are rare, and long-term happy marriages even rarer. I was, in all honesty, shocked my husband still wanted to be my husband! A woman approaching her mid-30's or 10th year of marriage may go through this self-doubt phase anyway, but given my myriad of health problems, balloon of weight, loss of income, inability to keep up with others socially and every other weakness, I could not for the life of me figure out why what I had to offer was enough. But I was missing an important link. What love does to a person, the intense bond nurtured, long-term love becomes. And the character of my husband. See he was modeled lifetime marriage by his parents. And his mother was a home-health nurse, so sickness and illness were not the plague to him that they are to others. But this miserable mess of a woman that I had become; sick, childless, no career and very few friends, practically a recluse, was quickly becoming so insecure I did not even want to be around myself! Obviously this was becoming a big problem and I had to do something about it.

I picked up a book my mother gave me in 2007. Its a scriptural take on the creation of woman and our purpose, our design to compliment man and what an important role we play in the ordered madness of our world. I tried to read this book when she gave it to me 4 years ago. It was really lame! The first few pages I suffered through were full of the strangest conclusions drawn from the most inconsistent evidence and perfectly preposterous analogies. I put it down and forgot about it. But I recently cleaned out my office closet and that unread book traded places with the read books in the stack beside my bed. I picked it up and hauled out to the pool one Saturday afternoon. The first chapter explored the inclination of the female heart to possess beauty, crave to be delighted in, strive to obtain external beauty as a way to reflect what is inside. And each word hit so close to home I felt every thump and thud. It made such perfect and obvious sense! That will tell you what 4 years of living life will do to you! The author talked about little girls playing dress-up, and how before the injustices of the world had a chance to take hold of heart and soul, we would strut around in shoes so big they tripped us and lips so red they overtook our faces. Glimmering belts strapped around our heads like crowns of jewels. Whatever fancy dress was befitting the occasion. We would bounce and flounce our stuff, in front of mirrors and past our parents and take pride in the joy of being female, being pretty, as we dreamed of a future full of glamor and intrigue. Of course my mind went straight back to the little girl I was so many years ago, playing with mommies jewelry box and hats and scarves and elbow-length gloves. And I will be darned if lying amidst the hungover post-teens giggling about their exploits the night before I did not break into almost a full sob!

Something I was reading was ripping back all the layers of "protection" I have swaddled my heart in, and that pure innocence of the little girl I once was soulfully mourned her seclusion, challenged her quarantine. I gradually begun to cease thinking in terms of a $ value on my head, a list of "good" and "bad" qualities that price my self-worth, and begun to think of myself as a magnificent creature, fierce and protective while soft and embracing.  I begun to understand why my heart was aching so bad it was infecting my brain with self-doubt and worthlessness. Because to survive I had to shut her truth, her vulnerability! A cold hard world with many pains and injustices, I vowed early on my heart would never be truly broken because I would protect it by never truly opening it. Never truly surrendering. Not allowing love to not only flow in me but through me, as I was created to do. I am starting to see the beauty in the feminine, the female. I am opening my heart up to my husband in ways I have not in over 12 years of relationship. I am trusting him in ways that for practical purposes are just plain stupid! But the time has come. Fibromyalgia has stripped everything from me, and I have had to rebuild my life brick by painstaking brick. If I can rebuild a healthier, stronger, happier me, a woman that rejoices in her womanhood and sees her value in ways that are just not considered in this day and age, I will have certainly turned that lemon into one fabulous margarita!

Thanks for joining,


  1. I too have wondered what I could possibly offer to my husband now that I have Fibro and other health problems. I keep expecting him to fly the coup at any time, but he stays glued to my side. He takes care of me, shields me from toxic people, and is very patient, knowing I don't feel like doing the things we used to do. I didn't understand it for a long time, and realized he just truly loved me.Sounds as if you got something real too Leah. We are lucky in this day and age to find that, and still have it with all our health issues.

  2. What is this sounds like something many of us should be reading to help find our joy again! Thanks for writing yet another wonderfull blog.

  3. My mother actually asked me once what on earth my husband gets out of our marriage, and I had to admit that sometimes I wonder, too. I asked him, once, why he stays with me, and he said, rather tenderly, "Because you have nowhere else to go." I took that pretty hard at the time, but what I've come to understand is that my husband wants, more than anything, to be the hero, the white knight. My many weaknesses allow him to fill that role in a way I could never have let him when I was healthy. He DOES love me, truly--not madly, but truly, and I am blessed.

  4. I'm a new reader to your blog and this post struck home with me today.

    I had a bad flare and had the paramedics, yet again, out to help pick me up off the kitchen floor earlier this morning. This evening I have asked my husband for the 100th time why he is still with me, and did he ever imagine that when we got married, he would now be pulling his wife in and out of the bath, or walking at a snails pace hand-in-hand with her whilst she hobbles just a step behind with her walking stick, running around after 2 kids and doing most of the chores. He said 'no, but then again, you're the only one who'd put up with me.' Not true and he knows it, but it made me smile, as it always does. He makes me smile and that makes every day just that little bit brighter.

    Thanks for the read tonight. I think I needed to be reminded.