“A woman’s place is in the wrong”

a streetlamp on a rainy nightSomehow that was how Susie always felt.  As though when the world was in its right order she had to be there in the corner working hard, or fixing something, or doing something for someone.  The mess around her served to justify her feeling that her life was a mess too, and the way everyone took advantage of her was just the way things should be.

When Susie started her first job, and on the first day was shown how to carry out a task, she did so dutifully just as she had been shown.  When a few weeks later it turned out that it had all been done wrong, Susie worked hard to fix it, without a murmur of protest about the person who had shown her how to do it originally.

When Susie’s children screamed at her, or refused to do what she asked, Susie quietly did their jobs for them, or just left them undone.

When a car skidded into the back of her in the ice, and then the driver got out and swore loudly at her, she apologised and took the blame, even though she had been driving carefully and it had been him who had skidded.

All her life, Susie had accepted whatever life threw at her, without complaint or even questioning.

But now, as she strode through the dark, empty streets, with the rain sparkling in the street-lights  she began to wonder.  Was it really the case that she had to take on all the pain and suffering around her, to enable others to be happy?  Would life be so bad if just occasionally she got what she wanted too?  She held her face up to allow the raindrops to wash away her tears, and thought about her life.  She thought of time after time where other people had taken her for granted or taken advantage of her.  She thought of the times she had sacrificed her wishes for someone else, and tried to think of times when others had done the same for her.

Why did she always start everything she did with the belief that others had to be better at it than her, know more than her, had more right to it than her?

She thought of the sound the door had made as she had slammed it behind her. She had stormed out.  The news that her husband had made plans for the weekend, casually ignoring the fact that for weeks she had been planning to have a long overdue day out with friends, had been finally too much for her to take, and she had ignored his enquiry over the state of dinner and had grabbed her coat and walked out, pulling the door firmly behind her.  Now as she walked aimlessly along she wished that she had had the sense to pick up the car keys and her bag as well.

As she considered what changes she could make in her life, the thoughts clashed with all her conditioning.  Thinking of putting herself first for a change, however hard she could justify it, just did not feel right.  Was there any hope for her? or was she destined to remain where she had always been, where she had always felt comfortable, in the wrong?


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