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Posts tagged ‘angel’

Whatever Works

41nM1xKgcaLLetting Go into Perfect Love: Discovering the Extraordinary After Abuse by Gwendolyn M. Plano. Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

When you’ve been emotionally and physically abused in a 25-year marriage, it takes not only courage to get out, let alone heal, but also an array of support and resources. Ms. Plano provides not only the details of her childhood, adult life and abuse, but also explores what helped, and what didn’t. Adding insult to injury, she later discovers that her daughter was abused by a Catholic sister and several priests. 

The first part of this story is anything but “perfect love”, but its important to provide context and depth to the despair, isolation, and shame that was experienced. The support and realizations that come to the author are as varied and individual as was the abuse. From the instruction’s of a zen teacher, theological inquiries into Christianity and the bible, feeling the presence of an “angel”, and getting psychological support, to the love and care of a Franciscan priest, and a center for abuse survivors. Whatever worked for insight, growth, and healing, is what Ms. Plano reached for.

Two quotes really stood out. “Rather than seeing the controlling behavior for what it was, I focused on what must be wrong with me.” This is such a common, and understandable, feeling that many abuse survivors have echoed. The other was, “It was a delusion to imagine that I was alone, just as it was to imagine that I was unworthy of love.” Self-loathing, self-doubt, and internalizing abuse as one’s “fault”, is one of the most horrendous effects for survivors. The other is feeling isolation and having nowhere to turn.

Another insightful passage, which is seldom spoken of, is about why some people never get out of an abusive relationship. “Domestic violence is usually not reported, and this fact is often misunderstood. Certainly, victims do not report the violence because of the real possibility of retaliation, but there is a deeper reason for their silence. To report partner violence is to betray the partner, it is to forsake the dream of a happily-ever-after marriage, it is to contend with the real and imaginary voices of condemnation, and it is to destroy the family unit.”

Letting Go Into Perfect Love is a blow to the heart, that leaves the reader with a sense that it is possible to survive the unsurvivable. It is possible to acknowledge, confront, and walk away from perpetrators of violence. It is possible to find support – sometimes in the most unexpected places. There are no cliches in this memoir (thank Goddess). There is an honest look at what has, and is happening, to thousands of women across the globe, and how each can find their way to not only survive, but perhaps learn to love again.

 

 

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Goddess of Cancer – Scene 2

Excerpt from Goddess of Cancer and Other Plays by Gabriel Constans.

Goddess of Cancer – Scene 2

Characters

GODDESS: Multi-cultural woman of no particular age. Face painted a variety of flesh tones. Hair a mixture of blond, brown, red, black and gray. Long rainbow-colored robe. Changes persona frequently.

VICKI: Asian-American woman in her twenties. Casual dress. Animated. Angry. Anxious. Scared.

WENDY: European-American woman in her thirties. Conservative dress. Quiet. Shy. Fearful.

JENNIFER: African-American woman in her forties. Business suit (beeper). Intellectual. In control. Avoids emotion.

LENNIE: Mexican-American woman in her fifties. Flowing skirt, flowery blouse. Insightful. Compassionate.

BARBARA: Arab-American woman in her sixties. Gray skirt and sweater (wearing a cross). Strong. Survivor. Dogmatic. Angry. Tired.

CHANTALL: Jewish-American woman in her seventies. Slacks and blouse (gray wig, in wheelchair). Humerous. Matter of fact. Sarcastic. Worried.

Setting

Living room. White couch center stage facing audience. White chair next to couch, stage left and black coffee table in front of couch. Large green plant on floor between couch and chair. Flowers in a vase on table. White door stage left. Three large pictures with red frames on wall behind couch. One picture is of the Grim Reaper, one is of an angel and the other an hourglass. Black bar facing audience stage right, with potted plant on its corner. A light switch is on the wall by the bar. Closed cupboard behind bar is full of cigarettes.

A slide-projector (with a color slide of each actor’s face shown at beginning of each scene) is placed on one end of the bar for the Goddess to operate or in front of the stage and controlled by a stage member.

Time: Afternoon or early evening. Present.

ACT I

SCENE 2

(Picture of Wendy appears on screen/wall.)

GODDESS: Wendy. Thirty-five. Legal secretary. Divorced two years. Uterine cancer. Previous surgery. I am spreading again but she doesn’t know it yet or maybe she does.

(Quiet knock on door. Goddess doesn’t answer. Another knock.)

GODDESS: Come in!

(Knocking continues as Goddess goes and opens door.)

WENDY: (Bewildered.) Hello. I’m not sure I’m in the right place.

GODDESS: Who ya looking for?

WENDY: The Goddess of Cancer. Is she here?

GODDESS: She is indeed. T’is I, in the flesh. (Bows.)

WENDY: Oh, I’m sorry. My name is Wendy.

GODDESS: Yes, I know. Come in. Have a seat.

(Wendy hesitates, then walks to chair and sits.)

GODDESS: Like some tea or mineral water?

WENDY: Yes. Thank you.

(Wendy looks at pictures on wall.)

WENDY: If you don’t mind me asking, who are the pictures of?

GODDESS: Oh, those . . . just relatives of mine. Sugar?

(One picture is of the Grim Reaper, one is of an angel and the other an hourglass.)

WENDY: No. Thank you.

(Goddess gives tea to Wendy and sits down on couch.)

GODDESS: So Wendy, what’s up?

WENDY: I’m not really sure. I had you two years ago and they took you out, but something’s not right and I can’t put my finger on it.

GODDESS: Something at work?

WENDY: No, no, work’s fine. A little hectic now and then, but not bad.

GODDESS: Your family?

WENDY: No, they’re fine. My parents live out of town, so I don’t see them much anyway.

GODDESS: Do you like living alone?

WENDY: It can get kind of lonely. I don’t have many friends and I work ridiculously long hours. I haven’t met any guy worth dating. Even if I did, they probably wouldn’t like me anyway.

GODDESS: Why do you say that?

WENDY: My husband left because he couldn’t hack it when I got sick and . . . you know . . . being half a woman and all.

GODDESS: Half a woman?

WENDY: He really wanted kids, you know? Once they removed my uterus he started slipping away. He stopped talking, wouldn’t touch me and acted like I was contaminated.

GODDESS: So . . . he only loved you when you matched a certain image in his head and couldn’t hack it when things got a little rough?

WENDY: Can’t blame him. What’s life without children?

GODDESS: Give me a break! What about your feelings, your dreams, your career, the rest of your life?!

WENDY: Yeah, sure. But I wanted kids so bad.

GODDESS: Ever hear of adoption?

WENDY: That’s not the same thing.

GODDESS: You’re right, it’s not the same thing, but it’s just as challenging. Giving birth only takes a few hours out of your life, raising them takes the rest. It’s a full time job, with highs and lows beyond your imagination. But, you might as well forget it.

WENDY: Why?

GODDESS: Oh . . . you know . . . it’s easier to just keep to yourself. You don’t want to meet someone and have them leave again, do you? What if you got sick? Why take the risk?

WENDY: Is their something you aren’t telling me?

GODDESS: Heavens no.

(Goddess looks at audience and winks.)

GODDESS: I’m just looking out for your best interests. I suggest you play it safe, don’t take any foolish risks and fall in love or anything.

WENDY: (Sighs.) Maybe you’re right.

GODDESS: Of course I’m right. Life is too scary to make commitments that just get broken anyway.

(Wendy looks around for a clock.)

WENDY: Excuse me, what’s the time?

GODDESS: I have no idea. What is time?

WENDY: What’s time? You know . . . appointments, meetings? It helps us keep on schedule.

GODDESS: Oh, right. Humans use it to measure the moments between birth and death.

(Wendy stands and lightly shakes the Goddess’s hand, then walks nervously backwards towards the door.)

WENDY: Right. um . . . I’ve got to go. Thanks for taking the time.

GODDESS: You’re more than welcome. I love taking your time.

(Wendy exits. Goddess turns towards audience.)

GODDESS: Should I have told her? No, she already knows. She wouldn’t believe me anyway.

(Goddess goes and turns off lights.)

Goddess of Cancer Continued – Tomorrow Scene 3

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