A Tribute to Womanhood

Welcome to "I Am Woman"...a tribute to all those women who had the courage and perseverance to stand up and fight for their rights. Thanks to those who came before us we enjoy a freedom unknown to women not too long ago. But, sadly, in many parts of the world, women continue to be repressed. In fact, even in this country there are women living today under the threat of violence...completely controlled by a violent spouse. Some may make it; others won't. Hopefully, one day ALL women will be free. May that day come soon.


My Story...Second Part

All right.  So here I am in New York City.  I'm surviving, but I am feeling oh, so alone. In time, I meet some guy who...as I thought of all of my boyfriends...was the one I had been searching for all of my life...and he is just like all the others.  He's a drinker and a playboy.  Needless to say, we weren't together very long.  I just had to share this one with you, though.  On Christmas, he gave me a pair of earrings, my only Christmas gift that year. I had a wee little fake tree that sat on my dresser that year, and I placed the earrings under the tree.  The next morning rose early, and after he left to go to work, I went over the the tree and lo and behold....the creep had taken the earrings with him.  He'd given me a gift and then stole it back.  Is that sick or what? It was very easy to break up with him...there really wasn't anything to begin with...but there I was...alone again.

A short time afterward I met my abusive ex-husband.  Gosh, before we married, he treated me so special.  We went all over together.  He even got me out of my wee little room by marrying me and settled me into his parents' home.  Big mistake. His parents from day one let me know that I didn't fit in.  I was an Irish girl, and we all know that Irish girls like to drink; they can't help it; it's part of their culture.  So, I wasn't good enough for their Italian son, and much as I tried, I never could sway them.  I bent over backwards...cleaned their house, cooked, tried so hard to be loving, but they were always so cold...and sometimes I could hear them talking about me.

Now that I look back on it, I wonder if I should have known back then how he was going to be...and even if I did, would it have made any difference?  I think not.  So, by now I am pregnant with my son, and we've gotten our own place.  He is a want-to-be actor and a bouncer in a bar two nights a week.  He has no steady work.  It's basically all up to me.  I'm going to school and working in catering and do so right up until two weeks before the baby is born.  He's not even there for the birth.  His bouncer job is more important.

Three weeks after I get out of the hospital, I have to go back to work.  He won't do anything else...why, he's got his acting career to think about. So, my mother-in-law gets me a job at an answering service where she used to work.  I'm working 5 days a week from 4 to 12 pm.  I drop my son off before I go to work, race over there after work, and pick him up...taking a cab home.  Meanwhile, hubby is sitting around doing nothing...and by now, the name calling has started...the dirty, filthy names he called me.  He's even pushed me around and pulled clumps of my hair out on occasion.  Why did I stay?  Because he was always sorry, and it would never happen again.  And, the one time I did pack my bags and take my son to a battered women's shelter, I found myself living amongst drug dealers, prostitutes, rats, mice, and cockroaches. I was running back and forth to the welfare office who was putting me through a round of torture just to see how badly I wanted my benefits.  My son got sick; he got very sick and wasn't getting any better.  I went back home.

Fast forward.  Seven years later.  Still being abused verbally and physically.  Difference is, now I have two sons...two children to worry about. I also have a bald spot (thankfully hidden) in back of my head and a knot in my leg from being hit by a chair which remains to this day.  I've got a halfway decent job now, but he's been telling me it's nothing, that I am nobody, that I'm lucky to have him, that nobody would ever want me, that I am ugly, stupid, worthless...that he is a star and he is who is important.  He's still nothing more than a bouncer with several extra roles and a few small parts.  And when he gets one of his parts on a Friday and has to miss his bouncer job, I have to pay him the $50 from my salary...AND LIKE A DUMMY, I DO IT. That's how beaten down I was.

Then one day, I began fighting back. When he was approaching me to attack, I picked up the phone to dial 911.  He reached out to grab the phone, and I don't know where I got the power, but I let him have it in the head with the receiver.  He backed off...holding his head and crying...his precious head..what would he do if it were scarred?  From then on, he was afraid of me, and he even told me so. The physical cruelty was over, but it was still a few years before I got out.

To be continued....


My Story Repost

I thought today I would take some time to introduce myself to some of my new readers. Every once in awhile I like to let you know that I have been there, too.  I know what it is like.  Hence, the repost of my story.  I am Woman.  I am strong.  I can do anything.  Today, that is how I feel about myself...I am a survivor...but it wasn't always that way.  There was a time when I couldn't even decide what I wanted for dinner if someone offered me the choice.

I was born in a small town in the rural area of New Jersey.  My dad was an alcoholic; my mom had her boyfriend and her own life to lead, so as a little girl, I was pretty much on my own.  My parents didn't seem to care that much until I became a teenager...only then did they decide that it was time to keep an eye on me.  And they did so in the most horrible way...by condemning me to spend my teenage years in my room.  They found fault with everything that I did, and everything was grounds for punishment...even a coat unbuttoned was grounds for a month of detention.  I never had a date, never went to either of my proms, never did any of the things that my friends had done.

And to make it worse, I was constantly belittled by my mom.  "You're no good", "You're never going to amount to anything", "You're going to be a fat old drunk like your father."  Now, keeping and eye on one's child and being there for the child are two different things.  My parents NEVER had any time for me, and I grew up believing that that was the way things were supposed to be. Relationships?  I never had one...so how was I supposed to know how to act.  After all, when my friends were going on their first dates, I was home sitting in my room.

By the time I reached my senior year in high school, it was all getting to me.  I felt so different than the other children.  I felt like I didn't belong.  I was lonely, and all I wanted was someone to care.  So, when I hit 18, I got married...married to an alcoholic...just like my dad.  Only this husband was a nasty drunk who didn't work and expected to sit around slurping beers and being taken care of.  Then, I began drinking the beer with him...and he started fighting with me over it.  In just a matter of a few months, our marriage was in shambles.  I was afraid of him.  He was becoming more and more violent. Bills were not being paid, and there was little money for food.  We were losing our home. Fortunately, it was fairly easy to leave him.  I still had my parent's home, and there were no children. So, one day I told him I had enough and moved bag and baggage back home. 

Oh, he didn't give up so easily.  He called and called and pleaded that he wouldn't drink anymore. Then, when he saw that that wasn't working he called and threatened to kill himself if I didn't come back.  I simply told him "Go ahead"; I knew he didn't mean it.  Pretty boy was too wrapped up in himself to do himself in.  So, shortly thereafter, I hopped on a plane and flew to Atlanta, Georgia for a quickie divorce.  I don't know if they still have them, but in those days, the 1960's, they were quite easy to obtain.

I was hungering for love, but what was that old song?  "I'm looking for love in all the wrong places?"  Well, that was me.  I began running with some fairly wild gals and we did a lot of bar hopping.  In New York State at that time you could drink at age 18, so many a night we would cross the border into Port Jervis...a really 'hopping' town in those days.  It was there that I met the next so-called 'love of my life'.  He was older than me...by about ten years.  We didn't marry but we settled in together.  I was the perfect wife...dinner, cleaning...my wild life was over.  I really wanted this to work...and it did...for awhile...until I discovered I was living with a sex addict.  He began staying out all night long...coming home disheveled...with love bites on his neck...And I, so desperate for it to work...would spend night after night sitting at the kitchen table waiting for him to come home...which was usually at dawn. By now, I had started drinking again and my companion was a bottle of "Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill" wine.  And I put up with this for months on end...I knew I was the laughing stock of everyone around me, but I was just so hungry for someone to love me....and my self-esteem had always been so low.  My mom had seen to that.  

Then one day, he came home and gave me a case of the 'crabs'.  That was all I could take?  Do you know how I felt having to go into a pharmacy and ask for the shampoo?  It was probably the most embarrassing time of my life. I put him out.  He cried and he begged for another chance, but how could I? After what he had done?  Although he had never physically abused me, what he had done still was still considered abuse, a form of emotional abuse.  I went to the doctor, had myself checked out for everything.  Fortunately, I was fine.  It was shortly after that that I made my move to New York...and, oh, what a wake-up call.

To be continued....


Women of Today

You women of today who fear so much
The women of the future, showing how
The dangers of her course are such and such–
What are you now?

Mothers and Wives and Housekeepers, forsooth!
Great names, you cry, full scope to rule and please,
Room for wise age and energetic youth!–
But are you these?

Housekeepers? Do you then, like those of yore,
Keep house with power and pride, with grace and ease?
No, you keep servants only! What is more–
You don't keep these!

Wives, say you? Wives! Blessed indeed are they
Who hold of love the everlasting keys,
Keeping your husbands' hearts! Alas the day!
You don't keep these!

And mothers? Pitying Heaven! Mark the cry
From cradle death-beds! Mothers on their knees!
Why, half the children born, as children, die!
You don't keep these!

And still the wailing babies come and go,
And homes are waste, and husband's hearts fly far;
There is no hope until you dare to know
The thing you are! 



Weekly Quote

The young women of today, free to study, to speak, to write, to choose their occupation, should remember that every inch of this freedom was bought for them at a great price. It is for them to show their gratitude by helping onward the reforms of their own times, by spreading the light of freedom and of truth still wider. The debt that each generation owes to the past it must pay to the future.

Abigail Duniway


Today's Quote

"We ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all the civil and political rights that belong to citizens of the United States, be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever." 

Susan B. Anthony, Declaration of Rights for Women, July 1876