Tonight my son asked to borrow my laptop “just for a minute”. I didn’t give it a lot of thought when I passed it over to him. I have been working on some intense feminist pop art and there are a few assorted photos of T&A awaiting text outbursts and survey results depicting what makes a good or bad girl. These are just an easy click away. Which isn't a great big problem, it's not like he never met me before...I looked at him briefly, he explained he was looking for a transistor for a speaker he is creating and I decided to pass it on over.
A nano-second later he is chortling and offering up a huff or two with a big grin as he quickly reviews all of the sites I have open. He can’t help but laugh at me. And this is why I love this guy! He gets to just laugh right at me and he is generally dead on. These are the sites: Woman In Control, my blog, Ms. Magazine e-edition, New York Times article about women in the Olympics and More Magazine, for women over 40, most of whom are struggling with one thing or another but right on the cusp of….something. He continues grinning as he orders said transistor and I laugh a little as I attempt to explain. He laughs harder and says, “No, really, it’s ok.” The funny part of this is I have been catching myself lately in these big old conversations about the plight of womanhood as his eyes glaze over. “Damn!” I think, I am training him to become one of those men whose eyes glaze over! But tonight I am in low spirits on my way back up to “what the hell?” spirits and the next stop is carry on and leave the spirits to ghost busters or a martini glass. I’ll take a Hendricks martini, thank you very much- I need the juniper vapors to move me through the low-down spirit invocation and onto the other side.
My sometime in this decade divorce process has opened up the flood gates to my feminist side. Well, that’s not even true. I’ve always been a staunch feminist. I guess I am flailing about in my feminism as I attempt to make sense of how I ended up feeling hoodwinked and unprotected not exclusively by the man folk, but by myself. I somehow stopped paying attention to my feminist side-which incidentally is 360 degrees and 5 dimensions and a tad bit difficult to ignore.
As he looks at me with his eyes glazed over or ready to pounce if only he could, you know that hungry look? the one that animals have right before they bite down and then lick their chops, yeah, you can pretend your kids don’t ever look at you like that, but you're just not paying attention. It’s the same way you look at them when they share a mouth full of stupid. Anyway, when he looks at me like that I don’t always react the right way, or in my own best interest. I try to cover ground, I start acting like Brer Rabbit all full of anxiety and convincing. This is what causes the glazing, try it, it’s quicker than Benadryl in a baby. Not that I ever tried that… I try to offer up stats and examples of how far away women are in the fight for equality, or the struggle, or the wimpering sighs. He has to try a new approach now, he squarely looks at me and states something about divorce and him and not all marriages or all men….
Here’s the worst part of all this. I believe, channel Whitney for me here, somebody please… I believe in marriage. And men. I believe that marriage can work and does work. I believe women can be treated with dignity and respect and most of all with equality. I don’t believe men are the only ones keeping us down. (Read that any way you wish.) I know first hand that I gave myself full up and stopped attending to my predominantly feminist self, or perhaps simply, human self with ideals and expectations of fending for oneself and somehow ended up all sorts of on the wrong side of womanhood and wifedom.
So in my flowery sundress and 3 inch wedge sandals I return to my feminist pop art project and come to terms with some of my own struggles as a single Mom, single-handedly raising a young man. This was highlighted for me yesterday when I was asked, after someone met my beautiful, strong son, “Is there a Dad?” I’m always awaiting the question but just as quickly thrown by it. I’m staring it down once again, do I cover, and protect or do I speak plainly, in truth? Is there a Dad? Would a fierce feminist know what to do? This fierce feminist does, finally and with more ease and comfort. Asking the question, answers the question.
There is a mom grinning happily, in the knowledge that I have a beautiful, strong boy who can laugh down a fierce feminist and live to talk about it. I have another, beautiful strong son and a fierce beautiful daughter making her own way in the world that is still not offering equality, but making strides each moment. Single-handedly I continue on, occasionally wiped out and exhausted in it and just as quickly cheered-on or laughed at by my beautiful children who know me best, as I do them.