There are a lot of people I find hard to fathom as a middle-aged woman, but there are some I’ve always struggled to comprehend. Having grown up with three brothers, and as someone who went to a mixed comprehensive school, there have been any number of angry young men in my life. This Lenten practice is about trying to understand rather than dismiss. So, with apologies to Billy Joel, here is my attempt to do just that:
My maps and my medals are laid out on the floor, because they are so much easier to line up than the rest of my life. I like thinking about war, because I love the regimented nature of the military, I love the idea of finding glory, and I have so much rage and testosterone pent up inside me that imagining running into battle with a sword or a spear, roaring and brandishing my strength, is a way of expressing what I could never do in real life. So yes, I spend a lot of time in fantasy, gaming and warplay, watching films, being heroes who are a lot more together than I feel I am. Men who get to play out my dreams, with the beautiful women I’d never dare approach in reality, and the battles that I long to be part of, but which are denied me. I’m fighting everything, including my family, because there are no Grendels left to stand between me and my manhood.
Photo, embroidery design (!) and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017