Scarecrow or Tin Man?

At the risk of sounding like a complete idiot:

I was talking to a friend the other day. Smart cookie, she is. But not academic. Never had a high powered job. Married to a man who ‘knows his own mind’, ‘calls a spade a spade’ etc. Though he is not my type, they have just celebrated 25 years together and she certainly seems happy. Anyway, we were chatting a while back, and the subject of the referendum came up. My friend said something which at the time I ignored. Along the lines of ‘Well, if (husband) were here he could explain it all very well’. Now obviously there is nothing wrong with that.

But as the weeks have passed I find myself returning to that comment and sentiment again and again. Not about her, but about me. One of the many reasons I felt so utterly bereft when BH walked out on us, I realise, is that I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO THINK. About anything. I deferred to him about just about everything.

It’s been over three years now. I no longer cry all the time. I have managed what I thought I never could: to get divorced and sell our home, buy and move to somewhere else. Got all the admin and paperwork and finances done, more or less. I am slowly getting up off the floor. And it is dawning on me that, for example, I don’t share X politics. I thought I did. I was always appalled to hear about women who are coerced into voting as their husbands tell them. I was not coerced. But I assumed that my genius husband knew best about everything. Now I wonder if in fact he was a complete idiot.

I had to phone HM Revenue today to ask about something. I feel so ignorant. X used to deal with all the finances, and had accountants to do everything. I used to just sign where I was told to. It all went over my head. I asked the friendly guy on the phone about the fact that I had made a contribution to my pension (new, small, awarded as part of the divorce – I’d never had or thought about pensions before). I had followed the rules and contributed almost as much as my minuscule earned income for the last tax year and my question was could it be right that I deduct it from my income, thus leaving me with almost zero? He said ‘Yes, that’s fine. That just shows that you are managing your finances’. I burst into tears.

I am beginning to think that I didn’t just give my heart away in that marriage, but also my brain.




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Florence Feynman

I am a middle aged, middle class woman, thinking.

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