Monday, September 13, 2010


I mentor other women. Eight of them. It's not therapy, not even close. It's more like having me as your own personal cheerleader who will, without doubt, slap down any denial that comes out of your mouth like the wicked, open jawed, fang poppin', deadly rattle snake that it is.

This task of mentoring gets me up close and personal to women in ways I did not always know was possible. Women to me in my youth were frightening prospects. I was always suspicious of their every move, beat up more than a few, and, though always convinced they were going to try to fuck my man, usually ended up fucking theirs.

Becoming willing to be the student of a female mentor of my own cracked me open and spilled before me contents of my soul that had become fetid with depravity along the path of addiction. With what seemed to me at the time to be brutal force, she held my eyes and arms open wide so I could see all of it for what it was. She also held and cooed to me as would a mother to a babe in distress.

This is exactly what I do for the women I mentor. I've often said it's like learning to spoon feed barbed wire to another human being in a way that won't kill them. It's the constant motion of the acrobat on the high wire; always adjusting my movements from brutal honesty to the tenderness of compassion and back again. It is dancing along the edge of another human being's cliff while always attending to my my steps in a way that will prevent me from falling off of the edge of my own.

I've been the student of my current mentor for over 10 years. She is a glorious and powerful woman in her sixties. She has seven children, 15 grandchildren and one great-grandchild; all of whom know their access to her love and strength are undeniable. In a grocery store or Wal-Mart a person might come away from an brief encounter with her with a surprising desire to turn back, find her and tell her something they've been wanting to get off of their chest; a dirty secret, a hope or dream that they know is important, but continues to be defined as 'silliness' or 'time wasting'. She is gladly a grandmother to all, and can also tell you stories from her 20's of pushing her children in their baby strollers across the Arizona/Mexico border as a way to smuggle heroin. She has worked harder than most to become an embodiment of the words trustworthy and honest.

I like to think I am regarded in the same way by the women I mentor; trustworthy and honest. Goodness knows they are a varied bunch. Between the eight of them they range through married, single, divorced, never married and partnered for life. They are in their 20's and 60's and everything in-between. They have children, no children, and wishes for children that will never be fulfilled by their own bodies. They are white collar, blue collar, ain't got no collar and royal bred with silver spoons in their mouths. What we talk about is called everything; sex, drugs, rock -n- roll. We discuss hopes, dreams, failures, desires, mistakes, the dirtiest things they have ever done and moments in their lives that are so astoundingly beautiful that we cry together in the joy of it all.

The ultimate reality of being the student of a mentor or mentoring another woman is love. Pure, simple love. My own mentor feels to me as a mother. I call her 'Mama' and she often calls me 'My Child'. The women I mentor, especially the ones I've mentored the longest, feel to me as sisters, daughters and soul mates. Meant to be. On the road together, making our peace with honesty and trust.

And yet, sometimes even the love of a mentor can do nothing. If someone I mentor is desirous or janky-minded enough to bulldoze her way through her life in a way that is destructive to herself and anyone in her path, all I can do is step back about three feet and let the tornado fly. Let the chips fall where they may. Get right with the fact that the cookie is going to crumble. Square myself with the fact that the shit will eventually hit the fan. Get down with the reality that love and trustworthiness in cases like that are useless until the tornado has stopped spinning. Even then, they sometimes only stop spinning long enough to lick their wounds, take a nap, and then start spinning again. Sometimes being a good mentor is being willing to observe from three feet away for a long time.

Sometimes one of the women I mentor will get dangerously close to loosing sight of the fact that pointing her tools of destruction toward me or mine is nothing short of stupid. I've been watching one of them consider doing it for the past few weeks. She's nervous about her physical attractiveness. She's worried about it. Thinking of it too much. Forgetting that she has more to offer than her bare ass and a few good moves on the end of a cock. A lifetime of getting what she wants and believes she needs by way of fucking has done her no favors in the department of believing her words, good deeds, intelligence and simple presence is attractive.

Last Saturday my husband and I attended a BBQ. She was there as well. I watched as my husband made his way around the park pavilion to go to the restroom. I watched as she watched him as well. She looked him up and down like the fine man that he is. She got up from her seat and quickly walked through the other guests to intercept him on the sidewalk. I watched as she tossed her hair and looked up at him with adoring eyes and fluttering eye lashes. She reached out and brushed his arm with her hand and laughed at something he said with an open mouthed bawl that showed all of her mouth. She wiggled her ass and stood erect with her shoulders back to offer up her breasts as if it was Thanksgiving and she was proud to present her turkey, free for the taking, on a silver platter.

Watched her watch him walk away with frustration on her face, as he had only greeted her, looked a bit disconcerted by her open-mouthed laughter and arm touching, and then moved on to the restroom

My eye is on it. My husband's eyes are on it as well. We talk about things like this without heat, jealousy or anger. If anything, both of us get pretty offended by those who know we are married and try to seduce us anyway. It's nice to have someone to talk to about it.

I'd like to say I've been watching all of this with nothing but a kind and understanding heart. Nothing but a mature ability to feel compassion for this woman while also understanding that I am fully capable of making major changes in my relationship with her if needed.

But I'm not. I've had visions of myself standing in her front yard and throwing one crow bar through her patio window and using another to beat the fuck out of her car. By the time all is said and done I've slobbered my way into a frenzy to beat fuck all. It feels good and I like the way the adrenaline is pumping at my psyche. The way it makes me walk on air and feel like some minion should be shouting, "Step aside! Let the woman through! Step aside mother fuckers! Let the woman through!"

This is why I have a mentor of my own. She reminds me that I am not confused, only navigating rougher waters.


  1. MG--do you know what a verger is? In the Episcopal church, it's a layperson who walks in front of a priest or bishop carrying a virge--basically a stick with cross on it. They clear the way for the clergy. I would like to be your personal verger. Maybe I'd carry a crowbar though.

  2. So how does one get into the habit of mentoring? Do you place an ad on Craigslist? Will you be mine?

  3. the idea of mentoring intimidates me - i suppose because i presume it requires experience and maturity that i don't have. or don't feel that i have - which is probably the same thing, in this instance anyway.

    and i don't much cotton to the idea that others might know more than me - even when it's the objective truth. not exactly an ideal mentoring/mentee candidate!

  4. Elder: It is I, madame, who would proudly be your crow bar wielding verger.
    Rass: I already am. You just never listen to shit I have to say unless I'm promising pumpkin muffins.

  5. Jen: Mentoring and being mentored IS intimidating. I've been in the process for 20 years and still sometimes worry I will be an unhelpful, incompetent, blabbering boob - both ways. The bottom line is that I sometimes am. It's not a perfect science.
    Oh, and everyone knows more than me about pretty much everything. Even the women I mentor. The key seems to be not 'downing' myself when I accept that. It is what it is, and acceptance of it leads me to an interesting, empowered and curious existance.

  6. P.S. Sorry I missed your comment earlier. I think we were commenting at the same time.

  7. Powerful post on a topic we as women should take more seriously. It is our duty to mentor other women. I've seen Mongo's mentoring first hand. She's the kind of person who would not hesitate to drag your ass out of the gutter time and time again and somehow, you will feel no shame for it.

    But damn girl - that ho who was making a play for your man needs to be called out on that shit. Can you just verbally crow bar her until she gets it? My heartbeat got faster just thinking about you watching her do that.

  8. ZM: Thanks mama. It means a lot to me to know my feedback causes no shame. That would make me feel like shit.
    Also, the hubz, woman and I have been at the same function again and it when like this after my hubz told me a very funny joke:
    Woman I mentor [after another one of those open-mouthed laughs and turning to me]:
    He's so great and funny and...
    Me: Yes he is.
    Woman: don't understand, he's...
    Me: Really?
    Woman: Uh...
    Me: Exactly.

    Enough said.

  9. Praise you and praise hubz and praise your ability to cut her off before you had to cut her.

    You are my mentor, indeed.

  10. Sometimes I wish I could go to AA just so I could have a sponsor, someone I could call when I railed on my kids and want to go eat myself to numbness or shop or do any of the other coping mechanisms that mirror drinking but not quite. I think mentors are a great idea, because unlike family, they are not attached to an outcome in the same way. Good for you MG, for being one and having one.

  11. ZM: My pleasure, darlin'.
    Rubes: These days there are mutual support groups for anything and everything. Not that I recommend attending unless the habits a person has will eventually lead them to death, prison or some other sort of involuntary commitment.