VOF Week 2: (Born my Father’s Feminist)
I arrived into the world the first child of a 48-year-old US Navy captain and his 36-year-old wife. Seven years later, we welcomed my brother into our family. It wasn’t until the turbulent years of puberty that I began to perceive how my father treated men vs. women, specifically, my mother. My father was no abuser, but with subtlety and consistency he made sure everyone knew who was in charge and who wasn’t to be challenged. This was my first male/female knot to unravel: witnessing two people perform the traditional dance of control and submission and wondering all the while, why it was so. Prompted by such complexities, at the age of 13 I began to journal as a way of processing. Journaling became my standard way of expression for the next 17 years.
By the time I left for college, I had ironically subsumed many of my father’s worldviews. These provided further knots to untangle after I arrived on campus. On my own for the first time ever, it was my father’s voice in my head, he who was telling me what to do and how to live. At 18, I didn’t realize that I would be embarking on a journey that would take me abroad for 8 years in order to figure out my thoughts and ideas about the world. Letting go of my father meant I needed distance – geographically and emotionally – which only became known in the clarity of retrospect.
During that time away I nurtured my independence and spurned commitment to much of anything be it a person, place or thing. My trusty journal always in hand, I delved deeply into these rich years of study, travel, discovery and loneliness. Eventually, I uncovered my core. It had naturally been there all along but coated in the dust of someone else’s outdated notions.
Into adulthood I studied international development and gender issues and received my MA. My enjoyment for writing was with me all the while, though my subject focus shifted. Through the process of academic stimulation contrasted to my own experiences, I grew up tall into feminism. I became committed, for the first time in my life, to something that I can no longer separate my identity from: advocating women’s rights and capturing these experiences in words.
This is my passion, my purpose, and my path. Recently I discovered World Pulse and am thrilled to integrate this into my ever-expanding feminist tool kit. As someone who is drawn to write and finds solace in putting words onto the page, finding the VOF opportunity was like stumbling upon a treasure chest. I enjoy the challenge of doing something well and through VOF can integrate my love of writing with my heart’s cause to do greater good in the world. My feminist dream to realize with VOF is this: to become a literary midwife and birth the suffering and solutions of our movement into the awareness of the world.