Martha Say

Forty-seven months and I am full on rage and angst and entitled and blessed and grateful and pissed off and maybe hormonal. I’m supposed to be old enough for that to be an excuse. However, that’s exactly what it would be, an excuse. And you know what Corey says about excuses… they’re like assholes, everybody has one. So I suppose we can scratch that one off the list. But the rest of them I own. They are the mountain on my shoulders. The mountain I was supposed to climb not carry. I could not be more disappointed in myself for the number of times I choose to be a victim rather than victor. What’s that quote? “You’re a victim once after that you’re a volunteer.” Something like that.

There’s this song that always makes me woman up by John Mellencamp. “Martha Say”. “Martha say she don’t need no stinkin’ man making no decisions for her.” That line sheds a little light on the relationship Corey and I had at times. He used to roll his eyes when I’d sing that. Usually, as a response to him getting a bit too patriarchal. Remember, I have a dad. You’re my partner. Perhaps it was a little bit of first born and middle child personalities jockeying for position.

It is a different world being single. There is a good amount of security in a wedding band. I have changed, and not all for the better. My tongue is sharp, my patience thin, my filter gone. Today I have unintentionally embodied these lyrics:

Martha say she don’t need no revolver to shoot some idiot down. She can do it with her eyes, she can do it with her smile, she can do it with a conversation walking down the hall. Man, now ain’t that the truth ’cause I saw her take a bite out of some macho dude laying some corn ball line on her last night.

I am embarrassed at how efficiently I can cut someone down to size. Secretly, I may even get some satisfaction in their bewilderment. If they don’t get it, it somehow further confirms that they deserved my wrath. My most recent response to what are you doing this weekend was, “I’m washing my hair… aaallll weekend long.” Wait a minute, I don’t feel badly about that one. He was a perv. Anyhow, my point being is I had no idea how difficult it would be to navigate this world solo, minding your own beeswax and continuing on your merry (or maybe less than merry) way. The dangerous, most important point to all of this is what message am I sending to my impressionable twelve year old daughter. What I hope for is to set an example of strength and grace, to hold your standards high, know that you are complete and enough, and never compromise your inner voice, but not that all men are pigs (or dating or having an interest/crush is wrong). That simply can not be. I married a good man, I have a wonderful father, I’ve raised a good son, and I have the most adorable grandson. It is partly my responsibility to see to it that he doesn’t grow up to be a jerk.  (I do still want my daughter to be grossed out when she sees kissing on TV, though.)

I want to be able to accept a compliment without wondering what the ulterior motive is. What’s been revealed to me so far has been a little bit of lions and tigers and bears. Lions and tigers and bears… that’s the best you can do? That’s what you have to show me? And this is coming, mostly, from men who have known me so therefore know what I’ve been through or at least know that I’m widowed. What doesn’t appear to have registered with them is that my trust has withered away and you, YOU just further annihilated it. I want to have hope, I do.

I want a lot of things. As I do every year at this time, I am assessing and creating personal goals for the next twelve months. My criteria is that each goal has to fit into my larger life goal:

When my head hits the pillow I want it to be with a contentment that I lived this day to the best of my ability. I want satisfaction in the work that I accomplished, a sense of peace for the days that came before and an eagerness for the day that lies in front of me.

Martha Say doesn’t fit into my life goal.

One Comment

  1. We should all strive for balance…or at least the power to restrain ourselves from throttling people who test our patience. Your daughter sees a strong, goal oriented, smart, funny woman…you got this!

    Liked by 1 person

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