My mom once said that men are the weaker sex. After all, both men and women work outside the home, but it’s usually women who raise the kids, offer our husbands emotional support and career guidance, cook the meals, scrub the floors, and host friends and family with a perfectly made-up face and wearing the latest fashions. While I’m not going to indulge in the war of the sexes, I still found it to be an interesting statement worth sharing. Like a willow tree in a fierce storm, women bend and get whipped around, but we don’t break. Maybe a few weak branches get broken off, but when the storm’s over, just like the willow tree, we are able to stand tall and graceful after the storm has passed.
In my novel, “House of Thistles,” Allie suffers from partial memories and a form of post-traumatic stress disorder, and she carries scars from the incident that took her parents from her when she was only five. Allie’s a survivor, and she doesn’t always make the best or even healthiest of choices. In fact, she can be downright mean and foolish at times. Despite a childhood incident she doesn’t remember and other parts of her past she wishes she could forget, her single will is to provide stability for herself and especially for her teenage daughter. What Allie wants isn’t so different from what many women want, whether they are broken or whole. After all, she’s a mother, a sister, and someone who just wants to be loved.
When I started out to write “House of Thistles,” my thought was to write a psychological drama about a family secret because I really get into stories centered tragedies that resurface years later, only to discover a dark secret lurking in the shadows. While in some ways, that’s what I wrote, the focus isn’t as much on the unfolding drama as it’s on the journey one woman takes to do more than function in society. She wants to come to a place of healing. For any woman who is bent over from the storms to stand tall and graceful like the willow tree, she must first choose to heal.
That is my focus, and that is what I would love to see for all women who have had life knock them around. We are strong. We are fighters and the protectors of our children. We shape societies. We have goals and dreams. Some of those may seem unattainable, but we can choose to reach beyond the limitations to grasp ahold of what we want. Some of those goals may be to get an education, write a book, reach out to a child, or maybe the goal is to simply stand gracefully amidst the storm.
House of Thistles by Lanette Kauten is available to buy now.