Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Women: The Cockroaches of Emotional Nuclear Holocaust?

I know, catchy title. But when you think of it, aren't we, as women, just about the hardest creatures on Earth to crack? Are we not the human equivalent of cockroaches when it comes to getting back up when there should be no possible way that we could or should?

From the get go, there is drama. I see the difference between my boys and my nieces. With girls, everything is about the drama. I think it is a warm up exercise to what we go through as adults. And while this might sound cynical, I am truly not mocking. I think that women, particularly mothers, put themselves aside for the well being of others. And often, it is more than any heart should have to bear.

Broken hearts. Everyone has a couple of these lurking around. Whether it is puppy love or a bitter divorce, women converge to help the afflicted along. Armed with Ben and Jerry, Grey Goose or both, your girlfriends, sisters, etc. will be there to hold you up, tell you are justified, to you to just F*** Him. Just what we need, in the right dosage.

Friendships betrayed. This drama usually finds its peak in middle school and high school. Intrigue and soap opera antics never fail to deliver the bemoaning and the fledging alliances. But sometimes, these new friendships will pass the test of time, and more often than not, they will be the ones that support you through some of the hardest stuff you will encounter in life.

Infertility. One of the hardest things I ever dealt with. And I consider myself extremely lucky. My problems were resolved with minimally invasive procedures. I ended up Fertile Myrtle by my mid-thirties. I often think that if I survived that, I could survive anything.

Messed up families. How do you reconcile relatives that often make you wonder how on God's green Earth you could possibly be related to them? You love them, but can't expose yourself or your kids to their ways, bringing sadness, denial, unwillingness to accept. But the ability to look at a situation truthfully, and be able to walk away without regrets takes some serious gumption.

Work related drama. Both yours and your spouse's. If it is heart-wrenching to experience it first hand, it is even harder to hear about it happening to your spouse. The conniving evil that some people spout off is just unbelievable. I often wonder why some people choose to make so much trouble, cause so much harm. What's wrong with them?

Becoming the parent to your parent. It is so hard to be able to gauge how your parents are doing. After all, parents can be the master of disguise. They will appear to be fine, yet small things set off alarms in your head. Making decisions about their care, particularly if there is a degenerative disease, is never an easy one. It is usually wracked with guilt and uncertainty. And yet, as time passes, and they adjust, you see that even though it was incredibly difficult, it was the right choice.

Parents getting really sick. Having gone through my father's battle with prostate cancer is nothing I would wish on anyone. There is something debilitating in watching someone battle so hard and courageously for so long. My father's outlook, however, was not a positive one. It was hard to play cheerleader to someone who was willing to fold, and yet, I cannot judge. I cannot pretend to know what helplessness he felt at diagnosis, over the countless chemotherapy drugs and radiation he endured. He battled, we cheered. When an illness like cancer comes into play, we get pissed off and we get marching orders. We rally, we cry, we go on. Because we know others depend on us, particularly those who are afflicted. And when all else fails, we walk for the cure...

Motherhood. Nothing piles up the emotional arsenal like motherhood. The hormones, the sleep deprivation, the worry. Am I doing it right? Are they okay? Will I mess them up too much? Motherhood breaks your heart like nothing else. After all, these children are a piece of you. Your body grew them and sheltered them for nine months. The first two years of these children's lives are spent assuring their survival, marveling at their growth and newfound skills. Their elementary years are filled with making sure they know right from wrong; their adolescent years spent making sure that they practice it. Then, they leave. As they must. And with them, they take a piece of you. If you've done your job right, you get to enjoy them in a different capacity.

I think that the common thread here is that women have hope. They have hope when the odds are stacked against them. They have hope when everyone else in the world is ready to call the game and head home.

That hope is born from love. Love of our families, love of our friends and love for making sure that wrongs are righted, that justice prevails, that the happy ending happens. In spite of the odds, is spite of the difficulties.

Rest assured, when an emotional holocaust is omnipresent, there will be a group of women who lead the way, to help support those who need some wind in their sails, to hold the hand and comfort those who need it, to tell a raunchy joke and alleviate the tension. In spite of a broken heart. Finding the strength where there might be none. Because it is in our nature to be indestructible like no other creature.

We are there.

The cockroaches, and us.


  1. Although the title of this post made me laugh, you are right. There is something special about the resilience of women; their ability to gather courage and strength in trying times. Hooray for the Woman Cockroach!

  2. Ok, let me be perfectly, bluntly honest. Although I agree that women are incredibly resilient, and although I agree that we can be our best allies, and although I agree that we handle things in life differently then men, well....I also think men get a bad rap. I think many men go through the same stuff...didn't yours deal with infertility? Surely yours must've had a heart broken at least once? I think the difference is that men usually seem to be taking everything in stride...they are usually not as verbal about their feelings and frustrations, and...here's a big one: they're not so hard on themselves.


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