Sunday, June 9, 2013

Rambling: More Graverobbing

I almost bought an above-the-knee skirt the other day.

OK, let's back up.

I've mentioned that writing "belonged" to Mom, in the context of our family. To an even greater degree, so did femininity and feminine attractiveness.

Mom once mentioned that when I was a baby, she dressed me in all the fanciest clothes, but that after I was old enough to have input into what I wore for the day, she lost interest. That must have been early, because I don't remember a time when she was interested in what I looked like or how I related to my femininity. Clothes, hair, jewelry, glittery hair toys, princess wands, all of the girly stuff--nope. Was Mom even involved in finding my first bra? I can't remember.

For the events associated with Mom's death, I wore clothes that were more carefully chosen than usual, clothes that, uncharacteristically for me, more or less fit. I chose them for decent appropriateness, for respect for the occasion. But I remember getting dressed for the visitation, looking at myself in the mirror, and thinking that I looked good.

It's hard to express how unprecedented that thought was, and how wrong it felt. It felt as if I were looking with new eyes. And it felt like robbing the dead. And it still does. The bubble of interest in girly things that I've mentioned now and again in my blog, has been bubbling rather more since Mom died. But those bubbles feel like betrayals. Do you remember the bit in Twister?

He didn't keep his part of the bargain.
Which part?
To spend his life pining for you and die miserable and alone.
That so much to ask?

OK, it's just a mood thing, but that bit of dialogue reflects the absurd-but-I-feel-it-all-the-same mood of the thought that if I were a decent daughter, I would continue to shun femininity after Mom's death, just as I did it in her life, because femininity belongs to her.

But there was that moment, that "Huh. I look good," moment. As if a part of my brain was waiting to seize on my feminine identity, and wasn't prepared even to wait a decent interval, not even until the funeral was over, before doing so. The woman is dead, long live the woman. Treason.


  1. I appreciate that you write about things like this. I know exactly what you mean about this feeling, and it's hard to even voice it, let alone do so as cogently as you did here. I think our emotions about people who have died are often even more complex than our emotions about those who are still with us.

  2. Thank you very much for posting this, APB. I've been feeling the urge to write these things, and then feeling like I'm just being a whiner and should shut up. Your comment makes me feel much better about that question. :)

  3. Don't beat yourself up about feeling you are betraying your mum. Maybe she had to recede from the picture to set you on your path to self-discovery / -validation, including your fledgling 'girly' side. Bring it on, I say! Or her, indeed.

  4. Vanessa! Thanks for responding. Yes, that sounds sensible, and I know it logically, but those illogical thoughts do keep scurrying around the mind, rearranging things when I'm not looking. But hearing it in your voice helps add to the counter-competition. :)