Kristina Furey

Rapunzel

I did not choose her as a friend.  She was part of the “bargain” I took on when I chose to have someone else in my life.   My guess is she felt the same about me, as she seemed very prickly and snappish about all things that were me, that did not line up with her.  I often found myself bending and sometimes, ever so gently, trying to persuade her to open her mind to other possibilities.  Respectfully.  Gently.  Yet, she struck me as someone always ready to pounce into a debate or fight.  Like she was looking for it.  I often wondered if she enjoyed arguing and fighting.  One day, while very annoyed and reviewing various arguments and uncomfortable out bursts of hers, that I was the recipient of, I began wondering if she actually believed her side of the arguments she would so passionately excite or was she just baiting me any chance she got?  Well, maybe I did contribute to her anger…

One particular day, while our children played together in another room and we hung out in the kitchen, with the news playing on a small television and she prepped her dinner, she began replying angrily at the news.  Some female had gone into a bar, gotten inebriated and was raped there in the bar.  This was probably about two years post the whole Tail Hook Scandal I had paid careful attention to, along with the Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill scandal/trial, as I came to realize that we females have to be really careful, and even THAT, sadly is not always enough.  “Can you believe this!” was the beginning of a rant she began to yell in her kitchen that started with her rage over the news story and then continued as she ranted hate against all males, putting them all in one basket.  I realized I was walking into a minefield…  Editing myself was not a strong point for me at the time but I felt a need to protect those males in the world that really were just decent people.  Now maybe I said what I said next because it was apparent to me, her husband had let her down in many ways and I felt she needed to know there was better out there.  But more likely because her daughter was playing with my son in the other room and her daughter’s life quickly flashed before my eyes.  With total confidence, I can say, my own lack of self editing was the weakest link here as I said, out loud and loud is a good description, “While we have to teach our boys to respect the girls in this world, we also have to empower our daughters and teach them self respect and self protection. This never should have happened and never would have happened had she not walked into that bar, alone, drank away her defenses and fallen prey to someone who never got that “respect females” message, along with guidelines of what that respect consisted of.”  I wasn’t trying to victim blame, which is what she heard…  I was trying to problem solve.  She of course did not take it that way and many other people probably would not…

BACK STORY:  I was a stay at home mom because I took responsibility for my own sons seriously, to the point of OCD.  I felt it was my job to educate them on how to be a member of society and respect others.   I knew going in, that meant respecting males in the way I treated them and spoke about them in front of my boys as much as modeling my respect for other females.  My own mother never berated one sex or the other and neither did my father.  I was exposed to the disrespect a bit growing up but not from my own parents.  HOWEVER, my father had his opinions and they showed up in things like my curfew time and inquisitions in regards to my where abouts and with whom.  Also, he did not want me in any way, shape or form, involved in entertainment.  Comments he made and actions he took to herd me away made me resent this.  I think my dad was repulsed by the lifestyle of Janis Joplin and her impression on him unfortunately led him to impressing on me the life of an entertainer was no life for his daughter.  He also took the Red Forman (Dad in “That 70’s Show”) hard ass approach to child rearing.  He never called me a “dumb ass” but for sure called me on “What were you thinking?”  “Were you thinking?”  “Go to your room and think about this!”  Which is kind of the same as Red’s “Don’t be a dumb ass!”  THINK!  Consider that you are living in a factual world and act accordingly.  …I am thankful for the most part of his approach.  But not the part where he did he not trust to me to go my own way, in the direction of my heart, my mind and my perceived talent?”  He didn’t because he knew something went terribly wrong in Janis Joplin’s life and things like Tail Hook happen and because he knew that these things happen to females, I was taught that my life would be more limited than the lives my brother’s had been born into.  I rebelled as best I could but I was a thinker and you can only go so far into rebellion if your eyes are fixed on the end result of your actions.  I stopped short of it being counter productive.   …well, most of the time…

Because I was told/taught/punished (<— whatever you want to label it) to go to my room and think, I knew that “Freedom of Speech” does not mean you are protected when you piss someone off by expressing yourself.  I personally have learned that lesson over and over again.  So it may not be all we perceive it to be…  I also knew when I turned 21, I had the right to go many places, including bars and go there by myself, along with the right to get inebriated but that did not mean I would be protected while there or in an inebriated state.  I mean hopefully so but I’m really not assured of my own safety if I go anywhere, inebriated or not, and at times that knowledge is a limit on my life.  I sometimes evaluate the situation and choose to let being a female of small build, a reason to forgo doing things I have a right to.  I, allow being a female, to be a limit on my life and that SUCKS!!!    

BACK TO MY ORIGINAL STORY:  Anyway, none of my knowing and thinking stopped me from using my “freedom of speech” and expressing myself to the subject of the above story and boy did I step in it, when I explained to her that we as females need to be aware of ourselves and the consequences of our actions.  I was not blaming the female in the news story.  She did NOT DESERVE what happened to her!!!  I was just saying, that when we females and males alike, go into a questionable place or dull our own senses and ability to think clearly, we can become victims of ill intent.  My heart hurt for the female in the news story.  It was disheartening that I could not explain to the person who was all up in my face, that while we as females have rights, they will never stand up for us, the way we can, when we take into account the facts of the situation and act on them.  

As a woman I feel so thankful to be a citizen of a country, whose laws try to insure that I am treated as an equal but I do want to point out that we still have a ways to go.  I wish I lived in a country where all people were honestly treated as equals.  As I see it, every little inequality in our country not only depletes the citizens and makes their lives smaller but does the same to the country as a whole.  

I leave you with a scribble I once wrote.  Perhaps the basis of of a song I’ve yet to write:
“Rapunzel was beautiful all the town’s folk would say but her heart was like ice as hard as cold clay.  Rapunzel’s mother locked her away.  Held her for ransom of child support pay.  Filled her with bitterness in regards to men and taught Rapunzel to not let them in.  “Rapunzel, Rapunzel”  You’d hear the boys say, “Let down your hair.  Come out and play.  Rapunzel, Rapunzel, with beauty so rare, I’m only asking that you let down your hair.”  <— I guess my initial thought was how many hurt women, raise daughters to carry the flags of their mother’s wounds and never get to experience males for themselves.  They just get the preconceived notions they’re brainwashed into believing but like most things, lessons taught, come from some where… 

 

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