It bothers me, that she, died after her revelation. Never one to pen a fan letter; I’d make an exception, to write to ask, do we ever really win? There seems to be an underlying line, a story in every manifesto burning pages these days; everyone claims power while cutting off a piece of ones own skin. Hellions? Every woman on that cover has done battle with herself: alcohol, drugs, starving, exercising, committing a sin of all sins, saying: “take me as I am”, yet never believing in the, “I”.
I wonder about girls today. Who are they believing in, in this facebooked/facetimed hyperaware digitized nation. Where are their strong voices coming from in a past generation? The 80s/90s had Murphy, Mary Jo Shively, a bit of Maggie (though she was weak/strong when it came to men), Mrs. Keaton, and even Mrs. Huxtable. Murphy, though, Murphy started me thinking: yes, why are there not more women ruling the men?
Are we not hungry? Appetite for destruction seems to feed us until we are starving. Caroline Knapp’s words are rubbing my face in my shit; waking me up to little girl blue that still sits on her playground swing singing, “ashes, to ashes, we all fall down!” Her voice low, always blue; already seeing that lack of power play out with her brother; he ran free while she got to sit, waiting, to kick that ball.
To hell with it all. This hunger that gnaws is growing; there is a scratching at the backdoor, hinges still needing oiling; where the doormat stays muddy, caked by men’s work boots, that then proceed to walk all over her white tile scrubbed clean after eight hours; after preparing his feast for tonight’s table. I know, as Caroline knew, we cannot blame these men. No, our self-hatred is earned from a seed akin to the mustard. We’ve found solace in not feeding our true nature; letting our stem slowly die so the white bloom never reaches tomorrow’s azure sky. Why? The truth resides where we must carry not only a flame, but a torch.
If you are a strong woman; if you know not what I write tonight; bless you; sing loud, sing strong, sing for the sister in me who has smothered her own for over twenty years. I worry that Caroline beat one beast with another, letting alcohol become her destruction when she finally fed her other hunger. Uncertainty sometimes causes us to feel thirsty, when really, we just want to be fed.
1) Caroline Knapp’s book, Appetites. Currently reading after finding at used bookstore in Gender Studies.
2) Hellions. Maria Raha. Picked up in Gender Studies as well.
3) Murphy Brown. Mary Jo Shively, Designing Women. Maggie, Northern Exposure. Mrs. Keaton, Family Ties. Clair Huxtable, Cosby Show. (Just a few that came to mind.)
Caroline Knapp struggled in her twenties with anorexia. She wrote “Appetites” after penning other books, including her most noted book, “Drinking: A love story.” Sadly, after seeming to have finally found her place in life; she died unexpectedly after Appetites was published; she was 42.