Finding Myself

Writing is about memory. What is research but delving into the past that you or I lived through and recorded. Perhaps I spend too much time in the past but I cannot deny it since it is the journey that brought me to my present. However, I know it is time to take a break when the past becomes a burden and my lonely occupation makes me mute. Then it’s time to travel or be with my children, or friends, live in the present and enjoy the release from memory.

There is nothing quite like children to tie you to the here and now. That’s why, when my children were small, I have very little memory of myself and the events in my life. I remember some events but I don’t remember me. Women lose themselves in the dream world of pregnancy, the numbing sleep deprivation, the squalling of babies and the demands of husband. In the seventies, when divorce became rampant, bewildered husbands were tired of the phrase “I need to find myself.” All of a sudden the devoted wife and mother was on a quest to find herself – a quest that did not include the husband. And since men rarely lose themselves, their identities, to love, to children, to that delicious smell of a tiny baby, the wife’s reason for divorce is incomprehensible to them.

It was a brand new reason for divorce, rarely used before the seventies. The birth control pill liberated women from their bodies and their minds were free to roam into uncharted territory. Up until the seventies, the only reason for divorce was violence, alcoholism or abandonment. Women divorced in droves to find ourselves, to take back the lives we lost, to become aware of ourselves as poor but powerful, proud, working-like-slaves, single mothers. And then, in the nineties, women started ignoring the plan to first get married, have children, then divorce. Now the plan is to establish a career, become financially independent, and travel to a sperm bank for the children. Or women without financial opportunity just become pregnant and depend on the government for support, which is not a good idea since daycare has now become prohibitive. Throughout history, and in no matter what era, the price women pay for the joy of bearing children is unreasonable. Nothing ever really changes because men still run the world and are not able to bear children. Pity.

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