A friend was complaining to my husband recently about his wife. “I know what it’s like being married to a difficult woman,” Kevin tells him. WHAT?! I am not a difficult woman! I’m not, I insist. But then I quickly realize how ridiculous that is. I am most certainly a difficult woman.
Nasty Women are popular these days, but my type of Difficult Woman is a different animal. She may speak her mind, a la Kamala Harris or Maxine Waters, but she’s not just difficult because she’s outspoken. She can be an outright pain in the ass.
She may insist on doing things her way. She may be intractable. She may be prone to moods. She may not let things go easily. I’ve known this character all my life and have been trying to help her.
My grandmother was the Grande Dame of Difficult Women. She raged and mourned deeply all the years she lived with us. She had lost her husband and her younger daughter to the Nazis. Miraculously all four of her siblings survived. I must have gotten the difficult gene from that family line. Because despite having remained alive against miraculous odds, my grandmother’s siblings were mostly estranged from each other throughout my life. My grandmother and her younger sister managed to stay together through three concentration camps, but stopped talking to each other some time in the 60s.
Not all difficult women are the same, mind you. They can range from mildly irksome to totally unbearable. I actually find that moderately difficult women are my favorite. They are the people I find the most interesting and the ones who make up most of my friends. I’ve always liked fiery people (although I have gotten burned).
You should know that difficult women are not always happy about being difficult. They’re not just about being contrarian. (I find contrarians tiring.) It’s that Difficult people feel more wed to their truths. So it’s a little harder for them to ignore their inner voice and the feelings it generates. They know what they like and often insist on it. I like that.
Difficult women have strong feelings. They are almost never lukewarm. They crave the storms of emotion and seek them out. I think that’s why I like to read so much and why I love the movies and good drama series. Otherwise rage from reading the news would my main emotion every day. I need some variety.
Difficult women enjoy expressing themselves. Not coincidentally, many of them are artists. They also like to form their own opinions and hold lots of them. They will question assumptions to assess the strength of your argument and evaluate accordingly. They take nothing on face value unless they’ve determined it to be true themselves. They’re often skeptics.
I know that living with a difficult woman can be challenging and I am grateful that my husband Kevin is a patient man. He’s a nurse in an inner city emergency room and he’s exceptionally calm. The direct opposite of me, because laid back, I am not. Somehow our relationship mostly works, although I know he sometimes gets exasperated with me. It’s the same trait, though, that keep things interesting. He would never say I’m boring.
I suppose the argument can be made that one can be an interesting, provocative, vibrant woman without necessarily being difficult. At least I hope so. It’ definitely something I aspire to: to manage my condition with more ease and grace as I age. To let go more often, To chill out more. Just like my grandmother did as she grew older. That is a goal I can embrace. An easier Difficult Woman.