All the Rage

I went to see Bombshell. I liked it, even though I’d rather put a fork through my eye than watch Fox News. Gretchen Carlson graduated from the same high school as me, grew up in the same town. Extra bonus, she also plays the violin.

But even as I left the theater I felt it stirring, deep down inside. For the most part I can keep it there, go on with my life, accept reality for what it is. But then sometimes it simmers. Bubbles up. Escapes in fits and starts.

Occasionally I think about writing about my experiences growing up as a woman. I cannot be that different from every other woman, though, so there’s nothing original in that. And besides, where would I even begin? At 15, when one of my boyfriends friends locked me in a room with him, took out his penis and forced me to touch it, begging me to have sex with him? Or the time when I was 22 and man who’d been stalking me climbed up the balconies on my apartment building and broke into my sliding door and hid in my spare room until I discovered him? Or how about at age 29 when I woke up in the night to find my best friend’s husband on top of me, while my boyfriend slept beside me? Or maybe at 33, when a cab driver pushed me against his cab and wouldn’t let me go, begging me to take him inside with me? Or wait, I know, how about that guy I went on one date with, who came to the flower shop where I was working alone and tried to make me have sex with him in the back room until I lied and said there were cameras? Seriously, where to even begin?

Yes, watching that movie got me thinking about all of it. It’s deep in there, The Rage. But it’s there.

I’ve taken to reading a book called “The Power” when I feel this way. In this novel, women develop an organ called a skein that allows them to conduct electricity. Suddenly, women are the stronger sex. Suddenly, women have the power. I read the book, again, last night and today.

It snowed all day today. J had an appt after work and would not be home until late. I decided, even though we have a long driveway and a perfectly good snowblower, to shovel the driveway before he came home.

I owned my own house for nine years before moving in with J, so I am no stranger to shoveling. I never had a snowblower, I always shoveled. There was something about doing it myself that I liked. I enjoyed admiring it when it was done. It said I could take care of myself, I was independent and strong. “Women cannot shovel”, pshaw.

Once when J and I were first dating he called and told me not to shovel, that he would bring his snowblower when he came over later that night.

I shoveled anyway. “I don’t need no stinking men,” I said to myself.

J came home tonight earlier than expected, I had barely started shoveling. But it felt good, shoveling. Using my muscles and clearing the snow was helping The Rage.

“I’ll snow blow it tomorrow,” he said, “it’s still snowing.”

I kept shoveling.

J went in the house.

I shoveled.

He came back out, “You’re making me look bad to the neighbors”, he said.

“I’m almost done,” I said.

“You’re not even close,” he answered.

I kept shoveling.

“I have a perfectly good snowblower,” he said when he came out again.

“I know,” I said, shoveling, “I’m enjoying it.”

“Ok, suit yourself,” he said.

I shoveled the entire thing including the end where the plow had come and packed it in tall and heavy. Then I shoveled the sidewalk again because it had already snowed another inch. Then I figured I might as well keep going so I did it all again, much easier this time with only one inch instead of five.

“You didn’t have to shovel,” J said again when I finally came in.

“I know,” I said again, “it felt good.”

I left it out there, in the heap of snow I flung from the driveway. In the crisp lines I shoveled. In the wide path I made for mailman at our mailbox and the neighbors. It only looks like snow, it’s really all The Rage flung away from me in every shovel full. Buried.

For now, anyway.


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