A Day Without Women- My Day of Reflection

A Day Without Women- My Day of Reflection

I had the opportunity to not work today. Not many women had that choice, but I did.  Long story short- I’m a substitute teacher, so I can create my own schedule. I had my own classroom for many years and then my circumstances changed. I moved, married and I’m currently working on starting a family while struggling with some health issues, like infertility, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

I decided, along with the support of my husband, to not take on a full-time teaching position so that we could focus on starting a family.  I’ve been under the care of a reproductive endocrinologist on and off since 2014.  I’m seeing a therapist, acupuncturist and my primary care physician to help me along in life. I’m focusing on writing, too, something I’ve always dreamed of doing but never thought I could do full time. I’m taking time for me, something I’ve never done before.

Brief Background

I’m the oldest child in a family that grew up in chaos. I was in charge most of the time and put the needs of my siblings before me. When I went away to college, I felt immense guilt for leaving them behind. They were my war buddies and I had left them to follow my dream of being a teacher. When I found out my little brother cried when I left, I had a break down and almost quit school.  I stayed because I wanted to set a good example for my siblings.  I graduated and went on to find a teaching job. I took whatever I could so that I could get the hell out of my house and away from my father. I didn’t end up in a good teaching position, so my twenties were full of ups and downs while trying to pay my bills. It also didn’t help when I found out the male gym teacher made more money than me and we both started at the same time and had the same amount of experience. I could go back and kick myself for not saying anything to the administration, but I was young and didn’t want to mess up my job, which I needed to survive. My twenties were about survival and I think I did it well under the circumstances. I never took the time to reflect and get the help I needed to deal with my past. I stuffed it down and kept going. I told myself I was a strong, independent woman. I helped other people, instead of myself. I wanted to be the person they could depend on, but I was falling apart inside. It’s true what they say- you need to take care of yourself before you take care of others.

Fast forward to now

I’ve been married for almost four years.  We have a house that is warm, cars that work, food on the table. All basic needs are met. We booked a beach vacation because my husband knows the importance of vacations and my love of the beach. I love my husband and we have a good relationship. Everything is perfect, right?

A few months ago, I had a total breakdown. Crying uncontrollably in my closet, rocking myself to self soothe. I won’t go into the cause of this breakdown, but it needed to happen.  My husband has seen me upset and cry, but this was different. He tried to get on top of me to calm me down, but I couldn’t be comforted. Eventually, I let him close to me and I realized that evening that I could still be a strong, independent woman who would finally take care of herself and go to counseling.



What I Thought Feminism Looked Like  

For so long, I equated being a strong woman as a woman who has no emotions. She just sucks it up and does it. Whatever needs to get done, it’s done. No tears, no whining and no relaying on a man! Suck it up, Sally was the motto. Women who depended on men were weak and then I went and married a man. How could I do that? Also, these feminists didn’t care what they looked like.

Oh, naïve Theresa. I will chalk this up to Oprah going off the air way too soon. ?  Thirties Theresa needs you, Oprah!

I’m proud to be a wife and a feminist! 

What Feminism Really is- Complete with a Definition!

The definition of feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights based on the equality of the sexes.

That’s it! Women just want to be equal to men.

They want to be paid the same amount as their male counterparts.

They want to see more females in Hollywood directing movies or being the main character without having to play second fiddle to a man.

They want women to be CEOs.

In other parts of the world, women want the same education opportunities as men.

Feminists don’t think they are better than men, or even hate men.

I’m not quite sure how some people view all the above as being “anti-male”.  Men can still be CEOs and directors and go to college. Equal rights doesn’t mean less rights.

My therapist kindly pointed this out when I went on about how I was a “bad” feminist because I stayed home while my husband worked. She said if we agreed upon this arrangement and I don’t feel slighted, I’m still considered a feminist.

Feminists can be married, they can be stay at home moms, they can be the head of companies and they can believe in whatever religion they want.

I know plenty of women who are the breadwinners in their families. I know many working moms who are doing their jobs and going home to their kids. Feminists, like women, come in all different shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds. And feminists can wear makeup. ?

It’s time to educate ourselves on this topic and stop the whole blame game. Stop saying feminists are man haters, stop saying that the feminist movement was caused by women tearing each other down (I read that on a Facebook post and I rolled my eyes so hard I think I sprained something).

So, if you want your mother, sister and/or daughter to have the same opportunities as men, then I hate to break it to you- you are feminist! If you don’t like the word feminist- good news, you don’t have to use it!

Ah the power of choice.

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