The Ayelet Decade

I distinctly remember the first time I told another woman that I liked Ayelet Waldman.

We were both “older” students at San Jose State, taking a night class in early 20th century literature.  I barely knew the woman and mentioned I’d found a book that I’d ended up loving on Ayelet’s website — a site I checked regularly for it’s brief, honest reviews —  and the woman went absolutely batshit: Oh my god, not Ayelet Waldman.  I hate that woman!  She’s a disgrace!

This rant came shortly after Ayelet had published her smart and thoughtful essay about loving her husband more than her children, and then appeared on Oprah.  I remember reading the essay.  I remember watching the Oprah episode, live.

I knew she’d be bullied by the masses.  I remember how scared Ayelet looked in the Oprah intro (which Oprah, frankly, did nothing to alleviate) and, at the same time, how very strong she held her body, how brave and powerful she seemed in the face of so much criticism.  Her grace as the hour went on and on.

And, no coincidence, that’s about the time I started writing bolder essays and memoir.  I know that watching Ayelet navigate the aftermath of her essay made me a better writer, a braver writer; watching her taught me that being afraid of the reaction is not only okay, it’s preferred.  That fear is one of the best reasons to write an essay at all.

So I thank you, Ayelet Waldman.

And I’m sure I’m not the only one.

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9 thoughts on “The Ayelet Decade

    1. lisahgolden

      Me, too, Pamela. It’s exactly that kind of judgment if I REALLY write about my adult life, my approach to motherhood, marriage and friendship that has frozen me out of writing.

      1. Teri Post author

        Fear. The great paralyzer.

        I’m going on a trip soon, and I no sooner mentioned it than 3 people — literally within an hour — berated me for the decision to go, told me how stupid it was, how dangerous, how could I?!?!, etc… In my mind I said “f them” but of course I woke up in the middle of the night, terrified. Thankfully I gathered my senses by morning and went about my business.

        The fact is that people are afraid of whatever they are afraid of, and it must be a human need to lay that fear upon others, to find fear-sharers.

    1. Teri Post author

      It’s fascinating how a stranger can hate you for a viewpoint like this. It says so much about the hater and so very little about the target.

  1. Downith

    Had not heard of her before this Teri but what grace under pressure in that Oprah clip. Am going to look out for her books. Have a great trip!

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