A Woman Scorned

Friday, 30 October 2009

Well I'm drunk on self pity,
scorned all that's been given me
I would drink from a bottle labelled Sure Defeat
Over the Rhine - Poughkeepsie

I don't go in much for self pity. Out of all the bad emotional habits, there are others I much more prefer, like underhanded self sabotage. The unstinting victim focus required for self pity becomes dull to me after about 15 minutes.

I can go for months without having any sorts of menstrual problems and then whack, down flows the black cloud and suddenly it's like a different world where all the colour's leached out and all the hope's done taken some trip on some downbound train spouting Bon Jovi lyrics.

It's just descended on me over the past few days this little black cloud and I feel like all my get up and go has got up and buggered right off. So hard it all feels, so hard. Such a struggle just to stand still. And I have a bloody headache.

Once I would try and fight through this and now I embrace myself, I walk into my house on Friday night and sigh and feel the house enfold me. I look to the Cirque de Soleil DVD I have to watch. It is surely time to go searching for some David Attenborough to top it off, to watch the wonder of the natural world and be soothed by it, somehow, even when the animals of the natural world have this awful propensity to keep eating each other. Time to immerse myself in some clay, to batten down the hatches and look after myself.

This morning it was too hard to swim myself up out of the mood. I do admit, when I walked up the ramp into the train station to go to work I probably exuded a bit of "Get out of my bloody way you bastards" sort of an air even though it was somewhat closer in mood to "Ahh, what's the point of all this again? Tell me, I doth forget." It is an unfortunate occurrence of human facial features that depression and arrogance often look the same out of one face and the time you most need someone to smile at you is the time they will most likely glare.

The young man and I, for all I can see from my single perspective, were most likely just as much to blame as each other really. In hindsight my bag was pretty overladen with stuff and obviously I bumped into him more than I realised at the time. But he was carrying a backpack slung over one shoulder and he bumped into me too. Oh, the single eyed focus of the self-righteous, more one-eyed than any Collingwood supporter.

Now, I've heard it said that when we recount incidences containing ourselves more than a few times we begin starring ourselves in a rather shinier role, and I am mindful of that. Perhaps I did bump into him more than he did into me. Perhaps if we were able to instant replay it could be found that my bumping was 23% more than his happened to be, and yet it is not how it felt to me.

"How about saying sorry you rude fucking bitch."

I had walked past him and was on my way to the ticket machine. I stopped when I heard this and turned around.

"Yeah, you," he sneered. "How about saying sorry for banging into me. Pretty fucking rude."

"Likewise," I retorted. Quick tempered young man, I saw the steam begin pummelling itself out of his ears. There were many people around us and they began staring at both of us. Time slowed down as it does in such confrontations, when it feels like everything is heightened and at the same time everything is muffled and I do not know how much I remember correctly.

I do remember, however his next words. He spat them out of his mouth.

"You fat fucking bitch," he said.

"You ugly prick," I said. It was pretty deadpan. Timing is everything in comedy you know. He wasn't really. Ugly, that is. He was quite an average, pleasant looking young bloke but you know, you take what your mind dishes up for you at the time. He started spluttering.

Whereas I should play poker. I have had so many years of teenage arguments with my father that I can stay stone cold and deadpan on the outside while inside I am seething, boiling, white hot, red hot. Of course it has a time limit on it. All that anger ends up seeping itself out and if I play my hand too long I give myself away, my voice quavering with the white and the red, my fingers shaking involuntarily. But right now it was coming out as ice, which INFURIATES young men with anger management problems.

The whole thing probably took 10 seconds. I walked towards the ticket machine and put my ticket in. See, there they were beginning already, the slightly shaking hands. The deep deep shame. You fat bitch. Obviously a few hundred more yoga sessions are in order.

The young bloke continued saying things I do not now remember.

"Why don't you fuck off and go and sit on someone's face, you fucking bitch," he said. Which sounded slightly less stupid when he said it than it does here but nevertheless still didn't make me think he was off to a Mensa meeting. He elaborated a little more on his strangely phrased thoughts, which contained the word "fuck" quite a bit.

"Perhaps an extended vocabulary might come in handy," I commented as the machine vomited my ticket back out at me and I stalked off onto the platform. He stormed off down the ramp out to the street. I could hear him for much longer than I could understand his words.

My hands fluttered over my page as the train came. I read the same paragraph over and over, all the way to Flagstaff. 'Do not cry,' I ordered myself crossly, like a child.

Can't let them see you cry. Don't let them see you cry. It feels to you as if your whole world would collapse and your soul would dissolve if anyone was to see you cry, if anyone was to know that the words of a stranger - you fat bitch - hurt you enough on the inside to make you cry. You read the same paragraph over and over, and you make it to work, and you tell a workmate what happened, and then you manage to get a bit of work done but it's the kind pity in another workmate's eyes who has heard why you are upset, and that is what does it, and you escape to the ladies room.

The ladies toilets, two toilets for about 50 women, that are always, always full so that you can never get a quiet poo in in peace, and now they are mercifully empty and the tears escape down your cheeks before you can hold the toilet paper up to your eyes.

You wonder where you have learnt this rule, the rule that says that no one must see you cry. You know where you have learnt it. It is a tight, tight, tight steel wad of pride that is lodged somewhere up under your chest cavity and no one, no one, is going to dislodge it except for Love.

Turn the other cheek, someone once said, but you didn't. Not today. Really, would it have been so much skin off your own nose to have stopped and said to the linguically challenged young man, "Sorry"? Really, now, girl, would it have? If you had, then you wouldn't have had to box him up into something mean and negative, would ya?

Naw, I don't be thinking it would have taken any skin off at all.



  1. Oh Sue...I'm so sorry your day started off this way. Nothing like getting kicked while you are down...and in public to boot. I wonder often if people are aware of how deeply a few small words can cut, can bruise. As I read your words, I could completely feel you. I just want to go beat that young man up!!! My first reaction was, "Oh, he was probably hung over and crabby!" Isn't that terrible? But, obviously he must be hurting something fierce deep inside. I hope your day ends in peace and love. I know that you are beautiful, and though I've never even met you in person, I love you. I love reading your words, and I love your way of just cracking me up all of the time! I love that you are able to just say what you mean...and you do it in such a way that no one is hurt or offended. Actually, I'm a bit jealous of that one!

  2. Sue, I started off reading your post and laughing (at "...there are others I much prefer, like underhanded self-sabotage..." I'm with you there!) then ended up feeling a bit tearful myself when I finished reading about your day.

    So destructive, isn't it? You've described so well both his horrible (I mean really HORRIBLE) words to you and your own instinctive, completely understandable and also destructive response.

    And the crying. Why do so many of us feel unable to respond with tears when we're hurt I wonder.

    Your writing here is so good. I can feel as if in my own hands the fluttering of yours, and my eyes reading that same paragraph over and over, the tightness of holding yourself together.

    One note of optimism which you'll discover in time: a really good thing about getting older is that you don't have these menstrual problems any more! But sadly it doesn't protect against horrible, damaged young men.

  3. I will join with you in so many ways here. I have been the fat bitch, I have read the same paragraph repeatedly and I have cried in the bathroom (only when no one else was there).

    I love you hon, from across the thousands of miles, and you are beautiful. I wish you an improved day (or is that day over?) and much time to pound some clay.

  4. This story, this experience of yours which you share, is very well written Sue. My hope is the act of writing, of sharing, helped in some way to bandage the wounds inflicted - on both sides of the story.

    As one who is having some major 'women's problems' herself, I can relate to how 'out of control' one can feel when hormones go berserk, and Tess, I so long for the day when I have reached that certain age where at least some of those issues are gone for good

  5. Kari - thank you honey bunny. You had a bit of a shitter yourself ;) What I get angry at when I bite back at people like this is that it is patently obvious that harsh words have been spoken and liberties taken originally for someone to be so defensive and spiky in the first place. It annoys me that I bite back ... and really just proves that I am not further along in this area than I would like. My day did end rather more nicely than it began, thanks to kind words from lovely women like you. Although I don't know if I could agree wit your summation that I say what I mean and no one is offended - I've done my fair share of offense :)

    Tess - thanks, sweetie. Yeah, underhanded self-sabotage is so delicious, so hard to track down, so mysterious. Who can fault it? It is so destructive. The more enemies the more destruction. Thank you for your kind words too. I have great blog buddies, that's for sure.

    I don't know why so many of us hide ourselves away to cry. I guess the world is so cold and crying is so warm and open ... I wish I was more able to cry in front of other people. It feels prisonlike to have to run away like that.

    Erin - thank you my darling. Isn't it interesting that all the responses here have been from women? We all understand this sort of thing I think. I'm sorry that you have experienced it for yourself but I guess we all do, huh :( Hugs back across the miles.

    Kel - thanks, darlin'. The act of writing it did really help, definitely. There is something to be said for crafting out your jars and jabs; it makes something nice out of them. I'm sorry you are hormonally bezerk. It's so frustrating because there seems to be this idea out there that because we know why we are feeling this way that we therefore should be able to stop it, or that it's not as important or valid because it's just that women's shit happening, you know? I even tend to do it myself and minimise it, which has its charm and is helpful in some ways - some thinks are good to be experienced, written about and then minimised. But honestly, can you imagine how it would be if men had hormonal issues? :)

  6. Oh Sue, I just cried reading this, knowing exactly how shitty it feels, how hurt you are, despite so wanting not be!! I hate giving the power to others, the power of hurt and humiliation. I think of you in the toilet and want to cry myself.
    Yes he must have been in some horrible place to be like that...maybe...but still, this world is full of people with a "the world owes me something" chip on their shoulder...and I just want to hit them all haha!!
    and then love them....I think ;)
    Love you Sue!!! You are the bestest!

  7. Baby girl, he is damned lucky I wasn't with you. I am so nasty and mean right now that I would have just mocked him.

    Amazing how such people, who assault others so mercilessly, can only see the rudeness of others. He is frighteningly blind. Probably those who know him, as he was recounting the story, were rolling their eyes and thinking that you really aren't rude at all -- that he is just an idiot. Hopefully they just told him to cut the crap and take a good long look at the insignificant ass reflected in the mirror. Ever wonder what it would like to be his mum? Big hugs to you my dearest.

    PS -- Why on earth do you have to watch Cirque de Soleil? That would depress me too....

  8. Andi - awww, thank you darling. Love you too. I feel the same way. I think the world is full of "you owe me" people who behave like spoilt brats while feeling completely entitled to do so. Fuckers.

    And yet, when I think about people like that, so often it comes back to a commonality and I think, "Well, okay, what made them so spiky?" Something - more likely someone - has not shown then the love they needed and now they are taking refuge in their spikes. When really, I'm sure they're jelly on the inside too. Still, they're still pricks. It doesn't stop their behaviour from being totally destructive.

    Tyler - aw, thanks honey :) Yeah, it's a real demonstration of planks and beams, isn't it? Such a human thing, so creepy to think that we do it too .... NOOOOO, I don't want to think about that! :) Haha.

    And Cirque de Soleil is COOL! It's like going into another world. I love watching those guys (am I betraying my nerdity??? :)

  9. I'm glad I've already talked to you since this incident and know that you have moved on. I can't believe the asinine idiocy of that average looking young bloke, what a dickhead. I would have burst our crying and ran, then fell and not been able to get up. I only wish I had the quickness of mind to say something rude and witty back and not show emotion. You rock. I'd like to see him fall on his face and cry.

    Hey, enjoyed our little chat today. Here's to the full moon and all the crazy things we have in common - cheers!

  10. Yeah, you are a total nerd -- I saw them live while in College, I was bored out of my gourd.

  11. Barbara - thanks for listening to me :) *clink to the full moon* I was gazing at it last night. Such a thing of beauty, always there. Luckily though the full moon fever is beginning to pass.

    {{{{{{Mike}}}}}} Thank you dear man :)

    Tyler - bored out of your gourd, LOL. Well, I loves it, even on the telly. I've watched a few of their shows and think they're great - haven't actually been to one live before.


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