Down by the East River, Blown by the Wind
I am often asked why I chose to call myself bad widow. It’s astonishing to me how often people vehemently object to it. And even tell me that bad widow will have consequences, even lead to misunderstandings which could harm me. Or at least how people judge me or my reputation.
“No, you are a merry widow, not a bad one.”
“No, you look like a very nice widow.”
“No, you should call yourself badass widow. That’s what you really mean.”
“No, look at me. Listen to me. You are not a bad widow.”
My June 2017 Vision Board
I chose the name Bad Widow because it is unforgettable and easy to remember. Also, magically, BadWidow.com was available. I meant it as a challenge to what we call “bad” and “good”. If a widow expresses feeling desire after losing a beloved too quickly, they are judged as “bad”. If a person who is grieving a loss takes too long about it or leans too hard on their community, that’s understandable but bad too. People start avoiding us or staying away. Bad Widow is about challenging the assumptions which get in the way of asking each other questions. It’s the assumptions about how we name ourselves (or are named by others) which lead to misunderstandings not the name itself.
This is also true of other kinds of labeling, if you think about it. When we heard David was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, we assumed death because that name carries fear, grief, anger before treatment even starts. PMS means prone to anger. Mental illness has a stigma to it although one in ten people will experience at least depression in their lifetime so it’s NOT unusual. Trans means different things to different people but, open as I am, when I met 6′ 8″ Amazon Eve, I was not sure how to speak appropriately about her gender. So I asked, apologizing, in advance, if I offended out of ignorance. And she was incredibly insightful. Amazon Eve told me that because of her history, she was equally unafraid of the experiences of male privilege and feminine power. Wow!
I started writing Bad Widow in January 2017, four months after David died, because I could see the toxicity of these assumptions and I wanted to shine a light on the issue. Also, I needed my pain to serve a greater purpose than simply my suffering. I have been a maverick all my life, marching to a different drummer, so I’m continuing the trend. I chose to call myself Bad Widow very deliberately to ruffle feathers and rattle cages. Why should a widow be merry or badass or even nice although I am all of those too? I am amazed at the pushback I get about Bad Widow because, for me, it simply means I choose to live on my own terms, unbound by assumptions and conventions. In fact, it is disrespectful to deny a person the right to name themselves, rather than be named by others. Trust yourself with your own naming. Live life on your own terms, no matter what loss you have suffered or how long it’s taken to get over it. Yours to choose. As I have.
What do you think? Schedule a 20-minute complimentary call with me if I can support you in your journey at http://bit.ly/ConnectWithAlison.
I am also a widow. I went with my church group to a small town where some of my husband’s relatives had lived. My husband and I had, of course, visited those relatives multiple times. I hadn’t been to that small town in 20 years and it brought back memories. I sat by myself for awhile. A woman who’s husband was still alive asked if I was all right. I told her about my husband’s relatives, that we had spent time in that small town, and that I had not been back since my husband died. The woman asked how long it had been since my husband died. I told her 20 years. Right away, the woman’s face registered a kind of disgust. She saw me as a bad widow for feeling grief for my husband 20 years after his death. Apparently, never having lost her own husband was no reason to think she might not know what grief for a dead husband meant. Keep ruffling those feathers and rattling those cages.
Thank you, Paula! People don’t know how to deal with grieving, with how devastating it is and how long it takes. That’s part of why I started Bad Widow, both to heal and to educate.
You won’t reflect my feathers. I don’t have any. You can be any kind of widow you want, or not. I don’t know enough about widowing, and I certainly can’t tell you how to be you. I believe you rank as The Expert in that subject.
Thanks, Yosi. It’s surprising how many people get distressed by how I have named myself on the website. LOL. How are you?
Well I truly enjoyed studying it. This information offered by you is very useful for correct planning.
I really love your blog.. Pleasant colors &
theme. Did you create this website yourself?
Please reply back as I’m planning to create my own personal blog and
want to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named.
Thank you. Yes, I did and it’s Divi.