Thursday, October 17, 2013

really, sort of, rather

This video flitted through my FB feed this morning.

And I found myself nodding along with the girl, although she is young enough that I hope, having recognized the pattern in herself, she will sculpt her own behavior rather than just talking about how unfair it all is.

I'm not sure how old I was when my mother was reading some of my writing (I must've been 20 or younger because midway through college I stopped letting her read any of my fiction) and she pointed out that I was using a lot of qualifiers in my narration: really, sort of, rather. Mom told me about the studies done on the ways men and women communicate and how women tend to "soften" their statements so they don't seem too aggressive, which leads to them being ignored or not taken seriously.

And because I have always had a macho streak, I decided then and there to purge those words from my writing and my speech.

I am fortunate enough to be married to a man who does not require me to give up myself, or yield ground to his personality, but he's a rare one. The three long-term relationships I was in before him all had elements of that paradigm, and they all ended when I quit yielding and they got resentful. And I didn't even grow up in a household that fostered this paradigm, but the boys did.

Paula Cole said in her song, "Nietzsche's Eyes":

Grandmother Mother
And now I see it in myself
I take on the water
Until the dam threatens to break
I became a little dull
My voice became too small

And back in 1996 I nodded to myself and said, Yup, not gonna do that anymore.

It doesn't solve all problems. My first marriage was supposed to be a partnership but it turns out men can also be manipulative and passive-aggressive. Women tend to be intimidated by me. Business relationships with men are still tricky, because bosses tend to feel threatened by me. I will probably never have a job that involves customer service, but that's not really a drawback.

I will probably never be an editor's favorite author. Luckily my agent seems to get me.

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