When I first learned she'd furtively observed me for some time, I was annoyed, disturbed, pissed, you know the usual run of emotions attributed to unwelcome observation. Am I writing this for her? No, not really.
But if she does spend the time reading this and more importantly comprehending it - unlikely but let's be magnanimous, I hope that rather than using it for clues of how I am in fact the prominent figure in her betrayal fantasies, it somehow occurs to her that being "Jezebel" is a necessary rite of passage in every strong and authentic woman's life.
And please, let's stem the "men will be men" argument right here, right now. By people, I mean every gender, every orientation, no exceptions. We have all at one time or another crossed the line in varying degrees, and hurt another. It may have been through another lover, an unholy focus on work or hobby, or worst, that icy absence of care and attention, through indifference.
The point isn't that you're just too weak to overcome your biology, the point is that you promised something you couldn't deliver and you lied to another. The point is honesty.
Any contract in any part of the world consigning agreement of goods or services would be considered breach and subject to liability if either were not given or fulfilled. Let's face it, honesty's not easy, specially not in the face of considerable force for certain outcomes. In reality, it's not solely reliant on the moral fiber of the confesser, even if we like to think it is.
In our quest for truth, we need to recognize that we also have to account for being able to stand it when it's given to us. And that can be even harder.
When I'd learned of the stalker I'd immediately sought solace in my friends, virtual and otherwise. The result was surprising, because these are a community of people not given to purchasing such black and white thinking. Mostly they worried I would curtail my own honesty, and that it would affect the candor with which I write. I worried about the same thing. Would the stalker bully me into editing? What was wrong with her anyway? Of course, in my mind this can be a whole gamut of things and justifiably so, since she's pestered me in other ways.
Aside from the historical context, Jezebel has come to mean all sorts of things, mainly someone promiscuous, unheeding of mores. A whore. A harlot. A slut. How many times have we used those words against each other? Too many. Yet the whores, harlots and sluts of the world still have a thriving business.
Unbeknown to us, they could be a mother, a sister, a friend, a daughter. Yet we have dashed them to the ground by branding. By unequivocally making it their responsibility to police mankind's morality. We have limited them to the obvious role, which were unwilling participants, which are too weak to leave, which ones of them really thought this is what I want to do. And which ones have chosen to do the kind of work many wouldn't and do it with dignity and caring. And which ones get the name when they haven't even done the work?
The name itself has a conjectured meaning, ranging from being bereft of a husband, morality or gasp, both. But to me, it's only meant one thing thus far, that I've finally been able to lay claim to myself and my life, the way it actually is. Yes, I accept my life for the As Is Aisle that it is. Not the way I wish it could be, or the way someone told me it ought to be. Just how it is - the wounding abyss of the past, the imperfection of the present, the gifts I've been blessed with, and the uncertainty of the future. The reality of the people I've loved before and the sins they've committed. The hope of the one I'm yet to love, finally. And me, from who I was to everything it's made me to the choices I'm still creating for the once and future self I'm still to be.
It's true. I have no husband, and my mores are my own. How many of us can say this? Most probably. So to my sisters, willing and otherwise, use the name wisely. We are Jezebel because we've earned it. And we should be proud of having lived through enough to take the best that name has ever implied.