Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Chapter 32: At What Price Peace?

One of the perks to being alone is time to think. Just me and little Cleo the Cat, hanging out at chez Meredith sans headaches.

I've been thinking about anger lately, what it makes us do and refrain from doing. My Aunt Geenie's anger kept her from being anything but nasty. Rory's propelled her to write. Mine? Well, I don't know. Once it kept me in bed, staring at the ceiling while I contemplated my various entanglements.  Reed, Liam...  Now, though, it's shoving me in new directions.

It would be easy to turn into another Geenie or Dakota. My own mother was certainly angry enough, don't doubt it. She turned on virtually everyone, indulging herself with the bottle and with men. My indulgence, I know, comes in pill form. Diet pills, to be exact.

Just today I popped another one. I had to. I looked too good yesterday to skip a dose. When I walk down the hall, I strut just a little bit.

Anger will make me make it a point to look good even on mornings when I hate life. It makes me curl my hair just so and bother with lipstick. I bought four-inch stilettos to wear with my conservative black slacks for the sake of contradiction.

But where does appearance get one in the end? A lot of places, to be sure - let's not deny the truth. But does it get me what I need? Can an angry woman find what she needs, or does her anger cloud everything?

My main question is whether or not I can afford to not be angry.

Not being angry often equal complacency, something that is painfully expensive. It turns me into a "good little girl" who does nothing but make sure that everyone else is comfortable. Turns me into a damned stewardess. Are you happy, sir? Can I get you anything, ma'am?

How wonderful it is to know when someone likes you for yourself. I don't, didn't, get a lot of that in my life. When I find it, I savor it. That's why I put up with Rory, and why she tolerates me. There are no pretenses with us.

When she talks about her husband, it's obvious that they also lack pretense. When she talks about her brother, it's apparent that he and his ex-wife were all about changing the other.

Like me, she has her own set of issues -- all of which were compounded for her by Paul and Richard. When I talk about men not wanting girls like me, I'm referring to those with background such as mine. When she talks about girls like me, she's referring to an amazing amount of self-doubt that she carries.

Her husband, she once said, could never really want a girl like her because she was neither beautiful nor smart. He just happened to like vulnerable little damsels in distress, she insisted. Girls like her tended to be the one that men like him would use for amusement and nothing more.

Just as she had no qualms about marching into my house and emptying my liquor cabinet, I had no qualms about telling her to just take a chance and see what happened and shut the hell up about being less-then-worthy.

"MEN like Cade want a WOMAN like you," I remember hollering. "WOMEN like you are what BOYS like him NEED!"

I was in her wedding a year later.

Her cousin, on the other hand, was reeling from a failed engagement and desperate for "proof" that he was lovable.

But how did I get here from my ruminations on anger? Change, I suppose. Anger induces change. But whether or not it can be permanant is another story. I've been mentally wandering lately, but you knew that.

It comes back to the question, though: can I afford not to be angry?