The Bride Stripped Bare by an anonymous writer (Nikki Gemmell)

What do women really want?

Imagine yourself in a foreign land. You don't know a soul. Are you ready to be true to yourself?
Imagine yourself in a foreign land. You don't know a soul. Are you ready to be true to yourself?
You are suddenly a woman in a foreign street acting freely without worrying what anyone may think. What will you do?
You are suddenly a woman in a foreign street acting freely without worrying what anyone may think. What will you do?
You can step our of your everyday self.
You can step our of your everyday self.
The woman who completely disappeared into being 'the wife, housewife, daughter and good mum'.
The woman who completely disappeared into being 'the wife, housewife, daughter and good mum'.
You have opened the door to a reckless, exhilarating new world and could do whatever you want.
You have opened the door to a reckless, exhilarating new world and could do whatever you want.
You can say whatever you want. What would you do and what would you say?
You can say whatever you want. What would you do and what would you say?
Do you feel wonderful, powerful and enormous relief? You can turn the world upside down and shout: " I can be me."
Do you feel wonderful, powerful and enormous relief? You can turn the world upside down and shout: " I can be me."
Can you leave the burden of worrying about everyone and everything behind?
Can you leave the burden of worrying about everyone and everything behind?
I have a feeling that inside you somewhere, there is somebody nobody knows about.
I have a feeling that inside you somewhere, there is somebody nobody knows about.
Honesty is of the utmost importance
Honesty is of the utmost importance
You need to accept yourself, with all your beauty and ugliness and human ordinariness...,
You need to accept yourself, with all your beauty and ugliness and human ordinariness...,
You heard that people who shine more lavishly than everyone else seem to be penalised
You heard that people who shine more lavishly than everyone else seem to be penalised
You have a right to be discontent, to crave for a brighter life.
You have a right to be discontent, to crave for a brighter life.
You are always doing small kindnesses...
You are always doing small kindnesses...
your grandmother told you never to suppress a kind thought...
your grandmother told you never to suppress a kind thought...
and you always try not to...
and you always try not to...
but you sometimes feel as if all the men through your life with their clamour and demand...
but you sometimes feel as if all the men through your life with their clamour and demand...
have been rubbing you out.
have been rubbing you out.
Before, life was something that always seemed to happen to other people. Now is your time to shine.
Before, life was something that always seemed to happen to other people. Now is your time to shine.
The great necessity of life is continued change.
The great necessity of life is continued change.
Leave behind the passive woman from the past...
Leave behind the passive woman from the past...
all surrender...wanting to please so much.
all surrender...wanting to please so much.
There are so many ways to live like a prisoner.
There are so many ways to live like a prisoner.
Claim happiness for yourself and tell me what you love...
Claim happiness for yourself and tell me what you love...
You wanted to be so much, once...
You wanted to be so much, once...
but life kept on getting in the way.
but life kept on getting in the way.
You settled. Shunned creativity, flight, risk....
You settled. Shunned creativity, flight, risk....
never had the courage to give a dream, any dream a go...
never had the courage to give a dream, any dream a go...
Your adulthood has been a progressive retreat from curiosity and wonder...
Your adulthood has been a progressive retreat from curiosity and wonder...
an endless series of delays...what are you waiting for?
an endless series of delays...what are you waiting for?
You enter feeling sleeker all over, walking around with a subtle shine.
You enter feeling sleeker all over, walking around with a subtle shine.
Are you readying for life, but for what?
Are you readying for life, but for what?
Everything you want has been so long in your head...
Everything you want has been so long in your head...
Go and say the words you have never spoken out loud.
Go and say the words you have never spoken out loud.
Possibility is wide open before you....
Possibility is wide open before you....
Are you ready to leave behind the comfort of your house?
Are you ready to leave behind the comfort of your house?
The safety of your street?
The safety of your street?
Closing the door behind you ask: "But what do women really want? Which way to go?"
Closing the door behind you ask: "But what do women really want? Which way to go?"
There are too many choices...you are not sure now. A cherishing, money, security.  You hope it is more....
There are too many choices...you are not sure now. A cherishing, money, security. You hope it is more....
The road can go in two directions at once. Maybe more.
The road can go in two directions at once. Maybe more.
But the rest of us can only go in one.
But the rest of us can only go in one.
We are enriched by what we choose to do and can do....
We are enriched by what we choose to do and can do....
but even more by what we can't do and the most by what we choose not to do.
but even more by what we can't do and the most by what we choose not to do.
The secret of being human is learning how to enjoy our limitations.
The secret of being human is learning how to enjoy our limitations.
If we could do everything, we wouldn't need other people and we wouldn't need a road.
If we could do everything, we wouldn't need other people and we wouldn't need a road.
Men and women. None of us can life without each other.
Men and women. None of us can life without each other.
We just like pretend sometimes that we can.
We just like pretend sometimes that we can.
Those have been the loneliest time. What do women really want? Just the same as  men...
Those have been the loneliest time. What do women really want? Just the same as men...
...to be heard, understood and loved for who they are...love and to be loved in return...without doubt of betrayal and guilt....can we respect each other and acknowledge this need of love?
...to be heard, understood and loved for who they are...love and to be loved in return...without doubt of betrayal and guilt....can we respect each other and acknowledge this need of love?
Powerful woman and insecure child, inside and outside are in contradiction. They do not know of one another and cannot unite.
Powerful woman and insecure child, inside and outside are in contradiction. They do not know of one another and cannot unite.
This is the loneliness that only man can break by his love.
This is the loneliness that only man can break by his love.
Imagine yourself in a foreign land. You can do anything and what you really want is to share with someone your love and your life.
Imagine yourself in a foreign land. You can do anything and what you really want is to share with someone your love and your life.
Just do not forget, feelings are neither good or bad, they are natural part of being alive.
Just do not forget, feelings are neither good or bad, they are natural part of being alive.
They need space to flow, to expand, to move, to get out. Trying not to feel is what makes women ill.
They need space to flow, to expand, to move, to get out. Trying not to feel is what makes women ill.

The Bride Stripped Bare by an anonymous writer (Nikki Gemmell)



‘In the end, when we meet death

and the light being

takes us to the station of our life,

it doesn’t judge,

whether we did right or wrong.

It will only ask:

“Did you love enough?”

This alone is the measure.’ (Elke)


An anonymous woman

in the 1600s

left behind

a dusty and rare manuscript

a cry from the heart

for women

to live and LOVE freely.


The honesty is the most shocking thing of all.’

reads from the book

a 21 century housewife

a good wife and a good mother,

mannerly,

quiet and self contained.


She is the woman

in her mid thirties,

who has lived

a marriage of capitulation.

All the sparks and loudness

of her youth

is being rubbed out.

She is the everyday woman,

you meet on a street

and don’t give

a second glance.


Why are women so constrained about pleasing themselves?’

writes in her own secret diary

under the nose of her husband:

Why are they so focused on everyone else’s pleasure

at the expense of their own?’

Asking all those things,

she may think but never say,

even in this sexually liberated age and day.


Feeling like a leaf,

left too long in the water,

bleached of colour and life,

powerless to change,

she looks back

and starts to reflect on:


HER HUSBAND:


In the beginning there was only Love,

clear and clean as a fall

of Christmas snow.

It was simple,

all that mattered

was

that your heart was open.

she remembers

the innocence of it all.


He likes to direct her life,

to guide it.

She let him think he is.

She never loved calmly before,

but she is old enough

now

to know,

you can not demand perfection from the gift of love.


There are some things,

she suspects,

he prefers to making love.

A woman not only experiences longer and deeper orgasms than a man,

but they so overwhelm her nervous system

that they leave her temporarily impervious to pain,’

she reads in a paper

a strong desire

deep inside her,

for seduction

that’s slow, intriguing and unique,

takes her breath away.

What are you thinking?”

Her husband asks.

Nothing,” she murmurs.



About one woman in seven never experiences an orgasm.’

She looks up from the paper at a passing man.

A stranger wears the sun in his face and he smile right into her eyes.

She feels something she hasn’t felt for years

and kisses his husband fully on the mouth.

He kisses her back, his way,

never giving her an orgasm,

just assuming he has.

She wanted so much,

once,

but life kept on getting in the way.


Then there was Betrayal.

She is very still.

Heartbreak is physical,

her pain

makes her heart stops

momentarily.

Doubt,

like a sickness enters their marriage,

she craves for a man,

to be tender with, to touch.

The challenge,

the thrill of the chase.

Revenge as well.

The desire to learn,

to open up her life.


HER LOVER:


There is a glamour to his existence,

because he doesn’t do everyday:

wanting to know what she thinks

and giving her space,

making her feel beautiful,

wanted,

confident and young again.

It’s always been enough,

just thinking,

imagining,

sleeping with almost every men,

she meets,

but not anymore.

She walks down the street,

propelled by a singing high,

it’s as if she could leap and brush the sky.

Possibility is wide open

before her eyes,

to create a pleasure man,

purely that,

the lover,

every woman dreams of…

She plunges in,

deep dive

into an obsessive love,

a state,

that’s almost like a drug.


He is not afraid of her sexuality.

Her pleasure is giving him pleasure,

shaken awake after years of apathy.

For the first time in her life,

seeing a man completely satisfied,

by her hands, lips and tongue.

It’s as if she has never felt pleasure

until now,

never been in control,

never before had exactly

what she wants.


That everything she wants,

has been for so long,

in her head,

that she has never spoken out.

Her dream lover has woken her up

a woman inside her,

demanding, selfish and in control.

He made her feel

accomplished as a lover.

Then comes his turn

to ask something

in return.


She stands up,

her lover is completely at her mercy.

She can do what she wants

and with that knowledge

something goes.

She steps back,

her lover has fallen in love,

insisting on exclusivity

and demanding nights.


Learning everything about love

as she watches him from the other side.

He imagines her leaving her cosy world

for a dreamer who has no real job,

still travels on buses

and has never found a firm footing with his life.

She would have fallen for it once,

but she is too old now.

She can see her lover

suddenly hijacking her life.


Complication, burden and mess,

that is not what she expects.

She dresses, she leaves,

in silence,

feeling a sliver of ice in her heart.


HER ANONYMOUS LOVERS WITHOUT FACE OR NAME


Conventions and assumptions

drop away on all sides

and the words

just slip from her

for she has rehearsed

for so long,

at night in her head.


There are three of them,

she tells them to do anything,

laughing at their surprise,

confident,

in no connection being made,

never seeing them again.

They don’t respect her

as she is nothing but a vessel,

passive and compliant,

ready to erase her lover and start fresh.

But it doesn’t wipe him out.

“Go, please, get out!”

She finally shouts.


Two men this time and a woman,

as soon as she sees her,

it’s wrong.

The woman stands back,

assessing her, reading her, knowing her in a way,

the men never will.

She feels her body shutting down

and pushes the men off.

They don’t want to leave.

She runs to the bathroom and locks herself in.

The door outside clicks.

They are gone but also her clothes and her handbag,

with her wallet, her name and address…

She can not report it.


She want her husband, suddenly, very much….his calm, his dependability, quiet…

He strides into the room and she walks into his arms and the tears come.

Why is he so good at time like this?”

Her heart is blown open by his kindness like a window by a sudden gust.

“I love you,” she says in thanks. She used to say it, every day, once.


HER HUSBAND


The more sex she has,

the more she wants,

languid with laziness,

lemony sun,

dust dancing in the light.

Her husband comes in.

She has already arching her lower back

in soft ways and he come quick,

too quick, he thinks,

but it is perfect for her.

She smiles a Cheshire smile

in that lovely lemony light,

for her husband satisfied her,

fully satisfied her,

for the first time in her life.


He is not like her lover,

doesn’t listen and is not polite,

but she doesn’t check his disobedience

because it doesn’t matter enough.

So much sex is in her head,

when he is in her,

she is thinking of someone else,

who would do

exactly what she wanted,

who is not allowed back.


That night her husband holds her so tight

as if he is clinging on to a lifebuoy

in a vast ocean of the unknown.

His body is deeply familiar.

There is a volume of experience behind the holding.

Now there is Love, so complex, changing, alive,

the love ebbs and flows,

it sprangs from nothing,

a barren place,

and sometimes,

at bleak moments,

it seems to retreat to it,

but then it’s back,

fuller, faster…

and then slowing down again…


Then there is Betrayal.

The anger comes back,

at all times,

she has said: “I love you,”

and felt stripped.

All the times they never rang back,

drowned her out,

drained her energy, her confidence,

stood her up, walked out, wanted someone else…

Learning everything about love,

the vulnerability of love,

perhaps enduring is the only way out.


Her husband comes home and she is still curled on the bed.

She can not turn her head, can not speak, her head is filled up.

He will not know what she knows about him,

now is not the time.

Perhaps it will never be the time.


HER SON


She wants a child,

it’s the only desire at the moment,

that is clear-cut.

She is thirty-six and needs to start,

to have someone to love,

consumingly in her life, to fill it up.


Five weeks after her husband and her have made love,

more tenderly than ever before, her wish is confirmed.

She sprawls on the couch in the living room,

ripely alone,

as the child brews inside her,

she is thrumming with life and want.

Her husband is repulsed by that thought.

She plunges back into her fantasy world.

It is her,

now,

not anymore some fantastical experience,

she would never want dragged into real life.

It is what she has done.


What are you thinking?”

Her husband enters the room.

“Nothing,” she murmurs,

shuddering involuntarily

at the thought

of him stumbling upon her secret life.


Then Giving Birth,

just like dying,

need time and space,

like every living process,

they have rhythm that goes in waves of contractions,

tears and laughter.

She respects that pace,

surrendering to the waves that carry her ashore.


Her husband is all wonder and love and shock

at the little hand that reaches up from the blanket

and hooks on to his thumb and holds it tight.

She leans and strokes him,

he smiles but does not look up.

He kisses his son’s fingernail.


Learning everything about love,

her son’s skin is her new terrain,

she aches for it,

exhausted,

transfixed,

he fills every corner of her life.

Such love,

He is soaked into her fingers, nails, clothes, sheets and hair.

She is overwhelmed by the crush of love surrounding him.

She feels drugged within this wondrous little world,

this babymoon,

in which nothing,

for the moment is allowed to intrude.



HER MOTHER:


Where does that cruelty spring from?

Telling her husband he’s a failure,

her lover his passion is bullying and weak.

Telling her mother that she may love her,

but do not like her?


Her mother’s house seems to collect the warmth

and contains it.

She has always craved the heat.

Her mother has been alone too long,

but it doesn’t matter,

she wants this to work.

After few days her mother makes it known

that she loves ‘her alone’ too much.

It’s always the pattern,

the sudden tightness in her voice

then

the explosion from them both.

There is still so much

bottled-up bitterness over her father.

After all these years,

and she can only guess,

it’s because

they were once,

him and her mother,

they were once,

consumingly,

in love.


You have no idea what it’s like to live in the real world.”

The viciousness in her mother’s voice,

the jab of her finger in the air,

the fury in her face.

She walks out of the front door.

Leave without saying goodbye,

it’s not the first time she has done this.

One would thought that being pregnant

would represent a huge, healing turning

in every aspect of her life.


She rings her mother: “I just can’t wait for this baby,

I feel like will never be lonely again in my life.”

Her mother sighs on the other side:

Ah, but you could be more lonely as a mother than you are ever been,

especially if the child rejects you.”

She is ready to hang up

when

her mother starts to sing to her

just like when she was a little girl:

If you will be lucky, you have sturdy legs and a folding umbrella form your childhood,

if you will be lucky you find enough crumbs,

if you will be lucky you meet your first love,

who gives you a candle which burn longer than a straw fire.

If you will be lucky, one day your husband’s face rises over you life.”


Her mother calls. Her heart cracks.

For with motherhood,

almost upon her now,

an understanding of something

of her own mother’s life,

at last being unlocked.


Learning everything about love,

Pain and love, not angry pain, not reproachful, not desperate.

Pain and love. Pain and bliss.

As in birth. As in death.

In the beginning and at the end there is only love.

More by this Author


Comments 30 comments

lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Beautiful, painful, thoughtful. Another great one and the photographs are a treat. Thanks, Lynda


nighthag profile image

nighthag 6 years ago from Australia

a marathon of a read, but beautiful with so many complex layers it was easy to become lost in your words...


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 6 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thanks my loyal followers for your valuable input, sometimes less is more...I have to stand in the future in front of computer instead of sitting comfortable to be forced to cut out what I can:)


Earl S. Wynn profile image

Earl S. Wynn 6 years ago from California

Very nice, definitely beautiful. I love your use of photos and captioning beside the main text-- it creates a beautiful and wonderful dynamic. Keep up the good work! :)


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 6 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you Earl for the insightful comment, always appreciated, happy you liked it:)


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

There's some very interesting contrasts here. great read.


you suggest one profile image

you suggest one 6 years ago from NOTTINGHAM ENGLAND

A tale of life,all consuming love,passion,regret and then learning of the heartache caused by ones own selfish search

for gratification,very well written Beata,lovely photo's too as usual.take care my friend.Tony.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 6 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you for your useful comments my dear followers, as you suggested 'you suggest one'...it is hard to find the real balanca: not enough selfishness can harm your own life but too much selfishess harms someone's elses....:)


Kenny MG profile image

Kenny MG 6 years ago from A Child of the Universe

Balance is striingly familiar language and pattern in the human factor. Whether life and work, love or play, men and women, boys or girls, family, friends or relatives etc...very few people ever discover the key to this. The reason there are so many broken lives, the result of broken dreams! Our educational system teaches us how to make a living, but not how to live with and respect fellow human beings, regardles of race, colour or creed. We should not in or out of culture, be required to justify ourselves!


Kenny MG profile image

Kenny MG 6 years ago from A Child of the Universe


Springboard profile image

Springboard 5 years ago from Wisconsin

Very nicely done.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you Springboard, happy you liked it:)


Doc Snow profile image

Doc Snow 5 years ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

Gripping and revelatory.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thanks Doc Snow...just like life itself:)


AskAshlie3433 profile image

AskAshlie3433 5 years ago from WEST VIRGINIA

yeah I thought this was real beautiful. I love the photos. You are such a great writer, really, really, good. Makes it worth coming back. Thanks for sharing. Best wishes to you Aussie. Take care


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you my dear Aussie mate it feels really, really good to get response like yours, it is time to start writing again....:)....all the best from Beata


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

This is so beautiful and very relaxing. I liked your poem very much and you are a treasure in Hubpages. I am sorry I am late to know this poem. You complete this hub with stunning picture. It's like a soul and made this poem looks so great. Good work, my friend. I give my vote to you. GOd bless you.

Prasetio


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia Author

Dear Prasetio, it is a great feeling to find another soulmate on the hubpages:)


acaetnna profile image

acaetnna 5 years ago from Guildford

My word what an awesome piece of work. So beautifully expressed and you so clearly painted a picture for me with your words. Thank you.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you acaetnna for your kind words, happy you liked my latest piece, should write another one soon, just can not find the time:)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Beata - what a mirror of life - a woman with all the convolutions, certainties and doubts we experience during our metamorphosis, along our journey to becoming fully human. One need not identify with each and every nuance in this odyssey to know that it rings true. Thanks for sharing it, as well as for following me!

Hugs.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia Author

thank you for understanding and sharing your thoughts my fellow sister...happy to share sisterhood with you...every time you stop on the crossroads and loose the sight of which road to go, just follow your shiny heart and you will reach your aim...unfortunately only then you realise that THERE IS THE END...


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

After encountering so many crossroads, one gets an instinctive sense of direction. It is partly heart, partly common sense and mostly it is that mysterious wisdom of the body which is at the core of oneself. I don't go for & with aims and expectations. It is too much fun on the way. If perfection were possible (which, mercifully, it is not) - it would indeed be a dead-end! What more would it NEED"? What else could one supply it? What use would it have for "me" or vice-versa? None! I suspect that God, whoever that is - grew weary of it and that is why LIFE was born - with its frictions, its cross-roads, its ups & downs - its LIFE! Can't fault that project, no sirree! :-)


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia Author

You are so right, my friend...some of your optimism is rubbing on me just now...we keep going on and dreaming sister:)....


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Oddly - it is how we perceive "reality" which IS reality to us. Otherwise, it's just dead stuff we would be unaware of. There is much that our sensitivities cannot perceive, in fact, which we are not equipped to perceive. So it may be considered "dreaming" to see the good or the bad in things, - but no matter how it's done, each person perceives what is before him or her, using his or her own perceptors, trained by individual expereinces and applied abilities of seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting- - in other words, subjective perception is how anything is known - - not as something objective beyond oneself. (That IS one of people's subjective perceptions - that THEY and they alone can accurately know and describe what "IS" objectively - LOL)

There may be objective stuff "out there" but we have no other way of encountering it except through our own mind & other subjective perceptors. So, essentially, we get to choose our own subjective reality! Wow!


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia Author

I have read about it in the Cosmos (scientific magazine I am ordering)...it is amazing stuff and 'mind blowing' to think about, but it makes sense...we create our own reality so at the end we are the one to blame for our own misfortunes, just sometimes I also believe that life just like this theory is not black and white....you can not decide where, in which family and in which circumstances you are born too...are you one to be blamed for war, famine or abusive parents?....


andycool profile image

andycool 5 years ago from the U.S.

I started reading your hub... after 10 minutes I discovered that I'm lost in a deep pain yet thinking deeply about the words you pictured and pictures you talked! Then a deep sigh came out from inside. My heart sank in melancholy that took me in a dream! Yes I became dreamy for quite some time! I can't disclose the dream... sorry for that!

Amazing work... let me congratulate you! - Andy


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia Author

dear andycool, feeling very happy that my words touched you and even entered your dream, do not need to know your dream...there are words to be said and words that are better to be stayed unspoken...keep dreaming Andy but forget about pain, there is never late to change sadness to happiness again:)


Charlotte B Plum profile image

Charlotte B Plum 5 years ago

Wow you really have a gift with words. I read this and had to go all the way to the end, and I am really speechless. All I can say is that this is beautiful.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you dear Charlotte, English is my third language so I have not felt confident, for a long time anyway to creatively express myself in it...but now I love it although I feel sometimes that I use it too creatively:)....but as Henry Hitchings views in his book: 'The Language Wars: A History of Proper English' ....'many of the problems of English language as evidence of its essentially creative nature and flexibility and therefore its enormous popularity among the writers all around the world'...happy to be one of them at last:)

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