That’s not a word I would ever have used to describe myself, yet it’s the word someone who knows me better than I know myself used.  I’ve been called sensitive (too sensitive).  I’ve been called creative, eclectic, eccentric and emotional.  I’ve been called humorous, funny, quick-witted and clever.  I’ve been described as bizarre, silly, and childish.  I’ve been told I was impetuous, impulsive and spontaneous.  But delicate?

I am a marshmallow.  When it comes to animals, kids and chick-flicks, I am a marshmallow. I will even cry at a Budweiser commercial.  I do feel other people’s happiness and their sadness.  I am definitely the great empathizer.

When I used to be pre-menstrual and then later post-menstrual, I was certainly able to cry at the smallest things.  I do react to hormones and chemicals.  I am human.

Physical pain doesn’t bother me.  I’ve had my share.  I’ve had brain surgery that resulted in a mild seizure disorder.  I have a chronic condition that keeps me in physical pain most of the time.  I’ve torn my ankle in half due to a racquetball injury, and when it’s going to rain, I know it.  I’ve had a tumor the size of an orange grow and then be removed from under my arm, and then one the size of a tangerine do the same from behind my kneecap. I’ve given birth twice through cesarean section.  I have osteo-arthritis in my spine, and psoriatic arthritis in my knees and elbows. So, no, physical pain does not render me delicate.

When I looked up the word delicate in the Thesaurus, I found words like subtle, faint, tactful, refined, fragile, weak, frail, insubstantial, graceful, and elegant.  I see myself more like all of the antonyms: robust, straightforward, coarse, rugged and passionate.

Words are powerful.  At first, I was offended by the use of that word.  Offended is a strong word.  I was slightly insulted, because I saw it as a sign of weakness, but in retrospect, I’d rather be delicate than overpowering, tactless, inelegant and rough.  And if you don’t mind, I’m still going to cry at those mushy commercials.

Change is Inevitable

A few years ago, I saw a terrific show called, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” which, if I recall correctly, traced relationships between a man and woman from dating, through marriage, through child-rearing into and through old age.  It was cute.  It was funny.  It was us.  And it was, once again, disparaging the role of women in a man’s life.  We are not all sculptors who feel we were handed a blob of hairy modelling clay that just happens to be full of testosterone.  I actually loved my husband just the way he was….  Sort of.

I gave up trying to change anything about him within a year of our marriage.  As we prepare to celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary, and with the benefit of hindsight, I’ve learned that I had wasted a lot of time and energy, attempting to make him into something he’s not.  Even if it did mean that giving up trying to get him to remember to put down the toilet seat would later result in many instances of me falling in; Even if it did result in a multitude of rush clean-up sessions (errant shoes, phantom socks, empty envelopes from the opened mail and whatever else got left right where he finished with it), because of an impromptu visitor.

I have taught him a few things along the way.  (And he, me).  For instance, I taught him not to end a sentence or a question with a preposition, especially professionally.  It always sounded extremely unpolished to me when he would ask a potential client, “Where do you work at?”  I also have broadened his gastronomic horizons.  He no longer puts ketchup on everything.  I think that’s where I have drawn the line.

What I refuse to give up on, however, is trying to get him to change himself… to be adventurous, open-minded and willing to try new things.  The time in our lives when we had to be serious, responsible and passive, so that we could see to the needs of our children and our parents is over.  We are still young enough to take a shot at something new and different, but that would mean making a change.

My husband is a very bright guy.

How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?

 One, but the light bulb has to really want to change.

Love Me or Hate Me

Just when I’ve reached the age of not really caring what anybody else thinks about me, that time in a woman’s life where she’s finally content with who she is, and accepts in herself her flaws, imperfections and quirks, it dawned on me that no matter where I go in this nasty world we live in, somebody hates me.  By the way, besides accepting my flaws, I’ve also learned to see my talents, abilities and inner beauty.

First of all, I should give you an idea of how I see myself. And then perhaps explain why I feel so hated.  I am, (not in any particular order), a middle-aged, overweight, smoking, outspoken, Jewish, American, liberal-thinking, artistic, musical woman.  I’ve also been called dramatic, eccentric and florid.

I am an American, as a result of recent history, that has become more of a label rather than a badge of honor.  While we still stand tall and powerful, we are disrespected and hated by many countries around the world.  On the other hand, we are still the haven, the sanctuary for those looking for freedom from oppression, whether it is political, economic or religious.

An outspoken woman, in some cultures, would be either muted or shot.  I often show my legs and arms, and my middle-aged cleavage (for those desperate enough to want to see it).  My face is uncovered, my head shows my own hair, and my husband will attest to the fact that my lips are constantly flapping.

Because I was born a Jew, and because I maintain a great deal of pride in my religion and my heritage, I am a marked woman in many parts of the world. Indeed, in many parts of my own country, for whatever reason, I am hated.  The basic tenet of my religion, as it was taught to me, doesn’t comprehend this hate.  Our whole existence is based on tolerance and love.  We only seek the freedom to practice our religion in peace.

From my perspective, and I don’t claim to be a very well educated Jew as the extent of my Torah study is extremely limited, we learn, from our history, to live righteous lives.  We pass on that knowledge from generation to generation.  We treat all mankind with goodness.  We celebrate our survival and thank one G-d for same.  That’s all.  So, why is there the hate?  In 2014, why?

And now for the part that gets me the most, because it speaks to the human condition.  Our society has gotten worse and worse, rather than better with this, despite the women’s movement.  Our sexist society still attempts to make people like me feel lesser. I’m 57.  I’m medically obese.  My hair is grey.  Men still think with their other brains, which ultimately will render me unattractive.  I know women who have had so much plastic surgery that their next face-lift will actually be a cesarean, just to stay in the game.

Not me.  I am who I am, love me or hate me.  Just wish the whole world would just calm down and realize that we only get one chance at this thing.  Go for the love…