This elusive woman slips in-between time and space in Gilead, the new world. Her mother is an activist, a woman's healthcare practitioner who performs underground abortions. Her husband has to sign the Rx for her birth control pills before she can pick them up from the pharmacy. She lays in their bed, red dress on, while the commander’s wife holds her wrists.
My name is June.
When I watched the first episode, I knew nothing of the premise. I couldn't tell if the storyline was from a time long ago or the future. The cell phones confused me. Religion played a role, the uniforms they wore, and rules that didn't make sense. I bought Margaret Atwood’s book after watching the first episode. I couldn't put it down. From page one, I was drawn into her life in Boston, Gilead, the past, and the unbelievable present.
June lived a life many of us cannot fully comprehend. I read chapter after chapter, feeling knots in my stomach over what she had to endure. I wondered how she carried on. Driven by an unbelievable force, to keep her daughter safe, kept her going. Visions of her past life with Luke painted a scene where she belonged. She was living the life that many of us want before she lost it abruptly when corrupt leaders took over the USA.
Day after day June covered her voluptuous body in white undies that reached her belly button. She pushed her hair back in a white head covering, like the one the Ingles girls wore at bedtime on The Little House on the Prairie. She rubbed butter on her lips and face, as a moisturizer when she was able to procure a dab from the kitchen.
This brazen woman, a prisoner in her life, left the house with her walking buddy, on her daily trips to the market. The highlights of her outings were many. She is allowed to walk by the river to see the wall, viewing and guessing who has been hung and for what crime. Whispering polite conversations to other handmaids, wondering who she can trust to share an ounce of intimacy with. And ultimately passing messages on, to get the word out about freeing the children.
She is kicked. She is tasered. She is locked up. She jumps out of a window. She hides in the back of a plane. She lives in an abandoned warehouse for months. She camouflages herself in the cloak of the commander’s wife. She stared into the eyes of a wolf, daring him to attack her. She gave birth alone, on the living room floor in front of a fire, in a pool of blood. She sneaks into the bedroom, to watch her daughter sleep, as the men-in-black pound on the door, ready to capture her.
This woman, June, who loves her husband with a fierceness, watches Nick buff and shine the family car. Their mouths dare not speak, only their eyes say the words they will soon share. While both of them live a life that is not their own, they share a common thread that draws them into a tangled affair. The punishment for their sin is a public death, meant to be a warning to all others. How can they not share these hot, stolen moments of the flesh? There is no future they can imagine which would give them the freedom to pursue any sort of passion. This coupling shows, all too vividly, how one can intensely love more than one.
Reading chapter after chapter, watching episode after episode, my tears fell as she survived, as she fought, and as she quietly endured. June is a rebel. She is a sarcastic bitch. She is real in a world that demands obedience and silence. She discovers portals where she can be herself, finding a connection in fleeting spans of time. She is a hero of empowerment and feminism.
She is a woman, who was built to be a leader, trapped in a world aimed at taming her.
I felt her hopelessness, as she laid on the floor of her closet, tracing the etchings in the wood. Those words, she repeated like a mantra. The saying is one that she slapped into her master’s face. I saw her rise, from the phrase that ultimately saved her.
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum is a joke of a Latin translation that has been tattooed on the bodies of countless fans of The Handmaid’s Tale.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down!
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About The Blogger
Anastacia Elizabeth Walden lives and breathes in warm Gainesville, Florida. You will find her writing at an outdoor cafe or on her expansive back porch, always with hot tea or chilled kombucha to keep the creative juices flowing. Anastacia is a writer & editor, a matchmaker & a Licensed Midwife. She enjoys writing articles, books, and ghostwriting on various projects. She writes articles on health, vulnerability, empowerment, yoga, mindfulness, social/emotional learning, travel, nutrition, pregnancy, parenting, feminism, natural remedies, and emotional health. She has three books in various stages of editing. She is the author of Greater Than A Tourist: Gainesville, Florida. She makes art with found objects, cooks delicious and organic whole foods, practices yoga, exercises outside, travels, and writes daily as her passion.
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