Friday, July 1, 2016

Antonyms for Harridan

The Sign of Letting Things Go

Harridan: a strict, bossy or belligerent old woman 
Synonyms: Termagant, fish-wife, battle-ax, shrew, virago, harpy, vixen, castigator, nitpicker, pettifogger, scold, railer, dragon-lady

Even though I'm down one child (Oliver is off to camp), I can't seem to get it together and be The Mother and Woman I Used To Be. At best, that person was amazing, actually. That's enough of the third person. I was always on time, was organized, made my bed every morning and made my sons make their own. I won't belabor the twenty-one years of caregiving of a severely disabled daughter. When it became evident in the second year that the McMansion workers behind me were probably not just building a monstrosity but actually digging a tunnel to bring in drugs from Mexico (because why else would they be still drilling after two years), I marched over to the site and demanded to speak to the foreman. I wrote long, articulate harangues to the developer and even shouted at the guy who was cutting down the trees that bordered my yard. I've refused to sort or fold boy socks since those who wore them were about six and eight years old and could do it themselves, ordered them to get that dirty lacrosse stick out of the living room! or something similar and yelled who left that here! multiple times a day. I strapped on an ax every single day to protect my daughter from bullshit and fight for her rights and dignity. I made dinner every single night and cared about whether my children were eating fruits and vegetables.  At best, I was -- well -- formidable. At worst, I was any one of those descriptors up there in italics and proudly, if ruefully so.

As the great bard Bob Dylan said, I used to care but things have changed.

The third time I woke up this morning at 8:05 (the first time was at 1:00 to tell the dog to go sit down! as she was walking back and forth in the hallway, her nails clicking and I thought there was going to be an earthquake but apparently not and the second time was at 6:30 when I drew up Sophie's CBD oil and shot it into her mouth, rubbed her cheek and made sure that she swallowed it), Henry staggered into the room and told me that he felt sick and couldn't go to work. I said, go take some Advil and go back to bed. I then went into the bathroom, glanced into the mirror and was not  even horrified by my appearance but more profoundly curious because -- well -- how the hell has it happened?

I had one glass of wine yesterday afternoon with a high school friend visiting Los Angeles and then about four hours later a Lavender Collins with one of my best writer friends at the Culver City Hotel. I was not drunk at any time, not even buzzed. I went to bed at 10:30 after reading Trollope for an hour and giving Sophie her last dose of CBD oil.  Yet, the woman who looked back at me from the mirror had hair sticking up as if moussed, sheet lines on her cheek, a deep groove running vertically down her forehead and red eyes. Weird, I thought. I look hungover. Someone knocked at the door, and the dog started barking. I asked who is it? and simultaneously remembered that I had made an appointment with The Disability Bureaucracy for a site visit. I was wearing my nightgown, a revealing black slip thing (and remember my hair), so I grabbed a cardigan and ran a brush through my mop and let The Disability Bureaucrat in to my house. I should italicize that last bit: I let the Disability Bureaucrat into my house. We sat at the kitchen table, I in my nightgown and she in her wrap dress, and I never once considered unsheathing the ax or blowing up her head with my mind, even when she asked why Sophie wasn't conserved, and I said she was conserved three years ago and your office finalized it and she said she had no record of that and checked off a box. Honestly, Reader, I just shrugged my shoulders and said, Huh, that's weird.

There are dishes in the sink this morning, a lacrosse stick leans on the couch, a lacrosse ball is wedged between two dirty sneakers on the floor, Sophie is lying on her bed because summer school didn't work out due to the LAUSD not providing a trained aide and I didn't fight for it (I didn't fight for it), it's 11:26 in the morning and I'm still in my black nightgown.

I'm happy.

There are no listed antonyms for harridan. 


  1. I wouldn't know where to start telling you that this is the way to go. But let me make an attempt and yell at the top of my voice: Way to go, woman, more power to you!

  2. Hey- it's summer and you are a goddess.

  3. The not caring anymore, I get and it distresses me. It's like, I've had to let go of so much, so damn much, that I dare not care about or for anything in case I have to let go yet again.

  4. Sweetie-pie might work as an antonym. To king's comment, how about "freedom is another word for nothin' left to lose".... And to both of you, um, it gets weirder – or it has for me, anyway.

  5. Gawd, I love a long post!
    A Lavender Collins? I need one of those, now.
    Geez, you have a sexy Mazda and a sexy nightgown - you slut.

    go sit down...go take some Advil and go back to bed..Love it!
    I'm thinkin' we really Could be friends ?!
    UCMU :)

  6. It's a charmed moment of perspective. May it last.

  7. There is an antonym for harridan, Goddess.

  8. Summertime and the living is easy. I get those moments of - whatever, I'm tired of fighting everything. And if that is where you want to be right now, then I hope it all stays wonderfully easygoing for you. And if it gets to a point where you feel like picking up your axe again...then they'd better watch out. :)

  9. Geez, girl. You do know how to write.

    Your post reminds me of a dance my girl dances in Highland called The Irish Jig. Most Highland dances are light and on the dainty side by the Irish Jig is an angry dance. There are fists waving and stomping feet. The story behind it is a woman who has hung her laundry on the line and her husband comes home drunk and knocks it all off. She is pissed. Watch the woman in green. You can't hear it on the video but the foot stomping is very loud.

  10. I love this post. Love it.

  11. Just scrolling back -- I missed this post, and I love it.



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