Now, don’t get me wrong—I like most women. We’re tough, strong and often smarter than the Penis People. There are many, many women I respect whole-heartedly. And yes, there are some women I wouldn’t even spit on. That’s just the way it is. Some people we click with, others we don’t and can’t and never will. But that’s human nature.
I had a stable first ten -12 years of life. After that, the family dynamic changed irrevocably and I kind of raised myself. Little guidance, little help and eventually I was basically told to leave the last few twigs that comprised our nest, and go find my life.
I went to college, got job….learned how to be an adult—–a very young immature, inexperienced adult. I planned, I plotted, I schemed and succeeded and failed….repeatedly….and ultimately, got my college degree and my womanhood. The rest of my life to this point was all about career which ebbed and flowed , not unlike life.
And well, I’ll admit it once again,.. I made horrific choices in men. But I learned something from each sociopath. They are crazy, manipulative people indeed, but fairly decent life teachers as long as you understand who and what you’re dealing with.
But you grow with every success and failure. And you learn to survive heartache and you learn how to survive survival. Some join groups and clubs and participate in women’s marches. There is strength in numbers, but what you learn on your own, by yourself as your own woman, as your own person, are tremendous lessons. That’s why I’ve never been too keen on groups, especially any group with “stands with whatever”‘in its title. It’s fine for you…. It’s just I’m just not much of a joiner. I like boots on the ground. And writing a check works too but for me there’s more to it than fancy galas. That’s just not my style. But to be honest, I’d I prefer a fundraising ball as opposed to distorted meetings and angry attention seeking women, screaming vulgarities into a microphone. I don’t care to hear any more about what I’ve already learned. I don’t need to hear someone reading a bullet point list of someone else’s experiences.
No thank you.
And if I had ever had a daughter, I would teach her those things first. Namely, the value of her independence.
I’d teach her this, even before toddling, I’d show her how to stand “with” no one….just for herself. I would teach her strength and resolve and how to defend herself in any situation: against bullies, predators, disrespectful, and cruel adults….teachers, even. Not all adults deserve respect. I won’t beatify an asshole just because he died. And just because someone has endured enough decades to amass a few gray hairs but did so as a total conniving bitch, I can’t respect and I would teach that to any child of mine. “Be civil”, I’d tell her, but I’d also ask her to understand the flaws in every human. That will help in the inevitable fights with friends, and all these ridiculous bully issues I keep hearing about. I would want her to know and be upfront about the real evils in the world and that fairy tales often end in tears. Happy endings exist only in Mother Goose stories and Asian massage parlors.
But for my daughter, because the labrynth of life would be different for her as a woman, , I’d teach her all she needed to know and then set her free to determine who she was, what she was….why she was the way she was, Gay….straight…..artist or capitalist personified. I’d still love her if she became a Democrat and elected to go to Texas A&M. (Note to self: if this should have ever happened, the will would’ve been rewritten.)
I would want my daughter to be herself, whatever that is. I want her to try ….and if she can’t do something’ accept it and find another thing to attempt. . Play with dolls and Tonka trucks, mix her gender metaphors and I wouldn’t allow her to feel wrong for merely playing with both. Playing is how we learn.
I would lead, but only long enough to teach her how to walk, not necessarily too show her how to follow. Unlike some moms I know, I wouldn’t thrust my moral compass down her throat. I’d present my values and mores, based on what I’ve learned and place them on a platter of sorts…..no, actually, it’d be more like a menu from a Chinese restaurant; she could choose all she wants from column A and Column B or even order a la cart. I would give birth to her, but she would create herself. I’d be there with a brushstroke or two, but she’d apply the colors she chooses., the ones that would make her, her.
I’d encourage her to have many relationships plutonic and otherwise and for those that might be leaning a bit serious, I’d urge her to like this person first. Liking before loving is great. Fall in love with your friend. It’s important. I’d encourage her to do things…travel…learn a foreign language or two and understand that her principle role in this life is to help whoever, whenever in whatever way she can. I’d tell her to be ok with being alone and that being alone won’t always mean being lonely.
I’d want her to wrap her head around pain. She’s going to feel if from skinned knees to not making cheerleader to a broken heart after a love gone wrong. But she has to experience these things and also learn to rebound from them. I’dvwant her to be fluent in kindness, nobility, integrity and equality. Unlike me, Shevardnadze would be able to love freely and with she would have been spared the scars I have. She would be able to see and feel beauty where I can’t. Or won’t.
At least, that would have been my hope for her.
And had I lived a normal life and given birth to this child, I think I would feel in my soul when it would be time for her to move out, move on and I would let her go. The urge to put training wheels on her adulthood would be strong, but I ‘d be even stronger–I’d refrain. But I’d constantly remind her of certain things as she packed. I’d go all Aibileen from the movie, The Help on her. I’d tell her to always remember—
….”You is kind. You is smart. You is important”…..
And as I watch her leave, I’d tell her what I was never told; that I loved her….always….and that disappointments are unavoidable facts of life…..but disappointment would never, could never negate my love for her. And she would know this love while awake, asleep, studying, partying, having breakfast….throwing up after the kegger the night before. That would teach her that sometimes there’s a price to be paid for having fun. But fortunately, hangovers run their course and parties are held frequently . I want her to mature, but she must have fun in the process. I don’t want her to curl up in a ball and wake up at age 56 and realize she’s never fully lived her life. I’d dare her to find joy; take chances and try new people, places and things.
So, when the time would come when she’d walk out the door and I’ve wave goodbye, with a lump in my throat….and silently, I’d wish her the best, pray for her growth, and that she’d be safe, healthy and happy and make sound choices.
Then, I’d probably make myself a big ol’ drink and hook up with someone on Tinder.