Helen Reddy’s song was released in 1971.. I was 12 and have been singing ever since. I didn’t always understand every nuance of what it meant, but I loved the rhythm and it felt like a powerful song for a woman even at 12.
It’s sometimes easy for me to write personal things about myself; I have few secrets, although every woman needs a couple… What I do struggle with, is writing and including anyone else in my stories. The responsibility to write about any one else, in a way, that totally depicts my thoughts can be overwhelming. I have spent a couple of sleepless nights, thinking how I could tell this story..
I tend to be strong willed, there was a period of my life where I had my control taken away from me, then I over compensated by seeking more and more control (another blog 🙂 My parents would tell stories of me jumping off the barn, of arguing so much my Dad was sure I should be a lawyer, of wanting things to be black and white. I didn’t try out for anything in high school, unless I felt like I could win, and if I thought I would lose, I wouldn’t try. My mom always encouraged me to do things, that she felt like she had missed out on, but she had little experience to share with me. She was a woman of her generation, as I am a woman of mine, and even Mom sometimes thought I was too independent.
One dictionary definition of independent:Not relying on others for support, care, or funds; self-supporting.
Relying on others; whoa that is a scary thought, one even now I don’t entertain very seriously. Years of training to not rely on people, because of disappointments, that I bear part of the responsibility for, have taught me to rely on myself and to encourage others to rely on themselves. Stop blaming everyone else, take responsibility, flip the switch. Ok, so I’m stalling.. 🙂
Mom and I were standing in the kitchen, of the old farmhouse; she was doing dishes and I was standing 12 feet away. We were talking about “what had happened to me.” “Mom, did you know?” She turned and looked at me and said, “No, I didn’t, but even if I would have, what could I have done?” My heart broke in a million pieces.
It didn’t break just for me; but it broke for Mom too. She thought she was powerless; it wasn’t that she didn’t love me, because she loved her children, was loyal and steadfast. She was raised in a time, when few woman, stood their ground, especially in rural North Dakota. If any woman was to divorce? You were a hussy! Create a scene? You were crazy! Deal with your own trauma? Unheard of! Go to the police? Mom was raised by strong Baptist parents, you worked hard to raise your family, buried your head and survived. She survived, but I choose to survive in a different way. The shame is not mine, it is not yours. We survive.. we thrive.. “to make a difference, in the life of one child”, regardless of that child’s age. 🙂
I am teased about how can I be a Conservative Feminist; I laugh because I am who I am, a complicated Christian, believer in the separation of Church and State, fiscal conservative, believer of individual state’s rights, feminist. Be who you are. Whatever brought you to this place, made you who you are and it’s a beautiful thing.
Hugs to my survivor friends and family. I am so proud of you. We are going to make the changes..