top of page

Where Do You Hide Your Nasty?

I just walked out of the kitchen without leaving bodies strewn about. But I could have. And I think the way I left might have radiated my nasty.

As I walked away and mounted the lovely old stairs towards my bedroom I was whispering a hot rage, a sizzling whisper, that now, thinking about it, you may have heard, like a long hiss from a furious snake. But I carry on walking towards my bedroom and when I am there, smoldering, I pull down the blinds with more impetus than they were built for so they thud when they hit the window frame. I am a nasty woman and it didn’t take much to get me there, although my fire is not complaining of too little fuel.

It’s a team effort, don’t worry. It’s a team effort, you say. This here planning, shopping, prepping, cooking, this meal is a team effort? No, it is not. It is not a team effort, how can you say that? How can you say to the late, reluctant arrival at the clean up, it’s a team effort, don’t worry? Where is this team? I never saw them. No-one was with me. Everyone was busy doing things so they could say, see what I have done.

And even while I write about my hissing nasty it is fizzling, like a wet firework. He means well. He didn’t think. M was trying to make him feel at ease. At my expense? And this three word question sounds so petulant and so plaintive. I can’t bear my own nasty.

Now the next ugly phase begins, the Catholic guilt. Why must I rage, where is my generosity, my compassion, my patience, but mainly where is my generosity?

It deserted me because this happens over and over again.

And this victim that is me? I can’t back away from it fast enough. So this is the way the mix begins to curdle. Always the gust of nasty and then the descent into the lonely victim who cannot imagine being nasty, and being loved. Because a girl earns love by being nice, and kind, and gentle, not angry and bitter and spitting. So I was the nasty girl and now I am the lonely one.

I think about Hillary and all the loneliness she must have hidden with that made to order smile, that firm ‘up yours’ of a smile that in the end made them chant lock her up, lock her up. Deep in her little girl self she must have felt her mother frowning at her like she was making a scene at tea with the neighbors.

So sometimes I want to run like the wind away from my nasty because I think of it as a bad smell that puts people off. And when the anger leaves me I am left with alone and I wish I hadn’t gone from 1 to 100 so fast.

I am writing this now hopeful that I can find a way to defend my hot temper but all I can think about is why couldn’t I find a softer way to say what I wanted to say, why did I want to explode?

And when M comes up to bed I am careful to fold my nasty deep in the folds of my night gown. If I show it, there will be a clash of nasties, a slew of judgement and I will be a sad, sobbing recently nasty woman protesting her goodness and citing a momentary lapse that is not representative. I will be gulping back my anger and swallowing it whole and M will be my mother, cold and righteous:

Wednesday’s child is a child of woe, Wednesday’s child cries alone, I know…

And I will be in the Coventry of misbehave.

Why oh why am I so nasty? Look at the trouble I’ve caused. How can anyone like me now, let alone love me? I will surely be sent out into the night, alone.

Looming there in the shadows are all the lovely, gentle women who never get angry, who don’t walk away radiating indelicate rage. They are always in a group and the men hover around them. Where do they hide their nasty?

It is no good this writing. It does not reveal a safe place, or build a convincing defense. It arranges itself like the inside of a courtroom and I am in the dock, all covered in my own nasty. No-one will look at me. Nasty women threaten the herd. I am the last nasty one. The herd is full of pleased women that men want to fuck and make a world where nasty will eventually become extinct. Until then, nasty women will be burnt at the stake like witches.

Because you can’t be nasty and nice. Mothers cannot be angry, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. That scorned woman is alone. And now she has gone from fury to pathetic. At first a column of righteous fire and then this, this wet, flat patch on the floor.


If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. 

George Eliot



I live in hazard and infinity. The cosmos stretches around me, meadow on meadow of galaxies, reach on reach of dark space, steppes of stars, oceanic darkness and light. There is no amenable god in it, no particular concern or particular mercy. Yet everywhere I see a living balance, a rippling of tension, an enormous yet mysterious simplicity, an endless breathing of light. And I comprehend that being is understanding that I must exist in hazard but that the whole is not in hazard. Seeing and knowing this is being conscious; accepting it is being human.

John Fowles, Aristos


“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”

Arundhati Roy

bottom of page