Silly Putty

Dear Priscilla Bennett Friends,

This morning Harry and I went to his hand therapy place to strengthen his hands. They’re painful, and due to arthritis he’s lost a lot of strength. He was working with a blob of green silly putty—pulling, twisting and then snapping it into little balls —two minutes for each hand—when suddenly he said, “This hurts. I’ve had enough.” The frail elderly woman next to him said, “You’re not even half done. Stop your complaining and put on your man pants.” Harry looked over at her in surprise. “I only meant…” “I don’t want to hear it. You men can’t handle anything. We carry babies around and give birth. You can complain after you’ve done that, but until then,” she snapped back, waving some therapeutic tool that looked like a rubber hose at him. He smiled back at her and said, “You’re right, and I have the greatest respect for you. Women put up with and tolerate much more than we men. I won’t say another word.”

I’m so lucky to have Harry’s love and respect. In my novel, Katie’s husband Claude has no respect for her, but Katie has put him high on a pedestal—he’s handsome, charming, smart and successful—and he must know best. He criticizes her looks, her weight, her cooking, her thinking and opinions, her labor and motherhood—she has no voice—but it’s what she knows from her loveless childhood where she was an object—an extension of her parents’ egos. Unconsciously, she has picked the same scenario with Claude and has mistaken negative attention for love—after all it’s her fault that he abuses her, and if only she could do better and please more then the problem would disappear. Katie spends a long time trying to please Claude in every imaginable way but keeps failing until she slowly begins to realize that it’s not about her defectiveness. It’s about her survival.

Take good care of yourselves,