Last week, I was invited to speak at Farnborough Ladies Night because one of the organisers had seen an article by the Fleet Courier that the book I co-wrote Immediate Response had been a given a medal by The Military Writers Society of America. I am not sure what the ladies were expecting but I think they were expecting something a little more twee than me. Perhaps, they were expecting a demure, domestic goddess, who would proudly regale tales of awe inspiring derring-do and keeping the homes fire burning. Instead, they were presented with my candid analysis of how I constantly battle with my husband to pull his weight more in the house.
My opening line was ‘I am a feminist not a lesbian.’The ladies, whose ages ranged from 50 years old to 80 years old, engaged immediately. I could see them lift their droopy lids and either bristle, or giggle. I had two camps – those that looked at me with complete disgust and those who chuckled in naughty delight. The challenge that I often face when I proudly out myself as a card carrying feminazi is defining what I mean. Especially because the common conception of feminism is that you are a bean eating, carpet munching, communist. (No offence intended to those of feminist lesbian communist vegetarian persuasion – it’s just that I am not that way inclined) Hence my opening gambit.
It’s tough because I haven’t created an academic thesis to qualify this bold and brash declaration. But what I truly seek is freedom. Freedom to do what I want when I want. Genuine independence. This I don’t have through my own misguided choices. Shall I tell you who I blame? To quote the popular film, Pretty Woman – “Cinder-fucking-rella”. I walked into the Cinderella honey trap and stupidly fell in love, got married and had children. Doh!! Bahm, I sold my independence down the river.
I feel like recently I have had an epiphany. I want my freedom back. I want my independence. I want to do what I want when I want. Mission on. The reason why it is a mission because obviously there are people in my life and they are part of what I want. I don’t mean that I want to run away and abandon my choices that is not what want. It’s about finding the right balance between my own needs and those to whom I am responsible.
I think I gave up my freedom too easily. It was easier to take on the burden of responsibility and do-it-myself. In fact, I closed my talk to the Farnborough ladies with some observations on my 8 year old son, The Grenade. I said that I was just going to have to apologise to all his girlfriends because his will to do what he wants is often greater than mine to prevent him behaving in a burping, farting, slobbing in a gregariously male way. The note would read ‘I am sorry. I did my best. Please don’t hold it against me. Honestly, it’s not my fault.’
Clearly, in my younger years I blamed my mother-in-law for ruining Hagar and turning him into the flawed man that walks alongside the other flawed men in the species. However, now I am a mother to a son I realise that I have been very disloyal to his mother. It’s not her fault. I was blaming the wrong parent – it was his dad’s fault!! Mwah ha ha! I am only joking. It’s not their fault really.
So my mission is on. Wish me luck. Thank you Farnborough ladies for what was a very entertaining evening. It was great to share and learn that the trials and tribulations that I face that you too have a faced and that although there have been changes the majority of women are still slaves to domesticity.
I think I am back in the blogosphere – I have missed it so much. Blogging gives me a great sense of freedom. It’s my blog and I can write what I want to. I am back online. Toys R Us toy testing begins in earnest although my box of toys was delivered to the wrong address so what do you think my chances are of seeing that box of goodies again?