Helen says, “I just want to say one more thing.  If I ever write a novel again, it’s going to be in defense of weak women.  Inept and codependent women! I’m going to talk about all the great movies and songs and poetry that focus on such women!  I’m going to toast Blanche DuBois!  I’m going to celebrate women who aren’t afraid to show their need and their vulnerabilities, to be honest about how hard it can be to plow your way through a life that offers no guarantees about anything.  I’m going to get on my metaphorical knees and thank women who fall apart, who cry and carry on and wail and wring their hands because you know what, Midge?  We all need to cry!  Thank God for women who can articulate their vulnerabilities and express what a lot of other people probably want to say and feel they can’t!  Those people’s stronghold against falling apart themselves is the disdain they feel for women who do it for them!  Strong.  I’m starting to think that’s as much a party line as anything else ever handed to women for their assigned roles!  When do we get to respect our differences from men?  Our strength is our weakness, our ability to feel is our humanity!  You know what?  I’ll bet if you talked to a  hundred strong women, ninety-nine of them would say, ‘I’m sick of being strong! I would like to be cared for!  I would like for someone else to make the (&%$*@#!) decisions; I’m sick of making decisions!’  I know this one woman who is a beacon of strength, a single mother who can do everything, even more than you, Midge.  I ran into her not long ago and we went and got a coffee and you know what she told me?  She told me that when she goes out to dinner with her guy, she asks him to order everything for her.  Every single thing, drink to dessert, because she just wants to unhitch.  All of us dependent, weak women have the courage to do all the time what she can only do in a restaurant!”

Midge looks at her.  “Hmmm.  I’m very sorry to tell you this.  That all sounded pretty strong.”

~ elizabeth berg, home safe

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