When will we be heard the first time we speak, instead of resorting to exhaustion, to something so utterly disturbing?
Movies like, Gone Girl are brilliant, you can’t help but have a little satisfaction at the representation of a woman who feels she must go the extra mile to get her needs met. I read a short story for a school assignment called, The Yellow Wall Paper outlining a woman’s descent into madness while under the care of her physician husband; to this day it sends chills down my spine.
These are 5 stories that touch the edge of madness, outlining the cries of women everywhere.
1Porcelain dolls were the fetish of girls before Barbie became mainstream. They have delicate ivory skin made of, well-porcelain. They are often dressed in Victorian style clothing, not meant to be played with, but collected and put away. Likewise, the woman is represented as a porcelain doll, delicate, beautiful, an object of desire- she isn’t heard in the fullness of her voice, over time she is chipped away, but these women can be healed.
Rip, tongue, out of mouth
Lay it, on the floor
Blend into, white tiles
On white walls
On, white, floor
Nails of iron, scratch face, bleed
Black inside, black outside
Porcelain doll painted white
Watch me lay
2Most women have a caring nature, abuse turns her bitter, bitterness becomes her. She develops a cold, calculated nature. Those who drove her to this madness will not be able to stand her; she cannot stand herself. She becomes someone she does not recognize, unpleasant, she is pushed away. So, they name her, bitch, whore, emotional-then mad. There are few who work to crack her exterior and are warned, stand strong and hold her as she spills the pain of her insides. These women can be healed.
I have an exoskeleton
Intestines hang off me
See the bile, you make me vomit
Blood is flowing
I am a hemophiliac
Diaphragm cannot expand
See the blue as I suffocate
Bones protect me
Skin hidden, you cannot see
The cartilage move
See my muscles
Ligaments are torn
All, over, you
3 We know what rape is, the aggressive, forceful type. We’re a bit more unclear when it comes to denying sex to our partner. In these relationships, we automatically assume a sense of ownership and expectation.
An acquaintance of mine- a middle-aged, white, straight male, announced one day, “I think I have an idea of how women feel. I was in the bathroom and a gay man aggressively hit on me. I know I’m a guy but it was kinda scary.” I just knowingly smiled.
Women give their bodies as a sign of surrender- the release of power. Women also give or have their bodies taken by force when she fears for safety. This doesn’t have to be fear of physical safety, it can include fear being ridiculed, or the emotional reaction and torment of her partner in the coming days. Here, she is trying to protect her power. Women of rape can be healed.
Sex was my duty
Not the cookin’ cleanin’ kind of duty
More like openin’ my mouth
To breathe kind of duty
Lying down I closed my eyes
Hoping my rigid posture
Would repel him, but no such luck
He mounted me-that drunken rider
Pleasure, pain, disgust
He rode, he rode, he rode
Until he could ride no more
Ending with violent voodoo shakes
Maybe his demons were being exorcised
Where would they go?
But I already knew the answer
This Haunted House
I have no home but just a house
The words are thrown as they shout
I burn with hurt and rage inside
How from my home I’ve been deprived
The bonds that should have been held close.
Were loosened as the cords they broke
Searching for a quick escape
From my soul did they rape
The wounds much deeper than my back
To trust your love I sometimes lack
I’m running from this house of mine
As body shatters place and time
What people see is not what is
The prison in which I live.
4Women are creators, life-givers, they change history and raise nations. But what about the barren women? Is a woman truly a woman without giving birth? So much of her value is placed on her ability to produce, but remember she is given this role because of her ability to nurture. A woman’s inability to give birth does not take away from her capacity to nurture life.
In ancient Bible texts, a story is told of Hannah, a barren woman, who was praying to God for a child. She is in the temple, described as angry, crying bitterly, speaking to herself. The priest Eli enters and thinks she is drunk, she explains she is not and tells her story, he gives her a blessing to go in peace. Compassion can be cultivated for this woman and she should be encouraged to find her peace. These women can be healed.
Less of a woman
As I am the creator of nothing
Is it my punishment?
You can love me despite
Myself for my barrenness
The sound of children all around me
Inside, for I am the creator of nothing
Have a Child
5Finally, how can this woman be healed? Healing is a continual washing of dirt that surfaces. Just when you think you’re clean you find more. There is no need to hold on to trauma, pain, suffering. Your story will still be honoured, and there is no need to let go before you are ready. It’s a life long release of dancing, discovering, exploring, of letting go. This woman will be healed.
Emotions Colour My World
Eyes no longer function
Only an irrational mind
Trudging through streets
Feelings only pangs of emotions
As they brush up against me
Rub their hands all around me
Invade my body
Clasp their hands around my throat
Suck sensibility from me
Spread me open on the floor
Women’s emotions are often depicted through madness. Perhaps it is the world who has become void of emotion, who has lost the value of affection through nurture. Through emotional exhaustion, take rest, then rise into a stronger self once more.