Can You Take It?

Her parents weren’t hard. They were fair and expected fairness from her side. And even though very rebellious, she never felt they were unfair. If she did some mistake, she knew she was doing it at her own risk and because she was trying to get something badly wanted. She couldn’t say how many times she had failed. Probably many… or she wouldn’t admit her parents’ fairness.

She always recognized the rightness of her parents’ observations and efforts to make a better person out of her, even when they failed their objectives or she failed to understand such objectives. If for some their approach was too hard, she didn’t agreed. Fairness is not hardness, she always thought. She appreciated fairness and was thankful to them for using it with her. Fairness was their way of showing love and care.

But she failed to meet someone whose values were the same or close to hers. And so the way she was raised became a reason of deep isolation and solitude…

A strong atavism dominated the man she had accepted as a husband. She believed it to be educational and insurmountable. It set her apart from the majority of her own family. If she failed, it was natural for her to hear someone saying it. She might even get mad or feel that such comment was wrong, but she could take it. Sometimes she corrected herself, sometimes she didn’t bother with it… But she could always take it!

They couldn’t. Any single correction or observation that she made (or someone else’s made) and they (her family) reacted aggressively. It was a latent aggressiveness she had learned to fear and explained her solitude inside her own house. Sometimes she believed their reaction to be a macho thing (they couldn’t accept a remark coming from a woman), but she had witnessed a very similar reaction towards men and between them. The only difference was that if it came from her (a woman), they closed ranks against her and so the reaction was a lot stronger and violent.

She didn’t know if they were right about their aversion to being told. She didn’t know if she was being too critical. She just knew the results and they spoke very loud. There was a history of bad school reports and difficult day-to-day living. They were three, thinking the same way, against one.

When she thought she could have some free time, she couldn’t. She had to spent great part of her days solving all kind of situations they created. And even though it was getting harder and harder, she didn’t bother to complain most of the times. All she wanted was to survive. And when she reacted she seldom finished because they turned against her like dagga boys. She usually went away. Only a fool faces animal rage.

She would even understand if they possessed an indomitable will, one not permitting them to fail or to assume any case of sporadic failure. But that was not the case. They failed. They failed big. They failed as any mortal fails and, in her opinion, even more, because they couldn’t assume failure. And it wasn’t the case that they didn’t know it. They just didn’t want to listen. Instead, they would rather bury failure under palliatives such as alcohol or food.

And do you know the curious of this all? They didn’t think differently from her. In given occasions she understood (or even heard them say) what they really think about each other and… it wasn’t pretty. They just didn’t dare to say it. Probably, they didn’t think polite or sensitive to say it. She believed in straightforwardness. One should have the right to have a say, especially when that say was that obvious. Were they educated people and she the wild one?

On the other hand, what they imposed didn’t apply to them. They were hypercritical in everything coming from her. She just didn’t get it. Her words were regarded as offensive and even aggressive, while they had the freedom to say whatever they wanted to say. Sometimes she believed such behavior was a masculine pattern. One day she remembered to feel revolted by hearing an obese guy calling his wife “fat” just because she had gained a few pounds. She was ten times smaller than him! That was how things seemed to work.

If a man had a clear drinking problem, and they all knew it, no one dared to talk with him about it. Now suppose any woman was in the mood for a glass of wine at dinner. If she took one or two with some regularity, she would have to deal with their comments and concerns about her “worrying inclination towards drinking”. They were frontal with women, but they didn’t allow women to be frontal with them.

She knew that one of the reasons they allowed themselves a few liberties was their perception of her loneliness, weakness and submissiveness. They were extremely wrong. She could take whatever they said. She couldn’t take the way they were.

A struggle was going on, she knew it, one struggle no one could win. The problem of such struggles is that one side insists in posing like “sacred animals”, regarding the other side like “slaughter animals”. Yes, inside her own house she felt as secure and loved as Reeva must have felt that night inside the Oscar Pistorius’ apartment.

The same truth applies to so many women out there! I see men watching the Oscar Pistorius trial with a sort of fascination. I don’t watch it. I just think their fascination is related to the fact that they know, somehow, how close they all are from losing it.