“One need only look at a woman’s shape to discover that she is not intended for either too much mental or too much physical work. She pays the debt of life not by what she does but by what she suffers—by the pains of child-bearing, care for the child, and by subjection to man, to whom she should be a patient and cheerful companion.”
THE LAST DAY, MAY 20-SOEMTHING, 2012
When Angel threatened to slap me, ma said. I rationalized his anger and lost my brain stem.
That’s what ma said in her sleep just before she woke up at 5AM, ripped her giant t-shirt and fishnet stockings off and smashed the mirror with the mighty force of fifty gorillas. Dramatic and stunningly cinematic, ma stared at her shape all wild and wide and hairy. Bobo the Mutt shook and shivered as he presided over the shape of revelations to come.
I was his patient and cheerful companion, ma screamed holding her brain in place. I fucked it up. He was hurt by someone else—(and himself, I cut in)—and I could tell by the way he never looked me in the eyes. I promised to take care of him, she cried, but he was too much. He promised to take care of himself, I screamed at ma with bits of glass in her hair—but with the click of a mouse and send of a text he chose them instead of us.
It’s complicated, ma said. But so is quantum physics. His words burnt every plank on the ancient bridge between us, she said. But, I couldn’t fall back. I faced him face to face and asked him to get a job to help us out so we could buy rice and beans, chips and salsa. So we could move from co-dependence to mutual connection. I also wanted him to get his wings off the ground and free himself from the spiraling labyrinth. But, his anti-self turned his back on me, she said, and walked out of the room. He felt betrayed cause I promised to take care of him. Things change, I told ma, and the promise was not transubstantial—it was to lift him up, not weigh you down.
Even if it was a vague threat of violence, I deserved it, ma said. Even that’s a dangerous rationalization. It was a threat of violence, I told ma. I know, she said. But I felt responsible for his anger—for his health, raging depression and erratic behavior. I was the only one taking care of him. Like a good mother, I said. No one helped us. No therapist. No counselor. No friends. No family. Especially, no family, Angel said. No guru or godsend helped us through his life changing diagnosis. Once, he visited a crystal rock specialist, but came back more depressed. I remember, I told ma. But he didn’t want anyone else in, she said, even in the bleakest moments all I could do was hug him and pray God would take care. I wanna keep it between you and me, Angel told ma. I wish to remain nameless, she said he said. And live without shame is what he really meant.
Taking care, I told ma, is when you asked him for a fair exchange of energy. Besides, I said, he spent 20 hour days on the virtual reality machine re-manufacturing worlds within worlds and looking for answers to fit the narrative of his manufactured self-image.
Angel gave ma his answer that last day: You are not my family and you’ll see who I AM when I turn my back on you and fly.
“It is because women’s reasoning powers are weaker that they show more sympathy for the unfortunate than men, and consequently take a kindlier interest in them. On the other hand, women are inferior to men in matters of justice, honesty, and conscientiousness.”
Ma’s first boyfriend, who turned out to be a socio-pathetic bag of almonds, went to jail for assault and batteries. Ma found his real arrest record on the virtual reality machine and showed it to Angel two weeks before they split. After ma dumped her ex, her ex tried to stab his new girlfriend with a kitchen knife. This occurred just a few years after ma’s ex slapped ma when they were in a relationship. He used his foot and fists too, but always missed. He did this when ma asked him to step up. To pitch in. I’ve been here before, ma said. And it was fresh in my head when Angel made his casual threat. Needless to say, ma doesn’t react well to threats. Not any more. Despite her women’s reasoning. Not even if the threat is just a fleeting suggestion.
Ma believes in the power of suggestion. The threat of violence is violence, she said. She doesn’t blame Angel, but she doesn’t blame herself either, so that leaves us with a paradox that leads us to an illogical conclusion that places blame on both of them or on the universe—or worse, God’s benign hand. We are responsible for our actions and threats of action, I said. Threats are manifestations of Schopenhauer’s deep-seated hatred of the feminine—and of our other half—and of women’s superior understanding of justice, honesty, and conscientiousness.
“The greatest sorrows and joys or great exhibition of strength are not assigned to her; her life should flow more quietly, more gently, and less obtrusively than man’s, without her being essentially happier or unhappier.”
I lost my brain, ma said. I let him down even though I tried to lift him up over and over again. He didn’t want to get up, I told ma, you gave him an open home and a big heart and he collapsed in your head. And anchored himself between what he wanted to be free of and what freedom is. I lost my brain, ma repeated again as she stared at the reflection of the silly wild wide beast self in the shattered mirror. Your brain is right there, I said pointing at the dimple between ma’s breast implants. She fake-smiled as she held glass chips in her hands. It’s what makes you ma, I said. Ma, she said looking into the shattered mirror, is an illusion at best.
An ideal at best, I said. Human at worst.
Ma, what have you learned? I asked.
Not to break the mirror, she said, with my monkey fists. And that the only thing worth beginning is the end of Schopenhauer’s world of course.
Read “On Women” by Arthur Schopenhauer here http://theabsolute.net/misogyny/onwomen.html.