Please Water My Valley With Good Morals and Unselfishness

How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn is a book that is his autobiography. The story opens when he is grown and is leaving the desiccated and blackened valley, but I get to witness “Huw”‘s childhood, suffering through physical infirmity, and the rise of industrialization and capitalism in a Welsh town.

A coal mine is where most of the men in the town work to earn money. There are other occupations, like baker, smith, and minister at chapel. Then there are unpaid occupations like being born a woman. When the men of the mines face unfair wage cuts and intolerable working conditions, they form a union and go on strike. When the women work for free and rarely get to sit down and are treated disrespectfully and capriciously by selfish, fickle men, they do not form a union. A few go on strike, but they are just called lazy and one of them suicides.

Huw’s father calls unions “socialism” and advises his sons to turn to God instead of strong-arming their employers. His sons disagree and go their own way. They have some success financially and assuage their pride.

The women, like Huw’s mother and sisters, work tirelessly to be hospitable, clean, married, patient, fecund, and faithful. They often face disrespect, abandonment, tragedy, disregard, judgment, and punishment in their community. When any one woman makes a mistake or does not perform these tasks properly, the gavel falls firmly against her. And still they do not form unions and go on strike!

Huw himself has little regard for sound moral instruction and chooses fornication and chooses to denigrate the occupation of fatherhood rather than practice self-control.

And so Marged burns, the valley is buried under slag, and Huw packs his belongings in his mother’s precious head covering.

Llewellyn is a poet, and his book is like a song and like a dance with many dramatic parts and funny and tragic lessons. I learned from him that I am often blind. 

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Made to Worship

Here it is June 2014 and I still fear my husband’s unkindness. His entitlement. His pouting. His lies and manipulation. To top it off, I just read a blog entry by a woman whose father severely sexually abused her, and she hates her mom for it and is worried about how her rapist is coping. 

My desire to placate the implacable and to accept the unacceptable in men recently died. When I read stories about women who cater to their abusers, and when I meet women who are unkind to other women but who feel sorry for fathers who disgustingly use their own small daughters, I lose hope that Christ can ever help us. 

What is it that men do to us that keeps us coming back for more abuse, while we abandon ourselves and our sisters and mothers and friends? I don’t care if my abusers can cope. I don’t want a relationship with a relative who used me for sex. Every time I even remotely harm a man’s perception of himself, I receive a punishment that far outweighs the crime.

Things that hurt men:

Being held accountable

Not being catered to

Not being the center of attention

Not being instantly trusted

Being asked to consider my perspective

Being asked to respect my boundaries

Finding that their unkindness displeases me

Hearing about my experiences of abuse from men

 

Things that harm me:

The knowledge that my needs don’t matter

Knowing that if I were drunk, my husband would “take” whatever sexual pleasure he wants from me

Being treated badly by male strangers who feel entitled to my time and attention

Being overlooked and dismissed and being called a bitch if it even remotely bothers me

Dwelling too much on the negative 😜

 

So, yeah. I had a man recently treat me with kindness and gentleness that seemed genuine and not calculated to get an ego stroke, make me look bad, or lure me into his bedroom. I know this is why women followed Jesus everywhere; this is why I cling to Christ. He obeys God’s commands and He treats me as a precious and beloved daughter.

That man who was kind – I was ready to wash his feet with my tears, and he isn’t even Christ!

Peace out

Toothless Breaks Free and Challenges the Alpha… Or, Fuck the Patriarchy

Tonight we saw HTTYD2. Fantastic. Hit me right in the feels. The villain, per usual, gained his minions (a word that now actually has positive connotations because DM) and army through intimidation and abuse. Kinda like marriage nowadays.

Does the average husband even care if his wife truly trusts and believes in him? Does the average husband care about anything beyond her surface behavior? My husband really isn’t interested in how he affects me. He doesn’t want to hear how I feel. Anything I say or do can quickly be interpreted as an attack or a judgment on him. I find myself faking it a lot.

Yes, faking it. I can feel scared or uncertain, but he doesn’t want to hear that. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I prevent his pride from suffering, cause him minimal discomfort, and take it easy on his poor sense of self. If I tell him I feel threatened, he says it’s like I’m telling him there’s something “wrong” with him. 

So I fake like I’m happy when I’m not. I’m sit with uncomfortable feelings and ask fewer questions and communicate less because I never know what innocuous thing might send him into a hateful pout. 

Would it matter to you if your wife truly enjoyed you? Or do you purchase her gratifying behavior through a series of calculated manipulations to keep her off-balance, afraid, frustrated, insecure? Is she your mindless, dutiful minion, unable to be herself because parts of who she is threaten you? 

I am not “mindless” about it, but it seems like a ridiculous way to go through life. I basically figure out how to keep from upsetting him anymore and ignore him when he pouts and avoid caring about anything much. This way, very little can be used against me. He still tries to blame me for his own difficulties.

Does my husband live with this kind of unease? He doesn’t seem concerned about upsetting me; he rather likes to anger me. He doesn’t seem to be vulnerable to worrying if I’m displeased with him or if he should modify any behaviors to contribute to harmony at home. 

I do think he’s faking it. I think his behaviors are a facade to prevent any kind of vulnerability or emotional intimacy from happening. I think that’s what threatens him. He prefers control. And while he’s no Bloodfist, I must confess that I’m highly disappointed that he has neither the courage nor the desire to earn my loyalty. Whether I am true means nothing to him. 

I cannot be continually dismissed, shut out, leered at, lied to, toyed with, scorned, blamed, and teased and present a very convincing act. Act as if I enjoy being devalued? No. The most I can do is not murder anyone.