There is one thing more telling of a person than any other. Our beliefs. It is our beliefs that make us human, for they take thought and realization. Animals do not believe. They just exist. They survive. But for humans, survival is the lowest form of existence, diminishing our capacities to that no more of a wild coyote or fresh water carp. People can be distinguished by their beliefs more so than the color of their skin or size of their bank account. It is people’s beliefs that unite groups of people to feed the hungry…or start a rebellion. Beliefs united are a strong force in this world. It takes a group of like-minded citizens to make change, good or evil. A singular Egyptian couldn’t have fought the government in January. It was not a single person who flew planes into the buildings of 9-11. More than one person united in Wisconsin. A band of believers.
My dominating belief that of feminism. I thank the strong women of the past who removed the chains of marriage allowing women the freedom to make choices. Nothing upsets me more than hearing a woman say, “I don’t have a choice.” It is spitting on the graves of my foresisters who fought for our right to make choices. They may not be easy choices, but the choice remains.
I know. I live with that choice every day. Being a single, bread-winning mother has its unique tribulations, but in the end, I made the choice. I accept the responsibility. For women choosing to stay in an unhappy and restrictive marriage, they too have a choice, despite their sighs and cries. I’m not decrying their situation. I am saying that choice has not been removed. There are no longer laws binding them to financial, physical, or verbal abuse. I do have a problem, though, when a woman says…”I have no choice.” Even if you choose to stay in a marraige that no longer fullfills your needs, it’s your choice. Stand by it. But never say that you have no choice.
These are my beliefs. I came to them through years of trials and sacrifice. They are viewed from my path, the hard one with brambles and and fallen trees. They shape my choices daily. I realize that marrying again could make my life more simple, financially and emotionally. It would be nice to have a shoulder to cry on at the end of the day. A double income to help pay the bills. But you will never hear me say “I have no choice.”
There is a friend of mine whom I care for dearly. But we go rounds about feminism at the slightest nudge. He jumped my dead battery for me last week with the words, “See! All your feminism is BS. You still need men.” He just had to pick that fight. Like so many others, he believes that feminism is a bra-burning, man hating club of angry women and refuses to hear otherwise. Partly due to women who spread the word of feminism in an angry fit over drinks. Try as I may, I can not get it through his thick, male skull that his perception of feminism is wrong. I say that with a wry smile.
As a feminist, I don’t hate men. If that were the case, I’d be full of rage considering 50% of the population have the Y chromosome. Feminism, in my eyes, has absolutely nothing to do with men. It’s about women. Women having the right to make their own choices in decisions that affect their lives.
I like this quote but feel it needs to be expanded. Feminism is the notion that we are capable of making our own decisions. It is the freedom to succeed. It is also the freedom to fail. But our failure or success is our own. The same freedoms men have always been granted.
While tackling my next book, I’ve found myself pondering Itsy‘s beliefs and found that she has none. It goes against everything I know and she’s unlike any character I’ve ever written. Thus far, I’ve found it to be a challenge. But she is who she is and I’m going to see where it takes me. In the end, I hope that I don’t find her saying, “I don’t have a choice.”