The Princess was sitting in her castle and she swore no man would she let woo.
She turned them all away as she said, no, not you, not you, not you, to myself I will be true.
She danced with her butterflies, she twirled in her flower gardens like when she was two.
She whispered to her flowers, confessing, I love you and you and you.
So happy was this woman that she vowed never to wed and then a Knight in dazzling armor appeared at the castle gates, the sun shining on his head.
She was blinded by his beauty, aura like spun gold and this one Knight she invited to her bed, visions of together growing old.
Prince Charming was his name and wow, that man tickled her fancy with his soft kiss and even if he just walked by, she would stumble and a step she would miss.
Well, we all know about no such thing as happy endings and soon the Princess gave up her other loves, like her writing.
She was busy twisting and turning and bending to keep the Prince happy, looking in her mirror-mirror and often sitting there silently for hours.
The Prince started kissing her less and less often and his voice for her…he no longer softened.
Many nights she cried herself to sleep, under so many full moons…she would weep and weep and weep.
Many moons later, she came to her senses, had the guards toss the Prince out and around her old gardens she built stronger fences.
This is a true story and you know it’s true, because I was the Princess and you, you were the Knight I gave my heart too.
Silly Princess, Stupid Boy, hard lessons, me and you.
Sitting on a porch swing
at her country home
I never saw a face
that looked so all alone.
She gazes into space
her eyes are far away
I wonder where she is
she isn’t in today.
I see a little girl
in the woman’s eyes
a hurt and lonely child
I hear her softly cry.
The pain of dreams now lost
the scars that still remain
when I look at her picture
all I can see is pain.
She captures my heart
I want to hold her tight
I run to save the woman
the girl hides in fright.
The girl plagues the present
with all her musty fears
if I could console the girl
I’d end the woman’s tears.
by Jeanne Marie, 1986
You have to wear a bra!
You’re too young to shave your legs and I don’t care if all the other girls your age are doing it!
I read your diary. We need to talk.
Yes, there are microphones hidden in your barrettes!
If you didn’t take my green eye shadow, then why are your eyelids green?
I’m gonna kill you!
I’m your mother and your father!
Take down those rock posters or I’ll tear them down!
I don’t believe you.
Never let your husband see you without your make-up on or your hair a mess!
Don’t ever let him see you in the green face mask!
You have to try harder and look better, after you’re married.
Cook him a big breakfast and have his supper ready when he comes in from work.
Are you gonna let him get up and make his own coffee?
Tough luck, life isn’t fair!
THINGS I WISH I’D SAID EVERYDAY
I love you.
Let’s all go out and play.
I don’t care if you make a mess!
Go to college and get a degree, before you have kids.
He shatters my self-worth
with a single sentence.
“You looked prettier before
you went back to work.”
Oh God, I’m nothing.
Wait. I go to the mirror
just to see for myself.
A familiar woman
sadly stares back.
I give her a smile
brush away her tears.
Hey, I look better
since I started working.
I realize, I am not the
woman he says I am,
I am the woman
my own eyes see.
My sisters and I, we like to love Mad Men. Seriously.
We are Crazy Women.
The Mad Men we love are always mad at the world and we spend way too much valuable time trying to make them calm and happy…
We are old-fashioned, cooking and cleaning while working full-time, loving our man all night, kinda women.
It doesn’t help very much.
Turns out Mad Men don’t want the all night loving after they get you. They are too busy being Mad at you.
But Mad Men don’t always tell you when they’re Mad…they just make you pay in a million little ways and then tell you it’s your fault.
Can you say Gaslight?
The Mad Men think everything revolves around them and I’m being brutally honest here, Crazy Women agree.
Splitting up is as common as Full Moons in our homes.
We certainly know how to leave, we just don’t know how to stay gone, so reuniting is also on our agendas just as often.
Fight. Cry. Talk. Don’t talk. Pack. Leave. Talk every night for hours. Agree on a fresh start. Pack up. Go home. Unpack. Pack. Leave.
We put up with a bunch of bullshit, but luckily the Mad Men are all different, so our phone calls and visits never get boring.
We got rid of the Mad Men who hit many years ago. I give us credit for that.
However, there are thousands of ways to hurt another human being without hitting them.
We watched our mom maneuver this same road with our dad, a truly certifiable Mad Man, and we vowed that we’d never marry a man like him.
But we did.
We are not weak women.
We are strong, intelligent, creative, loving, caring, beautiful women.
But once we fall in love, we give of ourselves until we break and we do not accept defeat gracefully.
My dad begged my mom to leave him before he killed her in a drunken stupor, which he was working on every night, the killing and the stupor.
He would try to wrap the phone cord around her neck and strangle her while my twelve-year-old sister sat on Mom’s lap and stopped him.
My mother’s most famous words were, “Go to bed. your father is not going to kill (or hurt) anyone tonight.”
Our strongest model of reality and she told us we were safe when we were not safe.
Dad even stood over our beds with his hunting rifle now and then. Pondering killing us.
Reality has been confusing for us, at best.
As young girls, we all had a turn sleeping in front of Mom’s bedroom door trying to listen under the crack to see if she was still breathing.
If dad got quiet, she would say, “Go to bed, Ray.”
You would have thought she’d stuck a hot poker in his side because those words would spur the Mad Man on for another hour.
When I write it down and then read it back, it sounds insane and it was, but that was how we lived.
My dad would rant and rave until the sun came up and then we would all try to go to school and my mom would go to work…
It wasn’t hard to find a better man than my father, but I know for myself it took me a long time to realize that on a core level, I was recreating the dynamics of my childhood home and trying to make it come out right.
Four divorces between us, one of us married the same Mad Man twice, not naming any names, baby sister. I would have married mine twice too, but I never got brave enough to divorce him.
I did leave my Mad Man five times, six if you count spending a few nights (alone) crying in a motel. I think that counts.
Serious enough about not going back to buy my own place to live, twice.
I’m in the second place I bought right now, packing to go back home, again.
My sisters and I, we like to love Mad Men. Seriously.
We are Crazy Women.
I have the beginning stages of Fuhgedia or as its also called on the street, Fuhgeddaboudit.
It’s a very peculiar illness and quite common in codependent women.
We go through life blocking out our daily experiences and feelings so well that we start to fuhged who we are and what we are doing, who you are and if you are related to us.
We don’t remember who we were before someone told us who we needed to be, what the desires of our heart really are and how we would like to wear our hair.
So you might have to tell me things more than once…things like the day my newest great-grand baby is due, your birthday, my birthday, what day of the week it is…stuff like that.
Otherwise, I’ll just fuhged about it.
Jeanne Marie, 2016