In an earlier post I talked about the desire women have to be 'known' or 'seen'. They also need and desire to be listened to.
Many of us have voices in our head screaming to be heard, and almost all of us have little stories from the past or the present which have to be swallowed if there's no-one to communicate them to. The people around us for the most part think they know everything we've got to say. They're often bored with our approach and our attitude and they're more concerned anyway with their own voices and their own stories.
In my case, I have only to take a deep breath and try to vent some great wave of anguish, for my partner to say something along the lines of:
"Here we go again."
Did he know I was going to repeat myself? Does it matter if I repeat myself if I have a passionate need to say it again?
Being a good listener is a rare and much valued gift. I'm not even sure quite what it consists of. I do know that I don't have it, sadly - or at least that listening properly doesn't come naturally to me. I think that two essential elements of it must be stillness and attentiveness.
In my latest medieval erotic novella, Eyes like a hawk, Raoul, the Lord of the Castle, more than once provides a listening ear for his wife Bess. It isn't a cosy or comforting ear, though. It's a judicial ear, hearing her side of things before he decides what punishment to mete out, and twice it's followed by a severe spanking.
I would argue, though, that the value of being listened to is not greatly undermined by what comes after. Provided the listener gives their full attention, and isn't just 'going through the motions' with their mind already made up (as happens at all levels of the judicial system), the listening itself is a gift, and subsequent actions have neither a positive nor a negative impact on it.
Bess, my heroine, is a hardy creature who can withstand punishments that not everyone could take in their stride. But I do envy her the patience and attentiveness with which her stories and her requests are received.