Aine Greaney – Requiem for a Girl

June 30, 2014 | By | 25 Replies More

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  1. You address such an important issue for girls and women – the development of core self-esteem. Thank you for sharing this story.

  2. Aine Greaney says:

    Thank you, Diane. Yes, its a huge issue, and sadly, when I watch most teenage girls today, one that hasn’t really been rectified or progressed. I can’t wait to read all the pieces in here. Tonight’s treat!

  3. Kavanaugh says:

    Such a surprise ending, Aine.
    You didn’t sell out; whatever you did forged the path for the confident walk of the red-dressed young woman.

  4. Marina Sofia says:

    Wow – a powerful story… not sure that it’s been resolved to this day either. The girl who was treasured from the cradle may well end up discontented when life doesn’t live up to her dreams…

  5. Aine Greaney says:

    Marina,
    Thanks for stopping by and reading. Yes, this is an interesting perspective. It would be fascinating to see where that girl is now. I watched a wonderful TED Talk a while back about how the worst moments of our lives makes us who we are and, ultimately, force us to create meaning from our lives. It’s a comforting and multi-layered concept.

  6. Our memories, especially the worst one, the ones that haunt us, for being a wimp, or stupid or making that unacceptable mistake, yes, they do make us who we are, remind us who we want to be, stress us to become… more.

    I recently told a fellow artist that I believe that dissatisfaction defines us as artists/writers. If we were satisfied, we wouldn’t be driven to create. She disagreed with me, but I’m still not sure why.

    I wonder, Aine, if Dolores (your heroine in your short story “Snow”) has also seen that girl in the red dress.

    • Aine Greaney says:

      Thank you, Sally. Yes, I bet Dolores has seen the girl. I certainly remember her, still. Interesting perspective on dissatisfaction. Hmmm… I will have to chew that one over.

  7. So lovely! I want to raise my daughter to be like that girl in the red dress.

  8. Aine Greaney says:

    Suzanne,
    thanks for reading and commenting. I bet you will. I think that–and the new mathematics award winner from Iran–is what we would all want for our daughters.
    Thanks again,
    Aine

  9. ‘You have, of course, quit the teaching and quit the little green country and quit the religion and quit letting people call you by the wrong bloody name’

    Really enjoyed reading your story and this line quoted here, Aine. Sometimes we just have to make those changes…

  10. Jo says:

    Wow! Different country, different culture, but it resonated with me so much!
    As women, we are taught to be a certain way: dress like that; walk like this; get married by 25; have children by 30; study and work, but make sure to take care of your husband, home, and children.

    Trying to follow these norms makes us forget our real selves. In fact, it stops us from even finding out about who we can be. It is only recently that i am working on “knowing” myself, and this story caught that spirit perfectly. A real treat to read!

    • Aine Greaney says:

      Very glad you visited, Jo. Yes, I think this is a fairly common experience. Without the writing and journaling and reading, we might never have gotten to know ourselves at all. Thanks for visiting.

  11. great details, great voice

  12. “Wimping out”—or just being self-protective? Perhaps the greater lesson is that we can take back our power and be who we are at any age. Wonderful story, Aine!

  13. Aine Greaney says:

    Thanks, Nancy. I am trying to repeat that mantra lesson to myself–about taking back power at any age.

  14. Loved this Aine–as I’m dually poised trying to grow up my own 11 year old inside while parenting a daughter crossing that threshold. I love the layers here, your vantage point watching the red dress girl cross the street and connecting to your past–those moments, so charged with transformative power, when recognition strikes with empathy. I think those moments surge us into the next growth ring–one of the hidden gifts of being a writer–that kind of close looking–and extending it of others as you do here. Thank you, for paying it out to the rest of us.

  15. Aine Greaney says:

    Tania,
    Thanks for your very kind words. You bring up some great points to consider.

  16. Zita Fogarty says:

    Hi Aine
    I was nodding my head in recognition as I read your piece. I come from a large Catholic family originally from England, now living in Australia (I was born here). Nuns formed the backdrop of our schooling too. I feel you were a little hard on yourself! We are all victims of circumstances beyond our control.
    I connected with your waywardness and your authenticity. I think that personal power and self assuredness, if handed down, are the easy way option. Much more growing if you have to learn these traits yourself.
    I love your pared back ‘tell it how it is’ style. You captured so much in so little words.

    • Aine Greaney says:

      Hi Zita,
      Thanks so much for visiting and reading. Your kind words mean a lot to me. Yeah, I wonder why these women seemed so conditioned to groom us for lack of personal power, versus emancipation. Cultures like that seem to be handed down.
      Thank you again, Aine

  17. candice says:

    i so know of those forces, those nuns, those centuries of obedience inculcated into probably all little girls, the shaming, the naming, the conformity that you find yourself prisoner of, in those boxes of sameness, how they tear you away from your own soul to be a cookie-cutter catholic who soon resembles exactly that wafer on your tongue, colorless, tasteless…… it has taken me 65 years to start feeling like me, speaking my own words. i want to cry right now. i am crying right now. thank you so much for this. now, like Mary Oliver asks, tell me, what is it we plan to do with our one wild and precious life?

    • Aine Greaney says:

      Thank you, Candice. “the shaming, the naming, the conformity …” I think you say it all here and say it well. I am honored that you read this and found some measure of our shared woman-hood in here.
      Thank you.

  18. it could be said that I sold out myself too, but, I prefer to think of it as I took the long route to my dreams. Along the way, making mistakes, living with pain and rejection, wishing for the man who would kiss my eyelids and never seeming to find him. It took a complete abandonment by that soulless man for me to see that what I really needed was to re-discover my own sweetness, to appreciate the beauty around me and to shout it out with my art the essence of who I am. Thank you for reminding me of this.

    • Aine Greaney says:

      Karol
      Thank you for stopping by. I love your last line, “to appreciate the beauty… to shout it out with my art .. the essence of who I am.” Maybe there is an appropriate time in our lives for us to come to this and we can’t fast-forward or rush it. Your words warm my heart.

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