It shouldn’t take someone till they’re 30 years old to learn to value themselves. In my last blog, I wrote about how I had to be convinced that someone ELSE valued me enough that it justified me standing up for myself when I was going through my “Me Too.”
I sometimes feel like I inconvenience the literal space-time continuum by existing, that any amount of time that I take up for someone else has to be justified, and I apologize profusely if I take up more of their time than absolutely necessary.
I’m seriously fucked up, ya’ll.
It’s quite a common trend amongst people I know who were raised in an extremist Christian atmosphere. We are told all our lives that we have value because “JESUS,” or “GOD,” or whatever. And then, if our beliefs ever start changing, if we doubt and question the dogma of our indoctrination, where does that leave us?
But for me, those roots go a bit deeper. Because I have a vagina instead of a penis.
I was raised from my very earliest memories to grow up and have babies. And they better damn well be Christian babies. As I said in this blog, the horrendous masquerade dance that was “church” was raising an army to fight in their culture wars. We were the foot soldiers, and our goal was to produce more foot soldiers.
So women had one goal: grow up to be a good, obedient, and fertile wife.
They LOVED telling women how to be a good Christian wife. Every single women’s group and women’s conference I attended preached about the “Proverbs 31” woman. You should look it up, it’s awesome. It tells about how her husband can go into town and not be ashamed of his wife because she was back home baking and knitting and taking care of the babies.
And they talked about how we could be “more perfectly submissive” to our husbands. Our success was measured in how quickly we did what he wanted, how little we did without his permission, and how infrequently we questioned his authority over us.
But like, not because we were “of less worth,” obviously (sarcasm). No, they had all kinds of backup scriptures and theological meanderings so they could feed us this bullshit and hope that none of us woke up to the insanity of it.
There’s an episode of that Duggar family show where the entire episode they were trying to prove how “not sexist” this family was because the boys and girls swapped family duties for a day. It was all played off for laughs, because “haha the boys don’t know how to do laundry or cook” and “haha the girls don’t know how to do…car stuff?” And they EVEN had a scene where the girls did “college stuff” online (I think they were studying some home ec stuff) and the girls gushed over how it was “fun” to do that stuff, but they were really just looking forward to becoming a housewife and having a ton of kids and being submissive just like their mom.
I know that feel.
When I divorced my first husband, I moved a state away to a big city and finished up college. My family were sort of supportive, but also asking “who is going to protect you,” and freaking out about a woman driving six hours by herself without an escort. And then I graduated without getting remarried and my family were asking why I couldn’t get a husband.
There’s an excellent line in Gilmore Girls where Lorelai’s grandma asks her if she’s managed to get married yet, or if her independance was still scaring off all the men.
I know that feel.
My inability to catch a man, my status as a spinster, was also blamed on my crazy curly hair. I was often chastised on the need to “cut my hair and tame my wild ways” so that I could finally find a man and make babies. I was 25.
So I moved home for a few months after I graduated, because there were family issues going on and also I was having a millenial quarter life crisis. I felt like I didn’t really belong anywhere, and I wasn’t quite sure where where and how I was going to start building a life for myself.
My entire family did literally everything in their power to try to get me to stay there for the rest of my life. To find a husband there. To start a career there.
Instead, after a bit of searching and panicking, I moved to a different state again.
And I worked three jobs to support myself. And it was always “have you found a man yet? Who is protecting you?”
Well, I did actually meet my husband at that time. And then we got married after dating less than a year, which was WAY too fast for my religious family. You see, most people I grew up with knew their spouses for at least a year before DATING, or…”courting.”
That’s a blog for another time.
But yes, “courtship,” lasted for YEARS before marriage happened.
Except me. I knew this man was my soul mate, and we got married less than a year after we met.
Hashbrown rebel four lyfe.
And the man I’m married to now is the one who taught me how to be a feminist. He taught me to value myself as equal to him. He’s baffled by the things I ask him permission for. He’s confused about why I try to get validation from him for my spiritual beliefs. He laughed in my parent’s face when they told him he needed to control his woman.
My family loves him but also they’re horrified by our relationship sometimes.
Life is so damn beautiful.
People are still confused to this day about why feminism matters. Why we feminists still get into activism and fight for our rights. But how do you convince someone that you are fighting to have your value acknowledged, when the people you’re pleading with not only don’t value you as a person, but also don’t realize they don’t value you. And how do you even talk to them when they for DAMN sure don’t value what you have to say?
And the people needing convinced, if they ever read this blog, would argue with every damn thing I’m saying. And try to get my husband to stop me.
Do you have a story like this? Have you been in or known someone in the church who was an unwitting victim of sexism in disguise?
I know a woman who didn’t receive their ordination, in a church that ordains women, because her HUSBAND wasn’t a Christian. He WANTED her to be ordained. He WANTED her to do what her heart told her to do.
If you have a story to tell, tell us in the comments what happened. We NEED to be shedding light on this clusterfuck of a situation, ya’ll. We need it more than ever.
Blessed be, ya’ll.
Like my parents telling me I was not worth educating, like their sons were? Like my brothers telling me I was too stupid to tutor in math and science and I could never be a nurse? I was 15. It took my 40 years but I graduated as a registered nurse at 55. I’m credentialed beyond my license and I help teach new technology while still taking care of patients. Most fulfilling career I ever had (I was a journalist for 30). My family finally respects me. But I respect myself . .and I’m glad I never gave up on that 15-year-old girl.
This is a wonderful read. THANK YOU! You are WONDERUL 👏👏👏