Sunday, January 26, 2014

Strong Southern Women

I saw August: Osage County tonight. Oddly, I did not walk out feeling blue or sad or depressed. And while it is certainly not a feel-good drama, it is real. Many scenes and some of the characters hit remarkably close to home.

I come from a Southern family. The themes of prescription pill addiction, alcoholism, abandonment, uncomfortable family gatherings and stories that make your skin crawl are familiar. These stories go back to my grandparents and both my parents and on to my generation.

What else is familiar? Strong women. Smart women. Flawed women. Women who survive. Each woman in the movie was hurt - some more than others. However, each one found a coping paradigm - some better than others.

The Southern women in my family are strong, smart, flawed and survivors. These women are my aunts, my cousins, my grandmothers and most importantly my mother.

My mother did not live past her early twenties. And she did not have a great childhood to say the least. But she loved her children fiercely for a few precious years and gave them a strength to last a lifetime. I got that strength from her. (click here for more about her)

Perhaps I see the characters in this amazing movie surviving until tomorrow and the next day and the next day after that. I know some of them will break the cycle little by little, generation by generation. It does happen.
1968: Cheryl Henry, my mother, after having my brother. I definitely did not inherit the hair and make-up gift!
Not too many family photos exist: Daddy, me (in those hip white socks), my infant brother and my beautiful, strong young mother.
Must be Spring 1969 right before she was killed in May - in the field beside my grandmother's house in Fort Worth - my brother and me with our mother.

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