What Jane Said...

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“We certainly do not forget you so soon as you forget us. It is perhaps our fate rather than our merit. We cannot help ourselves. We live at home, quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us. You are forced on exertion. You have always a profession, pursuits, business of some sort or other, to take you back into the world immediately; and continual occupation and change soon weaken impressions.” ~Jane Austen, Persuasion

We certainly do not forget you so soon as you forget us.
Truth. It has been almost two hundred years and this statement rings true.

It is perhaps our fate rather than our merit.
Perhaps? I’ve said it before and I will say it again: “
Fate is an evil bitch!” No, there is nothing meritorious about the feminine ability to pine f-o-r-e-v-e-r. It is a curse and I want someone to blame. Eve brought that whole pain in childbirth fiasco down upon us. Surely I can find someone in history to blame for this irrational behavior of pining.

We cannot help ourselves.
Trust me. I’ve tried. And, as someone quite adept at burying, hiding, squelching and purging emotional impulses, you would think that I, before many others of my species, could actually succeed. Not so much.

We live at home,
I thank God daily that moving back home with one’s parents upon becoming single again is no longer the societal expectation.

… quiet,
Me? Bwahahahaha!

… confined,
Yes, but the terms of such confinement have changed o’er the years.

… and our feelings prey upon us.
That they do. Ladies, we no longer suffer the jail sentence of being locked away in our father’s house and treated as the most fragile of china dolls and, yet, amidst all that we do (and we do a lot), our feelings stalk us… feeding upon memory and insecurity and misplaced hope.

You are forced on exertion.
No. Not anymore. That was me… from the moment I entered adulthood. Circumstance dictated I work and work and work. I am weary. When did this change? When did it become socially acceptable for a man to not be a man? The act of women entering the workforce does not absolve man of his duty. Yes, duty. As Craig Ferguson would say when he utters something far from the ludicrous confines of society’s political correctness, “I look forward to your letters.”

You have always a profession,
As do I.

… pursuits,
As do I.

… business of some sort or other,
As do I. Hello… working single mother, here.

… to take you back into the world immediately;
I’m in it, baby, 24/7. No rest.

…and continual occupation and change soon weaken impressions.
For the man, perhaps, “out of sight, out of mind” is a bred-in philosophy. Even in the busiest of busy moments a woman can find a split second to pine. We may find temporary relief in having the brain distracted, but even the smallest of lulls serves as an open window of opportunity for the mind to escape the confines of that given job and run free through the fields of memory. Perhaps that is the very problem, for later on, in the very same passage, Jane Austen writes these words regarding a woman’s penchant for feelings added to the regular pressures of manhood… pressures modern women (Read: Me/I) now face daily:
“‘Your feelings may be the strongest,’ replied Anne, ‘but the same spirit of analogy will authorise me to assert that ours are the most tender. Man is more robust than woman, but he is not longer-lived; which exactly explains my view of the nature of their attachments. Nay, it would be too hard upon you, if it were otherwise. You have difficulties, and privations, and dangers enough to struggle with. You are always labouring and toiling, exposed to every risk and hardship. Your home, country, friends, all quitted. Neither time, nor health, nor life, to be called your own. It would be too hard indeed’ (with a faltering voice) ‘if woman’s feelings were to be added to all this.’”
Difficult? Absolutely. Too hard? Obviously not or I, and many other woman in like position, would have been long committed to the asylum or death by now. And people wonder why I firmly believe that woman has a far superior inner strength than man.

And so, when I don't have the time for foolish games of the heart and mind... when I am drawn to my pining female nature and need to conquer it quickly... I try to remember this: The memory is not to be trusted.

"There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences." ~Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

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