Sinead O’Connor is reacting appropriately as she faces what happens to gifted, accomplished, generous, tireless, beautiful, courageous, honest, brilliant women as we age. She is demonstrating wild, unfiltered, righteous, completed understandable fury. Having supported everyone all of her life financially — partners, husbands, children, manager — never asking for a penny from any of them (she is currently being sued, in fact, for $450,000 by the manager who discovered her when she was an abused, traumatized kid, fresh out of one of the horrific Magdalene homes), she is now effectively abandoned by all of them, treated as an embarrassment. That alone would do anyone in; in the words of the Ani DiFranco song, “How could you take everything/and then come back for the rest?” She laid bare the entirety of her heart and soul by way of her magnificent music, offering it up to the entire world, holding nothing back, bearing up under endless criticism for her willingness to speak and rage honestly, with a beauty that forced people to listen and hear. The same artistic and intellectual giftedness which created an empire and legacy, or should have, now becomes the weapon turned against her. There is nothing mentally, emotionally or spiritually wrong with Sinead O’Connor that a world that valued the lives of women would not relieve and heal. She did make a terrible mistake in believing the world would forgive her for living authentically once she got old. It does not. The best a woman like Sinead can hope for is a forgiving eulogy once she’s passed. She is a woman betrayed and scorned and brave enough to demonstrate the way hell has no fury like this fury. I wish she recognized all of this with healing clarity, but that’s not the way she’s ever moved or confronted horror in her life. Sinead responds gut and viscera first and devil take the hindmost. As has been true all of her life, she continues to walk in her own magnificent integrity. I am in awe of her courage.
Cheryl SELLOFF is a 65 year old radical feminist writer and old school activist who farms 6.5 acres of women’s land in the Pacific Northwest.