Why did she scrub the floors?

Chapter 2 of Women Who Runs With The Wolves is difficult to digest.  We, if there is no predator to hinder us, will take on that duty ourselves.  What am I trying to say?…we sabotage ourselves.  We don’t even realize we are doing it until it is too late and we are trapped.

We are willing to believe in the fairy tale.  The Prince will take care of us.  The Prince will rescue us from all our problems.  We can escape an unhappy home life or other such problems by finding a man who is willing to take care of us…despite our defects.  We sell our soul just to be taken care of.

Ms Estes in her book, “Women Who Run With The Wolves”,  relates a story of just such a woman.  Her favorite thing to do is put on her best dress, her best hat, and hop a train to the city where she will spend an exciting day window shopping, trying on clothing, striding the sidewalks in all her splendor… she loves feeling like a real lady.  She feels alive.  She feels the electricity of energy that surges through her veins.  She likes the feeling of being this elegant woman, even if it is only for one day.  She thrives.  She looks forward the the next time she can repeat the special event. She likes the way people treat her then.  She likes the eyes riveted to her as she passes by.  She loves the entire experience.  It is her reason to get up in the mornings.  It is her reason to keep going.  It is something to look forward to.

Think back to when you were a child.  I loved to dress up and have tea parties.  I love playing at being a woman.  I would sneak my mother’s make-up and try it on.  I would get out her hats and shawls and some old dresses she lent me and put them on.  I would confiscate her old high heels and clump around my bedroom in them.  Just like mother!  And today, I still like to window shop and try on clothes and look in store windows, even if I don’t have the money to buy anything.  Just dreaming about it is fun.

The story continues.  This once vibrant woman knows that she must marry to fall into line with the rest of societies expectations of women.  Think of your grandmother’s time.  Any woman who reached her 20’s unmarried was considered a spinster.  It is only in the 2000’s that this perception is starting to change.  However, the pressure to marry is still there.  And we still feel the push.

So, when this woman gets the opportunity to marry, she doesn’t hesitate.  She accepts the first man who offers her his hand in marriage.  She doesn’t shop around for a husband.  She’ll be lucky if anyone asks her, after all.  She doesn’t ask herself why she wants to marry him. She doesn’t ask herself if she is really in love.   She doesn’t ask herself if she will still be able to continue her weekly jaunts into town. No, she won’t even ask the question.   She doesn’t question the fact that he is a farmer and that he lives a good distance outside of town and that her life will be filled with isolation, hard work, and loneliness.  No!  She accepts because a woman is expected to become a wife and mother.  She accepts because she will be taken care of. She accepts because these flights of fancy are silly and frivolous and childish.  She must grow up and become a woman.  There will be no time for silliness.

She now lives in a beautiful little farm house.  It is the envy of all of the women in the farming community.  Her husband is a good provider and his farm is prosperous.  She wants for nothing material.  She has wonderful children, well behaved and intelligent, hardworking and dependable.  She has it all.  Except the one thing that makes her truly happy…a trip into town in her best dress and hat.

The dress and the hat are tucked away in a cedar chest where it has been since she moved in.  No need to get it out.  She doesn’t have anywhere to wear it.  The closest she gets to town is the local farm and feed store.    It has been years now.  She has the perfect house, the perfect husband, the perfect children, the perfect life…until one day she scrubs all her floors until they shine.  She takes her favorite dress and hat out of the cedar chest and stands in front of the mirror putting on her make-up and making sure her hair is combed perfectly.

She takes the rifle from the gun cabinet, puts it in her mouth and pulls the trigger.  The question of the day is why did she first scrub the floors?  I asked my husband this question.  He couldn’t tell me.  But as Ms Estes puts it,  she knows that all of us women can answer the question.  I know why.  Do you?



~ by womenstudycenter on January 22, 2009.

2 Responses to “Why did she scrub the floors?”

  1. Yes, I know all the reasons why she scrubbed the floors first. And life’s all the more complicated (heroic) when religion is involved from the a to z of it all. It’s always love more than anything else that scrubs a floor, or shops for food for the millionth time, but it’s not what I consider my best love, and no one but old boyfriends know. And none but me cares about that. That’s just human nature. Wife is wife, Mom is Mom, and self who? But it catches up with one. I have often said inwardly, “I’m not the marrying kind,” but only since my second marriage wherein all seemed thought-out and wise and happy indeed. I had also often said (inwardly) that I’d have loved being an auntie. Well, I didn’t have brothers or sisters. It is what it is –I do trust that God put me where He wanted me, but we do have some say on that. I wasn’t watching out for myself at all.

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