Miley Twerks

The Miley in your life just twerked her way ahead over the blistered remains of your poor neglected groin.

Alright, it’s just a cheesy metaphor, but how would you feel about giving your life over to another person who would use you like a well-worn power tool to enhance and build their own life’s ambition, their career, their aspirations?

History is laden with the carcasses of those who have made just such a sacrifice.

What do I know, maybe you’ve thrown yourself on the pile already too.

Instinctively, do you feel a rush of warm, goodwill sensations bubbling up from deep within, climaxing with an enthusiastic,

YES, I must give of myself to do this for my one important person, the constellation of my life“?

I hope NOT.

……………………

The reason all of this is coming to mind right now is that I’m absorbed in reading a book written by Paula McLain entitled The Paris Wife.

It tells the semi-fictional but largely factual inside tale of a woman, Hadley Richardson, who marries a yet-to-be-discovered writer Ernest Hemingway in the early 1920’s. The new Mrs. Hemingway sheds any ambitions or dreams of her own (which included becoming a concert pianist) to be the jock-strap support to dear Ernest.

Young Mr. Hemingway and Hadley, his first (of 4) bride, travel to Paris where they live in semi-squalor so that he can write and mingle with the famed writers of the era: Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Artists of all sorts rightfully want to be around others of their ilk hoping that brilliance will shimmy into them by osmosis, and fame will fall gloriously crashing into their laps.

It was the sign of an era and perhaps humanity to that point in time that a woman like Hadley would willingly leave behind her life, dreams, and family to facilitate the ambitions of her man, with no expectation of equivalent opportunity.

Hemingway and Hadley

Ernest and Hadley with young son Jack “Bumby”

You think Hemingway was a brilliant writer and true example of a REAL man?

His spare verbiage and testosterone-laden images of self-assured manliness — dragging huge sun-sparkling marlins onto a battered wooden fishing boat … or marvelling at the masterful skills needed by the matador to thrust a lengthy banderilla into the heart of a boiling-angry bull within the arena — are legendary.

Many many love Hemingway. I have a grudging admiration for his ability to transpose fully-laden ideas into crisp, compact sentences, but beyond that, I think he was an asshole narcissist.

…………………

I look at the reflection of my amazingly handsome visage in the mirror, fancifully seeing only the wrinkle-free 19 year-old that I once was and no longer am, and I can’t help but reflect on the narcissists of the world.

Can it be right for one “Hadley” person to act as a support, a lifelong appendage with no ambitions or personal goals, other than those that belong to another? Is it akin to becoming a monk or a nun and dedicating your eternal earthly soul to ONE other only?

Conversely, where is the human sense of honesty and fairness of “Ernest” when placing another in the position of servitude to his own talents, and abilities, asking, or even allowing another to sacrifice their own dreams and talents to live life as a crutch-bound Tiny Tim?

There are two pathways we can choose to take in our lives:

  • one is the profound journey.
  • the other is the surface journey.

Lifes journey

It may be a tragedy of human life that some of us allow ourselves to be distracted by the surface journeys while believing them to be the profound journeys.

The profound journeys are internal and substantial; the surface journeys are external and likely not significant.

For the first Mrs. Hemingway,

In many cases, the role was supportive only, sitting in the wives’ corner with Alice Toklas as she attended to her needlepoint—while on the other side of the room the “artist’s” talk crackled with excitement and invention. But some of the literary wives had strange and even toxic power—Zelda Fitzgerald, for instance. It was important to Hadley that she not try to run Ernest’s life but be his ally and his best friend. I think of her as essential to his emotional foundation, and that’s when the word “supportive” takes on a new strength and meaning.”

It brings me to tears to see someone leave a life of untapped potential shelved in support of another. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Hillary Clinton was obviously far more than just a sexy little thong hanging by her man’s side. Hillary was, is, the intellectual and ambition-laden equal to Bill, who lent her support to him for his aims, but didn’t just linger limply in the background.

Too, despite his “I did not have sex with that woman” faults, Bill Clinton also encouraged Hillary’s ambitions and lent his support in equal measure upon completion of his presidential terms.

But Hillary is still the exception, not the rule. It appears that Michelle Obama will be another of those exceptions … time will tell.

……………………

After writing 80 blog posts, I’ve found that the ones that have been the most viewed and probably provocative have been the ones I’ve written about the dwindling power and dominance of men in the western world. This is, and should be seen as a great movement forward in humanity’s development.

I give it a hardy thumbs up, so long as it’s based on women’s freedom and ambition to climb upwards, and not just a result of men’s tumbling off the rocky mountain’s precipice.

An article published in the Globe and Mail by Tabatha Southey this past weekend optimistically suggests that men are not falling back in their interest in higher education, it’s just that women are clambering like high-seas refugees onto the post-secondary boat in far greater numbers than ever before.

This is the future I dream of when I shutter my eyes for the night.

Unlike Hadley Richardson, er, Mrs. Hemingway, women (and men too) rightfully need to pursue their own personal goals and dreams. If the dream cloud can hold them both equally afloat, totally supportive of the other’s lofty ambition, there’s no reason to move like, and sing out like Jagger, “Hey You, Get Off of My Cloud“.

But for God’s sake girls, choose the profound journey.

Don’t ever let yourself become The Paris Wife and settle for saying, when asked what it is that you do: “I’m JUST the wife of …”.

the-paris-wife

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