‘The main pillar of every organised religion, with few exceptions, is the subjugation, repression, even the annulment of women in the group. Woman must accept the role of an ethereal, passive and maternal presence, never of authority or independence, or she will have to take the consequences. She might have a place of honour in the symbolism, but not in the hierarchy. Religion and war are male pursuits. And anyhow, woman sometimes ends up becoming the accomplice in her own subjugation.’
The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
I just wanted to say that I am sorry because it’s all my fault. I am afraid I had the audacity to not do as I was told, not accept my place in society, dare to dream, whilst over eating, not exercising enough, drinking too much alcohol, speaking too much, writing when everyone told me to stop, wrinkling, aging, sagging and generally deteriorating, and not being bothered enough to be anxious and self flagellating about my inevitable demise. I am the architect of my own independent thinking and the taking of my equality so I just wanted to take this opportunity to apologise for continuing to do all of the above in the face of the advice to “STOP!” and “SHUT UP”. I am sorry but I can’t stop and I won’t shut up.
In the midst of Crisismas, when the media frenzy swirled around me and I was exhuasted, Hagar received a text stating “Shut Clare Up!”
When we separated our lives and the reasons were unknown, the salacious gossips declared ‘thankfully she has gone, who could tolerate being with her anyway.’ Apparently, I don’t know my place. The station commander before the current incumbant told me to my face that I was a ‘Queen Bee type.’
Recently, a senior figure in a major publishing house said, “My own feeling is that she doesn’t come across very sympathetically in her blog – and that’s why I showed it to other women here (younger than me and more Clare’s sort of age) and, if anything, they felt the same but rather more strongly. I know the whole point is that she’s feisty, but we don’t warm to her…”
There you have it. If you can’t pity me, or like me, then my voice isn’t commercially valid. As Mary Ann Seighart wrote today in her Independent column, if I am not slim, pretty, young then I am past my prime. If I don’t do as I am told or know my place as the domestic slave, then I am to be vilified and castigated for daring to live my own life and choose my own path.
When I married Hagar I knew that our perspectives on life were very different but I respected his right to choose his career path and to have his own opinions. What I also expected was that those who choose to serve in the military would respect my right to choose my own career path and have my own opinions. This was my biggest mistake. It is wrong to think of the British military as a whole because it isn’t unified and it doesn’t move as a collective mass. The British military is made up individuals who create the whole. It is certain individuals that serve, and how they choose to interpret the military culture, and then how they transpose that interpretation into their personal life that have a problem with an independent thinking, and operating, female spouse. They then arrogantly and wrongly think that they can convey that to me and expect me to follow their instructions because they dictate it to be so. They like to colour it with some blackmail as well – by telling me either directly, or indirectly through Hagar, that how I behave will adversely affect my husband’s career. Once again, the previous incumbent assured me that in the modern British military, which is subject to civil employment law, the conduct of a serving member’s spouse will not impact the career of the married serving personnel.
Classic Fawlty Towers:
Basil Fawlty: [to Polly] Oh, I see, it’s my fault, is it? Oh, of course, there I was, thinking it was your fault because you had been left in charge, or Manuel’s fault for not waking you, and all the time it was MY fault. Oh, it’s so obvious now. I’ve seen the light! Well, I must be punished then, mustn’t I?
Basil Fawlty: You’re a naughty boy, Fawlty!
But, of course, we all know that it is my fault because I won’t ‘shut up’ and I won’t ‘stop’ despite the best advice of the well intended. Yes, blame me because I am indeed a very naughty girl.