Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Letters From The Barn: The Wicked Old Witch

Letters From The Barn:
The Wicked Old Witch

It's an odd thing, being a woman who lives "alone." Not to me, but I guess to the world. Men aren't really considered to be living alone, they're just living. A solo female is somehow different, less acceptable.

My friend told me a story about an older woman the other day. She lived and worked in a rural area for most of her life. She was strong. She built her own house and did a "man's" job as well as the men.

But, at home she was not safe. She was considered fair game to anyone bored, with time enough on their hands to harass her on her own land. She constantly feared for her safety. I've had troubles on my own land and it's surprising how many other single females have had the same issue. If you're the only solo female around, somehow you become a target.

Growing up, we all tell witch stories or stories about a creepy house down the street. As I get older, I've started wondering how the "witch" or the "creepy house" in the neighborhood gets chosen.

How does a group choose a person it's okay to bully? Do others put up with it because they're glad, at heart, it's not them? Is there some type of tacit assumption that in each group there will be an outsider? Do we all hold our breath hoping it will be someone else but us?

When someone else is chosen, do we feel safer? Relieved, even? Do we search for what they did wrong? Or, maybe they're just exaggerating for attention.

There is some way that folks who do not actively participate in bullying still allow it to happen. Because otherwise, we would remember that the "witches" in our neighborhood are actually our neighbors and that the bullies are the true outsiders.

Meriwether O'Connor