Near Perfect Nonfiction
Warning, includes political views you may not agree with!
Am I a feminist? I am not sure. The definition of feminism, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is:
1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2 : organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests
I am not #2, because I don’t think I have organized or been a part of any organized activity. Unless you count donating money. But I definitely lean in the direction of #1. I am aware that even in Nursing, male nurses make more money. I have, as an adult, been pro-choice, despite how difficult it’s been to decide a position on that. Having read half of Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique and pieces of other books like The Second Shift, I like to think of myself as having feminist tendencies. I hate to hear so many women say they are inherently bad at math and how so many people say, that’s how boys are when they are discussing aggression or rowdy play. Since I became a nurse, I have always kept my money separate from my husband’s, which has worked great. We hardly argue about money. So there you have it. I am a self identified quasi-feminist.
Raising girls makes you think about these issues, especially when your daughter is dating a teenage boy who argues with your other daughter about abortion rights. It’s my inner feminist who thinks sits up in indignation to say no teenage boy will make decisions about my kid. That should be hers and her physician.
Last weekend, my oldest had a teenage identity crisis moment. So I did what I do well, at least I think I do it well. I talked to her for an hour, said I loved her no matter what, and took her to a library to find books that can help inform her about finding herself.
While at the library, I found a book that is my idea on near perfect nonfiction. Dispatches from a Not-so-perfect Life by Faulkner Fox. What a name for a writer, huh? And I liked the book so much. The structure was a little disorganized at first, but so many of her points mirrored what I thought despite having never worked as a political activist or having gone to Harvard before I had kids. She discusses being a mother and her struggle to be a “good” mom and maintain who she is and share the work equally with her husband. Her take on motherhood and it’s struggles were so relate-able to mine, especially ideas about finding friends as a mother. I loved her discussion of her need to remain herself, and her guilt about not being completely selfless while being a mother. I loved how she identified that as mothers it’s harder to find those close friends we had when we were younger. I definitely think mothers hold back the things they might have discussed as their twenty-something year old selves. I find mothers are much tighter lipped on marital problems, sex, and anything that may be seen as a failure in mothering and/or being a good wife. Is it because we are too worried about other’s judgement? Is it because friendships and conversations are hard to build with so much competing for your time? Child rearing demands constant focus and connecting with friends for more than 30 minutes over coffee (or less depending how many times you have to pull something out of a kids mouth) is hard. Add a job to that, it feels near impossible. I am glad I read this book and had the time to consider what it means to be a wife, a mother, and a person.
Sometimes, these days, I keep my strong opinions to myself because I don’t want to impose my beliefs, I don’t want to offend, but mostly because I don’t want to be judged. I remember at the time that Sex and the City became popular, my friend said I was like Miranda. And I was irritated because she always seemed so mad. But I didn’t have a love for fashion and shoes, and I wasn’t the kind of person who was looking for a man to take care of her, and I wasn’t Samantha. I was irritated that my only option was to be Miranda. (I know not really, but you know, people like putting you in boxes) I have found, as an adult, I wonder why don’t I have friends more like myself. Friends who are more left leaning, more quasi-feminist, more girl power. Friends who want to talk about social justice, politics, etc. Not that I want to trade away my friends by any means. I like them and they each have their strengths. But maybe, I have held back myself too much. Maybe I should be me a little more. Whatever the case, I think I could possibility be friends with someone named Faulkner.