Goddesses and Doormats

There are only two types of women — goddesses and doormats. Pablo Picasso

Ah Pablo, the minute scoundrel, fact is not even he could a avoid a goddess challenging that bravado, despite his obvious penchant for what he deemed doormats? Fernande was one such deity who bowled him. The red-headed amazon who left him for another when she’d grown tired of his offerings. I want to believe his truest love was Eva Gouel, she died young but he was devoted during her lifetime, more than the others.  Such declarations are in many of his cubist works, concealments of “I love Eva” within the tapestry. A goddess forever in brushstrokes. Men like him bewilder me, i can never quite figure out if their lustfulness and devotion is derived from hate or love for the female sex. Maybe a little of both? My longest relationship was with a man such as that, i would muse over his notion of women, referencing of course how he treated me(crappy) and his ideas of coupling; ” I admire the Victorian man’s view of courtship.” Waistcoat and all. 

Sigh, if he really knew the full extent of the Victorian era; including it’s classist pitfalls and gross misogyny, i believe he’d have reconsidered the lifestyle. But what do i know? Might have been fun, a woman was in charge after all. Oh. Snap.

I’ve forever been all for a woman being the boss, but noticed I mostly quote men on this loud, narrative forum of mine. It made me question my feminine integrity, as someone who fashions herself as a feminist, why do i consistently perpetuate a male opinion on love and life? Well, because they get it (occasionally). Men are very cut and dry creatures, they tend to arrive at a point quicker than women. I’ll give them that. Conversely i think Picasso’s quote supports this masculine bluntness but also contributes a juicy topic to explore and argue. While i admire his effort to neaten female chaos by narrowing it down to two choices, it’s just not that simple.

I think, we are Goddess and doormat synonymously, especially when exercising our nurturing ways. In my experience there can be a tendency to choose the wrong patron of this care and instead of being crowned a goddess for the ages we are stepped upon, crown off-kilter. It’s a great metaphor as lately i myself feel more like a mat on the stoop of life in the throws of a quarter-life crisis/heartbreak/limbo. I was a goddess for a minute and will be again, but of my own choosing and not because some Victorian idiot said so. Though, I will say; if i was a doormat i’d trip his ass up.

I consider myself a strong person first, woman second. The general notion of strong women, and the go-to label of bitch annoys me to no end. Surprisingly, a great friend of mine, recently slapped such a title on me. She remarked that i am the most “eloquent bitch she knows,” i was flattered, humoured and irked in the same intake. Honestly, i’d have rather been called an asshole, a more gender neutral title since we all have one. I’m probably being too particular. 

But, why do women deem it necessary to use that word to label tough females? Especially my friend who i also consider a cool, tough chick. I know i only use it when describing a person or behaviour i don’t like. Maybe we girls deserve the snipe because our brand of meanness is that ferocious. If so, bring it on. 

Despite all this, I worry about the current generation of girls and the balance between doormat and goddess. Do they know it’s possible to master both and grow up to be fully-realized humans? They don’t have to concede and maintain a fixed perception of femininity, though the current female form in Pop Culture is polarizing. Slut or Sexual Pioneer? Bitch or Leader? Butch or Femme? That’s a lot of pressure. I know i’ve felt that my whole life, i’ve always had a fiery toughness and forcibly reflected it in every aspect of my attitude. Vulnerability ain’t my bag. I saw it as weakness, especially when coming from women. I was never interested in the concept of being a dormant doormat until i unknowingly became one. I surprised myself and fused into a role I’d usually scorned; the submissive. I was going to save him you see! I laid my heart and soul bare at the foot of love and it was a disaster. Scraping myself up revealed this self-sacrificing attribute i didn’t know was there, that I’m not sure i want to meet again, because i blamed such a shortcoming for my downfall.

 I realized my goddess fire had been extinguished and i’d left the gas on. In the aftermath, when my old spark finally returned it became hard to control the combustion. Like a wild, drunk phoenix or Mrs. Rochester in the attic, except not literally. I’m still trying to contain it. Rihanna is a great example of this, she escaped an abusive relationship which i know depleted her power. I’ve been in those shoes. From it she has become a ball-buster with no sense of direction and a loud, unapologetic feminist vendetta because she can, because she has to. The logic seems to be; our power was taken by the man so we must overcompensate with feminine brashness until we settle back into the women we intend to be, power reinstated. No men allowed. It’s waiting for the ashes to settle that’s the most agonizing part of the process and i can see her going through it unabashed and a little blind, as am i. I just wish i had millions of dollars and a fabulous figure to kill time with. 

So i’m wrestling with this concept of doormats and goddesses, it’s an example of a patriarchial directive of course, rife with misogyny. It’s Picasso what do you expect? But it still made me wonder, when we are honest with ourselves and think back to the many missteps and broken hearts, we did choose at some points to be doormats to love, career, children etc. Only a goddess would be so self-sacrificing and open, there is strength in that, there is strength in our weakness and sacrifice in our fortitude. So what i saw as a shortcoming was perhaps just a part of my growth into that fully-realized human. I’m a turtle, hard shell with a soft underbelly. Truthfully, I’d prefer Alligator Snapping Turtle but, all semantics.

That’s what makes us girls interesting you see, we may contain multitudes(Whitman) and inherit many labels but within it all, we are rigidly grounded in our strength, wherever it’s born from. We own it all. Bitch.

I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.  Anais Nin

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