On the Intimate Betrayal of Patriarchy

When we were young, we lived in a newlywed glow but didn’t know it. We painted castles in the sky and held hands and shared housework. 

But then, little by little, socialized expectations set in. 

My feminist husband, respectful and kind and determined to love me passionately as myself

Who never once balked at my feminist critiques of religions and systems

Sat down. 

Big, substantial clouds playing with early morning light, taken from a high vantage point
Clouds, courtesy of Edward Stojakovic via Flickr

Marriage is complicated.

Some days I remember the mountain of kindnesses, too numerous to catalogue

But also

One day he got sick. Very sick.

And I took the reins with no one to shelter 

Or anticipate my hurt

Or prepare a place for my weary feet.

We had such dreams of égalité

An equal yoke, unused

We slipped into hierarchy the way some people slip into a bathtub

I don’t often slip into bathtubs anymore

And now I am never sick or hurt or tired

Not enough, anyway, to warrant a rest. 

Sleep, yes, but I miss the tenderness

I hold up the heavens with an aching back 

While my husband lay weary beneath the stars

There’s a touch of oppression in being indispensable 

More than a brush as the years go on

The castle we built in the sky was made of clouds

And the wind blew.

It wore him down.

It wore me down too.


AdelaHope used to be a little girl with a microphone, who loved her bicycle. She is now a woman with a family, a laptop, and a ukulele, who has dreams of traveling to beautiful, interesting places. She is currently living the mom-life while she works on a Master's degree in New England

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3 Responses

  1. Sean McKee says:

    That was a good post. It sounds like a place for rest and recovery would be good. I have been nosing my way around looking for such a place. But as I make my way around, all the debris from the tornado has made for such a mess. However, as I peer through the piles of debris, I see a gem in amongst the destruction. It inspires me. It reminds me of the time before the storm hit. I have to keep after this recovery effort. I meet others working their way through the debris. There is cooperation and encouragement. I also realize that many of them are suffering from injuries from the storm. Rebuilding will take a while longer. At least they are still alive. Many did not make it through the storm. After the rebuilding is finished, the community must take a vow to not start any more tornadoes.

    Thank you for the post.

  2. Katie Rich says:

    This is beautiful and heartbreaking.

  3. Janey says:

    I love this line: “There’s a touch of oppression in being indispensable ”

    So so true. Being needed is nice, up to a point, until you realize that it’s pressure and there’s nobody there for you the way you have to be there for everybody else.

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