August 18, 2012

{Excerpt: The Diana Mythology} Part Three


[This is Part Three of "The Diana Mythology" section of my upcoming book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride. Other parts of this chapter will follow. Simply scroll down or click on "The Diana Mythology" in the labels group below to read previous excerpts.]

An angry woman is not always easy for men to handle and expressing anger is not always easy for women to do. And like for Diana, many times a woman’s anger got expressed by abusing her body. “How can she manifest her anger or her grief?” biographer Beatrix Campbell asked about Diana in the tangled and suppressive circumstances of her life. “If the discovery of her own disappointment could not be revealed, because it could not be tolerated, then it made sense to keep screaming….”

There were then and there are now a lot of angry women out there—some aiming straight and hitting their mark while others being passively aggressive, sarcastically nasty (or just plain mean), and some seething quietly until they snap. Diana may have been the representative of eons of women’s collective anger coming to a head. When the young princess began speaking up about feeling abandoned by mother, husband and monarchy, women were the first to lean in and really listen. “It was Diana’s treatment as a woman, and her sense that she was sustained by the sympathy and strength of women, that made her dangerous” to the patriarchal establishment, Campbell added in How Sexual Politics Shook Up the Monarchy.

Full of unresolved anger from childhood, Diana’s volatile temper as an adult surfaced occasionally. And sometimes there was even a warning before the crash: “‘Stand by for a mood swing, boys,’” she’d say to her private secretary, biographer Tina Brown explained. Whether these moods were from the frustrations of not being heard and not being allowed a voice, or chemical imbalances caused by her bulimia, or living under the stress of so much suppressed emotion for so many years, or some sort of personality disorder, or even complications of a complex astrological chart (they all had been cited as possible conditions)—but Diana could create a battlefield-like, walking-on-eggshells environment that was disconcerting to everyone around.

Any kind of “letting go” or “turn the other cheek,” non-resistant, “getting off it” action must have been a tough one for Diana when she was wound up so tight inside her emotions. (But I bet many times underneath her bluster and outburst, she could “see” herself and learn from it.) Unfortunately,  with her intensity and when feeling frustrated and boxed in, Diana did what she did so well: set up a strategic battle plan to try to out-maneuver or over-power whomever she appointed as her “opponent”—husband, friend, employee or family member. She may have felt that she was a “survivor,” as her biographers claim: “‘Remember, you’re a Spencer’” she’d say to herself to buoy her resolve. However, if you think of life as something you have to “survive,” then it probably means that you think of life like a war zone set up for winning/losing, right/wrong, looking good/looking bad—some kind of duality waiting to do battle. Beatrix Campbell declared that Diana was not a victim but a survivor. That may have been so, but “surviving” is an exhausting way to live! The other side of this coin (and there always is one) is that it took someone with Diana’s persistence and strength—and survival instinct—to break through the patriarchal infused barriers to living life with an open heart.

Remembering that words have power, what’s a more empowering way you can express your life? Instead of “surviving” what about thriving, flourishing, prospering? Instead of being “intense,” how about being strong, centered and powerful? By finding words that ground you, that are inclusive of others and don’t set-up a winning/losing mentality, then everyone gets to win! ~

[This is Part Three of "The Diana Mythology" section of my upcoming book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride. Other parts of this chapter will follow. Simply scroll down or click on "The Diana Mythology" in the labels group below to read previous excerpts.]

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